Saturday, April 5, 2014

Look Ma, It Really IS A Sailboat

Other than a very brief period during the sea trial, about a 1 minute stint in the ICW near Palm Coast, and our brief period before the engine impeller imploded on our trip up to Brunswick, we never have really had a chance to actually sail our Leopard 38. Something I remedied this past Friday.

It was supposed to be good sailing weather with blue skies and winds around 15 knots out of the southwest.  I just couldn't pass that up.  Since my wife is not around to go sailing with me, I conned Doug on s/v Pieridae, a friend I made here at the docks in Brunswick, to go with me to do a little actual sailing.

We left the docks around 10:30am and motored down the East River to "the bridge".  Once we made it under the bridge, we raised the sails and shut down the engines.  There is just something about a sailboat cruising along without the drone of the engines in the background.  It was nice.

The Brunswick Sidney Lanier Bridge
We sailed down the St. Simons sound on a nice broad reach with the boat making between 5 and 7 knots.

St. Simons Sound

It was grueling work...but someone had to do it. ;-)

A "rough" day as the captain

We went through the sound, past St. Simons Lighthouse and through the inlet out to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic with sails unfurled

It was a beautiful sail.  A few times we were running with the wind dead at our backs and we managed to keep the boat wing-on-wing for a little while (for my readers not savvy on sailing, this is where the wind is behind you and you have the Mainsail off to one side and the Jib or Genoa off to the other so the wind can "push" on both sails)

Sailing win-on-wing

Of course, since the wind was behind us leaving, it was on our nose as we came back.  We spent some time beating (tacking) back into the inlet and past the St. Simons lighthouse.  It had been so long since I really sailed a catamaran, that I screwed up the first couple of tacks and got the boat in irons.  Doug actually suggested we try back-winding the Genoa to help push us through the turn and that is when I remembered that was actually what I was taught to do.  We then had a good amount of practice with that maneuver as we crept our way back into St. Simons sound.

Tacking torward St. Simons Lighthouse

Unfortunately, during our return, both the wind and the outgoing tide conspired against us.  Each tack seemed to produce lower and lower forward movement (referred to as Velocity Made Good) toward our goal.  The points in the zig-zag pattern of our track on the chart plotter kept getting closer and closer together.  Deciding that we needed to get back before dark, we reluctantly fired the engines back up, furled the sails, and motored our way back to the marina.

When we got to the marina, the wind was blowing over 25 knots or so across the docks and that made it fun getting Rover back into her slip.  But with a little help from dockside, we got her safely back home.

Boy it felt good to get the boat out and sail.  I only wish my wife had been here to enjoy the day with me.

And thanks to Doug for being crew and ships photographer on the trip.


  1. Have been really enjoying reading how you are progressing with your dream. Hope to be in similar situation very soon.
    From the expression on your face, it appears the day's sailing caused a lot of stress (not)...... "hard day at the office".
    Great to see that you are getting a chance to enjoy your boat.... shouldn't be long before those sort of photos are an everyday event.

    1. Yeah, need a few more days like that and a few less working on the boat...trying to get things back in balance. It was nice to see she actually does sail.

      Can't really gripe (much) about the work, I am making progress and I can actually see some of it now.