Convivia was ship shape and ready to sail by the time my work day ended. We decided in the morning that today would be the day that we tested out the North Sails QuickCover (similar to a StackPack) and Monitor windvane. I was a little worried about the monitor because I had to guess on where to attach the control sheets and I hadn’t had time to read the instructions on how one actually sails with the thing. I was worried about the QuickCover because I have heard all sorts of complaints about the sail getting caught and other related issues.
Raising the sail went fairly well. I’ve still got some work to do to make it totally fluid, but we got the first reef in in much less time than it usually takes (thanks to the collecting capability of the QuickCover). I also cheated today and used the windlass to raise the main. After doing such a fantastic job raising me up the mast the other day, I thought it was worth a try.
Within minutes of trimming the sail I had the monitor set up and working. WORKING! It was so dead easy that I practically couldn’t have messed it up if I had tried. We had every sort of wind/current condition I could have hoped for in the Bay. We had 25 knots on the nose with 3knots current on the nose. We had 4 knot winds on the beam with 5 knot currents on the nose. And the run/reach home was just amazing with winds puffing up to 15 knots and then subsiding to 10, with only our genoa up.
The real excitement of the night also justified the cost of the QuickCover. While sailing close hauled up the San Francisco waterfront (around the Ferry Building) I decided to drop the main. The wind was already howling and it looked to be worse just a bit to the NW. I headed up to the mast and released the main halyard clutch… too late to notice that I had cleated the coil just below the clutch. With the halyard fully jammed, I rushed back to the cockpit to instruct Vick to run south, back down the waterfront in the other direction.
With the boat and crew safe, I went back to the mast to sort out the halyard. I tried a gripping knot but it wouldn’t purchase on the new halyard. Then I tried adrenaline filled brute force and was relieved when it came loose. I hauled the rest of the halyard out of the water while I told Vick to wait on my word and then head upwind so I could drop the sail. We had to time it perfectly because we only had a few hundred yards before we would hit a pier.
I yelled “head up” and as soon as we were into the wind I let the halyard go. The sail dropped perfectly into the cover and we popped through the wind on our original tack. With our old configuration that never would have been possible. It used to take me 10 minutes just to sea-furl and 15 to flake it well. This dousing took less than a minute (Vick didn’t even know the sail was down). I will have to go back tomorrow and straighten it out, but the sail was out of our way and will be UV protected until I can get to it.
Dinner took a bit longer that we had hoped. Vick was making homemade corn tortillas for the first time. She had made flour previously, but the corn threw some unexpected complications into the mix. We did get to enjoy dinner with the sunset though, and the kids practically put themselves to sleep afterward (Ruby brushing Miles’ teeth was a highlight for me).
We sailed all the way to the first markers on the Monitor, and then hand steered (under sail) to the final markers. We doused the genny as we rounded the corner into the harbor. As I started making the turn into our slip I noticed a dark form waiting. I was delighted that someone would be there to grab the lines if needed, and then noticed Rocky (the best border collie ever) and knew it was K.C. waiting for us. I glided into our slip and stopped the boat on the mark. I was very proud when K.C. (a long time cruiser) congratulated us on our night docking (and only a little embarrassed when he mentioned that we didn’t have our steaming light on)
It was a fantastic night of sailing and really made me feel like our boat is nearly ready to cruise.