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Little/No Wind Home Port -- Staying Enthused?

Jun 21, 2007
2,092
Hunter Cherubini 36_80-82 San Francisco Bay's "Hurricane Glitch"
Yesterday afternoon, the NWS advertised 15 knot winds in San Francisco's Central Bay. I went out. Was a botched forecast (as it frequently is). Instead, virtually hardly a puff. Drifted backwards considering the current.

BORED TOTALLY!

Got me to wondering. For those of you who's home ports tend to have little or no wind much of the time: How do you stay engaged owning a sailboat?
 
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Likes: Kermit
Jan 22, 2008
264
Islander Freeport, 41 Ketch Longmont, CO
By spending boat bucks on boat projects. Always something to do and never enough time.

Oh and sometimes just going out and drifting is nice!! Yesterday was a full moon, last evenings full moon sail would have been wonderful. especially if all I had to do was put up sails and drift for a few hours.
 
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Likes: sailorladyliz
Jan 11, 2014
4,989
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Sailing is just part of it, an important part for certain. There is the social life at the marina or club. Being by the water in a portable camp. Camaraderie with online sailors. Learning about boat systems and upgrades. Some folks like restoring old cars, some of us like maintaining old boats.

Even in the lighter air there is the challenge to keep the boat moving and it helps you to appreciate the days when the sailing is great.

It is more than just the sailing, it is the lifestyle and dreams.
 

Kermit

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Jul 31, 2010
5,416
AquaCat 12.5 17342 Wateree Lake, SC
Lack of wind is just one of the frustrating aspects of sailing. Too many frustrations can spoil an otherwise great activity. And spending money on a boat I seldom use does not add to the joy of ownership.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,918
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
rardi, glad to see you're out & about. In answer to your question, once I moved here I've learned how fickle the wind can be. "A trawler with a stick" is my favorite phrase these days. And I fondly remember all the days without wind back in SF. I called those periods either winter or before the wind picked up daily at noon to 1300! :) I'd always sail from Alameda to Horseshoe Cove but motored back in the mornings quite often. Here the wind is generally localized with patterns I'm beginning to discern in the southern Gulf Islands and San Juans. And the Strait of Juan de Fuca was glass when we came through in mid-Sept. 2016, but blows a gale through most of the summer. Think of it as a 25 mile long "Slot"!!! :)

Some folks here don't know how much work you've already put into your boat, else they wouldn't be talking about maintenance being so much "fun." Happens to me, too. I'm slowly getting into the repair of a persistent oil leak with steel putty, drilling & tapping for a stud that went missing in action. When it's fixed, once I get back out, I don't think I'll care much about the wind...:dancing:

Eventually, there's this to look forward to: :beer::beer::beer:

Oh, Fair Winds to you. :)
 
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Likes: jssailem
Jan 19, 2010
7,546
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Some invest in sails designed for low wind (drifters etc.) but I'm in the lets to drifting crowd.

I mostly sail in a mountain reservoir but sometimes trailer to the coast. On my home waters, there is usually a 10 - 12 mph breeze June - August but around 4:00 PM each day, the winds dies for about two hours. My suspicion is that the evaporation off of the water creates a local high ... so go sailing until about 3:00, then head to a cove, drop anchor, take out the sandwich fixin's, swim gear, bears and a good book and chill for two hours. Then go sailing again.

Now early spring and late fall, my home waters are heaven for sailing. Stiff, steady 12 - 20 most days.... and all of the PWCs are gone.
 
Jan 1, 2006
4,557
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Sometimes I take my boat out and go out to nearest and favorite anchorage. In the off season when boat traffic is light I don't even anchor. I just drift when the wind in very light. The current moves the boat and I chillax. I have a bite, a beverage, maybe work a crossword or just watch the bay, the sky or the land drift by. No frustration. For several years now I've come to the view of sailing as something that is best enjoyed when the conditions are good for sailing. When they are not, it's still a awesomely beautiful world to go engage with. Put me down with rgranger.
And for racing it's getting harder to care what order boats cross an imaginary line in. But I do enjoy the team effort and company of other sailors. And I like to apply whatever skill I have to getting a boat around the course. I just won't stew over the results.
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,676
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
When you have regular work you do that while the wind is non-existent. When you have boat work to do you do that... unless the wind comes up and you shout screw it I'm going sailing. It is all a compromise.
When the wind is not you work on the rental house so you can build up the sailing kitty.
If you in fact do retire... who cares you got all the time in the world... :beer:time when there is no wind.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,646
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
There seems to be a theme here. I'm not sure about it though.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,989
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Thinking about this thread, it occurred to me that the pleasure one gets from sailing is dependent upon a lot of factors. One factor is matching the boat to the use that is most pleasurable.

