November 19, 2010
Today, we had “mandatory fun day” at our office and took the team sailing. It was quite a day and the first time we had guest out sailing. We arrived at the slip at 9:30 am and met some of the crew that arrived from Virginia. In all, there were 6 of us, 4 men and 2 women. We stowed away the day’s provisions and gave a quick safety brief. Everyone donned life vests and we were off…sort of…we had a line tied on the forward cleat and I under estimated the amount of time it would take the admiral to get it off…so, we bounced around a bit in the slip…then took off. No damage done, but to ego… We crepped out the harbor, into the river. Again, the wind was out of the north, so we crossed the river and turned back into it. When raising the sail, the reef lines were crossed and became stuck against the boom. Suddenly, there was a pop and something dropped from the boom area and hit the deck and bounced in… Later, I found out it was a small cleat on the side of the boom that secured the outhaul of the main sail. Looks like the rivets gave way and it broke loose under the strain of the stuck lines. No problem, turns out it was not needed…as with many things on a sail boat, there is a backup. Luckily, the outhaul line was secured with a figure eight knot before going over cleat. So, even though the cleat gave way, the knot saved the line from going into the boom. The foot of the sail was looser than it should have been, but still worked well.
There were light winds (8-12 knots) for the first couple of hours, then it dropped off rapidly to 4-6 knots… So, for the first couple of hours, we sailed fine, down the river. Several of the new crew members took turns at the wheel and they made fine sailors, indeed. At noon, we set an easterly course, adjusted trim and set back for a nice lunch of sandwiches, cookies and soda… The cookies were pumpkin and very tasty. We turned up the radio and enjoyed our lunch in the cockpit.
After lunch, we turned back, about that time the wind dropped off. So, after a couple of attempts to tack into better wind, we decided to just drop sail and motor back. It was great to have more hands on deck to stow sails and tidy lines… Yes, we have to do that more often.
We backed into the slip, with precision of a ocean liner…not bragging, but getting better for sure. I can tell that less people come out of their boat and prepare to fend us off…:-)
All in all, it was a fine day on the Neuse. Can’t wait for next trip. See photos.
November 13, 2010
Today, the lettering for the boat is complete…the name is Blessed and we truly are. See photo of new lettering.
Today was our first day out as a family. Our girls were with us. They did not have as much fun as the admiral and captain, as they would rather be home reading facebook, but it was still good quality family time. We hope as time goes on, they grow to love sailing as we do. We motored out into the river and there was a race going on…as most Saturdays in the Neuse. Due to the northerly winds, we had to maneuver a couple of times to get the sails up. Once up, we headed down the river and had a good time. It was a beautiful day and several of the other boats had their spinakers up. On the way back, we passed another sail boat head on. After passing them, we turned behind them and came along side them (to port). It turns out they had a cutter rig in and a partial reef. Since we had full sail, we advanced and passed them. Soon after passing them, they began to adjust sail and try to catch up… No joy, we held them off, and continued ahead. Eventually, they came in behind us, and we held the lead. It was not a race, really, but felt good anyway. See photos.
October 27, 2010
Today, we really learned a lot… we had an average of 20 knot winds and gust up to 29 knots… We left the Marina and turned into the river and the wind kicked up… We put in one reef in the main sail, let out the Jib and off we went. Blessed heeled over and really started to move. As one of the photos show, we actually got close to 8 knots in speed…not bad at all. We got plenty of photos and a good video as well, check them out.
Right when we were having fun, about an hour from port, I looked up and saw a streamer hanging off the Jib. It appeared to be from the leech edge, it was coming apart. My concern was that the 15 foot streamer of sail edge would wrap around something, like the main sail. So, into the wind we turned and began to furl in the Jib. This was a real battle in 20+ knot winds…we would get some in and the wind would catch the Jib and turn down wind…then, we would turn back into the wind and roll in some more…it took about 5 minutes to get it all in …. lesson learned here: should have dropped the Jib Halyard and gathered the Jib on the fore deck… that would have been quicker and easier on the back!
Once we got the Jib in, we kept the main sail up and motored back to port. We were pleasantly surprised to have very little wind in the Marina…thanks to some well placed trees. We had no problem backing into the slip…we are really getting the hang of that, using a back and fill technique. We secured the boat in the slip and took down the Jib. This was really hard, since that streamer was wrapped around the Jib and needed some coaxing to free itself. My friend was working on a boat near by and helped.
We took the sail to Oriental Sailmakers for repair. It looks like the leech line came out when under load and a little luffing began. Turns out the material that holds the line in place was worn and at the end of its expected life and the windy day sealed its fate… Wally Chapin is the proprietor of the sail repair shop and he comes highly recommended. It was good talking to him and his family that run the shop. We learned quite a bit, just asking questions. One trick to know is to check the UV protectant material at the edge of the sail by taking a small piece and pinch it and try to tear it… if it does tear, like a piece of paper…as ours did…it is time to replace it. With 46 years experience, we are sure the sail is in good hands. The cost to repair will be somewhere around $600. All in a days fun! We had a ball and learned a lot about the boat and our ability to control her, even in brisk winds.
October 21, 2010
We finally got the sails up, turned off the engine and sailed…well, there was only about 3 knots of wind, so we did not go very fast or very far, but it was fun anyway. We worked all the lines, practiced maneuvering…now, just need some wind!
October 18, 2010
No sailing today. Just learning the ropes and getting to know the boat. We motored around a bit and practiced backing into slip and dropping anchor. Boy, did we scare the neighbors… but all was well, we are learning!
October 17, 2010
We have purchased our first sailboat, a 2002 Beneteau Oceanis 393 Sloop with Cutter rig. The boat was made in France and sailed to the US by the first owner. We are truly blessed and decided that would be the best name for our boat. See photos section for more pictures. Be sure to sign up to the email notification list, to be kept up to date…