View Full Version : Last sail of the season (probably)

John Bell
10-30-2002, 08:29 PM
Usually October is good for sailing with warm Indian summer days, warm enough water, and an abundance of moderate but steady breezes. This fall, though, has been day after day of drip and drear with nary a whisper of breeze. But cold front is coming through tonight so we actually had some wind today. Sitting in the office, seeing the sun coming out for the first time in weeks, the clouds rushing off on the heels of a 10-15 mph northwesterly breeze got the best of me. I snuck out of the office, ran home, and hitched up the Sunfish-clone Starfish boardboat to the car, tossed in a wetsuit vest, some polypro, a paddling jacket, a water bottle, and my GPS and headed up to the lake.

The temperature had already dropped from the 70s this morning to low 60s by the time I was rigged and launched, but the water was still warm enough to comfortably wade in. The wind was coming in about 40 relative to the ramp, so all I had to do was point the bow nearly straight out, hop aboard, tiller in hand, sheet in a bit and drop the daggerboard. After sailing a couple of times in the last few weeks in very fluky conditions, it was a real pleasure to have some weight in the the wind.

We (the boat and I) worked our way to windward for about a mile and a half through a series of ten tacks, not really trying to get anywhere very quickly. When a big puff would come down the lake, I'd usually foot a bit, just to get a bit of the thrill of speed. The GPS showed a speed of 5 mph for most of the day, with lots of 6s,7s, and 8s in the puffs. Having decided that I was gettig splashed enough, we turned back to do some speed runs, searching out the strongest puffs for some downwind flying. I saw over 10 mph a couple of times and a lot of 9s. Absolutely exhilarating!

But it was getting cooler, and I had to get home to feed the kids so I had to end this probable last sail of this year after only a little more than an hour on the water. We're going to get our first freeze later this week. At least tonight I can lay my head down on the pillow with a fresh memory of the tiller in my hand, the tug of the sheet in the other, and the sound of the water rushing past still ringing in my ears.

It's enough to keep me warm for months.

10-30-2002, 08:33 PM
:cool: :cool: :cool:

I wouldn't put the boat up just yet ...

- M

Dave Hadfield
10-31-2002, 10:38 AM
Sounds fun, but calms? In the Great Lakes the fall weather has been a series of gales, with many, many showers of cold driving rain, and occasional squalls.

I don't think I had a full suit of sails up all month.

I did my share of sailing in it, but Indian Summer never came. Thank God I had the oven to warm things up at night on the last cruise (down to 32F at night). Too bad I forgot the wood stove!

Still, I hauled the boat on Tuesday after another good season. Spent 52 days on her, from May 26 to Oct 29 (that's including maintenance days).

And my centerboard came out with no fuss at all! If anyone remembers my posts from last year, well, I fixed the problem. (Never pound a 1 1/8" bolt in a 1 1/8" hole. Use one that's 1 1/16"! I believe I'm now ready for rocket science.)

John Bell
10-31-2002, 12:14 PM
That's what I call making the most of your boat, Dave.

I don't know that anyone's interested, but I was just playing with my GPS and some free software I DL'ed and got this plot of what I did yesterday. I knew I wasn't tacking through 90 degrees, but I had no idea it was that bad! (The wind was generally out of the NW.)



10-31-2002, 12:20 PM
Sounds like you had more fun than you're supposed to on a work day. ;)

BTW we still need to try and plan that boating trip.


Wild Wassa
10-31-2002, 09:05 PM
Hi John, Good read sailor.

If I had sailed like your plot, I would be thinking that the wind was down. In a dinghy.

Or you were taking it easy, too easy or just chasing the puffs. Was it your last sail of the season?


[ 10-31-2002, 09:14 PM: Message edited by: Wild Wassa ]

John Bell
10-31-2002, 10:29 PM
Yeah, that's it... I was taking it easy. ;)

Or maybe I'm just not a very good sailor! :D

What the heck, it was fun anyway.

How much higher can a lateen rigged Sunfish with a 30 year old sail point anyway?

Peter Malcolm Jardine
10-31-2002, 10:47 PM
Having pulled out the 12th and observing some wet snow today, I am jealous. However I am having fun with the multitude of engine parts and so on in the basement.

Wild Wassa
11-04-2002, 01:13 AM
The other case could be, bearingaway and going for speed or an increased velocity.


[ 11-04-2002, 03:00 AM: Message edited by: Wild Wassa ]

11-04-2002, 08:03 PM
but I was just playing with my GPS and some free software I DL'ed and got this plot of what I did yesterday. John,

What GPS unit and software were you using for this plot.


John Bell
11-04-2002, 08:39 PM
I have to grab my GPS off the shelf to look, I know it's a Garmin E-trex, I just don't remember which model... It's a Venture, about $150 from Circuit City.

The software is a freeware download called Wissenbach Map 3D ver 2.5. This software allows you to DL the track log from a Garmin GPS and superimpose it over USGS topos in DRG (Digital Raster Graphic) format. (Here in Georgia, we are fortunate that the USGS quads are freely available for download on the internet. There are many other places where you have to buy them.)

The software is a little stodgy to use, but it is still quite useful. You can DL it at http://myweb.cableone.net/cdwissenbach/map.html

The DRG files are tougher to find and I hope you have a fast connection since they run 3-6 megs per each. Here is a list of sites for free DRG files. http://mcmcweb.er.usgs.gov/drg/free_drg.html

Here's another plot I made last weekend when I took my power sharpie out for a spin on Saturday morning. It was too cold to sail, but it was a great day to run about 30 miles enjoying the fall color.


Hope this helps.

[ 11-04-2002, 08:48 PM: Message edited by: John Bell ]

Gary Bergman
11-05-2002, 10:07 AM
Headed my ketch out under the Golden Gate Bridge Sunday and out the gate for a warm, light air sail on the flood. Tons of dolphins enjoying the fishing.Headed back in on one hellofa ebb, but thats winter sailing. No layup here.Sail on, Gary

Hugh Paterson
11-05-2002, 05:15 PM
One of my friends phoned the other day to ask if I intended to enter the clubs Winter series this year because he saw my boat was still on the mooring, I bull**** him about "team hard" and omitted to tell him my trailer had a flat tyre, and had not found the time to tow it home :rolleyes: Now if I could only have a mild weekend this week, SWMBO is of to Northampton to her sisters, and I would get the boat to myself :D