Last night was easily the roughest night I have spent on the Spirit. A massive front came across from the Gulf yesterday and with it came lots of wind. Last night it kicked up to 25 to 30 knots with gusts at gale force. The boat got tossed around pretty good. Even today, the winds are down to 20 to 25, but it’s still pretty rough. I learned a couple of things from last night:
A. You can never have enough dock lines. And I ain’t got enough. I have no spares at the moment and if one or two lines has snapped in the middle of the night, it would have been most unpleasant. Of the six lines I currently have holding the Spirit in place, only two are in decent condition. The others came with the boat and are in poor condition. New lines are now a priority and I can keep the old ones as spares.
2. This boat may well be too small to live on out on the mooring field. I don’t mean that in terms of living space. I have all that I need. What I mean is, judging by the amount of bouncing and rolling that happened last night, this boat may not be safe enough nor comfortable enough to weather these big fronts that come through. At 23′ the Spirit is quite seaworthy but it is really designed to sail in winds about 10 to 15 knots. Anything more than that takes more sailing skills than what I have. Tied off to a mooring ball and bouncing around in gale force winds is not the way I would want to spend the night, or day for that matter.
It’s making me think twice about going out to the mooring field. Granted, I save $300 or better on rent, but how well will I get along in bad weather? Sure, gale force winds don’t happen that often, but last night would have surely dragged on if I were being held on by two lines to a mooring ball. Here in this slip, I have two large boats on both sides of me blocking the wind, and a big boat house across the canal. But still, even with the low water line, this boat rocked a lot.
At the mooring field you are exposed in particular to north and north west winds. Depending on where your mooring is, you may be in the lee side of Sigsbee which sits to the north and east of the main field. But you will still get a lot of wind, not to mention the rough run from the field to Garrison Bight in the dinghy.
Weather is one of the main factors in regards to moving from a marina to mooring. I don’t see the Spirit sinking in this kind of wind, but it sure won’t be the most comfortable place to be. This may take some more pondering as to what I want to do.