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Old 22-08-2007, 16:50   #1
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skipgundlach's Avatar

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 22 - A Ripping Good Sail, or, Anybody NOAA good forecaster???

August 22 - A Ripping Good Sail, or, Anybody NOAA good

We left you as I took over the dawn patrol, what we call the
shift for the one who gets to see the dawn. I was able,
eventually, to catch a relay on the Maritime Mobile Net on the
Ham radio, but signals are horrible in general, it seems What
little I heard of the net traffic control suggested there were no
checkins. As this is usually a very active net, that would mean
that not only were others not hearing him, but if they were
talking, he couldn't hear them - certainly, I couldn't...

Sailing started extremely slowly, with winds just a zephyr. All
the canvas out, and still we crept along, well out to sea. Then,
a breeze. Hooray. More than 3 knots on the meter! Oops. More
breeze. But right on our nose. Staysail doesn't seem very
effective at that angle, so we put it away. Up goes the speed on
the knotlog. Hooray!

Lydia goes to bed, and I take over. All the forecasts, not only
all the ones from NOAA and all the other sources such as weather
underground, virtual bouy and bouyweather that I'd pulled down on
our internet connections right up until just before we left, and
on the radio as we went along, were for winds to be in the 10-15
knot range, dying later. Some inland thunderstorm warnings were
heard over the weather channel, but hundreds of miles away (and
inland). No comment about the water parts of the coverage area
(other than the Chesapeake, and Delaware Bays, with 1 foot
waves), other than a chance of rain. Sounds like a really nice

And, initially, it was. The wind shifted altogether, requiring a
tack in toward shore, but it was very short-lived, turning around
nearly completely, and making another tack required. That should
have given me a clue.

When I tacked, the lazy sheet fouled on the Porta-Bote (our
folding dinghy), stowed on the rail. I saw that there was some
rain in the radar, so hurried and I put on my harness and clipped
in and not only unfouled, so we could tack and keep going, but
took the time and reattached the dinghy and the rowing sculls (10'
carbon fiber oars) I have for that boat. Fortunately, this wind
change and tack was such that it put us right on our course on a
rather close reach, and the breeze made it into double digits,
which produced a nice speed. If this keeps up, we'll make Sandy
Hook by Tuesday evening, a quick trip, indeed.

Hm. Now it's picking up, again. No problem. Getting up to 15
knots with our 110% genoa and full main will be a very nice sail.
Oops. Now it's raining. Waves are building. Still no problem;
Flying Pig muscles through all of them, if a bit squirrelly, what
with the angle of the waves.

But wait. It gets better. Now it's thunderstorms, and the wind
continues to build. No problem - this sail configuration can
easily take20 knots, and if it gets over 15, it will be just for
a tiny while, all the forecasts say. I'm in my foulies and
comfortable. It's just a squall, the wind will die down
completely, and we'll be stuck in the doldrums again.

Nice try. Think, instead, that it keeps going up. The gusts reach
over 20. Then the steady winds get over 25. Hm. Time to shorten
sail. Pull in the genoa on the furler, only, because it's so
godawful out there, with waves on the order of 8-10 feet and
confused, that Lydia refuses to let me go take in a reef on the
main. She goes back to bed and I continue on main alone.

Wind continues to build, waves, too, and the main isn't very
effective at these speeds and angle of sail. My friend Captain
Joe would call this a 5-ticket ride. We got our money's worth,
but, while I was ok, I knew that this motion was misery for
Lydia, and I didn't see any end to it, as it just kept building.
While it was exhilarating to see 7 and 8 on the knotlog, we were
being beaten up. And, lest there be misunderstanding, Lydia was
not seasick, having had not only the first patch, but a refresher
before going down to sleep. She just wanted to get back on with
her sleeping, as it was my watch.

So, 30 miles past Cape May, I turned around in winds reaching for
30 knots and gusting well over, and headed for shelter to rest
and let it blow itself out. Instead, it blew out the mainsail,
with a rip the entire length of the foot just below the first
reef. Fortunately, we'll be able to continue on a single reef,
but it will be a nuisance to have to repair it, whether we do it
with our machine, or have a sailmaker in the NY area do it for

The 5-ticket ride has made the rigid inflatable dinghy look like
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. This is a somewhat new product, from Walker
Bay, and the rigid material doesn't allow the addition of, which
would allow, well-spaced lifting points as would be the case in a
fiberglass rigid inflatable. So, we use a lifting strap.
Unfortunately for the dinghy, this strap puts pressure under the
seats, and the bouncing and flailing, despite our having very
tightly cross-strapped it, caused one of the dinghy seats to take
flight, and the other to hang on by one attachment point. We'll
have to figure out some other means of suspension, as this one
clearly doesn't work. In the meantime, the remaining seat is off
the dinghy and on the boat.

