I’ve been thinking about this day for almost 2 years now. Oh how badly I’ve wanted to be back in the water and sailing again but so sweet was the memory of our past adventures aboard Sundowner that it seemed it would never come to happen again. It was just always around the corner but never here. It felt too good, too nice and too fun to happen to us. For us there is only work, more work, trying to have fun while working and some more work. That “sailing” thing was for someone else.

Except on Friday, it was for us. Last weekend we really kicked butt and somehow fixed a major leak in the companionway, caulked the outside of a caprail, installed the dripless shaft seal and finished the rigging completely! After 18 months of planning and working away Tate has replaced pretty much every single piece of rigging including the chainplates, boomkin and bowspirt. I feel so lucky to have such a handy man <3. And just like that it was over, and we were ready. The difference is really striking in the before and afters. Boomkin before and after side pic

There is SO much more space now without that bar across the boom gallows and wooden boomkin in the cockpit.
Cockpit before and after

Now she’s looking like a world cruiser. Very matchy with the nice blue bottom. This will help us see the previous paint coat that is black when it wears down.
Sundowner with the blue bottom

Hope this is on the right way!
Prop shaft

Easy now…
Sundowner being lifted out

There was a mad dash to check all of the seacocks and especially the dripless shaft seal for leaking as we were lowered into the water. That submarine hatch has once again proven itself worthy as Tate so effortlessly watched the shaft seal while operating the engine and sitting in the cockpit.

This was pretty stressful though and we were rushed out of the slip so Tate could get some practice BACKING up the boat down a dog legged narrow canal. This was quite the reintroduction to the water but Tate handled it LIKE A BOSS. Somehow he was able to back up in a straight line…for hundreds of yards. It was like witnessing a miracle!
Tate backing out of the harbor

Today was the real gem though as we went out on the lake for bit to check the sail trim with Skipper Glenn from Quest. We actually just had about 8″ cut off of the mainsail at the local sail shop to bring our Sail Area (SA) down from 290 to around 275.

You see the Westsails were designed with a main that was too large which made for bad weather helm. The fix for this is to cut enough off of the foot of the sail to make the resulting SA around 280. The new mains for the Westsail come already resized. Ours ended up being about 37’3″ (luff) and 14’10” (foot) and I think it has helped the weather helm some but we’ll need to monitor it in heavier air to really make the judgement.
Tate and Glenn trimming the sails

The weather turned out PERFECT at 70 degrees and partly cloudy.
top of the mast while sailing

We are SO happy to be back on the water…these smiles really don’t do it justice.
Tate and Dani finally sailing again

We tried all of the different sail tacks even going downwind wing and wing.
Downwind sailing wing and wing

We made about 4 knots on average while we out in the different configurations in about 5-10 knots of wind. Not bad but certainly not speedy either. Lets hope our rating of 249 does us some justice and the race committee doesn’t hate us for being too slow.

And you know I couldn’t help but make a video. Hopefully this will warm any of you out there still stuck in the throws of winter.