Lots of projects, lost keys, and our maiden voyage   Leave a comment

Pirat is starting to feel like home. Lee and I are getting better at walking around down below without hitting our heads on everything. We’re used to the slight roll of the boat in strong gusts of wind across our beam. Lee has been working on various projects and seems to have the heater working reliably now. The water heater is a work in progress and next on the list is an AC power panel and outlets.

I have been dutifully working on my thesis for a few hours in the morning almost every day. Yesterday I finished the second half of my theory section and sent it off for editing. It was quite a relief to finish that before my mom arrives today for Thanksgiving.

Last week I learned one of the most important lessons one can learn living on a boat: keys don’t float. Lee’s car keys, our only set, fell out of my pocket as I stepped onto the boat one day. Lee tried retrieving them with a magnet and then by diving down between the boat and the dock (burrr!). No luck. Fortunately Lee’s parents sent us the valet key, which will do for now.

At the helm

Me (Rachel) at the helm on our first sail. Click for more photos.

We also went for our first sail last week! We chose a nice calm day, timed our trip with the tides, and of course ran into all kinds of problems. Getting Pirat out of the slip was tricky since the boat is so fat and we didn’t have much room to maneuver. We also discovered that the headsail we planned to use, the biggest genoa, was too big for the roller furling. I jury rigged a tack below the furling drum. We had figured out our height and the height of the bridge we had to go under to get into Mount Hope bay. We knew we’d make it but the bottom of the bridge looked so close!

After about an hour of sailing in the steadily dying wind we found ourselves becalmed and headed in. We had to anyway if we wanted to get back at high tide. Watching our depth sounder as we entered the marina, there was sometimes less than a foot of water below our keel. The Marina manager had us come into a different slip where we wouldn’t be blocked in for the rest of the winter.

Yesterday afternoon we decided to go out and just motor around since we didn’t really have time to get the boat rigged to sail. Lesson #1 on that trip: the wind dictates how you get out of the slip. We are in a crosswind slip and had our bow facing out when we left yesterday. The wind was coming from the direction we wanted to go but there was no way the bow would turn into it so we attempted to turn downwind as we headed out and then back up the channel. That proved more difficult than it looked. Between the piling off our starboard bow, the protruding bow of the boat next to us, and the dock at our stern we did not have a smooth exit. I ran around fending Pirat off of everything and Lee tried desperately to get the boat to turn the way he wanted it to. We did finally make it out with some help and practiced maneuvering in the brisk breeze out in the bay for a while. Our return was much smoother. We came in bow-first with no problems but still aren’t sure how best to get out of here the next time we want to go for a sail.

Posted November 23, 2009 by Rachel in Getting started, Pictures

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