A Foggy Start to Summer
01 June 2012 | Wickford RI
After three weekends of recommisioning we finally felt prepaired for some fun memorial day-weekend cruising aboard Cadence. We both agreed that putting Cadence on the hard this winter was the right decision, as we had some important maintenance and upgrades done however, the three weekends of work, just to get her back to sailing ready, left us convinced that this would be the last time we pulled her out for the winter for many years to come. God willing.
Bill, Bill's 15yo son David and his friend Sam, and I arrived on Friday afternoon with provisions in hand to set off for Block Island alongside Dan and Kathy our marina neighbors sailing on Halcyon another Hallberg-Rassy. Unfortunately instead of a quick departure from the dock we were greated by fog and a few unexpected boat......"projects".
The first and most pressing item we noticed was that the port side window of our Halberg's dog house was shattered. The glass, due to a safety cover, was still in place in the window frame however it was broken into many small pieces.
"how could this have happened"
"I have no idea, maybe a seagull dropped a cohog on it?"
"We can't leave the dock with a broken window, if it shatters in transit someone could be injured and we would have huge mess"
What to do......After discussion with the Larry, the boat yard manager,and Dave owner of Canvas Backs (http://www.canvasbacks.biz/)the yard canvas shop we all agreed that the best option was to remove the window and screw-in a piece of clear polycarbonate to serve as a temporary window. Dave dropped everything he was doing to measure, cut and install a custom piece of polycarbonate for us. After 45mins of work the temporary window was in and our weekend of sailing was saved. thanks Dave!
Although we will never know if a marauding seagull caused the break future research suggested that this could have been a spontaneous break due to pressure and micro movements of the doghouse, pressure from someone standing on the doghouse or perhaps a mishandled item while someone working on deck. Probably not a seagull. Regardless the polycarbonate window worked incredibly well as a quick fix and served us through two weekends of sailing.
As we finished stowing our items we discussed the dense fog with Halcyon and if we should attempt the trip to Block or wait it out on the dock till morning. As we were all anxious to get going we agreed to head into Narraganset bay and make a call on whether to proceed around the Jamestown Bridge.
As we unplugged from the dock we noticed our Xantrex inverter was reading "low battery voltage" on our house banks. Fortunately the engine started (we had to use the house bank batteries to start the week before as the starter battery was drained) and we figured that we would recharge enroute and keep an eye on things.
As we pulled into Naraganset bay, under engine with radar running, we encountered some clam chowder fog. Thick, white and chunky, well not really chunky. Visibility was about 10 yards off of the boat and darkness would be setting in within two hours. Needless to say we decided to anchor with Halcyon in a small harbor of Dutch Island right past the Jamestown bridge. By the way we could not see the bridge until we were pretty much on top of it, thank goodness for radar and careful watch.
In hindsight this turned out to be a very good decision as we discovered the next morning that the "low battery voltage" warning would reappear and cause our radar to shut down during use as a result of power issues. This would have made the crossing to block incredibly stressful and dangerous had we proceeded that night. This battery/power issue took some time to diagnose and I will write more about that in upcoming posts.
That night and the following two on Block Island were great times with family and friends. We still experienced some fog on our trip over and back but not as thick as the first night of fog. On Block we rented bikes, rode around, cooked some great meals and shared a lot of laughs aboard both Cadence and Halcyon. Although we were concerned with our batteries (both low voltage and high temperature warnings continued throughout the weekend) it was a great start to the summer.