Jeremy’s first sail! and first of the season

July 7, 2008

Today our goal was to squeeze in a short sail before our vacation. Jeremy didn’t have to work until 3pm, so he was able to come along for his first time ever sailing on TIKVAH! Jeremy has been on the boat in the past, notably the first time we launched it and had an adventure stepping the mast using the boat club’s derrick. But somehow he didn’t get to sail that first ‘season’ (8/13/2005 – 10/31/2005) and last year the boat was launched in August and he left shortly thereafter for his first year in college. Emily did get to go out with me a few times last year, and even Marilyn went out for her first time. This year promises to be one where we can have many more sails with many more friends.

We got out to the boat before 11 am (teenager time) and I began by tuning up the rigging with the tension tool I picked up used somewhere. It worked like a charm, although I forgot to check what the lee shrouds looked like once we were close-hauled. Oh well, next time.
Once the shrouds had more even tension I fired up the engine. Since I started it up at the beginning of the season, it has been started right off every time. I know it’s supposed to do that, but given all the struggles I’ve had with that A4 over the years I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with its consistent performance so far. After raising the main and showing Jeremy how to cast us off, we were underway. 
We had a following wind all the way to Castle Island so we jibed back and forth across the channel. I showed Jeremy how to read the chart and get an approximate idea of where we were. It was his job to say when we should tack, and to his credit we did not find any water that was shallower than our keel. As we jibed back and forth across the channel we ate the lunch we had brought along. It was a beautiful, sunny day in the mid-eighties with a fair amount of humidity, although that wasn’t really noticeable until we got back to the mooring.
Both kids needed to be back home by a certain time so we turned around before we got to the tip of Thompson Island. They both wished we could stay out all day, but it was not to be this time. We came up to close hauled and the kids handled the jib sheets while I shouted orders. (They were very tolerant of my pirate’s accent.) They learned about backwinding the jib to help my slow-tacking, full-keeled boat turn through the wind. Each took a turn steering for a bit. They also learned the steps for starting the engine, and the basic procedure for man overboard.
Too soon we got back to the mooring, and after one missed pass (captain’s mistake) Jeremy picked up the lines and the boat was secure. We’ll be leaving town soon but we look forward to many more sails through the rest of the summer.

We COULD have sailed . . .

July 4, 2008

My first mate and I went down to the boat, arriving late morning. We took the launch out to the mooring although it was clearly blowing pretty hard – at least 15-20 kts. Once we got out there we agreed that today was not the day to test ourselves against some fairly strong winds – especially for our first sail of the season. I had hoped to be able to say our first sail took place before the 4th of July, but at least the boat was in by then!

Instead I straightened up a few things below, rigged the mooring pickup, put on the sailcover, and in general puttered about. Em listened to Jimmy Buffett on the boat stereo, and enjoyed the sun in her relatively protected seat in the cockpit. We weren’t out there much more than an hour, but we both enjoyed it nonetheless. 
Next time out I want to be sure to tune up the rigging a bit, so we’ll be more prepared if the wind pipes up. And later this month, we must install the mizzen! The mizzen and jib would have been a good option for today.

Launch Day!

July 2, 2008

About 10 am on Wednesday, July 2nd, Tikvah got wet for only the third time since I’ve owned her.  Jim Hinds and Emily were on hand to assist. It was the culmination of several days of furious activity where I (assisted by Em on Tuesday) completed a number of jobs including buffing the topsides, fixing the joint between the hull and the ballast keel, and painting the bottom. Of course the tarp and frame needed to come down, too. I don’t have too many pictures for these tasks because I had such limited time after school ended – roughly four days. 

Launch day was interesting. It happens so quickly when the boat is stored at the boat club because it was only about 50 yard to the water. Last year I had the boat hauled from Milton to the Town River in Quincy, and then the engine wouldn’t start. BoatUS towed me all the way around the harbor to Savin Hill – about a 2 hour ride. It was a long day all around.
This year it was over in about 15 minutes. Jim and Em helped me get the boom on, the sails up and some other housekeeping done. Then we had a great lunch at the club, outside under the awning. The skies looked ominous, and they did open up after lunch. Jim had left by then so Em and I waited it out. When there seemed to be a break we went down to the boat to prepare it for the trip out to the mooring. We weren’t there long when I saw a squall line coming at us across the water. I shouted at Em a few times to help close the boat up and run for cover.  We ran to the mast shed on the back beach just as the rain came down in buckets. In 30 seconds we were soaked. We waited there a while, watching it pour, watching the different cloud formations. Eventually we walked back to the clubhouse, and had hazelnut coffee (Em) and a beer (me). 
By the time it cleared again and we got back to the boat, the tide had now dropped considerably and the boat was hard in the mud. We went home, got changed and then came back and moved it when there was a bit more water. It was good to get the boat out to the mooring, even if the mooring field is becoming ever more crowded.