survived night at sea
The day before yesterday we decided to take the boat out for an overnight jaunt. Nothing dramatic, just a little motor to somewhere close to the dock, drop the hook (anchor) and see what works and what breaks. We can always jump into the dinghy and zip back to the dock if we need parts or supplies that we just can't get through the night without. Basically like being at the dock, only one step removed. We decided to wait another day, as the wind was up around 12-15 mph with higher gusts.
Our land based followers will scoff. "That's not windy!" they will say. Our water experienced brethren will scoff. "You have a SAILboat!" they will say.
To the former, I would remind you that inland, you have many windbreaks to disrupt the power of the wind. Most of your experience of continuous wind comes from the times when you are at a shopping center that is located in an elevated location (Lowe's at Concord Mills Mall in Concord, NC comes to mind.) There is a very different feeling from your home where there are buildings and trees to break up the wind. Here, we live in the weather full time.
To the latter, you are right. Most would call that good sailing weather. The difference here comes from experience. Let me elaborate.
We had a sailboat on Lake Norman near Charlotte some number of years ago, when the kids were young. We also have five children. When we were out on the boat, I handled the boat and Carol handled the kids. We were on an INLAND lake (see note above) on a much smaller boat. Carol is learning to handle basically her first boat. Any novice would have trouble backing a 40 foot boat out of a slip with 20-25 gusts on the beam (side).
And there is no reason to rush things. After all, I'm not closing. So...let's wait on the weather. We'll be doing a lot of that if we decide this is the way we want to live. So we waited until yesterday.
When we left yesterday morning, the wind had abated slightly. I got the boat out of the slip and Carol took the helm. A quick practice run up Broad Creek and we turned back toward the dock. A couple of tries later and we set the hook in 7 feet of water about a mile from the dock. (I let out about 60 feet of chain for the 5 mph of wind that was forecast. We could probably have cut the anchor off and the chain alone would have held us in place, but I did not want to drag on this, our first night, when Carol was already nervous.) We had a quiet night and awoke this morning to a dense fog, the first I have seen in these waters. Pretty cool.
So this morning Carol motored us back to the dock and docked the boat like a champ. Small steps, but they lead to bigger ones.
We found a few things that needed work and a few that worked out right. A good night, all in all.