As usual, we watched the weather closely starting on Tuesday. The forecast for the whole state was for rain and storms ending by the weekend. The coastal forecast for Saturday was for a 60% chance of rain. Not good. But they revised it later to only 30% which we can deal with. We had lugged the boat’s headsail home for repairs and cleaning. I am glad to report that my Chinese ALPHASEW stepping foot zigzag machine was up to the task of making the sail repair. In fact I was really pleased with the performance. I spread out some plastic painter’s drop cloths in the basement so I would not get the sail dirtier than it was. I had to sew a zigzag seam along the entire trailing edge (leach) of the sail as well as along the bottom (foot). I did this one evening after work and the machine worked so well that it only took a matter of an hour or two. Cleaning the sail was a different matter. I thought about using Judy’s parent’s concrete driveway to clean the sail, but then, I would have been faced with hauling a wet sail home to dry. I decided to attempt the cleaning job on our deck which is about 50 X 12 feet. I went to Lowes and bought a big blue poly tarp and stapled it to the deck. This provided a clean flat surface for washing the sail. Cleaning a sail it tricky business. Using too harsh a chemical can actually damage the Dacron sailcloth as well as the thread used to sew it all together. I started with a mild detergent bath and a soft brush. This removed some of the loose grime bit not much. It turns out that the dirtiest part of the sail was the built in sail cover which is made of Sunbrella canvas. I have used Sunbrella for several projects including our bimini top. Through past experience I have come to view Sunbrella as the stainless steel of fabrics. I knew that it was as tough as nails so I tried my little pressure washer. It worked great! The mold and mildew practically jumped off the sail cover. I also used a weak oxyclean solution which I believe helped brighten the Sunbrella some. Since the sail itself was not all that dirty, the detergent and a touch with the pressure washer did the trick. I hung the sail from the limb of a big oak in our front yard and thoroughly rinsed with huge amounts of water. I am really happy with the results. Matthew helped me get the sail down from the tree and roll it up into a manageable size.
Headsail out to dry
Friday June 1, 2012
We left home right after work and stopped in Asheboro for dinner. The America’s Roadhouse has acceptable food and they serve it to you fast. We stopped for a senior decaf in Goldsboro just before we ran into a heavy rainstorm. It rained on us for an hour or so but cleared by the time we got past Kinston. When we arrived at the boat it had not been raining. We were able to unload without getting wet. I tried sitting on deck for a while, but the bugs were too friendly. We got a sudden rainstorm during the night and had to close the Vee berth hatch. Luckily the fan was running so we stayed cool.
Saturday June 2, 2012
We eased into the day, as is our habit. I was pleased to see our friend Dan was down for the weekend and I was able to catch up with him. The weather was perfect. We had planned to cook dinner on the boat so I suggested a trip to South River, one of our favorite places to go. We had a lot to do before we could leave. The headsail had to go back on the furler. We were out of water and the waste tank needed to be emptied. It took both of us to wrestle the sail back on the furler but Judy guided the sail into the track while I did the grunt work of winching the halyard. It was really fairly painless.
Back on track
I tried to put the lazy jacks in place but the top line had been damaged during Hurricane Irene and it broke making the lazy jacks useless. I cut them loose and saved them for a pattern for new ones.
We left the dock at about 1pm. The weather was perfect. The wind was from the northwest at about 10 knots. There was almost no wave action which made for a very pleasant sail. The wind finally died completely before we arrived so we cranked up the diesel and Judy piloted the little ship through the South River channel. We got the hook down at about 4pm and enjoyed an excellent grilled salmon dinner and a lovely sunset. There were several other boats in the anchorage but they were so far away we hardly noticed. My favorite thing about anchoring at South River is the near absolute quiet. If you listened very closely, you could hear an occasional shore bird and of course a gull or two but that was about all the external noise. When the loudest thing you can hear are the ripples against the hull and the flag snapping on its staff, that is a quiet environment. The wind picked up after dark and we had a nice cooling breeze to put us to sleep. With the wind coming from the northwest, across the Neuse, there was a fair amount of wave action for a light wind. It didn’t bother us much because we were both tired from our day.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
I’m sure the sunrise was beautiful but I slept through it. The morning was bright and the birds were happy. Judy started the alcohol stove and perked coffee in our “retro” Revereware percolator. The coffee tasted great and was much hotter than a Mr. Coffee can make it. The dolphins must have had the weekend off. We didn’t see any this trip. We got the boat squared away and warmed the little diesel. I was dreading getting the anchor up because we had had a breeze all night. This tends to set the anchor hard. I was sure it had dug itself halfway to China like last time. With Judy at the helm, I pulled the rode until most of the chain was aboard. I was prepared to cleat the chain with a line and have Judy drive the boat over the anchor to get it out of the mud but the anchor came up easily without using the strength of the boat to pull it free. I used the ship’s bucket to rinse the gallon of black mud off the foredeck.
Sunday is “go home” day when are down for a weekend. We like to leave in time to be able to stop in Raleigh to see the kids and still have at least a short Sunday afternoon to rest before a new week begins. We typically don’t go sailing or do anything else but pack up and go home. With this in mind we left South River at about 8am for the 2 hour trip home. The wind was good and still from the northwest. We left the engine on at about 2/3 throttle and put out the headsail. Having the headsail up dampened the boat’s rocking motion and made her run closer to level. Our speed was almost 6 knots all the way across the river. When we approached the mouth of Broad Creek the wind slacked off. We took turns getting the boat buttoned up and steering. I was able to get the coach roof cover and handrail covers on. The engine had heated the water enough that Judy could wash dishes and get the galley squared away.
We landed unassisted and without incident, which is always a good thing. Since the boat was already squared away, it didn’t take long to finish, and pack the car. We had a light lunch, got showers and headed for home. Now that we have the boat in first class shape with a new exhaust system, a cleaned headsail and all the spring cleaning done, we will probably not be back for about a month. Our June is booked solid with family stuff. I am field day coordinator for my Amateur Radio Club in Stanly County. That will take the third weekend in June. The first two weekends in July we will probably be at Lake Norman with the cousins. We are looking forward to having guests aboard this summer but that will have to be closer to mid July.