I really pushed myself today, and had what I would consider a big sail day. I was out for about six hours in 15 knot winds and pretty rough seas. Ravat took a bit of a beating bashing through the waves, but of course performed flawlessly.
I really got to spend some time learning sail trim on different angles to the wind because I went in a bunch of different directions rather than my usual out and back.
By the end of the trip the winds were building and gusting hard enough to heel me past 30 degrees. I'm not really rigged for reefing the main, so I under-trimmed it to spill some extra air and spent most of the time close-hauled and a bit too far into the wind, again to minimize its effects on me.
Some lessons I learned today:
- First time trying out a tether on my life jacket. I really need to work on where to attach it for various activities.
- I had a lot of trouble tacking the boat through the high winds and waves. She always stalled out just shy of the half way point because the wind would blow the bow back. At one point I gave up on tacking and jibed instead - that seemed to work better.
- I had trouble tacking back to port. It seemed that no matted how far past the pier I went on one tack, the return tack wold blow me just as far backwards as I came back in. As the time was growing short, I finally gave in and motored back in. I was pretty tired, and the winds were still building which was starting to make me uncomfortable.
- I'm still in need of optimizing my take down of the main. I still need
to crawl up to the mast to do that as the slugs won't come down the
track completely on their own.
While some of that may not sound great, it was really sailing right at the edge of my abilities and gave me a lot to think about. There were a few times I was uncomfortable with a situation, but I never panicked, and I don't believe the boat was ever in danger. I'm starting to get some confidence in bigger wind / waves but I have to say I prefer smaller waves. The last two times out, if I stopped paying attention for a second I stood a good chance of being launched across the cockpit - that takes some getting used to.
The other thing that takes some getting used to is how the world keeps moving under my feet 4 hours after I docked the boat! What's up with that? (No, I have NOT been drinking wine this evening!).