We took our first cruise on Stray CatZ yesterday. It was a beautiful sunny day with an occasional cloud drifting by. The winds were out of the east, blowing about 15kts. Really a perfect day for an afternoon sail.
Capt. Mark showed up to help us get off the dock, because along with the 15kts that were blowing us directly onto the dock, we were pinned between two other large boats and on top of that, the end of a fuel dock was about 10 feet abeam the port bow. Even in ideal conditions this was a tight spot. With a few carefully placed fenders and Kylan watching the fuel dock, Capt. Mark spun Stray CatZ out of that tight little space and off we went, straight to the anchorage. Dropped anchor, end of cruise….NOT!
After we took Capt. Mark back to shore in the dinghy, we relaxed on SCz long enough to realize it was too beautiful of a day to just sit there in the anchorage and not to take our new boat out. Plus, the three of us needed a little experience. And a little experience is what we got.
As we headed out to sea the waves were rolling in at 2 to 4 feet. Beautiful blue water with an occasional white cap to add contrast. In no time we raised the jib and headed north up the coast. We were cruising along at about 5 knots under jib alone, rolling nicely over each rise and fall of the ocean. It wasn’t long before Anna and Kylan were up siting on the trampoline enjoying the ride. And it wasn’t long after that Kylan was up on the bow pulpit looking for dolphins. While we never did see any dolphins on this trip, a couple of sea turtles swan by to say hi and wish us happy voyages.
Of course at some point we had to turn around, and that is where we got our experience. Going south we were against the ocean currents, and our speed dropped to under two knots. That meant either starting the motor or raising the mainsail. Mainsail right?
There is this really nice feature on SCz called Lazy Jacks. It saves you the trouble of flaking the mainsail on top of the boom when you lower the sail. I’ve read about them, but I’ve never used them before. I was completely unaware that unless you lower the Lazy Jacks when you raise the sail, they get in the way.
As I was raising the mainsail, the battens kept getting caught in the lazy Jacks lines. That meant I would have to lower the sail some, then when the batten cleared raise it back up until the next one got caught, then lower it some and do it all over. What happened during all this is the main halyard (the rope you use to raise the sail) ended up getting caught around the top of the shroud and now the mainsail didn’t want to go up or down.
At this point we still have the jib out and it’s flapping in the wind like an out of control kite. Only the kite string on this is 2 ½ inch nylon braid ropes, and they’re being whipped backed and forth with the force of a professional heavyweight boxer. Anna got slapped in the face and was taken out of the fight temporarily. I got hit in the head twice before we got the sheets under control and we furled the jib and put it away.
Now back to the mainsail. With a little finesse, we were able to work the main back down the mast and on top of the boom all put away. Then we did what any good sailor would do, we started the engines, and motored back to port. Where we had a beautiful night at anchor with plenty of time to reflect on the days events and even more time to dream of better adventures to come.