First Trip in PDRacer 240

I know it took me a ridiculous amount of time to get here, but I finally got hull number 240 rigged to sail. I met Mathew Raikes at Elephant Butte yesterday and sailed my puddle duck for the first time. It was incredible! Thank you!

Fortunately we met a couple from the Windriders sailing club and one of them graciously agreed to ride with me in my boat, since I'm a complete novice. We had a great time until a windstorm came up and then it was a wild ride back to shore. My sailing partner estimated the winds were around 35 mph at that point (I don't know if that's true or not, but they were very strong). Prior to that they had been very light and perfect for someone like me trying to figure out how to handle everything.

On the way in, he took over the tiller and I was holding the sheet with both hands trying to keep the sail under control. We kept dipping a corner of the bow down into the water and I would have to let the sail back out some. We made it back to shore ok, but his wife capsized her sailing kayak and he took the puddle duck back out to rescue her. She couldn't get the boat turned back over so he hauled it back to shore with the duck. It was quite a test for a first sail of my duck. I was a little nervous that something would break and then they would both be stranded out there, but the boat did fine.

He did compain that it wouldn't tack. I told him that was normal for a puddle duck, that they didn't tack (or at least not well) in high winds. It turned out that somehow or other her kayak had gotten filled with water inside the hatches when she capsized. When they got it to shore we could barely pull it up on the beach, and it took several of us to get it turned over to drain out the water. Of course we didn't find the drain plug until we already had most of the water out. I think it was getting more water in it as he towed it to shore.

I was thankful I had someone experienced with me when the wind storm came up or they probably would have had to come rescue me. It was quite an adventure and I have to admit the wild ride back to shore was fun as well, although I might not have thought so had I been by myself.

Since I turned the boat into a full fledged sailboat I renamed it Catchin Waves. At some point I'll post a video or two of it sailing. I haven't downloaded them yet. I don't have any videos of the windy part of it though. I had given my video camera to Mathew so he could film me out on the water, but he had his hands full getting his boat back in when the wind came up.

I have to admit that the winds on the lake were predicted to be in the 30 to 40 mph range for the afternoon, but we didn't figure it would be such a rapid transition. We were sailing in some very calm winds when I spotted a dirt devel over on the shore in front of us. When I told my sailing partner and pointed it out to him, he said turn the boat around. About two minutes later the big winds hit. The winds were supposed to have been calm in the morning, but they had big winds right away in the morning, then they died off to nice calm breezes around 11:00 or so. It seemed backward from the forcast. Since everyone made it back ok and nothing got broken, I would call it a good day.

I can't wait to go sailing again!
Paul Cook