Boat Journal

Chronicling a love affair with sailing

Saying Goodbye

I loaded the car with all the supplies that we had removed for sailing season: the extra screws and other hardware; the wires, connectors, and fuses; the extra bilge pump and paint. I drove over to the marina, pulled down a cart, and loaded everything in. I wheeled over to her slip.

The breeze was bright that day. The temperature was good. She was straining at the lines, ready to take me sailing. I explained that I was only there to drop off supplies; there would be no sailing that day. She eventually settled down as I tightened the lines to make it easier to load everything.

I talked to her as I moved everything aft, so as to be out of the way. She had a new owner. The new owner loved her now, and would to love her even more as she sailed her. I was just dropping off supplies that day. But I’d be back for a couple of last minute repairs. And I’d be helping sail her down to her new home.

She rocked as I left, saying goodbye to me.

The next day, I came back. I was meeting Paul there to put in a new gauge that would better show the state of the engine batteries. It was raining miserably. I thought I’d plugged all the leaks; the bilge pump hadn’t need to run much lately. But that day, a couple of new leaks appeared. Was she crying?

This evening, I finished the gauge installation. I straightened up all the materials again. I had the title with me to mail off to the new owner, along with some receipts I’d found for work done on her and a couple of books to help the new owner with learning to handle her new boat. She had sent me a cashier’s check for the balance. I was still going to wait until it cleared to mail off the title. But then I thought, “that’s silly! I just don’t want to admit that she’s sold and that she’s now owned by someone else.”

I stopped by the post office and mailed the title.

This is just au revoire and not goodbye, since I will be helping to take her down to North Carolina, part of the way, if not all. But still it’s sad. It’s like leaving a good friend that you may not see again. There is a loss to make it through. Hopefully, by the time we say our final farewells, it will be better.

What Do You Do With an Old Boat?

I bought a new boat a year ago. We’re still trying to figure each other out. In the meantime, I still have my old boat. I’ve tried selling her, but had no luck so far. Problem is, so I’m told, there are a lot of old boats out there, so it’s a buyer’s market. But I don’t want to donate her and risk having her scrapped for parts. She’s in too good a shape for that!

So this past year, I’ve been renting her out. It’s worked out fairly well. Most of the folks who have taken her out have absolutely loved her. They come back with stories of what a wonderful time they had aboard.

There’s the two doctors who decided they’d take their Wednesday off to go sailing. They came back and told me what a great boat she was. There’s the man, now taking part in the Clipper Round the World Race Who wanted to take his nephew out and introduce him to the sport. It was pretty breezy that day, but they went anyway. The nephew came back hooked on the sport. There’s the two young men who are trying to get their captain’s licenses and have been out a couple of times, trying to build their hours.

But keeping two boats means keeping up maintenance on two boats. And that can get expensive. Renting has covered 1/2 the slip fees, but not any of the other expenses. And, like an old house, an old boat has to be kept up to avoid bigger problems.

So, again, I’ll try to sell her. And again, I’ll hope to find her a good home. But if I can’t, I’ll keep her around another year and see how it goes.


Changing Themes

This blog is about to take a slightly different turn. I’ve finally gone and done it. I bought a new boat. The new girl is a 1996 Jeanneau 36.2. And that’s why, at this writing, there’s a link to a page to try to sell the old one. Much as I love her, I’m realistic enough to realize I can’t afford 2 boats.

So, time to put a few repairs into the old one and to get to know the new one.

But what do I write about the old one? Well, not much to hide; anyone who reads this blog can find all the good and bad about the CAL in these ‘pages’. So let’s see what I’ll be doing, and have done.

Well, first the upper lifelines had to be replaced. I’d already replaced the lower ones last year. But the upper ones were worn, too. I also replaced the harness line that went near the toe rail. Unfortunately, I misjudged the size. So now I need to find someone to shorten it. Ah well!

And this winter was *wet*! That led to mildew inside, which I hadn’t seen in quite awhile! So I scrubbed and scraped the inside and painted it. This time, too, I removed all the wood trim. It’s in the backyard, has been stripped, and is now getting a new coat of varnish.

But what else will help it to sell? I’ve got the price set at about $4K below what I’ve seen comparable boats selling for. Hopefully, that will incentivize someone to take her home. But we’ll see. I’m waiting until I get the wood back in before I put it on the market.

And that’s the other thing. Where to sell it? I figure Good Old Boat is a good place, since folks reading that magazine are lovers of older sailboats. Others have suggested putting it on Craig’s List. Since it’s free, I might as well. But my guess it those are going to be folks looking for a bargain, that don’t necessarily know sailboats. But who knows. I could be wrong. Another place I’ve found is Sailboat Data. I didn’t realize it, but when I was looking for information on my current boat for listing and boats I was looking at to purchase, I saw that they have listings for boats as well. Worth a try!

