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A grand first day

My son, Scot, his daughter, Jillian, age 14, and I spent the day sailing
today. We had light airs, but a great time was had by all. This was the
first day of sailing in the new boat, and we could not be more pleased. My
granddaughter had never sailed before, and we were most anxious that it be
a pleasant first experience for her. It was, without doubt.

Since the winds never exceeded 8 knots, and were usually less than half
that, we flew the 153% genoa all day, and are much impressed with the
performance of that sail. We seemed to move in spite of there being no
visible wind, and sailed 7 miles in 5 hours, much of it to windward. The
boat seems very easily driven, and accelleration was impressive when a good
puff did happen along. We had a short period during which we were able to
heel about 20 degrees, so we took that opportunity to tension the shrouds
as recommended by Clark.

Weather helm is light, even close-hauled in the 'heavier' winds, with the
genoa. Tracking is straight and true, and rudder pressure very comfortable.
Marvelous feel, like a much larger, heavier boat.

When we tried the boat for a few minutes last Saturday, we were both very
concerned with the outboard and its management. It was rigged with a 5-part
tackle for raising and lowering, but it just plain didn't work. The motor
is a 9.9 hp Mercury 4-stroke, and the blasted thing weighs a ton...well,
130+ pounds, actually. The lifting tackle had been attached to an eye on
the transom, and the line of pull was all wrong, almost horizontal. It took
all the two of us together could give it to make it work at all. Before
this trip, I moved the attachment to the top rail of the stern
pulpit....what a difference! Even this feeble old man can easily raise and
lower it, and we are both much, much relieved.

It's a grand little boat, as every SJ23 skipper on the list already knows,
and we can't wait to get her out in some real air. We agreed, today, that
the boat is perfect for us and our situation, and that we were very smart
to have decided on her. We have a lot ot learn, but this is going to be a
good schooling experience.

Sail #619

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