I’d taken a couple of days off from sailing to heal and recover strength. Then wind this weekend was up, gusting to 30 knots much of yesterday and today, so I was hesitant to go back out too soon. I needed just a little sailing today though. My goal was to do something easy.
When I got to the dock, maybe 3ish, the staff had already worked a number of capsizes. Restrictions were pretty much reefs, keel mercs, and two to a main. That suited me fine. I asked at the dockhouse if they could find me someone to sail with and yes, I soon met Carla and Katrin who had also been waiting for someone to sail with. So never mind the 30kt gusts, we had three people on a keel merc with a reefed main. This was going to be easy, just what I wanted. Better yet, Carla and Katrin were hoping to practice man-overboard for their red tests. They would do all the work and I would be along for the ride!
We rigged, I looked around for dock staff to push us off the dock. No one was nearby. I thought about pushing us off and jumping in, but wind was a little bit on to the dock and takeoff would be a little less hectic with a push. I walked back toward the dockhouse, got Kaela’s attention. “Will you give us a push?” “Sure, do you need a lifejacket?” Omg, I still don’t have the reflex to always have a PFD on a boat. I grew up on small lakes decades ago and we played on the water and in the water all day long every day and never wore lifejackets. Times have changed, but old patterns are still hard to change.
On the water Carla was sailing but I was talking fast, trying to go over what I thought was important. Carla and Katrin were doing just fine though and very soon I made myself slow down, take a deep breath and relax. We beat to windward, most of the way to the Mass Ave bridge, Carla and Katrin traded off at the helm, we sailed back to mid-river and went through some man overboard drills. We decided to go in, but I had one more fun little activity for the sail back, I had rigged a jib for us and left it furled on the foredeck..
I know the red test is with full main and jib, but you don’t learn as much if you’re struggling to survive so I had left the jib down for practice. For a few broad reaches back to the dock though, I unfurled and hoisted the jib. The sail area of the jib is a relatively a big addition to a reefed main and it was striking how the boat accelerated. Carla and Katrin obviously knew how to sail with the jib. Was I over-conservative to have left it down for the practice and drills? Possibly. I think it might have been a bad distraction though. It was really fun to have an easy sail to windward, and for the man overboard drill it felt right to focus more on the pattern of maneuvers. There will be plenty of time another day for practice with a jib.
Roughly 3:30 to 4:30, 85F (yes, that warm again!) mostly cloudy but with a little sun now and then. Red flag, WSW wind 15 gusting to 25kts, but fading somewhat. Wind had been stronger earlier in the day and then later in the day the flag went to yellow.