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Thread: Boating Micro-Adventures

  1. #106
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Thanks for posting, looks like a fun trip. I haven't thought to look into reservoirs or lakes to explore but maybe I should.

    "Opportunities that all too often have faded away just as the moment arrived" is what I've been up to. Plus it's been too hot here to want to do much outdoors.

    Well that's not entirely true, I did take a buddy's 100% styrofoam Snark out during a July 4th get together. We had our combined 380 pounds in it at one point which is just a tad over the 310 pound capacity. I was really impressed with how light and quick it was to get set up... gave me some ideas for a skin on frame sailboat someday.



    My wife and I are planning to go down to Atlantic Beach in NC later this month and I'm going to try and sail over to the Cape Lookout lighthouse. Still doing some research, but from what I've read there can be fairly strong currents and lots of shallows.


  2. #107
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    I think you and I think alike--it's always more interesting to have a destination to sail for, rather than just "going sailing." Even if that destination is just the other side of the reservoir that I haven't seen yet. It always seems more satisfying to have a point to reach. "Arrival by sea" makes any old spot a lot more interesting for me, including places I'd likely never bother visiting if I weren't sailing/rowing to them.

    Tom
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  3. #108
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    OK, got away for a few nights again this week, a short trip to my favorite northern Wisconsin sailing grounds: the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. For those who haven't seen earlier threads/postings on this little 14,000 acre wilderness, here's an overview:

    map 0.jpg

    There are about 200 islands in a sprawling lake system above a dam at the confluence of the Turtle River and the Flambeau River. And about 60 or so boat-in campsites. No fees, no reservations.

    Even better, my brother managed to join me in his Ross Lillistone-designed Phoenix III:

    DSCN9617.jpg

    I, of course, was sailing my Don Kurylko design, the Alaska:

    DSCN3310 cropped.jpg

    Nothing too terribly exciting (if there had been, it probably wouldn't belong in a "micro-adventures" thread, anyway...), but a nice little trip.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-27-2021 at 01:51 PM.
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  4. #109
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    We started on a Monday, so figured there would be some open campsites. But just in case, we stopped in at the near (east) side of an island less than 2 miles from the ramp to see if the island's sites were occupied or not, landing on a nice sandy beach (the campsites were on the opposite side of the island):

    map 1.jpg

    Both campsites were open! So, we sailed around and landed our gear, set up tents, etc.:

    DSCN9505.jpg

    The island, at our campsite, is only about 50' wide--water on both sides. Tall pines for shade. Nice breeze. A casual and rather unambitious afternoon of setting up and hanging out.
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  5. #110
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    The first hint of fall in the leaves, and longer nights, and cooler temps. We realized we had missed the full moon (a blue moon, no less) by just one day. So, that night we set out just before moonrise for a windless rowing exploration of the nearby islands:

    1.2.jpg

    A beautiful night, perfect rowing conditions:

    1.3.jpg

    At one point, we both were startled by the sudden appearance of a huge spotlight somewhere behind us. But quickly realized it was just the moon clearing the treetops--a haunting huge orange moon. My attempts to capture it in a photo were abject failures for the most part:

    1.4.jpg

    We ended up circling our entire island, a complex curving maze of thin arms all spun together into one spidery island:

    map 2.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-27-2021 at 02:19 PM.
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  6. #111
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    The central little islands in the image below (circled) are most likely floating peat bogs--that is, peat bogs that pop up from the lake bed to form actual not-connected-to-the-lake-bed floating islands, complete with trees, shrubs, vegetation, etc. on them.

    map 2.1.jpg

    On one of the other northern flowages, they can be 10-15 acres in size (a famous one is 40 acres, I think), with 40' tamaracks growing on them. And they are completely mobile, pushed around here and there by the wind. You never know where they will be--and they can sure screw up your map reading!
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-27-2021 at 06:09 PM.
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  7. #112
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Thanks for sharing. Sometimes I find it a little frustrating not being able to capture a beautiful scene, but even a blurry picture helps me relive the memories.

