Our MacGregor 26 sailboat was lots of fun and we learned a bunch about sailing with her. We had always had powerboats but she was our first sailboat. She had a wonderful pop-top that gave us standing room in the cabin and even had a canvas cover with windows to help keep out the cool nights.
The second trip out with her on a local lake was just about as exciting as the first trip, if you haven’t read about that first time there’s a link below. We gave our then 10 year old daughter her choice of ‘bedroom’ and she chose the v-berth. She brought in fancy fuzzy pillows and scarves and transformed her space into her own little haven. She couldn’t wait until she could lay on her bed and look out the open hatch while we sailed along. Needless to say, the second trip was a joy for her as she was able to do just that.
My hubby, aka the dock ape idiot and I were in the cockpit with me at the tiller. The weather was so nice with blue skies and sun and our mountain lake provided some challanges with the slight wind trying to wind its way past the craggy shore line. Only one other boat, also a sailboat was on the lake and for a time we both ghosted along close enough to chat.
The wind picked up a bit and both of us headed off to enjoy the empty lake. We headed towards Pitney Island and my hubby decided that we should try ‘wing and wing’. Our 150% gennoa to the port side and the main to starboard and we sailed along at a gentle pace. Detroit Lake is a nice lake to play on and so pretty with lots of places to drop the hook.
It wasn’t long before our daughter popped her head up asking if she could use the head. I shrugged and told her if she had to go then…go. About this sametime my hubby went below to rummage around for a snack. I voice my concern that maybe we shouldn’t be wing and wing since I’m not real comfortable with it. Mike’s like…oh it’s fine, don’t worry.
They’re both below doing their thing and I’m coming up to the area between Pitney Island and the mountain. Mt. Jefferson off in the distance is still postcard pretty with the snow and I’m enjoying the view. Suddenly, the sailboat heels over hard to port.
The wind currents between the island and the mountain shifted around and I’d had an accidental jibe. Our daughter screams as she’s thrown from the head and lands against the port side of the cabin. My hubby too is thrown against the side and they are both screaming at me demanding to know what I’m doing. Our daughter starts screaming the boat is going to sink because all she can see on the window is water.
I tell my hubby quite loudly that he needs to come up and help me let out the sheet. He of course is pinned to the side-wall of the cabin. I stand up in the cockpit by placing my left foot against the back rest of the port seat as water starts to come over the gunwale (gun’l). The sheet around the winch is too far forward for me to reach and I start laughing as the boom begins to drag in the water. I think about the Lazer I learned on and am pretty sure I’m going in the water, I also wonder if that other sailboat can see us.
I knew the sheet had to be freed to dump out the wind and bring us back up so I let go of the tiller and when I did she started to round up (head into the wind). I pulled the sheet out of the cam and spun it around the winch letting it run free. The sailboat popped back up in a blink. A few moments later we’re just bobbing on the water.
Our daughter still talks today about being throw off the potty and onto the port (window) and seeing nothing but water. I am more aware of the wind now and try to look for ways the land will impact the movement of the wind. The island and the mountain combined to narrowly funnel the wind and we had a large sudden increase of wind speed which cause our accidental jibe and all the excitement.
This is how you learn. Grandpa always said, “Experience is the best teacher because there’s no drop outs.” I remember the lesson well and the first time I had to jibe Whisper, our Newport 30, I called out ‘prepare to jibe’ and braced for the sudden impact. We all braced for it. Funny how it was kind of anti-climatic in that Whisper has a real big boat feel and the wind wasn’t enough to jerk her around.
Learning to sail a sailboat is fun and challanging. You can’t learn everthing in a classroom. You’ve got to get out there and get wet. So gear up and get out there and be sure to let me know how it goes.
1 Comment posted on "MacGregor 26 Sailboat part two"
MacGregor Sailboat part one on February 13th, 2008 at 10:11 am #
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