Took Opus out yesterday for a bit of a shakedown. I even single handed getting the sails up and taking them down again – and did some sailing. It was a bit of a circus act, jumping around from place to place to get stuff done but, at least in a light wind, I managed to do it – without the use of an autopilot to hold things steady. How was this done?
First note that Opus has a rolling furler on the foresail, which makes the foresail relatively easy to furl. Secondly note that a sailboat with the mainsail tightly sheeted displays “weather helm” meaning it wants to point its bow towards the wind.
So here was the process after removing all applicable sail ties and covers:
- Turn Opus into the wind and cut the motor into neutral.
- Run up to the mast and start raising the main sail.
- Run back to the helm and turn Opus back into the wind
- Run back to the mast and raise the sail a little further.
- Run back to the helm and turn Opus back into the wind.
- Stay at the helm and untangle the running backstays from the leech of the mainsail
- Turn Opus back into the wind
- Run back to the mast and raise the mainsail some more, untangling it from the lazy jacks where it caught.
- Finally the mainsail is raised enough to weathervane the boat into the wind and things get a bit easier.
- Finish raising the sail and go back to the cockpit.
- Let out the foresail and trim that approximately while still holding a reasonable course.
- trim the main sail approximately, while still holding a reasonable course.
- Trim the foresail closer to properly, while manually holding a course.
- Trim the mainsail closer to properly while manually holding a course.
- Say “Good enough”
Did I mention that I still have my bicycle, granny bars, and dinghy on the foredeck, all of which make great things for foresail sheets to get caught on?
However, the important thing is that I proved I can do it, at least in light winds.
Due to the lazy jacks and roller furling, dousing the sails was a bit easier, though still not easy. However, I deem it a success as I did manage to do some sailing and nothing went wrong.
After returning to the dock, I went to make myself some dinner – spaghetti – and tried to fill the pot with water. Doing this involves going to the navigation station and turning on the fresh water pump. The moment I did, I heard a strange noise and no water came from the faucet. Then I realized I was hearing a hissing – almost like something shorting, plus the sound of running water from somewhere. Immediately shutting off the power to the pump, I went to investigate. At the same time I noticed what seemed like smoke in the cabin.
After a bit of investigation, I found that a PVC conduit had slipped off a fitting even though it was fastned there with a hose clamp. Another important piece of data is that running the engine also gives us (some) hot water. In this case the pipe that had slipped off was the one carrying (very) hot water. Anyway, a few minutes with a screwdriver and the pipe was back in place, tightened down, and all things working.
Of course I did say a few choice words, and I could imagine the boat craning its (imaginary) head around to look at me with a bland and innocent expression as if to say, “What did you expect? I’m a boat.” with the unstated, “Of course something was going to go wrong.”