We have been living onboard for three weeks now… can we please go sailing? Thanks. Jasna and Rick to the rescue! Rick has been feeling really under the weather, so we were waiting for him to feel up to a day out on the water. We spent a few days in the slip getting The Luckiest ready, as we could, to go. Then everything aligned and out we went. Tim went to pick up our teachers for the day in the dinghy as I readied the boat to leave the slip. I unhooked our precious ethernet cord and the power cord from the dock, filled up with a bit of fresh water and welcomed Jasna and Rick aboard. They showed us how to properly leave the dock with just the two of us and Tim drove us out of the marina safely. Jasna was telling us she knows many people who still won’t brave pulling into a slip. It is really difficult and the chances of hitting something – another boat, a dock, etc. – are so high, you really have to be skilled to get in and out. Well, glad we dodged that bullet.
We motored down the channel out into more open ocean to start hoisting the sails and pulling some ropes. Well, almost. once we got out there we had a bit of a challenge locating the main halyard – the rope that raises the main sail. hum… is this the topping lift or the main halyard? So we sent Tim to the top of the mast once again to take a closer look.
As it turned out, we do not have a topping lift, which holds the boom up. But at least we learned a thing or two. So Tim scooted down with the help of the bosun’s chair and we raised the sails. Jasna and Rick were great teachers and showed us the proper way to regularly handle communication aboard. Communication is one of the most important parts of sailing. We practiced tacking – turning the boat left or right while heading into the wind – and jibing – turning the boat left or right while heading downwind. We tacked back and forth several times with me at the helm and then Tim at the helm. It was really quite tiring. Jibing is a bit trickier because there is an element of danger if you do not handle it properly. The mail sail can come crashing across the boat, especially in high winds. This could hurt someone or break the boom if you are not careful. When getting ready to tack or jibe you should say,”Stand by to tack/jibe.” The crew prepare the lines and makes sure they are paying attention. Then the helmsman says “Ready to tack/jibe.” Crew says, “Ready,” and then you turn the wheel. As I turn Tim hurries to let out one side of the jib and then pulls the other side until it is trimmed up for our new course. It sounds more complicated than it really is. It is important to get right, but not really complicated.
We discovered a few things we need to fix before we take off too far. The boom doesn’t really have an effective system to be held up properly. Right now, the mail sail was holding it up. This isn’t a great idea because it will wear out the main sail, so we need to add a topping lift or fix our boom vang. We also found out the hard way that our pulleys need stoppers on the slide rails they are on. One popped off the end and hit Tim in the hand. Not good.
We have heard from several people that the work on a boat is never done, so planning to finish everything before you go anywhere means that you will never go. Therefore, we are going to categorize high priority to low and complete those based on safety and efficiency of the vessel. The rest, we will do along the way.
What way is that, you say? Well we are still not exactly sure. We would like to feel confident in our skills, and we would like to see as much of the Baja as we can. We have begun to try to plot a direction for the next couple months. Based on the winds and the weather we should head south before we head north, but just how far in each direction, we don’t know. I think we will start with the islands nearby. We can sail for the day out to them spend a couple of nights and sail back. We will figure it out eventually. For now we are still learning every day. Except for the day after we went sailing. We did nothing. We watched movies all day long and didn’t leave the boat once.