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Adventures on the Club

Laughing, learning, and exploring on our Bristol 29.9, the S/V Pegu Club

Beating the heat.

The week leading up to the weekend of August 13th was hot and humid.  Temps were in the 90’s and it was thick-air-like-breathing-through-a-wet-blanket humid.  At one point I did a comparison of the temps and dew points between West Hartford and Sarasota, FL, and they were the same.  I’ll take it over winter any day, but with no air conditioning in the house I was looking forward to heading to the boat.  Unfortunately, work was interfering so heading down on Friday evening was out, but I went to work at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday in the hopes of salvaging some of the weekend, and by mid-afternoon we were driving to Shenny.

There wasn’t enough wind for a late day sail, but just being on the boat was splendid.  Significantly cooler than even standing on the lawn just 1/4 mile away, we relaxed on the mooring watching the hazy evening approach.

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The next day was HOT but there was a good breeze.  We flip-flopped on going for a sail multiple times, but ultimately decided not to because we didn’t want to bake in the sun.  Pegu Club came with a dodger (a canvas structure that covers part of the cockpit and the companionway), but she doesn’t have a bimini yet (an open front canvas top that covers the rest of the cockpit, providing protection from the sun).  Making a bimini on the Sailrite before we cut the lines in 3 years and 8 1/2 months (but who’s counting?) is on the must-do list, but for now we simply have a makeshift sun cover.

Pegu Club came with a pretty ingenious  (although a bit stained) sun cover.  Made out of white sunbrella, one end zips onto the dodger and the other end has PVC pipe for support with three lines attached so that we can tie it to the backstay and back stanchions.  You can see how it covers the cockpit in this picture from Stonington Harbor:

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Right before we left for vacation last month we MacGyvered the sun cover so we could get more sun protection on the sides.  We brought the suncover home, measured, cut, and hemmed two side panels, then installed snaps along both sides so that we could have removable side shades.

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Jeff using our mallet to hammer the snaps into place.
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Half of a snap installed in the original sun cover.

Unfortunately, we can’t sail with the sun cover up because the wind will thrash it around (hence, the need for a bimini before we head off).  So instead of sailing we enjoyed a breeze with our deluxe sun cover keeping us from baking in the cockpit while we decided on what boat chores we would take care of.

First up was cutting the vinyl covers off of the lifelines.  Right before we splashed back in April, I was chatting with SV Infinity and I saw they had bare lifelines.  The stainless sparkling in the sun looked sweet, and I told Jeff that we needed to do that with ours this season.  A bit of research turned up the fact that it was actually better for the lifelines not to be covered, because the lack of oxygen promoted corrosion.

We don’t know when our lifelines were last replaced (we’ll certainly be doing that before we head out), and we weren’t sure what condition they would be in when we cut the covers off, but we decided to go for it.  Jeff dug a razor blade out of the tool bag and an hour later we had (mostly) shiny lifelines glistening in the sun.

Vinyl covered on the left, the finished product on the right.

Once that was finished it was time to go swimming!  Jeff went in first and cleaned Pegu-teeny’s bottom while he was at it.  We didn’t put anti-fouling paint on her before we launched because we weren’t sure where the waterline was.  We figured we’d just clean her by hand, and then next season we’d know exactly where to paint her.

We had already cleaned the growth off of her bottom once this season by taking her to the sailing school boat launch and hauling her out of the water.  Once she was out we flipped her over and made quick work of the task with a bucket and scrub brush.  This time the water was warm enough that it was easier to simply take care of it while she was floating.  Well, it was easier for Jeff.  It was certainly easier for me because I remained on the boat and took pictures, commenting that this was the first of many times that we would be cleaning our boat in the water.

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Scrubbing away on Pegu-teeny.

Once that was finished I jumped in too, and we enjoyed hanging out in the water for awhile.  I have to admit, the water is warm enough to be concerned.  We’ve heard reports that the water temperature in Long Island Sound is in the mid-70’s already which is NOT helpful if a hurricane decides to make its way into our area.  We bought Little Bristol the year after Sandy, and so far we haven’t had to do any emergency haul outs.  Fingers crossed that our luck doesn’t run out this year.

