Monday, August 26, 2013

First Solo Overnight Aboard and Sailing in Good Company

Sunset over Stockton Lake

Friday evening, I left town about 6:30 PM with the Sea Pearl 21 in tow. I headed up to Stockton Lake for my first overnight on the boat, solo. It took me a little while to rig the boat in the dark, but around 8:30, I pushed off and rowed out past the boats at Orleans Trail Marina and down the long cove to the main lake channel.

Stockton Lake - Heading out for my first overnight solo trip on the Sea Pearl 21. I only intended to row out and find a cove for the night, but the moon was bright enough to sail by.

At first, I only planned to row out a bit, then find a peaceful cove and wait the night out to sail in the morning. But the moon came out bright enough to see by and in spite of my slight reservations, I hoisted the sails and took advantage of the decent wind coming down the lake. I sailed for about an hour before dousing the sails and rowing back up the long cove I started from, finding a smaller leeward cove to anchor and camp in for the rest of the night. I'm glad I bought a spotlight before this trip, it came in really handy when spotting a good place to camp and in spotting landmarks from the water.

Stockton Lake - Moonlight sailing

Stockton Lake - Moonlight sailing

Owls hooted throughout the night and bats swooped through my at anchor light, but I still managed to sleep really well, overall. Between the motion of the lightly rocking sailboat hull, the tiring two hours of sailing and rowing in the dark and a rum and cola while reading under the makeshift tarp boom tent, I was out like a light.

Stockton Lake - Rum and cola under my tarp canopy. Between the shot of rum, mild movement of the boat and having rowed and sailed for two hours under the moonlight, I slept like a baby.

Morning came, I made coffee and heated up some pre-cooked bacon to eat with my Pop Tart. I sat and enjoyed the view from where I found myself anchored. One last owl hoot before the sun came up completely, a blue heron croaked his displeasure as a bass boat raced down the lake and I relaxed taking it all in, having done something afloat that I've only read about previously. It was great!

Stockton Lake - My first overnight on the boat. Where I woke Saturday morning. Lots of owls hooting through the night.

Stockton Lake - Panoramas don't quite work out when the boat is moving slightly. Where I woke Saturday morning. Lots of owls hooting through the night.

Stockton Lake - Panoramas don't quite work out when the boat is moving slightly. Where I woke Saturday morning. Lots of owls hooting through the night.

Stockton Lake - Making coffee and heating up pre-cooked bacon for breakfast.

About 8 AM, I put everything back in its place and sailed back into the main lake channel to meet a guy I met at Sail Oklahoma Messabout, named Gene Berry. He pulled up to the launch ramp just as I turned the bend in the lake. Perfect timing. I sailed over and practiced heaving-to while he rigged his sailboat.

Stockton Lake - Meeting up with Gene Berry Saturday morning

Stockton Lake - Gene Berry's V-Fly

Gene is a prolific builder of small boats. As soon as he has one done, it's on to the next. The boat he brought for the day was his V-Fly, a modified Jim Michalak Mayfly 12 with a vee bottom installed.

Stockton Lake - Gene Berry's V-Fly

Stockton Lake - Gene Berry's V-Fly

We sailed from the Orleans Trail area up the lake, past the two large islands and up around the bridge that separates the dam side of the lake from Mutton Creek Marina. Gene sailed under with ease, but I hung back, not confident in clearing the bridge in high water conditions. We've had a lot of rain this summer and Stockton is over its normal banks a bit. Gene lost his hat on the return trip under the bridge, we tacked back and forth for ten minutes and managed to find the needle in the haystack, a green hat in a green blue lake.

Sailing Stockton Lake

Stockton Lake - Gene Berry's V-Fly

Then we set off for the down wind run back to the launch area. By this time we had a decent amount of company. Large sloops sailed in every direction you looked and pleasure boats pulling inner tubes with bouncing laughing kids zigged back and forth all over the place. I followed Gene into the launch area he put in at and we talked a bit before he headed out and I sailed back to the marina to collect my things for the day.

Stockton Lake - Wing on wing

Stockton Lake - My Sea Pearl, courtesy of Gene Berry

Stockton Lake - Heading in about 3pm. Other boats were starting to head out more, we'd been out for half a day already.

It was a great trip. I got to experience sleeping aboard for the first time and sail in the company of one of my SailOklahoma friends that I usually just converse with in broken up Yahoo forum messages. Looking forward to the upcoming SailOklahoma event in October and sailing more with like-minded boat addicts.

