It always takes me awhile to settle in at the beginning of the sailing season. I suppose it’s only natural with a six month offseason, but I still don’t like it. We’re always rusty, forgetting to do the little things, which contributes to a heightened sense of nervousness on my part. Will there be an issue with the engine? Does that powerboat see us? That kind of thing. Add in the fact that now we’re in a slip, and it hasn’t been the most stress-free start to the season.
After a while I always relax. We get into a groove with the boat, I only notice the powerboats that are aiming right at us, and I don’t even think twice about Thumper. This past weekend I took a giant step towards getting into my groove when we took Pegu Club on our first trip to Stonington for the season. It was finally going to be sunny and warm for Saturday AND Sunday, and the weatherman called for 10-15 knot winds. Well, at least they got the sun and temperature right. The wind? Not so much.
Continue reading “Settling in for the season.”
One of the items we’ve wanted to purchase for Pegu Club is a whisker pole. Sailing down wind the jib tends to collapse on itself when it’s caught in the main sail’s shadow, so a whisker pole is used to keep the headsail out to weather which improves speed and efficiency. With the prevailing winds around here we don’t tend to do a lot of downwind sailing, but we know that will change when we head out permanently. In the meantime, it will be nice to have for those occasions that call for it.
Our initial plan was to buy one at the Defender Warehouse sale, but they run around $850 on sale and with all of the money we had spent getting the house ready we decided to wait a bit. Defender has categories of items that go on sale throughout the season with prices as good as the Warehouse sale, so we knew with a little patience we’d get one before the summer was out.
Looking at their website last week, I saw that they were having their Sail on Sale sale so it was time to pull the trigger. After a lot of research to make sure we were buying the right one, along with the proper mounting accessories. the plan was to pick it up on Saturday morning. We were talking about it on Friday after work as we packed our things to drive down to Shenny, when suddenly I thought of the consignment shop in Newport that we had been to a few weeks ago. Maybe they would have one? Jeff didn’t think so – he had only seen larger poles while we were there – but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to call them.
Continue reading “Score!”
The forecast for Memorial Day weekend promised more of the same that we’ve been experiencing this month – below normal temperatures, clouds, and rain, with the added bonus of little to no wind. It’s getting really old. Regardless, a weekend on the boat is better than a weekend anywhere else, so we drove down to Shenny bright and early on Saturday morning.
After stopping at Jan Electronics to pick up some terminals that we needed to replace for our wind instrument, we arrived at Pegu Club ready to finish rigging her. Chuck from Sound Rigging had driven down during the week to reattach the forgotten block so now we were ready to put on the sails – hooray!
The mainsail went on easily, but we still need to put in the reefing lines. We forgot to bring the pictures that we took last year so we decided to wait until next weekend for that. Besides, it’s not like we were going to need to reef with only 5 knots of wind forecasted for the weekend.
The jib went on much more easily than in prior years thanks to our decision to get rid of our furler and switch to hank ons. After we attached it to the forestay it took a bit of fiddling to figure out the best way to put it in the foredeck bag, but eventually we prevailed. With virtually no wind, Pegu Club was officially all dressed up with nowhere to go, so we spent the rest of the day doing various boat chores and then finished it off with our first improptu social gathering with our fellow E dock boaters.
Sunday was calling for only 5-7 knot winds, but we were determined to get out for a sail. At the very least, we needed to get away from the dock. We hadn’t left since we splashed last weekend and I was anxious to give it a go without instructions from our friends. I was worried that if we didn’t do it on Sunday I would just continue to get more and more nervous about it, so we decided that even if there wasn’t any wind we would head out. But first, a few more boat chores.
Continue reading “Docking on our own – and an engine decision.”
High spirits filled the car as we drove down to Shenny last Friday after work. After only a two week delay, splash day was set for Saturday! Chatting with people at the Friday night cookout (and sharing my trepidation over docking), it quickly became clear that learning how to dock is a rite of passage that every boater must go through. Offers of help were accepted (along with plenty of laughs shared about being this season’s dock entertainment), and we went to bed Friday night ready to tackle the next day.
We were scheduled to launch at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, so we were up bright and early to bring the mast over to the lift well and get it ready (attaching the windex and wind instrument antenna, untangling all of the lines, stays, and shrouds, putting on the spreaders, etc.). The yard guys were running ahead of schedule, and fortunately so were we, so by 9:00 Pegu Club was hanging in the slings and Jeff was slinging bottom paint under her keel and poppets.
It wasn’t long before she was floating on the water, still in the slings, while we checked to make sure there weren’t any leaks and that the engine would run. After her mast was stepped and the shrouds and stays loosely attached to the chainplates, it was time to do this. Let’s dock! Gratefully accepting help from Michael who joined Jeff at the bow to provide an extra set of hands, we backed out of the lift well with only a bit of a hiccup and started motoring down the fairway heading towards slip E-45.
Continue reading “It takes a village to dock a boat.”
First up: the latest on the engine. John Bayreuther was able to get to Pegu Club last week and the engine has been fixed. He told Jeff that he found a cracked washer that was letting air in, and there was also a lot of air in the injector. He ran the engine twice and all was well, so we are back in action.