    Today my boat made 70 mph to windward at times. I'm down at Atlantic Beach and hoping to make it out to the Cape Lookout lighthouse tomorrow.

  8. #113
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Always like hearing about your latest micro adventure. Sure would like to see that part of the country some day.

    Are you still mulling over the possibility of a trip to the Maine Island Trail?

  9. #114
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Always like hearing about your latest micro adventure. Sure would like to see that part of the country some day.

    Are you still mulling over the possibility of a trip to the Maine Island Trail?

  10. #115
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    Today my boat made 70 mph to windward at times. I'm down at Atlantic Beach and hoping to make it out to the Cape Lookout lighthouse tomorrow.
    Yep, and people say that a lug rig can't compete with a sloop to windward! Sounds like a neat trip.

    Tom
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  11. #116
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Jones View Post
    Always like hearing about your latest micro adventure. Sure would like to see that part of the country some day.

    Are you still mulling over the possibility of a trip to the Maine Island Trail?
    Thanks for the comment--I imagine my neck of the woods is quite a bit different from San Diego!

    As for Maine, it's definitely a "someday" trip--this summer didn't work out, but at some point I'll spend a good chunk of time there. I have a long Canadian trip in mind I'd like to do first--almost did it in 2019, but put it off. And then 2020 happened...

    Tom
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  12. #117
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Day 2 started out with a drizzly rain. No problem--one of the amenities I designed into my sail-and-oar cruiser was full waterproof protection for the helmsman. I call it "raingear"...

    I actually upgraded this year when I found a nice set of foul-weather bibs on the clearance rack. That, with my cheap(ish) raincoat, makes it pretty comfortable to spend all day in a wet open boat. Well, kind of comfortable...

    But being in a wet boat beats being in a wet tent any day, so off we went--under oars, since there was no wind.

    2.1.jpg

    We headed south to an island that--now, after the late-summer drawdown at the dam--featured wide sandy beaches on all sides:

    map 2.1.1.jpg

    I really dig these northwoods islands. Very convenient to land on during low water like this:

    2.2.jpg
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  13. #118
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    We wandered around the island. Mid-week, no one else around. The ever-present "trees toppled by winds and erosion" combined with an overcast day gave a pleasantly gloomy vibe to the scene:

    2.3.jpg

    Lots of Common Loons (aka Great Northern Divers) around, very vocal. Also some sandhill cranes rattling in the distance now and then. Still no wind, so we headed further south along the central islands, stopping in to check out a favorite high-bluff island campsite (now closed for erosion, but one of the first islands we camped at 10+ years ago). Breaking the day's journey into short (i.e. < 1 mile) legs seems to make the place feel bigger.

    Then we angled a bit east, and found a boisterous southerly breeze waiting for us at the edge of one of the main channels:

    map 2.1.2.jpg

    So, I hoisted up for the brief beam reach across the channel. Fun sailing!
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  14. #119
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    We sailed across the channel accompanied by booming thunder and some cloud-diffused lightning. I dropped the mast in a hurry! (Actually we were headed into some interior swamps anyway, rowing-only travel from here).

    map 2.1.3.jpg

    Raining pretty steadily now. We rowed through the swamps to a narrow neck of land overlooking the open water of the flowage. Stopped on shore, skipped a few rocks. Reminded ourselves that trapezium-shaped lugsails offer scant rain protection when rigged as a tarp. Raingear was getting clammy.

    The rain finally started getting lighter. We rowed out of the swamp to find a light--very light, even--southerly breeze. The right direction to send us directly across the flowage to stop in at the dam, so we headed that way:

    map 2.1.4.jpg

    The Alaska, with 85 sq ft of sail vs. the Phoenix III's 76 sq ft, got way ahead on this leg. Partly that was because the breezes here tend to be extremely localized. It's not uncommon to sit there totally becalmed, watching the other boat suddenly heel over and take off on a gust that never reaches you. But light airs, to windward, certainly favors more sail area.

