Monday, June 27, 2011

First Real Sail of 2011

TQ and I had taken out a Sunfish together for a little while at the end of the Open House, but now he's taken the Sebago Sailing Course & is qualified to sail his own! Two in a Sunfish may sound cute but honestly, we both think that works better if the parties in question are around 10 years old. This was my first real sail of the year (frostbiting pretty much got canned this year because conditions in March, when I started last year, were a little rough this year, and I also had to paddle to get ready for my instructor certification exam), and TQ's debut as a Level 3 sailor (certified to solo in Sunfish), and it was just as much fun as we always thought it would be.
Out from the Paerdegat!
Out from the Paerdegat!

We'd originally planned to do this on Friday (I took a day off and TQ works a day that starts and finishes early), but the weather forecast was looking a little iffy, and since we were taking the special lightning-rod equipped boats, we decided to wait for Saturday. Good call, the lightning never materialized but it was sort of cold & clammy Friday evening - Saturday was spectacular. Added bonus - our friend Chris showed up, he was planning a shakedown cruise in his sweet little Phil Bolger-built Melonseed Skiff - his wife was joining him for the Sunday cruise (which TQ & I were also going to go on until we decided to go help out with a trip leader workshop instead, we need trip leaders SO badly!) and he wanted to get all the first-trip-of-the-season rigging glitches & such worked out beforehand. It's always a pleasure to sail with Chris - but this time it was a particular relief. His Melonseed is designed to be rowed as well as sailed - and he offered, if necessary, to give us a tow out. We'd gotten to the club a bit earlier than he did, so we went ahead and launched ahead of him, figuring we'd take some time to warm up in the basin. It took him some time to rig & launch, though (entire point of a shakedown - you take the time to make everything right), and eventually I asked TQ if he wanted to go ahead & start trying to get out. I'd gone right up to the exit at one point & I wasn't sure how it was going to work; it was flooding so the current was going to push us back in but aside from one dead spot just inside the basin, there looked to be breeze. I figured we could start working on it & if we got out, yay, and if not, Chris would eventually turn up give us a tow. TQ was game so off we went, down the chute!

tacktacktacktacktacktacktack!
tacktacktacktacktacktacktack!

The new bridge is going to make the lives of Sebago sailors MUCH simpler (the old one had pretty closely-spaced footings and just being able to get through going upwind was the biggest challenge of a novice's skill - I'm envisioning the old one living on every time those of us who had to deal with that get to talking story with sailors who learn after the old one's gone - "Why, when I learned to sail here...") but in the meantime -- well, I'm hoping you get the idea from this cropped version. At this point, EVERYONE has to go out the main channel - there's a barge parked inside, and then 2 outside, parallel to each other. Fortunately most of the motorboats are very patient, because once you've gone into the tunnel, there's nothing you can do but tacktacktacktacktack. You can see a motorboat waiting patiently for TQ. We both had to evade one that pretty much decided that he wanted to come in and he wasn't waiting for no stupid sailboats - I was between the barges and only had a few more tacks - he forced me to fall off & run down to where I could duck in behind "Alfafa", where there's a space that is big enough to circle in; TQ just got off to the side & went into irons. I love the guys who were working on the bridge - they'd been cheering us on as we were working our way out and I didn't hear the entire discussion but it sounded like they gave the guy what-for! The other boats were FAR more patient (thank goodness) and gave us the time we needed - and yes, we both made it on our own!

Out in the Bay!
It's hard to describe just how lovely it felt to finally make that last tack to clear the barges & go tearing off into the bay! The breeze was absolutely PERFECT for a first sail of the season - the sun was shining, the spray was flying, the boats were flying, but everything was under control. Woohoo! In this picture I'm actually going back to rejoin TQ after taking off on a really fabulous plane - think it was one of the longer ones I've done going upwind.

TQ hiking!TQ was doing great too - also well within his comfort level & having a great time. I think he did better with his lesson than I did with mine - Holly the Sailing Chair actually said his class was one of the best she'd ever seen, every single student grasped things quickly enough that they were ALL able to do courses & drills by the end. Me, I could barely tack around a buoy! Now, my class did have rougher conditions - winds gusting to 17 kts, and VERY gusty - but TQ had also done a lot more messing around with small sailing craft than I had. He really didn't think he'd be good at it because he'd never quite sorted things out by himself when he was doing things like playing with a Sunfish as a kid - but maybe that gave him some sense of how they move, and how you move around in them. Whatever the cause, he had a really excellent class and we had a great sail.

Whoa nelly!
"Whoa nelly!"

