Baggy Wrinkles

Baggy Wrinkles
S/V Nautica, Hull #614, Built at Whitby Boatworks Ltd., Ontario, Canada 1977, one of the most recognizeable Carl Alberg designs. A masthead sloop displacing 9000 lbs, keel hull, Yanmar 15 hp diesel, LOA 30.27 Beam 8.75, Draft 4.29, roller furling headsail, tiller, berths for 4, interior teak bulkheads, teak cap rail and cockpit teak coamings, 12 volt lighting, aluminum mast support, Harken self tailing winches, in its day was designed for customers as a Cruiser-Racer, the Alberg 30 remains a Classic design of the modest Alberg inventory.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Birthday Sail

Not everyone gets to do this.  But it just happens that the weather window looked quite good for the 31st of January and Nautica took to the lake for some more of that brilliant winter sunshine and brisk winds that have been streaming from the west now for about a week.  The pattern has been simliar, cold in the mornings, coolish but sunny skies and a strong westerly wind over the water pushing consistent breezes of over 10 kts every day, with a good degree of fetch toward the mid-afternoon.
Who gets tired of this?  I'm afraid the Dept of Natural Resources may begin charging me for over-use of the lake as often, there are no sails to be seen for many miles in conditions like this. 
Across platforms, the prediction was for a warmer than average day and increased winds from 15 to 25, even gusts to 30 miles an hour!  And this was on the radio as well.  Dark colors like orange and red were used on charts across the internet.  Makes one wonder what comes with this wind?

Well, you just can't always choose to sail when it is 70 degrees and 5 to 10 kts of wind...  Sometimes it helps to go out in a mess and handle your vessel.  We used to say the same thing about surfing in bad waves.  How can you ever hope to be competent if you only surf, or in this case, sail, in ideal conditions?  There is something beneficial to knowing how a slip on a wet deck can lead to an injury, or how a wet line can be ripped from your fingers if you don't have gloves on, or how the boom can knock you out if...., and so on.  So I was committed to this predictably aggressive day of wind knowing quite well that Nautica has plenty of depth in her resume to handle such things.

You could tell that the southwestly wind was hitting the lake.  Looking to the east, the turbulent water washed away from our slips.  The blow was occurring on the other side of the ridge so we were sheltered from it.  

A fast wind swept over the flat and protected waters of our cove yet upon entering the vastness of the larger lake, the brisky winds had not done much to fetch onto the lake.  Not surprised, I figured this happens, forecasts are too aggressive sometimes even with all the digital stuff we have these days.

After about an hour's sail across the lake under ideal winds of hardly 10 kts, I pulled into the lee of the Jim Spence islands, wrapped the genny and dropped the reefed main, hooking into the mud and rocks below with success.  Nearly 70 degrees, and hardly a whisp of wind for several hundred feet to port and starboard.  An ideal day for taking a quiet break from the routine.  I dug into my onboard humidor and took out a cigar labeled, "Libre Cuba" and assisted it with a bit of Irish Dubliner whiskey which made for a most pleasant couple of hours in this gorgeously quiet leeward anchorage.  You could hear the waves hitting nearby shores sounding like a bit of a brook washing through the channel across the way.  Above, the airliners streaked in and out of airspace and the new moon was peaking through the atmosphere from its position deeper in space looking greyish and mysterious.  "What a beautiful planet!"  I thought and wondered at the same time why the world was in such a mess all the time!  It is a brilliantly beautiful piece of terrain and water floating in space.
Hiding on the leeward side of the island, the sun warmed the deck and I would have jumped in for a swim but the water is about 52 degrees.
Looking aft, the shoes are off, the hatches are open, and very little breeze enables everything to warm up to t-shirt weather.
January, and the shoes are off on deck. 
Without companions to guide the conversation, I checked on the anchor periodically and even spilled my first finger of Dubliner by putting my foot on it haphazardly stepping precariously from the companionway.  The day was warm and I lay against the cabin bulkhead with my shoes and socks off, texting some working friends who were close to retirement, just to irritate them.  What a great day of sailing!

The sail out had been a very close reach as the Alberg pointed extremely close to the wind.  This return was a broad reach and the genny pulled us into the Club Cove, across the flat water and home to her slip next to the pines and the occasional barking of the bird dog who lives in the large house you may often see in my photos of Nautica.  In 30 minutes I'd put her to bed and jumped in the First Mate's rag top and headed home.

It was delightful to spend a birthday aboard under such sublime conditions.  I am glad I ventured into the forecast prepared but happily able to sail in a relaxed manner just the same.  I was ready for something more challenging but glad I got my way on my birthday and enjoyed every bit of the way to the island, time at the island and the return to the slip.

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