A Travellerspoint blog

We Made It!

sunny 70 °F

Well, we got underway from Brunswick on Thursday. It was cold, maybe 35~36, and dark when we left. But we were not the first boat out. That was the Bug Catcher, a small shrimper. The good thing about the marina in the East River is that you can go a mile or two without paying too much attention to navigation marks while you wait for the sun to rise. We caught the tide as planned everything was going great until the glass panels of the newly enclosed cockpit started to fog up. We, of course, didn't think about the defroster option. So Carol wiped and I squinted as we headed for open water.

The trip was interesting .... either too much or too little wind, not at all what the weather forecasts indicated. I had thought that we would sail the whole way; in the event the motor ran the whole way and the sails provided an occasional modest assist. Both nights for about six hours it blew, 20~30 knots. The thing that was strange to me was the sea's surface. With that much wind I expected to see lots of whitecaps and foaming water; there was very little and I would not have believed the anemometer save for the way the boat was behaving. The first night these heavy winds were on the stern corner, almost, but not quite, from behind. This is a difficult wind to sail because unless you're really good, you can get an accidental jibe where the boom swings rapidly from one side to the other causing all sorts of damage; our boom has a scar to prove it. The wind had the boat pitching, fore and aft, as well as wallowing side to side. If Carol and I had not used the seasickness patches it could have been a really ugly, messy night. No amusement park rides can capture that particular sensation, and why would they want to? The next night the winds were even worse, but on the beam. It was so rough that with the sails up, first the auto-pilot, then Carol and finally I was unable to manage the weather helm. We'd get the boat on course, say 160 degrees, and in a nonce we would be headed 270 degrees, straight into the wind. Both nights we quit trying and took in the sails. Lessons learned and remembered .... our auto pilot cannot handle winds much above 15 knots and, apparently, neither can the captain or crew.

The only tense moment of the trip came on Friday night during the very high winds. We heard a strange noise coming from an area where there was nothing to make noise. Then it dawned on me that I had the wind generator on in anticipation of sailing, not motoring. This was majorly not too bright. It was going so fast and vibrating so much that if it didn't rip free from the boat, then we were going to fly rather than sail. My first thought was to shut it off; so, I crawled out of the cockpit and hung on to the pulpit to get it turned off. Even then it sounded bad. So once more into the breach .... I climbed out and up the stanchion and got it physically stopped and then used a piece of velcro to secure a blade. It worked. This was a pale attenuation of what it must have been like in the rigging of canvas powered ships, but it was more than enough excitement for me. And I did have a safety harness and life jacket on.

Other than the first morning with the condensation, the canvas surround was great. The first night was cold; I had on everything warm that I owned, pajamas mixed with polar fleece, without regard to Carol's sensitivity to color and style. All I needed was another day without showering or shaving and Carol would have thrown all my stuff into a three wheeled grocery cart and sent out onto the street to live.The next day broke warm with clear skies and the solarium did its trick ... a tee shirt was good enough. It was so nice that I may start a Sailing Naked Club. That could make for some interesting blog posts and Facebook updates of sailors baring all.

This was a good shakedown cruise. In the main, though, if I could have had Scotty beam the boat and us down to Ft. Pierce, I would gladly have done it. Barring that, I-95 would have been faster and the bathrooms are bigger. So, we got to check out a bunch of stuff to see how well we did.

  • The engine ran for more than 50 hours straight and didn't quit. So maybe the new starter did the trick.
  • There was some pretty rough weather; the davits and the dinghy came through without an issue.
  • The enclosure was great. But it changed things, e.g. all the hand holds we had used are now outside the canvas. We will have to adapt to it.
  • The dripless shaft seal? I checked the engine after every watch and everything was always dry. Somewhere in the last few hours we got some water on board, not much, and I'm not sure how.

Carol deserves some credit. She always fixes a meal for dinner, not fancy but substantial. Many a time we have both eaten straight form the pot in which something was cooked, dirtying only two forks. But, sometimes, it seems to me that she grocery shops in thrift stores for army surplus WWI MRE's. She always has a great reason for the choice, "Well, the doughboys in the A.E.F. spoke very highly of it and it was quick to prepare." At times like these we need Wile E eliminate the point of contention.

We covered a fair amount of territory spending most of our time 20~25 miles off shore. And not once, in the whole trip, were we in water deeper that 95 feet.

We have followed Dawn's injunction that after any overnight cruise of any duration, you should stop someplace where they are no security issues, e.g. anchors dragging. So, Carol and I are, once again, at the Ft. Pierce City Marina, where I stayed month while Carol looked after Joan in 2009. Dawn's advice was good; we both slept about 12 hours after having slept a total of 4~5 hours in the two previous nights.

If there are 100 boats in this marina, there are no more than ten sailboats. They put us on a transient dock, not much used, I guess, because the layer of Pelican poop was deep and crusty except for the top layer which was very fresh. I actually hosed down the dock first so that we would not track said P.P. back onto the boat, a first at any marina at which we have stayed.
In this marina, our little boat is like a Yugo hatchback at a Cadillac convention. About half the boats here seem to be for off shore charter fishing; the rest seem to be boy's toys, markers in the testosterone driven belief that size really does matter, at least in boats. The marina's saving grace is a great location and that every Saturday they have a high end farmer's market and craft fair. There are several little restaurants within walking distance, including a Greek joint that we much enjoy.

Ziveli in repose.


Posted by sailziveli 09:47 Archived in USA Tagged boating

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