Sail tuning clinic and other great stuff
… including a lot of time on the water …
The past couple of weeks have been very rough, and so it was a good thing to get to the lake this weekend. Zorro had finished putting new bottom paint on Black Magic, so it was time to put her back in the water and move her back to the other marina, where the mast-up storage lot is. But in the meantime, she, Constellation, and Caliente were to be used Saturday in a sailboat tuning and sail trim workshop to be run by Zorro and Dumbledore.
We got to the lake late Friday afternoon; Zorro and Dumbledore and a couple of other sailors had just set sail, but the winds were so extremely light that they didn't get very far. We went to the mast-up lot and pulled out Syzygy, our MacGregor, which had been parked in Black Magic's spot for the past couple of weeks, de-rigged the MacGregor, and hauled her to her usual storage lot.
Saturday morning, we launched Black Magic in extremely light conditions and sailed (or, really, drifted) the block or so to the marina, where we tied up for the clinic. In addition to the three Etchells, Dumbledore's J/24, Kachina, was available as a demo boat, and two cruising sailors had brought their boats in to learn how to tune the rigging on their boats. We also had two sailors on hand who didn't bring their Catalina 30s, but who wanted to learn more. While a lot of the finer points of rig tuning apply more to racing boats than cruisers, even cruising boats can benefit from a well-tuned rig, and so the cruisers really appreciated the lessons.
Then it was time for the lessons in sail trim. There was still very little wind, so we took the sailors out on Constellation, Caliente, and Kachina. Pat and I ended up with Zorro on Constellation, Dumbledore took the cruising sailors out on Kachina, and a couple of others were on Caliente. For a while, things weren't very exciting, as even the racing boats weren't exactly going fast. The guys on Caliente gave up and went back to the marina.
They quit too soon. Almost immediately, the wind began to fill in. It never got really stiff, probably reaching a maximum of about 10 mph, but it was just right for sailing lessons. Constellation and Kachina had a good mock-race upwind to one of our turning marks and then back downwind to the marina; Dumbledore reported that the cruising sailors had a great time. After Kachina headed back to the marina, we stayed out for another hour or so, and all in all we had a great time.
Sunday morning, Pat sailed Black Magic to the other marina, while I drove the truck and trailer to meet him at the other boat ramp. The wind was great, and Zorro on Constellation and Carguy on Caliente were out sailing, too. From the parking lot at the top of the boat ramp, the three Etchells looked wonderful out together. We hauled Black Magic out, and just as we were finishing putting everything away, we got a call from Zorro – he and Carguy were going to take a break for lunch, where we could join them and then go out sailing with them afterward.
So after lunch, I joined Zorro on Constellation, while Pat got on board Caliente with Carguy. The winds were getting stiffer, and there were a couple of small thunderstorms in the area, but nothing too threatening. We figured we could expect a few brisk gusts from them, but those would only make things more interesting.
We had some good sailing, and with the two boats close together, Zorro could give Pat and Carguy lessons in sail trim, to help them improve their sail handling. We went up and down the lake, and then back and forth between some buoys nearer the marina. Pat and Carguy decided that a nearby cloud looked a little too threatening – and besides, Carguy's girlfriend wanted him to get home to El Paso to attend a party – so they headed back to the marina. Meanwhile, Zorro and I decided that cloud looked like it was breaking up, so we stayed out.
For about another half hour, we had more good wind. Then that cloud broke up as we had thought it would, and the wind began to fade. Then it went away, and we were once again in "Slow Boat to China" mode, two miles out from the marina. Oh, well, at least that gave Pat a good opportunity for a nap.
So let's see what we accomplished this weekend:
- Major stress relief from some seriously awful things that have been going on over the past three weeks.
- Some cruising sailors who now know how to make their boats perform better, and at least two who would like to volunteer as crew for racers on regatta weekends.
- Improved racing sailboat handling for Pat and Carguy.
- An opportunity for Zorro and me to hone our karaoke skills.
Yeah, it was a good weekend.