Tuesday, September 20, 2011

End of Season 2011

Well, it has been a good season full of weekend daysails and picknicks. Nothing too exciting to talk about and the pictures all seem to repeat themselves.

As for as pretty new things for Jenny, when the sailmaker was out taking measurements for the new sailcover we started talking about sun awning ideas. He had quite a few and in the end I told him to just make one up (www.withumsailmakers.com)

I am really happy with the awning. My only issue is the one piece battens make storing the awning tricky. I am still working on the ideal storage location. On the plus side, when the awning is put up, the temperature on deck instantly drops ten degrees or more and a baking hot day turns into a comfortable sunny day immediately. I swear the awning also helps channel cool air down the deck. The awning is above the boom for lots of standing headroom in the cockpit and decent headroom even along the sidedecks. I am really happy with it.

Hurricane Irene blew by a few weeks ago. In preparation I took down the sails and even pulled the boom off and stored it in the cabin. I battened everything down pretty tight but in the end the storm missed us by 50 miles and Jenny only saw some 40-50 mph gusts and virtually no wave action. She barely took on any rain water.

The trouble started after the storm. I bent on the genoa only to find the jib halyard didn't want to go all the way up, something was binding. I decided to simply remove the extender I had at the foot of the sail to keep the sail below the point where the jam was happening. That worked fine and the genoa even rolled up fine at first. The reason for the extender was that I rigged the halyard wrong and I don't have the necessary angle between the upper swivel and the halyard. The swivel was wrapping around the forestay and jamming the furlling action. The extender brought the sail up high enough to make it all work.

After a weekend daysail however the jib stopped rolling up. I was thinking to myself "no problem, I will just managed the jib like a normal hank on jib and take it down at the end of the sail". The problem was the halyard jammed again and the sail wouldn't come down. With the foresail giving me more problems and the sailing season fast approaching anyway I decided to call it the end of the season a few weeks early and bring Jenny home to Newburyport for the winter. That was the plan for this past weekend.

Myself and a sailing companion spent the night on Jenny Saturday night and got an early start for Gloucester harbor. Since it was only about a ten mile trip we took the roundabout way and included a tour of Marblehead harbor and all the pretty boats there. I was too busy threading the boat through the mooring field to take pictures but any reader can guess at the number of beautiful boats found there. From Marblehead we took a heading around some ledges and into open water and made Gloucester a few hours later. It was a nice day if a bit 'lumpy'. We anchored off of Niles Beach in Gloucester Harbor (my usual spot when spending the night there) which was well protected from the northeast winds that night.

The next day we got off early for the long slog into the wind around Cape Anne and northeast to the Merrimac River (and Newburyport). Leaving the harbor seemed nice but the lumpiness continued and continued to worsen...

Its really hard for me to take pictures that show the actual wave conditions well. The waves were 4-5 feet but steep and spaced quite close together.

At some point the whole front half of the boat started launching itself into the air and leaving the water behind only to slam back down the trough and bury itself under the next wave. We had a few hours of this ahead of us before rounding Cape Anne and putting those short choppy seas on the beam for another six hours or so. This prospect didn't hold much excitement for either of us so we turned tail and ran back to Gloucester to work out 'plan B'. After a few phones calls plan 'B' became re-schedule boat haulout for next week and sail back to Salem (downwind and running with the waves) The return to Salem was exciting but easy and we had a nice run at hull speed bombing along down the waves.

One funny thing. At some point on the run home a fish jumped out of the water, hitting my sailing companion on the leg, bouncing off only to glance against my wrist, bump the aft deck once and disapear back into the ocean. It was quite funny and quite surprising. I can only guess what the fish was thinking once he was back where he belonged...

So, that is it. We will try to get Jenny around Cape Anne next weekend in time for an early haulout Monday morning in the Merrimac. Early weather reports suggest a nice SW wind pushing us instead of the NE winds we were up against this past weekend. Fingers crossed that we find better conditons...

Hopefully, the next pictures on the blog will be of Jenny back in her spot at the boatyard and ready for some more upgrages :-)