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Old 28-07-2015, 14:02   #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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Shake and Break, part 8 - April 30

Shake and Break, part 8 - April 30

We left you with more thoughts of potential high-winds squalls, something
not normally experienced this time of year here, pondering an oil change
without the right gear and having plundered the "fresh" vegetables available
in Green Turtle Cay's New Plymouth settlement.

We wanted to get down to Marsh Harbour at some point, and the winds looked
favorable for departure Monday the 27th. There we could get protection from
fetch (the wind-driven waves that build up over open water in squalls) find
another pump for the oil change, restock some of our more basic foodstuffs,
and other chores.

So, at 10 AM, up comes our anchor, again, full of accreted sand and shells.
The sea is bucking sufficiently that not only do we have water rushing over
it from the front as we head out, the up-down motion of the boat alternately
lowers and raises the anchor dangling in the water, and it's soon rinsed.

Before we left, we had prepared for raising the main, and then the staysail.
So, once the anchor was secured (we have a stopper which takes the force of
the mass of the 33KG anchor, rather than the windlass, which is what hauls
up the anchor and chain), I went amidships and raised the main. Once that
was up, we raised the staysail (recall we have a problem we also can get
addressed in the Marsh Harbour area - stitching failure on the clew - where
the control lines for this large genoa attach).

With 20 knots of apparent wind at 60 on our bow, we set out to get onto the
rhumblines that the Explorer Charts had determined to be the best zig-zag
course we would take to get to Marsh Harbour. I set the running back for
our starboard tack. With the smaller sail up front, we had some weather
helm - the boat wants to turn into the wind - which means we had the brake
on. That is, the rudder ( big brake in terms of the resistance to passage
through the water when the helm isn't centered) corrected our course by
pushing the bow away from the wind.

That rudder angle would slow us down, of course. But we couldn't balance the
sails without the big one up front. However, once we got on our outbound
line at 151T, the wind was behind us at an apparent angle of 120 to
starboard. We were rewarded with 7 knots SOG, and a slight lee helm - much
less than the prior weather helm.

We were running relatively close to shore at that point, so were protected,
and the sea was only 1-2' waves. If you look at our track on you'll see many different turns. Each of
them was one of the waypoints in our Explorer Chart of the area. They were
tested routes which had no hazards, and were amply deep enough for our 7'
draft. So, we pretty much let Otto (our autopilot) drive, and we tended the
sails and kept up with the charts. As this was written some time ago,
you'll have to use the tools in spotwalla; sort of to the top left, you'll
see "Flying Pig" with a downward arrow next to it. Clicking that allows you
to do 'adjustments' which include seeing more than the last couple of weeks;
4 months should get it!

If you'd like to play cartographer, our 10:35 waypoint was at 26
43.17'N/7719.8'W - and by 10:45, we were turned toward Whale Cut - adjacent
(well, on both sides of it) to Whale Cay. It is one of the major cuts into
deep water. Unless you were a very shoal draft vessel, you could not go
straight across the little banks behind the Whale, as it's called here. So,
we went around in winds of 16-20 knots of wind at an apparent 110 - a very
nice broad - almost beam - reach. That gave us 6.8 knots STW, and only 6.1
knots SOG. We were fighting the incoming tide, but were outside by 11:15, in
4-6' seas.

Which was OK, as it was brief; as we turned into the last couple of legs in
the Sea of Abaco, we were running dead downwind. It's not very often you
see a boat going wing-and-wing (one sail out to each side) with a staysail,
but we did it :{)) One problem with sailing dead downwind is that the sails
can't really stiffen (lessen the rolling characteristic of the waves) the
boat. As a result, with our rolling, our apparent wind was actually in the
150 range - rolling from port to starboard and back.

We were also stealing back the wind we were given to begin with, as we were
now subtracting (by moving with the wind) from the apparent wind. Apparent
wind went down to only 8-10 knots, and we showed 7.5 knots STW most of the
way - the peak was 8.2 knots.

Making the final turn and negotiating our way through the old ship channel,
we set our course for the entrance to Marsh Harbour. A slight course
adjustment at noon, to 157T, put the wind at 120 apparent, at 12 knots.
Of course, we were taking away from the wind at that point of sail, as we
puttered along at 6.4 knots STW.

At 1 PM, we had a treat I'd never seen before. A lone dolphin came
alongside the center cockpit where I was on watch, and rolled a bit to look
at me. That, we've seen before. So, I called Lydia, and we went out and
encouraged his antics. Surfing off the waves, jumping - and all by himself,
something we'd not seen before, either - we were certain he was entertaining

He kept rolling to check us out, and then, swam upside down for a ways
before rolling back over, and then looking at us to say, "Did you see
that??" A little while later, he did a barrel roll under water, doing a
complete rotation, right in front of us. What a treat. How blessed we are,
here in our home. He stayed with us for probably 30 minutes or more, which,
no doubt, displaced him from his normal home, and swam off in the direction
from which we'd come.