The best sailing days aren't always the best picture-taking days - I left this in because it sort of cracks me up. We'd decided to make our inaugural sail a pretty short one & just go to Canarsie Pol. I didn't take any pictures from the time when TQ was tacking through the bridge until the time when I turned to go back to TQ after my sweet plane ride because going close-hauled really took two hands! I'd fallen off to go back to TQ, took those 2 prior pictures - didn't put the camera away as I headed back up towards the Pol, thinking maybe I could catch up & get another picture. This picture is a great demonstration of how well that worked!

Rerigging Chris had caught up with us in the meantime & joined us on Canarsie Pol. He needed to re-rig, something wasn't running right, TQ helped him out with that. Never got any pictures of the Melonseed under sail - hopefully we'll have plenty of other chances!

Study in Red White and Blue (and Green and Tan).
Study in Red White and Blue (and Green and Tan).

Nice lunch break.

Tadaa!
Tadaa!

TQ sailing off after lunch.

Running home.
Running home.

Another nice thing about a Saturday sail --
Another nice thing about a Saturday sail --

Friends are at the club & suggest dinner at Nick's Lobster Dock!

Sometimes you just have to get the lobster.
Sometimes you just have to get the lobster.

Sunset on Mill Basin

Sunset on Mill Basin, and the end (almost) of a perfect day.

The coda - the friends who proposed Nick's then took us to visit their sailboat, a C&C 25 I think it is, at a nearby marina. They are waiting for an engine part, so it was just a visit, but I'm really looking forward to doing a trip report entitled "Sailing Mischief" one of these days!

11 comments:

O Docker said...

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about at a seafood place after a good day of sailing.

moonstruck said...

Two days of sailing , Saturday was great and sunday was fun, once the wind came up. Comming up on 50 years of sailing and not bored yet!!! Jamaica Bay still looks as good as when I was 15.

Dennis G

Holly Sears said...

Each day sailing is always a great adventure - great to see the two of you out!

Baydog said...

How does Nick's compare with Bigelow's? I still have the hankering to go there and have clam bellies!

bonnie said...

I'm glad we went on Saturday, it sounded like a good crew on Sunday, might have been too crowded with more. In the end I didn't even make the workshop - I don't know if it was too much sun or too much lobster or a bug or a combination, but I was feeling quite woozy Sunday morning.

The dogs were the winners there - TQ went ahead to help out with the workshop; I never quite got back to 100% but I did get to the point where another beautiful day was calling & it was too nice to be inside, so I leashed up the hounds & we went & moseyed around in Prospect Park for a couple of hours.

That was pretty nice, too.

Good news is TQ went ahead & did the workshop with Walter & Dotty & the club has 4 new assistant trip leaders - HOORAY. We needed those!

Holly - sorry about the stick on Blue! I swear we weren't doing anything abnormally demanding, just some good hiked-out upwind sailing, but we felt bad about it! I hope you were able to work something out with it if all the Sunfish were needed on Sunday.

bonnie said...

PS - Baydog - Bigelow's vs. Nick's = apples vs. oranges. Bigelow's is a great clam shack - 20 different kinds of seafood, focus on fried (although there is grilled if you like). You sit on stools at a counter & your food comes out on paper plates. Nick's is much more of a full-on restaurant - tables, china plates, glass glasses, preparations are mostly steamed, grilled or sauteed; there are lots of pasta dishes and then a nice raw bar selection. The lobster was as good as it looked. Nick's actually is also a fish market - there are glass cases full of seafood on ice out in front as you walk in, and a huge tank of very lively lobsters.

The sign omits the "dock" part but the place is commonly known as "Nick's Lobster Dock". They had one at one time; they ended up getting rid of it at some point because they could put in more outdoor seating, but one of our party got to talking to the owner while they were waiting and he said that he's considering putting in a new one - they'd really like people to be able to come by boat.

We'd love that at Sebago, lunch at Nick's would make for a very festive & fun advanced-beginner paddle.

O       er said...

Omit the dock part? Blasphemy!.

bonnie said...

"O" my! I didn't even realize!

bonnie said...

pps: Baydog, I still need to try softshelled crabs. I would say let's go to Bigelow's and you can get introduced to Bigelow's and I can get introduced to softshelled crab.

Only hitch is that there's a darned good reason we usually go in the wintertime. You wait then, but it's for fifteen minutes. Summertime waits are doubtless horrendous.

my2fish said...

bonnie - your 1st sail of the year looks like it was awesome!

I agree, 2 adults on a Sunfish is pretty tight, but my wife isn't interested in learning to sail on her own.

I've got 2 sails in so far - the 1st one wasn't too bad, the 2nd one (on a new-ish Sunfish!) was downright awful. weeds, dead fish floating by... nasty.

Baydog said...

Bonnie, I can wait 'til winter to avoid the wait, but the softies will be long gone.