I'm Matt, a software engineer and boating enthusiast based in Washington State (but on the move). I started Hermit Cove Boats, offering cool skin and frame boat plans and kits. Check it out!
A few points to anyone as clueless as us heading out into the open ocean:
- Don’t. Travel as crew with someone else on an overnight trip. Try to do this before you even buy a boat :)
- Steadying sail! Steadying sail! Three times steadying sail! I had the idea on the first leg, but wasn’t sure it would help, and was worried that the sail would flog and cause us more trouble than it was worth. Also I was glued to the helm and didn’t much want to move :) The sail was worth its weight in gold the next time out. If the wind is coming at 320 degrees and you want to head at 320 degrees, you can still fill the sail by motoring and heading 330 and 310 degrees alternately. It surprised me but we had good sail shape and some heel with our reefed main (the main of a ketch rig is fairly balanced on its own). We hardly rolled beam to beam at all, and no one got sick!
- You want a good boat. It is your best friend out there. It should be better than you are. And don’t leave anything important undone before you go. If you’ve a concern about fuel, oil, hoses, rigging, etc, it will nag you even if it never causes you trouble. I didn’t lock my turnbuckles in place after tensioning the rig. The aft lower on the main mast wobbled loose when the shrouds were slack from being downwind. The navigation box flopped about. I went forward to retension them three times, crawling with two hands on the boat, pitching up and down and looking to the right at green water, not down like you’d expect. But the water always was rejected, sent packing in another direction than on me. Up there on the foredeck I had a great feeling of fondness for my boat.