Still on the Hard
03 April 2017 | Ft Pierce, FL
Beth / hot, dusty and sweaty
Launch day has come and gone and we're still here. Sometimes that happens when something doesn't work, or we aren't ready, but this time it was Mother Nature who "encouraged" a delay.
Wouldn't you know, all last week there were morning tides and little wind. This week? Afternoon tides and strong afternoon winds.
We kept working away at our projects all weekend and were successful with many of them. The SSB tuner arrived at West Marine on schedule. I crawled down into the stern locker, wriggled my way over into the corner and removed the old one. Then, following Jim's instructions, I disconnected the wires, reconnected them in the new one, and managed to screw it back into place - all the while thinking dark thoughts about a certain dear friend of ours who chose that awkward spot to install the original one. I know it is out of the way of all the things that get tossed in that locker; in fact, it is in the opposite corner from the holding tank vent that you have heard me grumbling about on other occasions! This, at least, was cleaner. Unfortunately we will have to wait until we are in the water to see if it works and we are able to talk to people.
My trip up the mast was not as successful. The job was to remove the dead steaming light and install a new one, but I couldn't get the screws unscrewed from the mast. We will try that again another day with different tools in my belt. I did get a couple of good pictures though!
I am usually the one to go high and go low on Madcap, thanks to being a little smaller, and not as strong as Jim. I would far rather have him at the winch, winding me slowly upward than be the one hauling him up. (We don't have any electric winches on Madcap.) He seems to feel more comfortable doing the hauling than depending on me to give him a safe trip up and down too. Funny about that.
Our really good news story is about the dinghy. Jim left a message Thursday afternoon at "A Sailor's Place" in Stuart. Gary called back first thing on Friday morning to say if we could get it there that morning he would have a look at it. We rented a van and Jim had it to the shop within a couple of hours. By the end of the day, Gary called back to say he had found and sealed the leak, replaced a missing ring and checked the valves. We rented another van on Saturday and Jim drove down to pick it up - and a new gas can too. So, within 24 hours, we had a good as new dinghy hoisted on the davits! We highly recommend the service there. asailorsplace.com
The varnishing is as much done as it is going to be for a while, because even though we have more time than we figured, the amount of dust blowing around this yard today put a stop to any ideas of applying more coats.
And that wind that is blowing the dust around? We saw 12 -15 knots most of the afternoon, with gusts to 20 and 22. Jason said he could put us in and line us around the corner, but we were still concerned about the amount of water in the channel and the strength of the wind as we went out. It was past high tide by the time they could get to us and we went down to watch them launch a neighbouring boat. It took 3 men straining hard to pull it around the corner into the narrow channel as the straps dropped away from the hull. Once facing out, the captain powered up, headed out toward the ICW and promptly got blown off course and went aground. He managed to back off and get going again, but Jim and I looked at each other and decided that we don't need to start this season under this kind of pressure. It was one of those situations where we could say, "Yes, we can do it." Having watched the other boat Jim knew he'd have to power up high and steer hard against the wind, but we also knew that when we got to Vero Beach, we would have to raft with another boat in the same kind of wind, and it just didn't seem like a great idea. Interestingly, the yard was scheduled to handle 7 boats today and they moved 2. I guess we weren't the only ones to decide that prudence was the best policy.
We will take it a day at a time, but we're hoping that we can get in the water tomorrow, stay overnight in the slip and depart at first light on Wednesday morning, catching the early tide before the wind comes up.
So here we are on our first night on board, listening to the wind whistle through the rigging all around us, not quite where we thought we'd be, but secure and optimistic. We walked down to the Cove Restaurant at Harbortown Marina for delicious shrimp scampi and seafood ravioli, and lots of iced tea to drown our sorrows. That part was probably not the the smartest thing even though we were parched. It's a long dark trip down that ladder and across the yard in the middle of the night. Maybe we should have my grandmother's china pot stashed under our berth like they used to do in the days of outhouses!
There are more pictures in the gallery - click on the link at the top of the page.