Chasing a Sailing Dream

Maiden Voyage – Single Handed

It has been quite a week in the summer florida heat as I prepared the boat for a short maiden voyage. Dark Star behaved herself except for catching her anchor line on her keel and resting on it during a changing wind from a nearby storm. That brought the attention of a nearby anchor pal who came to help in his dinghy. we were both in our dinghies trying to free Dark Star. Somehow she swung back around and nosed into the wind, where I decided to drop a second anchor for the night, and it was a breezy humid night. I lit my led anchor light which burned through the whole night.

But first, the boat was prepared with new shrouds which was a lot of work climbing up there and working with both hands while hanging on with my toes. That’s when I changed the anchor light as well, which is located at the tip top of the mast. I cleaned and organized pretty well before finally beginning to untie the dock lines in a breeze which threatened to push my bow into the dock and neighboring boats as I backed out. I used a sort of spring line to hold the boat on just a couple lines before finally letting go of the bow and running aft to let go of the last line, and reversed out, luckily, safely. And I was free!

I went out and moved the dinghy from the nose to the rear of the boat, because I had backed out with it on my bow so it would go out without mishap. Single handing, I was short handed, no matter how well I had prepared, because this was all my first time doing anything like this with a mast and an outboard on a boat of this size. My boat weighs 7,000 pounds. Going just 5 mph, something is getting crushed if it hits it. But at just over 27 feet, it handles pretty well. So I was motor sailing, for just a moment, and I decided to anchor because my motor was not spitting out water like it is supposed to. The shade served me very well. I roll it back when I’m under way and I pull it all the way forward when I’m at anchor or the dock, to shed sun and rain and to get a little more privacy as well.

When I motored slowly back to my slip the next day, I wasn’t adequately trained with my boat and motor in tight quarters single handed, and I messed up. I left my tiller to go forward on deck to grab a piling in my slip and I wasn’t heading in the right direction, I was heading for the slip next to mine. So I frantically ran back to my motor and put it in what I hoped was reverse, and throttled up. Well it didn’t matter, because by then I hit the boat in the next slip, like a total idiot! Luckily I know the guy and we were jovial about it. lol… And it didn’t hurt any of our beefy old boats.

So then I reversed and then hit neutral and forward, and figured out how to get into my slip, and at the right speed, etc. the motor and tiller combo worked well once I got the feel for it.

I was exhausted and my head was hurting, but I had accomplished a great deal. I got a lot of firsts out of the way and now, I feel my confidence growing.

sailboat shrouds

The mast after attaching new upper shrouds. the old ones were crumbling away.

dinghy being lifted out of the water by halyard

Now I get to lift the dinghy on the halyards

dinghy and sailboat

the dinghy lifted up for safe keeping, and off the deck for now. also see the shade on the boat. kind of hard to see here.

sailboat shade

the shade cloth from inside the companionway

homemade sailboat bimini

homemade bimini using the boat shade, rolled up shown here, for navigating.

dd-wrt router sailboat

marine wifi gets me online pretty darn well. repeater made from an old linksys running ddrwt firmware

motor sailing with small jib on baby stay

motor sailing slowly along for the first time

captain mojo

me thinking I must be crazy for going out on my own in this boat without ever using it before.

sailboats and storm front clouds

storm that passed nearby at my anchorage

grits coleman stove

dinner grits

oatmeal sailing

breakfast oatmeal


  1. mojokiss mojokiss
    August 18, 2015    

    Heyyy leave a message, let me know you were here.

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  1. Building My Stern Rails | darkstar sailboat on August 19, 2015 at 11:01 pm

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