10/18/2010, Still at Little Sodus Bay
We had our first guests aboard as cruisers. Sorry I forgot to take a picture! The work got done at a reasonable hour and the wind was still blowing so we weren't going anywhere. We were finally able to have Jon and Arline over for supper, as we had promised two days ago. Jon and Arline are the couple who work here at Fair Point Marina in the summer. Last year they took their boat, Kasidah, an Erikson 36, down the intracoastal to Florida and across to the Bahamas. They cruise with two little dogs who once went about 36 hours without peeing!
You can imagine what a great time we had talking and discussing plans. This year they left their boat in Florida, so in a couple of weeks they will drive down and move back aboard. I am pretty jealous. I would love to be able to drive down to Earendil, and have her already in Florida. Oh well, if we did that, we'd miss all the great learning experiences and tales to tell that I'm sure we'll gain.
Jon and Arline would start talking about all the things that happened to them, and then would stop and say, "Oh, but really, it was all good. The bad times weren't that bad and all the stuff we aren't telling you about are the easy sails and quiet days. Don't worry." I think I believe them. Anyway, they said they have confidence that we'll do fine and we made plans to get together again in Stuart, at a great mooring marina they use. If it's bad weather we'll eat again on our boat with its big salon, but we hope to be sipping drinks and soaking in the sun on their boat, with its big cockpit. That will be something!!
10/17/2010, Still at Little Sodus Bay
After two days of pretty steady work we are almost ready for our next leg. On Saturday Bud changed the oil in the engine and worked the rest of the day on the supports for the mast. Arline, here at the Marina, took me to town and I picked up a few things we needed. I tried to get the oil filter, but it seems old Peugeot diesel filters are not regularly stocked. The nice guy at the Fulton NAPA had the Oswego store order the two that are at the regional warehouse in Syracuse. They will get there Monday afternoon. I expect we will get there Tuesday morning.
This morning, for a little while, it was still. We'd seen 40 knots Friday night, and it blew all day Saturday (but at least it stopped raining), so it seemed nice not to have the wind howling. Bud and I took the opportunity to haul the genoa and staysail out and fold them. We have our forward cabin back.
Once that was done we took the main sail and the boom off the mast. We left the main sail in it's stack pack on the boom, used the main halyard (line that pulls it up the mast) on the back of the boom and an extra halyard on the front of the boom and managed to disconnect everything and lower it to the deck without hurting ourselves or breaking anything. To separate the main and boom from the mast you first have to disconnect everything that's connected from the mast to the boom or sail. For us that means:
Forward reefing lines get removed
Rear reefing lines get pulled through and fixed to the boom
Boom vang is disconnected
Topping lift is disconnected and brought to the mast
Lazy jacks are released, pulled through the pulleys on the mast and tied up with the sail
For anyone reading this who isn't a boater, it's just a lot of stuff... and it all has to be reconnected when the mast goes back up on the Hudson.
By the time we got the main down it was getting a bit windy again. The wind never blows when and where you need it! So we had a dicey (to me) trip from the dock to the slip where they have the crane to pull the mast. Bud had me take the helm while he tried to release lines. The wind was blowing away from the dock; I was trying to use the engine pulling against a line to bring the boat close enough for Bud to get aboard. Me, alone on the boat with the wind blowing it away from the dock, was not a comfortable feeling. Happily another guy came out to help, I did manage to get the boat close enough to the dock and Bud got aboard. They had about 6 guys lined up at the slip and we got in it without any trouble. We were happy for the help, as there was literally room only for the boat and the fenders.
It took quite a while to lift the mast. The wind was blowing it so we had to use the forestays to pull it towards the wind so it would come up out of the cabin straight. Once it was out, they dropped it onto 3 horses on the far side of the boat. Bud and I finished installing his supports as quickly as we could. In the end, it was all done, and at least reasonably tied down, by about 6 PM. Another long day.
