Friday, July 31, 2009

First time on the hook!

Friday July 31 Ivy and I leave for a weekend trip on Luckness.  I've been working like a mad dog, focusing on the little details without taking the time to enjoy having a sailboat in my slip.  Sailboat.  You know, a boat that you take out sailing.  Its time to start testing out the systems, and, well, enjoying myself.

The plan is to head out to Blakely Harbor, then Quartermaster Harbor returning to Shilshole on Sunday.  We leave Shilshole in good time and do a combination motor and sail over to Blakely Harbor, the winds are light.  Once in the Harbor we're all set to try out the new anchor and rode for the first time.

The boat came with a 35lb CQR, which is a good anchor, its been around forever.  I wanted something larger and better than this, and bought a 20kg (44lb) Rocna.  The original rode was a 20' leader of 5/16th chain, followed by 80' of 3/8th connected with a shackle.  Weird.  I don't know how the previous owner ever made that work as the windlass gypsy is 5/16th and the 3/8th wouldn't fit on it.  It was replaced by 300' of 5/16th HT chain, so my anchor and rode were both new.  Rocna is known as a fast setting, fast resetting, good anchor in a wide variety of bottoms.  I was sold on all the stories I had heard and read about this anchor.

The first time we used the anchor was in 45 feet of water, so I put out 180 feet of rode.  We had plenty of space around us with nice views across the Sound to see downtown Seattle all lit up.  Winds were hovering around 0.  So basically we bobbed around all night all prepared for heavy seas but instead presented with an idyllic night.  The biggest danger was that we would drift into one of the boats that had come into the anchorage after us and were a little close.  The night was beautiful - it is such a kick being at anchor and seeing the beautiful surroundings and night sky above you.

Throughout the night I kept hearing scraping sounds coming from down below.  Are we dragging?  What's up with that?!  It took several trips and nights at anchor to figure out what the normal sounds are, and this ends up being one of them.  We have been out in much stronger winds by now and the anchor hasn't dragged.  I'm starting to relax a little about the noise - although I still set the anchor alarm on the GPS's.

The next day we left for Quartermaster Harbor.  No wind at all in the morning, so we motored down toward Vashon Island and then cut the engine and bobbed around while we ate lunch.  Toward the end of lunch winds started to arrive and we were able to sail most of the rest of the way to Quartermaster.  Sweet!  Anchoring in Quartermaster is much shallower than Blakely Harbor, mid 20's feet.  I picked the middle of the anchorage and again there were no winds and we bobbed around all night.  The night was just beautiful again, awesome.

Heading back to Seattle the wind pattern was the same: none in the morning followed by decent winds in the evening.  Sailing along at hull speed, a good heel on the boat sailing upwind is reassuring.  This boat I bought and have been working on is a real sailboat.  She's heavier than other boats her size and is made for blue water cruising - but she still sails sweetly in light airs and is a blast to handle.  She's no race boat, but I love the blend of compromises she presents.

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