2016 First Sails Up!
18 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
We got the boat out of the slip (with sails up) for the first time this Spring - finally! Thanks in no small part to our new-found sailing friend Hunter whom I met through crew ads. Although a novice - it was a pleasure to have him aboard and we look forward to sharing any/all knowledge to advance his sailing maturity.
Winds were light but the sun was shining and Herring Bay (Chesapeake) be-speckled with cats and sloops bobbing in the 5 kt breeze. We managed a blazing 1.4 kt headway!...but reconnecting with the elements and our first time sailing on the Chesapeake was exhilarating!
Today's musing is on docking. Inevitably, in a big marina, and with a big boat like ours...when you come back to the slip, you are gonna have an audience - no pressure! To add to the complexity, we back into the slip to tie up to starboard (our cockpit entrance). This time, we had the RIB hip-tied due to a hydraulic leak in one of our davit arms that needs a new seal. With a crew of only 2 (Hunter and I), since the Admiral was traveling out of town, I needed to drop Hunter into the RIB and separate the tender from the mother ship to keep from pinching the new rubberized coating that was still curing on the tender. This left me single-handing her into the slip.
Yes...we had an audience. OK Captain - You are now under scrutiny by all within eye-shot evaluating your demeanor, confidence, skill and seamanship as others nearby assess whether to avoid you like the plague as a menace or to come over and chat because you look reasonably competent.
Unlike most docking efforts - it was surprisingly near perfect! I coasted in, released Hunter in the RIB to orbit, swung her to port with the bow thruster and reversed her in like a pro...stepping out of the cockpit onto the dock as the starboard gunnel gently kissed the pole cushions to wrap a rear spring. I impressed my self!...it was a good day! Unlike the docking in a 15 kt cross-wind last week at the fuel dock which took me 3 tries and a lot of choice words as two big powerboats orbited waiting for the dufus in the sailboat to get his %!$@ together!
The so-what: Practice makes "near perfect"... you will never have perfect conditions. You will always have an audience. Safe...no scratch, no ding, no foul!
Most of last weeks projects are done. They included:
- Changing the main-3rd reef line
- Replacing an automatic bilge pump at the main-mast base (old one crapped out).
- Rubberized coating on the AVON RIB - I will evaluate the coating in a later post after I have watched it for a while but the RIB is holding air and I seem to have sealed the elusive pin-hole leaks that were softening the tubes over a week's time.
- Launch the RIB from the fore-deck - ours weighs in around 600 lbs (center console, engine on, fiberglass v-bottom). We have a nifty spinnaker pole crane set up (my own design) on an electric winch that is working nicely...once the RIB was in the water - I got to look at the underside of the toe and rub-rails - uugh!...nasty...add that project to next week's list!
- We installed a neat Cellular booster unit (now increased from 1 bar to 5) but the external antenna needs to go to the top of the mainmast (hmmm...next week - I gotta be in the mood to climb all 63ft of that sucker)?
*** Yes - I have a job ...and work weekdays...so pretty pleased that these were done in the evening hours***
This week's project: Aft black-water tank, macerator, y-valves and thru-deck fittings as well as replace the old white septic hose for the rear toilet system with the high-grade impermeable stuff. Our rear head is an MSD-1 setup (Lectrasan) but our new marina is an NDZ. We have a holding tank in the forward head but until now, did not in the rear. I had one made (aluminum) fitted to the hull/bulkhead space (20 gals) and want to be able to 3-way select/switch between direct overboard, MSD-1 and Tank. All parts are aboard...the dirty job begins this week!...good thing the Admiral is away and pray that I don't have an internal spill in the process! We will do a thorough flush with vinegar first before we crack clamps on the old hose.