Sunday, September 26, 2010

Oyster Bay

So far things have been pretty relaxed in Oyster Bay. We came in around sunset on Friday with a ten knot breeze, had enough light to tour the mooring fields, then picked up a mooring belonging to the Oak Cliff Sailing Center whose guest we are, and who maintain a fleet of classic boats in addition to more modern racing boats. Part of the reason things are relaxed is the crew size is small. There is the cruising crew of Wendy, Pete, John and I in addition to Paul and Ellen DeOrsay who joined us for yesterday's race. Another reason is there is no skippers meeting for the races here. The boats race on the same course week in and week out, the variations in wind and tide provide the variety and email provides the course information to those not familiar with it. All of that means the afternoon is spent racing and the morning spent doing whatever needs doing.

This morning that meant washing down the boat, inspecting the fleet from Maid Service and coming up with an entry for this much neglected blog. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning. The boat is clean, breakfast was good and we are ready to race.

Yesterday we sailed with a light crew, six, in a northwest breeze that varied between 10 and 20 knots. Our main competition was a Concordia sloop who we could not beat with a reef tucked in. Because of the fixed course the start and first leg were downwind where the boats stayed even, the second leg was close hauled on port tack and here the Concordia pulled away as we were in a lull for the whole leg prompting the decision to shake out the reef. From here we sailed the same course in reverse, Maid closed some distance on the reach, then was able to out point the Concordia going upwind. This was not entirely a choice, with the light crew and too much canvas in the puffs the only recourse was to pinch in the puffs. Between this and a more favorable slant on the left side of the course, the Concordia had gone right, enabled us to pass. On the second time around the course we were able to hold her off, not opening a big lead but not allowing her to close either. On the last windward leg we out pointed her again, a source of some surprise, though she gained some by footing.

It was an exciting time with all the changes in wind speed but afterward we decided to sail around Cold Spring Harbor with a reef tucked in, back to the relaxed mode that suited crew, boat and locale. 


  1. Ellen, Bill, Judy and I had a fabulous time sailing Silent Maid in Oyster Bay. Despite a lifetime in boats, this was my first experience with a catboat of any size, and what a thrill it was! I fully endorse the "Tigerboat" assessment.
    Capt. John, Wendy, John, and Peter were the consummate hosts, great shipmates and most capable teachers and seamen. Our thanks to Silent Maid and her people for a couple of memorable sails!

    Paul DeOrsay