    But we both got to the dam, and landed to explore a bit. There's a "canoe takeout" sign here so canoes can be portaged over the dam and into the North Fork of the Flambeau River, but no landing or anything to facilitate portaging. A bit weird. Then again, this is outboard country. Only freaks and misfits show up without motors for the most part.

    2.4.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-28-2021 at 11:43 AM.
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  15. #120
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    After our stop at the dam, it was time to head back to camp--this time on an easy reach. We headed in to a favorite harbour, a little horseshoe-shaped island with a protected bay except in southerly winds.

    map 2.1.5.jpg

    I got there first, with just enough time to land and snap a couple of photos of the Phoenix III on final approach:

    2.5.jpg

    Again, the low water levels make it far easier to land boats along shore. At high water, there are many islands with too many trees to get close to under sail.

    2.6.jpg

    This might be the moment to admit to a few dings on the rudder and centerboard--always a possibility at low lake levels, even out in open water. Lots of rocks and stumps. No harm done as far as I can tell.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-28-2021 at 12:03 PM.
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  16. #121
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    A neat little island--fun to be on a two-boat trip again.

    2.7.jpg

    From here it was almost a dead run north(ish) back to camp, for a day of maybe 7-8 miles of sailing. Still felt like a long day, with lots of light winds.

    map 2.1.6.jpg

    The Phoenix III started first.

    2.9.jpg
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  17. #122
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    I snapped a photo or two of the Phoenix III's transom, knowing I'd have the chance to get shots from various angles as I passed on by, with my larger sail area. Except...

    Suddenly we were well over halfway back, running in light winds, and I hadn't gained at all. Hmm... I quickly rigged an oar to boom my sail outboard. That might have been enough to start a slow creeping catch-up action, but if so, it was too late. Well before I got near, my brother was rounding the final rocky point of our island (the photo was on zoom, so I wasn't anywhere near as close as it looks):

    2.91.jpg

    Apparently, in light winds on a dead run, the Phoenix III's lighter weight (probably > 100 lbs lighter, not counting the 50 lbs of ballast I carry) might have been the decisive factor. That, and (I'm guessing) the lower wetted surface area. And the boomed balance lug exposing more sail, more effectively, to the wind.

    But anyway, we both made it back to camp.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-28-2021 at 12:24 PM.
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  18. #123
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Our final day--I woke up early(ish), around 6 a.m., and got as ambitious as thinking about an early morning row. Puttered around camp long enough that it made more sense to pack up. By 8:30 a.m. the boats were loaded, breakfast was eaten, and it was way too early to head back to the boat ramp.

    So, we took off southward, enjoying some mild-to-light northerly breezes.

    4.1.jpg

    The boats were about equally matched.

    4.2.jpg

    That smoky haze, unfortunately, is the sign of the new normal: the fast-growing Greenwood fire in northern Minnesota, which more than doubled in size in just 24 hours. And multiple new fires have been spotted in the Boundary Waters as well, resulting in the first closure in 50+ years.
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Headed south a while, then had to beat back north a ways to reach the ramp in fluky light winds. Got into a tacking duel that I lost due to pilot error--forgot to lower my centerboard after stopping at a beach, gave up a lot of ground, and then missed a tack (funny how boats won't tack without the board down!) to put the Phoenix III ahead.

    map 5.jpg

    As much as I like solo sail-and-oar trips, it's really fun to have another boat along. Seems like life had been conspiring to prevent me and my brother from sharing a trip all year until this little get-away.

    4.3.jpg

    And that's about it. With luck, I might get out on another local(ish) adventure or two yet. Maybe. But, you never know--best to enjoy them while you can!

    Happy sailing, everyone.

    Tom
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  20. #125
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Enjoyed that thoroughly, Tom.

    To keep the thread going, I'll jump in with a report on my micro-adventure earlier this week.....
    -Dave

  21. #126
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Monday I towed the boat up to Henderson Bay on Lake Ontario. This is one of a handful of good-sized, deep bays at the extreme east end of the lake. The view as you head out of the south end of the bay. Lake Ontario is massive, of course, but there is a lot of protected water in this corner.

