Hang tight mates, as this adventure story is about to unfold.
Every month, we ask our fans, friends, and customers to share their waterborne escapades to inspire a sense of adventure and get all the readers into seaworthy moods. So without further ado, gather up and here we go.
This is the story of how I tried to go number 2 in 15-knot winds underway.
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When you’re used to sailing on a lake in a 22 foot Catalina sailboat, you have little clue (as it turns out ) what it takes to sail the same boat in the open ocean.
My partner and I started sailing in 2017. We took one non-certifying sailing course on Big Lake in Alaska (at the Alaska Sailing Club - our stomping grounds) and 3 other ASA Certifying ones at the Bay Area Sailing School in Kemah Texas. Highly recommend both schools btw. Since then, we went a bit wild and bought a 22 foot Catalina by the name of Storm Petrel and put a lot of resources into her. Storm hails from Adak Alaska and is a 1979 swing keel sloop.
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The only place our boat has sailed in up until the summer of 2019 has been a lake and we’ve been dying to take her out in Seward, Alaska to cruise the Resurrection Bay. Our goal was to head over to Thumb Cove, a place where lots of people anchor up for the night and check it all out for ourselves.
To do that, we went through the enormous headache of doing a bottom job on our boat ourselves. Argh!!! 😫 We had paid the money and gotten it registered. We had all the proper items aboard like the safety equipment and distress signals. We learned how to use the VHF radio, which was also on board. We checked the charts and talked to the locals. So all seemed great and we were ready to do this!
We trailered the boat to Seward and launched it. It first sat there for about 2 weeks, waiting for weather and scheduling to line up. We just couldn’t make it out there, but we were still paying the awesome docking fees (not!). So finally, we took a Friday off work and drove to Seward early morning from Anchorage. We ate lunch at the Apollo restaurant, which was very tasty and we were ready to rock and roll.
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We motored out of the harbor and all was good. It was the official weekend opening for the Seward Harbor (celebrated by the Mermaid Festival). So we were even more excited. It was noticeably cold. There was nothing about our clothing that screamed “pleasure cruise”. We had hats, jackets and all. It was windy, but nothing too bad it seemed. Our faithful Johnson 4.5hp outboard got us to the right spot to raise sails. That’s when we were starting to notice the wind. Apparently, when my partner and his friend launched the boat, they forgot to insert battens into the mainsail, so we proceeded to try and do that in the middle of Resurrection Bay. It was a fight the whole way and we don’t recommend doing it. 😁😂
Sometime after, we finally killed the outboard and started to sail. We noticed right away that it was very difficult to keep the point of sail. The waves were picking up and our little boat was being tossed around. We kept at it until I needed to go to the bathroom. After short contemplation, I decided to not hang on to the bow pulpit for the sake of staying alive, so I used our head (read bucket) down below. Sitting in the cockpit, what you don’t realize is that the galley is now like a washing machine – stuff sliding left and right and moving around freely. (It doesn’t really do that on the lake. Go figure. 🤔).
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I got the bucket and started to pee, but had other urges as well. I told my partner that I’m gonna try and go poop when the depth finder alarm starting going off. That’s always nerve-racking. I set it to 6 feet and we shouldn’t be anywhere near that. Resurrection bay is incredibly deep. Think 100 plus fathoms in most places (that’s 600 plus feet). So he starts freaking out about the alarm. Sitting on the bucket, I’m still trying to decide whether I should poop or not while holding on to stuff to avoid spilling the goods. So he starts to change course to try and get the alarm to shut up. He suddenly falls off then heads up, which is not making my decision any easier. Finally, I can’t take it anymore and I put my pants back on and head for the cockpit so we can tack out of the situation. The alarm stopped, but the wind continued. Looking at the water, we see lots of white caps. That was enough fun, so we lowered the sails and motored back. Holy crap… that was some sail.
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Check out a little video we made below. We thought we would add a touch of summer with the song selection, but make no mistake - it was FREEZING. We actually ended up sailing the Resurrection Bay and Big Lake on two consecutive days (please don't do that), so you'll see a snippet of that as well.
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Be safe and talk soon!
the crew at DSW.