Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's in the Bags?

It has been a pretty good summer for me and Corleto to get acquainted. She has tested, teased and taught me much. She reveals herself in bits and pieces, she likes to be sailed, she likes to be clean and she enjoys to be pampered. What boat doesn't?

She has rewarded me with the ultimate in escapism- that great place we all seek- refuge from our daily lives, a place to recharge and reload my mental batteries. Even if I do not get out on the water and hoist the sails, just sitting at the dock, putzing around, fiddling with wiring or messing around with rigging, there is a satisfaction and a peace that is hard to describe. I am a lucky man.

When I bought her back in February, she came with a full sail inventory. A Main, working Jib, a storm Jib, a Spinnaker and a sail called a Drifter. I believe when Corleto was a younger girl, she raced. One of her previous Skippers likely loved the competition. 

I did not buy her to race, I bought her to learn and to cruise. The majority of my time aboard her we have flown her jib and main. And you know, that was fine getting to know her and how she handles at different points of sail. 

But me being me, I gotta know what's in the rest of the sail bags. I had never flown a spinny. I don't even know how they are supposed to be rigged. I figured I would save that one for next season, perhaps take a Spinnaker Clinic at Coopers in the spring. But what really intrigued the hell out of me was this head sail called a "Drifter". 

I set out on the info web to find out. You know the folks who contribute to the Sailnet forum, they know their stuff. Several told me what I could expect from a "drifter" and come to find out it is a perfect light wind sail. 
Heading out for another beautiful day on the water

Well I could hardly wait to get back to the boat and fly this beauty. But every time we left the dock, the winds were too strong for the drifter. Then one afternoon while Charlene and I were out enjoying our day, the wind seemed to disappear. Both of us had been enjoying the quiet that comes with sails and a silent engine. I decided that this would be the day that the drifter would come out of the bag. 

The Drifter
I was astonished at just how big a sail it was. Once hoisted, Corleto reacted nicely. She liked the drifter. The hull began to glide through the water with barely a breath of wind filling this newly discovered beauty. 
We put it through most points of sail and enjoyed the ride. Before I knew it as the day began to turn to evening, the wind began to pick up. I turned the helm and put Corleto into a run. Wow. We surfed for a bit as we headed back to Horseshoe Bay, the wind picking up all the way. 

It's a beauty when its full, the drifter in about 4 kts of SE wind
Dousing the drifter with a steady wind was a bit of a challenge, but with Charlene on the helm keeping Corleto dead into the wind, I managed to get this beauty down without getting it wet. 
As we motored back to our slip, there were smiles all around. We had done something we had never done before, sailed with some speed with the drifter. 

Smiles all around

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