Driving back to West Hartford at the end of the day, we both felt refreshed and were glad that despite work getting in the way, we were able to still get some time in that weekend on our Pegu Club.

Guests!

One of the things we’ve been looking forward to about having a bigger boat is the ability to host guests more comfortably and easily.  Since we’ve been back from vacation, that’s exactly what we’ve done.

During the weekend of July 23rd and 24th we hosted our friends Vanessa and Kurt for the first time.  They had been on Little Bristol a few times and had seen Pegu Club over the winter, but this was going to be their first visit with her all put back together.

The weekend called for sunny skies and breezy on Saturday with winds from the northwest overnight, then less windy on Sunday.  Northwest winds meant that our traditional standby anchorage of West Harbor on Fishers Island was out (too exposed), so Jeff and I had decided that we would anchor out at Ram Island by Noank.  It would be our first time there, but it looked nice and it was well-protected from the wind.

One of the many things that I love about Vanessa is that she truly enjoys spoiling us with homemade food when she sees us – whether it’s our house, their house, or the boat.  It doesn’t matter.  True to form, she and Kurt arrived on Saturday morning with a cooler full of scrumptious meals and snacks.  We sailed out towards Fishers Island with plans to sail along the coastline, round Latimer Light, and head back towards Ram Island.

A brisk breeze pushed us from behind as we went down Fishers Island sailing with just the genoa out.  I noticed the wind gauge and the whitecaps, but it wasn’t particularly pronounced sailing downwind.  Once we got ready to turn around towards Ram Island, however – whoa Nelly!

Continue reading “Guests!”

Vacation, part 2: O.k. I guess we’re not going to Narragansett.

Tuesday, July 12th (yes, I’m behind on my blog posts) we set sail for Newport.  The winds were supposed to start off light and then fill in, so we ghosted along the coast of Fishers Island under the jib alone, and headed out through Watch Hill Passage.

The promised winds arrived, but unfortunately they were right up our bum so we were crawling along at 3 1/2 knots.  Upon turning into the wind to raise the mainsail so we could switch to wing and wing, we realized just how good the wind was so we made a command decision to bang a right and head to Block Island instead.  Sure it was the middle of the summer, but it was Tuesday.  How crowded could it be?

Continue reading “Vacation, part 2: O.k. I guess we’re not going to Narragansett.”

Vacation, part one: We’re going where the wind takes us!

As we drove down to Shenny on Friday, July 8th we were psyched. We were finally taking Pegu Club on vacation for 11 days!  Traditionally we take vacation after Labor Day when school is back in session and everything is much quieter.  Work changes meant that wouldn’t be possible this year, however, so a vacation in July was going to be something new for us.

The initial plan was to sail Pegu Club to Martha’s Vineyard, but since I really don’t like going to crowded places we decided Martha’s in July wasn’t such a great idea.  We decided instead that we would go wherever the wind blew us.  The hope was to get a lot of sailing in so we could continue to get comfortable with Pegu Club.  The only firm plans we had were for the first weekend, when we were going to Stonington with two other couples from Shenny.

Continue reading “Vacation, part one: We’re going where the wind takes us!”

Fourth of July weekend: watching our first dragging boat – but fortunately not ours!

Fourth of July weekend arrived with sunny skies, warm temperatures, and on Saturday, a small craft warning.  Sigh.  We had planned to go for a sail around Fishers Island Sound and then anchor in West Harbor for the long weekend, but it looked like Saturday was now going to be set aside for small boat projects.  Beginning on Sunday, however, things were going to be looking up!

The main thing we wanted to get accomplished on Saturday was to come up with a way to make our swim ladder more user-friendly.  Pegu Club came with a nice removable swim ladder.  As I had unfortunately discovered last August, it was really hard to climb out of the water because the ladder legs are all the same length while the hull curves inward.  New ladders are pretty pricy, so we were hoping to come up with a cheap way to fix it.

