>Our first weekend of sailing in Annapolis for the season

>It’s amazing how quickly it became summer in Annapolis.  We spent the weekend on Pandora as our first real weekend aboard, beyond sleeping aboard while getting her ready for the water.

This last weekend we actually did some sailing, and with two other SAGA 43s.  Both couples, one we had met briefly prior to launch and the other that sailed down from Baltimore.  On Friday evening we made a very brief run from Sprig’s Pond, where Pandora is docked for the next few weeks, off across the Magothy River, north of Annapolis, and anchored behind a small island where we joined our new friends aboard St Somewhere.  Dave and Barbara, who retired last year, were just back from a trip south down the Inland Waterway and the Bahamas for the winter.

It was fun talking to them about their trip south for the winter and comparing notes on the details of their boat. It’s amazing how similar and yet different two identical boats can be.  As with most larger sailboats, SAGA 43s are built to order and are all semi-custom.

It seems that most folks don’t have photos of their boats sailing so I try to take shots of any boats we are with so I can share them.  Here’s a shot of St. Somewhere close hauled headed toward the Rhone River, south of Annapolis.  That’s about what Pandora looks like with only minor differences.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I am working to get Pandora in shape for offshore sailing and have been focused on heavy weather gear such as storm sails.  My current sail configuration is good to about 30kts (33mph) of wind and above that it’s very difficult, and dangerous to handle the boat.  With this in mind, I had a running forestay installed to hold a storm jib.  My largest forward sail, the genoa, is 600 square feet, a lot of sail. My inner staysail or jib, is about 400 square feet so I wanted to have a sail that could be set when it’s too windy for the outer larger sails, hence a storm jib of less than 200 square feet to be hanked on the inner, running stay.  A running stay is one that is designed to be attached and removed as needed so it won’t get in the way of the working sails.

In this case, the inner stay is attached to the deck about four feet behind my inner fixed stay.  Here’s  a shot of the stay in place.  Notice the lever setup that hooks it to the deck.  It’s pre-adjusted so that when it’s installed it’s at the correct tension.   As there is so much tension on s storm sail when the wind is up, this rig is backed up under the deck by a massive plate that is bolted to a firm bulkhead in the chain locker.   This way the stress of the sail is spread over a large area and is sure to hold.   Without the strong attachment point, the stay would rip the deck right off in a blow.  Not a good thing to have a gaping hole in the deck.  That would be bad, very bad.

 This is the same stay removed and stowed on the side of the mast, and out of the way.  It’s a pretty elegant solution, one that my rigger figured out.  Notice the curved stainless channel to the left.  It’s designed to ease the stay in a curve and get it out of the way.  Nice work.

A detail shot showing how the stay is attached to the port stay at the deck.  It’s a snap to move it from here forward, something that’s a necessity in storm conditions.  It’s got to be easy when the boat and deck are heaving all over the place in rough conditions.

Sometimes some of the most satisfying projects are the simplest.  This shot of the aft head shows a nifty addition that I made to the seat.  The problem is that when the boat is jumping around and you have to “use” the head and sit down, the seat tends to swing to one side with the motion of the boat, thus breaking the hinges. This neat edition of retainer blocks (the ones in the middle of each side) project down from the seat by  1 1/2″ and keep the seat stabilized so it doesn’t slide off and stress the hinges. I can’t take credit for this idea but did make the blocks out of Starboard, a hard plastic material.  Pretty slick if I say so myself.  Now, when was the last time you saw a picture of a toilet on a blog?  Often?  I didn’t think so.  It’s a first for me.  One certainly needs to know that their “throne” is secure, doesn’t one?

The Chesapeake is a world of contrast with the old mixed in with the new.  As we were headed back up to our slip on Sunday afternoon, I spotted this old wooden oyster buy boat chugging along.  A very pretty sight in the evening light. 

Just out of frame was a much different view, one of nearly a dozen massive ships waiting at anchor to be called into Baltimore to drop off or pick up a load.  It’s impressive to pass one of these behemoths at anchor so close.   We were indeed very, very close.

Finally, no blog post of a weekend trip is complete without a shot of the setting sun following a wonderful evening sail.

Back to reality and work.  We will be headed back down with some friends for a weekend Rendezvous with our friends in The Corinthians.   More then.

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