Hukilau Sails the Sound

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Hot Weekend, Cool Engine

07 June 2021
Mike Stern
After several phone calls (and lost keys), the yard was able to determine that the problem with the engine was a blocked heat exchanger. They ran a chemical through it for a couple of hours, and voila, the problem is fixed.

Patti and I decided to go sailing on Saturday, June 5, despite the fact that it was very hot and humid. The wind was a bit flukey, with some flags blowing out, and others hanging limp. The engine started easily and we left the dock at almost low tide. The prop walk was pronounced, and despite the wind blowing us the way I wanted to go, stern shifted to the left. Instead of backing out, I decided to take a page from Jordan and Desiree and not fight it. I was able to rotate the boat in the fairway and drive straight out. Kind of proud of myself for that.

We motored out into the harbor, raised sail in light winds and sailed off. We headed almost directly east, winding up almost at the Thimbles before the wind died almost entirely. The picture attached here shows how calm it was out there. So we decided to strike the sails and motor back. We decided to practice MOB manuvering on the way. No ballons died.

Of course, almost as soon as we got the main down, the wind picked up. In fact, as we motored back to the harbor, the wind became a 10-12 knot perfect breeze. But we had to get back because we were meeting Lisa and Paul in Westport, so back to the dock. No problems docking, especially as Marsh was there to help.

Sunday was even hotter and more humid. We took a walk in the morning, and then Patti suggested we go to the boat again. I said it was really too hot, but she pushed a bit to see if it would be cooler on the water. So we drove to the boat, picking up sandwiches at Ray and Mike's.

It was definitely cooler on the water, and in the shade of the bimini, it was very nice. We had lunch on the table in the cockpit, then set out to motor around and see what the conditions were like.

Patti started the engine (temp never going above 150, thank you), and we backed out. Again, the stern wouldn't move to starboard, so I went to do a 360 like the day before. Except this time, the boat didn't behave. We drew the attention of people on C dock, one of whom suggested that I just back out. He also pointed out the mud we were clearly kicking up; the keel was likely hitting the bottom, affecting our turning. I backed out of the fairway without too much trouble, and off we went.

We clearly had a nice breeze; we raised sail in the harbor. Patti wanted to put a reef in, so we did that. It was a pain; more on that later. We also rolled out only about 2/3rd's of the Genoa. We sailed out of the harbor, going southeast.

It became clear early on that the reef just wasn't necessary, so we shook it out, but left the genny partially furled. We weathered Totocket Heads (still Negro Heads on my charts) and continued on. The sailing was beautiful. We were moving along in the high 5's, occasionally hitting 6 knots. The sun was shining, and in the shade of the bimini, it was delightful. It had to be almost twenty degrees cooler on the water.

Since we had to get back to have dinner with Mom and Dad, we turned around after sailing for about an hour. We had to tack a couple of times to avoid Totocket, but it was a gorgeous sail.

We struck sail just outside the harbor, then motored in. Note: Patti had just passed her CT Safe Boating test, and was asking ROW and safety questions galore. Patti also practiced steering under sail and power.

While under sail, I noticed why it was so hard to put the reef in the main: I had run the forward reefing line through the wrong cringle. Oy. So when we got back to the dock, I went to install the new shackle I had bought in the correct cringle. Of course, it was too short. Oy. So I made a soft shackle out of some spare line. It will need to be remade with newer, stronger line, but it will do for now.

For next time: need more paper towel, and I need to clean the interior some. Also, fill the water tank.
Vessel Name: Hukilau
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 28
Hailing Port: Branford, Conn.
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