What a great way to start the year! We rung in the new year at BCYC and hopped aboard Bill's Pearson 31, Idler, along with a couple of other BCYC members David and Steve - all three experienced sailors.

Alongside the sailing, I essentially had 3 teachers handing me a constant stream of stories, lessons, and advice. Too bad I didn't have a voice recorder since I'm not sure how much of some very good material I've been able to retain.

Having sailed with Bill once before, I hopped right to helping get some of the basics taken care of - taking the dingy out from storage, Bill helped with launching it from the boat launch, and I rowed it around to the stern of Idler.

Forgot to put the drain plug in so it was filling up with water, and had to bail it out for a little bit. The dingy also has 3 blatters - one each on the port, starboard, and bow - that need to be pumped up before setting off.

It was taking awhile and eventually found that there were small cracks along the pump's plastic air hose where there was a coil of reinforcing plastic. Good to know how these hoses can fail.

We used the engine to put out of the basin and set off during low tide keeping an eye on the depth gauge and gps depth readings.

Interestingly enough, I'm discovering that they don't ever agree. The GPS readings would report at least a foot more of water below the water line than the depth depth gauge attached to the keel. Not quite sure which one is more reliable, but in a couple of places, the gauge equaled the draft... but luckily, we did not run aground this time... chalking it up to the more seasoned sailors just knowing the bay so well.

After passing under the Pinellas byway bridges (one of them a draw bridge), we sailed around Tampa Bay for a bit.

Steve was able to get her up to about 7knots in a good breeze and heeled over about 15-20 degrees.

When it was time to head to Magnuson Cove to meet up with the other members, Bill called out an order to prepare to fly the Asymmetrical. With that, the three experienced sailors got to preparing the lines. I took the helm and kept her pointed on a broad reach.

And, just as I felt like would need to tack, everything was ready and as the spinnaker caught the wind, we were making about 6 knots with very little effort.

We flew the spinnaker all the way into Magnuson Cove and only stopped to furl it and make anchor... with plenty of time to spare...

There've been a red tide in the bay for the past couple weeks, so when we got to the cove, we found vultures picking away at dead fish... they didn't eat any other part than pecking out their eyes...

Kinda gruesome until I remembered that my brothers and I used to fight over the fish eyes when we were kids... 4 boys, 1 fish, and 2 eyes. It was whomever could dig them out first.

Looking forward to more!