So Now I Have a Cruiser

One of the two happiest days for a boatowner - the day you buy your boat. CLC said that it was ready to sail as is, and it was. The next stop is the marina and the river.

Finally ready for launching. I'd had to first remember/work out how to rig the sail. I'd only seen it done once before, so there was a bit of trial and error. It's actually pretty easy since it's a single sail, single halyard, a downhaul, a parrel loop and the 4-part sheet. I just had to untangle them all and remember where they went. There's also a set of lazyjacks. Toss in the lines that raise and lower the centerboard and there's enough strings to satisfy anyone's inner cat.

Once launched, I rowed it away from the ramp. This was interesting in that this was not only my first time rowing Hvit Skygge, it was my first time ever using a sliding seat. Definitely took some getting used to. The oars were too long, the foot restraints too loose and too far away, and my technique needed a lot of work. It also didn't help that the corridor from the ramp to Whitemarsh Creek was lined with expensive boats, with a particularly large and expensive one forming a choke point right at the creek entrance. But Hvit Skygge took all this silliness in stride. The boat was very maneuverable and could turn on a dime when the rudder was used in combination with the oars. No boats were injured when moving toward the creek.

Eventually I reached the Rhode River and made for Flat Island. The Rhode was a bit of a shock for me. I'd only ever boated on it out of season. It had been a placid body of water with some lovely islands and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's untouched land making up the shoreline. It seems that in season it's a zoo. There were dozens of boats rafted up. Each group's stereos were running as loud as possible to try and be heard above the others. But it was futile, they were all being drowned out by the jetskis, waterski boats and the wakeboarders. The water was a mess of random wake chop, with the wakeboarders deliberately trying to make the worst possible wakes. I could see the islands being actively eroded by the waves. Chunks of mud and sand were falling into the water.

Flat Island was noticeably smaller than it had been 7 years ago. Every square inch of beach was also covered with people and was serving as a base for jetskis. I stayed there only long enough to check out the boat and to fill the water ballast tanks. Hoisting the sail, I pushed off into the river. Hvit Skygge's shallow water performance was excellent. I had rowed right onto the beach. Pushing off with the sail hoisted, it was too shallow to drop the centerboard, so I sailed without it until the water was deep enough to lower it. The boat made no perceptible leeway. The hull shape at the bow and stern seemed to provide enough lateral plane area to keep it steady. Of course, there wasn't much wind, but it was still impressive.

Also impressive was the short rudder's performance. It only extends some 6 inches below the waterline but it has an endplate that stops parasitic drag. Without the vortices forcing water downward, all the water that flows over the rudder ends up being directed parallel to the blade giving as much net sideways thrust as a much deeper rudder without the endplates. I'd seen this on the test ride, but now I got to also see just how easy beach operations were with the short rudder.

So after a long day it was time to go home. I went back to Flat Island to furl the sail and pump the ballast back into the river it came from. Then it was a pleasant row back to the marina. The jetskis and wakeboarders had gone back under their large flat rocks and the stereos were off for the evening. Peace had returned to the Rhode. The only problem was that I had left it a bit long and the Sun went down as I left Flat Island. There was still plenty of light, but there was also a River Police boat putting around. Fortunately he wasn't in the mood to write tickets for lack of proper lighting.

Page 1 - The Faering Cruiser Hvit Skygge
Page 2 - Modifications
Page 4 - First Campout
Page 5 - A Quick Spring Sunday Sail
Page 6 - Okoumefest 2016
Page 7 - Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival 2017

Copyright © 2016 László I. Mórocz. All Rights Reserved.

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