Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shakedown Cruise

Well that was interesting.

Took the sailboat out into the Gulf today. Then my wife took it back, but let's begin from the beginning. Loaded up the boat and headed to the Gulf. Set up the mast and rigging in the parking lot. Made sure there was plenty of clearance. Backed the sailboat down the ramp into the water. Backed down a bit more than I should have.

Now I could have gotten back in the truck and moved up the ramp a bit, but what the heck, I don't mind getting my feet wet. Turns out I don't mind getting my cell phone wet either. Found that out hours later. Launched the boat, and even made sure it had a dock line tied on to it so it didn't go to Cuba by itself.

So far so good.

The outboard motor that started just fine back in October gave me a hard time. Not really a surprise. Eventually got it fired up. Motored down a narrow channel. Took a wrong turn. My lovely wife was sitting just so as to block my view of the compass. No problem. The old "Red, Right, Returning," rule saved me. When the markers are heading the wrong way, maybe it's not the markers. Did a quick course correction and headed down the channel. Politely asked my wife to sit somewhere else.

Then we headed down the channel some more. The Gulf is darn shallow around here. Now a sailor who knows what to do might have been able to head out on sail alone. We motored. After a bit, I let my wife take the helm.

She was doing just fine, keeping it in the channel. I went to mess with the sail, and promptly cross threaded one of those finicky boaty bits. By the time I'd dug out my pliers and undid the problem, my wife had turned the boat around. While I'd been busy, she became uneasy about the other boats out in the Gulf, plus a few navigation hazards.

This surprised me a bit, but hey, if she's not comfortable, then she's not comfortable.

Made it back to the dock and succeeded loading up the sailboat. Then we stopped for a light dinner and a beer. She wants to go out again tomorrow, but launch somewhere else. I'm delighted she wants to get back out on the water. No need to push her comfort zone so I'll scale things back a tiny bit.

Learned some important things today. The boat floats. The motor runs fine, but the fuel line was in tough shape. It leaked a bit. Picked a replacement on the way back to my dad's. Learned to deal with the fiddly bits while still on shore. Yes, I knew that already, but was in too much of a hurry to get out on the water. The dog settled right down and looks like she might work out just fine as a boat dog.

While not the day I'd imagined, it was a good day. Nobody got hurt and nothing got broken. There's always tomorrow.



  1. Uneasy about the other boats? Well at least she wants to go back out. Mine went out once in my little 12 footer, in a protected marina, and decided they'd had enough. Wussies...

  2. There's an old saying, that today's terrifying experience will be tomorrows fond memories.

    Once my wife and I got caught out in the gulf stream with 52 knts of wind blowing out of the north. The seas were higher than the spreaders !
    She kept saying, I'm never getting back on this thing ( If we live ) !!!
    Now she recalls it as being one of the most thrilling moments of her life...

  3. I think a few things freaked her out. Boats coming from all directions to enter the channel made it a busy place. I was messing with something instead of helping her watch the traffic.

    Better to head back and try again later.

  4. Living the dream dude.Hell that was a great day!And she didn't quit out right on ya.


  5. You'd think growing up at a yatch club would have her used to that...? Glad you're having a great time! :) xoxoxo