    IMG_3632.jpg
    -Dave

  22. #127
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    The winds were in the 5-12 knot range all week. This is the kind of sailing Terrapin, a John Harris "Autumn Leaves" canoe yawl, really excels in. The balanced-lug yawl is easy to get going without a hand on the tiller. She sailed herself most of the time.

    Self-steering.jpg
    -Dave

  23. #128
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    The trip was totally casual with no attempt to set any records. It got into the mid 80s most afternoons, so I was anchoring and overboard for a swim often. I also made use of the latest addition, a Kokapelli pack raft, to explore an anchorage. This works great as a dinghy on a small boat.

    Rolled up loosely. It will compact more than this and weighs just 7 pounds.

    Packboat 1.jpg

    And blown up, it fills the cockpit but standing in the companionway I can comfortably run a 12V high-volume pump. It takes just a minute or two to fill.

    Packboat 2.jpg
    -Dave

  24. #129
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Enjoyed that thoroughly, Tom.

    To keep the thread going, I'll jump in with a report on my micro-adventure earlier this week.....
    Excellent! More Autumn Leaves--bring it on!

    Tom
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  25. #130
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    And in the water....

    I paddle it with a 4-part break-down paddle. Of course there's no directional stability, it feels like a whitewater playboat. But it moves quite nicely and is very easy to get in and out of.

    That's the ramp at Long Bay State Park in the background. I will say that one shortcoming of the area is that the prevailing winds are out of the west and southwest, and a great deal of the shoreline is exposed in this direction. I spent one night here, not needing to go ashore. But if one needed them, there is a dock and shore facilities at the park.

    Packboat 3B.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -Dave

  26. #131
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    On the third day, I sailed to Sackets Harbor, site of some excitement during the War of 1812. If you like history, this little town is worth a visit. I tied up along the free dock in town.

    Sackets Harbor.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    And one of the explanatory signs around Sackets Harbor. My favorite detail here is mention that the frigate drawn was built in 80 days.

    IMG_3626.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    That afternoon, I sailed around the corner to Westcott Beach State Park. They have a tiny but very snug marina protected by a significant pair of stone jetties. It's shallow and weedy, the docks are good for boats up to maybe 20 feet. Perfect for a little canoe yawl. $19 bucks for the night, hot shower included.

    Westcott Beach State Park.jpg
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  29. #134
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    And then the following day, a lazy sail around Henderson Bay, a couple of stops on the way, and then back to the marina before pulling out the next morning. All told, 43 miles easy covered in light air. A very brief shower one night, otherwise it was partly cloudy to full sun through the week.

    Here's the track. Those tacking angles pleased me, because this is Terrapin sailing herself upwind, which is not as close as I can get her with a hand on the tiller. I'll give the credit where it's due here: John Harris for his design, and Douglas Fowler for a fine set of sails.

    Henderson Bay tracks.jpg

    This area is just 4 hours drive north of my home in Pennsylvania. For years I've been driving 3 hours and more south to hit various parts of the Chesapeake Bay. But mid-summer, Lake Ontario has more appeal -- not so hot, more reliable wind, even if light, and I had this huge area pretty much to myself. I saw three other sailboats out there over four days. Very few fishermen, a few party boats chugging along the shorelines here and there.

    And if a sailor needs a restaurant meal once in awhile, Sackets Harbor has some offerings.

    The negatives -- the shallows are thick with grass and in some other areas the bottom is stony. I had no problems dragging, but then I didn't see any high winds. But we're talking fresh water here, no tides, no currents. I'm surprised it's not more popular.
    Last edited by Woxbox; 08-28-2021 at 10:22 PM.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Thanks, Dave--fun thread. I've always discounted Lake Ontario because I think of it as all wide open shore, no bays and islands. But that far eastern side looks nice. And Autumn Leaves looks great. Those pack rafts have gained quite a following in my family for exploring little local rivers.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Just realized I left out an entire day of my latest trip! Somewhere in there--after our moonlight row, but before our rainy day trip to the dam--we explored some of the east side of the flowage. So, this belongs right before post #117:

    Light(ish) westerly winds gave us an excuse to sail eastward. With luck, the winds might shift northerly as the day went on, giving us a decent wind for the return journey as well. So, we hoisted up and headed out downwind.

