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June 20-2002 -FIRST CRUISE

Today I took my boat on its first sailing cruise. It is also the first time I have ever sailed a boat. I've done lots of studying and played Virtual Sailor, but this time I was doing it for real. I left the house at about 2:30PM and drove it down to a small section of Gander Lake which is more tranquile then anywhere else. I then put up the mast, but couldn't put up the boom assembly because it was too long and would scratch the car. I would have to put it on in the water. I put the boat in the water. Dragged it over to the dock and put up the mast. At that point I realized that I had not put the line for the gaff through the pulley at the top. Down came the Mast.

Again up went the mast with the line installed but the nut was missing on the bolt which holds the boom to the mast. I double nut everything so I stole a bolt from another fitting and finally got the boom installed. I looked up and found the line to pull up the gaff had slipped and was now about a foot or two further them I could reach to. Down came the mast. Finally I got the mast up and the sail set up and was ready to go.

I rowed out a little and put up the sail. I had built my rig out of pvc piping with 1"*2" board inside for support. My mast immediately began to bend to a amazing degree. It wasn't 90 deg., but I bet it wasn't far off, but the boat was starting to move. I was sailing. It is a wonderful feeling. I loved it. The 3in1 is a joy to sail, even with a messed up rig and very little wind I got good speed, and she tacked with no difficulty at all. I had never sailed before yet was now sailing with ease. She never showed any sign of tipping or stalling. The dagger board which is simply slid into a box in the middle of the boat however had a tendancy to float up and you had to keep pushing it down. However I am sad to say that my trip was a short one.

After about 30 minutes of sailing the rudder came loose in my hand. At first I thought it was it's slipping off the mount which I thought was flimsy in the plans. However when I looked down I saw the part of the rudder which holds the rudder to the mout was still there. The rudder had come apart. I took down the sail. enstalled the oars and rowed back. End of Trip. I told my wife that this trip was my greatest joy and my biggest headache. I will have to repair and reinforce the rudder to prevent it from breaking apart again. I have double the number of screw holding it together, and will try to reinforce it on the sides. I will also install shrouds on the boat to keep the mast from bending.

Lessions Learned.

1. Know your rigging before you put your boat in the water. It is much more difficult in the boat because it rocks and there is less room.

2. Tie the ends of any lines that are supposed to be in the boat in the boat. When setting up it is very easy for them to end up where you cant' reach them.

3. When sailing a unproven boat stay fairly close to the dock. Then you have less distance to go when something goes wrong. You can go further out when you have move confidence in your equitmen.

4. Sailing can be a major pain and a amazing joy and at the same time. AND THERE WILL BE A NEXT TIME.