Had a guest on board yesterday and it was a delight. Rik, builder of the Pathfinder Vanessa, was in town to sail south with the Caribbean 1500 sailing rally and he took the time to join me for a sail. Two Pathfinder builders/sailors on Spartina, how nice!
It was an interesting experience to sail with someone so familiar with a gaff-rigged yawl, and more so because Rik typically sails in the 25 knots trade winds of Aruba. His average sailing wind is at the high end of my experience. Watching him handle the sails was fun, particularly the mizzen which he adjusted more times in one day than I do on a week long cruise (I'll will say that I tweak the sails less than most people). Being around the water all his life and sailing routinely in high winds has him handling the sheets in ways that I never imagined. Describing this is beyond me, but can only say that while I use the mizzen as a balancing sail, Rik uses it as a steering sail. I learn from everyone I sail with, and I hope to take away some ideas from the way Rik's sail handling.
Rik got the full Elizabeth River experience, from heavy overcast skies and a light mist to blue skies and warm sunshine. We saw the usual tugs and barges, military boats big and small, and snow birds such as beautiful, sleek Justice, above, who came through in the spring of 2014.
It is pouring rain outside now and I wonder if Rik is sheltering on the 48 foot Swan Isbjörn , the boat he will be sailing on to Tortola. He is sailing with the crew of 59° NORTH (the same people who did the podcast with Webb Chiles earlier this year). Check out their site and we should be able to find blogs from the trip, maybe some podcasts and and Isbjörn's position. The 40 or so boats in the rally will be casting off a in a couple of days, waiting out both today's storm and a tropical depression down near the Bahamas. Rik says they should be leaving Tuesday.
Rik, thanks for joining me and thanks for the sailing lesson.