Sunday, October 9, 2011


Well, the following weekend's weather was a lot more promising for a delivery back to the Merrimac river; a bit boring perhaps, but good for what had to get done.

A morning departure in zero wind. The Atomic Four clicked along (like a sewing machine 'they' say) at about 1500 rpm which is my normal economy cruise. That gives me about four and half knots at about 0.6 gallons per hour. I can ramp the engine up to 2200 or so with my Indigo three bladed prop which will push Jenny at nearly 6 knots but then I also nearly double my fuel burn. It wasn't necessary so four and a half knots was just fine on a flat day.

Middle grounds outside of Salem harbor.

A few hours later and we were passing Thatcher's island.

Then a left turn past Rockport light.

Keeping the Salvages on the right.

Jenny turned into Rockport harbor about four o'clock. Not the harbor actually since the harbor behind the breakwater is completely packed with local boats, but the beach in front of the town. With the wind coming from the west (off the land) the anchorage is only slightly rolly. The sunset was quite nice with the colors on the water exactly reflecting the colors in the sky.

In the morning I woke up to fog.

The fog hung around until about noon which was okay since I had about ten miles to go and I couldn't hit the river mouth before the tide change anyway. I caught up on some recreational reading and a few cups of tea.

Eventually, Jenny left in about a mile of visibilty in equally flat conditions. It was a rather boring putt putt across Ipswich Bay with nothing to see.

I still arrived an hour too early so I let Jenny drift until the tide changed. Well, I was a bit impatient and entered the river mouth about 45 minutes before the change. I figured it would be close enough to slack but I was wrong. The mouth of the Merrimac can get pretty nasty and I was making about 2 knots over the bottom at 2000 rpm against the outgoing flow. That would have been okay except for the large powerboats trying to get upriver at a faster pace. Their wakes were throwing my little vessel, with barely enough way, on her beam ends making a mess of everything down below. We got past the entrance and made our way under the drawbridge and continued about a mile upriver to a quiet spot for the night.

With the strong currents it was necessary to ride on a bow and stern anchor but the water was flat and we were far from the constant power boat wakes that plagued Jenny when she was moored on the river two years ago. It was probably the quietest night on the boat all season actually.

In the morning it was up early for breakfast, removal of sails, boom and all extra gear and then a 20 minute motor back downriver (against a stronger than anticipated current again) to the public launch ramp at Cashman park. The landing on the dock was uneventful and much more graceful against the cross current than the previous attempt. We made the whole season without a grounding !

Total length of the delivery trip not including going past the haulout point to a secure anchorage was 38.6 nautical miles.

A few days and four pickup loads later Jenny was emptied of most of her gear. I have no idea how I fit so much stuff inside and where I am supposed to store it at home...

And then I took a bit of a break. It has been a fun season but a weekend away from the boat was a nice change too.

So this weekend I started tackling a job that I have been getting a bit worried about. I had some mold starting to grow on the bamboo cabin sole.

I thought I might have missed a spot when I sealed the plyboo (bamboo plywood) but after some investigation it appears that the mold was growing under the urethane coating. I hope I simply didn't prep the area well enough since I have already noted that plyboo left in a damp area will quickly grow mold. I have heard rumors that mold might get inside the plyboo right after manufacture and simply sealing it might not be enough. That is why I am concerned about it. I love the look but the product might be defective. I have noticed that my cockpit hatch leak is still making its way into the cabin and some water will occasionally pool on the cabin sole right where I found the mold. Perhaps the puddle lying there over a few days caused the problem. In any case, I sanded through the finish and mold and used a bit of bleach on the effected areas (which seems to have discolored the bamboo slightly (not happy about that either...) and then applied two fresh coats of polyurethane to the whole cabin sole.

I am really having a bit of a hard time deciding where I want to start the fall projects. I was thinking about getting some fresh varnish down and Jenny really needs it but I just wasn't in the mood for it so instead I chose a fun project and decided to get my windvane on the stern once and for all. The windvane has been a fixture in my cellar for five years now and I really wanted to get it out of there.

More measuring and cutting and measuring again and leveling the boat and measuring again and a bit more cutting and the windvane is getting close to being installed. I just need to drill the holes for the final bolts. It was getting dark and I wanted to take a second look with fresh eyes before I committed the vane to its permanent resting place. Positioning the vane on the transom is a bit tricky since the transom isn't symmetrical at all. Maybe I am just being too fussy...


So that is where Jenny is today, back where she is most familiar - at the boatyard. I am slowly gearing up for projects but it has been hard switching gears this fall. I expect in another week or two I will have some more focus.

The economic 'downturn' is finally catching up to me and my project list is going to be less ambitious that in year's past. I have been letting the other assets in my life run down which is not a trend I can continue for much longer. Boatwork will continue but at a less ambitious pace perhaps.

So for this winter the project list is:

New running rigging. New halyards to replace the ancient wire to rope halyards. The jib halyard was a little kinked in the spring and I thought it would be fine for the season. At the end of the season half of the strands were broken near the end which was causing the halyard to jam in the top block. At one point I wasn't sure the sail would come down but luck was with me and the sail dropped normally after I let it sit there for a few weeks. I am also going to have a second jib halyard made up for my assymetrical spinaker. I want to try that out next time. New jib sheets as well.

New sun cover/strip/thingy on the genoa. The kelly green color doesn't match the boat any more. Its very vain I know but its important enough to be up at the top of my list.

Windvane and brass rubrail installed this fall would be nice along with some varnish before winter sets in.

More varnish/finish coats on the interior paneling so that I can install hinges/latches/ clocks to the bulkhead sort of things.

and hopefully... some progress on the galley. The most frustrating thing this summer was accessing the galley equipment from under the temporary galley benchtop/patterns and using temporary stoves/dishpans. A real working sink and real storage for the galley equipment would be paradise on earth and I hope to have something like that before Jenny launches next.

If I find myself with lots of extra time, progress on an electrical system would be nice too. Realistically that won't happen but just in case I find myself with an abundance of time I want to be ready for it.

And that's it. Hopefully blog postings will be a little more regular. At least until winter really sets in. I don't think I am going to fight the winter weather too hard this year. Doing so just hasn't been all that productive. I am thinking a plain ridgepole and tarp for a boat cover. No big boat sheds to be built and and taken down again next spring.

Em tasol wantoks ;-)

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