Trial Sail Lessons

0 Posted by - June 29, 2015 - Learn, Sailing, Salty Times

The last couple weeks has sent a few things our way to make us stop, think, evaluate and then make some decisions. We have been having our heads down bums up as we prepped to get the boat sailing North. Being on a Mission to set sail has been great. We have been working through the to-do lists and getting close to converting our local water cruiser to a coastal cruising boat.

We were at the point that we need to do a trial sail to test out our new gear and of course get back on the water sailing. We got geared up and headed to the local islands for a couple days.

This was our new gear that we had to give a test.image

  • New wire halyards
  • Solar panel set up and new batteries
  • Self Steering Flemming Wind Vane
  • Give the engine a good run with some fuel right added to the diesel
  • Stowage of our goods, and weight balance on the boat.
  • new (secondhand) winches for the job sheet

The weather conditions for our trial sail were forecasted at 4 days of 10-20 knot winds and then a small front coming in after that. We left with 15 knot winds taking us on a beauty of sail over to Rotto. The wind was behind us and we cruised over with ease. Everything so good so far.

We pulled up to a nice protected anchorage and we had it all to our selves.

We spent a day at anchor to fish, squid, snorkel, surf, and remember how good the cruising life can be.


The next day we set sail around midday, to sail around the whole island. The sail down the south and west coast  was great. The wind was 15-20 knots and Lady C was sailing beautifully. We couldn’t get the windvane trial going becuasae we broke a temporary pulley set up for connecting the windvane to our steering wheel. Either way we sailed and loved every minute of it.

As we headed on the windward side of the island. We had the wind coming directly in the direction we wanted to go and there was 2.5m seas. We learnt very quickly that we were going to have to tack our way up this side of the island. It was nearing sunset when we realised we still had about 5 more large tacks to get us to another anchorage. By the time we pulled into the anchorage it was dark and the wind and seas started to pick up even more. The anchorage we were at wasn’t protected from the wind and waves so we grabbed a mooring to wait out the night.

After a rocky bumpy night on the boat with little sleep, we got jolted out of bed first thing in the mooring with a shattering Crack! Our cleat broke. The area that the mooring attached to on our boat shattered when a bigger wave came through. The wood was weak and we knew it needed replacing. As we drifted towards the shore, we both clicked into gear to get us out of there.

By this time it was 30 knots and 2.5m seas. We needed a storm jib up and the reefed main. As we rolled over the waves we got things sorted to be able to sail back to our pen in Fremantle. It took us 5.5 hours to go the 10 nautical miles home into the wind which was about 25-30 knots.

So with our cleat broken, our windvane needing adjustments, the halyards we put in a bit too short for safety reasons, and a fuel leak in our engine we had a new list to work towards before we felt like we are completely ready to go on the mission North.


So back home we have been watching the weather and working on the boat to get jobs done.

It’s all part of the journey and the trial sail showed us where we needed to pick things up. The next weekend a big front blew through and with 48 knot winds is was nice to have 4 mooring lines keeping us safe in our pen.

We also caved in a got a small space heater to keep the boat cosy while the temperature dropped and the storms start coming through.

Jamie and Base

1 Comment

  • Emily Ehlers June 30, 2015 - 8:56 am Reply

    Look, I’m not going to pretend that I understood half the words in this article but either way I am absolutely loving following your adventure and find it ridiculously inspiring.


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