February 5th, 2005.
We awoke to a beautiful sunny winter morning - a rarity in the pacific NW. We had no particular plans for the day so we decided to take our dog Hank for a walk along the beach.
Looking out over the water, as we always do, we saw a little ketch gliding along with its white 'wings' shining in the sun. It suddenly became apparent that this was the right day for Malou's first sail.
As most liveaboards up here would agree, there is a lot of stuff to be packed away for that first sail after a long winter. Added to the typical knick-knacks and misc., we now had lots of baby stuff to stow; Malou's crib, bouncy chair, clothes chest, toys and so on. It took us about an hour to get the boat ready. We didn't think that was too bad.
There was a fresh wind that morning so we tucked a reef in the main before we left the slip, something we'd never had to do . It felt a little crazy, needing to 'pre-reef' on Malou's maiden voyage.
As we backed out of the slip, we were perfectly straight, prooving to ourselves that we had not completely forgotten how to handle Radiance. As any Tayana 37 owner knows, or anybody else with a full-keel boat, 'backing straight' in these boats, is quite often an oxymoron.
Heading out past the breakwater, one of the race boats coming back in from the 'Wind Seekers' Saturday morning race yelled to us 'you guys will have fun today, the wind is perfect for a boat like yours'. We were not sure if this guy was teasing us or not, sine many racers see no point in owning a slow cruising sailboat like ours. Giving him the benefit of the doubt we assumed that he was just truly excited about the weather that morning.
As we headed into the bay there was a small flotilla of race boats heading back to the marina. The wind was about 18knt and we were 200ft from the lee shore. We decided to play it safe and head up past the Brown's Point lighthouse to set sails in the little bay there. We set the 'reefed' main and staysail only, and headed out into East Passage. Radiance was clearly happy to be out of the slip again. She started out, slow and easy doing 4knts towards Quartermaster Harbor. As she completed the first tack and had shaken some of the marine vegetation off her keel, she was ready to fly the yankee.. We set the yankee, tacked, and started on one of those magic carpet rides where everything is perfect; the sails are balanced, the wind is steady and the sun is shining. As we cruised along Malou was happily asleep in her carseat for most of this magic carpet ride. When she woke up she looked a little surprised to see that we were moving and that nothing looked the same as it did at home in the slip
The trip that day, even though it was just 12 nm, had proven to us that we were on the right track - as a family... We felt so confident that we decided to try to sail Radiance into her slip under staysail only. The wind died as we were gliding past the breakwater. We fired up the diesel and motored the last 100 yards.
What a perfect day!