27 August 2009

Sailing

A friend and co-worker introduced me to sailing yesterday. A few months before we were looking out of the ballroom window, on the top of the hotel we work at, at Elliot bay and started talking about boats, sailing terms, etc. He mentioned he had purchased a boat and even had planned to live on it to save some money. Over the weeks he invited me to go sailing with him a few times and I finally took him up on the offer.

I forget what make of boat he has but it's a keel boat meaning it can't be capsized (or very unlikely), has a small cabin, outboard motor (which we barley used) and is about 22 - 24 feet. I forget but I believe it is 22. It is a Bermuda rigged craft as are most modern sailboats meaning it sports a single mast with a mainsail and, in this case, a Genoa sail. This boat could also fly a jib or a spinnaker instead of the Genoa.

I took the ferry over to Bainbridge and met David at his berth. The first thing he had me do was step into the cabin and find all the rescue stuff. Life jackets, flare gun, whistle, etc. Then I helped some setting up the mainsail and the Genoa. After that we slowly motored away out into Eagle bay, raised the main, cut the motor, waited for the ferry to leave and sailed out into the sound.

It was a pretty calm day, perfect for a first day of sailing and shortly David had me raise the Genoa. Just after this was our first sighting . . . of . . . something. It was either a Dall's Porpoise, Harbor Porpoise or a Pacific White-Sided Dolphin. For a while I was convinced it was a Minke but that was before I learned that these other types of dolphin and porpoise lived in such cold waters. We saw these on one other occasion during our return trip. The last picture shows these.

We spent about 4-5 hours on the water sailing to Magnolia and back. Winds were from the North-Northwest from about 3 to 10 miles per hour. The biggest swells we encountered were from the wake of the container ship Midnight Sun as she rolled through to Tacoma. About that same time a coast guard procession came in to Elliott Bay with cutters from Japan and Russia and a Canadian hovercraft for the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum.

I learned a lot about sailing including the realization that someday I'll end up owning my own boat. You can view more photos here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/neutralbuoyancy/sets/72157622178182996/