Aug. 9th, 2010

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John invited me to sail on Brown Eyed Girl Sunday afternoon. Of course I said yes! With a noon to five slot we thought we'd try for Little Petes on the lake again. I got the boat ready for when he arrived and we were soon pushing back from the dock. The winds were light to start with, running on a broad reach that turned into nearly a dead downwind we opted to set the whisker pole up again. I climbed to the foredeck and set the pole, what was a mystery recently is now becoming commonplace. It is still more of an upper body workout than I expect, but the effort paid off with better speed across the water.

It took us nearly two hours to make it down to the other marina, even with the whisker pole out. Two hours of baking in the texas sun without much relative wind to cool us down. John pulled out his cooler and out came a container of ice cold grapes to help sustain us on our trek. They really hit the spot. By the time we came within a stones throw of the other marina we were both pretty fried from the heat. I furled the jib, took down and tied up the main and deployed the fenders again. By the time I stepped off the boat to tie up the bow I was about done for.

We walked through the door of Little Petes and they asked, inside or outside? We both answered, inside please!! The greeter smiled, everyone was taking the AC option. A large glass of iced tea and a glass of ice water with a light lunch had us both refueled, cooler, and ready to tackle the water once more. Sitting, talking in the restaurant we saw the wind was picking up, knowing that we'd be sailing close hauled home the trip promised to feel much cooler.

Out, refreshed, we went and soon had untied and pushed her back once more. We hoisted the sails and and set a close hauled course working our way back across the lake. The wind had grown substantially while we were eating, with a lot of wind over the cockpit it felt a lot cooler. John decided he wanted to swim again so we made fast a line again and he stepped off the swim ladder and I towed him around the lake some. After he cooled down he made his way back onboard once I eased out the mainsheet to slow us. The strain of pulling himself back to the boat while we were underway at full speed proved to be a bit much for him. Before long I had the sails in tight and we were sailing closer to the wind than I'd ever sailed before. The windex was well within the area that I normally start to get luffing in the sails. At times the gusts would pick up, we'd start to heel over a bit more than I liked so I'd release the main sheet to de-power the boat a bit. Pulling the sheet back in as the worst of the gust would pass, we'd pick up speed again.

I sailed so close to the wind once that we got hit by a gust that heeled us over right as we hit a powerboats wake. The bounce on the bow coupled with the heel of the boat reduced my rudder effectiveness and the boat turned into the wind sharply. We were so close to the edge of our wind that the weather-helm the boat turned with, turned us through a tack and the main and jib came across the deck. It caught both John and I by surprise. We sorted our our lines, figured out what had happened, then tacked back to our intended course. We held our tacks better the rest of the afternoon until we were nearly back to the dock. Dropping the sails and putting the motor in I took two tries to get her into the slip straight.

What a day on the water though. Started out slow, ended out with a lot of excitement when we found out how quickly the boat could tack if you sailed her closer to her limits. There are so many things that in the beginning seemed overwhelming to keep track of, to deal with, and now it feels so comfortable. There are always new things to be learned though.

Another good day on the water behind me. Onwards to the next one!

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September 2010

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