We knew the season was drawing to a close, so we were grateful the weekend before Thanksgiving when temps crept into the 50s and the sun came out to warm our shoulders. Winds were barely tickling the tree tops on Saturday, which was a perfect opportunity to splash the M-16. This great little boat had been sitting in the back yard since July 2009 when we took possession of an I-20 and devoted our sailing time to learning the ropes on that boat. So, this day sail felt like a reunion of sorts with our old friend, the M-16.
As part of the “celebration,” we had just acquired some new old sails from Sail La Vie in White Bear Lake, MN., so we were eager to see how the wind would like them. The main is a Bowers, still stiff and crinkly. The jib: a Melges with lots of telltales. In light winds that day, they filled with a nice shape, not too much pocket; the wind seemed to stick to them and the boat fairly jumped to a good speed on the 3-4 mph breeze.
These are really nice sails. We tacked and gybed around the estuary just in front of the docks on Daingerfield Island. I forgot how much I like this club racer.
I made notes on some improvements for the coming year: cleats for adjustable hiking straps, lighter jib sheets, better jib downhaul. It would be nice to run the boom vang back to the helm, but that can wait. The boards are a bit sticky in the bilge slots, so this winter we will remove them and check to make sure they are straight. That splash rail could use some varnish!
After we hoisted the boat, we rolled the sails (nice!) and gave the hull a good cleaning. With a little tweaking, this rig will be ready for races in the spring.
On Sunday, we dropped the I-20 known as Mr. Whistlebritches into the water and tacked through the channel to the open river. Variable winds kept us on the Potomac for 6 hours, but with warming sun, we did not mind. We took turns eating lunch from a thermos of soup. That, apples, and taking turns at the helm, seemed to evaporate the hours. The low light at this time of year is really lovely on the water.