Sunday, April 19, 2009

My First Solo Sail

It was a pretty busy Saturday yesterday. I spent the morning at Paddle Creek, at the Falls Lake Festival, a celebration of conservation. Tables were set up for conservation and government organizations that are associated with Falls Lake activities, and there were kayak demos and a bit of a party atmosphere. I was there helping to man the information table for our new kayak club, the Carolina Kayak Club.

After lunch I got calls from Ken and Paul, both telling me they were going to the lake sailing in their boats, so I left Durham at Falls Lake, and drove the 45 minues to Jordan Lake, meeting up with them about 2:30. (I'm so lucky to have such water close by, even the beach is only 3 hours away).

We decided we’d switch things up a bit, so I started sailing Kens boat Southbound with Ken, while Paul sailed alone in Dawn Patrol. Ken had me at the helm, and very helpfully answered questions and offered advice. Both sailboats are B&B Yacht Core Sounds with Cat Ketch rigs.

After an hour or so, we switched up and Paul took Southbound, while I sailed Dawn Patrol with Ken, again with me at the helm. Ken commented that it was the first time someone else was sailing Southbound without him on the boat, but he seemed pretty relaxed about it.

The conditions were very mild, beautiful sunny day, 75F, with winds 3-5kts, it was very comfortable conditions for me, and I was enjoying experimenting a bit with sail trim and sailing direction.

Then the guys suggested that I take Southbound solo for awhile. I was doing pretty well, and figured with the mild winds it really was a good opportunity. So Paul and I switched boats, with Ken now sailing Dawn Patrol with Paul, and I taking Southbound. The race was on :)

Actually it was when I was solo that we had the 5kt winds, it was pretty exciting, and I was definitely having fun. If I got the boat going a bit fast and it started to heel, I’d let out the main sheet just a bit, but then would bring it back in slowly, till I picked up the speed again. I found it liked it better when I was in total control, rather than letting the boat take it. And yes, we’re not talking really fast, or even a very steep angle of heeling obviously, but, I have to start somewhere.

Much of the day, I was the lead boat while the other followed. This was likely not because I was really the fastest. But I have to admit, I did enjoy being in the front, sort of feeling like I was racing and was the fastest. Ken said that was a true sign that I’d just taken a big step forward in my sailing.

A bigger sign though was this morning. I went out for an early morning paddle, and was surprised to find a pretty nice breeze on the lake. My first thought was not that “I should have brought my kayak’s Pacific Action Sail”, instead, it was “maybe Paul and I should try and get out for another sail today”.


Michael said...

Sounds good to me! I wonder if Paul could mount a pair of kayak racks on the decks somewhere... ;-)

Anonymous said...

You've got two sailing posts in a row. You're creeping slowly, inexorably towards the dark side :)
Since you were too polite to mention it I'll go ahead and say it: Except for the few seconds Paul was taking video, I was chasing you - And I wasn't catching you. You're already outsailing your teacher, Grasshopper...


Anonymous said...

I am confused, what is the difference between 'Kayak Flatwater Paddlers' and 'Carolina Kayak Club'? Seems like the same players in both, but you charge money for the club. And the calendar for the Carolina Kayak Club looks like the Mudflat Rangers.

Steve said...

Good for you Dawn! A nice anitdote to high winds and waves. Sometimes it is nice to let the wind do the work for you.


Captn O Dark 30 and Super Boo said...

Howdy Skipper!! Sailing the core sound 20 will give you the skills to sail your BOSS rig better too. Same principles apply!!