Since 1978 I have been fortunate to sail wooden boats. In 2006 I set out to find a Drascombe Longboat Cruiser for single-handed expedition sailing. This is the continuing story of how it came to be, our adventures, notes on the maritime world and other things I don't want to forget...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Into the Wind

It was a blustery first sail of the spring. After a lengthy but enjoyable re-storing of gear I launched Annie at the Gwynn's Island ramp and motored through the bridge into the Piankatank River. Setting sail I tacked west passing Stove Point Neck into Fishing Bay, busy with sailboats of all descriptions. There was a pod of Optimist dinghys being maneuvered through buoys by kids displaying new skills.

It became apparent that the northwest wind was getting fresher. I furled the headsail, tightened the mizzen and dropped the main yard while hauling in the reefing line that gathers the luff. Then the leech line was pulled and wrapped tightly around the excess sail aft of the new double reef clew. I tied a couple reef point in the reduced main, unfurled the head sail and was underway without leaving the cockpit.

She settled down and started an all-day series of short and long tacks as we worked up the river. Wind often seems to follow the a river changing directions at each bend. Around midday gusts became more prevalent and then it happened. A strong gust hit and Annie headed back up to level up, a wave smacked the beam and water shot aboard and got my camera. I popped out the battery, toweled it down and put away. It still drying out... I am hopeful.

The wind freshened more and I reefed in half the headsail, slacked the main a bit and tacked on. I reached my destination at Freeport Marina around 1700 after 7 hours. I was chilled but happy about the day's run.

I anchored up near the head marsh of Harper Creek, cooked dinner and turned in early. Slept well in the cool. 'Fortified' oatmeal and tea for breakfast and little chores kept me busy until I returned to Freeport where my friend Rob joined me to sail back. The day was sunny and cool but the wind had gone to the southwest and we found ourselves tacking into it all the way back!

Rob, new to sailing, took to it quickly and we had a great time plodding downriver. He had brought food from grilling the night before. All in all it was a lot of fun having him aboard. We arrived back about 1700, trailered up, washed down, re-covered and left out to get Rob's car on the way back. First sail... and ready for more. Approximately 42 miles, average 3.4 knots.

Rob at the helm. He might have the bug...

First day's track

1 comment:

  1. Nice trip Curt. I kept a boat at Gwynn Island for a few years before moving later to Fishing Bay. I've always wondered what was upstream of the Route 3 bridge.

    I am working out some details for securing hinged hatches. Is that cam cleat on the bulkhead for that use? May be a better solution than the jam cleat I was thinking about.