I've owned 3 boats (we don't talk about the flying scot), a Tanzer 22, a Sabre 30, and a Sabre 362. I loved and hated each of them. The Tanzer was a great boat for day sailing and sailing in lighter conditions. She was (and still is) an easy boat to rig and sail and maintenance costs were low as were upgrade costs. But, she was not the most comfortable boat to cruise on. On one trip at a much younger age, after banging my head on the cabin top yet again, the refrain on the boat was "We need a bigger boat!"

My current boat, the Sabre 362, is a great dock condo, a delightful boat to cruise on, and handles 20 Kt breezes with ease. She is a very comfortable boat to cruise for a week or more. But, hoisting a 60# mainsail up a 44 foot hoist is a bear. As is docking and maneuvering in close quarters. Rarely do we hop on her and go sailing for an hour or two. If we go, it is for a much longer time. And we plan to take a year long trip down the ICW to the Bahamas in the near future. This will be a great boat.

The point is to match your interests in sailing with the boat. A smaller or faster boat may suit your interests more than the boat you have. There are some small boats that perform well in lighter air, but are a bear in heavier air. Find the sweet spot for your area and your interests. If we were not planning a longer trip, the Sabre 30 would have been the boat for us.

As always, YMMV.
 
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Likes: Misfits

RussC

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Sep 11, 2015
1,410
Merit 22- Oregon lakes
Motor out into the middle of the lake, shut the motor off, and drift. we'll swim if it's warm enough, sleep if it's quiet enough, or play with the drone if I get bored enough (which seldom happens). if it's early morning we'll often use the motor to troll along the banks for dinner (rainbow trout mostly), or just go to a quiet cove, beach the boat, and go for a short hike to stretch the legs. In any event, just being on the water is southing, even if sailing winds don't always cooperate.
UPAIR_PHOTO_0024.jpg
 
Jan 2, 2017
593
O'Day 322 Lake Pleasant, AZ
Light wind sails!
My light weight spinnaker and Code 0 keep me moving in the lightest of breezes. As long as I’m going forward, I'm okay.
And as they say, light winds are the true test of sailing ability.
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,546
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Light wind sails!
My light weight spinnaker and Code 0 keep me moving in the lightest of breezes. As long as I’m going forward, I'm okay.
And as they say, light winds are the true test of sailing ability.
We call it ghosting. I know I'm not the only one. My #3 child actually likes to take the helm when the wind is about 2mph. She makes everyone sit on the leeward side to induce a little heel and to keep the sail shape, then we have to sit very still and after about 20 min., she has the boat up to about 4mph through the water. She gets a real thrill out of it... but it take patience and cooperation from the crew. If anyone gets up, the boat rocks and the sails luff and all momentum is lost.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,989
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
We call it ghosting. I know I'm not the only one. My #3 child actually likes to take the helm when the wind is about 2mph. She makes everyone sit on the leeward side to induce a little heel and to keep the sail shape, then we have to sit very still and after about 20 min., she has the boat up to about 4mph through the water. She gets a real thrill out of it... but it take patience and cooperation from the crew. If anyone gets up, the boat rocks and the sails luff and all momentum is lost.
I used to do Pit on a J 35. When the air was light I'd load all the sails on the leeward side of the cabin, climb up on top of them and take a nap. The skipper didn't think I was working hard enough. I thought my 200+ lbs on the leeward side was an adequate effort. :biggrin:
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,546
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
I used to do Pit on a J 35. When the air was light I'd load all the sails on the leeward side of the cabin, climb up on top of them and take a nap. The skipper didn't think I was working hard enough. I thought my 200+ lbs on the leeward side was an adequate effort. :biggrin:
That is called working smart not working hard. :thumbup:
 
Jan 1, 2006
4,557
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I've put my 250 lbs on a lee bunk - less than 2 weeks ago - as my best contribution to boat speed. I was snoring while we passed another boat in the race, facing away from our intended course and going "Backwards" faster than the other boat was going "Forward." Wind came - lightly - and we finished working the boat pretty hard considering that the race had become a scoring joke because of the two hour "Recess" many boats experienced. It's always good to sail the boat and do what you can do. But ... don't hang your head at the post race party. Or you can Photo Bomb the celebratory photos for the podium boats. That's the route I took.
 

capta

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Jun 4, 2009
3,500
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
When you sail for a living, you get plenty of light wind days. When I was operating an 84' three-masted schooner (tour boat) in Charleston Harbor, the light wind periods were a challenge for the crew. After all, anybody can make a sailboat go when there's plenty of wind, but it takes imagination, ingenuity and hard work to get an 84' steel sailboat to go where you want in light breezes, especially when the current has a hand in the mix.
On Skipping Stone, we have sailed the lee of every island in the eastern Caribbean between Grenada and Guadeloupe. It's very hard work and a lot more time consuming than cranking up the engine, but also a lot more satisfying.
For us, the light air days are way preferable to the 35 to 40 knot days.