Thread: Sailing
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:28 PM   #51
ApS
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Cool Get Out at 8AM, and...

Actually, the sailing has been great these past three days.

It's not unusual to see one loon in a morning flight: On Friday, however, you couldn't miss seeing three Loons calling to each other 100' overhead in The Broads, south of Welch Island.

This rare event (a first for me) had the three following one another, doing a huge circle—encompassing Welch and Rattlesnake Islands when they split up. The call was (as is usual for a Loon-in-flight), this rapid vocalization—"the tremulo"—given repeatedly:

Quote:
"Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!—Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!—Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!"
Yes, I do seem to be "quoting" a bird.

Even when not calling, they were flying with their beaks open, something I also saw with a large Cormorant a few days later. (Sunday, while sailing). I saw my First-Ever-For-Life baby Loon, also, near Winnmiir Apartments.

On Saturday, I saw our "resident juvenile Loon" apparently eating something in the water. I turned the tiller to jibe (sailboat talk ) to see what was there. It was the front quarter of a large (4-pound) bass! Ever seen a Loon scavenging?

Another sight was a sad one: In the Marriott's vast lawnscape was a Canada Goose picking at the grass, but with a broken wing. She's still out there, but sometimes she's in the water there, in the thick of it all.

The wind, as usual, dropped at about 11:30, but I've learned the signs on these beautiful days ("flat" water in the distance—to windward—and shifty winds starting to appear) to head to home port just before then.

By 10-AM, and though the lake was busy, the count was still one sailboat to six powerboats (1:6).

That's a number that drops on weekdays, with sometimes more sailboats than powerboats! This count has been excluding sailboats under power, barges, immobile powerboats, MPs (if ever seen), anchored boats of all kinds, and trolling powerboats.

Elchase absolutely needs to use a CD! You don't have to attach it to a hat, as I do. You can slip it into a PFD pocket, then aim the reflected sun at the offender. I only used it a few times these past three days, though a certain Checkmate speedster needs "more rays".

(Half-speed, but only 75'—and did it twice! No sailing experience there!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winnipesaukee
"...there are definitely sailors on this forum...!"
Maybe, but they're of the invisible sailor variety.

ETA: (Edited To Add).
Make that FOUR days of great sailing!

Monday:

"The wind was up", so I got out at 7:30 AM. The heaviest haze of the summer was everywhere. I could barely see past Welch Island and couldn't see anything of Castle in the Clouds at all.

I couldn't detect much of anything in the way of hydrocarbons or ozone in the breeze, so it was just "the summer haze of old".

Just as I shoved off, I heard the "tremulo call" of the Loon (that call is given in flight), looked up and saw a loon—no, three—no, SIX Loons in flight. A record from just yesterday! Once again, they flew a big circle around The Broads, and just three returned to my location to land. I've witnessed the landing of a Loon only once before. (A crash really, with beak, feet, and wings tumbling out of a big cloud of spray!)

The one landing I was able to witness Monday started as a gradual approach to the water's surface with wings held in an extremely deep "V". (An extremely high dihedral—airplane talk ). The Loon hit the water with his belly, and slowed to a stop just like a floatplane!

(Not bad for a waterfowl with a penguin-like torso—a "four-thumbs-up" landing). Remember, this is Earth's most ancient bird that's still around!

Over the course of a couple of hours, the wind kept building to whitecaps+, so with boat wakes already compounding the waves as well, I headed for home earlier than normal. (Having seen only one other sailboat and a handful of "normal" powerboats over those few hours).

In the afternoon, about 2:30, the wind reduced to about half of the morning's strong breeze, so I launched again. It was hot (83º at the house), but not too bad, as the breeze kept things temperate.

Off Wolfeboro, south of Parker Island, I saw a cluster of five large sailboats in the range of 20'-30'—perhaps in a race? Including my own boat, that made for a "count" of six sailboats in The Broads. Scanning then for powerboats, I saw just six powerboats, so the ratio was 1:1 for this weekday. (Up from the usual weekend count of about 1:6)

Towards 5:00, The Broads got really busy with boats running helter-skelter between Diamond and Rattlesnake Islands and Winter Harbor. (Into my "space"!)

About that same time, several Jet-Skis raced out into The Broads from several directions, turned around, and headed back the way they came. No GPS?

Except for the haze—which I think was harmless—Monday was a really good day for this sailor!

Tuesday was absent of wind at 7:30 AM, but due to a following post decrying the lack of wind, I thought I'd try to "find" some. I learned a lot on a day I wouldn't have normally tried: First, there's a lot of nature that is missed on the windy days.

