Rip-roaring Sail

Yesterday I took Tahina out for a sail off the coast of North Carolina near Wrightsville Beach. My Dad came out to see Tahina and get a ride. He hadn’t yet seen the boat, and I told him I needed to take her out for a sail. We got a little more than we bargained for with the weather.

Tahina needed to have some new watermaker water added to its tank. The watermaker automatically runs to flush fresh water through its filters every 4 days – to keep the system from accumulating bacterial growth. It uses a few gallons of water from the tank each time it flushes. You can’t use chlorinated shore water – it needs to be pure watermaker water. Our tank was getting low since I hadn’t made water since the trip to Miami.

The weather delivered a little more than we bargained. Dad arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and we discussed the best time to depart. Given the weather and tides, we decided we’d leave early the next morning. The winds were forecasted to be 10-15 knots and seas 3 feet near shore and 4 to 6 feet offshore to 20 nm. I told Dad it should be a brisk sail.

We headed out about 7:30. The winds were stronger than forecasted – at about 15-20 knots. This made leaving the dock a little tricky, but we managed to leave unscathed without dock hands to help. We then motored up to Masonboro Inlet (about 10 miles away) because the tide was too low to head out Carolina Beach. Winds were up to 20 knots with some gusts higher. I told Dad this was going to be a Rip-roaring sail. That was to be prophetic.

We got out to the inlet, and I immediately noticed the waves crashing over the jetty. We got out there and the waves were already 4-6 feet. And as we got past the point, we saw some swells which were a bit higher than that. We motored 2 or 3 miles further hoping deeper water would have more settled conditions, but it was more of the same. So, we went ahead and raised sails. Since winds were getting to the 20-25 knot range, I put in two reefs in the sails. As soon as we turned into the winds we leapt to 10+ knots in boat speed! Given the angles, I had us going 60 degrees off the wind so we were quartering instead of going direct into the waves.

We soon reached clearer blue waters (the east wind was blowing the clearer water closer to shore). So, I put new filters in the watermaker and we started making water. We sailed a couple of hours out and had a good time. I took several video clips and photos (which will be posted later). The waves were closer to 6-8 feet average with many periodic waves hitting 10+ feet. Apparent winds were in the 30+ knots range, so the double-reef was a good thing. Here’s a short video showing what the ride was like:


The new spray dodger was put in place a week ago. We were glad we had it! We had lots of spray on this ride. This is the roughest ride I’ve experienced on Tahina so far. In fact, it was the first time we had substantial spray to the cockpit area.

We eventually turned back and were on a beam reach on the way back. As often happens, the winds diminished just a bit as we got closer to shore. We were down to 15-20 knots again by the time we got to the inlet. We again went back to Masonboro inlet as we were well past the hightide at this point in the mid-afternoon.

We pulled back into our slip and took a break for a while. Then, because of all the ocean spray, we spent a while washing down the boat. I was glad to have Dad’s help as Tahina is a big boat to clean. Later in the evening, I was checking over the boat and realized we had managed to snap the jib halyard. Our jib is a roller furling unit, and it is held up with a fixed steel cable. That really was a rip-roaring sail!

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2 Responses to Rip-roaring Sail

  1. Rob Roy says:

    If you were making 10+ knots beating to windward, how quick was the beam reach on the way home? I imagine it was quite exciting :)
    Can’t wait to see the video!

  2. Frank Taylor says:

    We were actually making about the same or slower speed on the way back. The winds were gradually easing – plus we actually had more wind when we were on the closer reach.

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