First Time SailingBy Tyson #726 "Jemima" (9ar)
Saturday evening we scooted down to Soquel Creek and threw Jemima in the water again. This time I took an easier route down by Stockton Bridge and just chucked her in the water. A lady and her four-year-old son were watching us with some considerable interest, so we invited them to join us as we rowed around. That made three adults, to children, and a dog in our little barge, which only made for more comments and waving from spectators, as well as beverage offers from the restaurants this time! If the Shadowbrook Restaurant would just put in a little dock, I could make some money running a little water taxi between there and the Esplanade!
Then, finally, on Sunday afternoon there was some wind and we got the boat out on Schwan Lagoon with all the parts and pieces assembled simultaneously for the very first time! That alone was pretty awesome. Set up time for Jemima seems to be a fraction of the time involved with prepping her for transport, due to the simplicity of the leg-o-mutton sprit sail rig and the unstayed mast. My parents happened to drive by as we were setting up by the side of the road at Twin Lakes Beach and were able to take some photos and video, which was really fortunate.
We set out with everyone in his or her lifejacket (even Buddy) and caught the best gust of the evening out into the lagoon, which was fortunately preserved for prosperity in video format.
What worked - pretty much all the important parts...
- the mast mated perfectly with the mast step and pin
- the sail caught the little bit of shifting wind, and we were able to tack and jibe without issue, and even ghosted along very slowly in even imperceptible wind. With my repurposed windsurfer mast at 15 1/2' instead of 16', and my Bolger 59' unintentionally reversed with regard to the luff and leach, and the mast slightly stepped, she's a real deck-sweeper, which is not very convenient. But
- the hull floats. And does not leak. And while it's kind of hard to tell from any of the pictures I've posted to date, I designed the aft buoyancy chambers angled backward to take into account that I am an incorrigible slouch and DEMAND the option of piloting my vessel from a fully reclined and recumbent position, which, as it turns out, is ideal for ducking the sail and seeing underneath it, and also keeps the weight way down low. The hull can be trimmed (still working on getting the hang of that - she's a heavy boat and with my whole family aboard and rigged with oars and sails and tools and sundries, I think I'm pushing the maximum theoretical weight)
- the rudder worked perfectly, and kicked up without issue when obstacles were encountered, also worked perfectly for sculling in the calm
- the leeboard functioned perfectly and kicked up when required without issue, despite my having forgotten the bolts and hooks I had prepared as catch for the bungee and stop for the kick-up. I had to improvise with a spare mast pin. As far as resistance, I really couldn't discern a difference between having it up or down! That foily shape must be pretty good after all!
- the oar setup functions adequately, to which I had satisfied myself the two previous days while rowing in the creek, although it's not terribly convenient with the sail up and a whole boat full of passengers. Buddy in particular tends to poke his head up in the way when he's eying waterfowl
- Big Ugly, my wheelbarrow modification, functions well. But astoundingly, the hard treatment I have subjected her to with blatant disregard, dropping and tossing etc, cracked her right along the length of the 2x6, and I had to scab on a repair before taking her out on Sunday. Now slightly Bigger and Uglier, if that's possible
Imminent Modifications -
- I need to get some straps for tying the boat into the van when the middle seats are up for Emma! I'm spending way too much time tying and untying bowlines and silly makeshift rigging!
- A checklist! I'm so excited and in such a hurry when I'm going out that I'm forgetting something each time and having to improvise. Don't want to do that
- a pared down kit of tools and fittings and line, etc. I'm hauling everything and the kitchen sink along with me on these trips, which is extra weight and obstacles in the cockpit
- some dedicated cushions. Loose makeshift cushioning is bothersome. Buddy in particular never seems to be comfortable unless he has something cushy to lay on (he's French).
- the handle for the kick up leeboard is way too long, and the sail snags when tacking and jibing. I'm cutting off a foot of it
- the handle for the tiller is longer than it needs to be at four feet. I am a great ape with long arms and don't need it to be that long without an extension - it just conks us in the head when we're reclining against the aft buoyancy chamber
- the snotter is rigged too high, I think that's giving me some unwanted looseness at the foot of the sail, and probably affecting the air flow on the bad tack excessively as well (?) I'm going to lower that a fair bit
- it would be nice to get another pair of oar lock mounts for some alternate rowing configurations...
That's really all I can think of. I can't wait to go out again!