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2015-09-15

Sail of the decade

Well done, main.

This the main of Alchemy. It is pulling 15 tonnes of steel pilothouse cutter through the water.

Note the ever-so-slight heel. We are off the dock, folks.
This is the still-warm water. It's Lake Ontario on September 15, 2015. It's what we call "a good start".

I have a much more impressive flagpole in the garage, which is what a lot of middle-aged skippers say.
This is Toronto. We haven't left it yet, but we appear to have the means, if somewhat primitive and in completed, to do so in the form of a functional sailboat, functional in the sense of "sails".
This beauty is Cristal, a Dufour 36 Classic, a very nice find for Mr. Cooper, seen at his own bow, showing immense trust in his autopilot.
The man at the bow above is Jeff Cooper, a good friend with a very nice boat who, upon hearing we were fixed upon casting off today with intent to sail (it was a sort of light air day that would give us the opportunity to correct screw-ups, should they arise), decided to come over and take some pictures. The best one, in my view, is at the end of this post, but this is pretty excellent, as well:

You can make out where the luff of the "temporary jib" is just about three inches too long. Photo (c) Jeff Cooper
I think she looks rather good. Like many boat owners who don't own a drone with a GoPro, I haven't seen my own boat from a nicely framed distance very often...even with the sin of descended fenders visible.

If I can get this furler about five cm. higher, I'll be able to use this completely inappropriate Kevlar No. 2 racing jib (from, if I recall, a C&C 34) as a spare light-air genoa. Or I can just cut down the foot a bit.
Today's "test sail" was to see if all our lines would run freely and to just try to remember how to sail a cutter rig with a furler way out front. Mostly, things went well, although I would consider furling the jib when tacking if the wind was 15 knots or more, as the space between the forestay and the staysail stay is rather tight.
What the numbers and "J" means, I have no idea.
The main, seen above, is in good shape, but it's light for ocean work (but fine for Lake Ontario) and is full battens with slugs...and is 27 years old. I want a new, heavier main for ocean work, so these photos are getting shown to the sailmaker tomorrow.
Flying well, given the somewhat undertensioned halyards.
The original Yankee-cut jib is damaged from an inopportune hoist last week, so the same sailmaker will evaluate it for repair or rethinking. The staysail is also a tad on the light side for ocean work; I am mulling over a heavier one with a line of reef points to make it good to 50 knots.
This is the square-rigged steel sail-training brig Playfair, off making use of her sail area.
So filters did not clog, nothing ripped or tipped, nothing broke and, despite the presence of possibly dozens of PFDs, nothing went into the water. A very minor 90 minute or so sail in steady, if featherweight, winds, but enough to get us sailing what has not been sailed in this decade.
WE'RE BACK, BABIES! (Photo (c) Jeff Cooper)

Please ignore the dangling fenders. The dock-departure checklist was significant and they were overlooked in the rush to get out and sail, probably because we dock portside at the end of a finger and these are basically "preserve the other boat" fenders...The sharp-eyed will also note the missing solar panels on the solar panel arch over the aft helm station, i.e. "the poop deck". These were removed in order to better position the backstays (there are two). I'll figure out how to get them placed shortly, as I'm going to move onto The Problem of Batteries soon.