Thursday, September 13, 2007

Off to the Races

It was blowing 25knots with gusts to 30 from the northwest. Boats taking part in the Wednesday night races danced around the invisible line waiting for the cannon signaling the start. It was just myself and Tom B., my only confirmed crew for the trip south, aboard for the race. With a lot of wind but not a lot of sea room, my heart was in my mouth as we flew in amongst the boats sitting idle on their moorings. We were just settling into a new course after tacking at the stern of the Bluenose II when a gust came and we heeled over further than I've ever heeled before, in my boat anyway. Everything I had failed to properly lash to my cabin top went sliding towards the rail, and my fender board went for a swim. While I hate to lose any gear overboard, I quickly realized it was no great loss, as it was completely composed of items I had scavenged from the shores of McNabs Island last summer. Then I noticed a piece of green line, snagged to a block on deck. If only by a thread, it was still hanging on!

"How about we forget about the race Tom, and just go for a sail?". I felt much better as we made a downwind run for the outer bay, away from a game of bumper boats that I felt was imminent.

These sorts of experiences are important in pointing out things I should change or improve before my big trip. Adjustments to my bowsprit to allow my storm jib to be flown properly, a lower lead for my genoa sheet to prevent riding turns that can make it impossible to maneuver safely, just to name two. I don't mind a bit of wind, so long as there is room and I can retain the ability to maneuver! I'm not sure exactly how fast we were going, but under a reefed main and (slightly) reefed genoa, I'm sure we hit the top speed Annie Laurie has seen during my ownership.

I asked the 2nd mate from the Bluenose, who had been out sailing on the museum's Tancook whaler, how far I had heeled from his vantage point. He laughed and said, "Well, I saw the bottom of your keel! It was pretty intense...".

My mother loves reading about this stuff.