First Lake Washington cruise of 2011

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It wasn’t quite as sunny as the day before, but today brought us a nice combination of dry decks and 5-7 m/s April winds.  We got to the trailer around 2, had it in the water around 3, sailed for about an hour, and had it out of the water around 5:30.  The sail was very pleasant with Union Bay in classic form — unpredictable gusts and lulls sweeping over the arboretum from the south.  We enjoyed a long beam reach over to the east end of the 520 bridge and back.  A highlight was being approached by a little red zodiac which at first glance looked like a Coast Guard boat.  It was a treat to realize it was actually Fritz and Erin coming over to check out what appeared to be a felucca making good speed in light winds with minimal sail area.  Thanks to Fritz for the great photo above!

Liam, Ryden, and Cora tested out the new benches, determining they make great tables and desks for kids.  Annie got cold hands, but seemed right at home on deck, reading over the wind to the kids nestled down in the hulls.  The sailing was very smooth and the only problems I noticed were another stress crack in the main hatch covers (this time inboard forward corner of the aft half of the port hatch) and rain water having leaked into the forward two (round) waterproof hatches (likely due to o-rings scratched too much by last summer’s sand).

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Overall, the trailer modifications worked well.  With only 10-15 cm clearance under the keels, I was surprised we didn’t touch going over bumps and undulations.  The final dip and rise at the top of the ramp, however, led to the skeg/rudders hitting.  Liam and I propped up the stern beam on the skids with 4×4 blocks and made it over.  Lowering with the climbing rope worked fine, but it was way too stretching on the way back up.  I think the winch is the way to go, though it’s slow; maybe bring a cordless drill?  Another a-ha was realizing the trailer tongue could be raised or lowered with the front wheel jack to keep the keel from hitting the ground.  The longer-term solution though is to raise the skids another 10 cm or so.

While it was good to get Milagra in the water and under sail again, it was also nice to spend enough time at the boat ramp working out the trailer/launching/recovery kinks that we bumped into the local WYC+ guard.  Gavin kept an eye on the end of the boat ramp and offered some suggestions, Chris (owner of the Supercat) chatted about trailer solutions that might work for hand-deploying off the ramp, and John discussed the rig and vessel, before volunteering ideas for improving the WAC winch and finally heading home around 5:30.  I ended the day sponging out the bilges (old rainwater, not new!) and the prolific fish cracker crumbs left behind by my crew.

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