At last, Skat
is (mostly) finished and launched. I got the boat wet for the
first time on May 25, and have been out a few times in the weeks
Sometimes, the fourth time is a charm. The
first time I launched Skat, there was too little wind on Lake
Tuscaloosa--we might have made it 100 yards from the boat ramp
and back in about 2 hours.
click images to enlarge
The second time there was too much wind. We
went out on Dog River in Mobile, and evern with a reef tied
in, I had a hard time holding the sheet by the time we made
it back to the marina. <I have a couple of Dog River photos
I'll send when I get home this afternoon>
The third time out, once a again too little
wind. We didn't make it far from the boat ramp before I broke
out the oars to row to the house.
Finally, the fourth time out, everything came
Got out of work June 11 around lunchtime,
and a nice breeze was blowing. After lunch and a few domestic
matters, headed off to Lake Tuscaloosa around 3:30 pm. At the
lake at 4:00, on the water at 4:30.
The public boat launch is down a slough, and
the wind was somewhat anemic, but 15 mins. later, I made it
out to a larger part of the lake, and the wind was just about
perfect. Weather.com said 7 mph, and the small tree branches
were swaying, so the wind was probably in the 5-10 mph range.
It was a bit warm, mid to upper 90s F, but not too bad with
Had a nice leisurely sail down to the other
end of the lake on a broad reach, jibing a couple of times as
I headed down. At the other end, I turned and tacked back up
on a close reach. Once again, the wind lessened considerably
towards the boat ramp, and it took about 20 mins to make it
back down the slough to the ramp at around 6:15.
Though I don't have much of a comparison base
as this is the first boat I've sailed (other than several times
on a Sunfish 15 years ago), it sails nicely. I don't have a
GPS to give much of an estimate of speed or direction, but it
seems to tack through about 100 degrees pretty easily in a moderate
wind. In stronger winds with a reef, it seems to point a bit
closer to the wind.
I can't think of a much more relaxing
afternoon--easy sailing, quiet, sunny and breezy, and I only
saw about 4 other boats the whole time I was out. Days like
this make all the work over the past year and a half well worth