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What a day!

My son and I had been following the wind forecasts closely all last week,
and they had been consistently disappointing. Saturday was supposed to be a
light-wind day, with 6 kn-7 kn the best we could hope for, and that only
for a couple of hours.

Never believe the weatherman!

When we arrived at the boat at about 1000 Saturday morning, there were
whitecaps on the lake, and the wind seemed there to stay. We had brought
along a bunch of tools and were planning to spend 2-3 hours working on the
boat, but we got little done. We just couldn't sit in the slip with that
wind blowing. We checked the rigging to make certain our adjustments made
last week were good, and found the mast was straight and vertical, the rake
was about right, and the tension on the stays and shrouds just about right.
We cotter-pinned and taped everything, rigged a line for the reefing gear
and cast off, eager to try the boat in a good wind.

People get boats for a variety of reasons. We are looking forward to
spending some nights on the boat, relaxing in the cockpit with a mug of
coffee and watching the weather and the wildlife, to sleeping aboard with
the sound of water lapping against the hull. Our main interest in a
sailboat, though, is sailing, sailing, sailing. It will always be that way,
for us.

Saturday was the perfect day. The wind blew 15-20 knots all day, with
occasional periods of lighter air. We started out with a reefed main and
the working jib, and were extremely pleased with the way the boat behaved.
It is well balanced, has only mild weather helm, tracks straight and true
even in the harder gusts, and just generally handled the heavy air as a
sailboat should. We had little difficulty in keeping her "sailing on her
lines", and found that she is a fast boat, the best kind to have. We spent
most of the day roaring along like a train,and many an exuberant peal of
laughter went flying downwind, I assure you.

In the afternoon, the wind moderated for a period, and we shook the reef
out of the main. The wind shortly returned, and we spent the next three
hours in the strongest winds of the day, but left the reef out. No
problemo. A grand boat, an exhilarating boat, a beautiful boat. I think we
are going to like her!

We are the only sailboat berthed on the lake, so imagine our surprise to
see a pretty little sloop following us. We reversed course and went to meet
them. She was a San Juan 21, of all things, and we spent a while "racing"
with her. We were consistently just a shade faster, enough so that she flew
her spinnaker in a milder period, but then the wind came roaring back from
90 degrees, laid her right over and caused them to let the spinnaker fly.
They narrowly missed running over the sail, wound up with it twisted in an
hourglass, and were forced to drop it.

We sailed until almost dark, because we just couldn't leave that beautiful
wind. This was probably the best day of sailing either of us have had, and
we were reluctant to have it end. We eventually had to do so, but we
agreed, on the drive home, that we had made a most excellent decision in
buying a SJ23, and must, therefore, be pretty smart guys. <G>

Sail #619

P.S. My monitor is in the process of dying, so I'll probably disappear from
the list for a few days.

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