Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blast Off - 2010

Bluesette on the way to the ramp with new sails and new mast head float.

Our first day of sailing for 2010 finally arrived on Monday, which happened to be Japan's Constitution Day holiday. Smack in the middle of a "Golden Week" of back to back holidays, we expected a crowd, but we were the only sailboat on the lake. Apparently, others had chosen Sunday.

The wind was much higher than forecast and more than we had hoped for on our first day back on the water. I'm still nursing a rotator cuff injury in my left shoulder, which can hurt like a son of a gun, so wasn't looking for a workout. The wind was up around 12 knots and gusty with frequent directional shifts thrown in for good measure. That kept us too busy for taking any pictures while sailing.

Still, it was a good day. After a long reach and some downwind time, we spent the next hour and a half beating our way back toward the yacht club. Splashing through chop kept us wet - well, K blocked most of it, so not so much got to me ;) which was good since except for my sailing boots, I was just wearing cotton.

Usually the wind at Hinuma is from the northeast - off the ocean, which makes for smoother flow over the lake and easier docking. But Monday the wind was from the south. It's always tricky (for me anyway) to dock when the wind is blowing from the south - offshore, straight down the dock - as it can shift at any time and ruin an approach requiring a trip to the opposite side of the dock. So, as K was wearing a wetsuit, rather than risk us being blown into the dock by the shifting winds, she hopped off the boat in 1 meter of water, walked us the last couple of meters in, and tied us up as I lowered the sails. Maybe not an elegant display of skill, but safe and effective. As my first flight instructor used to say, "any landing you can walk away from is a good one."

So how were the new sails? They worked well, I like the way they go up and down with much more ease and big windows are a nice feature. Whether they are any faster, I don't know - we were overpowered most of the time and just trying to keep the rail out of the water. I think on a more moderate day - say 5 to 9 knots - any difference in speed will be more evident.

As for the mast head floats, we didn't need them this trip. It does seem to me that not having the weight and drag of the Hobbie teardrop atop the mast is a better arrangement.

Three generations of the Hakuta family bring Bluesette out of the water

It was past two o'clock when left the yacht harbor, so we stopped at Mama's Kitchen for a late lunch. Luckily, they were open and after a salad and pasta (my pasta had a delicious tomato and crab sauce) Mama treated us to some banana cake. While we finishing that, her daughter was taking rolls out of the oven and gave us two of them to take home - K had cinnamon, and I had raisin. - yum. They spoil us.

Bluesette at Hinuma Yacht Harbor - Good sailing, food and friends.

Until next, sweet sailing.


Baydog said...

PB: That is the number one task for any crew: to keep the skipper dry! Have you ever said what K stands for? Would you?

I envy you for having True Japanese cuisine at your fingertips. Are you strictly vegetarian, or do you enjoy fish?

P.S. Isn't the crackly sound of new sails exciting?

Pandabonium said...

Hi Baydog -
My wife (and splash guard) just goes by "K" on the blogs.
I'll ask her about using her full first name in future posts. Wouldn't hurt.

I'm not a strict vegetarian and I do like seafood a lot.

Exciting? Yes! and these new sails are more crisp than our other set and make a lot of noise when luffing.

Baydog said...

I luff new sails

Pandabonium said...

Baydog- oops. I let the cat out of the bag with K's name. I've deleted it this post, but in future posts will use it.

Don Snabulus said...

It is good to see you back out on the water and it looked like the sky cooperated if the wind did not.

I always enjoy hearing about Mama's as well (even though I am on a diet that includes little pasta and no cake).

O Docker said...

Godspeed, Bluesette!

Martin J Frid said...

You could put a nice flag at the top instead of the teardrop float!

Looks like a lovely day with great weather after a long wait.

The Moody Minstrel said...

No rain, no crowds...ah, what's a little wind? ;-)

I'm glad you were able to get some time in on the water during Golden Week.

Pandabonium said...

O Docker - still in orbit.

Martin - The flag I like would piss off a lot of folks. I'll settle for my wind vane.

Moody - indeed. a bad day sailing is better than... and this wasn't bad at all. Thanks.

bonnie said...


Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

I hope Baydog doesn't luff his new sails for long; otherwise they will soon enough be olde sails which only his competitors could love!