Wing Sailer – Maiden Voyage Con’t…

I tried to get back in from the side of the sailboat but was not able as it would flip over each time I tried and the cockpit was now full of water again and it became unstable floating somewhat submersed. I tried to get on again this time from the bow but was still unsuccessful because there was simply nothing to grab to pull me back on.

Wing Sailer rear view

Wing Sailer rear view

However, rather than panic as I had my life jacket as I always do, I simply laid my body over the side of the sailboat while still in the water and started to kick with my feet towards shore, while at the same time juggling the paddle and a water bottle. Soon after juggling everything for a few minutes, the water bottle slipped out of my hands and drifted away out from my reach and I was unable to retrieve it, a small price to pay compared to holding onto the sail boat.

The wind was kicking up some good 1-3 foot waves and I had to keep my head above water and I had been kicking my feet for a while and was making some progress towards shore. I was getting chilly because I been in the water now for approximately 20 minutes now when I noticed a pontoon boat out of the corner of my right eye. And better yet, the boat was coming towards me with two guys onboard and one of them shouted above the noise of the wind and waves if I needed any help.

Of course my response was an unconditional YES and one of them threw me a rope and was pulled aboard. Once aboard the rescue boat collectively we tied the Wing Sailer to the stern of their boat and brought the mast and sail onboard. The boat owner kindly asked me what I wanted to do at this point and gave me a couple of ultimatums of either towing my sailboat back to the boat ramp or go to his house that was just across the cove within sight. However to go to his house would mean a ride a couple of miles back to my car and boat trailer verses seeing that we were already on the water with my boat in tow might in my estimation it was better to head for the boat ramp.

On the way back we conversed mostly about boats and they were quite intrigued with the Wing Sailer. One of the things that amazed me the most about this whole incident was I didn’t realize just how much the cold water affected me because I simply could not stop shivering and it was hard just to talk. It took 10 minutes or so to finally stop shivering and speak normal once again and by then we at least half way to the boat ramp. Upon arrival, I thanked both of my rescuers and offered them some cash for their trouble but they kindly refused before they motored away. I was grateful for them helping me and to be safe and sound to sail another day!

Wing Sailer- Maiden Voyage!

Wing Sailer
I arrived home with the Wing Sailer intact and after giving it a quick once over I was anxious to try it out and see how it would sail. So I headed to the lake nearby my house and launching it was really easy for that can be done in a matter of minutes which is a fantastic feature if you’re a trailer sailor. I still remember vividly the anticipation of how it was going to sail as I paddled from shore to open water when I caught a puff of wind and the Wing Sailer began to take flight as it quickly picked up speed as the wind intensified. At this point, not knowing the Wing Sailer’s hull design limitations and it was both exciting and yet a little unnerving at the same time as to how much wind it could handle safely.

Wing Sailer

Wing Sailer

Naturally my primary concern was not to capsize if at all possible because it was early May and the water was still pretty cold. I had been sailing for a while tacking on an easterly wind direction but soon discovered that the wind was now gusting somewhere around 15 -20 knots in this section of the lake as it often times does due to the nine surrounding mountains that affects the wind and causes it to intensify. All I could do at this point not to be overpowered was to turn upwind when the windward [port] side of the hull would begin to lift up. It kind of reminded me of riding a mechanical bull or a bronco. It was kind of fun riding the bronco but soon became a little tiring mostly on my nerves trying to keep this little boat from capsizing in the cold spring feed frigid water.

Sailing the Wing Sailer

Sailing the Wing Sailer on a Calm Day!

Anyhow, I kept if from capsizing up to this point and by now had sailed about three quarters down the lake or roughly two miles before the wind shifted and found myself now in irons and couldn’t sail in an easterly direction any more. Now that my confidence was built up being in the cockpit now for over an hour, I decided to test out the limitations of this little one seat yellow sailboat and ride the wind on a north and south tack a few times before returning home. It was on the sixth crossing that I realized that I had sailed too far in one direction and couldn’t for the life of me sail back due to the changing wind direction now pushing me onshore instead of making headway around the point of land that I needed to navigate around.

