Friday, August 23, 2013

A Great Day!

Morning on Back Creek
Finally! We disconnected the umbilical cords (the two shore power cables, that is) released our dock lines, and headed for the bay!

We had adapted pretty well to this life on Back Creek. Too well. The longer we sat here at the dock, while Ted and his gang work on getting our problems sorted out, the more apprehensive we became about taking the boat out and actually sailing it. It didn't help that the last time we moved the boat, to have it hauled out for installing some of out new navigational equipment, I managed to turn the wheel the wrong way, driving us into the end of the dock and scraping a bit of paint off the hull. And that was with Ted's whole crew of four guys helping me and Angie handle the boat.

The list of things that should be done before we set sail seems to keep growing just as fast as we check things off. (Sailors we talk to say that at some point you just have to throw off the dock lines and go. You never do run out of things that have to be fixed or could be improved.) So we sit here, and we tell ourselves that there are much worse places to be than sitting on our boat in Back Creek. And the cruising life isn't much different, no matter where your boat happens to be. But the truth is we get a little down spirited about the whole thing, and especially this morning when we got the updated bill from Ted (actually from Ted's office manager) and found that we had just about used all the money we had set aside for refitting the boat. And Ted had taken off for a long weekend without telling us. So we were sort of left hanging without being able to move forward on any projects.

Ted installing the new chart plotter
Fortunately Ted had gotten the engine running reliably (it had been developing an air lock after running twenty minutes or so every time we started it up), and so theoretically we could take advantage of the lull to go out and practice boat handling. But did we dare? Neither one of us quite trusted ourselves to get our sixteen ton ship out of our slip safely, or more important, back into it. Then we had a brainstorm. Tom Yoho. Tom is kind of a jack of all maritime trades who lives on his boat here at Jabin's.  He does deliveries and just about anything else that people want done. (There's a picture of Tom in an earlier blog helping Dave the rigger with the mast.) So I went to find him to see if he would go out with us. He had a diving job to do, cleaning the bottom of a sailboat that, like us, had been sitting at the dock too long, but said he'd be happy to when he was back up from his dive.

New Turk's Heads marking the master spoke
So, finally, with Tom's guidance and help,we threw off our dock lines. We eased the boat out of her slip without incident and spent about an hour pirouetting around mooring buoys, approaching them from all angles, forwards and backwards, with Angie standing on the bow giving directions by mouth and hand signals. Then we headed down the creek and out into the bay. There was a nice breeze and a gentle chop, which Bel Canto plowed through effortlessly. After about a half hour watching the birds and the waves and the boats under sail, we turned around and headed back for the creek, our new chart plotter showing our position and our autohelm guiding the boat when asked to. Back in Back Creek we practiced once more coming up to a buoy and then brought the boat into the slip, with a bit of scuffling for lines but no real problems. Hurrah! a successful outing. Next time . . . we raise the sails!

Blackened Mako shark, avocado stuffed with shrimp, and spinach

1 comment:

  1. Congrats, You Guys!

    Well done! Sounds like your sea legs, mariner's knots, backyardarms, sails, upper bilge-water valves, and mike barnacles are all in good working order & ready for ... THE BIG DEPARTURE. Outstanding!

    When the epic voyage begins, may Bel Canto — to paraphrase Herm Melville — continue her effortless plowing, may the trade winds blow in the forecastle, and may all the White Whales be your friends.