The Commodore Says "Jobs can wait; once in a while you need to have some fun." It's Memorial Day: a day to cease work and recall the sacrifices of others. And have a party to celebrate our veterans and the benefits of those sacrifices.
It was one of those too-perfect-to-believe weekends. It included Dolphins.
A ton of friends were at the marina; the D-dock party was in full swing when we arrived. Friday night was mostly devoted to wandering from boat to boat to say hi to everyone. Liquid Therapy started two beers ahead of Red Ranger, and pulled away at a steady clip.
Saturday, Red Ranger and Fortuna sent some of crew out shopping. It's not like we needed anything, but sometimes the crew just needs time to socialize. And buy earrings. And shorts. Some of us did a bunch of little puttering jobs like whip the ends of cordage or splice eyes into lines.
Saturday night, Jumbo Lump Daddy and the Backfin Boys were playing at the Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park. We (Euphoria, Fortuna, Red Ranger, Liquid Therapy, Monday Morning) started in the marina gazebo for snackies: jalapeño jelly on cream cheese, Rivah Crab Dip, veggies, hummus, crackers, pita chips, iced teas, beers, wine and a gam. Then we wandered over to the museum to catch both sets. Then we retired to the marina gazebo to take over the grill until it was way too late. (10-ish, actually, because that's quiet time at the marina.)
Sunday, there was a palpable energy in the air. The weather was ideal: SE wind 10-15, 1-2 foot seas, bright sunshine, no chance of showers. Bonus: this early in the year, there are no jellyfish. It felt like every boat in the marina was going out to play on the water. The sounds of rigging, engines starting, fenders squeaking on the fuel dock, sails flapping, kids running around, jet-skis buzzing up and down the creek were a delight.
Indeed, it's this exact kind of day—noise and bustle on the water front, salty talk, boats in motion—that we find we truly love. Before we owned a boat, we liked to hang around marinas. When we owned KaDiMa, the energy and focus of racing was this kind of delight.
There's a standard of excellence in sailing—boat handling, line handling, jargon—that is something you can easily see: some boats just look right; other boats look slovenly. It takes a lot longer to graduate from see to do so that your boat meets that long-standing tradition of "seamanlike".
We—finally—bent on the new Yankee the Baxter Sailmakers made for us. It was the first time we had ever handled a totally new sail. Crisp. Clean. A perfect fit. All the tell-tails one could hope for. Tidy, even stitching. Radial reinforcing patches at the clew. Simply wow.
With a SE wind, we could beam reach straight out of the Piankatank River without touching the wheel or shifting a sail. We tried the "Jib and Jigger" rig to see how she handles with a her brand-new yankee and her tired old mizzen. No one was around to take pictures of that sail plan.
Apparently we showed our heels to Fortuna, who were chasing us and could not catch us up. They have a taller mast and a more sail area with their main and jib. Yet. Somehow, Red Ranger was outpacing them under our comfortable, low-work-level jib and jigger sail plan. Wow again.
We were making close to 5.5 kn in 10-15 kn of breeze. After some tweaking, we got most of the tell-tails to stream properly. We sailed past the green 1R mark (at 37° 32.28′N, 076° 11.44′W) to approximately 37° 31.96′N, 076° 09.25′W. This is about 8.2 nm from our creek, a 3 hr round trip.
Not to brag, but, we were accompanied by dolphins. And yes. It's clear that they know when you have the camera ready: they don't jump as high. When you're not really paying attention, they'll jump entirely out of the water.
After tacking, we noted the wind dropped a bit, so we added the main to the mix. That way we could come roaring back up the creek in the same fine style we left it.
The pictures, however, show a clear sail-trim problem. The mains'l has two long, red strips of fabric. And, abaft of the mizzen, you should see Old Glory flying. The fact that the fabric strips and the flag are hidden behind the sails says that they were egregiously over-sheeted, and should have been eased to assure a smoother airflow.
The post-sail energy is as much fun as the pre-sail. Poor Euphoria has engine problems and was stuck at the dock. However, the crew was all over D-dock helping us into our slips. Red Ranger barely got in because our propellor was so utterly foul with barnacles. Not surprisingly, she's sluggish and unresponsive when the prop is a barnacle farm.
Fortuna, also, made two passes at their slip. They had a nasty burst of breeze and a flood current.
Since we were all beat up from a hard day's sailing, Red Ranger and Fortuna drove out to The Galley for dinner.
Back at the marina, however, we flopped down in the gazebo to continue the gam we started on Friday night.
Monday, we tackled ordinary maintenance. No complex installations or upgrades. Just simple, ordinary stuff.
Fill the port-side tank. The tank was about 1/8 full. When we heeled over onto port tack, the water ran below the intake pipe and the pump lost it's prime.
Scrape the barnacles off the propellor. This is a challenging snorkel job. The creek is mighty turbid; it's difficult to see the prop in the first place. It takes a good strong pull do get down there. I can only get in a half-dozen solid scrapes before I have to come back up for air. And that's assuming I don't have to waste precious time fumbling with the putty knife or turning the propellor so that I can reach another blade.
Fix some of the studs that hold the dodger down. CA did her first solo epoxy repair. The old Lift-the-Dot™ hardware had broken so she had ordered a bag of dozens of Lift-the-Dot™ screw studs. She cleaned out the holes, masked them carefully with tape to assure that she knew precisely where to drill. She filled them with Marine Tex Gray. Because of her tape mask, she could drill out a starter hole and screw in the new studs. The dodger went back over the new studs perfectly. Perfectly.
This weekend was pure fun with a healthy share of gam and a little dose of wow.
Did I mention the dolphins?