Monday, January 25, 2016

I'm Popeye the Sailor Man, I smell like a garbage can.

The saga of the stuck sail continues. It was a decent nights sleep, there wasn't much wind to speak of and we were in a nice little harbor. I woke up around seven hoping the Sailmaker would come early and early to an islander is 10:30 AM. I needed coffee, I hadn't showered in a couple days and I was grouchy.

So Sam and I spent several hours trying to fix the stuck sail ourselves. Unfortunately I was being to gentle, I wasn't sure how much I could stress the sail before I caused irreversible damage, I guess there is really no such thing.  When the Sail guy finally showed, I was frazzled, We had 50 miles to make today, there was literally no wind and I had a bad sail.

What we ended up doing, after several failed attempts to run the guy up the mast in his Bosuns chair (A chair used to hoist someone up the mast to do work), was we used the travelers pulley, a line run to an eyelet just above the Clew of the sail and the forward 48 Lewmar Wench. Then we attached the outhaul line to the 54 Lewmar wench and cranked them both as we beat on the sail. Crazy as it sounds, it popped the sail out. We then lowered the sail to inspect and it turns out that a Baton had come out of it's pocket and when unfurling the sail, wedged in the mast and fouled everything up. In the extraction process we created 3 small tears in the sail close to the head and was told the repairs are fast and would cost around $60 if we dropped off the sail. Sounds like a deal as I also need some Tell Tails installed. We removed all the Batons and reloaded the sail in the mast and set sail. Well, after $260 of education. You see, I wasn't sure how to access the Mainsail to drop it, How to reload the sail into the Mast and how to inspect the Halyard for the Mainsail. All of these the fine gentleman at Calypso Canvas and Sail in Key largo.

Once we were making way the going was slow so we motor sailed ( added engine to augment the sails) and we able to use very little engine and fuel and get 6.5 knots. This speed would put us into Marathon long after dark, but we would make Marathon.

We had 6-8 knot winds ENE and we we were sailing a Broad Reach over Starboard and then the wind completely died. I thought oh hell, pulled in the main sheet and kicked up the engine. I thought well, we can make 7 knots with diesel, it isn't sailing but it is getting us to Marathon. And as quickly as the wind died, we had suddenly had 15 knots ESE and increasing so I let out the main sheet and ran it like a wing and kicked the engine back. Before I knew it we were making 8 knots and having a blast. I tried to run out the genoa but the main was stealing all its air, I was wasting to much time tuning sails and not paying attention so I hauled it back in. As the sun started down towards the horizon we got a spectacular show.

Absolutely Amazing and all I could think is this is why I wanted to sail. If there is a heaven, I found it. The views were so spectacular that we just kept taking pictures, over and over and never wanted this moment to end.

We made it into Marathon at 6:30 PM. It was dark and and we anchored without the luxury of light next to a few other boats parked in the wave shadow of Marathon Key. The wind is now howling to 25 knots, the waves in open sea are getting huge and we are in for a bumpy night. But first Dinner!

A couple of New York Steaks will fix a tired crew.

Oh. And I got a nice hot well deserved shower!

May the winds always fill your sails and the sun and moon light your passage.

The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful. Day 4?

So I've lost track of time. Maybe it is day five. Lets see.

  1. Motored Pompano to Biscayne Bay
  2. Sailed for the first time on Arielle
  3. Holed Up, Nasty rain and miserable, entire day on the boat just reading and whatever. .
  4. Holed Up, Nasty winds and Miserable. although I did get my "Sympathy for the Devil" burger at Burgers and beer. 
  5. Sailed Biscayne bay to Key Largo. 
OK, Day 5! She, Need to change that.... Someday.

Left Biscayne and the winds were a brisk 18-20 knots and we needed to pump out. The forward head was so full that it was pressurizing and back flowing into the bowl. It was a lovely site, I will spare you the image and not put up a picture. We motored around the Venetian Causeway to Sunset Harbor Marina and when we got to the harbor I was faced with the daunting task of motoring a sailboat into a channel that was decent sized but million dollar plus boats on both sides and brutal winds across the beam (The Side of the boat) blowing me into the Million Dollar boats. OK, I can handle this. 

We set up the bumpers, Spring lines and mooring lines and I headed in as if I knew what I was doing. As luck would have it, I pulled straight in and had no issues at all. Fear is a relentless bitch. I think I dies a million dollars pulling in. The good news, I had lots of time to play with maneuvering the boat while the crew (Sam and Karla) set up everything and I was able to hold the boat in a single spot by basically performing standing turns every time the wind blew me sideways. It was really kinda awesome. With heads pumped out and fresh water filled back up. We we headed to Key largo. 

As we motored out the channel, sam put on the NOAA weather and there were loads of warnings telling us to stop and don't go there. Small craft advisories, Wave warnings, wind warnings and through it all, we found the seas perfect for a sail. We raised the main and the genoa and we were off with a broad read making about 8 knots. I was happy and the crew was freezing. It was a blustery 45 degrees. Yes folks, that is right, I came to florida to get warm and the temp was freezing cold. The good news was Sam and I spent the previous night laying way points from Miami all the way to Marathon and once we found the first way point, I hit auto pilot and let the machinery do the work, or so we thought. 

Autopilot, what a concept. We set course and off we went. In the wrong direction. We missed the first way point and the boat thought that it was prudent to go back and make certain we passed through it. In the process the sales lifted (Lost wind) and we sat dead in the water. So we deleted the waypoint and kicked in the autopilot again, All was good. Making Way!

Somewhere just north of key largo we lost wind and was sailing at about 4 knots. I had this brain fart to haul in the main sail and just sail on the Genoa so Sam and I pulled it in and we gained nothing, in fact we dropped to 3.5 knots. My theory... if you can call it that.... was that the main was stealing air from the genoa so lets remove the thief and sail on one sail. In this inexperienced sailors mind, that made sense. So back out goes the Main and when it was 3/4 unfurled, Jam. We tried to hack it back in, nothing, Back out, Nothing. The Baton (A thick rod used to help the sail remain a little stiff, was jammed in a fold of the sail. This is a big problem with these types of sails and the reason I don't like them but they are typically easy to use and when they work, they work great. Mine just wasn't working great. I think from reading and just common sense, We really need to put Tension on the leach (Outer edge of the sail) when we furl it back into the mast. Well, it's late, I am tired and it has been a long day.
Sunset in Key Largo Bay


May the winds always fill your sails and the sun and moon light your passage.