Today I took the boat out by myself for the first time. I have practiced most of the on-shore setup/tear down by myself as I was figuring it out, so that was all doable. Launching the boat is a chaotic experience single-handed. I need to tie off to the dock, but also in a way I can release it to get out. Then try to raise the main, hold myself to the dock and then steer away once I couldn’t hold the dock anymore, made for interesting times.
It also resulted in the main not getting all the way up. I kept trying to bring the boat into the wind to try and yank on the halyard and get the main up the rest of the way, before I had gained enough speed to actually turn into the wind. I had the main halyard fed back through what is usually the jib halyard spot so that I could reach the it from the skippers spot to aid in coming in to the dock. However, this just had a pinch cleat, which would hold for a while, but slip a little and lower the main when I got a heavy gust. I eventually brought it back to the normal cleat to prevent that.
Going through the pinch cleat meant I was slightly more in control when coming in to the dock. However, that pinch cleat does not let it flow smoothly when dropping the sail. So I needed one hand on the tiller, one hand feeding the pinch cleat and one hand pulling the sail down. I found myself short a hand and in typical fashion, I found the dock with a thud.
Speaking of which, there were a bunch of folks out today with no dock etiquette. Boats were tied up all down the south side of the south dock, which is prime sailboat launching spots, given the prevailing wind from the north. Tied up when I left and still there when I returned over an hour later. Dock signage requests no more then 15 min. tie up. I also returned to jet skis lining the north side of the north dock that I typically use in returning. I came in to the north side of the south dock, to then have a motor boat pull in front of me, and tie up right at the water end of the dock, meaning I had to tack off at the last moment as I no longer had 2/3 of the dock to use as a target. I nearly ran over a canoe in that crazy last minute maneuver. I shouted an apology and sailed back across the lake to get a breather and give the motorboat a chance to give me back a docking spot.
Sailing itself went reasonably well. There was one gybe that involved the main sheet tangling on itself and me almost going for a swim. A few times I tried to play the role of two people on the boat and nearly entangled myself. There were several times I had as much weight as I could manage hiked out on the rail, with the other rail in the water, and a few times I took on several gallons as I buried the entire rail. Fun, lots of fun really, but, I ended with an enormous knot in my stomach.
I also got my first boat injury from this one. Sliced me knee on something as I headed out, and bled on the hiking straps in several spots before I realized I had been cut.
I do like my new life jacket. The chest pocket is particularly useful. It fits my phone inside its waterproof case such that I don’t have to bury it in the dry bag. I need to get one of those flat orange whistles. The one I have that came from my father’s kayak bag, is enormous and my life jacket has no place to clip anything.
All in all a good trip, and not overly harrowing, but obvious room for improvement to make things more manageable by one person. I’m sore and exhausted, but smiling.