Day Sail With A Frenchman

My friend Gerard drove down early this morning from Cary, NC so he could go for a day sail. Gerard is originally from France and still has the distinctive accent despite having been married to an American for 20 years. The Frenchman came out to Tahina in October with his family, but the weather prevented us from going for a sail. Today the weather was pretty much perfect (excepting the temperature which was around 50 degrees F).

Karen opted to take the dogs with her while she did some shopping. She also took the dogs for a walk at the park while we went sailing.

The conditions started out with 10-15 knots of wind heading out of the marina – winds coming from the NW. This is an excellent direction for a sail up the coast since the winds are coming across the shore. No swells, just chop. The winds picked up to 15-20 out of the inlet where we raised the mainsail with one reef. As soon as we put out the genoa we took off to 10+ knots.   It wasn’t long before we were hitting the teens (Tahina’s speed log reads a bit high, but our GPS had us at 13.7 knots at one point).

Here’s a short video clip showing us moving along:

We had a nice sail up the coast past Wrightsville Beach. The sun was on our backs and with the helm on the lee side we were comfy in our coats, hats, hoods and gloves. Gerard was amazed how smooth the ride was even at the double-digit speeds. There was some 2-3 foot chop, but no real swells, so the ride was actually quite smooth. There was a bit of spray a few times, but not much hitting us. Tahina can handle that size chop easy.

We ended up double-reefing the jib and then cutting in closer to the wind so we could move back towards shore after we got over 3 nm offshore. I figured we would have a better point of sail if we got in close. We made some sandwiches inside for a few minutes as we gradually got in to about 1.5 miles offshore. The autopilot did a wonderful job of holding us in on a close reach.

After cleaning up from lunch we tacked back south. This tack was even better where we were able to go on a beam reach with a bit less apparent wind. We were still averaging close to 10 knots over ground the whole way back to Carolina Beach Inlet. On the way north the solar panels more than kept up with the power requirements, but going south the sails blocked the panels. So, we were eating up 10-15 amps average. Running the surround sound stereo system probably added to the power requirements – but, it was worth it!  We had some rock-n-roll as we cruised along enjoying the sail!

Here are some photos from the trip (thanks to Gerard for his photos):

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We were back to the marina by about 2:30 pm after a trip just over 30 nm. Gerard was more than willing to lend a hand helping me wash the salt off the boat. We gave Tahina a thorough bath and even wiped down all the stainless as well. I used GPS Visualizer to colorize our GPS track according to speed so you can view our track in Google Earth. You can see how we accelerated with the wind gusts especially on the way north. On the way back we pretty much steadily made 10 knots as I set the autopilot on a track for a waypoint at the inlet.

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