I heard Mourning Doves, Blue Jays (for the first time this season), and the softer calls of Loons interested in one another's company and welfare. There were OSHA backup alarms, chain saws, and a very loud motorcycle on Tuftonboro Neck somewhere, but I digress.

It took a ½-hour to go one mile, but it wasn't hot at that early hour, and I was moving.

The handiest item to detect wind direction? A narrow strip of mylar ribbon—specially modified—at the bow. The usual "tell-tails" didn't move during this time. I found that what "wind" there was, was highly variable. It took a lot of attention to keep going forward.

Using the relatively huge mainsail, an occasional 360° turn would cause the mainsail to jibe automatically (flip) when the breeze couldn't be determined otherwise.

Consistent with my earlier observations, there were about five powerboats on The Broads and, except for mine, no sailboats. The wind never did get very strong all day.

Wednesday was a nice day, but the winds (20+ kts) and waves were more challenging for me than I'd want. I still took account of the sailboats-to-powerboats ratio on The Broads. (Still holding at ~1:6).

Afterwards, I toured a quiet part of the lake with fluky, (but adequate) winds in Tuftonboro Bay—visiting that baby Loon again.

Late Wednesday afternoon was remarkable in seeing a wooden sailboat race off the northern shore of Rattlesnake Island. The class was the old "Town" class, and all three hailed from "Camp Kabeyun". Their boats are easily recognizable by the letter "K" on their sails:

That afternoon, the ratio of sail to power was nearly 1:1 at one point! (Meaning there were six sailboats to six powerboats).

Thursday:
Upon first putting in, I saw a "bank beaver" heading north.

Attempting to see it close-up, I sailed (or rather, "ghosted silently" ) about ¼-mile when two fishermen slowly edged their bass boat absentmindedly towards me. I was forced to alter course.

From them, I learned that the beaver had outdistanced me, and was still moving in the same direction. They asked about my "CD hat" and, by a demonstration, made them Believers!

'Never did see that beaver again.

Thursday got gradually windier (and nicer) during the day and, after Noon, had swung to a moderate easterly. The week-long haze, which I've since learned is harmful to lungs, had abated somewhat.

Shortly after Noon, I received a nice visit from RG and RG. They took mental notes of my sailboat's "standby devise", and left for home to anticipate ForumFest on Saturday.

Friday:

Friday marks a full week of decent sailing weather.

Friday arrived cloudy, but sailable. After skipping any sailing due to a gloomy morning, the sun came out after lunch with a moderatately-strong breeze from the east. (Easterlies eventually mean rain).

The sailing was fine, but all afternoon Easterlies keep me from checking The Broads for a count. (Without auxiliary power, I may not get home in time to avoid rain). The haze was too intense to see far enough anyway. (The worst of the week).

Satellite view of the haze, below:

After about two hours, the skies started clouding-up, gradually building to much darker low clouds. There was no thunder, but I decided to quit for the day.

About ½-hour later, thunder was obvious. Large droplets started falling slowly for just a few minutes. Still later, the wind started building strongly from the NW, producing large, angry, waves.

I noticed an all-white 27' powerboat stopping to scan the skies (a bit late ). After a minute's discussion among the five or six juvenile males, they took off in a hurry in the direction the storm was coming from! (Which would mean Melvin Village).

Saturday:

Saturday dawned bright but we were surrounded by threatening clouds and later, thunder and lightning. I took a shot at The Broads anyway to get my "count". Traffic was very light for a weekend on the Broads, and I was the only sailboat out there—for a time. After another scan of the atmosphere, I skee-daddled home—skipping "the count" of The Broads overall.

Sailing closer to home later in the afternoon, I stopped at a neighbor's to chat at his dock. Ten minutes later, a medium-light rain shower arrived from over his tree line. I grabbed a poncho just for such occasions and, with no wind behind the rain, it wasn't cold! I secured the boat in the rain, and didn't venture out again.

Sunday:

Sunday had more boat traffic, but lots of weird cloud formations: There was no telling what treachery the weather was up to, but a large hole of sunlight opened in the cloud cover, so I launched the boat.

The wind was a perfect 12-knots, and the number of sailboats increased to six individual boats (big and small) during my 2-hour sojourn. The "count" on The Broads was all over the map, going from 1:1 to 1:4 mostly due to a "flock" of Jet-Skis.

I may give them only a ½-point each in future counts. It's like counting seagulls at the beach.

