I went sailing recently. OK, I’ll admit it; I was paid to go sailing. I was hired to drive a nice mid-sized cruiser class sloop during sea trials for a perspective buyer.
It was little weird for me as I am usually running the sea trials while the hired help drives. Weird maybe. Payday? Definitely. Fun? Actually yes.
Now don’t get wrong and don’t start writing angry letters because those of you who know me know I’m a guy who has raced to class victories and crossed ocean under sail. I like sailing, I do. I just don’t have time for sailing. Life happened to me about 14 years ago and sailing, along with three days a week golf outings gradually faded from my schedule.
We left from Marco River Marina around 11 a.m. with freshening southerly breeze. By the time we hit the Big Marco River the breeze had come into itself and was bustling from the south at a steady 16 kts. A quick survey of on-board personal turned up only sailor and her physical robustness was somewhat in question. So I put her (the boat) nose into the wind, turned over the helm and dragged the fully battened main sail aloft.
Securing the halyard I instructed the helmsman to fall off the wind as I slid the main traveler out and loosened the sheet. The belly filled as the topping lift was freed and with one pull of the kill cable, the engine went silent and we left with the sound of wind upon water. Very nice and very quiet. I had forgotten how quite it could be. Too slow though so I freed the furling line or the head sail and pulled the leeward sheet releasing 120 percent genoa into the wind. I ran the sheet through a snatch block on the aft car to hold the clew down keep my leech flat. The boat took off. I moved back into the cockpit, gave a few course corrections and trimmed the main a tad and she settled right down. Man was that fun.
We threw a couple tacks and a nice jibe at the rivers end then did it all over again. Dropping and flaking the rags occupied the ride back in. That went surprisingly well, as did docking in the stiff southern breeze. I secured the boat and went ashore thinking I just had fun sailing and it only took two hours. Pretty neat. I hadn’t run a cockpit in 15 years, so it was nice to know I can still read a sail.
Fun stuff. We have a great sea breeze every night all summer long. If you happen to know a rag bagger bring them a bottle of wine ask to go along some day. Perhaps, like me, you have forgotten how much fun sailing can be.
You may e-mail Capt. Campbell with questions, comments and ideas for topics you would like to see him address at Baitkiller@comcast.net or 389-9769. Campbell AMS is an Accredited Marine Surveyor associated with the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, The American Boat and Yacht Council and the Collier County Marine Trades organization.