Jeff (aka MacGyver) had a great idea using PVC and two tennis balls.  A quick measure of the outer diameter of the existing legs on the ladder, a short trip to Home Depot for the PVC with the inner diameter matching the outer diameter of the ladder legs  (we already had the tennis balls), a little sawing, and voila: Continue reading “Fourth of July weekend: watching our first dragging boat – but fortunately not ours!”

Ghosting and hull speed – a weekend of contrasts.

It was a weekend of windy contrasts.  We had hoped to sail to Montauk this past weekend, but we had no intention of heading there if it was going to be a motor fest so our backup plan was to go to the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport.

After a great night’s sleep on the boat, I woke up first on Saturday morning and immediately checked the weather.  When Jeff woke up he asked what the plan was.  “We’re going to the Wooden Boat Show.”  Even though it was sunny, warm, and beautiful, Saturday’s forecast was for 5 knots of wind, and Sunday wasn’t looking much better at the moment.  No worries.  We’re still on the boat!

After getting back from the boat show we decided to take Pegu Club out to see just how little wind we need to get her moving.  Pegu Club came with a large furling genoa which is not bad for light winds, although we are planning to get a drifter before we head out which will be even better. Continue reading “Ghosting and hull speed – a weekend of contrasts.”

Finally! A day with some decent wind.

As far as the wind goes, this has been a frustrating season so far.  We’ve either had no wind or too much (as in, 25-30 mph too much).  While we wouldn’t mind getting some practice in some 20+ winds, we’d like to get a bit more familiar with Pegu Club first.  There’s also the issue of the waves on Long Island Sound when it gets very windy because they get quite close together which is hard on the boat and its sailors.

The weekend of June 11 and 12 was a perfect example of what we’ve been experiencing.  Saturday was a nice day, but there was zero wind.  We spent the day relaxing on the boat (Jeff even took an afternoon nap), and we also worked a bit on our mast wiring.  For some reason the mast lights weren’t working even though they had worked when we tested them over the winter.  Jeff put on some new connectors which did the trick, except for the spreader light which is blinking on and off.  Fortunately it’s the least important light for the moment. Continue reading “Finally! A day with some decent wind.”

There are two kinds of sailors: those who have run aground, and those who will.

Another variation on the phrase is “There are two kinds of sailors: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.”  Whichever one you prefer, we joined the first club on Saturday.

Saturday didn’t have much wind and Sunday was forecast to be rainy, so our primary goal for the weekend as we drove down to the boat on Saturday morning was to give Pegu Club a bath.  In the final push to get the barrier coat and bottom paint on her before we launched, certain tasks needed to be skipped.  One of them included washing Pegu Club’s deck, and she was turning into a dirty girl.

I was not looking forward to taking her to the wash-down dock.  I think I’ve mentioned it before: we’re mooring people.  I definitely don’t like docking.  I’m always convinced that I’m going to ram into the dock at 100 mph and break the boat in half, with accompanying explosions so that the entire club burns down.  O.k.  I exaggerate a bit, but I really don’t like docking.  I know it’s one of those things where you only get better with practice, but it’s hard to make myself practice when it makes me so nervous.   Continue reading “There are two kinds of sailors: those who have run aground, and those who will.”

Memorial Day Weekend on Block Island: “I wish it was windier” said no one on Block!

This past weekend marked our fourth annual sailing trip to Block Island.  We had spent the prior windless Saturday installing our solar panel (the subject of a future post), and Sunday was mostly windless so we continued doing small projects and getting the boat ready for our mini-vacation.  We were psyched because the weather forecast for the holiday weekend looked great and we were going to be hosting our friends Vanessa and Kurt for two nights – our first overnight guests of the season!

Jeff and I had taken a few extra days off to get a jump start on the holiday weekend, so on Wednesday we drove down to Shenny.  It was a sunny, warmish day with great winds, and we were really looking forward to seeing how Pegu Club would do. Continue reading “Memorial Day Weekend on Block Island: “I wish it was windier” said no one on Block!”

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