My wife and I decided to have a nice "quick sail" this past Saturday and try out our new trolling motor mount.
The plan had been to get out early, spend an hour getting the boat, driving to the lake, rigging the boat,another hour sailing, then another hour de-rigging, taking the boat back and coming home. Figured 3 hours would be good.
Took us over five.
Ran into some snags. I've developed a method for mast raising where by we hook the jib halyard to the rope on the winch and raise the mast with one person cranking the winch and the other person (me) standing on the trampoline and lifting and guiding the mast. Well, we started raising the mast, got about halfway there when, SNAP!, the winch rope broke and the jib halyard came flying back and smacked me square in the face. No problem. I had my sunglasses on so my eyes were protected and, more importantly, I didn't drop the mast!
So, we put a stronger rope on the winch and began raising the mast again. No problem this time; got the mast up and began rigging the jib. Got the jib hooked to the forestay and tried to raise it. No go. The jib halyard was jammed at the pulley up near the top of the mast. So, after screwing with that for a few minutes, we realized we had to lower the mast again! Yuck! Down comes the mast, took the pulley apart using tools hardly designed for the job, and got the halyard unstuck.
Then we raised the mast again. THIS time we were able to raise the jib, got the mainsail started, and trailered the boat down to the ramp. Launching the boat wasn't a problem and, as Kelley parked the van and the trailer, I set about attaching the trolling motor to the mount underneath the trampoline. Got it attached and was checking the clearance for lowering the motor and promptly got my fingers stuck in the mechanism. I mean REALLY stuck! I couldn't get them free and the weight of the motor was crushing them. Yikes! Closed my eyes, took a deep breath and yanked my fingers out. They hurt like hell but were still attached!
Ok. So, Kell gets back and we motor the boat to the middle of the lake and catch some nice wind. She's skippering and I'm adjusting the jib and making sure the new motor and mount are secured. Being "clever adults" and good swimmers, we didn't have our life vests on but, rather, had them sitting on the trampoline next to us. A puff of wind comes by and, whoosh, my life vest becomes a "man overboard". No problem. A good time to practice our man over board drills.
Couldn't come about to save our lives.
We'd head up, get speed, try to slowly come about, think we were there and discover we were in irons. Tried three times and finally said, "Forget it! Let's use the motor." Lowered the motor, started up and puttered over to retrieve the life vest. Finally realized that I had the jib barberhauler too close and was backwinding ourselves every time we tried to come about. Oh, well, live and learn.
We decided to sail over to the club house and say "hi" to the guys. We were on a starboard tack and were getting ready to tack so we could shoot across the lake to the club house. Ssssscruunnnnch! Hit the sand bar. We were stuck in about a foot of water. So, I hop off, Swing the boat around, walk it off the bar, wind grabs the sails, boat starts to haul buns, and I jump on. SSSScruuuuunch. My fat a** brings us to a stop. Hop off the boat and she starts up again. FINALLY, get off the sand bar and cruise over to the club, beaching the boat in that weedy area to the right of the second dock.
We walked around the club, talked to Joe and Tim, I showed Kelley the other boats, and then it was time to head back. Kell got on the boat, I undid the dock line and pushed the boat off the shore. The wind pushes it back. I push again. The wind pushes back. Ah ha!, I think, I'll just use the motor! Too weedy. No good at all. Ok, I'll just have to spin the boat around and give it a good shove off the wind. I gracefully slide off the boat, slip on the hull, and smack my knee on the trampoline frame. Yeeeowww! And a few other words I won't mention here.
After getting the boat turned around, I give it a good shove and haul my butt on board but not before slicing the bridge of my foot on the edge where the hull meets the deck. Oh, goody, blood all over the trampoline. But at least we're on our way and have a nice downwind sail to the boat ramp.
We're about 50 yards from the boat ramp and lose the wind. I start up the motor and we zip gently toward shore. About 50 feet from shore, I turn off the motor, loosen the jib and main sheets and figure we can just coast gently to the beach.
The wind comes back and we're flying towards the nice brick wall set up by the ramp! 25 feet out and tell Kelley to crank the tiller hard to port in an attempt to brake the boat. Fortunately, it works and we don't smash our bow into the brick wall.
Totally exhausted, we haul the boat out of the water, de-rig, and trailer her home.
Just another fun day of sailing!
1978 H16 Burt The Cat