So, we make it into Cape May and manage to anchor after our first
attempt drags; one of the other boats there wound up reanchoring
just as our first attempt failed, too, so I didn't feel so bad,
especially since they were already anchored when we motored in.
In 10 feet of water, with 100 feet of chain on the 55# Delta
however, we're well stuck. In the harbor, it's still raining, but
not torrentially, as it did offshore, and the wind is only 15-20,
making for just a whoosh from the KISS, which had positively
howled out on the Atlantic at 30-35 knots. The good news was that
we were also getting 25-30 amps from it. However, I digress.

Of course, cold and wet, and having had nothing to eat in the
last 15 hours, the first thing I think of is a cup of coffee and
a munchie. What? The water isn't coming out of the tap?? The
pump's running.

What? The forward, huge, tank, is empty?? Do we have a leak? Or,
does the pump have a problem, and we just forgot how long it's
been since we filled the water tank (Beaufort, a very long time
ago, it feels like!)? That's my task for the afternoon, when I
really wanted to get some sleep, having had none in about 30

So, we lick our wounds, and while I tackle the problem areas and
let more satellite pix come down, Lydia jumps in the dinghy (her
"sports car") and goes exploring. For those who get her log, you
know that resulted in her getting drunk in Norfolk. Who knows
what adventures she'll find this time! (See below for resolution
on these two.)

Once the weather settles down (I have not yet explored that
reality - and I've learned, more than once, not to trust NOAA, so
I don't fully know how we'll determine that), we'll head back
out, under single reef, to Sandy Hook. It should be a one-day
sail, at a very leisurely pace, given that we looked like we'd
arrive this evening when we were only opposite Ocean City, MD at
6PM when I checked in on the net. However, as I type, the wind is
howling. I have little doubt that outside the harbor, it's still
miserable, so, assuming we can address the water issue, we'll
stay here for a while.

Meanwhile, in Coinjock, I got the right belts for the engine, and
did the alignment when I put it on. So far, so good, with only
the tiniest adjustment in the first 40 or so hours of running,
and the pulleys look straight, still (you could easily see the
misalignment in it previously). Other misadventures include a
flaky water temperature unit, some annoying tiny leak, still, in
the raw-water pump area causing dripping into the engine
catch-pan, and the very weird behavior of the inverter, which
seems to not only require a strangely large load to operate, but
an occasional reboot (switch off and back on - D'ya suppose
Microsoft made it??) in order to function. However, it's how I'm
online right now, so at least it's working to that degree. All
other systems seem in good order, so our normal (boats are
constant maintenance, and things wear out, which, despite a clean
bill of health from the last patch occasioned from our wreck, may
be the problem here, not just excessive wind), ongoing
adventures will surely included some form or maintenance or

As I write this, the weather reports suggest a wind speed and
direction which would permit a reasonable sail up tomorrow, so we'll
continue to monitor the forecast, and likely will be gone and out
of touch again, assuming it stays good. However, it's only about
a day's sail (28 or so hours from the inside of the Cape May
Harbor to inside of Sandy Hook), so we won't be gone long...


Both water tanks are empty. Last night we dinghy'd in and filled
the 6-gallon jug for washing, and showered in the local marina
facility. Lydia had thought that someone turned off her water in
Beaufort because she was overflowing, but it seems that it was
only because she wasn't standing there watching it. So, we got
only a partial tank. We'll fuel and water before the end of the
day, which will resolve that issue.

When Lydia went ashore and I caught up on the weather and other
chores, as usual, Lydia immediately befriended the first person
she saw, who, in this case, was feeding some cats outside a
restaurant. Well, kittens...

The short story is that the restaurant has become a dropoff point
for the locals, it seems, because the person and her mother were
very successful in placing them in new homes. The most recent
dropoff was a mother and a couple of kittens. Some sort of
domestic problem, they were house, not feral cat/kitties, but the
kittens had clearly been neglected and were teacup sized about a
week ago. However, this one (well, both, but this is the one
which came back with Lydia) has responded wonderfully to
treatment. She's also extremely affectionate, and it took 24
hours for her to stop purring nonstop, she was so pleased to have
someone to look after her, and not have to be out in the very
cold wind and rain.

A pet aboard isn't appropriate for umpteen reasons, but Lydia is
now trying to rationalize/come to grips with how it might work to
keep her. We have yet to see a flea, and she doesn't scratch, but
she's not been to a vet as far as the sponsor was aware. Her coat
is extraordinarily sleek, perhaps from all the petting, but is
clearly healthy. Not the first bit of white on her...

So, we'll be putting out feelers for how other cruisers have
managed leaving the boat for periods of time, international
travel and other niceties of having pets aboard in other than
home waters.

The excitement never stops.



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

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