After the wind, wet, and cold of the last few weeks, yesterday was pleasantly warm and somewhat sunny. The wind came up around noon, and there was but one thing to do – take Blue Opal out on a shake-down sail. Earlier in the week I’d fixed the yankee sheet (the wrong one had been put on by the yard), fixed the mainsail boot zipper, and tested unfurling the yankee and raising and dropping the main.

Put power on everything, tied the club RIB to my mooring, and toodled out into the harbour basin to raise my sails. It was at this point I discovered the ST5000 display was saying STLK FAIL. Not encouraging. Locked the helm into wind, raised my sails, bore away and went sailing.

A tall ship. Let’s go look at her

Out in to the bay, with one of the other club boats nearby, 5.5 through the water on 14 knots true wind, and away I went. A three master in the distance made for a good place to sail to while tidying up all the string.

The three-master is the Georg Stage out of Denmark, a sail training ship. She had her black ball up, but appeared to just be drifting with the wind; I couldn’t see any anchors down, and she was lying stern to the wind.

A south turn at the Georg Stage towards the Muglins, and then a westerly turn back to the harbour as the wind dropped behind the land. Mused how to rig a preventer on the main for going by the lee, and whether to use a snatch block on each side, or just one and go forward to transfer it. Undecided, but I think the former. Somewhere after the Muglins, I power cycled the autohelm once it had started showing GPS data, and everything woke up – yay, no need to go tracing cables looking for dodgy connections.

Turned north a bit towards Dublin port to get on to a broad reach, and saw Dave (who helped me move Blue Opal two years ago) out in a Laser enjoying the wind, and I think Liz (another club boat).

Back to the mooring after that, and an easy pickup even with the RIB tied to the steel strop. Put Blue Opal away, and hopped in the RIB to go to shore (I could have called the launch, but it’s quite nice to just come and go from the club whenever I want, very reminiscent of sailing in Barbados and the Grenadines).

Earlier in the day, a number of yachts had been tied up for start-of-season cleaning etc. One of them was apparently only going to be alongside for a short while, before heading south to Greystones; she should have been gone by the time I got to the club. Alas, her owner hadn’t quite realised that the tides today were the biggest of the year, with a four metre swing, and his 36 foot HR was hard aground by the time he went to leave.

Several cups of tea, and good conversations later (including the tides at Bardsey Sound, how to get in and out of Strangford Lough, and where to anchor in said location), it was time to head back to Blue Opal for the night, and deal with a work crisis about what to print on a label.

First sail of 2019
Tagged on: