Category: Seamanship

Jul 09

Sailing to Killarney was a breeze!

Sailing to Killarney was a breeze.  Our course was ever-so-slightly to the northeast and the wind was beautifully out of the southwest.  Once we cleared the lee of Club Island, the engine was off and sails were up at a perfect 130 degrees of apparent wind.  We blasted away, at over 5 knots under sail alone.

At one point, we had to sail deep – close to 180 degrees – and (although slightly unsafe) decided to sail wing & wing.  Yes, I know better than to do so without a boom preventer but I was steering a careful course and only went by the lee for a short time to open up the genoa.  There’s something ‘just right’ about sailing wing & wing… even if it is somewhat inefficient.

The girl is able to spread her wings.

Sailing slightly by the lee to keep open her up. Happy Feng trimming the genoa.

We only saw one sailboat and one freighter all day;  We all happened to meet at the same time and in the same space!

Freighter: Close and Personal

Spinnaker flying sailboat meets Freighter head on...

To put the above two photos into perspective, realize that the sailboat is 30-40′ long and the mast is even taller.  Take a look at this and consider the height of the bow wave and the sheer bulk of the lake freighter.

That's a 30-40' sailboat, meeting a lake freighter. Look at that bow wave!

Fortunately, no harm came to him… you can see his mast just peaking over the side here.

Catch the spinnaker, just slightly above his main deck.

That was our excitement for the day.  The rest of the trip was gloriously uneventful and we arrived in Killarney with lots of time to spare.  Wouldn’t you know it, but we ended up at the same marina as our friends on the Lyre.  So far, that makes Goderich, Kincardine, Tobermory and now Killarney!  I swear, we’re not stalking them.


May 24

Dock lines

The first item to replace on the new boat will be dock lines.  The existing ‘lines’ are made up of scraps that are barely able to keep their physical shape without turning into dust so I have done my research and here is what I learned.

There are a variety of materials, line types and sizes.  Yacht clubs have special requirements that are not mandated in many other marinas.  Here are the relevant points

Material:  Choose nylon rope because it has more stretch in it.  Some claim 30% stretch, as opposed to 15% or less for other types of material.  You want the stretch to ease the motion of the boat and absorb shocks from waves and surge.

Line type:  Choose 3-strand line over braid.  Braid is the common material sold as “docking line” in major marine shops, mostly because it is comfortable to touch and easier to coil.  However, 3-strand line less expensive by 25-50% and is much easier to splice.  Splicing a thimble into the end of your line is a requirement by many yacht clubs and the added cost of doing that professionally just doesn’t make sense so be sure you are comfortable with splicing the type of line you choose.

Size:  On marine shop recommended 5/8″ line to be used on my 26′ Contessa.  Every other opinion I have solicited said that 5/8″ is incredible overkill, 1/2″ line is overkill as well and 3/8″ line is sufficient.

My choice was Canadian made, 1/2″, 3-strand nylon rope in bulk at $0.50/foot.  In bulk, I could reduce that price to $0.45/foot and online you can get similar line as low as $0.28/foot.

I made this choice because:

1.  The yacht club requires a minimum of 1/2″ line, I have no choice.

2.  The yacht club requires thimbles spliced into the ends, I can do this myself with 3-strand.

3.  I think nylon is the best choice because of the stretch characteristics.