Winter sailing

It’s been since September since Satori has been out of the marina. The engine has been given her deserved TLC and much of the navigation and creature comforts have been nicely upgraded. I was hoping to have radar and a tiller pilot rigged before her first day out but I had the opportunity to take a crew along who have been getting out through the winter on ‘Strange Advice’ who lives at ‘K’ dock. The winds were supposed to kick up in the afternoon and I wanted the crew to enjoy a cozy and warm cruise, with the Dickenson running nice and warm to allow us to rotate in and out of the cabin in miserable rain and winds. We motored south towards Elliott Bay ¬†and then at the point stopped to wait it out while we ate lunch and enjoyed the day down below. After being becalmed for a bit we noticed that she was actually moving a bit and so I took the tiller and trimmed the stays’l and main, leaving the jib down for now. There was a gale warning and so I even reefed once just to make sure if the front did hit us without warning that we were ready. After heading back and making a perfect score at docking her we hung out for a bit longer.

Colin took a little bit of film with his GoPro while the winds were going about 7 knots and posted it up on Vimeo.

sailing around elliott bay in tony’s westsail. from colin street on Vimeo.

We noticed that the winds did in fact kick up after we were already docked and they wanted to take out Strange Advice while the winds were good. Just a few minutes with a very efficient crew and they were already out of the slip and underway. It’s a drastic difference sailing with a sporty fin-keeled day sailer. Immediately I felt a little bit uncomfortable without a life jacket while heeled over in 15-20 knot winds flying the full genoa. I even barked to shorten sail while I was at the tiller, feeling too much torque on the rudder. On the way back we likely hit 25-30 knots of wind. I would liked to have reefed the main since they had jiffy reefing already rigged but that’s just because I like a more comfortable ride. I think the boat would have kept at her speed but wouldn’t have heeled at every gust. It’a fully battened main with pretty heavy duty canvas and there was no doubt the boat could handle it. I on the other hand….

The winds are gusting to 40 knots today. After having a nice day yesterday I woke up wanting to go out again but I’m mostly a fair weather sailor. I think I’ll wait until it’s over 50 degrees at least and bring warmer clothes next time. Maybe by then I’ll have that tiller pilot finally up and running to test out. Here’s to the first sail of 2014. Cheers.


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