8.27.2007

Anchors Aweigh!


Avast Mateys!

Spent another weekend down at Cat Alley. Enjoyed every single minute of it. Met more people, drank more rum (without forgetting where my keys were this time!), and sailed a lot further. This time, Skipper Josh assigned me as crew and we really let the girls relax. Not to get all jargon-y on you, but we sailed a port tack straight off the beach headed for the Gulf. Winds were decent onshore, but picked up the further out we went. Josh let me conn his 20' sloop rigged catamaran all the way out to about eight miles or so. That's about as far out as the weather station was that we sailed to.

I have to say, holding course on a beam reach in 3 to 5' seas was a workout. I had a great time doing it and after about four miles I was getting a better feel for the boat and the wind. There is still a long way to go before I really know what I am doing, but this is leading to a new and more expensive hobby. A thousand dollars for a spinnaker, fifty bucks for a shackle...good grief, who has an expensive hobby like that? Oh, wait...gun collectors. Silly me!

Once we reached the weather station, Josh and I jibed back towards shore. We switched spots and I learned a bit about running the jib sheet and downhaul lines on a running course. We were luffing in some following seas by this point and couldn't find any wind until Misstress Allison recommended we pop the spinnaker. It was a new spinnaker Josh and a friend had cut for a regatta next weekend, but they don't like the cut and way it performs. As opposed to blocking it at the shroud shackle, where others normally do, it was blocked further aft so Josh could control the sheet. That seemed to get better performance out of it right away. Running with a spinnaker opposed to a main and jib combo is night and day. We were hauling ass and actually had to hike out a bit on the windward hull. Considering there was half as much weight in passengers compared to the boat, I'm surprised it heeled over as much on the downwind run.

Those two hours out on the boat were better by far than the last time we were out. After spending some time reading up on catamaran and monohull sailing, I have a better understanding of the inner workings of a sailboat. Long way to go, still, before I can confidently take control of my own catamaran, but by the time I am ready to purchase one, I will definitely be ready to run one. The only experience I have to gain is practical experience. When we weren't on the water, I was helping step masts, run lines, and take down other people's boats. To compare, it is similar to getting a new rifle or pistol. You get your hands on a couple of different models, see which one you like and shoot it as often as possible. When you buy a firearm that is totally unfamiliar to you, you break it down and put it back together and dry fire it a couple of times. Same principle applies here, too. Break them down, put them up, and know the function of every moving part on the catamaran.
The Cat Alley group was wonderful. In between sips of Rum&Coke, we told lies, listened to music, and generally bullshitted the night away. Swede and I thought it best to bring dinner down for the crew as a way of saying thanks for the invite and putting up with some rank noobies on the water. I brought eight dozen venison tamales from last year's deer and there isn't a damn one left. The tamales were a big HUGE hit among the crowd...even for breakfast the next morning.

We're supposed to go back next weekend for Labor Day. I might have some sausage to spare this trip. We'll see. A bunch of the regulars are sailing in the Ruff Riders Regatta down in Padre that weekend. We wish them all the best in the race.
And in case you were wondering, yes, that is how they fly the Jolly Roger over Cat Alley.

1 comment:

Holly said...

It's so good to "hear" you sounding upbeat and happy about something, Shooter. I finally posted a couple of new blogs and have started a new blog in addition to the hystrionic blog.