Category: Sailing

Adventures with wind and water.

Dad and I tried to hit the lake today but the wind wouldn’t cooperate. Way, way too light. So, we decided to do some work on the slip instead. We put in some spring lines. We used this setup (see image). We ran one line from one of the posts, around a vertical piece of steel at point A and then to the other post. Then, we threaded a buouy on a second line. We ran the second line across the slip from the posts at the middle. We wrapped the second line around the first line about five or six times at each of the two spots where the second line crossed the first line. In addition, at each end of the buouy (point B) we looped the second line around the first line and back through they eyes on the buouy. This kept the buouy from sliding forward when the bow of the boat pressed up against it. If you come in fast enough, the bow will ride up on the buouy. But, you’d have to really be coming in way hot for that to be a problem.

Spent the night on the boat Friday night with grandpa and the kids. The kids seemed to have a blast. I didn’t sleep too well–the berths on the boat aren’t too comfy for the over 6 foot crowd. The kids had a good time, though. Saturday morning we tried to do some sailing but the winds were too light. Probably a good first outing for them, though. This evening we went back out to a much stiffer breeze. We lost a couple of hanks off the jib. A lot of the steel on the boat is corroded from years of saltwater in California.

Good Sailing on Good Friday

Dad and I took Wendy out today. We spent an hour or so rummaging around on the boat. It’s amazing what collects over the course of 34 years. Dad put it best when he said, “Essentially, this boat is a floating Winnebago that a couple of old folks owned for thirty years.”

The wind was really howling but Wendy handled it with ease. It had shifted direction about 90 degrees from where it was two weekends ago which made getting in and out of the slip much easier. The last time we went out I put I pretty good gash in the bow thanks to a strong headwind and an inexperienced helmsman (me). This time we had no similar incident.

We’re ready to take the fam out next.

Great sailing this weekend

Great sailing this weekend. We moved Dad’s boat (“Ahoy!”) from Eagle Point, where they put it in the water, over to Pier 121. This was the first time I saw her in-person. She’s a 1968(?) Columbia 26 mkII. For the last 34 years, she’s been sitting in Marina Del Rey, owned by the same guy all those years. It’s very different from sailing the J22 for a lot of reasons, but still fun. We didn’t have time to put her through her paces–a storm was moving in. We had a little excitement putting her in the slip. The strong headwind and the boat’s extreme amount of freeboard (and an early turn) caused me to miss the slip. My pride suffered the most damage. I’m looking forward to more spring sailing and some summer evening sails with the fam.

Slip shopping, Steve Earle, sailboat racing–It doesn’t get any better than this!

I had a great weekend. Friday night I kicked back with the wife and kids. Saturday morning I got the kids up, got them dressed, and then headed out to give mom a break. We took Dad over to Pier 121 to shop for slips for his new boat. It was windy and cold but the kids had fun looking at the boats and it was exciting looking at slips knowing there’s a boat in Marina del Rey with Dad’s name on it.

Saturday afternoon Dave rolled in to town. He came down for the Steve Earle show. It’s always good to see Dave. He played with the kiddos and we got to talk and swap music. He also brought his Apple powerbook and he showed me a few cool tidbits in OS X. It got me psyched up about the G4 we appropriated to use as part of our internal KM efforts.

Now, that right there would be a great weekend. But Sunday Dad and I headed over to Lake Ray Hubbard for the alumni sail at “ntssweb”. But they were running a regatta and weren’t doing the alumni sail. (Normally, folks that have taken classes there can sail with other former students and instructors on Sunday afternoons on the J22’s for a reasonable price. Good stuff). So Dad and I ended up crewing on a couple of the boats. Dad got on an Irwin 30 and I got on an S2 7.3.

It was a great day for sailing. 60 degrees or so with a stiff 14 to 18 knot wind. Unfortunately for me on the S2, we were a little overpowered. We reefed the 150 Genoa to about 75 and eventually even less but we still had too much heel sailing upwind. Still, I got good practice working the jib sheets under race conditions, setting the whisker pole, and handling a self-furling headsail. The boat was immaculate and the skipper, John, was friendly and helpful.

All of this and I still managed to get in good quality time with the kiddos. An awesome weekend for sure.


Dad bought a sailboat! He’s had the itch ever since we got our cert. I told him to relax and let’s do some crewing and some renting but he was really pumped. When he found a marina less than 20 miles from his house I think that really clinched it. I haven’t talked to him yet so I’m just guessing.

Here’s the boat.

Here’s a good description of the same model, three years older.

The boat is in Marina del Rey. It sounds like the plan is to fly out there and sail it to Santa Catalina to give it one last look at the sea before being landlocked in a Texas lake.

Dad and I are now ASA-certified sailors

Back after a much-needed break from the laptop. Today I completed my ASA Basic Keelboat certification. It was a great weekend of sailing. Now that I’ve got my cert I can rent the J22’s at Chandlers. Who’s ready to go sailing?

The cert covered two classes. The first class was the weekend before Thanksgiving. My wife, kids, sister, and brother-in-law got me the beginning sailing class as a birthday present (thanks again, guys!). The owner of the “ntssweb” had asked, “Are you sure you are up for winter sailing?” It had sounded slightly foreboding, but that weekend was one of the most perfect weekends for sailing ever. The wind was up and the temp was warm but not hot.

When we picked 12/28 for our Intermediate class I figured we wouldn’t get as lucky on the weather as we had the first weekend. But when Saturday rolled around it turned out to be another beautiful day. The morning wind was a little lighter than we would have preferred but it picked up in the afternoon.

This morning there was some fog on the lake and it was a bit chilly but the wind was up and we were working hard, putting the J22 through its paces, so I barely noticed the cold spray. (On both mornings I was able to take advantage of some fleece pullovers I got for Christmas which worked perfectly as a middle layer).

If I may say so, my Dad, who was taking the class with me, and I executed our sailing skills pretty darn well. I was a bit sloppy leaving the slip but I shook it off and subsequently nailed the slalom course and the race course. We’ve still got a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to logging more hours in the boat but I was feeling pretty cocky by the time the weekend was over.

The written test was 130 questions. We both scored well, just shy of a perfect score. I don’t know about my Dad but I was really hoping for 100%. The sailing school owner had said there had only been one perfect score at his school in the last several years and I was disappointed I couldn’t bump that up. (Advice for ASA Basic test takers: Understand the different horn signals, night-time lighting requirements for sailboats, and what equipment is/isn’t required on a sailboat of a specific length). My Dad beat me by one question. DOH!

I’m still working on “creating a vision” for the rest of the household, but if I can add some advanced creds to my diving and sailing certs, log a bunch of time doing both, and save up cash, maybe I can have a second career as a dive shop/charter boat operator. Now that’d be the life…