Friday, August 19, 2011

Memorial Day Sailing 2011

It was a quiet empty ocean without a single other sail to be seen. But not without adventure.

Since everyone I know was otherwise occupied I decided to go for a little singlehanded sail today, and by 9:00am I was already bumping my way across the sand bar in the Sampan channel. It was kind of rough out at R2 but manageable. We left the reef in after Saturday's sail, which was probably a good idea since the wind was around 20 knots most of the time and often gusted up over 25. I put the jib all the way out and went blasting out into the ocean. I had thought to go to Makapu'u Lighthouse but changed my mind because Cirrus was going so well to weather. We were doing more than 7 knots over the ground most of the time and I decided to see if I could get far enough out to loose sight of the island. I did a lot of tacking for the singlehanded practice and for the pure pleasure of using the beautifully smooth running winch that Rick cleaned up and lubricated yesterday. (A big job.)

It is interesting how asymmetric the boat seems to sail. She's a knot or more faster on starboard tack than on port. Some kind of bad habit she seems to have picked up from having done so many Pacific Cup races.

By noon I was 12 miles out and the island was lost in haze except for the silhouette of the Mokapu headland. Not bad for 2 1/2 hours hard to weather.  I was going to keep going for another hour but I got squalled on and the wind cooled and seemed to be coming up. (It was a false alarm and cleared up beautifully shortly after I turned around.)

The run back in was wonderful. A broad reach and surfing every single wave. Most of the day there was a big swell of 10-12 foot waves hiding inside wind waves of 4-6 feet. Ever half hour or so a set of really big waves would come through. Good fun. But you had to pay attention.

Back in the bay with time on my hands I decided to sail in to the KYC bulkhead to see if anyone was around. The wind died and went dead ahead just as I was committed to the channel between the docks but I had just enough momentum to spin the boat around and drift back out.

Back at the dock I noticed that a seal on the hydraulic backstay cylinder was broken, So I rigged the running backs (to support the mast) and removed the cylinder. I hope my hydraulic tech is still in business. That is one of tomorrow's errands.

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