The West River Sailing Club membership has a number of benefits. Crabs being one of them. Of course, we had to get there, and get back in time for work on Monday. And square away the Auto-Pilot.
After stuffing our faces with crab, slaw, corn, more crab, and cake, we spent Saturday night at the West River Sailing Club dock. Did I mention the crab? There was a buffet with chicken, pork, hot dogs, and a green salad with roasted eggplant.
Saturday started with approximately no wind. This can make sailing difficult.
We could — however — watch it build.
We're in flat water. A few hundred yards away, we can see the darker color of choppy little wavelets. The line of darker, wind-stirred water worked it's way north until we felt the first little puffs and started moving. It was pretty cool.
But required a lot of patience.
The wind built steadily. We started with almost everything we owned. The only thing I held back was the mizzen stays'l. I had two reasons: one it was building, and we'd have to wrestle it down, and if it didn't shift, we'd have to gybe.
The wind build and shifted slowly, so we never had to gybe. Instead, we dropped the mizzen when it was starting to twist us to weather too much.
I experimented so more with my "shabby traveler" arrangement. I've tried sheeting the main boom to the toe rail with the boom vang when we're running downwind. It works really well because it means we don't have the main sheet dragging across the bimini. (Pictures will follow. Eventually.)
My shabby traveler doesn't gybe well, however.
I tried one technique that was almost a complete disaster. We won't talk about that any more than is minimally necessary.
It looks like the following should be done.
Haul in the main until it's over the leeward rail.
Reattach the fixed mainsheet to the boom. This will pinch the boat up something fierce.
Disconnect the traveling main sheet from the boom.
Gybe across carefully to the other rail position. This will pinch up to a run or even a reach.
Move the traveling sheet to the new leeward rail and the boom.
Release the fixed mainsheet and ease the boom out until she finds per proper downwind course. (Usually 150° off the wind.)
It's fun to visit, help cleanup, and then roll down the dock to the boat. No driving. Just pure relaxation.
The dock has the new power configuration fully installed. This includes proper GFI outlets all along the waterfront with large 30 Amp hookups for large boats like ours. We don't actually use the 30A power, though, because we have solar panels. But it's there, now, and it's elegantly done.
It's wonderful to talk boats with people.
Meh. Fitful wind 3 to 5 knots. On the nose. We tried to sail, but it was difficult to find a working balance between main and yankee in the super light air. This was exacerbated by a problem I created trying to reset the autopilot configuration.
When I updated the auto-pilot software, I glanced at dialog box at the end of the procedure that said calibration is required. (Note to future self: take a picture of the display.)
I tried to restore the autopilot settings from the Zeus2 chart plotter. But. Afterwords, the steering setup was wrong (32° to port, 45° to starboard? That's a nope.) So I tried to reset the wheel myself. That's super hard to do.
You need an assistant below telling you when the rudder is amidships. It's hard to swing the wheel through it's five turns to find the 2½ turn center position. Exactly. A little error is a big deal.
After we got back and CA pulled up the aft bunk to check, I found we were off 9°. This would make it difficult to center the rudder in light air and get Red Ranger beating to weather. What seemed like centered helm kept pushing us to port.
Now we need to get out again, and rerun the steering sensitivity calibration with a properly centered wheel and see if we can beat to weather properly.
Yay! More Sailing.