|Posted by [email protected] on September 18, 2014 at 10:55 PM|
(I'm posting this a little late. This trip was taken on July 28-29, 2014 and the report was posted on the TSBB forum.)
Well, I had two full days to sail and the forecast seemed about as perfect as it could be, so I decided to give her a shot. We had a busy Sat/Sun so I couldn't finish prep until Monday morning. I finally launched about 1 p.m. It turned out I was missing part of the snotter. I jury rigged it using a locking hitch pin for a block and an extra piece of line. Here is Little Bit (oh, yea - I did officially name her with some thanks to Noemi) about ready to go.
You can see I have just about everything I need - gatorade, water, plenty of padding, brand new blue tarp, waterproof box (you do remember my capasize - right?) compartments stuffed with stuff and most everything is tied in. I did say "just about". I need to add something to my checklist - add a checklist. I forgot my sleeping bag. I also left my night reading (a couple Sail Mags, one issue of Woodenboat) and glasses in the truck - dumb me.
I thought if the winds were just right I might could get in 20 miles though I had picked alternate goals. Leaving late almost ruled out the 20 right away. As it turned out the winds were a bit fluky and more northerly than anticipated. It took me about 3 hours to go 7 miles. At that time I figured making the 10 mile destination was about all I was going to make.
Well, at the 7 mile mark the river turns north and narrows. I battled a half mile stretch for an hour and a half. Couldn't get through. I'd get almost through, get to the other side, tack and lose ground. Repeat. I'd get a good wind and would be bashing through and before you know it, I'm in irons - wind shift. Last effort I almost made it but the winds and waves were the strongest of the day. I was almost through and to the other side but I could tell the last bit that I was making too much leeway to make it and bailed. I sailed back to a small island and took a break including a little dip (in the water that is).
There was a cove behind the island. There I spotted the Chickamauga Hilton. That's where I'd settle in for the evening. I figured it would take a while to set the boat up for the night since I had never done it. I was done by 9:00 and had a bit of light left. It is quite a chore keeping all that stuff orderly on a little boat. And one mistake I made was putting the mosquito net up before the bed-boards. They are still unfinished and the net grabbed those boards like it wasn't going to let go! I wound up taking the net down and redoing it. With no bag and a forecast of low 60's I put on the only long sleeve shirt I had, a pair of socks and grabbed the sail for a blanket. Did anyone ever tell you that dacron has a very low R rating?
I did get chilly - not cold - just chilly. At one point I started to shiver but that didn't last long. The boat was fairly stable and the Thermarest camping mattress worked pretty well. I was only bothered by one mosquito in the early morning, saw one mayfly, and a few other flying critters on the outside of the net. It's a good thing I had the tarp because the dew was heavy. Here's the view to the stern:
I tried to cover one open end with a orange poncho I had and the other with a large leaf bag I brought. I slept with my PFD on. You can also see the "blanket" laying off to the side there. Of course, removing the sail meant I would have to rig the boat while in the water the next morning. I managed but it wasn't perfect.
Here's the shot of the morning taken from the anchorage out to the river/lake. That's the island I stopped at. The boat was right under that single tree on the right.
The winds were light to start the morning, in fact, I rowed for a bit three or four times; but then it filled in pretty nicely. I sailed the 7 miles back in two and a half hours.
Here's the takeaway. Cruising in a dinghy has its challenges. After just 14 miles I'm going to be sore in several places. I had a blow-up seat cushion that took just about all the discomfort out of sitting for hours on end. However, my back has a very sore spot on it from leaning against the rear seat and I even has a foam cushion I rested against the whole time. Sitting still wasn't all that comfortable. Any real long cruise would have to have something more relaxing. The push/pull tiller is indispensable. I had the regular tiller along just in case but I never thought about using it. The tarp, mosquito net arrangement was difficult. I wish I had some kind of tent to set up over the boat. Rain would make it even more difficult. Of course, there's sometimes the option of tent camping on shore.
Will I do it again? Maybe. But then I have the Hunter 18.5 that has a bed in it!!! What fools we are.
Categories: Adventures on Little Bit