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Old 07-06-2009, 19:28   #1
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Calamity! ICW Journey Log #1

Hi everyone,

I figured I'd post updates periodically about my trip down the ICW from Annapolis to Charleston. Hope you don't mind.

So I drove up to Annapolis on Thursday with the wife and kiddies. It naturally took longer than I thought it would, with an infant and a toddler, and we didn't arrive at my Dad's house until about 2330.

Friday was supposed to be chock full of boat work and provisioning, but it took most of the morning to placate my Mom (my poor Admiral had to entertain her whims all day). About noon or so my Dad and I got to it. It took a couple hours to pick up all the gear I needed, and by then it was time to pick up Ian, one of the crew for the trip down the Bay, at the Metro. So we didn't really get started working until about 1600.

Very quickly I found a number of issues. First, it seems that when Dad brought the boat into the maintenance yard, the folks there used any lines they could as mooring lines. So I found my port-side genoa sheet made fast to a pylon! But it gets worse! While getting ready to rig the genoa, I noticed that the furling line on the roller was cut. I have a Hood Seafurler system with a continuous control line (it's not like some systems where you unfurl with the sheets and furl with the furling line; the control line does both). So I began tracing the line out, and quickly discovered that the other end of the cut furling line was being used as my Starboard Bow-line!


My dad and the marina people both swore up and down that they did not cut the line, that it was like that when he brought it in. But still, it's OBVIOUSLY not a mooring about whacked. These denials lead one to wonder what the hell happened, though. I mean, I've been away from the boat for about 8 months, but sheesh!

Eventually, Ian and I managed to re-arrange the blocks that lead the furling control line to the cockpit so that it functions with the two ends knotted together, since there was exactly zero chance of finding a replacement line at that hour. That problem solved, we got the rest of the sails rigged, positioned the new anchors on the bow roller and taffrail respectively, and stowed some gear belowdecks. By then, it was getting later in the afternoon and the Admiral was on her way back. We'd pretty much gotten things squared away enough to get underway, so we went to the supermarket for food then back to Dad's place. Mark (crewmember #4) showed up a bit later, and we settled in for the evening.

We got up at 0430 on Saturday (D-Day by design), intending to be underway at 0600. It took more time to get stowed and ready than we thought, though. At about 0730, the Admiral spun by the boat to say goodbye, then she went off to pick up here mother from BWI (they're driving up to Maine to give the kiddies grandparent and farm time for the month of June while I'm off sailing). We got underway a couple minutes before 0800. Not a big deal.

As we left the pier, the painter on the dinghy came undone, and we had to make a u-turn to retrieve it. But that was more amusing than anything else, and we proceeded down the South River toward the Chesapeake. The engine was purring well, the recent tune-up having gone well, but the wind was very light (the weather broadcast advertised 5 kts for the day). Nevertheless, as we approached Buoy G1 south of the Thomas Point Light, we hoisted sails and shut down the engine.

The next couple hours were fun, but slow going. Our required course necessitated that we basically run dead downwind after we rounded G1. The most speed we saw was about 3.5 kts, with the average being more like 2 to 2.5. It would have been fun to continue like that for a while, but after being passed by several other sailboats under power and realising how far we needed to go to make Norfolk in time for Mark and Ian to get to work on Monday, I said "screw it" and started the engine back up.

A couple minutes later, the engine started making weird noises, like a rhythmic clicking in time to the rpm. I gave the conn to mark and went below, and immediately noticed a LOT of exhaust fumes in the cabin. Opening the engine access, I couldn't see anything grossly out of whack, but as I reached in, I could feel little spurts of moving air in time with the clicking. Putting 2 and 2 together, I decided we probably had an exhaust leak, and we turned around.

We called the Liberty Marina boat yard and told them we were coming back. Because of the slow going under sail, I decided to continue motoring, with everyone topside, for the journey back. It took 2 hrs to get back to the slip. I spent a good chunk of that time scrubbing the decks topside (I had joked with the crew that this would be their job during the run down the Bay, but it was either do it myself or spend those 2 hrs sulking, so I got some work done removing 8 months of grime).

The maintenance shop owner met us at the boat, and I let him look at and listen to the engine. The rhythmic sound was only in the ahead geat. In neutral, a steady sound of escaping gas could be heard, but in reverse there was no obvious weird noise. He was helpful, but alas his technicians were not in (they were off participating in some local races). We went to lunch while he called his people to see if anyone was willing to come in. Alas, no joy until Monday.

So for the last day I've just been putzing around Dad's house and walking the docks at the marina, trying not to grump too hard about the schedule. I only have so much time off work, and while I built a few days into my plans to account for delays, it's annoying to have to use them. I guess it could be worse: we could be stuck somewhere mid-way instead at the beginning, at home.

So tomorrow's the big day. Hopefully it's a simple gasket failure or something similar and they'll be able to fix it quickly. If not, it'll start getting painful. I guess we'll see.

Hope you guys had a great weekend!

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Old 07-06-2009, 22:00   #2
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Sorry you had such a tough start to the vacation.

I had a pretty interesting weekend as well.

Might be an idea to "build" a shake down cruise into the agenda if the boat has been unattended for 8 moonths.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:13   #3
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Disappointing to have to turn around and start over, Alexei! Wishing you better luck once you get underway again. Thanks for posting--we'll look forward to following your progress down The Ditch.
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