Sunday, June 19, 2011

Launch 2011

Since I am writing this I must have survived the launch. There were a few glitches that came up that I will explain as the story unfolds but ultimately it was a successful launch.

I continued the prep on Wednesday when I installed the anchor and rode.

That is two rodes of 300 feet and 30 feet of chain each. While cruising in Maine I really loved my 90 feet of chain but its totally unneccesary for daysailing in the local sandy bottomed waters around me. Its still a bit of overkill but I like a little overkill.

As a temporary thing, I used the original V-berth filler and my old V-berth cushions from my 'four hour interior' from the 2005 cruise.

I am reallly not fond of the filler but I didn't want to take the time to cut the cushions and sew the sheets to fit the cutout. Climbing in and out of the filled in V-berth is a pain in my humble opinion. Good for spending the night with an attractive mate but not so good for anything else.

I loaded up a locker with food for the first time instead of tools and materials. Oddly, it was very satisfying to see the locker used for its intended purpose.

I re-used the saloon cushions wrapped in cheap bed sheets from the 2005 cruise as well. Its definitely not a permanent look but it makes it incrementally better inside I think.

Sails and various bits of gear were loaded into the V-berth. I remembered to install the garboard drain. I have only installed the drain once before but the pipe threads are all worn out. The plug does not tighten but instead continues to screw right through the fitting and into the bilge. With the launch the next day I installed the plug with 3M 4200 which I had on hand. I have no idea how much trouble I am going to have getting the plug out in the Fall out but its better than having it come out sooner.

Boat cleaning and checking over everything and cleaning up the mess around the boat consumed the remainder of the day. It was a long day but the boat was ready.

Thursday morning the yard crew were running late so I installed my compass and a ring to attach my safety line too. When sailing alone I like to either be tied to the boat or have a lifejacket on because I have seen the boat self steer before and I know she won't come back to me if I were to go over the side.

The launch happened fast with my helping the launch crew and another person taking pictures. I don't have those pictures so I can' show the boat actually getting wet yet.

And this brings me to my first discovered glitch. The camera was left in the car so no more pictures were taken :-( There is no place for a dinghy in Salem harbor so I left mine behind. Once I launched I was committed to Salem and there was no going back.

The launch occurred around 8:30 Thursday morning from Cashman park, Newburyport MA on the Merrimac river. I couldn't stay on the public dock so I motored out 200 yards and set the anchor to adjust the rigging, bend on the sails and get everything sorted out. The current was running strong and perpendicular to the dock which made boat handling interesting. The current grabbed the keel and it took a few of us to reel Jenny in to the dock. Gotta love full keels.

So the sails were bent on which is where I discovered my second glitch. The mainsail is fully battened but I was missing some little pieces to lock the battens in place. Its been so long that I forgot I needed them. I haven't found them anywhere and I think they were lost at the sailmakers two year ago when he was checking over all my sails and adding an insignia to the main.

I was ready to go around 12:30 but had to wait for the bridge opening at 1:00 which gave me time to sit down and enjoy lunch and 'settle in'. I was already feeling pretty rusty and I didn't have my sea legs at all. I was stumbling all over the place.

1:00 and I was under the bridge and motored out of the Merrimac river. Conditions at the mouth can be frightening at times but on Thursday at slack time they were quite tame. Clearing the outer marker I raised the sails in light winds and close reached while motor sailing. Sadly, there wasn't enough wind to truly sail but motoring for the whole afternoon helped restore my confidence in a motor that hadn't been run much in the past six years. The Atomic Four ran flawlessly the whole trip.

After about an hour I found myself pinching too much for the genoa so I started to roll it in when I discovered my third glitch. The furler kept jamming. Turns out, the top swivel was two feet below the halyard pulley which made a very small angle between the halyard and forestay. The instructions for the furler say to avoid this as it will cause the halyard to wrap and jam the furler. And that was exactly what was happening. The sails slides up the tracks as easily as a hanked on sail slides up the stay so it was easy enough to drop the genoa and tie it off to the lifelines.

I continued for three more hours until off of Cape Ann. I was wishing that I had not set up the reefing lines as the unbattened full roached main was flogging incesantly and the loose reefing lines were making it ten times worse. After rounding Cape Ann, the wind was directly on the nose and the flogging was becoming unbearable so I just took the main down and motored the remaining way into Southeast harbor in Gloucester. I don't have a fathometer installed and had to rely on the old fashioned leadline. I anchored around 7:00 at dead low tide in 9 feet of water.

I ate a simple dinner, cleaned up a bit, sat on my lovely Sporta-seat(a great gift from a friend - you gotta get one of these) and watched the sun set over the harbor. It was an interesting evening with me recalling my last sail/cruise in Jenny. So many memories (good ones) came back from my last three month cruise in the most patched up ugly looking boat with cheap temporary plywood interior panels that you could imagine.

