I had a great surprise when I
looked at the PDRacer.com
website last September and found another boat listed under Maryland
in the Local Fleets section. Cool, I thought, maybe we could
get together and have a little float. In fact we now have enough
boats to have a legitimate Maryland fleet (3). So I contacted
Gene Tehansky, the owner of "All Standing," to see
if maybe we could work out getting together sometime this fall.
Both of us were very surprised when we figured out that out
of the entire state of Maryland only 4 miles separate us from
each other and Gene used to work at Patuxent River Navy base
where I now work. So we decided to meet Saturday September 15,
2007 at the West Basin marina at 2:30, errr 4:30, uhhh 5:00;
life kept getting in the way and delaying our meeting. Gene
was a good sport about the changes and when we finally met we
admired each others boats and special features, then we headed
to the small wind protected beach on the other side of the basin
and prepared to launch.
This picture shows Gene
rigging All Standing (PDRacer #168) on the left, my daughter
and myself rigging Starcatcher (PDRacer #112) in the center,
and my son checking out the wind and maybe dreaming of
farther shores in Moldy Duck (PDRacer #111).
Click images to enlarge
The wind was 15+ knots with whitecaps on the Patuxent River
and I was not sure that the kids could handle the strong conditions
even in the marina basin so an adult in the boat was mandatory,
much to the chagrin of my daughter. She and my wife were the
first to launch in Starcatcher and immediately got becalmed!
How could there be so much wind over there but not here? Gene
launched second and immediately headed away from the sheltering
trees to the stronger winds, but he was also struggling to get
out of the wind shadow. This was his second time out in All
Standing and he had a GPS with him. He later reported that he
was able to do 1.0 knots by just pumping the rudder back and
Gene's rudder and leeboard
are pieces of art. He said the they were each a project
in themselves and the hard work has obviously paid off.
By the way, Gene's rudder and leeboard are pieces of art.
He said the they were each a project in themselves and the hard
work has obviously paid off. The truth is Gene's whole boat
is a work of art from the high gloss hull, to the natural boom
and tanbark sail, to the little duck stickers his wife found.
In contrast Moldy Duck and Starcatcher have 3/4 inch plywood
slab foils with the front rounded and the trailing edge sharpened,
semi-gloss paint to hide the rougher spots, and dings and dents
from usage. But usage means that we are learning how to sail
and more importantly, what not to do.
Anyway, seeing the trouble the other two boats were having
in the wind shadow, I launched my son and Moldy Duck with more
push and a lot deeper, leaping in at the last second over the
stern. We were able to get farther out but still had problems
with the wind swirling around. Then I figured out what Gene
was doing (he is an experienced sailor) and I started taking
the shortest route away from the wind shadow also. When we finally
hit open air the boats accelerated quickly. At one point Moldy
Duck, an 18 inch tall PDRacer, was taking green water over the
bow! OK, I was a bit too far forward and the water is brackish
green to begin with, but this is my story and I had to sit in
the gallon of water we took on, so "green water" it
is. Later Gene said his coaming in the front of his 16 inch
PDRacer got a workout and he was glad that he had it. He achieved
a maximum speed of 4.1 knots on his GPS which means that All
Standing has the Maryland PDRacer speed record. We were all
very happy with the sail and had a great time learning the ins
and outs of PDRacering. I also discovered that I need to rethink
the bungies that hold the rudder and leeboard down. When we
would get up to speed they would both slide backward causing
control problems. I spent a lot of time holding the leeboard
down and chasing the rudder.
The most daring act of the day was when my wife and I swapped
boats. Normally this would be done on the shore, however I proposed
that we swap in mid-basin. She was not to keen on the idea,
but she is also a great sport and humored me. We put flat side
against flat side and I held on while she hopped across and
then she held the boats for me. Even though she was hesitant
to attempt this before we tried, she commented how easy it was
once accomplished. We were able to do it quickly and safely
because the PDRacer is a very stable boat. It was almost like
walking on land.
The sailing was fantastic and the first Maryland PDRegatta
was a huge success. Both my kids thoroughly enjoyed their first
outing in blustery conditions and my wife and I are thinking
about sailing the boats out of the marina and across the river
to have lunch at a waterfront restaurant before sailing back.
It should be fun, but first, a few boat modifications are needed.
Yes, I am grinning.
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