Our first gale
After finally getting the engine up and running, we set out for part of the April long weekend on our first trip by ourselves. As usual, we were hoping to get to Montague Harbour, and as usual, we ended up at Bedwell Harbour. We had some trouble with the placement of our new dinghy, so we were stuck with only the staysail up front. There just wasn't enough wind, so we ended up motoring the whole way. In retrospect, it was probably good for the engine to get a workout.
Because we were arriving on the Sunday, most of the other boats had left to return home and the harbour was rather quiet. There was a free mooring buoy, but we chose to anchor for the practice. The winds picked up overnight, but although we spun around much more than the other boats, we stayed put with no problem.
The next morning, the electric windlass started up all well, but died about halfway. Steven cranked the manual windlass for a few minutes until the anchor came up and we motored away. The winds on Monday were much more lively, ranging from 10-15 knots when we started out to a pretty solid 20 knots as we approached Moresby Island.
We tacked back and forth, taking the long way around Moresby, getting used to how the boat handles in weather. We were quite glad that we started off the day with a double reefed main, though we had the full foresail out all day. We averaged about 15 degrees of heel, and topped out at over 30 degrees during some of the gusts. It was exciting, but was entirely more comfortable than much less heel was in Wai Whare. I'm starting to understand the adage "small boats make big sailors."
The previous day we had practiced taking down the mainsail, and happily the practice paid off as we brought down the main in a good 20-25 knots. It was a much simpler job after trying out different scenarios the previous day in much less breeze.