Sailing Belton Lake - Texas

I thought I'd report on the first sail of #287 Duck Soup after the "plastic surgery" to fix the hull rot. I sailed on Belton Lake (central Texas) last Saturday, October 20. I would classify the sailing as "spirited", with winds gusting to 28 MPH per the weather data for the area that day.

The chop was steep and close-spaced, but not nearly as bad as it would have been in a more open part of the lake. Nevertheless, everything and everyone (me) in the boat was soaked with pieces of the lake splashing in over the bow. Great fun!

I just finished building a 70 SF 4-sided sprit sail, but this was way too much wind for that sail. So I used my Chinese junk sail reefed down a couple of panels. This sail is not the most efficiently-shaped sail, but it doesn't matter on a day like this with wind to spare. For anyone interested, this is the "Vincent Reddish South China Junk Sail" from this website: , scaled down to work with an 8' boom and yard. Total unreefed size: 65 S.F.

My max sailing speed for the day was 5.7 MPH, on the downwind run back to the boat ramp. I had the sail sheeted in some to try to protect against the gusts and to keep the center of effort closer to the centerline of the boat (there was still alot of pressure on the tiller). When on a run with the sail sheeted in, you better be ready for the occasional unexpected gybe. It happened to me once, but the Chinese lug is good about dampening quick movements of the sail. I was sitting pretty much on the centerline of the boat with my head below boom level, so no harm done.

I inspected the hull repairs after the expedition; they seemed to be holding just fine. Another 6 plus miles for the log book!

Here's my 2012 log info so far:
01/07 Bosque River Waco TX (rowing only) 2.07 mi.
05/26 Belton Lake TX (sailing) 3.86 mi.
06/16 Belton Lake TX (sailing) 7.32 mi.
10/20 Belton Lake TX (sailing) 6.74 mi.
19.99 miles total for the year (the year ain't over yet)