Oh. The Lavac toilet worked beautifully and was a HUGE improvement over the previous system (a bucket). I found more loose fittings that needed tightening but the system just worked right away. Oddly, the toilet squeals when pumping and until the vaccuum is disapainted. In addition, when the boat rolls the toilet squeals. I will have to investigate that. Closing the seacocks makes the squeal go away.

With no lights other than a single kerosene lantern, I was in bed when the sun went down.

I was up again at 5:00 when the sun came up. A beautiful morning and I spent a bit of it sitting on the sporta seat watching the world go by. I missed my tea which was next to the camera back at the car and had to drink cold water for breakfast instead.

I tightened the lower shrouds again. While sailing the day before it was clear they were too loose. I also observed that, once again, I hadn't tightened the upper jumper stays enough. They are better than last time but I still don't have them right. I also rigged up a loop from some spare Sta-set line and attached it to the bottom of the genoa. This raised the genoa closer to the halyard pulley and now the genoa roller furls just fine. I will have to get a more permanent connection but I was relieved to see it work out. The new Harken Code 0 furler is awesome and I love it. The furler is on an extension that raises the drum a foot off the deck. My loop adds another 2 feet to the clearance between the sail and deck so now I have wonderul visibility under the genoa. More than I should have perhaps but its working.

I only needed a few hours to get to Salem so I was taking my time until I checked the weather and found out it was raining not far away and the thunderstorms moving in ahead of schedule. I quickly got cleaned up and underway around 9:00.

With the short sail and the wind once again close on the nose I didn't raise the main but instead motored all the way into Salem harbor. I did unfurl the genoa for awhile while I could and enjoyed the new furler a bit more. The boat will do 3 knots with the engine running at 1000 rpm and about 4 knots at 1600 rpm. The genoa gave me the five knot hull speed.

Half way into Salem the skies got really dark and the rain started to fall. I was a bit nervous coming into a strange rock strewn harbor in dark weather, with no GPS (incoveniently loaned to a friend and not returned in time) and rusty chart and compass skills. With the wind on the nose I was bashing into the small chop and getting soaked. I was really missing my dodger...

At some point my glasses were all covered with salt spray and when I flipped them up to clean them I realized it wasn't half as dark as I thought it was. It was just a pleasant light rain with some spray on an overcast day. Funny how a dark pair of sunglasses can can make everything look different.

The rain ended as I was in the final section of the approach and I motored into the inner harbor. When I called, they were not ready for me and didn't know where my mooring was and didn't have a pendant on it. I only called three times in the past week to make sure they were ready. Oh well. I set the engine at 400 rpm and soundlessly cruised around through the packed parking lot that is Salem harbor until they got everything sorted out. In general the people at Salem Water Taxi are great to work with. I am just surprised that with all the efforts I took to make sure things were ready, they were not. I did more than I needed to and enough to start to become a pain to them and still things weren't ready.

Once on the mooring I relaxed and had a nice celebratory lunch of cheese and crackers. Then I found my last glitch. I thought I had packed my sailcover but instead I had a cover for the dodger that was sold last year (wrong color, wrong shape). I have looked everywhere since then and I have a sneaky suspicion I saw the cover, thought it was the dodger cover, thought 'don't need that anymore' and dropped it into the trash. I hope I am wrong but I can't find the cover anywhere.

With thunderstorms predicted for the weekend I decided to just take the mainsail off. I wasn't too happy about that but I have spent every free day for the past few months on Jenny and I really wanted to be able to walk away and not think about her for a bit. Taking the sail off meant I could put her out of my mind (which hasn't really happened but oh well...)

So, Jenny is safely in her new home harbor of Salem MA and is looking quite nice, if overwhelmed, in the large parking lot mooring field. Sadly, you can't see her from the shoreline from any place I could find.

For the weekend, this blog is as close as I was going to get to the boat and I am enjoying some free time dealing with mundane household stuff and just nothing at all. Next week I expect to be back out at the boat.

And just an FYI, I don't really like reading blogs that go on about how 'we sailed the boat north around nameless island then had a pleasant reach across unknown bay before running home wing on wing through the such and such channel'. I will probably post a few times this summer and add some photos but I don't expect a lot of content to be added. I am just giving fair warning. Come Fall, I have more rebuilding plans for Jenny; mostly with the rigging but probably some galley work and maybe V-berth as well.

Have a good one Mates ;-)


Anonymous said...

Congrats on a successful launch and mini-cruise to Jenny's home for the summer.

I understand about not wanting to post blow-by-blow sailing reports, but I do hope you will show her off a bit in photos.


ariel414 said...

Congrats indeed! Now it's time to enjoy the fruits of all your labor and $$! And yes, please post pics - lots of 'em!

Britton said...

Funny, once the boat hits the water I forget all about the costs and labor. I just feel lucky.

I will definitely keep some photos coming this summer. Just not so many annoying words ;-)