Saturday, April 4, 2009

breezin up

The wind was cracking today on the Elizabeth River.  I put a reef in the main at the ramp.  It wasn't long before I took in a second reef on the water (it's easy to reef the main on a yawl, the mizzen points the boat in to the wind and the main boom holds down the center of the boat).  We even sailed under just mizzen and jib for a while on a very nice reach and with just the two sails did over five knots.  It was a lot of fun!  Blue skies, a handful of sailboats on the water.  Sunburn, windburn.  Salt spray coming over the bow.  
This is one of the reef knots I tied in at the ramp.  I am very glad that I asked the folks at ES Bohndell to put in two sets of reef points.  I don't remember how much they cost, but whatever it was they are well worth it.  I use the first set of reef points every once in a while, I use the second set just once or twice a year (like today).  When you need them, they make all the difference in the world.  It can turn a rough sail with the boat on its ear in to a nice relaxed, SAFE time on the water.  
I've always wondered about the term "reefing" sails.  I don't know where it comes from.  The other day I stopped by the waterfront in Hampton, Va to take a look at the boats on the waterfront.  Nearby I saw some artwork, reproductions of boat designs written in French.  On the sails were the sets of reef points, clearly marked "rise de cape."  I tried to google a translation but could not find anything that made sense.  But I wonder if somehow the word "rise" (digging back to my high school french I'm guess this is pronounced "reez") turned in to "reef".  Anybody out there know about this?
Above is Aaron, a friend from the office.  He has spent a lot of time on the water in canoes and kayaks.  He and his wife have had a sunfish for a couple of years.  Just last week they bought a 17 foot boat.  I hope to see them out on the water this summer.  He sailed with me today, but now that he has his own boat I'm sure he'll do all his sailing on that.  
The snowbirds are starting to show up.  These folks on "Somewhere in Time" are from Toronto, I found them anchored in Crawford Bay near the ICW's mile marker "zero".  They are wrapping up a seven month cruise from their home in Canada to the Bahamas.  "Living the dream", they said.  And it was better than they hoped.  They'll spend a few weeks on Chesapeake Bay till it warms up, then head home.  This is one of the things I like about sailing on the Elizabeth River, meeting people like this.  I was so interested in talking with them I forgot to take their picture.  But I did photograph their boat, a Nordic Tug.  
And here is Winslow Homer's beautiful painting.  Breezin up, that's a pretty good feeling.



S R Wood said...

Steve -- I can't tell you how inspiring this is! Looks like an incredible day on the water.


Steve said...

It was a real treat. Just my second sail of the year. Good to be out there in a stiff wind, get my skills back in shape for the trip!