Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NEWS FLASH - gruelling test sail not so gruelling

Okay, okay I know. I haven't been writing much. In fact, since the Gruelling Test Sail ended I've not had more than a few minutes together to get a post done. My appologies to those still working at the dockyard - and whose efforts will go largely unpublicized over the next several weeks due to my busy schedule.


Now what you've been waiting for - about the Gruelling Test Sail. Well, it wasn't so gruelling after all - winds out of the SW at 5-10 kts were just enough to get us moving without really straining anything. Everything functioned exactly as planned, and the crew learned to use the new gear very quickly.

We launched in the Lafayette River near Granby Street at 0955 and made fast to the dock to collect our crew. We got underway at 1020 and stood out into the river under oars. Once into open water, we hoisted sail and chased the wind for a while. At one point we made about 10 knots, though that's a guess as we hadn't retrieved the GPS from the chase boat yet. Later, we observed 7 knots - as measured by our GPS - but we all agreed that in the earlier breeze we definately made a much faster run.

Around 1200 we were through chasing wind and decided to stand out of the Lafayette River and into the Elizabeth - then head up stream for downtown Norfolk. About two hours later, we landed at Waterside and headed for the only natrual choice for a sailors' lunch - Hooters. Now that I look back on it stuffing myself with appetizer, burger and fries was probably not the best idea - when the wind dies, breaking it in the boat is pretty brutal despite being outside. The jury's still out on potential solutions. Beano - maybe. But I digest.

About an hour and a half after landing, we embarked the boat and headed out to Norfolk harbor under oars, then got back under sail. We made the mouth of the Lafayette River at a breakneck two knots, and as the wind died completely we were towed back to the launch site. We recovered the boat at 1750 and everyone headed for home well tired, sunburned and thoroughly excited about the prospect of going out again another day. All in all our three hour outing had stretched to almost eight hours - all because every time we asked if we should keep to the plan and go back, everyone wanted to stay out. Great time.


We sail quite fast but we still have a bit of a leeway problem when close hauled. Nothing too serious but enough to warrant consideration. That being the case I'll be sketching a little in the margins of my paperwork and knocking something up before our April 24 training session to cross Chesapeake Bay. There are a few other notes, but most are cosmetic consderations and stowage concerns. All will be addressed in due time - again, not a good week.


The next outing for the boat is Saturday April 24 at Naval Station Norfolk. We'll launch at 1000 and conduct our first training session in preparation for crossing Chesapeake Bay this May. Make sure you let us know you're coming so we reserve you a place in the boat - we can only take 11 at a time.


Dockyard hours are restricted to Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays for the next two weeks. Sorry, busy (see aforementioned) and have lack of qualified supervision.



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