Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bouncing Around

From the Log of Solitude III:
April 1, 2013

"With the days getting longer, I decided to make my first attempt at an after work sailing adventure on a beautiful Spring day.  I snuck out of work a little early and had the boat in the water by 4:30pm.  The weather was sunny warm...62 deg F, with a fresh breeze out of the S.  Nearby Paine Field was reporting winds at 12kts, but down in the harbor it was feeling closer to 18kts.  Jetty Island provides little protection from southerlies and thus I encountered a bit of chop as I headed down rive.  It became rougher as I got closer to the saltwater.  Winds, tides and currents combined to create fairly active waters as I exited the river, with steep wind waves of ~3-4'.  Solitude took the waves well, sending spray flying as she plowed headlong into oncoming waves. 

"As I pushed on, though, things became even rougher, and the boat started pounding as she dropped off the crests of the waves.  I changed course slightly to take the waves over the port bow, in hopes that it would ease the ride, but to little effect.  Whitecaps dotted the agitated waters of the bay.  Deciding that I wasn't really interested in using both hands to try to get the sails up while using at least on foot to try to keep Solitude's nose pointed into the wind while having the boat drop out from underneath me every 10 sec, I gave up on the idea of sailing and turned for home.  I put the helm hard over, Solitude spun on her heels, caught the now-following seas and surfed nearly all the way back into and a ways up the river. 

"I headed for the dock at Jetty Island, were I took advantage of the less-than-ideal conditions to practice a number of docking maneuvers in adverse conditions...and concluded that more practice probably wouldn't hurt. 

"When practice time was over, I tied up at Jetty Island, carried my dinner ashore, walked over to the west shore.   I ate on the sandy shores, watching bald eagles, enjoying the warmth of the day and watching the water on the bay dance and sparkle.  The Jetty Island dock in only a few hundred feet from the boat launch on the proved that your destination doesn't have to be far away to have a great adventure."

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