I know everyone is probably looking for more hammers and hacksaws and shiny new rigging parts but I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you by hauling off and making a post on an unrelated topic.  You see, this weekend was a Westsail rendezvous in Kemah TX.  Its basically just a gathering of people of that own or have an interest in the Westsail boats.   They happen all over the country but this was the first one that has come about near us.  Of course we had to attend!

So this weekend we packed our bags and stashed our dogs at relatives houses.  We made haste down to Texas to see what all this hub-bub was about.  Dani and I were very much looking forward to meeting and perhaps being able to sail on other boats like our own.  We also wanted to make the run to talk to Bud Taplin from whom we are going to order most of the parts required for our rigging project.

We arrived Friday night for the meet and greet.  It was great to finally be able to converse with other people that had the exact same type of boat and the exact same type of problems with those said boats.  We caught up with Bud and generally had a great time with everyone.

It turned out that the marina we visited had 3.5 Westsails slipped there.  3.5 is a weird number when counting boats.  The first boat we noticed when we pulled up was sort of a curiosity.  It looked sort of like a Westsail 32.  Sort of.  We later discovered that it was a Kendall hull but with a Westsail deck.  Kendalls were the boats that came before the Westsails.  What a unique craft.  Owned by a man named Wayne I believe.

But there wasn’t much time to look at it.  Instead we gathered in the marina clubhouse for drinks and talk and generally had a good time getting acquainted with everyone.   Here I am having too much rum and obnoxiously interrupting Gary, or so Dani told me.  Sorry Gary and Bud.

Westsail Rendezvous 2012 in Kemah Tx

That is Bud on my left, Gary from Sabbatical on my right, Roan from Adelante across from me and off to the left side is Todd of Morning Sun, our host.

It was a lot of fun, but the real excitement was set for the next day when we would “Westsail the bay.”  The wind was forecast for 17mph which of course invoked wailing out of Dani… “But but but what if they don’t want to go out??!”  We had a lengthy discussion about wind force which led to the idea that the force of the wind is a square.  So 25mph is about double the force of a 15mph.  That gave Dani an idea of what type of conditions we’d be looking at.  She is quite familiar with the feel of 25 mph winds.  However, it did little to settle her heart since most of the boats around our parts won’t go out in those conditions.

Then again… It is a convention of Westsails.   So the decision was made to go out anyway despite the breeze.  Which of course pleased Dani to no end.  Lord how that girl likes to sail.

The day started out with Todd and I having a long discussion about their boat, Morning Sun.  A beautiful boat that Todd had just had rerigged.  I was envious looking at all of the shiny new metal.  He had also painstakingly removed his teak decking and epoxy filled each screw hole one by one.  It must have taken a lifetime to do.

Morning Sun Westsail 32 at Westsail Rendezvous 2012

I badly wanted to go out with him, but his boat quickly filled to capacity and Dani said that Adelante was also going to go out and needed more crew to go.  So I transferred over.  Its hard not to follow a pretty face.

Gary and George were also going to crew on Adelante (Roan’s boat).  You can see Gary here next to me with George taking a photo.  Gary is smiling so happily because he thought he was sly enough to reach around and pinch Dani’s rear.  Sailors you know.   Unfortunately for him he soon found that it was the wrong rear he was pinching.  (just kidding)

Tate, Dani, and Gary from Sabbatical

And underway out towards the bay.  Notice how clear the deck is.  Its a stark contrast to Sundowner’s cluttered deck.

Westsail 32 Adelante deck

Here is the shot of the guys as we made it out into the bay.  It was quite breezy.

Tate, Gary, Roan and George sailing in Galveston Bay Tx aboard Adelante

However, I was shocked that despite the stiff breeze, the wave action was calm and almost smooth.  I think I shocked many people by my high praise of the water quality.  This water they have over there is the same green color that we see out in the Gulf around Ship Island.  I was amazed when I was actually able to see a fish nibbling on Morning Sun’s rudder.  I pointed in amazement trying to show Dani.  People looked at me like I was crazy.  Perhaps I am, but compared to our muddy little lake, it was a paradise.

Sailing on Galveston Bay aboard Adelante

Once we cut the motor and unrolled the jib, the fun began!
Adelante's bow crashing into the waves

Morning Sun had a big head start on us.  We determined that the best course of action was to go fast and beat them to the shipping lane and back.  Easier said than done.  Morning Sun had elected to fly their double reefed main and the staysail, presumably for comfort, though we figured it was a rouse to try and get us to slow down.  Roan had just gotten a new main sail and stack pack but had not gone over the reefing procedures yet so we didn’t want to get caught up in a botched reef job.  Instead we just unfurled the 130% jib and made a run for it with that alone.

With the stiff and steady breeze, this made sheeting in a bit of an ordeal.  How many Westsailors does it take to trim a jib?
Tate, Gary and George attempting to winch Adelante's jib

Unfortunately, our boats generally suffer from poor sheeting angles to the cockpit winches.  This results in frequent overrides (as Dani is well aware).  I had my eyes open for solutions to this sort of problem as I looked at everyone’s boats.  One thing I think we can all benefit from is the excellent setup on Sabbatical which has an angled cheek block behind the primary winches that will allow a proper angle of entry to the winch.  (I know this crap sounds Greek to my non-sailor friends, sorry.)

In any event, we sailed swiftly and caught up with the elusive Morning Sun.  I’m sure our ride was a bit more “exciting” though.  Look at how nice and steady she looks under sail.

Morning Sun W32 under sail in Galveston Bay Tx

Dani having fun.

Dani's feet on rail close to the water in Galveston Bay Tx

Our secret weapon.

Dani steering Adelante on Galveston Bay Tx

And of course, Roan enjoying his boat, which he hadn’t been able to take out in a few months.

Roan and Tate aboard Adelante

Coming back into Kemah I had a lot to think about after seeing and finally sailing on other Westsails.

Kemah Tx Boardwalk at Galveston Bay

Comparing notes on how his boat sailed compared to ours.  What I liked better and what I didn’t like as much as compared to ours.  It was a fun and enlightening experience for us.  And it was great to talk to so many other guys that have so much experience on these boats.

Before we said our goodbyes, Dani gathered us up for a group photo.
Westsail Rendezvous 2012 group shot

Dale, Me, Roan, Dani, Gary, Scottie, Larry and wife (sorry I’m bad with names), Bud, another couple that I’ve shamefully forgotten their names, and finally George on the end.  The Morning Sun’s were missing in action for the photo.

And the gem of the trip perhaps.  I finally got a coffee mug that fits my whole hand.  I know its a really stupid thing to get excited about, but you’d be shocked by how many coffee mugs only let me slip two or three fingers in.  This bad boy was just made for me.
Coffee mug from Westsail Rendezvous 2012

After our little adventure with Westsailors, we went back to the hotel to clean up and then it was off for a night on the town with some friends.  But that is for the next post.  Thanks all you Westsailors, we had a great time!