I managed to get home with a decent wind, but the skies never looked as good the rest of the day. It eventually rained lightly—off and on—starting around 4-PM, with skiers still getting in some fun in the rain.

A third landing by a Loon was witnessed by me in the middle of the afternoon. (!)

That rapid "tremulo" call (described above) is good sign that a Loon is in flight.

Monday, August 25th:

Another perfect morning followed Sunday's great weather, though rain showers were all around the lake and there were plenty of "climbing" cumulus clouds. Noon-time quieted again, but the afternoon ended up a "gentler clone" of the morning.

'Ratio of sailboats went from 1:6 to 1:2 when suddenly The Broads "grew" two more sailboats in addition to my boat!

A full, and fairly mellow, day of boating out there.

Tuesday and Wednesday, August 26th and 27th:

Too windy to sail.

Thursday, August 28th:

Still too windy, but a guest wanted an opportunity to recover some pride after last year's races where I beat him six-outta-six. We risked a high-speed run across open water to a quiet cove where the wind was manageable. Three races later, I had consistently finished 2nd, and he had finished next-to-last.

Saturday, August 30th:
A blustery and rainy day all day. Wind is strong—mostly from the NE—with heavy and fast-moving overcast skies. No chance of a sail today, and saw only one powerboat.

Monday, September 1st:

Clear, but very windy. Stayed on shore and saw only a few boats, who waited until afternoon to venture out.

Tuesday, September 2nd:

Early-morning fog cleared by 7AM to ideal winds, but too chilly for sailing. (Mid-50s).

By 9-AM, and bundled-up, I headed for Rattlesnake Island. For much of the next hour, I had all of The Broads to myself! One sailboat off Gilford raised his sails, then lowered them again. One large sailboat then appeared which made the ratio of sail to power on The Broads a rare 2:0. As scheduled, the winds diminished about Noon—but were still constant.

A few powerboats appeared south of Cow Island after Noon. It had warmed appreciably by then and had become a perfect sailing day. After lunch and a nap, I ventured out again. Winds were flukey, but there were no wakes to speak of. Mostly clear skies all day.

Wednesday, September 3rd:
Cool, but with ideal winds, I took a long sail to Sandy Island. (More about Sandy Island's interesting history later).

That ideal wind promptly slackened about 10AM, but was still enough to get me back home—and just in time for a doctor's appointment at 1:30PM. Very few sailboats out on this beautiful day, and very few powerboats.

Thursday, September 4th:
The day started with the strong odor of burning brush in the air. At first, I blamed a neighbor's unseen cigar. :embarrassed: The entire Lakes Region, however, was covered in a smokey haze.

The number of powerboats is "up", as is usually the case before a weekend. The ratio of sailboats never exceeded that 1:6 number.

Friday, September 5th:
The day started (and ended) with flukey winds. I checked the Broads and saw the ratio climb to 1:8, with three sailboats and many, many powerboats and Jet-Skis. The general lake noise went up considerably after Noon, and still climbed into the late afternoon. The winds varied between none and adequate, but the numerous boat wakes made the light-weather sailing "unfun".

An MP arrived in the late afternoon with a boat that was new to me. It appears like MP-7 and MP-11 (Centuries), with a low windshield, but without any canopy at all.

Yes, I've lost a day here somewhere. I'll fix it later.

Saturday, September 6th:

A great day for sailing. The powerboat count was really high, which is not too be surprising due to the holiday weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winnipesaukee
"...there are definitely sailors on this forum...!"
Maybe, but they're of the invisible sailor variety.

Tuesday and Wednesday, August 26th and 27th:

Too windy to sail.

Friday, August 29th:
With very high, thin, cloud cover, amid very moderate winds, I ventured out early at about 8:00. Just one little outboard boat with two aboard was seen fishing in the Broads. An hour later , there were five sailboats, no powerboats, and three floatplanes seen!

One large community camp (40 families) was bringing in its dock flag, and there were other indications that this season was over for them (!).

Sailing once again in much weaker winds in the afternoon, powerboat traffic was still very slow. I noted MP-11 had stopped for amid us three sailboats. After a five-minute communication with the dispatcher, he took off at high speed in the direction of Melvin Village.

Shortly afterwards, a ~40' Formula GFBL raced right through us (at top speed, of course) in the same general direction. This was his third violation I'd witnessed in just one week! (Stars and stripes "graphics").

Saturday, August 30th:
A blustery and rainy day all day. Wind is strong—mostly from the NE—with heavy and fast-moving overcast skies. No chance of a sail today, and saw only one powerboat.

