Monday, December 03, 2007

Solo Sail, Elephant Butte Lake

Carol Anne was helping a fellow sailor, working on Murder at the Family Reunion, getting lunch for herself and Tadpole (who had been helping "Twinkletoes" work on his Hunter 34), and would then be moving the trailer into position to retrieve her boat. I got to sail solo.

Black Magic was facing east in a slip. Behind, to the west, was a rocky shoreline. To the south was the main gangway leading from the shore to the marina. So, the only exit, after backing the boat out of the slip, would be to the north, along the western perimeter of the marina, then around the northern and eastern sides and south to open water. The wind was a light breeze from the south. To get going, I lashed the tiller hard to port, bringing the rudder to the right. From the bow, I backed Black Magic out the slip to the west and south as the rudder turned the boat's stern to the south, or windward. I hopped on the bow as the boat continued to turn and back, gliding backward. I freed the rudder so that, as the boat slowed and began to move forward, I could steer away from the boats and piers, raise sail, and broad reach through the narrow channel.

At the northwest corner of the marina, I turned east onto a close reach and then a beat as the wind headed me. A couple of tacks and I was around the northeast corner of the marina and then eventually in open water.

Black Magic took a few tacks to clear the harbor in very light winds. Not too far south of the marina, the winds really fizzled out, leaving us barely moving at perhaps a fifth of a knot or less. At this rate, the brief journey of four or so miles would take many hours. So, down went the motor for the next mile or two, until a wind line finally came in sight. Then the motor went up and out of the way, the jib came back up, and it was time to enjoy a bit of breeze that allowed for some good sailing. Because I was solo, with no one out riding the rail, I even did a bit of depowering of the sail plan, adjusting controls to reduce heel and sideslip. The breeze then lightened again, but didn't go away completely, allowing me to sail right into the marina, past the Hunter 34, Windependent, that belongs to "Twinkletoes", and on to the courtesy dock next to the boat ramp.

Arriving at the Marina del Sur, I was able to sail right alongside the edge of the marina and view part of sailboat row between two rows of covered motorboat slips.


Post a Comment

<< Home