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June 2006

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06/12/2006: "Memorial Weekend"

Memorial weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer. There was a threat earlier in the week that we may have to work on Saturday but that was canceled and the long weekend was ours.

Saturday started out with the weather not cooperating but by the afternoon it had cleared up and we were ready to head out. Our plans were to head back downriver and spend a couple of days sailing on the Sound and spend the nights in Broad Creek. Once out of our Creek and into the Neuse we were greeted by a pod of Dolphins, hopefully a good sign. Winds were favorable and we made good time on a broad reach. We arrived in Broad Creek and this time anchored where the cruising guide advises, there is more depth so we didn’t need to worry bout being too shallow. Unfortunately this area is more developed and there was a lot of powerboat traffic until late. We were again greeted by a pod of Dolphins while we sat out in the cockpit (for a couple of Midwest sailors this is still a big deal) enjoying the evening.

Sunday morning we were off to a slow start since it was so comfortable to just laze around and relax. Finally it was time to get moving and that’s when it all started to fall apart. While getting thing ready I turned on the instruments, which is usually accompanied with a “beep”. This time however, it was accompanied with a series of “beeps” something I hadn’t heard before. It was found that the wind indicator was flashing and beeping. After a bit of troubleshooting and reading the manual (yes, I actually read the manual) I decided that I didn’t really need that instrument and disconnected the power to. While trying to find the problem I asked Cori for one of the little brass brushes she has so I could clean the contacts. After giving up I commented that “if it isn’t one thing it’s another”. That’s when Cori asked me if I wanted to know about the “other”. While looking for the brush she found that one of the drain connections on the galley sink had come loose and had been draining into a container of cleaning supplies under the sink instead of all of it going down the drain. It looked like it had been a problem before since it had a lot of silicon caulk on it. The easy fix was to not use that side of the sink and worry about it later.

By this time we were ready to get underway. I showed Cori the operation and the windlass controls and she started bringing up the chain. After about ten feet it stopped, I thought it had popped the circuit breaker and came forward to show her how to reset it. That’s when she showed me that the motor would spin but nothing happened. I have had the windlass taken apart before and I thought it was probably a slipping gear. Since we were not in a hurry and I didn’t really want to pull up all that chain by hand I started taking it apart. I found that instead of the gear slipping on the shaft, the shaft had broken and motor would just spin, not able to turn anything. I put it all back together hoping that somehow I could find a replacement motor. I also found out that there is a set procedure to reassembly since it took me three tries to get it all back in the right sequence.

At this point here was no option but to pull the chain in by hand. Being anchored in mud means that the chain needs to be cleaned before putting it away. This involved pulling about three feet, hosing the mud off of it, and then continuing three feet at a time until it is all in and the anchor is secured. I earned my evening beer that day.

The day consisted of a couple of very long broad reaches (for non-sailors a broad reach is sailing with the wind 90 degrees off the bow, a fast and comfortable ride). Toward the end of the day the wind shifted further behind us and we poled out the headsail and did some downwind sialing wing on wing. After sailing this way for a while we decided to fly our mizzen staysail. After getting everything rigged it was time to raise the staysail, which Cori refused to do without the proper command. With the proper “raise the mizzen staysail” command issued up went one of the ugliest sails ever made (see photos in May 2006 gallery). We sailed with this sail until we got close to the entry to Broad Creek and headed back in to anchor for the night. This time we anchored a little further up the creek and didn’t have the powerboat traffic but we had to do the search for the bottom routine again. We never found it so we dropped anchor and settles in. We had another near perfect evening until the arrival of the late evening bugs.

Monday – Memorial Day

The winds were from the northeast and it was planned for a long downwind run back home. Once out and clear of the shoal areas we decided to have some fun and fly the asymmetrical spinnaker. We have only flown this one a couple of times before and never had one on our other boats. We had a couple of long downwind tacks that brought us up to the town of Oriental where we dropped the spinnaker, rolled out the headsail and altered our course for home.