Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lake Murray, SC

A couple weeks back I headed out for another weekend of sailing and camping. I had originally planned to head back to Lake Marion again, but got a late start so halfway there I decided to try Lake Murray, which is just west of Columbia, SC. Lake Murray turned out to be a great lake for sailing, The weather was pretty heavy that first day with avg 15 knot winds with only a few gusts coming in but those that did were pretty heavy.

A fair bit of heeling even with just the main up
The whole day ended up being a close reach which I actually enjoyed quite a bit. Beam reaches are just too easy! I had the rail close to the water most of the day since my main sail is very full which works well in light air, but ends up causing a lot of heel. I started to put in reef points but haven't set the grommets yet. At one point after I had rolled out the genoa (I'm not much for caution), a good gust caught me which put the coaming all the way in the water and made me take on about ten gallons of water! Which pointed out the need to enlarge the cockpit drains. And got my feet wet. Fortunately my beer didn't spill so disaster averted. I also wanted to practice heaving to and learned that my boat will heave to quite nicely in strong winds which was good to know. I spent a fair bit of time looking for a good place to camp and finally found a quiet cove that already had a fire pit and settled in for the night.
The following morning was quite pretty and after a couple cups of coffee and some oatmeal I was ready to go. Unfortunately, the wind was not ready to cooperate.
What took about 3 1/2 hours to get out to, ended up taking the better part of almost 12 hours to get back. The wind had died overnight for the most part and shifted so I was back on a close reach which is no fun in light shifting winds. Only had a small trolling motor but worse I hadn't put back in the larger batteries so I was stuck trying to gather what wind I could and paddling to get somewhere. Ugh. You can see in the track below the straight line out and the much less fun track back. And the glassy conditions at times on the lake in the picture above. Ah well, it was still nice to get out and learned a few more tricks and made it back so all in all a good weekend.

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