But it’s selling a prize possession. You want to make sure it gets a good home. Hmmmm…. wonder if the prospective buyer will allow me to do a background check. What experience do they have? What courses have they taken? Where will they keep the boat? Will they keep her maintained as she should be?

Well, I’ll just have to see…..


And for this year’s parade…..

My favorite saying, that I made up, is that you can always have a good time, or a good story. Every Lighted Boat Parade that we have been in has been both. One year, I thought the lights could run off the batteries. Well, a few of them can. Not many. So we had few lights that year. There’s been the endless problems with generators. One year, I rented one and it worked out great. I could never find that size to rent again – they were always too big to use. There was the year I finally bought a generator, and it worked that year. But it had to be replaced the following year because it failed to work. That’s what I get for buying a cheap Harbor Freight generator, I guess. There were lights that wouldn’t light. Fog. Leaving late. If it could happen, it has.

This year, I put the lights up a week ahead of time so there would be no last minute rush. We got to the parade on time. We couldn’t go down Sara’s Creek, because I wasn’t sure where the channel was and I was seeing the depth keep getting lower. But we made it through the rest of the parade ok. At the end, the battery monitor still showed 57%, so I figured we had plenty to make it home.

Not so. We started home, and the boat kept slowing down. I pushed the throttle forward, and nothing. I finally plugged our destination into the GPS and it showed that it would take an hour to get not that far down the river.

So I called SeaTow. Doug, the marina owner, came on the radio and said he could help us out. SeaTow said they’d stand by. SeaTow, I guess, was furious. They called the boat captain that came to our rescue and chewed him out. He figured that he’d lost out on a tow. I found out that it was TowBoat I was supposed to call, not SeaTow. Those were the folks I had the insurance with through BoatUS. If SeaTow had come, I’d have been out several hundred dollars.

When we got to the marina, Jessica, the marina owner’s neice who sails with us, came by to invite us up to the ‘big house’ for food and drinks. I figured we’d eat what we had on the boat, then go socialize. So I poured the alcohol into the stove and lit it.

Well, I couldn’t see the alcohol going in and I apparently spilled more on the sides than I got into the receptacle. It caused quite a blaze. Not dangerous. But enough to melt parts on the stove. So I put it out with the fire extinguisher, which put powder all over the boat. Needless to say, we headed up for the other party, rather than stick around.

The party was great! Good people. Good food. Good conversation. Good drinks. Good music. We had a wonderful time.

So, a good time and a good story!


Committee Boat Duty and Spring Squalls

After a first week with so little wind no one finished in time to make it official, the racers out for the Wednesday night York River sailboat races were hoping for a bit more wind. But it seems too much energy was going into that thought. What they ended up with was a squall which, at one point measured 40 mph.

The weather report earlier in the day was a bit iffy. Winds were to die down, but it wasn’t certain whether they would die down enough by the start of the race. The prediction, however, showed winds out of the southwest. So what would come in might be strong, but the waves should be minimal.

4 Degrees was the committee boat for the race. Arriving at the start of the course, we put down 2 anchors, just in case. Winds were strong, but nothing that the fleet couldn’t handle. The course was set to send the boats down to quick flash, back to R-24, then around the marks again.

Boats on the Course

The majority of both fleets crossed the starting line without a hitch and we commenced to relax. Jeff watched the boats the water. I started dinner prep, and Paul commenced to make drinks.  But Paul and I didn’t get too far.

Jeff was keeping an eye on one craft that was starting late. And once over the starting line, they began to have difficulties maneuvering. Their mainsail appeared to be too tight and weather helm was kicking them. They finally were able to release their jib. But it tossed itself into the water and had to be retrieved.

Boat in the Squall

About that time on the committee boat, the waves started picking up. Whitecaps were forming outside. The olive oil brought to saute vegetables dropped and broke in the cabin, spilling olive oil throughout. While Grant and I worked on cleaning up the mess, the other two reported that the boats near the first mark were heeled over quite a bit. About then, a call was received on the radio asking if the race would be cancelled. It was a hard call to make. It appeared that the water on the other side of the Coleman Bridge was calmer, but it was hard to tell. And there had already been one great gust with a calm afterwards. Would the same thing happen? Would it be worse?

The race was called. The participants worked their way home. And, of course, about that time, the weather calmed down to where we had hoped it would be when we started.

Calling the race is often a difficult decision. Yes, if conditions deteriorate to something dangerous, of course it is cancelled. But with grey areas, it’s hard to tell. Do you call the race to find that conditions improve after you do, as it did that night. Or do you ride it out, hoping they’ll improve to have them turn worse?

This race was followed by a disastrous situation in the Gulf, not days afterwards. Having faced something similar, but not quite as deadly, in this race, it’s easy to see why the folks were riding out what turned worse, not better for them.