Sunday, August 31st:
At 8AM, the wind started calm, then increased to about 14-kts. Because it was chilly (at 55 degrees), I quit after about an hour, then went out again better dressed. Wouldn't you know that the temperature would shortly soar into the 70s! It got HOT!

Saw several Loons trying to take off in the cool morning air, only to "crash" back into the water. Saw an Osprey with a caught-fish later in the afternoon.

Off Rattlesnake's most northern shore, a nice sailing chat was had with a "landed gentleman" from Rattlesnake. (We were talking between our identical sailboats). He'd heard of our forum here, and I asked that he sign up.

As usual, the wind dropped to near-nothing after Noon, but was enough to get me home within an hour. The most sailboats seen today at one time was eleven, so the ratio to powerboats swung between 1:1 and 1:2 most of the day.

A different ~40' Formula GFBL flew by (Checkered-Flag motif), heading perhaps to Braun Bay? Is that where they all are going?

It clouded up after dinner, with heavy rains coming in—and the clouds and rainfall were "backlit" by the setting sun: A super ½-rainbow appeared afterwards.

Sunday, September 6th:
It started out just fine, with an average boat ratio of 1:6. Since the wind was from the north, the waves couldn't build, and weren't too large. In the afternoon, the wind freshened, and changed to the south, with boat wakes making things extremely difficult for sailing.

I found my own powerboat could be made to "surf" the largest wakes, possibly exceeding the engine's designed RPM limit!

A pair of identical cruisers sped into my neighborhood side-by-side!

Later, I counted 18 sailboats (including a 420 class, and a Farrier 27 trimaran!) That number of sailboats even eclipsed the number of powerboats—for a rare-ratio of 2:1.

Monday, September 7th:

The lake rapidly became a zoo, so I stayed in and had guests over for a BBQ lunch instead. As the late afternoon approached (and the books were closed on this Labor Day Weekend), I noticed that the wakes gradually became quieter along the shoreline and boats were more sedately cruising about. Most were well below the 25-MPH limit.

Tuesday, September 8th:

Chilly, but nice morning breeze for sailing. The wind dropped at 11AM.

I managed to get home early though, even after having cruised the Broads shoreline of Rattlesnake island while having chats with a few residents enjoying the new quiet.

Wednesday, September 9th:

A.M. doctor's appointment cut off my sailing—totally.

It was a mostly sunny day, with a strong East wind. (Good sailing).

I'm especially glad not to have missed this boat sailing out front of my place. That neighbor, who doesn't consider a Hobie "fast enough", didn't quite get the hang of it, but did OK. The wind was really too strong to try this boat, (which is new to him) so he stayed in a sheltered area known for "changeable" winds. The first run wasn't too pretty, and the guy had all different sorts of problems staying upright. (Similar boat, below).



Thursday, September 10th:

A bit chilly and windy (E) this morning for a sail. This may indicate the approach of the end of this season's sailing.

Waited until Noon, when conditions were just fine. Some bright sun, anoher look-ee at the Bladerider on shore, and another count, with me being the only boat out there for long stretches at a time.

Friday, September 11th:

Intermittant sunshine poking through the clouds and nice winds from the East. It "feels" like rain.

A few more powerboats on the Broads, but a J-80 sailboat kept the count down to around 1:2 or 1:3. The J-80 was headed north. Maybe races in the northern part of the lake?

Saturday, September 12th:

Only scant wind this morning, and later it rained. (So didn't go out).
For a Saturday, there were hardly any boats running around. (And, among sailboats, only a Santana 20 went out in the drizzle).

'Did manage to see a Peregrine Falcon do a "stoop". Couldn't see if it caught anything, but a bunch of crows announced their displeasure at its presence! Could it have been someone's "falconry" pet who used the open spaces here for training?

Saw two Loons in flight and tried to catch them in a landing. Both soared together for several seconds with their wings held in an extreme "V" dihedral (for a bird).

Sunday, September 13th:

Partly sunny, so I got out in a mild wind at 9AM, and saw 17 sailboats! (Not as many powerboats). Saw and heard a small Osprey being attacked in the air by a large seagull.

Went out again at Noon, and counted 33 sailboats! The sailing was great, but I didn't like the "long-fetch" nature of the waves, so headed for home. The wind freshened a whole lot more, with very strong gusts: That had me wondering if I should wait out the weather at a lee shore until things improved. Taking advantage of a lull, and noticing that the clouds began to look even more threatening, I took a chance and zoomed the last ½-mile to the dock. (My BIL was there to slow my docking speed—fortunately).

