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Old 23-08-2008, 06:42   #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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Cod Almighty - August 22

Cod Almighty - August 22

We sailed off our mooring in Portland in the endings of a mild
Norwester on Wednesday morning at about 9AM. We'd timed our
departure to take advantage of the falling tide, and got a nice
lift as we exited the Portland approach lanes. The winds were
piping at 18-25 knots NW, with gusts to 30, so we put in a single
reef at the mooring, and sailed on the main only until the
expected dying wind.

Flying Pig stood up and single-reef sailed along very comfortably
in moderate seas. Lydia's feeling more and more secure in her
stomach these days; with the moderate seas forecast for our
journey, she decided to try this one without her usual Stugeron
(a seasickness remedy widely available over the counter
everywhere else in the world other than the US). I'm pleased to
say she felt comfortable the entire way.

That's very good, because even very experienced sailors sometimes
never shake their seasickness (Lin Pardey comes to mind; she's
regularly seasick, despite her world-girdling experience and
longevity at sea, along with several publications about heavy
weather); if she can get past that, she'll be far more effective
on watch...

By 11AM, the wind had indeed died a bit, and our route took us
further downwind, with promised changes to the west encouraging
us to shake out the reef and unfurl the genoa. With our forward
motion, the apparent wind went forward, and we had an effective
beam reach, so at 1:30, we also put up the staysail. However,
the wind direction never did change - only our routing, which
made it very good that we still had a NW wind! A true West wind
would have required a very close reach, or a beat...

Following my repair of the rot in the Vee, the area of support of
the staysail reinforcing cable securing the cabin roof from
flexing, I also slacked the babystay (inner forestay for the
staysail) so that the mast wasn't deformed as it had been before,
and we had a marvelous cutter-rigged (genoa and inner foresail)
run in about 10 knots of apparent wind and brilliant sunshine.
All signs pointed to our having pretty well tweaked the standing
rigging (the stainless steel wires which keep the mast in place),
and the boat balanced marvelously.

Taking advantage of the current forecasting mentioned in the
Float Plan before we left Florida, we knew that we'd have a
slight current helping us along, and, sure enough, we had an
effective speed over ground of 6.4 knots with only a 5.7 knot
through-the-water ("boat") speed.

Though relatively uneventful in comparison to some of our
passages, this one featured our seeing a couple of whale spouts,
and one instance of a whale surfacing and diving. Unfortunately,
that's so far been the extent of our whale sightings so far, but
there are charter boats which take folks out to look at whales,
so perhaps while we're in this area, we'll get to see more of
them, at closer range...

The wind continued to abate, and the afternoon had us just barely
moving, as seen by the very close SPOT locations. Lydia went
down to sleep at about 7PM, in our usual routine (still not a
"watch schedule" - but it usually works out that she's on the
dawn patrol, in our recent times), and I settled in for the

However, the wind came up briefly in the early evening, and we
picked up our speed again to about 6 knots. By 9, it rose to
12-16 knots, with gusts to ~18, and our speed again rose to 7.5
knots. The 2/3 moonrise at about 10PM was spectacular as we
mostly beam-reached along, with the apparent wind varying between
75-110 degrees off our starboard bow.

Unfortunately for us, the wind again died, and the gentle rain
came. The good news is that it washed down the boat of the salt
it had accumulated in the prior 15 hours or so. By 1AM, as it
continued to abate, and worse, was clocking around to the SW, we
had only 5-10 knots. By 2:30, it had basically died, so I rolled
in the genoa and sheeted the main and staysail flat and hard to
help minimize the roll in the beam seas induced by the last few
hours' worth of wind. As before, we're not running the engine
any more than absolutely needed... The zephyr let us ghost
along, essentially on a beat, but with next to no wind, it sounds
like melodrama to call going 20 degrees on the wind a "beat" :{))
However, even with the helping current, we weren't going anywhere
very fast!

By false dawn Thursday, the wind had piped up to 3-6 knots, and
shifted a bit to the west, so I again rolled out the genoa, and
our speed rose to a dizzying 3 knots. Had we continued to enjoy
the earlier night's wind, we'd have made better time, but...

At 7AM Lydia came up and we dropped the main and staysail, rolled
up the genoa, and entered the Cape Cod Canal. Our charts showed
that we'd be at slack water in the beginning, but would have a
heading current later. Rather than spend the entire middle of the
day just parked, waiting for the favorable current, we forged
ahead. Of course, this is like the ICW, so we turned on Perky,
our reliable engine, and made tolerable time through the canal,
despite, at the end, a heading current of 4 knots. That is, we
were being pushed backward by, eventually, nearly 5 knots, so our
actual ground speed at the end wasn't even 2 knots.

Fortunately, we made it under the railroad bridge just before it
lowered, and once out of the canal, the effects of the current
lessened, and we commenced being a sailboat again once we were
out of the shoal areas immediately past the canal mouth. Again,
winds were very light, but Lydia single-handed us as we sailed a
very close beat out of that area while I went down for a nap at
about 10.

Apparently Flying Pig likes the rig setup now, as she sailed
herself on the beats, so we gave Otto the day off. Along the
way, our solar and wind generators made lots of electricity,
filling our batteries as well as tending to the various other
electrical needs aboard. Several tacks later, the wind picked up
a bit, and the noise of both the water and the sail changes woke
me. Our apparent winds were now up in the teens again, and we
were making reasonable time, but Woods Hole was directly where
the wind was coming from, so...

