Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sailing on Lake Marion - Day 2

Day two started with a beautiful sunrise. I made some coffee with the JetBoil french press and got going. Still no rudder but the wind had shifted a little and lightened up some so it wasn't hard to get out and get going. Mainly steering by my position on the boat occasionally hanging over the side to get it to turn windward. Without a rudder I had a lot of lee helm which was a hassle. After a nice long close hauled reach trying to steer through the stumps to the deeper water on the other side I got into a weird situation where I could not get the boat pointed. I finally rolled up the genoa and that helped balance things out although I did lose some speed. After a couple wasted tacks going nowhere, I got it settled into a nice groove and managed to get a couple good long tacks and then got a nice wind shift headed back to get up to the bridge.
The one long tack from Vance back across the lake looked like this and was the best part of the day. Note the lack of a tiller. I just sat with my back on the cabin occasionally leaning a little left or right to adjust my heading. The engine there became just for show since it wouldn't run after a bit, just started leaking gas. I was guessing that the float in the carb got stuck or some such. I am definitely going back to the trolling motor because it has been nothing but trouble.
I was ghosting my way under the bridge close hauled and just about through the second span when a gust of wind came up and grabbed the front of the boat, smashing the bow. Yay. Got a pretty good bit of damage to a spot that had already been repaired once prior to me, so now I get to repair it again for real. Slightly ironic in that I have a rub rail I am working on that will look nice ad would have been great protection for that but oh well. On the other side of the bridge the winds got flukey which are a real pain to deal with when you are steering by jumping around the boat. I did get a good wind for a while but I started figuring that it was going to be tight making it to the landing by dark and if the wind died I wasn;t going to make it. So I bailed out at a boat ramp with a nice beach next to it. Tied the boat off and got to enjoy a nice 8 mile run back to my car. Well I probably ran about 6 of it and walked 2, took me about an hour and 15 minutes or so. Well I did want to get some exercise this weekend.

All in all, it was quite an adventure. What is it they say, "It's not an adventure until something goes wrong." I was happy that despite all the setbacks the boat did get me back home in one piece and I learned quite a bit about the boat and how to sail it. I'd actually sail Lake Marion again. It was a nice wide lake, the camping was beautiful and there were plenty of spots to camp. The cypress trees are vary nice. I'd launch closer to 95 to avoid the hairy sections and try to generally stick to the south side where the main channel is (the blue line in the google earth pic above) to avoid the hazards.

The rest of my pictures are up on picasaweb at https://picasaweb.google.com/110586701752725030552/LakeMarion

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