It may be October, but sailing season isn’t over just yet

With a little preparation October is great month for sailing.  Both the air and the water are starting to cool down, and that’s what makes the preparation necessary.  The good news is that the preparation isn’t all that difficult because neither the water nor the air is dangerously cold yet, assuming you can get out of the water and dry off somewhat quickly.  So far this month (October) both the water and air temperature have been in the low 60 degree range.  That means when you get out into the wind it can be a little bit cold, especially if you aren’t in direct sunlight.  And in regards to the water, I won’t go any further than knee deep without a wet suit this time of year.  But, I may just be a wimp who doesn’t particularly like being cold.

Ok, so the water and air temps are starting to cool off, but what should you do if you want to keep sailing?  Well here is what I do, I start in a wetsuit and add a windbreaker or water proof jacket if I need a little more warmth.  My logic for the wetsuit is that the potential exists for me to end up in the water, all be it involuntarily.  And, if that happens a sweatshirt is going to do more harm then good.  I could just be paranoid but I would much rather be prepared than end up in a dangerous situation.  Some of you are probably pointing out that a wetsuit isn’t a great insulation layer when it isn’t in the water and you’re right.  However, it is much better than nothing, and the windbreaker stops the wind which is where a lot of heat is lost.  I also bring along neoprene booties and neoprene sailing gloves because if the spray starts to pick up your hands will get wet and cold and that isn’t fun at all.  A bit of common sense is also needed, this isn’t the time of year to be pushing your sailing boundaries.

Alright, so now we’re prepared … let’s go sailing!

With winds out of the north and delightfully calm water Asya and I geared up and launched Spy Hop with no particular destination in mind.  We ended up sailing back and forth across Centerville Harbor.  I’ll explain more about where we were sailing later, the take away is that it was fantastic even though it is early October!

Calm Seas on Centerville Harbor
Nice Calm Seas

And with a day this nice no destination was needed.

Sailing Cape Cod
Asya at the helm of Spy Hop

Sailing Cape Cod

10-12-2014 5

 

It is possible that this was the last sail of the year, but I sure it hope it wasn’t.  There is still plenty of fall left to enjoy before it would be unwise to be on the water.

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More Improvements to Make

Sailing on Waquoit Bay
Sailing on Waquoit Bay

The more we sail Spy Hop the more impressed I become with her.  Also, the more I realize that we need to improve the way we handle her.  The last time that we took her out we realized that there is a lot of potential in the boat that we aren’t tapping into simply by the way we were sailing.  The biggest change that we need to make is the ability to hike out onto the deck to better distribute weight when the wind gets a bit strong.  Spy Hop can be depowered pretty quickly if needed, by easing the main and jib sheets, but it isn’t all that much fun when you end up loosing a good portion of your power potential.

The first time I hiked out on Spy Hop I realized that the Daysailer probably has more in common with dinghys than with yachts.  This whole year I have been trying to sail her as if she were the Catalina 31 that I learned on, but the reality is that she isn’t.  There isn’t a keel keeping the boat upright, instead she has a crew that acts as the ballast to keep her upright.  That is all a long winded way of saying that we have some improvements to make to our little boat.

Three improvements that  immediately come to mind:

1 – The coamings need to be modified so that the crew and skipper can quickly and comfortable get out onto the deck to move weight outwards

2 – A tiller extension needs to be added.  (I have fairly long arms, and from the deck I was using my finger tips to control the tiller)

3 – Hiking straps (like on other small boats, it is helpful being about to be able to loop your feet through something to be counter act most of your weight being over the side of the boat.)

This late in the sailing season I have resigned myself to the fact that most if not all of these projects will end up happening next season rather than this season.  These three improvements will have to get added to the growing list of winter projects to prepare for next year.  But, that does allow for a good amount of time to actually get the work completed.