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August 15, 2005     Post 7
Sailing Sara B



photo by Karen Durston
Others have written of the intangible benefits of owning and sailing a yacht. They write of pride in their yacht's beauty and of how she helps us escape the daily routine. The pleasure boat underway gives us freedom and a sense of achievement as we sail. On a gentle day, relaxed and comforted in our brief escape from the noisy hurried everyday world we float in peace.

Sailing Sara B is a lot of fun. Even as her novice schooner crew fumbles around for the right halyard the old boat slips along with an easy glide through the water frequently steering herself. Under sail she is comfortable and undemanding with a light helm. She feels solid and sea kindly underfoot and so far she's behaved like a proper lady except when we do something dumb out of our ignorance. And so far she's been forgiving of our bumbles and blunders.

We're still figuring out the correct combination of sails for given wind conditions. One foray out with main and two jibs in 20 to 25 mph winds seemed reasonably successful though we're thinking reefed main, foresail and no outer jib might be a lot easier than wrestling with sheeting in that front sail with no winches. Then the whole rig would be self tending when you tack. Another foray with reefed main and all other sail was somewhat less to her liking, giving her a neutral or slight lee helm. Sara B has shown us that she can ghost in light wind as well as sail in a breeze and she tacks around with surprising agility given her long keel and twelve ton bulk. She likes that fisherman staysail up there on a light day. I have not yet maneuvered her under power enough to say much about it except that she seems fairly tractable. She at least has some “brakes” when you put reverse on thanks to the big old 3 blade prop down there. And she does like to turn left.


photo by Karen Durston
We think she's a boat to be shared. Her spacious decks soak up ten people with ease. She offers a dozen comfortable places for lounging and leaning and sitting. Chris and Toby sailed her with eight relatives and a dog aboard with room to spare. We felt sort of selfish when only Chris and I sailed her on one occasion. So much boat for only two to enjoy. (Of course with a bit more familiarity we may get over that!) Up forward sitting against the cabin with the rumble of the bow wave nearby is pleasant. Another favored spot is standing braced or leaning against the sturdy foremast. It takes us a fair amount of time to get going, with about 20 minutes devoted to uncovering the sails, but with practice we'll get better at getting underway I'm sure.

One the one occasion that we had her out in a bit of a sea her sure footed way through the four footers was reassuring. Despite her low freeboard she stayed pretty dry that day except forward. She feels trustworthy. She also “talks” a lot more than our other boat when underway in light winds.


Her gaff rig is far looser and floppier than Titania's and consequently things move around more so the old boat produces an interesting variety of sounds as she proceeds along particularly in light winds with a bit of chop. She sounds very shippy then with her various creaks and rattles and jingles of hardware on iron horses. One day as we sailed we heard a soft melodic murmuring hum that we traced to the leathered foresail gaff jaws working against the mast like a violin bow against strings. She's singing! we said.

Beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder. Judging from comments directed at us from passing powerboats and jetty walkers they see Sara B much as we do. Her slender graceful hull and perfectly proportioned rig make the old girl a real standout and though we know our work on her is far from done if she is to live a long active life, we beam and wave back. Her white wings and bright varnished spars against the summer sky turn heads and draw people’s gaze where ever she travels amidst a fleet of white plastic sloops. Even the non sailors are briefly stirred and say “there goes the pirate ship.


I honestly had no idea how pretty she was under sail until I saw her myself. She looks a bit quaint and old fashioned and perhaps a little out of place as she steams along under power. But when her white wings are spread and she leans to the summer wind she becomes a yacht of rare grace and sweetness of line. We think then of her old name “Dream”. She does indeed almost seem a little dream-like ( or at least improbable!) as she floats over the water.



photo by Tom Niertit




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