05/21/2007: "Our first weekend out for the year"
Itís Monday, a little early for me to update from the weekend but here goes.
It was forecast to be a beautiful weekend with the only disadvantage being a west wind on Sunday. A west wind means that we will have to tack back up the river to get home. Not a bad thing to do since that can often give you a fun ride. There were a couple of things I wanted to check on this weekend. I wanted to check the operation of the new windlass under actual use instead of just pulling chain off the dock. I am also trying out an anchor I got from the neighbor. It is a 45 pound Delta, just a little heavier then what we had. Our old one was showing itís age and wasnít the best to use anymore, not to mention a couple of bends that are not suppose to be there. The new one has a reputation for not setting and if it works for us it can be ours at no cost. Saturday afternoon we sailed down to South River to spend the night, our first night out for the year. We dropped the hook, let out a fair amount of chain and it set. It bit down and held fast on the first try, pretty impressive for an anchor that reputedly wouldnít set. We backed down on it a couple of times to see if it would release but it held fast. We settled in with a couple of cocktails, dinner and a quiet night at anchor.
Sunday morning was as laid back as possible, by mid-morning I was taking a nap. It felt good to get caught up on sleep. It was finally time to get moving after everyone else in the anchorage had left. This was going to be the chance to check the operation of the windlass. All we needed was to start the engine. The engine just barely turned over and there was not a chance that it was going to fire up. Of course that didnít stop me from running the battery down even more trying. I started trying to find the problem and it ended up that the batteries had enough power to run everything else but under load from the starter the voltage dropped too low to crank it. After going over our options we decided to pull anchor by hand, so much for testing the windlass, and sail off the anchorage. It took a bit of time to pull all the chain in and break the anchor loose but soon we were under way. We spent the rest of the afternoon tacking up the river and when we got close to our home creek we gave TowBoat US a call for either a tow or a jumpstart. I learned my lesson in Charleston and but unlimited towing coverage. Once we were close to the creek entrance we hove to and waited for the tow boat to arrive. Once he was alongside we jumped the battery and the engine fired right up. It was a short trip back to the marina and we were tied up with no more problems. The previous owner warned me that I only had one to two years left on the batteries and this is the start of year three so it should be no surprise that they are not holding their charge. With the three day weekend coming up I need to get them replaced before Friday. We havenít made plans for the weekend yet. It will depend on the weather where we go, but so far it is looking like a good forecast.