Called my bluff!

I recently received a grant from the Southern Kings Arts Council partially underwriting the printing of my sailing book. Unfortunately not much has been happening on the sailing front…the boat sits in the yard covered in perhaps 12″ of snow, which puts a damper on projects. But the grant did inspire me to get out the chapter drafts and fill in the activities of 2012…they called my bluff!

There was relatively little sailing done in 2012…my “crew” had mutinied and all the sailing was single-handed. It was a good time to make sure I had the autopilot technique down and that I could work out a sequence for sail raising and lowering.

The trailer was a major focus, since its rebuild the year before set it slightly too narrow, crushing parts of the outer hulls when the boat was pulled. I had to repair those spots as well as adding in new sensors for depth and boat speed to go with a new fish-finder. Also I got to break in a new GPS/chart-plotter…particularly useful for entering unknown harbors.

For several years I have been saying I will not release my book until I have a big accomplishment to report. More and more I think that must be an around-the-island trip. PEI should be easily circumnavigated in 10 days, assuming the wind cooperates. Since my (former) crew would be within easy reach of my cell phone and since any part of the Island can be reached by car in under 4 hours, she can serve as my emergency land support. I can use the time taking lots of pictures and should have a lengthy report ready for the book by the end of the trip.

Since there is a slight underwriting, and since Lightning Source now has a low-cost color option, I expect I will insert all the pictures into the book in color. Just thinking about it re-inspires me!

‘Chewing the fat’

What a folksy expression, but it probably fits what my friend Chris and I are doing on a quiet Saturday. Standing in the garage looking out on the 3-4″ of new snow in the driveway we reminisce about boating experiences.

He describes several times when his fishing boat… recommissioned as a pleasure craft…broke free of its mooring and was reported either by the coast guard or neighbors on far shores or tied up at a nearby wharf. So I counter with stories where the wind lifted my mooring block and carried my sailboat over in front of the ferry slip.

I talk about carefully timing the annual trips to the water in the spring and home in the fall to miss the ferry traffic. He counters with stories of quietly pulling his 28000-pound boat through the center of town on quiet early Sunday mornings pulled by a light pickup truck!

I talk about asking if the weigh station would weigh my boat, only to find it would also have to be inspected to be sure the trailer was road legal (virtually impossible with its 15′ width) and he talks about the challenge of picking up a new trailer in Massachusetts…a state that has no process to issue transit permits.

Sometimes these conversations can be one-upmanship, but I think yesterday it was discovering how much we have in common. Perhaps we can do some things together. After all, I point out to him, my annual fuel costs are about $20 while he can sink $500 in diesel for a one-day trip! But as my wife points out, such boats are able to travel quite independent of wind direction!

Now in the yard!

The boat hauling went well…but of course SOMETHING had to go wrong! The trailer went down to the wharf with no trouble but, when it came back out of the water one of the tires was flat. A quick trip to Loren Panting of Panting’s garage and it was fixed with a tube…the rims are rusty enough to make a seal a problem.

The weather was awesome…dead calm, sunny, and cool enough to avoid sweating. The trip home was done at 20-30 km/h to keep the mast from bouncing up and down…jerking from potholes broke it’s support and then, dropping, the mast itself once about 5 years ago. The boat now sits safely behind the house for the Winter.

The book I am developing is to be named, “Never the same mistake twice” and I am already planning improvements for the trailer. In its present form the keel sits flat horizontal on the main trailer beam once it is out of the water, but sits on the front edge on the 10:1 sloped ramp as it floats into position. The result is that when the trailer is pulled out of the water there is a significant change in bow position as the boat shifts back.To fix that I plan to add a wedge-shaped timber under the keel so the boat will maintain the 10:1 angle relative to the trailer as it comes out of the water…it would be oriented slightly tipped forward if it were not for the fact that the very low trailer connects to a considerably higher hitch ball on the truck. So the net result should be a boat travelling almost horizontal relative to the ground with the bow attachment remaining just where it was when the boat floated onto the trailer.

Are these modifications important? not really…it is working OK, but every year a little bit more is improved. Hence the name of the book.