Wednesday night is usually race night on the lake at this time of year.  I’ve participated a few times.  The results of which have been a mixed bag.  I’ll talk about that later.  Anyway, I called up Beau from Seaflower to see if he was going to race.  He wasn’t but said he was up for a pleasure sail.

In light of that, we invited him to take Sundowner out instead of Seaflower and he said sure.  We motored out of the marina at around 1830 into a slight chop from west wind that was sending little waves right down the entrance way of the harbor.

Eager to get sailing and out of that uncomfortable beating motion we hoisted sails almost immediately after turning the last marker.
Tate and Beau raising the main sail
As you can see, Beau came up on deck with me to work the lines.  It was super nice having another sailor aboard that knew what to do just by me telling him using nautical terms.  A new experience for us.   Also happy to report that the main is going up and down way easier than it has in the past.  All the lube I put on the cars must have done its job.
Beau raising the main sail
Beau takes the helm to get a feel for the unfamiliar and heavy Sundowner.  In the end I think he really liked our boat.  Was nice to hear good words about her from another sailor.
Sundowner sailing at sundown with beau at the helm
You can see here after a quick tack we started to really get some wind.  It clocked around to the north and picked up a bit.  I estimate we were in 10-15kts at this point.  Sundowner was like a dog with a bone.
Tate on Sundowner sailing at sundown
Dani photographing the airplane that was circling.  The unnatural attraction of aircraft to Sundowner continues.
Airplanes flying overhead
Yeehaw!Waves crashing over bow at sunset
At some point the downhaul pulled loose and I went up on the sprit to rerig it correctly.  A fun and wet affair on a windy day.
Tate messing with Reefing line
We sailed out to the J marker to watch the race boats.  We kept our distance but got to see the race.  Dani had never seen it before.  After we had our fill we turned around and started to head back.

The wind continued to clock around and pick up.  At this point I was seriously considering tucking a reef into the main.
Sundowner sailing at sundown with Tate and Dani at the helm

Dani wasn’t feeling too well.  She took the tiller and steered.  She did a great job and I can tell her confidence is building while helming.  She was also impressed at “how much easier” it was to steer the boat.  I think this is in large part to my improvements in my ability to trim the sails and balance the boat.  Sundowner has a lot of weather helm if the main and jib aren’t balanced.  The jib needs a lot of halyard tension or she’ll want to round up.

The chop wasn’t all that bad but it was hitting us on the beam as we charged through the water.  The GPS put us at almost 7kts over land.  That’s pretty much floored for our boat.  And while a bit scary as the rail dips into the water, it was very very fun to “haul ass” and just keep on keeping on.

We ended up not reefing as we made the turn south to head into the marina and it eased the motion considerably.  We didn’t drop the sails until after making the turn into the marina.

All in all a very fun night of sailing.  Coming in when it is dark was a new experience for us.  The nav lights were awesome.  We could see them lighting up the bottom part of the sail as we came in.  I have no doubt people could see us.

Many thanks to Beau.  Always nice to have a hard working crew aboard.  Made for a less stressful sail.  During the final quarter of the trip I estimate we were in 20kts steady wind.  I confirmed with some of the local weather stations.  Gusting up to around 25kts.  Sundowner is a champ in those conditions.

Hilariously, I bet we could have actually entered the race and done well on a day like that.  With heavy wind we can maintain 6.5 kts pretty easy.  And our terrible rating would let us start first, finish last, and probably still win.