We're back at the dock, now facing the opposite way, and the wind is howling again. We can't say exactly how hard it's blowing because our windex that was at the top of the mast is now hanging off the stern and not connected to anything. It sounds bad, though, especially through all the lines that are hanging everywhere. I had said something about leaving in the early morning if there was another lull in the wind, but soon realized that is not going to happen. We still have a lot of tying to do on the mast, not to mention that the dinghy is now on shore and has to be put in the water and set up to be towed. (We decided having a mast, boom and main, and dinghy on deck would be an invitation to disaster. Bud doesn't trust me not to fall in working on clear decks.) We also have to stow the genoa in the forward cabin. We left it out after we folded it until we got done with the tools that go under the bed.
We're hoping tomorrow is a bit more relaxing day, and we can pull out Tuesday morning, when there is a predicted break in the wind and waves.
10/15/2010, Still in Little Sodus
So the first relaxing day of our cruising life begins. We are safely in port and it's blowing like snot out there - about 20 to 25 knots with gusts above that. It's spitting rain and about 50 degrees. We are warm and snug and have nothing to do but...
Try to figure out the leak at the mast (it's not the boot) to stop the relative flood coming in on and around the dinette.
Change the engine oil
Do the laundry
Build the mast support
When the wind and rain stops we have to fold the genoa now stuffed into the forward cabin (see photo in gallery). Bud decided when we started underway that we should try and take down the foresails, to get them inside while it was still dry. It was a good idea, but our visions of being able to nicely fold the genoa on deck, around the trash, while underway even at low speeds, were definitely wrong. We settled for stuffing, but on top of the other things in the forward cabin, and the staysail, which is itself only kind of folded, we were lucky to get it in and get the door closed.
The dinette is still getting wet around the pot. I'd put one of our spare towels there to catch the water, but they are all in the cabinet over the bed in the forward cabin...
Bud asked me when the relaxing part of retirement started. I told him I thought we had chosen interesting rather than relaxing. I think it's probably a good thing that we would never get our investment back out of the boat. Otherwise it would be too tempting to sell it and buy a tiny cottage with matching rocking chairs somewhere.
And it's only the third day out!
On the other hand, we have a secure dock at Fair Point Marina while the wind and waves howl on the lake (see photo gallery). The folks here are awesome! Without us requesting it they lowered the docking rate, since we're kind of stuck here. The man who's the main help here cruises in the winter with his wife and they are offering advice and help and trips to town to get the oil filter we thought we had but didn't. Maybe we did make a good retirement choice!
10/14/2010, Little Sodus Bay
Well, we left Wilson. Some days (many days) it felt like this would never happen. Of course there is still a list of things to be done on the boat, but we and everything we own are now aboard. Even now, after all the good-byes, after selling both our cars, it doesn't feel real. I'm hoping I start to feel like a cruiser by the time we get to Florida.
We left at 4:30 PM and decided to go right through the night. I can't say sail, because in the end the whole trip was motoring. We started with almost no wind and flat water, and that was the forecast for the night and today; however, the wind built to as much as 17 knots (right on the nose, which always happens when you have to get a particular place by a particular time) and the waves got to about 3 feet. 3-foot waves may sound trivial, but when you are venturing out for the first time with your dinghy lashed on the foredeck, the outboard and stern anchor on the stern rail, 5 Jerry cans of fuel at the mast pulpit, and the partly assembled frame for carrying your mast lashed on the aft deck along with a spare anchor, 3 foot waves are worrisome. Happily the boat and all it's deck trash came through just fine.
The photo is of our first dawn as cruisers. It was a pretty sunrise, and very welcome. I came on watch at about 5:30 and the photo was taken about two hours later. Soon enough the clouds hid the sun, the photo of the boat at the dock in Little Sodus (in the Gallery) was taken in the middle of the afternoon, though it looks like twilight.
The crew is very tired and very cold. Bud and the dog are now napping. Bud didn't sleep much the night before we left and didn't sleep at all last night. He went below from 8:30 to almost midnight and from 5:30 until about 9:00 AM, but didn't really sleep. I probably slept for about 2 and a half hours between midnight and 5 AM. I'm not sure how cold it got, but I was going to make an entry in our log and read my book once it got light out, but was too cold to do anything but sit with my hands in my pockets and make sure nothing was going wrong on or around the boat. Both Bud and I wore full foul weather gear all night.
