The maiden voyage

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Regular readers of this blog will know that recently I've bought a sailboat. The boat was tied up 20+ miles north of where I needed it, so the first voyage was going to be a long one as I moved it to its new home port. 

The move was complicated by the fact that I don't know how to sail and I wasn't sure what surprises the boat had in store for me. Two friends of mine, who were power boaters and had also never sailed, agreed to help me move the boat. They were well familiar with the local waters and decided that figuring out how to run a sailboat was an adventure they couldn't pass up.

Click any image to enlarge
Our first concern was the outboard. My brother (who was the 4th member of the crew for the move) and I had gone up the week before and tested it out. As you might notice in the picture above, the cover is off of it. That's because the choke's linkage was broken and so we had to operate it by hand. Aside from that the outboard seemed to work fine. 

Still, in the worse case scenario we wouldn't be able to figure out the sails and would have to motor it the whole way south. That was a prospect we didn't look forward to, nor were we that confident in the motor. We lined up another friend with a boat who was standing by to tow us if worse came to worse.

Readers who are familiar with the fact that I am a self-declared, high and mighty functionary in the Green movement, may be tisk-tisking over the smoke billowing out of my trusty motor. All I have to say is -- yea, yea, yea, how 'bout you put a cork in your hypocrisy charges. I'm a muckity-muck among the Greens, and so naturally I operate under a different set of rules than you peons do. 

Besides, I may need to harass a Japanese whaler if one is cheeky enough to enter the Gulf to harvest whale blubber. What's gagging on exhaust fumes compared to the slaughter of our brethren from the deep?

With the motor started, we cast off, that's me on the bow by the way, backed away from the slip and headed up the channel to the Gulf. 

I'm reasonably certain that the other boat owners were glad to see us finally gone. Surely they were embarrassed by the constant comparisons of their scows to my luxury yacht. Well, either that or, having watched us in operation, they breathed a sigh of relief that we didn't immediately sink our craft in the middle of the channel and block it.

To get out of the intercoastal waterway we has to request the bridge tender raise the bridge at Saint John's Pass. For our purposes it was a perfect day for the move, with light winds, a calm sea and moderate temperatures. Being on the boat sure beat the traffic jam we had stuck those poor motorists in.

Once clear of the channel and in the open waters of the Gulf we, after much fumbling around, raised the sails. Experienced sailors are probably laughing at the trim of our jib in the picture above, but after some experimenting we were delighted that we managed to get our boat headed in the direction we wanted.

The short video above gives a taste of us under sail. Very relaxing, with the outboard off all you hear is the sound of water on the hull, the wind in the rigging and the rustling of the canvas. Although, you can't be in a hurry getting anywhere on a sailboat. The best speed we made was little over 6 knots, and for most of the trip we were moving at an even more leisurely pace. 

The entire trip took us 10 hours. We reached our new home port just before sunset and tied the boat up in its new slip. Altogether it was a most enjoyable journey. 


Knucklehead said...

Will your new glass eye have any impact on the development of your sailing skills?

ambisinistral said...

I think to be properly salty I need to wear an eye patch. I guess that means that to be really salty I need to wear two eye patches and steer by the smell of the ocean.