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For our sailing adventure today John and I were to be on Brown Eyed Girl again. However one of the other club members had her out yesterday in 20+ mph winds singlehanding her and shredded the mainsail halyard. Thus rending the boat unsailable today. There had been some talk of John and I perhaps replacing the halyard on BEG today but the maintenance director says we really should drop the mast and check the sheave at the top for damage before we run a new halyard through it. That leaves us out of the job. :) It's time to find another boat on this beautiful morning. Did I mention our low hit 60 last night? Fall is heading to Texas in a hurry!

A quick check of the boats yields that Sunny Side Up is available so I snag her for our afternoon sail. SSU is our most basic Catalina 22 in the program. She has no lifelines, is a swing keel, no furling jib. She is about as no frill of a Cat22 as you will ever find. John was running a bit behind getting to the marina so I started setting the boat up for our sail. No furler means we have to hank-on the jib. Digging through the vberth I find all sorts of extra sails. 110 or 150? As light as the wind is today I think we'll want the larger jib. Dragging the bag out on deck I slide the flaked sail out and carry it forward. Hanking on a jib means that you orient it in the correct direction and then clip the sliding clips (also called hanks) to the forestay. Attach the jib halyard to the top of the jib and the bottom leech to a clip that's part of the forestay and one side is done. Going through the cabin again I find a pair of good lines to use for jib sheets. A couple of bowlines are tied in the clew of the jib then the port and starboard sheets are run through their blocks and made ready. I bundled up the jib in the bow pulpit and bungeed it in place with a bungee I scavenged from one of the other club boats. That wasn't so tough. I remember the first time John showed me how to set up the jib on SSU. It seems like a lot of work back then. Now it's really no sweat.

John arrives and we push off and head out. The wind is pretty dead early on so we motorsail on our way. It takes about an hour before we hit the other marina to take a break with a coke. We see what looks like a little wind so we head back out only to be skunked again for a while. We can see wind on the water down the lake more towards the dam so into the water the iron genny (otherwise known as our motor) goes once more. We move into the area that's showing some wind I try to catch what I can. Watching the wind slowly building we decide to give it a shot again and shut down the engine. I ask John if he wants to try running downwind with the whisker pole and go wing on wing for a bit. He agrees and sets the pole. As I pull in the jib sheet I nudge the tiller just a bit more to port and watch both sails fill with wind. What a petty site to see is SSU in a wing on wing sail configuration with full sails. We run a long time towards the dam in this configuration, noticing behind us that the wind has now filled in and and there's a steady wind all the way across the lake.

Before to long it's time to take down the whisker pole and jibe the back of the boat through the wind. An easy jibe later we run along the face of the dam, close hauled to the freshening wind. Finally, a bit of real sailing speed. All too soon though it's time to head in. I tack us and take up a close hauled course heading straight for the marina. SSU is really sailing nicely now with the wind. There's a lot of satisfaction to be had with a boat that is tuned well on her course with the wind when she takes you directly to where you want to go.

An easy trip back has me I finessing her into her slip with a wind on my tail. Just a bit of reverse on the motor to slow us down and John steps off and ties up her bow. A successful sail on a fully manual boat! Taking down the jib we take it over to the covered dock area and lay it out, flaking the jib (folding it in a specific, neat) manner we stow it in the bag for the next sailor. Why did I ever dread this boat before, she's a LOT of fun to sail!

Walking up the dock towards the parking lot we spooked a school of perch and chad on the surface of the water of one of the slips. They skipped and slid along the surface, speeding away and turning down to dive, a rainbow flash of their scales as they dove deeper into the gray green water. A fitting end to a good days sail.

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September 2010

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