Saturday, June 8, 2013

Post Launch 2013

Jenny, is comfortably resting at her summer mooring in Salem MA.  The launch went very smoothly and the delivery was...  well, a bit wet and sloppy but whatever.

I went to the boatyard Monday night to get my mast set up only to find it buried behind some new arrivals which made working on it impossible.  A phone call tuesday and the boatyard crew had the mast out in front the very next day.  Of course I didn't get to it until Wednesday morning.

I was more than a little concerned when going over it to find the top  of the forestay has been damaged by some rough handling.

Naturally I was not happy about that. I don't remember the damage being there last fall but I really can't remember and the damage might have occured during the move from the last boatyard.  I took a good long look at it and decided to use it but I think I will have it replaced in the Fall.  There are no broken strands but it is kinked a bit and slightly unwound. This is only the second season the stay will have been used and I am not happy to have to replace it so soon. 

On a more positive note, the two new foresail halyard blocks look very nice.

I am very happy to have two workilng halyards to use this year.  Now I can play with my assymetrical this summer which should be fun.  The old block was really decrepid too and if the genoa was not on a roller furler and only raised once a season I would really worry about it.  Now I will feel much free-er about switching out to my other 100% jib should the conditions arise.

Despite the damage to the forestay I am starting to like the crew at the new boatyard more.  Knowing that I wanted to get out quickly and catch the outgoing tide (the Merrimac is notoriously rough under certain conditions and has been known to flip 30 foot boats) the yard set up my mast the day before. I forgot to install the windex and the yard crew insisted on sending a guy up on a very long forklift to install it later that evening.  Wednesday was a long day of fussing and loading I was able to set up the rig and bend on the sails for an immediate departure after launch.

The morning of launch day I was up early for more packing and food shopping anxious to get to the boat and see her safely in the water on time.  I am always a nervous hen during launch imagining all sorts of catatrophes.  The worst catastrophe of all occured when I arrived and found Jenny  missing completely.

Apparently, the boatyard anticipated a busy morning and decided to launch Jenny  early and had her resting quietly at the end of the dock when I arrived.

It was a very odd feeling to suddenly have all the stress depart and see my girl resting comfortably where she belongs.  Being at the end of the dock made for many long trips to load her up with groceries and last minute stuff but in the end it all got done and we were ready to go ahead of schedule.

On this trip I was playing around with video cameras and didn't use the still camera much.  I have uploaded some clips of the trip on youtube.  Unfortunately, I had an issue with some of the audio and rather than put in some pop music background I left most of the video without any sound at all.  Anyway, here it is:

The trip out the Merrimac was a quiet stroll.  The winter storms this past winter have changed the channel quite a bit but at the top of the tide it was a pretty easy motor out.  Once outside of the entrance buoy  we had enough wind for some light sailing across Ipswich Bay towards Cape Ann.  Later in the afternoon the wind picked up and we were close hauled with some decent wind that put the rail down.  Good sailing if a bit rough pounding into the 2 foot chop.

I am happy to report that the genoa is working much better this year now that it is rigged properly.  It furls effortlessly and goes up and down at will.  Much better than last time.  A real joy to use.

We came around the northern tip of Cape Ann and anchored in front of the beach in Rockport that night.

Originally we were expecting some rainy weather and figured we might have to sit tight for a few days somewhere.  The weather forecast however changed a bit and was predicting strong winds out of the east which is exactly where the Rockport harbor is open to the ocean. Early the next morning we were up and out looking for Salem or at least a better anchorage a few miles away.  As it turned out, the seas were sloppy but the winds were light so after motoring out of Rockport harbor and around Thatcher's Island we found ourselves motoring with the wind in sloppy following seas for the next few hours into Salem harbor.  We didn't escape the rains however and it was a rather messy trip. 

For the second time in a row, when I arrived in Salem harbor, no one knew we were coming or which seasonal rental morring we were scheduled for.  Two years ago  I called ahead several times and let them know were were coming but when I arrived they were still unprepared and had no mooring pendant on our mooring.  This time I called and emailed ahead of time letting them know when we were coming and again, no one knew what to do with us when we arrived.  After circling for half an hour they sent someone out to find our mooring.  It took another half an hour for them to actually find the mooring.  It took another half an hour for them to find someone who could put a mooring pendant on our mooring.   Clearly I am going to have to call them again and find out how I can make their lives easier and have the mooring ready when we arrive next year.  Other than being totally unprepared every season Salem Water Taxi has been good to work with.  Motoring around the mooring fields in the rain was not the most fun I could have been having.

With that little detail resolved, we spent a few hours, eating, cleaning up, watching the rain fall and generally relaxing and enjoying the fact that we had a arrived and all the prep work was done and now it would be fun all summer.

