First sail in Chesapeake waters

North River and Mobjack Bay
Boat: O’day Daysailer
Location: North River, Gloucester, VA
Time: ~2pm – 5pm
Conditions: ~82°F, light breeze

We took a couple of days off of work to get out of the mountains and east to the Chesapeake so we could sail in salt water and rename our boat. We launched from the ramp at Mobjack Bay Marina, then brought the boat across the North River to the dock at our Airbnb.

before the renaming_2802
Ready to go

It was a risk coming in October. We had no idea what the weather might bring. We lucked out with sunny skies, plenty of breezes, and warm weather. Continue reading “First sail in Chesapeake waters”

My first sail

We had a steady breeze last night and took our new-to-us sailboat to nearby Claytor Lake so my husband could take me for a sail. He and the kids took the boat for our family’s maiden voyage while I was in Vienna, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for my chance to go since I returned 2 weeks ago.

At 4:30 pm at home, we ate an early dinner of salmon salad (for my husband and me) and hot dogs (for the kids), then hooked up the trailer to our car and drove the 30 minutes to Claytor Lake.

Launching at Claytor Lake

The boat’s not large enough for all four of us — it’s a small wooden yawl, abut 13 feet — so Brian took me out for a quick jaunt before coming back to take the kids on their turn.

It was everything I’d hoped it would be. 

The evening was comfortable for July: a stiff breeze moved over the cool lake, blowing the heat of the day away. The sky and lake shone blue, and summer hills, green like brocolli forests, rose from the edges of the water.

Under sail on a summer evening
I mostly got in Brian’s way. I grew up on motor boats and know nothing about sailing. We’ve sailed a couple times together before, but never in a boat this small, never so close to the water, never so close to the rigging, the tiller, the hull, the boom, the sails. Never bumping into each other as we swap places, as we rock the boat.

It is intimate, and I love it. 

I can feel the water through the thin wooden hull, and our slightest movements steer (or stall) the boat. I duck my head when the main sail passes over, I move lines so they don’t tangle.

I can’t wait to do more. I want to know everything. I want to know the names of things, the knots to use, how the tackle works. I want to know how to read the wind, how to feel the water, how to move with each other and with the boat. 

I want to learn how to sail.

I’m still on my mobile blogging kick. I wrote this on the shore, listening to rigging clang against masts in the marina while Brian took the kids out for their turn. Testing the scheduling feature this time to see if it posts Sunday morning.