We beat our way through 3 tacks on our way to Woods Hole, where,
again, the currents were against us. While we were sailing at a
reasonable speed through the water, we actually were going
backwards at one point. Because it was a channel, with a vicious
rip churning up the water, rather than beat ourselves up, as well
as risk being forced into one of the markers, we turned on the
iron genoa (Perky), for the few minutes it took to get through
the rip area and out into the open again.

If our winds had persisted through the night, we'd have beaten
both adverse currents. The effect of the light winds overnight
was that we not only had to deal with those adverse currents, but
it delayed our progress by a combined couple of hours. As a
result, there was no way we'd arrive in Nantucket before dark.
As it was, we had to work at it to make Vineyard Haven Harbor, on
Martha's Vineyard, before dark. All was well, though, and we
anchored in about 12' of water and I went down for an early night
of it.

While we'd had no success in the prior 24 hours, we put out our
poles again once we left the harbor on Friday. The forecast had
called for 5-10 knots from the South, and our currents charts
said that there would be a strong heading current very early in
the day, so we slept in, sort of, not leaving until well after
9AM. Murphy 1, Perky 0; we motored for the first hour, with the
positive current helping us along, as what little wind there was
came from directly behind; with Perky humming along, we had 0
knots apparent wind. All of the other boats headed our way had
furled and dropped their sails and were motoring for all they
were worth, but it didn't make me feel any better to know that we
weren't the only ones :{/)

The good news is that once we made our required turn after the
first marker, the wind picked up. So, we gave Perky the morning
off, and our direction allowed us to have a beam reach nearly all
the way to the Nantucket entrance. With the lovely current
helping, we made excellent time, and even better, just as we were
turning toward the harbor entrance, we caught a medium sized

Perfect! He goes into the bucket for a while, and we sail out
our rhumb line, and after we've secured the sails, as Lydia
motors in, I filet him and we put him in marinade for later.

Nantucket has a vast harbor, and multiple amenities for the
boating public. Our reason for visiting the area is that Lydia's
best adult buddy, whom she'd not seen for 20 years, has a
daughter who lives here. Totally coincidentally, her buddy was
on the ferry which was on our tail as we entered the harbor, and
they got to wave at each other as we sought out our anchorage and
the ferry turned to go into its berth.

By 3:30, we were on the hook and lowering the dinghy for our ride
to shore. Miracle of miracles, after more than 5 months, perhaps
more, because I believe the last many times the dinghy had been
used (and the last time it was wet was over 5 months ago), we had
the 6HP on it, our ancient 15HP outboard started on the first

Ashore we went, where we found that the town maintains not only
dumpsters, dinghy docks and other niceties, for free, there are
also bathrooms and showers right at the dinghy dock. That's a
first in my experience. While there are hundreds of rental
mooring balls, there are also ample spaces to anchor, but the
amenities at the town dock are for all to use. This weekend we
may do some daysailing, or sightseeing, or Lydia and her buddy
may just closet themselves for the 20-year catch-up they've only
started so far.

Oops... Much to my surprise, after leaving Lydia to do her
midnight madness with her buddy, when I return to the dinghy dock
at 10:30, it's dead low tide, and our dinghy is only inches from
being aground. With the engine up, I poled out with an oar until
the water got at least a few inches deep, then some more until I
could get the engine lowered, and headed to my home. Ahhh...
The marvelous berth on Flying Pig welcomed me - but I wanted to
get this out, first. So, here I find myself at 3+ - perhaps I'll
sleep in tomorrow (well, later this morning)...

No itinerary, no agenda, no schedule - but from here we'll likely
go back to Martha's Vineyard, then on to Rhode Island and the
Long Island Sound. All in all this was a very pleasurable,
nothing-broke sail for the last legs. And, happily, as our boat
flexed in the tacking we did, our floorboards are again loose
enough to lift. I'll continue to very-fine tune the rig, but at
this point, I think we've achieved our objective in restraining
the mast from moving, not over-tightened the boat, and all is

As I mentioned, of course, we're in Nantucket, having transited
the Cape Cod canal. Nantucket, as those of you who've been here,
was the prior center of the US whaling industry. Fishing is
still big business hereabouts, and so, of course, are fish

So, there's this new fish restaurant specializing in fish from
all around the world. They're calling themselves Cod Almighty,
in honor of their proximity to Cape Cod, and some of the fish
they specialize in...

To promote their opening, they're advertising that they're giving
away Free World Atlasses (not too big on spelling, but I don't
quibble for freebies). Hurrying there, as we always want to add
to our charts and maps, we arrive too late - or at least the guy
at the counter sez he just gave away the last of the freebies.
Imagine our disappointment - being the skinflint, economizer and
dumpster diver I am, I'd really been looking forward to scoring a
"Free Atlass" ...

"Wait a minute - I think I set one under the counter for someone
who never came in for it..." he sez. Sure enough, he pulls out
the last one. Overjoyed with gratitude, I can't resist:

"Free Atlass, Free Atlass; Great Cod Almighty! Our free

I know...


Stay tuned :{))



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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