Boat Journal

Chronicling a love affair with sailing

Month: August 2008

Weather and Unpredictability

Trying to figure out when to head out on the boat, I usually check for the ‘longer term’, and the tide and buoy information on boatus’ site as the time gets closer. Sometimes it’s helpful. But, as anyone who’s lived around here any time at all knows, the weather predictions are a crap shoot at best.

So, today I called those who’d said they’d like to head out and told everyone to wait until the afternoon, since the buoy data was showing no wind (2-4 knots). I was hoping for better in the afternoon. I couldn’t get hold of everyone, so I headed out to the boat anyway. Breeze was there, and it actually ended up being some nice sailing for a couple of hours. At that point, the wind did die and we came back in.

High Winds

Debbie joined my on the boat today. It’s the first time she’s been on and, I think, the first time she’s been on a sailboat this size. I recall her saying that she had sailed before on a yacht. Ah well! To come so far down in the world!

It was quite breezy and choppy. I settled for doing some motoring and bringing out the mainsail, but not the jib.

I’m still pretty nervous when the winds are high. Part of it, I’m sure, was the fated Cock Island trip home. Part of it, too, is that, although I feel comfortable, and actually enjoy, heeling over so the rails on on the water when someone else is in charge, I’m still not comfortable doing it when I am. I know – and keep reminding myself – that a sailboat is quite stable; it takes alot to tip it over. But I still am uncomfortable when I get it at more than a 30 degree angle.

I probably would have been more comfortable, too, if Debbie were a seasoned sailor. But it was one of those occasions when I was going to have to sail it myself, since she was going to not going to understand what to do.

So the trip was short. And I did let her steer for a bit once we got the mainsail down and were headed back to the docks. And I told her next time, hopefully, we’d have more warm bodies to help out, and we’d be able to do more.

Captain Debbie


Water Inside the Boat

I hadn’t been down to the boat since we’d sailed over for lunch, so we stopped by today to drop some stuff off and to check it out. When I opened the hatch, I was met with about 4 inches of water on the cabin floor! We had a pretty nasty storm last week, and 32 year old boats will leak (from the top!). In fact, I do know that one of windows leaks pretty badly in bad storms. And I’ve come in to find the cushions in the aft of the boat wet after a good rain.

I checked the battery. I had left the charger on and it was fully charged. I checked the bilge pump, and started fine with the manual switch. I checked the fuse and it hadn’t blown. So I guessed that the floater switch had died, since that had been acting funky when Steve N had replaced the hose for me.

So I turned on the bilge pump and emptied out the cabin, as well as the bilge itself. Then, when we got home, I IM’d Dan. He felt that my diagnosis was right. He also suggested getting a Water Witch Bilge Pump Switch. He said they were more reliable than the floater switches. I ordered one from Defender, since things tend to get her pretty quickly from them.