Second Sail ~ Parrotts Creek

 T takes in the view on Parrotts Creek


The first time in the new old boat was just a taste. The original sails were too far gone to do much good. With Pete’s help, just finding that out, and that the boat would float (and still take on water), was progress.

The next time, on the Chickahominy with the newer good sails, told me more. Once away from the dock I found jib halyard was tangled. Since I was sailing alone I didn’t feel comfortable going forward to free it, so sailed again with the main only. This, too, was progress. I learned that within reasonable bounds I could easily handle the boat alone, and the newer sails make an amazing difference.

All the little things done to fine tune the rigging and hardware helped, too. Though the rigging up process is still waaaay too long as I continue to figure things out and make changes.

More things done, T and I took the boat down toward Deltaville and Urbanna, to a little creek and ramp I’ve scouted but never tried. Beautiful spot on a protected cove, and remote enough that it gets relatively little traffic. And the cove, I knew, was large enough to noodle around in if conditions weren’t right to head out into the Rappahannock.


 Deadrise workboats on the creek. 


This decision worked out really well. Still took me forever to get rigged and on the water, and T was the paragon of patience. But once on the water it was really fine, and worth it.

We left the sails down and used the electric motor to cruise around exploring the creek. This was not only very pleasant business, but let me check the depth of the creek and see how hard it would be to sail in and out of the narrow inlet.


Motoring toward the mouth of the cove


Back in the cove we raised the main and sailed around a bit. I let T take the tiller and get a feel for it. Then I went forward to raise the jib, and away we went. It’s amazing how much power comes from that little sail. The boat accelerated immediately, and in almost no wind was hitting hull speed. Lots of fun.

After practicing tacking and jibing and maneuvering in close quarters to see how she responded, we ventured out into the wide Rappahannock.

There, the wind was blowing a steady 12-15 knots straight up the river, with scattered whitecaps. Exciting! A little too exciting for my taste. T was having fun, but that would change quickly if things started to go wrong. Also, the sun was already getting low. By the time we got back and loaded up, we’d be midnight getting home. I took us out about a mile into the river, tacked once and came back.

Coming into the creek again, puffs found their way over and between the trees. This was about the time T started filming. You can see the nervousness in my face after the excitement out in the river, then having gusts appear out of nowhere to take swats at us. The boat handled it all very well, though; no real reason for concern.

Here’s some video from the trip, shot mostly by T.


direct Youtube link


We had a very comfortable cruise. A real success. Little by little, the boat gets ready for more challenges.

As do I.



2 Replies to “Second Sail ~ Parrotts Creek”

  1. I enjoy your posts. A couple of things you may want to try on your new boat are: 1) jib down haul 2) slab reefing 3) topping lift for boom 4) mast head flotation. Have fun sailing. If you need any information on the above feel free to e-mail me.

  2. Hi Bob, good tips. In fact, I’ve already looked into a couple of these. 1) Tried the jib downhaul, but wasn’t happy with what I came up with. For cruising, especially single-handed, I’m looking into roller furling. Both for ease of use, but also to keep the foredeck clear. Still thinking on that. 2) I specifically made sure the sails I use came with reef points. Haven’t had a chance to try reefing on the water – alone – yet. It’s high on the list of things to try very soon. May also add a second set of reef points. 3) I have something that serves the purpose of a topping lift – it’s a pigtail that hangs down from the backstay. Works fine for keeping the boom out of the cockpit when the sail is down, and for using the boom tent, just have to head up into the wind to hook it on. 4) Haven’t addressed this one yet. The hollow wooden mast does float, so it may not need much extra to keep the boat from going belly up.

    Thanks for the input. I assume you have or have had one of these boats? Sounds like you may have a lot of other useful info to share.

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