2011_04_30_deck.jpg

It finally happened. Fortuitous splashed, and Jen and I had a nice (if short) sail.

There’s not a whole lot to say. Like a lot of base desires, sating the immediate need only fuels the compulsion.

We got a bit of a late start. Which should probably just be assumed on all of our sailing activities—we sail for pleasure, and we do it on our time. Still, it took us a little longer than usual to get our stuff together. My day started with a trip to the DMV to replace our missing boat registration and a $5 donation to the Great State of New Jersey. We loaded the truck with the rudder, a cooler full of rope, our genoa, and the various things that make our boat go.

We drove down to Cedar Creek and met Val to pick up our mainsail. He had patched a tear, and in the process replaced the tack grommet which he found to be a little chewed up. Cedar Creek was busy with sailors applying bottom paint and otherwise getting their boats ready for the season. Trixie’s, on the other hand, was pretty quiet, except for the guy who we’ve come to know as Sand Man, who has been sanding a 12″ section of the bow of his power boat for pretty much every minute that we’ve down there doing maintenance this season. I’m surprised that there’s anything left of it.

I was a little sketchy about launching the boat. My trailering education was remarkably similar to the colonial test for whether or not someone was a witch, although to date it’s a test that I’ve passed. This year it was especially complicated because Fortuitous is not in her usual parking spot, and we’re next to some ol’ catboat with 12′ 6x6s under it that stick way out into our boat’s personal space. It turned out to be no problem though. By the time got back from ditching the truck and trailer across the street, Jen had already dragged the boat the 80′ or so down the dock and around the corner to the end dock.

We proceeded to rig the boat for the first time this season and bend on sails. Things went fairly smoothly, and we had remembered all the parts and how they worked. We were visited by someone shopping for Catalina 22s, and had a long conversation about how much we love ours, how forgiving she’s been, and maybe things to look for when shopping.

I started the motor, attempting to replicate last year’s miracle, and damned if it didn’t start on the first pull again. Perhaps more miraculously, with the help of our new topping lift, we hoisted the sail and sailed off the dock with the motor in neutral. I was kind of disappointed that we had started the motor at all, but I hope that there will be more occasions for old-world seamanship demonstrations.

I think the breeze was optimal for a shakedown cruise, hovering around 12kts and steady. The bay was fairly empty and we sailed lazily around the mouth of the Cedar Creek. At one point, we saw a Hunter sailing opposite us that came about as we passed. We thought it might be Waterloo, and their crew was scoping us out pretty hard with binocs, but as it got closer we saw that it was a 36. We trimmed in and nearly passed them until they noticed what was happening and took appropriate measures. I realize that it’s probably completely in my head, but I swear the newly refaired rudder works better. She was turning on a dime in tacks, and I was actually able to tack better without using the full range of the rudder, preserving boat speed.

My Mojo

Jen took the helm for a few minutes, but wasn’t happy with the amount of heel and quickly gave it up despite my encouragement. It was getting late anyway, and we weren’t sure what time the park where I’d left my truck closed this time of year, so we turned around and sailed home on a nice and flat broad reach. We jibed to make the turn toward Trixie’s and cruised home.

“Prepare to fend off the bridge abutment.”