Captain Kidd's Boatyard



On the Rocks

Posted by [email protected] on November 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM

First blog post here. Welcome. Plans are to keep a running log of my sailing/boating/water escapades. 

Yesterday I took the dinghy out. Here's the writeup I posted on the Trailer Sailor Bulletin Board (

After two aborted attempts to sail the dinghy last week due to no wind, I gave it another try today. The wind forecast was better today, especially after the front that went through; however, it was almost too much wind. I do not have a lot of experience in the dinghy and the water is cold this time of year (don't ask me how I know:,dale,hunter,18,5,capsize).


The forecast was for 10-11 mph winds and just before I left they upped the forecast for 14-16 for a couple hours with temps in the mid 60's and sunny. Tomorrow's forecast is 10 degrees cooler and wind 6-7 mph. I decided to try today. If the winds were in the mid-teens I would make a decision when I got there. I thought with two reefs in I might just give it a try.


Well, I arrived at the ramp at about 2:30. Winds seemed to be around 6-8 mph, perfect. While I was rigging it kicked up a bit so I went ahead and put one reef in. About that time an older fellow meandered over and asked me about my boat. Turns out he is refurbishing a Catalina 22 and also owns a 1989 Macgregor 26. We talked for a few minutes and he left with his compatriots.


Wind was settling down so I shook out the reef and decided to go for it. Now remember, the episode in the above referenced post is still very fresh in my mind. I have only been out on the dinghy once since that ordeal and that was really a very brief outing; so my confidence level was running low. I sure didn't want to dump her again in the middle of the lake. My senses were on high alert.


The winds were out of the NW which made for a nice broad reach up the lake and a close reach back. I did two "laps" of about a mile out and back each time. The wind was a bit erratic varying from a few mph and jumping up to 8-10 from time to time. I sat in the middle of the boat with my muscles set to shift my weight and my hand quick on the sheet. The boat did fine; however, setting on the middle thwart puts a little too much weight forward and the bow was digging in some, especially on the broad reach.


On the last inbound leg, I felt I would be able to sail the dinghy up to the dock. As I was approaching the dock, say a quarter mile out, the winds began to get a little fluky and shifted a bit to the west. I was really having to pinch to hit that dock but I felt like I could make it happen.


Remember the forecast? 14-16 mph? Well, guess when the wind decided to pick up to 14-16 mph? You got it; and I'm not kidding (no pun intended) Final approach! I was about 50 yards from the dock when the wind slammed me. Now mind you - it's blowing onshore! I wasn't going to make the dock! It all happened so fast. It was too late to row. I didn't feel like I could make a tack without crashing into the dock; so I decided to gybe. I didn't make that either. The wind blew me right onto the rocks. Daggerboard and rudder hit bottom. Boat couldn't make leeway and over she went. It didn't really dump me. I just kind of stepped into knee-deep water.


Now what? Gotta get the boat to the dock and she's half full of water. I did bring a gallon pitcher with me (just in case - not that I really expected to need it) so I started bailing; but the wind (you remember that 14-16 mph wind) was still catching the sail and pushing the boat over. I went ahead and just took the whole mast down, bailed for a few minutes and rowed the boat over to the dock.


Once I got the boat onto the trailer, I changed clothes (yes, I also brought a change just in case), packed the boat up and came home.


All in all the outing was good. Just a bit of a hard landing.


Oh, and did I tell you that I had a water-proof box that I kept my phone and camera in - just in case? It worked. Sorry though, no pics taken. Too tense out there today.


Gotta go, there's the drier buzzer. Wet clothes are washed and dried for the next outing.

Categories: Adventures on Little Bit

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