Eben and Annie bio photo

Eben and Annie

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Mooring Under Sail

We got up early today to go sailing on Taleisin! We loaded the car with our inflatable training wheels and made our way to the dock. We started going through the motions of assembling the ducky to transport us out to Taleisin. The reason we had to get up early was to make our way out to Taleisin to collect another life jacket. The extra life jacket was for Bud, a classic sail maker in Auckland from Nalder sails. I’ve been told that Bud is an expert in the field of classic sail making, he’s an old salt and absolutely loves the classics.

On board Taleisin we started to get her ready to go sailing, undoing the sail covers, running the sheets, putting the tiller in place, the usual things you do before you go sailing. Bud called to tell me he’s running a little late. We were fine with that as we were just hanging out on Taleisin and it was a nice day. Unfortunately for us Taleisin is moored in a spot where the sea state is exactly right to induce motion sickness. Annie had already taken sea legs and was just chilling out on the foredeck, I on the other hand, had not and started to feel the effects of sea sickness setting. This was mostly due to me playing with the y-valve in the galley for the drain. Rookie mistake, I know. The smell coming out of it was something awful and made my stomach churn. Luckily I’ve been reading about this stuff and decided to get up on deck quickly. After some fresh air I went down below looking for sea legs.

You’ll have to use your imagination as I didn’t take any photos, but there I was laying down in the cockpit trying to regain my composure. At this point I thought it might be best if I headed back to the dock to gain some stability back! I left Annie on board Taleisin, grabbed an extra life jacket, jumped in the ducky and went back to the dock.

Sitting at the dock things were getting much better quickly and I forgot all about that nasty y-valve incident. While waiting a couple of young sailors walked up and asked me if the dinghy tied to the dock belonged to me. After a bit of conversation they explained how they went out for a sail the previous day and the tow rope on their dinghy sheared through. The offered to pay me some money to ferry them to their boat. I politely declined the offer for money (seemed like it would be bad karma to accept money for something this simple) and suggested that if they just hang around till Bud arrives that I’ll gladly drop them off on their yacht, Pinch of Salt. I do have to give these guys credit, they were about to swim out to their yacht with all their provisions on a float. They would how ever have to swim back to the dock.

Bud arrived, all for of us piled into Ducky with all the provisions too. Off we went! The crew of Pinch of Salt was happy once aboard and we continued on our way to Taleisin.

Once on board Taleisin we hanked on the jib. Bud asked me if I wanted to leave under sail instead of hip towing. My answer was “of course”! Bud explained the procedure and what he expected Taleisin to do while we’re doing this. Basically Taleisin is so sea kindly and well balanced that we hoisted the main, cast the mooring line off and she just fell off the wind and we were sailing under main only.

Once we got outside the mooring field we hoisted the stays’l and she picked up speed. The jib on Taleisin is on a separate stay from the forestay, this was done so that Lin and Larry could deal with the jib without having to go out on the bowsprit while rounding Cape Horn. We didn’t tighten this properly because the mooring line was over the rope gypsy while we were moored. I was having a bit of fun and games up on the bow trying to sort this out while under way. I can say this, I’m very glad that Larry put 8 inch bulwarks all around Taleisin’s deck, it certainly made life a LOT easier on the bow. To add insult to injury I didn’t sort the down haul for the jib out properly so I was running back and forth trying to hoist the jib. After screwing around for probably a good 5-10 minutes with this I finally managed to get the jib up!

I went back to the cockpit, we sheeted the jib in, put Taleisin hard on the wind. It was glorious! It’s the first time we’ve had Taleisin under full sail! I had the biggest grin on my face and so did Bud - not sure which of us was having more fun! Annie was hanging out in the companion way for most of the duration, only jumping out to help with sheets when we were tacking of gybing. While Annie is no stranger to adventure and extreme sports, she’s a much better rock climber than I am, she’s not comfortable on the water at all. She should be commended for agreeing to buy Taleisin and to sail with me, she is absolutely amazing because she will push herself well out of her comfort zone and perform much better than I ever could.

After tacking back and forth up wind Bud suggested we gybe and come up alongside one of the old New Zealand America’s cup yachts. That was a bit of fun, but they left us behind rather quickly! Bud showed me how to get Taleisin to run downwind wing and wing. This will take some practice to do confidently!

Before we knew it we were back at the mooring field and Bud was explaining how to come in under sail. Bud made this look super easy! We rounded up slowly and ghosted onto the mooring buoy, I grabbed it with the boat hook and then the fun started!

There was quite a bit more load on the line than expected, I couldn’t just hold Taleisin in place, Annie came up to the bow and asked if she could help. I said get me a line so I can tie this damn thing off. Looking back I should have taken a turn on something with the line and it would have been a lot less exciting! We got it tied off. I put a line through the bow roller and around the windlass rope gypsy. Bud and myself heaved the mooring line up and we managed to tie the line through the mooring line’s loop. We ended up winching the rest in and eventually got the mooring line secured. This was probably the hardest part of the whole experience.

With all of that done we tidied Taleisin up and we spent a bit of time discussing Taleisin’s new sails. I think it’s safe to say that we’re very excited about the new sails, they should look absolutely awesome and Taleisin will have more of a classic look with them than she does now. This might be a bit counter to what Lin and Larry would have done, but I don’t think they will mind too much, it’s all about making the old girl look really good!

The dinghy ride back was not quite as good. I’m a pretty average dinghy helmsman and got the entire crew wet in the chop. In spite of all of this Bud was kind enough to agree to mentor us on how to do things under sail! This is a huge relief as doing things without an engine and learning that way is quite tough on your own when you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing.

In the coming months Bud will produce new sails for Taleisin, we’ll be sure to take some pictures of her with the new sails…


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