Whew, first day and sail complete

24 hours aboard. No need for suspense, it was a success. But not without a few small bumps and one big one. Before yesterday I had exactly two days experience sailing catamarans so it was not without some trepidation that I took on single-handing.

First challenge, jumping over to the fuel dock. Wind was blowing me onto the dock so no worries there. Untied the bow line and sprung off the bow. Easy. Out in the channel seems a good idea to get a feel for handling. Concern flared up when I found it difficult to spin clockwise but no issues the other direction. Fuck, pretty stupid mistake – forgot to center the wheel. In a catamaran when docking direction is controlled by the throttles. Lesson learned.

Pulling up to the fuel dock I had wind blowing me off the dock. With someone to grab the lines it was the epitome of non-event. Tanks full, it was time to blast out to sea. After clearing the harbor I raised the main and jib sheet to enjoy a nice 7 knot cruising speed in 12-15 knots of wind. Today’s objective was single handing and not sail optimization. I started with a reef in just because I didn’t want to get caught in a bad situation. Seas built as I headed west with 6-8 foot rollers a few with small breaking waves. Even at a 45 degree angle the ride was mellow. Damn the 1160 is as nice sailing boat. The layout of the lines make easy work for single-handing. About 10 miles off shore it seem like a good place to turn around and work my way back upwind. Quick jibe and soon it was downhill sailing on the waves. Somewhere in this reality set in. I was on my boat. I was in the open ocean. And I was loving it.

Point Loma

The boat made me look good sailing into the San Diego harbor under sail. Only needed one tack at the entrance to set up for a perfect close hauled straight shot in 45 degrees to the wind, in a catamaran… Shelter Island marina came up too quickly so I decided a cruise past downtown was a necessity. Making the turn to a run let me relax, crank the music, and watch the hundred of boats playing on the water.

The sun was punching the preverbal time clock, time to get this baby safely back to shore. With the auto pilot and engines running, furling the jib and dropping the main were a snap and soon I was dodging paddle boarders and dingys. As I approached my dock I momentarily wondered if my directional awareness was messed up. Nope, some jackass parked in my slip. Fuck. Only other spot had three other boats in it, barely enough space for a 21.5 foot wide, 41 foot long cat. To make matters worse, the wind was blowing 12-15 knots off the dock and I’d be piloting from the side away from the dock – making it hard to gauge distance. This was in no way how I wanted to end the day. Time to man up and go for it. First attempt, close, so very close. But the bow was blown just a bit too much to jump to the dock and get tied before hitting a monohull in the slip. Second pass, let’s not talk about it. Not even close. A few expletives may have been heard. Third time was the charm, lined up pretty well. Jumped to dock. Realized I forgot to grab the dock line. Stretched to reach the line nearly falling into the water – stupid mistake. Fast tie of the stern line. Ran to the bow and tied it just before I ran out of breath. Next time I’ll consciously remember to breath. My bow was about five feet from the monohull and with a deep sigh I relaxed knowing it doesn’t get much harder and I managed to not harm my or anyone else’s boats.

Spot where I squeezed into to the left of the monohull with red sailpack

Walked over to my dock and see the boat in my slip is for sale. I called the broker and politely asked why his boat was in my slip. He thought I might have left for good and was single-handing so he took the easy spot. Seriously, what the fuck. I spared him the words running through my mind. He explained he wouldn’t be able to move the boat until the morning, with a meager, “I’m sorry.” Really, it just keeps getting better. I walk back to my boat resigned to my new spot for the evening and give her a good wash down to get salt off. As I finish up, a live aboard in the next finger pops up and mentions that TJ (owner of the monohull in front of me) is working but will need to get out. Really, it just keeps getting better. Not wanting to deal with re-docking again I stop to think about my options. Decided the best move was to slide the monohull in my slip back and try to make room for me in front of him. With his boat sticking out four feet and room for me, I declare it a success. This time I took no chances and recruited the live aboard to help with docking. Backing out is a non-event, as is pulling on to my dock, which the wind gently blows me up against. I thank mr. live aboard and offer him a beer. “What kind?,” he asked. PBR. “Nope, thanks anyway.” Wow, when did scraggily looking guys scrapping by start turning their noses up to PBR? Oh well no tears from me, since it was one more I could drink.

Boat safely secured I can clean up the boat and the lines, crack open my first beer of the day and feel I can call the day a success. Nothing broken. Nothing bent. Nothing to cause me nightmares.

Offending monohull…

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