Posts Tagged With: sailing newbies

Our First Sail

Tomahawk has officially belonged to us since last September, but our first sailing outing on our boat didn’t happen until April 21st. As usual, nothing went smoothly, but everything ended well.

Our engine recently decided to stop spitting water out of the cooling system exhaust. I’m taking a basic boat and engine maintenance course through the North Vancouver branch of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. After I described the problem to him, a marine mechanic who taught part of the course deemed our engine not worth fixing; for the price of repairs, he said, we could replace the whole thing.

Being optimistic sailor types, we ventured out of False Creek by sail and paddle. At first, the sailing was working fine, but then our bow started pulling us around in circles. Our thought is that the headsail was trimmed for a close haul when it should have been on a run based on the wind direction. After some frantic maneuvering where we seemed to be losing steerage, we pulled out the paddles we’d bought recently. The current was in our favour (we planned it that way), so we rode it out to English Bay.

Yes, we got some strange looks and some people asking if we needed help, but we were quite happy to do it that way. Eventually, we got under the bridges and out into the bay, where we popped our sails back up and went for a glorious ride.

The winds were picking up, which was both exhilarating and scary. Tomahawk was heeling over pretty far, but I wasn’t sure if that was normal. Jason thought it was and I think he was right.

After our joyride, we were planning to anchor in the bay. We had bought an extra length of heavy chain, so as to avoid a repeat of last fall. No more groundings for us, please! However, we hadn’t rigged up the new chain to the old rode, or even figured out exactly how we were going to set it up.

We hove to, which is a maneuver that basically consists of putting your sails at odds so that they work against each other. Essentially, you park the boat. (Obviously, the current continues to play, but if you have enough sea room, you don’t have to worry about hitting things.)

On that day, the current was strong and pushing us out to sea, which was very distracting. Freighters were anchored all around us and we didn’t want to hit one. Also, the wind was getting stronger and stronger and there didn’t appear to be any other boats out – just one crazy windsurfer who seemed to be loving the high winds!

To make a long story short, we had no steerage and ended up droppingĀ our sails to keep ourselves from moving too fast into a freighter. Without a working engine, it had become impossible to get into the anchorage and we ended up getting a tow from the Coast Guard. They were friendly and helpful and left us at the Granville Docks. Our friend Jamie towed us the rest of the way into False Creek, where we reanchored pretty much where we were before.

We talked to a few people and took stock of our mistakes and what happened. As it turns out, the growth on the bottom of our boat seems to have played a role in loss of steerage. At the same time, apparently it’s just really hard to sail into that anchorage. Plus we had the wind coming at us and not enough momentum to tack properly to get to where we wanted to be.

It was a great learning experience. Though nerve-racking at the time, it’s a greatĀ feeling to be out on your own boat, sailing around. Even when you get stuck out there.

Advertisements
Categories: Anchoring, Misadventures | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

So Much Rain

We haven’t had much chance to do anything with the boat, because our schedules haven’t been lining up very well with each other. Last week was particularly busy, as we went to see Bon Jovi one night, and then Michael Franti & Spearhead another.

The other factor was the weather. It suddenly turned into fall here, which means rain, rain, and more rain. We had torrential downpours over one weekend, with more than 50 centimeters in two days!

Being the newbies that we are, we were afraid the Zodiac dinghy might have drowned. So we did go out to check on it at one point. There was a fair amount of water in it, which we bailed out using the cut-off top half of a plastic milk jug left by Danny, the previous owner, for that purpose (presumably). The other dinghy and kayak tied at the dock had water in them too, so we figured that was just what happens when it rains. We also discovered that the Zodiac has a drain in the back, so that’s good to know.

Checking out the Zodiac

This is sort of how we looked trying to figure out our Zodiac in the rain.

Finally, yesterday was a gorgeous day, so we paddled out to the boat. Our paddling was not very efficient, since the oarlocks are broken. Jason has way more experience with rowing, so I’ll have to take some lessons from him! Still, it was nice to be out on the water, although Jason’s sneakers got soaked. My feet stayed dry, but the shoes I had on could get ruined pretty quick by getting wet all the time. Another semi-urgent thing on our list of boating needs is proper waterproof footwear. (In this city, it’s more than just a boating thing, since it rains so much!)

Tomahawk was still there and doing fine, as we expected. We figured out how to open the hatch and did a small bit of exploring. Mostly we just sat in the cockpit, soaking up the sunset and talking about what we need to learn. It’s a long list. First up is anchoring and using the motor properly, so that we can actually take a trip out of False Creek.

Funny that learning to sail is not very high on the list of challenges right now!

A liveaboard couple who we’ve seen before rowed by in their dinghy with their baby and some supplies. They said hello and asked if we’d just bought the boat. During our brief, shouted exchange, they wanted to know if we were planning to live aboard. We told them, “Eventually!” and they implicitly welcomed us to the club by saying, “We’ll see you out there!” We’ve heard the liveaboard community is friendly, and if these people are a typical example, it certainly seems that way.

Categories: Dinghy, Getting Started, Practical Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

#NoDAPL Solidarity

Support the Indigenous led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

N = 1

Opening black boxes, one at a time...

Eriksen's blog

Companion site to http://hyllanderiksen.net

Songs for Ordinary Time

music, life, and life in music

NeuroLogica Blog

Life on a Sailboat

american secularist

defending America from religion and other bad ideas

The Book Bully

Life on a Sailboat

Nicholas Scott, Ph.D.

mobilities, environments, social movements, cities

K. A. Mielke

Author of Shadow of a Boy, Benson and Cactus, other things that don't technically exist yet.

"Aye...brilliant"

Thoughts on life, travel, writing and things that make me curious.

Professor Nigel Thrift

Research, publications, and personal infromation for Professor Nigel Thrift

what happened next

record of the happenings of my little old life with hubby and the two little dervishes that are my children

Witless Babe

A Comic Diary

Views From A Small Island

A photographic record of the everyday and the not so everyday life around the UK.