Stockton Lake - My Sea Pearl 21 and Gene Berry's V-Fly (a modified Michalak Mayfly 12)

Stockton Lake - My Sea Pearl, courtesy of Gene Berry

Only downside, I need to pick up some sailing gloves, soon. I had a line run out on my left hand about mid-day and I ended up having to fashion some makeshift duct tape bandages for the blisters I received for my inattention.

What happens when a line runs out of your hands a little too quick. I need some gloves, maybe?

improvised bandages for blisters

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sailing Fellows Lake, after work

Back when I used to sail the old pokey eight foot plywood dinghy, I was able to consistently sail in the evening after work for a couple of hours, about once a week. I'd bust out the door at 5PM, then head 15-20 minutes north to Fellows Lake. Fellows is a reservoir just north of town and has a bunch of regulations about swimming, fishing and motor sizes, since it's also our drinking water supply. It only took me about 15 minutes to pull the dinghy off of the car roof, stick it in the water, rig it and be off. Once I built the outrigger and it became my primary sailing vessel, evening sailing went away. It took too long to put the boat together and rig it. One and a half hours of prep and take down for one hour of sailing isn't quite worth it. BUT! The new Sea Pearl is easily rigged in 15 minutes and I can once again ply my local waters before sunset. I did just that, yesterday evening.

The wind pretty much died before I got off the water and I got to test out the oars a little more. Once you get the SP21 moving, it rows pretty well and carries quite a bit of inertia. When I was headed to the dock, I noticed a cyclist had biked down to the dock and was watching me. As I got closer, he yells out "Hey, Trevor!" Turns out, my buddy Darren G. was out riding around the lake on his road bike and saw my car. He normally rides trails and frequently races in endurance mountain bike races up to 12 hours and 100 miles long. He's also one of my good outdoor enthusiast friends and if you look back through older hiking/camping posts on here, you'll see the dude a bunch. I've been hiking, floating and camping with he and my friend Brian D. for about 15 years.

Fellows Lake, after work

Fellows Lake, after work

Fellows Lake, after work

Fellows Lake, after work

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Family Sailing on Stockton Lake 8-10-2013

stockton lake family sailing 8-10-2013

Took the family out on the Sea Pearl for the first time yesterday. Had a blast. We sailed out of Stockton State Park Marina, out to the dam area and back. Stopping in a leeward cove to swim for a little while.

stockton lake family sailing 8-10-2013

stockton lake family sailing 8-10-2013

stockton lake family sailing 8-10-2013

Had a bit of trouble with the tilt trailer afterwards, but it turned out to be part of the safety chain stuck between the two trailer halves and keeping the pin from locking in place. I ended up putting the boat back in the water and reloading it. Fixing the issue in the process.

The wife and kiddo both enjoyed the day. Which is awesome. Looking forward to having them out on the water with me more often. I made a small box of "pirate treasures" for Gwen to take out with us. It's filled with things like bubbles, squirt guns, a toy sailboat and a Nerf football. All stuff that floats when accidentally dropped over.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

First sail on the Sea Pearl 21

Photo Aug 03, 12 21 15 PM_s

I took the Sea Pearl 21 out solo today. I wanted to get any kinks or bugs worked out before taking my family out soon. The weather threatened to kill my plans. Last night was a stormy one. Very electrical and I opted not to camp out before sailing. This morning looked like more of the same, but I drove the hour up to Stockton Lake, anyway. I ended up putting the boat on the water about 11:30 am.

Photo Aug 03, 12 52 44 PM_s

Photo Aug 03, 12 59 05 PM_s

Photo Aug 03, 12 52 47 PM_s

After a few small showers, the clouds parted and it got pretty nice. More boats joined me and the wind picked up. It did change direction, often and I spent much of the day going upwind. No matter which direction I picked to sail.

Photo Aug 03, 3 33 13 PM_s

Photo Aug 03, 2 58 40 PM_s

Photo Aug 03, 2 58 35 PM_s

Photo Aug 03, 3 32 55 PM_s

I really like the way this boat sails. Having no ballast tanks, since it's an early model SP21, I put three 50lb bags of gravel wrapped in pillow cases on the front cockpit floor. It gave it just enough stability that I could walk around onboard and not lean the boat heavily. That's about half the weight in water ballast that newer boats have. At one point, during a light, but steady breeze, I left the tiller and both sheets in jam cleats and just stood on the middle deck and let her sail herself. A very cool experience.

Photo Aug 03, 3 11 25 PM

Photo Aug 03, 3 10 44 PM_s

I got off the water about 5:30 pm. Having had a pleasant day on the water. I'm glad the weather shifted for the better.

Photo Aug 03, 3 33 30 PM_s

Photo Aug 03, 4 35 47 PM_s

Photo Aug 03, 5 02 37 PM_s