Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back In The Saddle

We made a run up to the lake today and I "finished" the bow repair - at least enough to make do. I have some cosmetic touch up measures to do, but we're good to go as far as sailing.

Weather has been odd. The week I was off with a sprained wrist was rainy - making me feel not so bad about it. But "rainy season" was supposed to have ended and it seems to be back. Today started partly cloudy and gradually turned overcast, but the temperature was not too hot and wind was nice at 6 knots.

After the repair work, we took an early-ish break for lunch, since we didn't want to interfere with Mr. Hakuta's lunch by asking him to launch us. We went to Mama's Kitchen, of course. I didn't take time to snap shots of our dishes, but it was delicious as always. When we ordered, all the selections came with some kind of meat, so K explained to "Mama" that I would prefer to skip that. No problem, they could adjust the meal to suit my needs.

Later, the cook came out to inquire further on my tastes and K told her that I am not a strict vegetarian, but that pretty much, the only "meat" I eat is seafood. I ended up with a pasta dish with lots of different veggies that was excellent. Toward the end of our meal, "Mama" came by our table with complementary glasses of veggie juice for us. Japanese businesses are known for customer service, and Mama's has certainly taken good care of us. What a country.

I did take a pic of the desert which we shared. The blueberries reminded me of the ones K harvested yesterday from her four bushes and which we had in our oatmeal this morning. Loads more to come.

OK, OK, I know, you're reading this blog for the sailing. Well, I agree that sailing is important, but so is food. It's all good!

The winds were blowing 6 to 7 knots. We launched Bluesette with the jib fully clipped to the fore stay and the mainsail ready to raise as well.

Mr. Hakuta gets Blusette tied up after launching her. We would have the lake to ourselves except for a few "jet skis" such as the one in this picture being used by Mr. Hakuta's son Yukihisa to conduct a lesson.

Once in the water and tied to the dock, I boarded, lowered the centerboard 1/2 way and attached the rudder, then put up the sails. Not being able to lower the centerboard fully at the dock due to the shallow bottom is a bit of a hassle, especially upon return when it must be partially retracted. On the way out though, I have to keep in mind to pause and fully lower it to avoid a catastrophe. I'm going to do some measuring by first getting a good depth at the dock, then lowering the centerboard to the right depth while on land and marking the centerboard line so we can do a more accurate job when in the water. Striking bottom a little isn't a big deal as the bottom is mud and if all else fails, it is so shallow that I can get out and WALK the boat in or out.

We spent an hour and a half tacking toward the east end of the lake and having a good time, then coming back down near the yacht harbor to start again. I didn't want to get too far down wind - toward the west end of the lake today, as it would mean having to beat our way back to windward. We didn't have all day, though sometime I'd like to explore the west end.

There seemed to be lull zone in mid-lake. Note the water on the fore deck - lots of spray of which K got the most.

There were some bamboo stakes and buoys which we used as points to practice coming about. Even with the modest wind, K was getting quite wet from the spray off the bow. I acknowledged my appreciation for her sacrifice in keeping me dry, but that didn't seem to mollify her, so I suggested that it was a good reason for her to learn to sail so that she could take the helm and I would be the one getting the bow spray. (I may live to regret that suggestion. ;^) )

How the jib sheet can get caught in the shroud adjuster.

One of the things I did last trip was to put a piece of plastic tubing over the shroud adjusters. This prevents the jib sheets from getting caught between the adjuster and the shroud when the downwind shroud slackens (see the pics). It works like a charm, though I think I could have used smaller tubing.

My solution, a length of plastic tubing. I could have used a much smaller diameter and just covered the upper part. Maybe I'll change it later, but it works fine as is and doesn't trap water which might otherwise cause corrosion.

We had a couple of screw-ups toward the end of our sail. Par for the course for us at this point on our learning curve, but nothing we couldn't handle and learn from. Which is to say, we managed not to capsize or crash into anything. The first occurred when we were in a kind of critical position between sets of fish nets and needed to come about smartly and smoothly. (As mentioned in an earlier post, the lake has many fish traps in places, laid out near the shores, which we must steer clear of.) My fault for putting us there and being over confident on our abilities.

K pulled the jib across a tad too soon and it "back winded", causing us basically to "heave to" and fail to complete the turn. I popped the main sheet which kept us from going over, then we fell off, regrouped and tried again, coming about without a problem. Such excitement.

I'm sure experienced sailors will find our antics not such an interesting read at these times, but you know, K had never sailed before we got Bluesette, and I....well it has been some 40 years! Then consider the language barrier - K is very good at English, but still, everything I say she must process in her mind in Japanese. All things considered, I think we are doing very well.

Then there was a problem with the grappling hook, which, as mentioned in previous post, I cobbed together using a paint roller axle and extension pole. I forgot how to tighten the extension pole and so we made an extra tack to work it out. I managed to inadvertently come about while wrestling with it at which time K convinced me of the wisdom of letting her deal with it while I sailed the boat (doh!), and she figured out what we both had been doing wrong and soon had it working perfectly.

The last snaffu was upon docking. With the centerboard half up, Bluesette develops a considerable drift downwind. I got close to the dock on my first try, but not close enough, and then communication quickly broke down when I asked K to back-wind the jib, which maneuver she had forgotten. We ended up drifting a bit before I established a new course (close to the shore) and immediately ordered us to come about. In the confusion with things happening too fast, the jib did not get addressed in time and so we had to go out in the lake once more to get organized and try again. It's all good - we laugh at our mistakes while at the same time discussing them to see what we can learn.

The second try went much more smoothly with K catching the line at the dock with our grappling hook, and soon Bluesette was nestled in her "sendai" again and being winched out of the water. As my first flying instructor told me "any landing you can walk away from is a good one". Well, to be honest, I always thought he was a little nuts, but I still agree with that sentiment to a point.

Walking toward the "sendai" (dolly), Mr. Hakuta has the painter while his son Yukihisa takes the stern line.

All in all a good day. Nice to be back on the water. My sprained wrist? Probably too much work for it today, but don't tell K. I promise to keep it rested by avoiding yard work until we can go sailing again (hehe).

Until next, sweet sailing.


Anonymous said...

OK. Take good care of your wrist!

Pandabonium said...

Uh-oh. Busted.

HappySurfer said...

I'm reading this blog for the food too. hehe... And talking about food, is there any chance of seeing a picture of K's blueberry bushes? Maybe if you could do a post of that and other fruit trees in your garden, that would be great. Your choice, of course.

Wise to let that wrist heal properly so that the pain will not come back in later years.

Pandabonium said...

Happy - thanks. Perhaps I'll take a pic of some of out fruit later. Right now our yard is not ready for "prime time". The wrist is getting better, but it is hard for me to let it rest. So many things to do. Thanks for the good advice.