Monday, January 19, 2009

No Drama

The number one item on the agenda for this weekend was to solve the motor problem. Actually, it turned out not to be a motor problem but an operator problem. I discovered that I had not fully opened the vent on the gas tank. Its amazing how well a motor will run when it can get gas. We ran it for about 30 minutes in the slip on Friday and all seemed good.

We motored out of the marina on Saturday, sailed for 3 hours, and motored back in. No drama. We did it again on Sunday and sailed for 5 hours. No drama. It was amazing.

The MLK weekend makes our third trip to Corpus in December and January. Because of the motor/operator issues, we have only been sailing for 5 days but a lot of improvements have been made to the boat and we have learned a tremendous amount. Now we are ready to go.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Last day for this trip

After struggling to make a landing in the marina last night, we were greatly relieved to be tied at a dock ,celebrated with pizza and wine and went to bed exhausted. We were woken at 4:30 by a line of thunderstorms that the weather service reported with average winds of 40 mph and higher gusts. We were on the upwind side of a concrete dock so every gust just pounded the boat into the dock. Fortunately, we had enough bumpers with us to cushion the boat and avoid damage. After 30-40 minutes, the winds let up and we could go back to sleep.

Today, the winds were still high. Kathy did our laundry for the week and I put new spark plugs in the boat engine. That seemed to have it running ok so we were able to move it to our slip. No damage from the night of wind. This afternoon, I installed the new compass and we did a few odd jobs on the boat. Late in the afternoon, we tried to go out but the engine was acting up and we gave it up.

Tomorrow, we head home. It's been a great week

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Learning Curve

I have to report that we took a steep ascent up the learning curve today (or a large deduction from the little black box). The winds were much more challenging (15 knots, gusts 24) and the boat handled it fine. We never felt overwhelmed or in danger. Here is the boat with 20-25 degrees of heel - seems like a lot more when you are there.

The first lesson came when we noticed that the boats we were following disappeared into a fog bank. This is what the ocean looks like when surrounded by fog. The fog burned off after a few minutes and we were ok.

The excitement came at the end of the day when the motor stopped just after entering the marina. We needed to go about 1/2 mile across the 3 t-heads to reach our slip and the wind was dead against us. We decided to unfurl the jib and go back out into the bay. There we raised the main, put in the 2nd reef, and furled the jib. With those changes we were able to reenter the marina and make an upwind landing to a general docking area - not our slip. To get there would have required a jibe to make the final turn into our portion of the dock. It would have been a train wreck with the winds still high.

The best part of the adventure was discovering that Kathy and I could work well as a team in a stressful situation. That should serve us well in future cruising adventures.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

After a cold and wet new year's eve and blustery winds most of the night, new year's day was clear and calm - dead calm. Not a breath of wind. We puttered around the boat until 2:00 and convinced ourselves that we could feel a breeze and went out - motors on sailboats are a great idea. We had just enough breeze to shut off the motor and put up the sails as we left the marina. Once outside the breakwater, we could see dark water about a mile out. We eventually got there and hurray - it was about a 12 mph wind. We met it as it was headed ashore so our timing was perfect. Others who had gone out earlier gave up and were headed in as we went out.

We had a nice 3 hour sail and even felt bold enough to sail into the marina without the motor. A nice part of this sail was that there were several other boats out that we got to pass close to and wave. For some reason that I don't completely understand, the speed of a boat is limited by its length - size matters here. Anyway, try as we may, we could not outrun a J35 with our C25.

This was our second time out and everything was easier - particularly departing and arriving at the dock. The weather looks good for a long day of sailing tomorrow with a little higher winds than we have experienced so far.

I've also added two more Flickr photo sets:
Dock Sights
New Year's Day Sail