Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sailing 101



Saturday, December 2, 2006
Hmm . . . this running aground is getting to be a theme. Did it again today, but in my defense it was out in the harbor where you’d have thought there was plenty of water. Well, some of us would have thought so. We had this great temperature swing over the last 24 hours – a front has been coming across the country dumping snow everywhere. Yesterday the temperature here was 72 or 75 degrees – a record for the date. Today it was in the low 50’s. The front also manifested itself in a strong W and NW wind. It was blowing about 15 this morning. I thought I could just hop out onto the harbor for about an hour of fast tacking. Wrong. It was just about 45 minutes to low tide when I left the dock, and that NW wind was blowing the tide out. I was out of the channel in the area in front of the Harbor Cove development (World’s Largest Houses). I felt the bottom start to catch the boat – I was sure the centerboard was up but I checked it anyway. No damage, the bottom being mostly mud out there. Black, black mud. Chuck called me on the cell phone. Jack Sayre had seen me run aground and called him. Small town, eh? He offered to come out for me if I needed it. I thanked him but said I’d try a few things first. I had the jib up but not sheeted in, so I tried trimming it to see if the extra pull would get me off. Nope. I hoisted the main to try to heel the boat over and still possibly sail off, but that didn’t work either. I called Chuck back and told him that I thought I’d just sit tight and wait for some water to come back in. It was just after dead low at that point. I took down the jib and main, heaved the anchor to windward and set about cleaning up the lines. The flogging had ripped the ring off the release piston of the snap shackle on the main halyard. I put a different shackle on the halyard and repaired the bronze snap shackle. If I’d had my cordless drill with me I would have gone ahead and installed the mounting blocks for the navigation lights. I tried to fold the jib in the V-berth but there wasn’t enough room and it was definitely too windy to try it on deck. Giving up on that, I dug out one of the New Yorkers I’d stashed on board and started to read a short story. Up against the bulkhead in the cockpit I was out of the wind and the sun felt great. It would have been nice to just doze there for a while, but that was just too far out of the program. I read and kept checking the tide indicator on the GPS. I jotted down the coordinates of my position so that I could tell if I started to pull the anchor. I had no way of knowing whether I’d get blown into shallower water if I pulled. The anchor held (probably assisted by the broad hull resting in the mud) and after a while I could feel a little rocking that told me there was more water under the boat. I had the motor running and put it in gear – forward motion! Yay! I pulled up the anchor and made a turn back toward Devil’s Reach. Thanks – another lesson learned, only 67,481 left in the Intro To Sailing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love reading about your sailing adventures - sounds like you're learning all about sailing in ways you won't forget! I think you have the beginnings of a book here...

Tina said...

(That was my comment - didn't mean to make it anonymous.)