R 22

Rhodes 22


Labor Day Overnight - 2002

Here is the report on my first single-handed overnight on labor day.

On the afternoon of Labor Day, we had winds of 19 gusting to 29. First, we were out doing some real X-sailing. We had the IMF reefed to about two thirds and the jib reduced to the size of a hanky and were still washing the rails and even taking some water into the cockpit! It was lots of fun and even though we were sailing her on her ear most of the time, we never felt worried because the boat performed magnificently...I'd say it performed better than I did :-)

We went in for dinner and at about 7:30, the wind settled down to about 12-14 so I decided to do the Joshua Slocum thing and go out for the night by myself for the first time. I took off about sunset with the girls standing at the dock singing, crying (faking) and blowing kisses at my departure. I sailed Lake Minnetonka late into the night. I know the lake pretty well and I stayed in areas where I knew I couldn't get into any trouble, staying away from the buoys, shoals, etc. I'll try not to break my arm patting myself on the back but I was sailing the boat very well. On a couple occasions, I was even able to balance the boat so well that I could leave the cockpit and go up on the fore deck to enjoy the view and splendor of it all. A very kind and steady wind and clear skies didn't hurt.

Every hour or so, I decided to take a short break for rest and snacks. I'd sail up wind for a while and then heave to. I had never done this before on the R22 and found it to be incredibly easy. I'd sail up on a close reach then tack through the wind and simply NOT uncleat the lee jib sheet, which then becomes the weather sheet and backwinds the main. Then eased out the main sheet, slowly brought the tiller to the lee and tightened up the tiller tamer. In about 15 seconds I was comfortably hove to! I did this several times for fun and practice and snacks.

I discovered that heaving to is the best way to reef the jib, especially single handed. With the boat stable, I could man the reefing line easily in or out since the wind puts force on the sail and there's no need to "tail" the sheets or anything. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. :-/ It's soooooooo easy! Getting back under way is even easier...just cut the weather sheet, let the jib blow over to the other side, sheet in both sails and in about 5 seconds, poof, you're sailing!

I dropped the hook about midnight in a nice, sheltered cove called Boy Scout Bay, off Boy Scout Island in the west upper lake. I decided not to use my steaming light for the anchor light since it's not 360 degrees. Although I probably could have gotten away with that, instead I hung a kerosene lamp up in the rigging suspended between the bow stay and the mast. I hung out below for a couple hours just fiddling with a few things and watching to see that I was not dragging the hook and making sure the lantern was not blowing out, and at about 2:00 AM, I went to bed.

Tuesday morning, I fixed eggs, pancakes and espresso and had myself a nice, leisurely breakfast. After KP and a few other chores, I got back under way at about noon...musician's hours :-) I still had that sweet, steady breeze from the night before so I decided to sail for a few more hours.

Shortly, I ran across a friend of mine, Bill Watson who was out in his Yankee Dolphin 24. Note: I almost bought this boat from him last year before we bought our Rhodes. I passed him, we tacked and I passed him again and then again! :-) That's right...me, Slim, the rookie sailor finally putting it all together and getting it right against a veteran in a bigger boat! Pat, pat, pat...boy, does my arm hurt when I do that. ;-)

I sailed until about 5:00 in the afternoon and then headed in and capped off the voyage with a perfect landing. 21 hours alone and I loved every minute of it!

S/V Fandango
05 Sep 2002

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