Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Solitude & Grace - the lure of Single-Handed Sailing

S/V SeaSprite had been back in the water for about a week and I was really looking forward to my first serious single-handed sailing effort.  The first day of October arrived with a breeze blowing a steady 15-18 knots in the morning as a front moved through bringing some rain.  Around noon the weather improved, the rain stopped, the sun peaked out occasionally and the wind dropped to around 8-12 knots so I decided to "go for it."  

Backing out of the slip and motoring out of Herrington Harbour South I was more excited than I have been in years.  Working my way through the minefield of crab pots stretching across the 2 to 3 fathom line I was easily able to get the sails up and trimmed.  Standing there at the helm while the boat quietly accelerated I quickly understood the attraction of the pure solitude of sailing alone;  just the wind, the sea, you and the boat.  My pleasure was made more intense by the pride I felt in S/V SeaSprite as she was soon cutting through the Chesapeake Bay at 5 - 5.5 Knots.   She had been somewhat neglected when I found her about a year ago and she was now very close to regaining her originally grace and seemed to be strutting across the 3 foot Chesapeake chop.  

Over the next hour the wind actually increased and I was soon hitting 6.5 Knots.   As I closed in on Poplar Island I noticed a large RoRo (Roll On/Roll Off) Ship approaching at 20 knots in the deep water channel.  Time to tack!  Thanks to the auto tacking feature on the ST4000 Wheel Pilot single-handed tacking proved to be a simple task.  I continued to sail northeasterly track until I reached the mouth of Eastern Bay where I decided to commence my return leg.   Over the course of the late afternoon the weather continued to improve but the wind slowly diminished leaving S/V SeaSprite to coast leisurely along at 3.5 knots as we reentered Herring Bay. 

With the sun dropping low on the horizon it was time to drop sail and head in to face the fear that confronts every single-handed sailor;  how to safely dock the boat.  Luckily by the time I reached the fairway the wind was negligible and I was able to bring her along side with ease.  

I am very excited about the opportunity to take her south at the end of October.  Stay tuned!


A Beautiful Day

S/V SeaSprite is a Fractional Sloop and 
Points Exceptionally Well

Safely Home

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