Sailing Casco Bay 2004

The Big Day: My First Solo!

This was it! My boat! My first sail! After all those lessons, the course, the books, I felt ready. I hanked the jib, bent (bended?) the main, got everything ready, cast of the dock lines, and pulled out of the slip. What a feeling!

Now I know what green and red bouys indicate, I read the books. I was fiddling with something, not sure what, when all of a sudden the boat stops! Boy that channel is narrow! Stuck in the mud! No, problem though. My instructor showed me that getting out of this mess just required some reverse throttle, a push with the paddle, and maybe some heeling over and we're off.

After about 45min. of pushing, jumping, leaning, swearing, calling on the radio (nobody there on Sunday) I sat in the cockpit thinking that at least the tide is in my favor. Another 4 hours or so and I'll be free! Alas, some wonderfully large power boat came and offered assistance. I cleated a line and it took quite a bit of pulling to get me off. After a very sincere thank-you I was on my way. Lesson learned: channel markers mark the channel. Staying in the channel is a good idea.

My first solo: (click on the picture for more pictures)

Once I got out there it was awesome! Luckily the winds were pretty light and I got the sails up no problem. My broker, who can see the habor from his office window (he has a Tartan 37), called me just after raising the sails and said "Pull your fenders up!". OK, I was just a little excited. I sailed up to Portland Headlight (click on link for GPS chart) and back and did not sink!

Other trips out

After an appropriate re-christening of the boat with my sister (champagne offerings to the ocean gods, a little for the gods, a little for us, a little for the gods, a little bit more for us...) I spent my first night aboard. Slept great! The port berth is plenty long for a person over 6' tall. The next day the winds were pretty strong but I was feeling more confident about handling the boat. It was tricky getting the sails up in the 10-15kt winds but I did OK. I made it past Portland Head into what I consider open ocean. Started heading back against the wind and current and then the wind died. Motored back to the slip. I took lots of pictures of the boom and mast as I am still trying to figure out what all these lines and blocks are for.

Second Solo Pictures:

First trip with the girls:

Time for some passengers and who better than the kiddos (i.e. too young to know fear!). We had a perfect sailing day and it was nice to have them tend the jib sheets. The winds were fair and we did a broad reach out to Cow Island. Of course the first thing we did was have snacks (ala Hobbes). We did have to tack a couple of times on the way back and getting into the slip is always fun (thank goodness for fenders!).

All the other trips:

From the last week in August to the last week in October I was able to get out about 20 times, mostly during the day while the kiddos were in school. I learned quite a bit about sailing the boat single-handed and now feel comfortable taking the boat out in 20kt winds. Here are some of the lessons learned:

Various pictures from various sails:

One of the highlights of the sailing season was going to see the Queen Mary II when it came to Portland. I took my two younger daughters and their friends out for a short sail. It was blowing about 15-20kts with higher gust and the seas were 3-4 ft in the harbor. We went under working jib only and got up to about 7kts. The traffic was quite heavy because everybody who owned a boat was out looking at the QM2. We couldn't get too close to the ship because there was a keep out zone. Listening in on channel 16 we heard and saw one sailboat being escorted to the Coast Guard's headquarters for being too close. We kept our distance and the trip short because the wind was increasing.

Another great treat was seeing the barquentine "Eagle". It was really cool to be in the sailboat and be able to get pretty close. It's amazing, living on the Maine coast for as long as I have and seeing it all anew from the boat view. I love it!

As I sailed around this summer I took a lot of pictures of other boats and sailboats that I met along the way. We do the obligatory "boaters wave" and keep going. I was out once and spied a sailboat way off in the distance that looked like it might be another T22! I gave chase but didn't do too well. It was time to go home and I noticed the other T22 was dropping sails and motoring over to me so I did the same. It was Bill and his daughter on "Marley" (hull 575). We stopped and chatted for a bit but I was just so excited to meet another Tanzer owner. He was a great guy and I am looking forward meeting him again. I would love to revive Fleet 31 for some fun cruising and maybe even racing!

I did most of my sailing solo this summer because I am not yet "plugged in" to the sailing crowd. Next summer I hope it's different and I would love to crew on other boats to learn more and maybe have someone who knows Tanzers to sail with me and explain/teach me a few things.

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