Previously, I had stopped to empty some water out of the cockpit of the boat on a floating dock nearby as the steering became sluggish and even though it was now dry, I still was not able to sail pass the point. After several unsuccessful attempts trying to do so a huge gust of wind knocked me over and I capsized. Bummer! Wow that water was cooold! Stay tune for the exciting conclusion in my next post. Until then keep sailing!

What is a Wing Sailer?

Wing Sailer

Wing Sailer

The newest addition to my fleet is a Wing Sailer that I found on a Craigslist ad that was located in Vermont. I have never seen anything like it before and this yellow single seat sailboat really caught my attention when I stumbled on the seller’s Craiglist ad. I contacted the seller right away and found that he lived about 2.5 hours from me in Vermont, so with cash in hand I took the drive up to see this unique sailboat without hesitation. After some trouble finding my way using my Google Map print off I stopped and called the seller on my cell phone for clarification of my directions and he texted me the final destination details to his location. Honestly, I would have never found my way without his step by step directions once I got within a 3 mile radius to his home. I have to say that Vermont is a beautiful state with beautiful blend of rolling green hills and fields.

I finally arrived to see the Wing Sailer first hand and was greeted by the owner and his wife and I felt as if I knew these people as they were very friendly and enjoyed a wonderful conversation with them talking about this unusual sailboat. After a quick inspection of the Wing Sailer I was sold and made an offer that the seller quickly accepted and all that was left to do was to figure out how I was going to transport this thing home. I had my 4 x 8 utility trailer that I had thrown a couple of old tires inside and he happened to have 3 small plastic barrels that fit side by side in the trailer so along with my tires we were able to support the hull of the Wing Sailer to the trailer while laying the wing sail flat to transport it back to my home port. After a little trouble turning around in his driveway as it is located on a hill and was rutted due to the spring thaw, I was on my way with the Wing Sailer in tow. I was elated with my purchase and obtaining this cool one of kind sailboat to say the least and the drive back to my location was joyous and without incident.

Well that’s it for this post more later, until next time keep sailing!

 

Seconds Anyone?

My second sail on the O’Day 14 Javelin was awesome to say the least. I had been itching to go for a real sail since my first time out with it was a bit of a disaster, which you can read more about it on my first post. On this Monday it was a glorious sunny day with a pretty good wind with intermittent gusts of 15 – 20 miles an hour made for excellent conditions for a sea trial for my O’Day 14 Javelin.

The O'Day Javelin 14 with the lake behind. Notice the mountains that generate wind on the lake.

The O’Day Javelin 14 with the lake behind. Notice the mountains that generate wind on the lake.

 

The real and ongoing challenge for me on this lake is always to get my main sail flying as the wind created by the mountains that surround the lake is typically very blustery especially in the exposed bay area where I launch it. Sailing single-handed takes practice and getting the main sail up while not capsizing over is always a challenge on this lake. However on this day, the wind would subside enough for me to rope off the tiller and set the main sail and as soon as I did a great puff of wind hit me broadside and she listed over and took off like a jet being catapulted off an aircraft carrier! Sure got my undivided attention and the next thing I know the starboard side is up in the air out of the water before I had any time to react.

Immediately I pushed the tiller away from me to bring the starboard side back down in the water and was amazed how will she held before I was able to get her under control. This wasn’t the only time that I would list her on her starboard and port sides on this sail as I was experimenting and learning about the Javelins capabilities. The only thing I regret is because of the possibility of hypothermia on this spring feed lake and only being early May, I was hesitant to take it to its full limits on some good quality air. So to prevent myself from going into the drink, I would either dump wind off the mainsail or turn her up into the wind sometimes into irons where the mainsail was flapping violently from the wind that was powerful enough to push the boat in reverse until I was able to ease her back into the wind and make forward progress once again.