    5.1.jpg

    Sailed about 2 miles before pulling into an unoccupied campsite in a quiet backwater, gliding in under the watchful eye of a bald eagle perched in the trees overhead.

    map 6.jpg

    This particular site is one of a very few group campsites (minimum size of 7, I think). Unlike the rest of the campsites here, the group sites can be reserved ahead of time.

    5.2.jpg
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Kept on keepin' on, still heading generally east. The eastern side of the flowage is a "voluntary quiet zone" where motors are discouraged, but not forbidden. We sailed on to explore a quiet little lilypad bay we hadn't sailed into before:

    5.4.jpg

    Here my brother caught a perfect wind to sail back out of the backwater, while I got caught in a windless weedy morass that clung to my board, rudder, and oars, leaving me far behind. No worries.

    map 7.jpg

    I caught up again at the end of the red line below, which was the northern end of a 1,000' south-to-north canoe portage (not sure why you'd want a portage shortcut here, when paddling around is almost certainly less work--not even exposed to open water much).

    map 8.jpg

    A very (very) muddy landing at the portage, and a nice trail through the woods. We followed it back to the southern end of the portage route, than took an intersecting trail heading east that soon brought us to a fenced-in but long-abandoned garden, and a bit further on, some private land with a cabin and nice outhouse. Then, back to the boats.

    Shallow stumpy waters in late August...

    5.3.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-29-2021 at 02:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Our farthest point:

    map 9.jpg

    At this point we turned around--to go farther would soon have us into the upper reaches of the Flambeau River, leaving the flowage proper. We did take time for a brief stop and on-foot exploration of Bonies Mound, perhaps the highest island on the flowage (a tall sandy ridge, quite steep in places). It had a nice landing beach:

    5.5.jpg

    And from there, it was a long beat back to camp. The first half: narrow channels, fluky breezes, and close short-tacking where the Phoenix III pulled ahead. But the final stretch was a dead windward beat in strong winds, where the Alaska's extra sail area and, even more, 4' of extra waterline length, put me ahead. Eventually we got back to camp for another quiet evening.

    5.6.jpg

    About 5 miles on the return trip:

    map 9.1.jpg

    So, more than double that for the day. Maybe 12-14 miles total sailing? But then, who cares?

    And that's it--the whole Monday-Thursday trip accounted for. Happy sailing!

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-29-2021 at 02:24 PM.
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  34. #139
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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    The winds were in the 5-12 knot range all week. This is the kind of sailing Terrapin, a John Harris "Autumn Leaves" canoe yawl, really excels in. The balanced-lug yawl is easy to get going without a hand on the tiller. She sailed herself most of the time.

    Self-steering.jpg
    How does that tiller comb work? Do you put the tiller in the closest spot and then fine tune with the mizzen? I use a bungee cord on my tiller but I never seem to go straight for any length of time. I enjoyed your writeup!

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    Default Re: Boating Micro-Adventures

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    How does that tiller comb work? Do you put the tiller in the closest spot and then fine tune with the mizzen? I use a bungee cord on my tiller but I never seem to go straight for any length of time. I enjoyed your writeup!
    Thanks. Yes, I drop the tiller in the comb where it normally works best and then tweak the sheets looking for the balance. The setup that works varies with wind speed. As the wind picks up, the mizzen is hardly drawing at all unless the head falls off; in light air, it's set to work. I also play with the two bilge boards to get things balanced. As speed picks up and the weather helm is felt, I bring them up incrementally, which effectively moves the CLR aft.

    I have the same rig on my Whisp, a very light 16' skiff, but haven't been able to get it to self-steer for any length of time. It's just too flighty. And the sloop rigged boats I've sailed never came close to doing this trick.
    -Dave

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