This was an inexpensive fix as far as boats go so we’re holding off on replacing the engine until this winter, but we’re definitely getting a new one. Up until now Thumper has been rock solid for us, but it’s 40 years old, some parts are becoming unavailable, and we have no idea how it was treated by Pegu Club’s many prior owners. On top of it all, as a single cylinder diesel Thumper is LOUD! A new engine will certainly be expensive, but it will also be smaller, lighter, (hopefully) reliable, and much quieter.
In the meantime the guys are squeezing us in to the launch schedule so splash is this Saturday at 9:45 a.m. Yay!
Just because our splash was delayed didn’t mean that all boat projects stopped. In fact, one big project that we managed to essentially complete during our unexpected down time was finishing up new cockpit cushions. I say essentially because we still have to make the helm cushion, but the port and starboard cushions are done and those were the two longest ones. The helm cushion should be much easier by virtue of its size.
Pegu Club originally came with vinyl covered cockpit cushions. Unfortunately they were hard as a rock and also suffered from the same smell that the rest of the boat came with, so out they went. I had never made cockpit cushions before, but with my trusty Sailrite and the detailed Sailrite video on YouTube I figured I’d give it a go.
Continue reading “Cockpit cushions (and an engine update)”
Although I was concerned about the windy forecast for our first attempt at docking, we drove down to Shenny with great anticipation. It had been a long offseason and now we were going to splash! With Pegu Club about to be in the water, we were going to begin my happy time of the year as I like to call it.
We had two things to accomplish before splash: running Thumper for ten minutes, and getting the mast ready. First though, I wanted to watch some Shenny friends (who were splashing that morning) bring their boat into their slip. Since we’ve never had a slip before, I wanted to see what lines they had ready on the dock vs. which ones they took care of as they were coming in.
As their boat came in, I was surprised to see that the piling moved as they bumped up against it. Wait a minute? They move? I didn’t realize that! One of the reasons I was so concerned about docking was I thought if you hit a piling it’s like hitting a piece of concrete with no give. Once I realized how much the pilings wiggle, I started feeling much better about this whole docking thing.
Back on Pegu Club, we prepared to get Thumper running. John Bayreuther (the diesel mechanic we use) had told us last year that after we change the filters and bleed the engine, we should run her for 10 minutes at high idle before we splash her. Having changed the Racor filter the week before and bled the engine, we filled our 5 gallon Home Depot bucket with water and had the hose at the ready for refilling it as needed. Jeff put the raw water intake hose into the bucket, Thumper fired up, and I started the timer.
Continue reading “Splash, interrupted.”
As our final weekend before splash approached we compared our to-do list with the available hours in a weekend, and braced ourselves for a Very. Long. Weekend. Fortunately we got off to a flying start when we received a call from John Bayreuther on Thursday letting us know that the rudder stuffing box was finished!
John told Jeff that it took a 10 ton hydraulic puller to break it free (apparently it made quite the loud pop when it came loose) but all was well now. After hearing that, we felt a lot better about not being able to free it ourselves. It’s funny – our boat neighbors at Shenny asked us that weekend if we were all set, and when they heard what Bayreuther had to do to free the box every single one of them commented on how we must not have felt inadequate after that. I guess we’ve all been there at some point!
As we drove down bright and early on Saturday, we were excited to see how the rudder post and new hose looked. What a difference:
Continue reading “I feel like bustin’ loose, bustin’ loose!”
The pre-season projects are continuing as we count down to splash for this season. Jeff had to work on Saturday so we were only able to get in one day at Shenny on the weekend of April 21st.
Earlier in the week it looked like the weather was going to be lousy on Sunday, but we ended up with a sunny day with highs in the mid 50’s – warm enough to sand and fair the keel repair that we started last fall that was needed after we ran aground. We brought the West System manual with us since it had been a while since we last did this, but soon enough Jeff had finished fairing the keel with final touches to be applied next weekend.
Continue reading “The countdown to splash continues.”
After spending the previous weekend in Vermont, we had a three-day weekend of boat work awaiting us. Amazingly the forecast was for great weather all three days, so we were looking forward to getting a lot done. First on the priority list was to try to break the rudder stuffing box free. After all, until that project is finished we can’t go in the water.
I had posted about our dilemma on the Bristol Sailboats Facebook page and received several good suggestions, so as we drove down to Shenny on Friday I was optimistic. Jeff, not so much. Maybe because he knew that he would be the one doing all of the grunt work!
Continue reading “Time to call in the professional.”
After a very long off-season getting the house ready to sell, selling it, and moving into an apartment, we needed to get away. Typically a weekend getaway for us would be Boston or NYC, but this time we wanted something relaxing. Vermont during mud season would be perfect. Although we’ve only been there a handful of times, I have a soft spot for Vermont. It’s so relaxing. Maybe it’s the lovely topography, maybe it’s the people who are so friendly. If it wasn’t for the winters and the fact that it doesn’t border an ocean, I would seriously think about moving there.
We drove up to Bennington, Vermont after work on Friday, April 9th, and less than two hours later we were checking into the Four Chimneys Inn in Bennington, Vermont. We must already be getting used to apartment living because the room was huge! Making good use of the gas fireplace and the heated private porch, we spent the weekend recharging and reconnecting. It was fantastic.
Continue reading “It’s not always about the boat.”