Monday, September 14th:

A nice sunny day, but stayed ashore. A bit on the windy side for me. A Cooper's Hawk paid a brief visit to my shoreline.

Tuesday, September 15th:

'Way too windy!

Wednesday, September 16th:

A still-strong wind changed to the East, but a cool, heavy overcast and a hint of sprinks in the air kept me off the water. 'Saw a (probable) Golden Eagle soaring over Tuftonboro Neck.

Thursday, September 17th:


By the time the winds died down (and the temperature went up) my 3-PM appointment with the optometrist was due.

Friday and Saturday, September 18th and 19th:
Sailboats twice my size would turn back home seeing today's winds!

Sunday, September 20th

Loon activity is still high. 'Saw two loons make a big circle overhead, finally making smooth landings (for Loons ) in the middle of Winter Harbor.

A sunny sailing day with moderate, but changeable wind velocity. 'Saw that the number of sailboats (at 18) consistently outnumbered the powerboats 2:1 on the Broads this afternoon. There was a stream of 30+ footers heading NW from the south end of the lake. Leading the stream was a Pearson, a Hunter, and a C-36. All were about 35' long. Sailed with a Bucaneer-class for a time. (A small, but very capable design).

One GFBL (purple accented graphics ) decided to "let-er-rip" in front of me (at about 90), but was the only offender on the Broads south of Welch Island this afternoon.

Monday, September 21th

Went out in a nice E to NE breeze, and had the lake to myself for some time. There was one other sailboat, and only one or two other powerboats at any one time. About 11-AM, the wind slackened, so suspecting my voyage to Sandy Island would take all day, I turned for home in variable light breezes. Seeing that it was clear—and the wind was slackening to zero—I proposed to the household that we all head for Castle in the Clouds for lunch! :lipsmack:

From there, I could see only two boats on the whole lake!

Later in the afternoon (with very limited boating) we saw a Black-Backed Gull. Even among that species, this was a large one!

Tuesday, September 22nd

The rain forecast for Tuesday never materialized: Winds were variable, but never strong. There was a little sun, but the clouds were those vertical/fluffy clouds that I associate with snow flurries! It eventually got humid and actually hot while remaining in the high 60s.

Including my boat, there were two sailboats on the Broads at that time, and never more than two powerboats. The other sailboat was off Welch Island, and very fast: a catamaran, perhaps? I saw a Bald Eagle soaring overhead off Marriott's compound. Later, I saw a previously-unseen "Force-5" sailboat enjoying a breeze off a lee shore of Tuftonboro Neck.

A Loon family of four were behaving in a "migratory-mood" (hyper-active) this afternoon. As it was calm in the PM, there were a lot of feathers to be seen on the lake's surface. (Consistent with the Loon-moltings that occur before migration).

Wednesday, September 23nd

Dentist appointment in the AM.

Thursday, September 24nd

Tree trimmer kept me busy in the AM. Heard the B-17 at 9:30 AM. Saw the B-17 fly really close-by before lunch.


Friday, September 25th

'Way too windy for most everybody.

Saturday, September 26th

Sailed in the nice breeze of the cool (55°) calm AM. Never saw more than a few boats, and none were sailboats. Loon feathers are everywhere on the surface. Selected some for fashioning into wind indicators. Maybe add them to my sail's tell-tales?

Sailed again in the fluky winds of the afternoon. 'Got hot out there. Saw a bald eagle land high in a tree just north of a Rattlesnake camp with woodstove smoking. (If Rattlesnake Island appears to you like a snorkeler, he landed at the shoulder of the snorkeler). A large Osprey flew directly overhead from (once again) Camp Ossipee.

There were 18 sailboats out—most (that were moving) were near Lakeshore Park. Perhaps because there were more clouds there, they had much more wind than the east side of the lake. Sailboats outnumbered powerboats even with a surge in powerboat numbers towards about 3:30-PM, when I quit for the day. (Scant wind, and getting stalled by wakes).

Got a big wave (hello) and cheer (!) from a smallish antique Laker.

Sunday, September 27th

The 100% rain chance promised did appear, and foreclosed on any possible sailing.

Monday, September 28th

Discouraged by the "strongish" winds of mid-morning, I elected to spend the day away from the lake. "Big mistake", as the wind and weather turned beautiful.

Tuesday, September 29th
No more good sailing days.

October has been mostly too windy for sailing. Now that the water has cooled, I think I'll pull the boat for the season.
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Last edited by ApS; 10-11-2009 at 04:08 AM. Reason: A diary of our too-rare sailing days this 2009 season...
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