Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wrap-Up on 2007 Goals

Early in the '07 season, I drafted an insanely-ambitious list of goals for skills I wished to practice - or master - during the season. Here, finally, is the wrap-up on how I did in accomplishing those goals:

1.) Man Overboard Manuever (top priority!)
Oh dear... how sad that I did not once practice this most important skill. Oh, the shame. Seriously, this was terribly irresponsible of me. I will be sure to practice it this season. My friends' lives may depend on it one day.

2.) Docking - 'mount' and 'dismount' - using the outboard motor
Hooray! This skill, the one that I most feared at the start of last season, is definitely the one I got the most practice with all summer. By the end of the season, I was able to cast off and return to the dock without crew assistance, even.

3.) Heaving-To (in order to picnic on the lake... take a 'head' break... or kiss a boy or something)
I hove-to for the first and only time when I went sailing with my girlfriends from my Bible Study group. I couldn't remember which way to lash the tiller, windward or leeward, but I decided to 'just wing it' and it worked! (I still don't remember which way to lash the tiller. Hmmm...)

4.) Anchoring (in order to picnic on the lake... take a 'head' break... or kiss a boy or something)
I anchored for the first time when I went sailing with my friends Kelly and Allen. It was a bit too choppy for Allen's taste out on the lake, so we headed for the cove to have lunch and gab. I couldn't remember the exact procedure for anchoring, but I decided to 'just wing it' and it worked! We had a lovely visit. We considered going for a swim, but the heat of the day was surpassed only by the yucky-ness of the lake water.

5.) Reefing the Main (need to be able to do this quickly and easily... preferably before I *need* to use that skill)
Well... my first attempt to reef the main was about as unsuccessful as it gets. I made some preliminary adjustments at the dock to prepare for reefing, and I must have inadvertently knocked the sail-stop out of the mast groove and into the drink. When I raised the main out on the lake (in 15+ knots and a whitecapped chop), every single sail slug on the main came flying out of the mast groove and the main flopped around violently, connected at only the head and foot. It was *not* my finest moment as skipper. We tucked back into our slip to search for a remedy, as I didn't have a handy spare. Fortunately, my friend Eileen came to the rescue with a spare, but my confidence was really blown for the day. (No pun intended - SIGH.)

Soon after, I decided to rig up a single-line 'jiffy reefing' system by drilling some holes (yay!) and installing a couple new fairleads and a cheek block on the boom. I also surmised that in order to reef my main, I must drop the first sail slug below the sail-stop. So, my second attempt at reefing went much more smoothly, but unfortunately I had three tall men aboard and my boom wasn't as high as it should have been. I have resolved to address this issue permanently during the '08 season by adding a boomkicker to my tricked-out little boat. Never again will I have a sagging boom (or a wildly flying mainsail, Lord willing.)

6.) Jybing (so that I can turn 90 degrees one way... instead of 270 degrees the other way, in anything above 'light and variable' conditions)
I practiced this skill as often as I could. I actually 'enhanced' this goal to actually be "Jybe the boat in moderate winds by waving to boys in nearby boats." I am pleased to say that I achieved this goal. (Hi, boys!) That said, I could always use more practice on this one.

7.) Using a Tiller Tamer (and perhaps Singlehanding!)
Although I pretty much did sail singlehanded the evening I had my Mom aboard for her first sail -- leaving and entering the dock, tacking and gybing the boat -- I have not yet raised the main without having someone else hold the boat nose-to-wind. (I was very proud of Mom for doing such a brave and valiant job of that!) My '08 project list will include the installation of a Davis Tiller Tamer that will make it possible for me to leave the tiller to raise the main, fidget with the stereo, and other important sailing-related tasks.

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