Oh,  and I have to say, doing the dishes in the new working sink is an actual joy after having to wash them over the side for so many years.  I could do dishes all day long now and never get tires.  It really is that exciting.

And that is that.  Jenny  is home on the mooring and ready for the 2013 sailing season.  I won't post blogs of every sail because I find that kind of reading to be rather dull.  I have a few projects in mind that I will post - like taking care of a few new found leaks - but otherwise I expect I will only post once a month or so as some small projects get done.

Happy sailing season everyone :-)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Buckets of sweat

Mother Nature has not been kind.  I was really looking forward to the three day weekend over Memorial Day to get the boat up to snuff and ready for the upcoming launch.  Instead I watched buckets of rain for two of those three days. Not exactlly the plan I had in mind.

Actually, to be fair, the heavy rain turned into a light rain on day two so I was able to install the exhaust line that I had recently built.  The one nice day was spent on the engine, replacing the impellors, changing the oil, replacing the fuel filter, yada yada boring stuff.  The good news is that at the end of all this the engine started.

Unfortunately I wasn't terribly impressed with my new exhaust.  I am not really sure what the issue is but after wrenching hard on the tapered thread fittings to get everything lined up I was disturbed to find that after getting the wet exhaust hose installed one of the joints went all loose and floppy.  I ran the engine anyway and the exhaust seemed to work okay but I wasn't sure if I had a little leakage or not.  It was hard to tell under the wrapping.  Not the most promising end to my much anticipated three day weekend.

The good news is that that the weather wasn't cold or wet this past weekend.  The bad news is that the weather was brutally hot.  Heat exhaustion was a real possibility in the direct sun with temperatures above the mid 90's according to the area reports and I strongly suspect much hotter on deck in the middle of the boat yard. I could not let my bare skin touch the deck without risking burns and touching metal bits sent me flying in the air several times.  It was hot hot Africa hot this weekend and it was brutal.  It is also four days before launch so waiting for better weather was not an option.

After mulling my exhaust over I decided to remove the exhaust and dope up the threads with an "exhaust paste" that is supposed to harden and seal after 24 hours. I wish I could say that made a big improvement.  Unfortunately, I did notice some looseness in the piping this morning as I was finishing up the connections.  A second run of the engine showed no issues or signs of leakage so I think I am good but I am not crazy about my black iron pipe exhaust.  Black iron has never been known for great quality but I think it is probably getting worse and I suspect that the threads just deform too easily and don't stay tight very well.  I am sure after a few hours corrosion will set in which will help with the sealing but I will say now that I am not terribly thrilled so far.  It works.  I just don't have that warm and fuzzy feeling about it.

The last weekend before launch also meant it was time to uncover the boat.  I am glad I left the cover up late as we have been getting a ton of rain and the boatyard seems to attract lots of leaves and dirt.  This weekend however it was time to open her up.

The decks were filthy and some scrubbing had to be done which was actually quite productive as it made being on deck tolerable for a little while.

Otherwise lots of small projects are being wrapped up.  I had taken the coamings off expecting to do some major varnish rework on them this spring.  Instead I stuck them back on in the same condition they came off a year and a half ago.  I have no doubt I will be fighting a losing battle all summer trying to keep some varnish down.  I fully expect the varnish work to look pretty hideous by haulout.  I am not happy about this but there just hasn't been the weather to varnish the exterior yet.  At all.  All the more reason to find indoor heated storage next winter.

Jenny is ready for the move to the other side of the highway where the actual launch site is.  That will happen in the next day or two.  I am trying to get the mast raised ahead of the launch so I will have a chance to bend on the sails and get the rigging tighted down before splashing.  I never liked being tossed out into the river, drop anchor, set the rig and get out with the tide race that was the norm from my last location.

At this point, I have to review my rigging and make sure it is ready.  I need to install the running rigging. I need to load the boat with all the 'stuf' that needs to be onboard like anchors, lines, cushions, supplies, and all that ton of stuff that a boat seems to need. That will probably happen after work over the next two nights or on Wednesday which I took off from work just for the last minute stuff.  Originally, I was planning on Wednesday being a relaxing easy day mopping up some details.  Now I expect it to be a very long rush to the finish line.  Oh well, you would think by now I would have learned that this is never the case.  Maybe next year I should just take the whole launch week off from the day job.  Or maybe a month...

That is it.  My next blog post should be after my launch with Jenny comfortably on her mooring in Salem harbor.  The schedule is tight but I am on schedule with less done that I had hoped for.  On a positive note I will be sailing in a better boat than I hauled out a year a half ago.  I guess that is something to be happy about.

A happy blog post coming soon :-)