He was like our welcoming committee, as we went to manual steering at 1:45,
stowed the sails, and by 2:15, had our anchor down in nearly the same spot
as we were on the many times we'd anchored here, all of them more than 4
years ago. However, it wasn't at ALL like when we were here last. It was
CROWDED! We're used to being among only a handful of boats in this area,
most of the others preferring to be further into the harbor. This time, it
was "find a spot where we have enough room to swing without hitting someone

However, we did, and with the steep breeze blowing, doing my normal
anchoring method resulted in a half-dozen increasingly sharp pulls, as I let
out progressively more chain per instance. When I put on our snubber, a 1"
MegaBraid with a special hook to go over the chain, and let it out to
tighten, I got the same stretch and rebound as I would have had Lydia backed
down sharply on it.

Ahhhh.... Back in Marsh Harbour. And just in front of the squalls.
Overnight, it spat a bit, but wasn't really serious about it. But about 2PM
on Tuesday (28th), a massive squall came in. For a moment, it looked like
we'd miss it, as we had one earlier in the day. But, no, it landed on us and
dumped a massive amount of water on us, over the newly cleaned decks,
scrubbed in anticipation.

Out comes the dam (chamois-like cloth) on the deck, and the water starts
rushing into the tank in torrents. Meanwhile, it's blowing, hard.
Everything is getting scrubbed - including me. I went out, as it happened,
just before we saw 40 knots (over 45 MPH) of hard-driven rain. I got a
pressure wash to wet down, used a LITTLE bit of soap in the utterly soft
water, and had a shower. Waiting long enough to get fully rinsed from the
great suds created in the gale-driven soft water, I went forward to check
our water.

The forward tank (195 gallons) was literally overflowing. The feed tube was
full and the water was rushing over it. So, of course, I closed it, and
opened the aft tank. As we'd not used it yet, the supply hose quickly
filled, sending up small bubbles to show it was full, too. Thank you, Lord,
for all the marvelous and free water!

So, replenished fully, the squall passed, and we set about to attend to the
various shake-and-break-down items which had developed. These are much more
like the normal nature of cruising - there is maintenance to do, all the
time, and little stuff (meaning that it's not a gamestopper, where we MUST
address it before moving on) needs fixing.

The first order of business was to find another pump so we could do an oil
change. My previous replacement pump had come from the local Napa store, so
we went there first. Sure enough, they had one, though it took some doing
to establish that they actually did; once the person behind the counter
found it in the catalog, he took me right to it.

Off, a bit up the road, to Batelco, now branded as BTC, perhaps to avoid
confusion with the unrelated Bahrain Batelco which comes up when you search
online, to renew our now-dead cell phone, and to get a cellular hotspot.
That's a phone which, if so instructed, becomes a Wi-Fi router. Here in
Marsh Harbour, there are no open spots; outside, there are many. Pay Wi-Fi
in the Bahamas is all rather more expensive than the data plans offered by
BTC, and, as they are not "everywhere" (if you can "see" a cell tower, you
can use your hotspot, and if there's an occupied island in the Bahamas,
there's a cell tower!), so we took the plunge.

There are "free" phone plans available, but as we wanted data only, (to do
voice and data was very much more expensive), we had to "buy" (deep
discount) our mobile data hotspot. We have no real means of seeing how much
data we're using, as, I learned when I took the phone in the next day due to
some perceived issues, the phone's estimate of data used is typically high
by a third or so. So, if it showed 3 gigabytes of use, likely it was only
about 2 gigabytes of use. Once we get our first bill, we'll be able to
check the usage accurately online - but for the next several weeks, we'll be
ill-informed as to our usage.

As we chose the 5G monthly plan, that was reassuring when we saw an initial
apparent huge surge of data - but, likely, we'll exceed it, as we will be
here in the harbor, where that's our only connection, for some time yet.
Added gigabytes are not disproportionate to the base rate, so, that's OK,
too. Best yet is that throughput is in the 2-3MB range, far better than
we've ever experienced afloat, regardless of source. We have heard that
throughput goes down when you get away from major population areas, but
we're very grateful to have communication, even in remote areas.

Next stop - all of these are on the road leading to the airport - was to the
Ace Hardware. Our arch used to have our satellite antenna on an integral
pipe mount,; I gave that system to a Ham radio buddy, as we now rely on
Chris Parker for our weather. The empty pole on the arch whistles in the
wind, an annoyance. Once confronted with the available caps, I realized
that I didn't have the proper dimensions, so we headed south to BTC, again,
and turned right...

... Which led us to Maxwell's, a supermarket on the scale and style of
Publix, Winn-Dixie or Kroger. Variety and pricing is a great deal closer to
what you'd find in the US, though perishables have the same issues due to
the necessary time for arrival from Florida. We were able to purchase a
wide variety of "fresh" vegetables, eggs, OJ at only about a third more than
US pricing, and other goodies. It filled our cart, which is a bit larger
than a milk crate, at only about double what we paid for the pitifully small
haul in Green Turtle's New Plymouth.

So, well provisioned, and equipped to be sending this to you today, we
headed back to the boat. As it's forecast to be pretty windy, it seems to
have rubbed off on me, again - so, we'll leave you here, panting to know
whether we succeed in the rest of our attempts to keep our home in "Bristol"
condition, topped both with water and electricity. Until next time, Stay



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"Believe me, my young friend, there is *nothing*-absolutely nothing-half so
much worth doing as simply messing, messing-about-in-boats; messing about in
boats-or *with* boats.

In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's
the charm of it.

Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your
destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get
anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in
particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and
you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."
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