Plans subject to reality

Plans were subject to reality. And the reality was that the ocean forecast was not conducive for this trip. At times, winds were forecast up to 35 knots (I think…I’ve read so many forecasts they are beginning to blend together), and seas as high as 10 feet. I don’t think survival of the boat was really in question here, as the boat is pretty seaworthy. These conditions, though, are more than I’ve personally taken her out in; and my enthusiasm for getting beat up was limited. Just sailing two long days up to the C&D and back really wore me out. Three (or more) days in junk would be, uh, not fun. And fun is the point, after all. Besides, Godot doesn’t go to weather in 30 knots of wind (and to weather I would have had to go). I’ve tried, and it was unsuccessful. She doesn’t do that great in 25 either. I suppose I could have just heaved to, but that is hardly helping me get to Martha’s Vineyard in time. Schedules and sailboats don’t mix.

Regarding the heavier wind, after having trouble the first time in 30 knots (could only tack 90 degrees to the wind), I did have a second reef put in my mains’l. With my existing 100% (or so) jib the boat just didn’t balance right and I actually had a worse tacking angle. This surprised and distressed me. So I bought a new reefable “storm” jib. The quotations are because I am not sure if this really qualifies from a sail maker’s point of view as a storm jib do to material weight and size; but it is smaller and of heavier sail material, and it is essentially two jibs as it has a reefing point. I have not tested this sail and it is possible that I can handle stronger wind to weather now; but I figure an ocean passage (even a relatively short coastal passage like this one) is not the place to be experimenting. Hopefully I’ll have a chance this summer to get out in some local junk and try it out.

Regarding the waves, I’m just not sure what to expect with ten footers. If they were long rollers it would hardly matter, as it is little different from driving up and down hills. If they are short period it would be washing machine rough and perhaps damaging to the boat (and skipper). What do I get 20-30 miles offshore? I’m not quite sure, and running outside to find out seems less than ideal. I was really looking for under six foot waves (they can be unpleasant enough). 8-10? No. At least, not yet.

So, reality says no. I’ll drive up instead, and hope to catch a ride on a buddies power boat. With luck the low pressure system will have cleared out by then and we will be OK for our shorter trip.

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