…And of course, sailing!

Sailing the boat, as much as possible, and in as many weather situations as we can get ourselves into, before we leave for Scotland is the only way to insure our comfort and safety on the long passages to come. The weather has been so spectacular as of late, with sunny cool days and lots of fresh wind, making our day sails as adventurous as any we anticipate in the spring. This last Saturday we cast-off on glass water at about 0930 and by the time we made it under the Key Bridge (about 3 nautical miles from our moorings) we had two reefs in the main and a shortened foresail, it was incredible sailing and the boat performed flawlessly! We sailed most of the day with winds ranging from 15 knots all the way up to 30 knots of sustained gusts and only put the lee-boards in the water once. We are both getting a real-feel for the way this boat sails and communicates with us. She (S/V Itinerant) can get extremely squirrely quick if we’re not anticipating the trim in heavy winds but like I said, she communicates well with us and we’re learning to respond in kind. After an absolutely perfect sail like this last weekend I’d be inclined to quote Lin and Larry with a, “Go Now, Go Cheap!” …But we both are very much aware of how much winter there is left in these latitudes. So, we’ll wait, after all, “The prudent sailor survives.”

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How Will We Prepare – Crew Readiness

When I thought about these preparatory posts, I was thinking of crew readiness as a simple factor focused on health and knowledge.  As I worked through it a bit, it became clear to me that those aspects are huge, especially knowledge. Our boating philosophy is a combination of KISS and gear-head.  For example, it is simpler to turn on a GPS and get a position than it is to take sun and star sightings, do the math using the tables, and hope that the position is right.  Given that we’ve made that decision, we must have enough GPS devices that even catastrophic events can’t take them all down.  For example, one must be in a place that is insulated from lightening strikes. Our lack of knowledge about and comfort with sextant-based navigation strongly affects the choices we make in gear.  In the boat readiness part of this series, I focused on things that the boat itself requires in order to be seaworthy.  In this part, there are some overlaps and some items that would almost surely belong in boat readiness, except that I think they are a function of us – our knowledge, skills, and needs. Physical Health – Go Mental Health – Go Comfort at sea – Go Safety – Go Knowledge – Go Officialdom – No Go Physical Health James and I are in decent condition.  He’s stronger and more fit than I am, but we both have cardio and weight routines that keep us in good shape.  Trainers who understand the stresses of sailing aren’t a dime a dozen, so we have each found machines and exercises that strengthen the muscles we use most while under sail. I’m working very, very hard on my core strength – abs, chest, back – but also trying to build some[…]

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