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Old 25-08-2007, 20:06   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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August 25 - Well, that about winds it up.

August 25 - Well, that about winds it up.

I'm sitting on the hook (anchored for those not familiar with the
term) under Atlantic Highlands, NJ, near the municipal pier, and
not far from the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club. There's a dinghy
dock at the muni pier which we'll take advantage of to go ashore,
but right now it's time to clean the decks of all the accumulated

It never fails to amaze us how dirty the boat gets when it's been
out at sea. We have no clue as to where it may come from, but so
far, every time, there's not only the expected salt residue, but
also a very dark dirty something, from bow to stern. So, Lydia's
first activity every time we stop is to go wash the deck. The
exterior will need some attention, too, but for now, that's

It's forecast to be 90 today for Sandy Hook and Atlantic
Highlands, and at nearly 4PM, it may be. However, the water is
delightfully cool, but not cold, and it's keeping the boat
reasonably comfortable as the breeze wafts over it. Breeze,
because, one of the reasons to hurry to get here today was that
the winds were supposed to go to 15-20 knots on Saturday, which
would have been more challenging than the forecast 10-15, dying
to under 10, on Friday.

Well, so far NOAA's batting 1.000, as the most wind we saw the
entire way up wasn't over 7 or so, and here, there's even less.
However, that's ok, as we really don't need a gale to be

The way in (and out, of which more, anon) was totally socked in.
Visibility in fog of a few hundred feet or less, sometimes. Good
thing we had radar. There was lots of traffic overnight, and
sometimes Lydia had to call to make sure they saw us - some didn't,
until the call! Lydia sent me down to sleep at 10 and took the
dawn patrol, but came for relief at just before 5, which is
apparently a good time for her, as it's the times she's done
overnights before, successfully. I went down for my shower and
sleep at a little before 10, so was very refreshed when I came

Lydia'd had a nice long nap before her shift, and so was also
refreshed when she took over. We spent some time on the horn with
our new-found SSCA buddies who had preceded us northward,
confirming our weather realities, as our wind machine is off for
repair. Without it, we didn't have a positive reference for wind
direction or speed. Therefore, their help was useful.

As we left, there was mostly fog, but a pretty good visibility.
The weather report had a fog advisory which was supposed to lift
at 9, but at 10, it was still very limited visibility, in very
benign seas. We'd started on a beam reach, once we got out of the
channel, and what little wind there was, along with Perky, the
Iron Genny going for all he was worth, had us moving along at
over 8 knots in the water, but because of the counter current off
the Gulf Stream, we were making just a little over 7 knots over
ground. Our course was nearly perfect, but as the day wore on,
into night, the wind started to move around so that we constantly
(in order to keep our point of sail, but also to get out far
enough to do our dead-north run promised in the South winds
forecast) edged around to East. Once we were due east for a
while, and the wind continued to move around, we headed north,
and Lydia took over.

The traffic aside, it was uneventful until our arrival just
before the Sandy Hook channel, where, after I took the helm
again, there were flotillas of fishing boats, public ("head"
boats) and private. I'd thought to stay out of the channel in
case of lots of commercial traffic, but with having to thread our
way through radar images of small boats, I decided to go in the
channel. Fortunately, by that time, not only had dawn broken, but
the fog had started to clear, so I could see what I was picking
up on the radar. OY! Everywhere, including IN the channel, boats
were tightly packed, all with lines over the side, bottom
fishing. However, nothing untoward occurred, we went in past the
hook, and the fleet stayed behind. Apparently, the fishing is
much better outside Sandy Hook!

So, now we get to our point of beginning. As seen in the title,
there were a couple of events - one not discovered until our
anchorage this afternoon - which really wound things up.

The first was, after an hour or so under full throttle, we heard
this horrible noise from in the engine compartment. Immediately
throttling back, the engine stopped. Not knowing what to expect,
at all, but having no smoke, I figured there was some sort of
mechanical issue, and gingerly peeked in the door. No fire, no
smoke, so I opened the door all the way and saw that our bilge
blower's 4" Mylar-and-spring-steel-coiled hose had somehow become
involved with the moving parts on the engine, and both belts were
nowhere to be seen.

