Tuesday, April 24, 2007

To the Pacific!

Ok, so I cheated a little and flew to San Diego first, but I still accomplished a milestone. I’ve been wanting to take Romance out for several weeks now that I have moved to Texas and I just haven’t slipped the lines for some reason. There really is no other excuse other than I have thought about it for too long and let fear of single handing get the upper hand. I decided to do something about that.

I had to come to San Diego on a business trip and found myself pretty well caught up by 4:30 in the afternoon. I ran down to Marina Sailing of Southern California (www.marinasailing.com) and rented a little Hunger 290 called BeesNees. I didn’t know if Marina Sailing had rules about singlehanding or not so when they asked how many life jackets I needed I quickly replied that two should be sufficient. No lie there as two were absolutely more than sufficient.

After a quick walk through I started prepping the boat for a quick run to the line of demarcation where the Bay ends and the Pacific begins. The wind was blowing 15 – 20 and I felt the pang of fear come back as I started considering how to maneuver out of the slip without taking out the boat next to me. The only relief I get from these thoughts are to think the solution right through them. Once I had the girl ready I loosed the port stern line, released the starboard bow line, released the port bow line, and managed to keep her still long enough to crawl aboard and get her out into open water without incident. That’s when the real fun began.

Did I say I had never singlehanded a boat before? Not even a little one. With no crew and no autopilot I wasn’t just real sure how to keep that full batten main head to wind while I was hoisting the halyard. Sure enough, it took several pauses to realign the boat and get the main up, but I did it. Turning for the Coronado Islands of Mexico she heeled over and started close reaching at 4.5 knots. After getting the feel under main alone I tied the helm to hold her and went forward to bring out the jib which quickly brought her up to 7.3 knots and buried the port rail in the water.

Fortunately the main had a reef already tied into it otherwise I would have stuck to main alone, but regardless, this was a great sail. Tacking singlehanded is a bit more difficult, but certainly nothing a determined person can’t accomplish. It was also exactly the confidence boost I was looking for before taking Romance out singlehanded or even with a less experienced short handed crew. I’ve got to admit as well, it was nice to be back in deep, clear blue water.

Fair winds, following seas, and clear blue water.


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