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
05 Sep 2002