With Lisa in Newport to contest the J/70 Worlds and other cronies tied up with miscellaneous distractions, I needed to do some single handling today if I was going to put hours on the Sabre to learn how to operate it and to look for bugs to fix before the spring. I learned a lot today and Seb and I had a ton of fun together after a (steaming hot) 10 knot Southerly filled in.
The weekend started Friday night when Brian, Lisa and I took the boat to the Club. After dinner I spent my first night on the boat.
Key learning: The AC works! And what a difference. I never would have stayed on the boat at the dock in that heat without AC. Very nice! Growing up, our boats didn’t have heat, AC, or microwave ovens. Cruising sure has changed.
After breakfast in the morning, I motored out and unfurled the jib to tidy the boat up a bit at a slow pace. Then the wind completely shut off, so I decided to learn how to use the windlass. It worked fine and I figured out how to use the washdown. Key learning: when you get into your 40s like we have, you start hearing yourself saying things like ‘man, this bimini is clutch in heat like this.’ My 20-something self would be horrified.
Then the beautiful southerly filled in, so I pulled up the hook, hoisted the main, and set off on a nice close reach toward the Eastern shore. Key learnings: the boat can be single handled perfectly easily, but even in these moderate conditions, it’s a very physical endeavor. I missed having crew most when putting the boat away – there is so much to do and everything is huge compared to the little race boats we’re used to. Key, key learning: I need to get in shape. Below: reaching back toward Lake Ogelton.
Another key learning: I love the way the boat handles going to weather. *Whew.* Not that I was too worried about it, but my last boat was a J/29 which was a pure delight going uphill. The Sabre compares favorably: with the board completely down she trims out with just a bit of weather helm and the balanced rudder feels like power steering compared to the unbalanced rudders found on the J/Boats we normally race. A little more feel might be nice, but this rudder design means less fatigue for autohelm and humans alike on long passages. It’s the right tradeoff. I discovered another big plus about the boat’s design today: it allows the best helmsman steering position of any cruising boat I’ve experienced yet. Score!
With thunderstorms looming and my bottled water supplies exhausted, I tucked her to bed and ran home for a cool shower and some college football. There’s always tomorrow, when the winds should be even better and I can foist some chores off on willing crew.