Pyewacket: Maiden Voyage

I have wanted to learn to sail for at least several years now. I had been planning on buying a boat for a couple of years with my brother, but never got around to finding one or reserving the money to do it. My cousin Paul also became interested in sailing, to the point that he plans to live on a sailboat for at least a while. Are interest provoked my uncle and his dad to purchase a vessel at an auction a few weeks ago. It was a Precision 18, part way between a dinghy and a cruiser. It’s a regular bermuda yawl with a small cabin that can sleep four (albeit a bit crampedly). It ran him $1550 and came with most of the basic parts of the boat, including a trailer to haul it. It was a might dirty, and needed a little work. We christened her the USS Pyewacket, after a friends boat Uncle Al once crewed. Uncle Al and Paul, and to a much lesser extent I, worked on it for the past couple weeks, cleaning it and fixing it up. Today we bought a motor for it (a 5hp air-cooled four-cycle with reverse) and took it down to the Rocky River area, without the sails. Getting her in the water wasn’t very hard. We motored along the river and out into Lake Erie. The motor was excessively powerful: we were speeding along well too fast to dock it at an idle. It was also quite hard to switch from forward to reverse, making careful manuevering difficult. The lake was calm for Lake Erie, though the small waves still chopped the boat about a bit: it’ll be better when the mast and sails are up and the centerboard and rudder are down. The boat, being a sailboat, turned very easily under power and was hard to keep straight. It had quite the small turning radius, however. We went back into the river and dropped the centerboard. No leaks at all, which is all this trip was testing for. We went back to dock, and ran into it because the boat was coming in too fast. Next time we’ll have to have the rudder on to steer so we can put the engine in nuetral and coast on in to port. We got her into the trailer, including getting the keel into the proper position, rather easily just by pulling the ropes on the dock. It only took two tries.

We’ll be sailing very soon on her. All she needs now is a few bits for the rigging and a few other small things. We’ll move on to other fixings later, after we’ve learned a bit of sailing and what modifications are most important. Hopefully it won’t take us long to learn, and then we can enjoy ourselves sailing about and even camping aboard.