We launched at Fort Morgan Marina on Mobile
Bay at around 1:15 pm on July 18 and sailed to the mouth of
the bay. The Marina is a mile and a half or so from the fort,
so it was probably two and half miles or so to the point.
We sailed upwind through about a 1 foot chop.
It was a little bit wet, but Skat made good
progress in the brisk breeze. Along the way we tacked past
several pelicans on pilings and watched the ferry leave the
Fort on the way to Dauphin Island past the oil rigs in the
At the mouth of the Bay, we headed out into
the Gulf with the ebb tide. There were some pretty good sized
waves (2 feet or so) coming from several directions as we
exited the Bay and the ebb tide met the current along the
beach, combined with the wakes of all the fishing boats coming
and going. Skat sailed happily through it all.
After that, it was about a 7 mile run downwind
through 2 foot swells to the house at which we were staying.
First, we sailed past a stretch of deserted beach along the
state park that contains the fort.
Soon after, we passed a shrimp boat just
lowering its nets.
Next, we saw a large pod of dolphins (10
to 15) who swam within yards of the boat. (I learned that
dolphins have terrible breath:they smell like dead fish).
We were to see the dolphins swimming just off the beach every
day we were there.
In all, we made about 10 miles in just about
2 and half hours, arriving at the house at about 3:40 pm.
All week, we kept the boat pulled up on
the sand, and went out daily. We saw dolphins every day, and
at one point had 3 adults and one child out for a short sail.
Winds were light, but Skat moved gently along anyway.
One afternoon I was out in about a 2 foot
chop. Skat would make some progress to windward, but not much--the
chop pushed us back nearly as much as the sail pushed us forward.
At the end of the week, we sailed back around
the point to the boat ramp at Fort Morgan to take out. The
final cruise was a good bit longer than the first, however.
We had a favorable breeze to begin with, and for the first
2 miles had an easy beam reach. Then the wind died for about
an hour. There wasn't a ripple to be seen. Once the wind picked
up, it was a light breeze from the west, exactly the driection
we were headed. For most of the trip, we beat to windward
in about a 5 knot breeze, then headed into the bay with the
tide, again through 2-foot seas, and finally made the boat
ramp just before dark, for a trip of about 5 and a half hours.