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Longer Day Sail

I spent most of Saturday replacing the mainsheet on J29 BlackJack. I’ll go into that in more detail another time.

Needless to say, I was all ready to go sailing with my new fancy mainsheet system the next day. Mari wanted to go sailing as well, so we got up early, went to the marina, rigged the boat and off we went.

For a while, I have wanted to sail the triangle course that is used by South Western Yacht Club‘s Georgy Gray and the Cabrillo IV races. This basically involves going around three buoys – Navy’s TG Buoy, SD Buoy and one of red/green buoys.

It’s a perfectly good course for a day sail.

We started out motoring but soon got the jib up because, well, we ran out of gas. We then sailed our way out to buoy 8. Sailing a J29 is akin to a dinghy sailing. No motor, no problem. Just sail.

From buoy 8 to TG, it’s a downwind run. It was perfect weather. The wind was around 8 knots, and just about perfect for getting re-acquainted with the feel of driving dead downwind. There were some rolling swells typical of Coronado Rhodes, but the boat happily sailed along.

We ate sandwiches that we made ourselves, with artisan bread and cheese and vine-ripened tomatoes. Sandwiches are so good out on the water. We jibed once, then rounded the buoy TG.

TG buoy to SD buoy was a skewed upwind leg. It was really good practice for driving upwind. The wind came up a tad, to about 10-12knots. I thought I’d be rusty, but I drove much better than I thought I would. It’s true what they say, boat sailing is like riding a bicycle. It comes right back.

During the first long upwind tack, the increased swells and the chops started to bang against the hull. The boat kept slowing down. It took a few minutes, but I eventually remembered how I could climb over these chops without stopping the boat.

The knot meter started to average higher, and the boat much happier. We then tacked our way up to SD Buoy.

There sure were a lot of kelp out there. The little dips in the track you see are me trying to pass through openings in a big river of kelp in the ocean.

We rounded the SD buoy, being careful not to sail downwind of the seals to avoid their stench. From there we sailed into the bay, then back to our marina.

We put away the boat much quicker than I can by myself. It’s great to have a helping hand, especially for folding the sails.

In all, it was a great sail. I’ve been reaching in and out of the bay for some time, so I haven’t sailed upwind/downwind in a serious trim mode for quite some time. I was afraid I would drive very poorly, but I seem to do ok. I’d like to practice more though. The course today is a good one to practice upwind/downwind sailing, so I think I’ll sail this course more often.

I’m also pretty happy with how the mainsheet system came out too. It worked much better than the old one.

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