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Old 26-12-2009, 11:06   #1
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Anchoring Out

Denver was asleep when I finally got everything ready to leave on our adventure. We were going to leave the security of the marina and go out into the middle of the bay and spend the night. It was about as risky as children spending the night in a pup tent at a state park campground! I was strangely excited about actually anchoring out.
Dean, from the next boat over, came over to help me by casting off the bow lines. I started the diesel and threw off the stern line and put the transmission in forward gear. Dean tossed the bow line onto the deck and we were off. As I steered out of our berth I unfurled the foresail and brought the fenders onboard the side deck. Since the autopilot was not working I would have to dash forward and do a bit of work and then dash back to the wheel to bring the boat back on course. Our boat, a 38’ sloop is a type called “performance orientated”. That means that it won’t hold a course for more than a few seconds once one turns loose of the wheel.
After I had cleared the breakwater I could work a little more slowly because I was out in the open. Still, removing the sail cover, hosting the main sail, adjusting the Genoa sheets and reading the instruments and map took several trips back and forth to adjust the heading. I was pretty tired when I finally got everything raised, adjusted, stowed away and the engine turned off. I really wanted a drink of water but I didn’t want to go below and get one out of the refrigerator while I was sailing. I sure was missing our autopilot. The only thing wrong was that the autopilot drive belt was stretched out and slipping.
Denver awoke and looked around, “We are out in the water!” she exclaimed. Isn’t it funny; she slept through the diesel engine starting and running but woke up when I shut it off? We were late in getting started and soon it was time to come into the wind, drop the sails and lower the anchor. We were in the middle of Corpus Christi Bay. We could see the Christmas lights of downtown and the streetlights of the built-up areas around the bay.
“Hey,” I asked, “Do you want to put up our Christmas lights?”
“Could they be seen?” she asked.
“Sure, the tall ones anyway.”
I got out our little Honda portable generator and started hooking up Christmas lights. Soon we were saluting the end of day and having our sundowners.
We went below and played at being “anchored out”. We cooked super and popped popcorn in the microwave. We set up an electric space heater and watched a DVD. By the way, we got better TV reception out in the middle of Corpus Christi Bay than we did at the marina. We had Internet service and cell phone service. We were just playing at being out away from land and having all of the comforts and conveniences of home.
We had our anchor light turned on but I bet it was overwhelmed by the strings of Christmas lights strung around the lifelines and up the mast. The little Honda 2 KW generator ran from 5:30 to 11:30 while caring that load. I filled it up with gasoline and turned off most of the loads except for the space heater and it lasted from midnight to 7:21 the next morning. I realized that I had left the battery charger on also.
The next day we sailed for several hours enjoying the strange feeling of sailing in water deep enough for our 6’ 1” draft while wading birds in 12” of water were just a few feet from us in the extensive shallow flats of the Laguna Madre. We cruised the ICW for a while and then did a U-turn and returned to our berth at the foot of downtown Corpus Christi.
I thought, “Isn’t it great to be in shirt sleeves this close to Christmas!” The dolphins escorted us as we sailed downwind at 4 knots. Denver took a nap. I jury-rigged a boat hook as a whisker pole and enjoyed the sail. I let her sleep until it was time to drop the sails and tie up to our pier. Another neighbor was standing on the dock ready to hand Denver the bow line. I stepped off and tied off the stern line. We were back to the city.
We had sailed about 40 miles total. We burned way less than a gallon of diesel and about 2.5 gallons of gasoline. It was delightful. It sure wasn’t camping out!
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Old 26-12-2009, 11:40   #2
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Nice post. Welcome to the forum!
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Old 26-12-2009, 14:05   #3
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There's no hope for you now. A few more overnighters, a new autopilot belt, and you'll be heading off to Isla Mujeres.
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Old 26-12-2009, 15:03   #4
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Life is Good
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Old 26-12-2009, 19:52   #5
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Tell it to the Xmas turkey...

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Old 26-12-2009, 21:13   #6
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Jealous... (sigh)
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Old 31-12-2009, 14:38   #7
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Mean while that day it was like 15 degrees up here in the Boston area. Now I'm more stir crazy than before. But very happy for you!
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Old 31-12-2009, 20:58   #8
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Meanwhile in las Palmas 20 degrees centigrade midnight. Great fireworks show, lovely ocean (high tide, 10ft NW swell breaking over the coastal reef) ...

All the best in 2010!

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Old 31-12-2009, 22:18   #9
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Quote:
It was delightful. It sure wasn’t camping out!
Even camping out is a joy when its fun. Too bad you had to come back.
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Old 02-01-2010, 15:13   #10
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excellent story
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