Friday, January 22, 2016

Yo Ho Yo Ho a Sailors life for me, Drink up me 'earties, yo ho. Day Two, First Sail!

Weather, it can be such a bitch. We knew there was a front coming and that it might mess with our plans. But we didn't know it was going to span from Toronto to Cuba. Now that is a storm. 
Winter Storm Jonas in January 2016

If we set out for Key Largo from Biscayne bay we would maybe have a chance to make it, However, we have no guaranteed safe Harbor and not knowing the area, this is a Risk. Top that off with if we fail to Make Key Largo, we have Friday to sail the rest of the way. Surveying our options we decided that it was best not to make a run to Key Largo, Risk not finding a solid Anchorage and Wind up holing up in some corner harbor hoping we could Hold. The forecast is for Friday the 22nd to have strong winds, Rain and thundershowers. Winds would be out of the south and we would be fighting 8' seas, head winds and the Gulf Stream while trying to make sail all the way to Key largo.  If something went wrong in the plan we would face a full force gail with predicted seas of 12-18 feet, steady 30-40 knot winds, and up to 50 knot gusts. I think we will stay put in our little corner.
Grib Chart for Saturday January 23rd 2016

But for now, lets not make it a loss, Lets get that first sail in and shake out the sheets! Thursday we had 13-17 knot winds out of the east, A perfect sail day to give the sails a test, or should I say, Test the Sailors. Heading out of Port of Miami up Fishers channel we anticipated the journey ahead. If you have ever taken a cruise out of Miami this channel is the same one you would take in the Cruise Ship.  In the channel, the waves were pretty harsh.
Leaving Port of Miami up Fisher Channel

I was motoring at about 6 knots and heading straight into the wind and waves. Several times we put the bow under the sea and into neptune world. Heading out the Ladies decided to go under and do a few things, that.... might have been their undoing. As we were rocking and rolling and having a good old time bashing through the waves, they started to turn a little green. Coming up on deck, I don't think they ever fully recovered until we were motoring back in to port. But enough of that, We put sails up!

After what seemed like the longest motoring up a channel, we turned the bow into the wind and started to unfurl the main when we realized all the running rigging was stuffed into shopping backs for stowage. Noe, we had not even prepared. We didn't review the lines, what was what and I call that  a Captains mistake because I should have reviewed with the crew. Well, We live and learn. After a few false starts and some experimentation, we had the main up and took in one reef. (Refine is shortening the sail in strong winds) We didn't have to but we wanted to take time and learn.
Miami from a mile or so out to sea

What did we learn. First is that a Furling main doesn't fit into a track along the Foot (bottom edge) and that it acts more like a Jib that a standard Battened Main Sail.  Next we learned the we need to keep tension on the inhale line while we are out hauling the Sail. The in-haul line is used to pull in the sail, the outhaul, to pull it out, Not keeping tension on both seems to bunch up the sail. Good to know.

OK, now we have a sail up and it is flapping like mad and literally has no shape. As I surveyed the sail I realized the Clew was not pulled tight to the boom. The Clew, if you remember from an earlier post, is the bottom corner of the sail where the outhaul line attaches.

To pull in the Clew and tighten the leach of the sail, we locked down the in-haul line and started cranking down the outhaul line. This worked magic and the clue was now pulled in tight and the leach was looking better. However we still had way to much shape to the sail and it was rubbing on the Shroud and Spreader so we then used the wench and pulled down the Boom Vang and wallah, a perfect sail shape.  

Having the sail set I turned her north on a starboard beam reach (Wind coming over the beam from the right side) and off we went. A few minor adjustments to the main sheet angle, we set it at about 45 degrees) we sailed several miles north. By now the girls were looking a little more green, recovery was;t going to happen in rough seas and we were getting hit by intermittent 4-5 foot swells. Not a miserable hight but for someone not feeling well, that is probably no fun. So we came about in what I would call a remarkably smooth transition and sailed back into port. I call the day a success! Nothing Broken, many lessons learned and and we had fun. One important lesson, when the sea is a rocking' Stay above deck. 

Captain Scooter, I got the helm!

May the winds always fill your sails and the sun and moon light your passage.

1 comment:

  1. Miss you more as I hear the adventures. Sounds like a blast... I have hardly ever gotten sea sick - the only times have been when I went below while it was bouncey... :)