April Sailing s/v Seabird

The sun was up and the wind was down on Saturday April 30 2011, Sophi and I decided to sail. The only thing in our way was a North wind… let  me explain, a north wind will push our boat back into our slip and or not allow us to point the pointy end east to get out of the dock area.

We had a plan tho, after a little puff we would back up quickly and hope we could turn the bow east and head out to sea, no luck, the  wind prevented me from turning and pushed us back into our slip. we stopped and tried again, this time with a little better angle as we didn’t tie up to the dock. On try two, Seabird was pushed back into a slip but we did make progress as we fell into the next slip toward the open ocean. Thankfully a stranger who must have witnessed the goings-on came over and offered to help, I asked him to push the bow as hard as he could which he did and we  barely avoided Hi Voltage, Central Maine Power’s service boat, then had to avoid a large fishing boat on the very end of Dillimo’s dock and a lobster boat on the Portland Pier side…. to say it was stressful would be an understatement; once we escaped the docks we both wanted to have a mooring. We took a second to breath then raised the main sail but it wasn’t until the engine was off before we could breathe.

I had the first reef in the main just to be safe until we rounded Bud Light, after seeing the conditions while facing the open ocean we set the sails for a downwind leg. Wing and Wing I was able to try out my preventer… a line that runs from the cockpit wench to a pulley bolted to the inboard side of your bowsprit then it runs to a bowline at about the mast, from there we have a caribbeaner to attach it to a line that is the length of the boom and attaches to the furthest aft bail on the boom. With this configuration I can use my wench to tension the boom on a downwind run, then if the wind gets fluky or (more likely) I steer the wrong direction and the wind gets around the main sail the boom will NOT accidentally jibe. Should I decide to Jibe under my own free will I can loosen the line enough to do so, then go up front and move the lines around the mast, presto changeo.

Seabird sailed well down wind at about 5.5Kn right past Portland Headlight where we turned North toward Jewell Island. We were about past Peaks Island about a mile or so off shore when the wind totally died, we drifted out to sea for a good 45 mins before we were able to gain enough headway to actually tack around and head back to land. Such is the sailing life. Sophi called a friend of ours and they decided  we would meet on Willard Beach, so we sailed back to Portland Headlight and into the Hussy sound against the wind. We really tried to stick to sailing and practice sailing up to a mooring but the wind was not allowing us to do so. The motor roared to life and we took a mooring of our choice as we were the only ones on the water.

We used our new inflatable to take the shore where Bella found a discarded Mango and would not give it up the rest of the day, we met MM then stole her for the sail home. Instantly after leaving the mooring we encounter a tanker; a tanker would normally want to leave out the Hussy sound which we were exactly in the middle of. After much deliberation we decided to motor across the channel to get out of its way, only to get further in its way, I called them on the radio to learn we had motored further in the way as she was destined for “anchorage Bravo” thank goodness for radios, I told the tanker we would fall off and get out of there way and he thanked us, then blocked all the wind.

Seabird tacked at least 3 times only to jibe a half dozen before the wind made up its mind and blew steady from the south and we beam reached past Dimillo’s before rounding up into the wind to drop sail. For a shakedown cruise, this one went very well.

See more of Travis and Sophi sailing Seabird at

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