Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm Alive!

My apologies for being so neglectful of this blog.  I can make up a plethora of excuses, but honestly, I just needed a break from all things boat building for a while.

It's not you, Rio.  It's me.  

While I haven't been building, I have been spending some quality time on the water.  I've been sailing on South Lake Union for the past two weekends, rain or shine.  I've sailed a beautiful Blanchard Jr.  Knockabout (my first time sailing a keel boat- also, the first time I've ever hated sailing) and a Woods Hole Spritsail - which I loved, dearly, and the fact that I really enjoyed sailing her only reaffirms my decision to build a SCAMP.   She's similar sized - 12' long and 5' wide, and I loved every minute of being on her.

I've got a sailing test of sorts to take this weekend- and I'm certain I'm going to accidentally jibe, throw out my crew, then said crew will be brutally run over by a float plane.  There's so much traffic on South Lake Union that it's possible.   Or I'm going to plow into the dock.  I've been losing sleep on docking techniques, so if you have any advice I'm keen to hear it.

Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere- please say hello to the sun for me! 

11 comments:

  1. My docking advise is one word...SLOW. I always come into the dock at an absolute crawl, only fast enough to maintain steerage in the available wind. More important than that is letting go of the anxiety of making mistakes (you will,) embarassing yourself while docking (you will,) or feeling like you will never get it right (you WILL!) The most experienced skippers in the world make mistakes all the time. If they aren't perfect, you can't expect yourself to be. Laugh at your mistakes and learn from them. Boats are so gentle and unendingly forgiving and they never hold a grudge. Give yourself to them and sail away...

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    1. Thank you, Rusty! I keep telling myself that I've done this before, this whole sailing thing, back when I was a teenager. I didn't kill anyone or smash up any boats then, and now that my frontal lobe is finally fully developed, I should be able to do even better than I did back then. Right? I guess we'll see.

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. :)

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  2. Julie,

    Glad to read that you've been sailing on your well-deserved time off from the blistering building pace you were setting.

    Rusty's right, of course. Slow is the way to approach the dock. You can sheet in to move closer, or paddle to get there, or reach over with a boat hook, a lot easier than you can dissipate the momentum of a boat that's moving toward the dock too fast. Getting there in 5 minutes with no damage, no yelling, and no injury is perfect compared to getting there in 1 minute with any of the above! Take it easy and it will be easy, or at least easier.

    Since you opened the door, will you tell us why you "hated" sailing the knockabout? I sailed knockabouts a little larger than the Blanchard Juniors for a few years and loved every sail...

    Regards,

    Michael H.

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    1. Julie - I never doubted for a minute that you were being productive with your time. Rusty and Michael's comments are excellent.

      I'll just add that forethought of the approach and to swing in and around on a sail-by is always best when docking in a new location. Also think through what-ifs (alternatives) for bailing out if you are coming in too fast and the mainsheet or halyard jams, etc.

      By now you probably know and have practiced using the barn door effect of the rudder as a mean of slowing the boat's progress.

      I'd add that coming in too slow can also cause real problems. I believe in a good positive approach, dock line(s) handy and long enough to throw across the dock if you are solo with no dock hand. Then you can nimbly hop out, without falling in the water, and cleat up the line :-)

      You'll do just fine!

      Cheers,
      Simeon

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    2. Michael, thanks for the comment! I think the Blanchard's are beautiful, but I really don't understand them yet. This lack of familiarity caused a bit of stress, and the weather was a bit gusty and the wind kept switching on me, coupled with being instructed to jibe several times right off the dock, then afterwards we kept the boat heeled for the remainder of the time to get used to just how much a keel boat can heel. I understand why the instructor had me do what he told me to do, but I walked away pretty flustered. I had expected to have been overjoyed to be on the water, but in the end I was trying to figure out what I had ever loved about sailing to begin with.

      I'm looking forward to revisiting the boat tomorrow for a rematch. I'm hoping that my second experience on the Blanchard will be less chaotic.

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    3. Hey Simeon!

      I haven't used the barn door effect, thanks for the heads up on that technique!

      We witnessed the problem with someone coming in too slow the first day of lessons- it was awkward for everyone. My main concern is that this dock is like parallel parking a sailboat- all the other boats are beautiful old wooden ladies and it would break my heart if I damaged any of them- and parking a 20' sailboat that is considerably bigger than anything else I've sailed isn't really my idea of a relaxing time! hah!

      Great thoughts on the sail-by and keeping backup plans in mind. I've never been the nimble sort, so it'll all be an adventure. :) As much as I'm nervous about tomorrow, I am excited to be on the water, rain in the forecast and all! And if I don't get permission to rent their boats after my class, so be it. I'm building my own damn boat to bang up as I please!

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  3. Yea also if you did'nt get the cops called out and nobody was photographed nude then the party just started. Slow or fast, drive by, and getting noticed is all the fun conversation 20 years later.

    Arthur

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    1. Hahaha! Fair enough! The police boat did look at me weird the first day I was out on the water, but no arrests as of yet. :D

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  4. P.S. Glad your alive

    Arthur

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  5. The sun was strong here today driving up some brisk sea breezes and the resultant chop on our gulf. I spent a little time gazing out over the sea imagining my Scamp with two reefs in charging around in the white caps. The sun dipped low over the gulf while I was there and as it peeped out from under the petticoat skirts of a distant cloud it sent its regards to you.

    I'd like your opinion if I may. I'm considering a name for my Scamp - Romana. It is the name of one of Dr Who's accomplices, a female time lord. I was thinking of Dr Who and the Tardis today after showing my sister-in-law bits of my Scamp. She asked how big it was going to be. When I paced it out on the grass she simply did not believe it. The Scamp is certainly trans-dimensional. I also like the implied connection to Romany culture through that name, the wandering tribes of Europe, a bit wild and unfettered. What do you think of the name? I don't want to go out there with it until I try it out on someone and you're it.

    Bruce in South Australia, Scamp 179

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    1. Bruce,

      I can see your little boat charging around with gusto. :) I think Romana would be a perfect name- worthy name for a worthy boat! It's beautiful. Quite fitting for how nice your boat is shaping out to be.

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