This weekend, we went to West River Sailing Club for a party. The actual location was about 0.5 nm away from the club as the crow flies. Google said it would be five miles driving around the creeks of West River.
What's important is that unlike our last big outing, conditions were not sporty.
The party is called a "land-sea cruise." It's at someone's house. So you can drive there or boat there. We went by boat. Two boats, really. Red Ranger took us to the WRSC. Then Scout took us the last half mile to the party location.
On Saturday, the breeze was a good direction for us to beat to weather.
I had heard a rumor of folks who reef their headsail when beating to weather because it can be sheeted in at a narrower angle. I think there's something to this. The question now is "how much?"
I didn't even take a full reef, and I think we pointed at 55° instead of our more common 60° off the wind. This is a good thing. And we went fast, which is important.
Sunday conditions were even lighter. We had a peak of perhaps 7 kn of wind; it fell and fell and fell. The wind was from more-or-less directly astern.
This means easing the main sheet out so far that it chafes on the bimini sun-shade. This is bad. Really bad.
We need a better arrangement for down-wind running: one that doesn't involve chafe. Or the possibility of pulling apart the bimini. The more we looked at it — we had plenty of time for this — the more we thought about putting a secondary main sheet on the toe-rail.
Our idea is to have an off-the-wind mainsheet from toe rail to boom end. For this kind of run, unclip the mid-ship main sheet and use the off-the-wind mainsheet. This would be a kind of poor-sailor's traveler. It has two positions: centered and all the way out to the toe-rail. To do this, we need more loops on the toe rail. Perhaps we should try it on for size to see how well it works.
Here's the Chesapeake Calms video. It was pretty calm. We had to give up sailing when speed dropped below 2 kn; we can't really steer and are only drifting at that speed.
Here's sunset on the creek looking up toward the commercial barges