13 August 2013 | South anchorage
Sailing down West Penobscot Bay
The plan was to leave Belfast on Friday 8/9, but I woke up from the noise of rain clattering on the decks and that was how it pretty much remained all day. So I stayed another day on City Mooring # 5.
On Saturday, after settling my additional day of mooring fees at the office, I made a quick trip to the co-op for some last minute provisioning. I dropped the mooring at 0915. I raised the mainsail and discovered that one of the three nylon webbing strips that secured the tack of the mainsail to its cringle had completely chafed through, and that a second one also showed signs of chafe. And when I turned on the autopilot power switch a little later it did not activate the hydraulic ram. It appeared to be a bad contact. Two more things to add to the top of the to-do list.
After an hour the wind became quite gusty and I put one reef in the main. Another hour and I furled the staysail. Thirty minutes later I furled the yankee and unfurled the staysail. The wind had increased to 25 knots with gusts of 30 knots on deck and the wind had backed somewhat and turned a beam reach into a close reach. Terrific sailing, but with lots of spray covering the decks with salt. And that after they had been thoroughly washed with fresh water from the rain yesterday. I dropped anchor in Rockland at 1330. As I practically had sailed off the mooring in Belfast and had anchored under sail in Rockland I had to run the noisy Honda generator for an hour to charge the batteries.
On Sunday 8/11 I went ashore to visit the Rockland boat show. I have visited this small local show twice before over the years, but the last time must have been in 2008. Although I heard that this year it was a bigger show than the last two years, I was still disappointed. Mostly new England style powerboats and very few sailboats. I remember seeing locally built custom sailboats in the past, but not this time. Conspicuously absent was Morris, who was also not at the Annapolis sailboat show last fall. I have read somewhere that they are closing one of their facilities (in Bass Harbor). I strongly believe that the sailboat industry is rapidly disappearing. The generation that has the interest and the means to own sailboats is getting older and the younger generations either do not have the means to maintain a cruising sailboat, or has no interest, or both. Sabre, a quality boat builder known for their sailboats, has recently moved to building power boats exclusively and Hinckley did the same several years ago. I did talk to Chuck Paine, the designer of my boat, who displayed his newly designed 14 foot daysailer, inspired by the Herreshoff 12 ½ but with modernized under water sections, keel and rudder. Chuck told me that this boat was twice as fast as his original 12 ½. He is looking for a builder to build and market this boat in a fiberglass version.
After the show I walked over to Hamilton Marine to spend some more boat bucks: I got a new Maptech guide for New England (the one that I had was 10 years old), and besides some other stuff I bought two replacement Schaeffer furling blocks of the type that fits around a stanchion. The existing ones had become deformed over the years and the sheaves would no longer turn. I believe this is a weakness of the design. The pressure of the set-screw that secures the block to the stanchion will eventually deform the shape of the fitting which increases the friction of the sheave, eventually to the point that it will no longer spin freely.
Today was a windless day that started out with fog, which made me decide to stay one more day in Rockland. To use this day productively I changed engine and transmission oil, and all oil and fuel filters on and off the engine. After that was done I replaced the connectors of the cockpit speakers (something that I had wanted to do for quite some time.) The original Perko plugs both had broken prongs. This is another piece of equipment with a design flaw: Not only is the positive prong thin and breaks easily, the design also allows you to touch the female receptacle in reverse polarity, which can be fatal for some sensitive equipment. (It blew two 12V cell phone chargers on identical receptacles elsewhere on board.)
Assuming that the cold front that is passing through tonight brings better weather tomorrow I will move further east, towards the Mount Desert area.