I literally had to do this same maneuver on several occasions as I practiced tacking and running in the bay where the wind is the strongest. After about an hour, I was finally getting the hang of handling the O’Day Javelin 14 and was so impressed with her performance, that I sailed it another hour before calling it a day. Overall this sailboat is easy to sail single-handed as well as setting up the mast, launching and retrieving it. In fact, the Javelin handles just as good if not better than my Renken 18 foot sailboat I owned prior to this one. I would recommend her to any new or seasoned sailor alike. Until next time, keep sailing!

 

First Launching- The O’Day Javelin 14

O'Day Javelin 14

O’Day Javelin 14

On May 3rd I launched the newest addition to my sailboat fleet the O’Day 14 Javelin on a local lake about 6 miles from my home. Just a few days before I had tried to put it in the water however the floating dock was not in the water yet and there was no place to tie up my sailboat so that I could drive my car off the boat ramp once it was in the water. In fact that day the NH Fish & Game was there to put the floating dock in the water but couldn’t due to the windy weather conditions.

This lake is known for its adverse windy weather conditions as the mountains surrounding it step up the wind much like an electrical transformer does to electricity. This was on a Monday and they were going to come back the next day when wind conditions improved. In the meantime, I asked one of the of the Fish & Game officials if they could also trim some pine branches over the boat ramp so that anyone with a sailboat could launch it with the mast up. At first he told me to get a hold of so and so as if passing the buck but evidently he graciously carried out my reasonable request without any further action on my part when I returned to the boat ramp 4 days later. Now for the first time I was able to launch my sailboat with the mast in place without any interference with tree branches. Hooray!

I tied my sailboat to the dock while I drove my car and trailer off the boat ramp and parked it in the parking lot. Then I returned to the boat and took off for the main body of the lake only to find that the wind out there was more than I anticipated and was unable to put any sails because the wind was so overpowering. It was then I also realized that I forgot the boom at home and couldn’t hang the main sail even if I wanted to.

And I also noticed that the mast was not setting correctly in its base as well as I just recently put a new tabernacle on the mast to make stepping it single handed possible. Anyhow making mistakes is the price you sometimes have to pay especially with a new boat. It didn’t take long for the gusting wind to move me down the lake even without any sails and I soon realized that I need to abort this trip and head right back to the dock and call it a day. The problem was the battery for my electric motor was not a deep cycle and soon it died as I tried to buck the wind in my return to the boat ramp.

At this point, the only thing I could do is use the rudder to navigate to the opposite shore and look for a safe place to tie up or beach the boat using the wind on the hull as my only viable option at this point. So with tiller and doing a little trick known as the rudder paddle I headed to a floating dock I spotted some way off and figured that would be as good place as any to tie up to until the wind abated. And to add to my good fortune the homeowners also greeted me on the dock just before I got there and I was able to throw them a rope before the wind had a chance to push me past them.

Never the less the 3 of us had a hard time tying up my boat because the gusting wind was pounding the floating dock and boat relentlessly. After 15 – 20 minutes we finally had my sailboat secured to the other stationary dock and was satisfied that it was secure until I could return the next morning. The husband and wife who owned the dock were more than willing to let me keep the boat there overnight as they explained to me that in the 30 years they lived there they have rescued other boaters and have been rescued as well. The lake has caused its share of calamities over the years and fortunately the local boating community and lake residents are more than happy to lend a hand when disaster strikes.

I returned to the sailboat the next morning and again thanked my rescuers and with a charged battery and calm wind conditions, I headed out on the lake this time I had the boom and was able to put up the main sail and catch enough wind to sail back to the boat ramp. Once I got close enough to the boat ramp I dropped the sail and used the electric motor to navigate to the boat ramp and retrieved the O’Day Javelin 14 out of the water and headed for home. It sure was an adventure and trust me you learn something new it seems every time you go sailing. The key to your safety and success is not to panic but go on your gut instinct and you’ll be just fine. Until then, keep sailing!