Friday, May 20, 2011


One of the things that was important about our boat selection was the ability for one person to operate this boat.  The ability to singlehand Brigadoon is not only an enjoyment but a safety issue.

When we first started out, I ended up doing a lot, handing Kerry small responsibilities as her skills grew.  However, I never treated it as if she was not there for me.

This changed yesterday in a little exercise. We had changed some plans for the evening and were staying on the boat.  I asked her if it was ok if we went out -- after all, it is our home.  It's not like I can just say, "O.K. honey, I'm going down to the boat to go sailing. I'll be back home in few hours."

Our home moves.

She said yes (isn't she wonderful?) so I set to work.  She asked if I needed her help.

"Nope," I said. "I'm doing this on my own."

The wind was from the north and I wanted to sail her off the dock.  I figured out the dock lines and how I was going to use the stays'l (the smaller one you see here in the picture" to drag here), not only away from the dock, but away from the huge dry docks and ships to the east of us. I unrolled the stays'l about 30%.  It was just enough to encourage Brigadoon out into the lake.  With the engine running for safety, we drifted away. As soon as we were clear, I was able to shut down the motor.

It took little time to get her moving along at a couple knots and, with that momentum, get her turned into the wind.  Soon the mains'l was up and we were sailing. Our good friend Thor showed up alongside in Clarion, his Catalina 36.  He was kind enough to take a picture or two.

We sailed south, on a broad reach, Thor under just his huge Genny and us under main and stays'l.  It was fun, talking across twenty feet of mostly quiet water as we sailed along at a few knots.  Once we rounded the red nun buoy at the south end of the lake and headed to windward, the huge Genny and more sleek hull of Thor's Catalina had him a couple knots above us.

We watched him sail away north as we worked our way along the houseboats on the east side of Lake Union.  We were literally sailing within 25 feet of their porches.

I continued to drive the boat, letting Kerry just enjoy herself, sitting there, watching me work Brigadoon alone.

It wasn't a long sail.  Soon I rolled up the stays'l, dropped the main, and had the motor running.  I also took Brigadoon back to our dock, got her there, and handled the lines all on my ownsome.  I impressed the pretty girl.

So Brigadoon is quite capable of being single handed.  I'm very happy with that.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sunday on Lake Union

Sunday dawned clear and calm.  We went out anyway. Brigadoon puttered around in nothing to five knots of breeze for a few hours.  We got some good sheet and sail handling in, along with traffic management.

It was a great day to take our home out on the water.

There were a lot of good lessons throughout the day.

  • When there is no wind, you get to relax.
  • When the boat is just drifting, all you have to worry about is how fast she is drifting and if anyone is going to run into you.
  • Sometimes, it's best to just let the boat do what it wants to do.