First things first… Less than 16 months on the countdown to cruising!! Boy does that countdown move slowly sometimes.
Now… to the topic at hand: We had a wonderfully productive and educational day today. Captain Roy Rogers, who taught Cindy and I how to sail about 19 months ago when we were still uncertain whether we would pursue the cruising life, joined us for a day of additional education aboard Beatitude. We are thankful for Roy’s friendship and his willingness to join us for the day. We greatly enjoyed his typical relaxed demeanor and vast fund of sailing knowledge.
There were two primary objectives for the day. The first was for me to ascend the mast in our bosun’s chair. My life is in Cindy’s hands as she hauls me the 65 feet in the air using the halyards. Captain Roy was there to show her how to handle the winches and halyards, after making sure I was securely fastened into the chair and that the chair was securely fastened to the halyards. It was really quite exhilarating (and a little scary, at first) looking at the world from 65 feet up in mid-air. My legs were a little rubbery for a while after descending.
Two things I discovered while at the top: Our TV antenna is broken (which we don’t use anyway), and the wires to the antenna are broken (again, not a great loss). There was actually a pressing need for me to go up there. Our anchor light has not been working for several months. I retrieved the anchor light in order to replace it. Unfortunately, when I tested the light this evening, it worked fine. So there must be either a short in the wire going up the mast or there is corrosion where the bulb fits in its socket. I’ll probably head up again soon to see if there is corrosion I can clean up and see if the light will then work. If not, I may have to call in back-up.
The other objective for the day was to figure out how to rig and fly our gennaker sail. A gennaker is a colorful light-wind sail which enables one to make some progress towards his destination when there is little wind. It is so-named because it is a cross between a genoa and a spinnaker (google them). This will probably get little use until we start doing more extended cruising, but I’m certain we will use it more frequently at that time. After laying out the sail on the dock to make sure we knew what we were dealing with, we then had to figure out how to attach the sail to the boat and where to place the attachments. It does take some effort to set everything up to use the gennaker, so it will likely only be used when we are going to be sailing several hours at the same point of sail in light winds.
Once we felt that we had a handle on the gennaker, we turned Beatitude around and headed back to the marina. We were quite surprised to find ourselves heading directly into a 25-30 knot wind with sea spray flying all the way back over the entire length of the catamaran. Fortunately, when we arrived at the dock, the wind had subsided a little, but we still had 15 knot winds. Fortunately, again they were blowing Beatitude on to the dock rather than away from it.
After washing the salt from our vessel, we changed and enjoyed a celebratory dinner at Bonefish grill. It was a good day!