Poor Fuzzy refused to use his Pup-Head portable dog potty. He went the whole 19 hours without peeing. I took him for a nice long walk when we got here. We had fed him a light supper, so after the walk Bud gave him several doggy snacks. Bud is trying to associate sailing with good things in Fuzzy's head. I'm not sure the dog is buying it.
Tomorrow we need to do laundry, change the oil, and do as much more of the mast frame as can be done without the mast down. Tomorrow it's supposed to be windy, and if it actually is, we won't be able to step the mast. If that's the case it will get done Saturday. Then we need to wait for a weather window to make the dash across the 13 miles of lake to Oswego with the mast down on the frame on deck. We do not want to do that with any rough water. Oswego is where we'll enter the canal. So, I'll post more when it happens.
10/12/2010, Still in Wilson
We are feverishly working to stow/stuff/store all the things we'll need. Bud is constructing a gallows for the mast to carry it on deck through the canal. Our target date was tomorrow (10/13), but Thursday is the new best date.
12/31/1969, Big Major's Spot, Exumas, Bahamas
We took the computer in to Staniel on Thursday, but I was unable to upload the blog. I don't know when these will get published, as we aren't going in today. We went yesterday in the morning because it was supposed to get windy in the afternoon. After we went to Staniel Cay Yacht Club to use the Internet we packed up and took the dinghy over to the Isles General Store to get our propane tank filled. We had been warned by another cruiser that we'd have to leave the tank and pick it up later, as they use a gravity fill system, and it takes hours to fill one tank.
Bud bought a few groceries while we were there. He skipped the milk; at almost $9 half- gallon, milk is not going to be a staple going forward. With the groceries loaded and the tank left behind, we returned to the boat. As we passed the government dock on the way out, we saw the Police boat had pulled in. That may be the only police vehicle on the island. The photo shows the Police boat and the local church. The ride back was still pretty smooth. The wind had picked up a bit, but it was behind us so we were going with the waves, and that made it easier.
The wind did start to blow during the night and it was fairly windy this morning (Friday). We don't plan to leave the anchorage today. I went out in the late morning and washed the hull of the boat. We don't have any official hull cleaner, so I used Simple Green. It didn't get all the dirt off, but it does look quite a bit better. Bud has been working on the new windows. Water had gotten trapped between the screens and the windows and without oxygen the stainless had started to rust. So he's taking the screens off, cleaning off the rust and putting a corrosion inhibitor on them. I've been washing the screens, wiping the rubber gasket with a rubber protectant and putting petroleum jelly on the sealing surface before reinstalling them. I'm hoping the petroleum jelly will keep the water from sitting between the outside rubber gasket and the window.
I'm going to take a saltwater bath again this afternoon. We're running the generator now because the wind has stopped again. Since we have the generator on we always turn on the water heater (the generator should be run with a load on it, and that helps). I would rinse with cool water, but now I'll have hot water to rinse with - an added bonus. I'm also writing this while the generator is on. I take every opportunity to try to keep the computer battery charged.
That's just about our agenda for today. It is really nice not to have to go anywhere!
Addendum: We met some people on a kayaking/camping vacation when we walked Fuzzy the other evening. When we went back this evening they were still there. We had talked to them a bit before and they said (especially the woman!) that this would be their last paddling vacation. We talked to them about sailing as an alternative. This evening we were going to invite them on board for dinner, but they'd just gotten back from treating themselves to dinner at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. We did invite them aboard for sundown drinks and had a very nice visit until long after sundown. They are Kim and Mike from Calgary. The high in Calgary when they'd called home was minus ten Celsius. Their dog sitter wasn't sympathetic when they complained of the relentless sun, since there are no woods tall enough to cast much shade. It's chance encounters that really add the spice to cruising.