Yesterday was actually a great sail. And, in the end, I think everyone had a good time. But, for some it was a little less fun for a while. Here’s a map of the sail:
View 2009July25-Daysail in a larger map | View in Google Earth
Note: we did not cross the land as shown in Google Maps satellite imagery. Read why it looks that way.
I started out the day getting up early (like I usually do). Did some blogging and reading, and then started prepping the boat for a sail. We had my friend Andy and his wife on board already, and one of our daughters and two of her friends were planning to show up mid-morning. The weather was forecasted to be just partly cloudy, with light winds early and a nice summer breeze building late morning.
I rinsed and cleaned the windows, took off the instrument covers, inserted the chart data card, rigged the main halyard to move the dinghy, moved the dinghy to center (we keep it off-center at the back while in the marina so you can easily walk on/off the boat), put out safety equipment, configured the laptop for navigation mode, set up the GPS for track recording, checked the engines, cleaned the speed log, rigged the halyard to the main, took off the sail cover, etc. (this is a typical list of preparations before a sail)
About the time I was completing preparations, I noticed some rain clouds headed our way. Andy and his wife were enjoying some breakfast and watching the weather. Sure enough, we got a nice little shower for a few minutes. As the shower dissipated, the rest of our guests arrived. My daughter also brought her dog, so we had 6 guests. I wiped down the windows again, only to have another shower show up. Fortunately, I have this really cool squeegee that makes short work of wiping windows.
The tide was getting close to high, but there was little to no wind behind the rain. Fortunately, the weather was looking nice now that the rain cloud was out of the way. But, I waited a half hour or so looking for signs the wind was coming back. The guests were getting impatient, so we finally got ready to go. Turned off the A/C, took off the shore power, started the engines, cast the lines, and we were soon motoring out of the marina. We motored out Carolina Beach Inlet with less than 5 knots of wind. The seas were pretty calm, with just a slight swell of less than 2 feet. The winds gradually built up a few knots as we got out further, but we ended up motoring out about 4 miles before they were high enough to sail.
Before we got out that far though, my friend’s wife started saying she was not feeling well. And, one of the girls also was having problems. I was really surprised because the conditions were not that bad. But, the swells were coming off the forward quarter which does make for a bit of undulating motion. We soon got the sails raised and the winds continued to rise a bit. It wasn’t long before we were making 7-8 knots of speed on a nice reach.
Unfortunately, the sailing didn’t seem to help those feeling bad (sometimes the sailing motion improves things). Both of those effected were feeling pretty ill. Soon they had both filled some trash bags. My daughter was getting uncomfortable too (although I think it was out of sympathy for her friend). Even the dog had problems. After a while, I decided maybe we should head back – a downwind sail might provide smoother motion. So, we tacked our way towards Masonboro Inlet a few miles north. Unfortunately, the quick change in motion when we tacked got our guests again. But, after that, the downwind sail was more comfortable.
Those of us who were really enjoying the sail, fixed up and ate some lunch while the others were laying on the trampolines near the bows of our catamaran. We were all feeling guilty enjoying ourselves so much while the rest were feeling ill. But, what can you do?
Near the inlet, we dropped the sails and motored in. The winds had built up to near 20 knots at this point. So, the seas were a bit choppy at the inlet. But, once inside the seas were calm. We had a nice motor down the ICW back to the marina. The sick ones were feeling much better on the way back. We fired up the generator and had the A/C running before we got to the marina.
We dropped our dinghy in the water before we parked so we could use it later. After we got settled and the girls left, we sat and enjoyed the A/C for a while. Then we got ready for a joy ride in the dinghy. We headed out to Carolina Beach and parked on the beach. There were dozens of cars parked on the beach (the only spot in the area where you can park on the beach). My guests were amazed at the paraphernalia – tents, jet skis, horse shoes, generators, etc. We had a nice swim and walk down the beach. We later went to the other side of the inlet and explored the fringes of the marsh.
After our second boat trip of the day, we took showers and prepared for dinner. We found a nice italian restaurant near Wrightsville Beach and had a very pleasant late dinner. We pretty much crashed after getting back to the boat. It was a great day!