I left work promptly yesterday and ran straight to Lake Ogelton. Since Lisa needed to put in some overtime at work, I spent the next couple of hours sniffing curiously through the boat’s nooks and crannies like a hungry mouse trying to figure out how everything worked. How are the heads operated? Where is the engine sea water intake? Which one of these is the speedo sensor? I even had to play a little salon cushion Tetris trying to put the boat back together before Lisa arrived for our planned dinner date aboard.
Lisa brought takeout sushi, and seeing only light winds in the Lake, we decided to head out on the Bay for a sunset dinner cruise. The Lake is a little better protected than I thought, because once we cleared the channel we found ourselves enjoying a nice 10-12 knot SSE breeze and a mild leftover swell.
We rolled out the jib and left the main under its cover, then started on a close reach toward the Eastern shore. I suspected that with her large cord-length keel and distinctively long rudder skeg, the Sabre would track well even under jib alone. It did. She balanced out beautifully with little discernible lee helm. This was nice! Actually for the mood we wanted to set, it was just a bit too spirited. With Seb trotting along happily at just over 5 knots we realized there would be a bit more heel and sea state than we preferred for a leisurely takeout sushi dinner date, so we struck upon this idea: we simply turned downwind, rolled up all but a postage-stamp amount of jib (call it a Laser Radial sail plan or so), then engaged the auto pilot.
Wow. Nice. Almost perfect. Earlier this summer when we started shopping for a Sabre we noticed that the centerboard versions have a bit of a roll to them with the board up (noticeable even during dockside showings), and now we recognized it again: with the mild swell Seb was rocking back and forth more than would be ideal for our dinner. Aha! I thought: roll down the centerboard. I eased it down maybe 15 of its 35 total turns and the motion settled down instantly. Now everything was perfect. Dark had fallen and a bright moon joined us to provide atmosphere. Out came the cockpit table, up came the sushi and cocktails, and we enjoyed a giddy first dinner aboard while Seb strolled toward the Naval Academy at 1.5 knots or so, quietly whistling soft tunes to herself while standing her own watch.
I think we’re going to adjust to this cruising thing just fine.