A Successful Weekend Test Sail…

With Discovery pretty close to being sorted out, and apparently watertight, I decided to take her out for a fully Challenge-loaded overnight sail and camp.  I had planned to head out about 10:00 AM on Saturday, but, things being what things were (i.e. my Friday definition of ready and my Saturday definition didn’t exactly mesh… who knew!?!), I got to the water about 4:00 PM.  I got the boat rigged and the really helpful people at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center got me into the water about 4:30.  Of course, that meant that promptly upon the 5 o’clock hour, the 10 knot breeze died out!  I had a nice, calm, and very slow sail, which allowed me to figure out how to properly use a large fender as a pillow.  I was apparently VERY relaxed, because the Coast Guard cruised by just to be sure I wasn’t asleep, or had assumed ambient temperature.  A wave showing I was alive was enough for them to continue on.  Shortly thereafter, I gave up on sail power, and unshipped the oars.  I then rowed the last half mile to One Tree Island, and set up camp.  Keep in mind that this was a full moon weekend, and I landed at low tide.  This meant once every thirty minutes, I had to pull Discovery up the beach three or four feet.  It also meant that, since morning was also low tide, I had to drag Discovery about 40 feet to the water, over pebbles, stones, and shells.  I pondered this lovely development as I made a quick breakfast: coffee and an ‘everything’ bagel with pepperjack cheese.  After breakfast, and breaking camp, I used a fender as a roller, but I did leave a bit of blue paint on the scrabble!

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The overnight camp and sail sorted out a lot of things for me- everything from which tent to bring, to the comfort of the boat cockpit, where to lead my roller furling line, etc. I did discover that, with the proper cockpit padding, the right weather, and the correct amount of exhaustion, I can indeed sleep on the boat, thus saving a lot of camp time. I also learned without a doubt that I’m getting clamp-on oarlocks… when kayaking, I keep my cranked shaft Adventure Technology paddle set at a 60 degree angle, and love feathering in and out of the water with it. However, I am not (this has been reaffirmed) a rowing aficionado, and I have little interest in becoming one in the next 30 days. The Puffer can be tricky to keep on track when at oar, so I’m going to make the rowing system basic. That way, I can more likely oar the straight and narrow!

A quick note regarding the photos… the two shots showing the gear make it look a lot messier and overloaded than it really was.  I was laying down in the boat, so the camera lens was only about 12 inches above the cockpit sole.

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

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