However, about 100' of small spring steel wire, and the remains
of the Mylar, had very firmly wound itself around the pulleys at
the crankcase, and BEHIND the pulley next to the block, on the
crankshaft. Of course, by the time this happened, not only was
the engine warmed up, it was at full temperature, having just
been run for some time at full cruising speed (just shy of wide
open throttle). Well, there's nothing to do but go in there, and
get it off/out, or we'll be stuck. Lydia set the sails to take
advantage of what little wind there was, to stabilize the boat
against the very gentle swells (you really don't want to be
thrown against a hot - about 180 degrees - engine, or much
hotter - about 250 - alternator), and I set about seeing what
could be done.

As is usually the case with us, it seems, it's pretty
complicated, but I'll shorten the story to say that 4 hours later
I'd managed to remove all the very tightly wound steel and peeled
off all the Mylar, replaced the water pump, fished the forward
pulley from the bottom of the bilge where it had fallen when I'd
taken it off to get to the one attached to the crankshaft (thank
goodness for gorilla arms and a 12" plumber's pliers!) and
reattached it, realigned the alternator mounts, and mounted new
belts. Sure enough, it started right up, no oil leaks nor any
other calumny as a result, and off we went, only a little bit
late. As it turned out, we arrived at Sandy Hook at the same time
as our SSCA buddies who, bless them, had stood off for a bit
until it was determined that there was nothing they could do to
help, and then went on.

And, finally, another wind-up: as is my fashion, to limit
whacking of halyards on the mast as the boat rocks or the wind
blows, I intentionally foul them around the spreaders (the bars
across the middle of the mast) when stowing them after a sail.
This puts them well away from the mast, so there's not only no
noise, it helps preserve the health of the line, as it doesn't
wear by all the banging. We'd noted some difficulty in making the
genoa furler move, either in or out, on our way up, and I feared
the worst - that we'd experienced a bearing failure, which would
involve taking off the forestay (the wire which holds up the mast
from the front). Fortunately, it was only the brand new Sta-SetX
spinnaker halyard, which had the side which hoists the sail
brought around (and then under) the furler, and then thrown
around the spreader, rather than having both the hoist and pull
ends of it on one side of the genoa.

As a result, the spinnaker halyard's hoist part had been rubbing
against the part of the furler which turns, at the top of the
mast, keeping it from turning every time it went around. So,
great news that it's not bad bearings. The bad news is that the
halyard is nearly worn through, and effectively useless other
than as two shorter pieces of line. I think it fair to say that
this particular mistake won't happen again, but I could have done
without it even this once! Looking back on our dousing of the
last use of the spinnaker, I don't really recall the sequence of
events. However, the end result was a misplaced line which not
only inconvenienced us in using another sail, it destroyed (for
our purposes) a new and expensive line. Anybody need a 50' with
snap shackle, and 70' bare, 7/16" white (red trace, trade mark)
Sta-SetX line?

Ah, well, if that's the worst thing which happens to us in our
journey, we're indeed fortunate. Altogether, we're incredibly
blessed. We're out here on the ocean, moving at our own pace and
destinations, healthy, and spoiled rotten by our ability to do
just that. Port Supply will sell me another line, and, perhaps, I'll
even find somewhere here on the Van Route (where Port delivers)
so I'll not have to pay shipping to get the replacement. In the
meantime, I'll reeve the old halyard until the replacement
arrives, and we'll continue to sail as though that was the way it
was supposed to be :{))

As we're just going to attend to lots of little chores, and
perhaps get in some touristy bits, this will likely be the last
from me for a while. However, I'm sure Lydia's log will have lots
of things to talk about, not the least of which is Portia, the
kitten who wormed her way on the boat and who seems to be
perfectly suited to be a sea cat, never complaining the entire
way up, but continuing all the things and activities she'd done
before our departure. The official stance is that she's up for
adoption - but she's already potty-trained (perches on the seat,
even in a seaway, to go), and the greatest personality you could
ask for. You ask me, I don't think this cat's getting off.



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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skipgundlach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-08-2007, 06:31   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Culpepper, Va
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As always I love to read your reports. Glad to hear everything is going fairly well.
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