“You just can’t rush these things.”

Based on our experience in every single sailing vacation we’ve had, I’m giving up on making destination plans as long as we’re on a schedule.  We have yet to actually go where we were planning or hoping, and this vacation was no exception.

Initially this was going to be the year we made it to Martha’s.  But then we needed to have measurements taken for our new sails, and scheduling dictated that it was going to occur one week into our 11 day trip.  Scratch Martha’s off of the list.

How about Narragansett instead?  That would have been lovely, but the week was filled with repeated small craft advisories and we would have had to come back with the wind on the nose and 6 foot seas.  Forget it.

Fine.  We’ll go to Long Island.  Nope.  See the above small craft advisories with wind on the nose and choppy seas.

Continue reading ““You just can’t rush these things.””

This and that – and vacation prep!

We’ve been spending the past few weekends doing a mix of sailing and little projects. The weekend of August 12th we simply had to get away from the dock.  Saturday was going to be windless (unfortunately the lack of wind has been a recurring theme this season), so on Friday after work we sped down to Shenny so we could head over to West Harbor for the weekend.  We were all ready to go when we turned the key to start the engine and – nothing. Not even a click. Hmm. This was new. Batteries on? Yep. Has the wire come loose from the starter? Nope.  Argh!  Did this mean we were going to be stuck at the dock for yet another weekend?

Continue reading “This and that – and vacation prep!”

Boat Projects: Triple the time, double the cost.

We decided to replace the deck fill hose that leads to the water tanks.  It wasn’t something that we HAD to do – we had simply been filling both tanks through their ports – but it would make the task a little easier because we wouldn’t have to remove the v-berth cushions to get to the v-berth tank.

It seemed like an easy project.  Take off the 40 year old hose, put on a new one.  Shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, max.  When will we ever learn?

Continue reading “Boat Projects: Triple the time, double the cost.”

Anchoring, and preparing for a big project.

The week leading up to Friday, July 21st was hot and humid. Not that I was complaining about it.  I may comment on the heat and humidity, but I’ll never complain because it beats the heck out of winter any day!  Although it was a bit more mild on the water as compared to West Hartford, being on the dock didn’t offer much relief so the plan was to get the heck out of dodge.

Saturday the 22nd was a hot, humid, and windless day, but West Harbor on Fishers Island is always the perfect fallback in these situations.  We can motor there in under an hour.  Even I – the woman who hates motoring – can tolerate that, so that’s how we found ourselves dropping the hook for our first overnight anchor of the season.

Continue reading “Anchoring, and preparing for a big project.”

Hey! We CAN sleep in the v-berth!

There was no wind on the weekend of July 15th.  And when I say no wind, I mean none.  Of course that doesn’t mean that we didn’t head down to the boat anyway.  Skipping a weekend would be crazy talk!

So what do we do when there isn’t any wind?  Take care of some boat chores of course.  First up was to fix an issue with the support under the cabin sole that we had recently discovered.  The supporting piece that holds up the sole hatch had sunk down approximately 1/2″, sinking the sole in that general area with it (but only a fraction of an inch). You can see Jeff’s pinkie finger under the trim piece.

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The bulkhead wasn’t affected, but we suspected it was the source of a very loud creaking sound when we walked over that area, and we wanted to fix it before it got worse.

After getting some advice from the Bristol Sailboats Facebook page (including from a fellow Bristol 29.9 owner who had made the same repair), we got to work.  Jeff used a lever to raise it and inserted some temporary shims to hold it in place so he could drill some new screw holes.  It sounds like a quick and easy job, but of course it’s a boat.  Our drill was about an inch too long to fit into the available space, so we borrowed one from the club “garage” which gave us about half an inch to spare.

After Jeff drilled pilot holes he successfully drilled in the first screw.  Then while he was inserting the second screw the 40 year old wood cracked.  Damn.  Well that ended up being all for naught.  After pondering what to do, we decided to insert plastic shims which we will epoxy into place at a later date.  With that job finally done, we next turned our attention to the v-berth.

Continue reading “Hey! We CAN sleep in the v-berth!”

Let’s go to Three Mile Harbor! O.k., let’s not.

As we drove down to Shenny on Friday, July 7th we had already decided that we were going to Three Mile Harbor on Saturday to anchor out overnight.  It was going to be a nice weekend and it looked like we would have some wind for sailing.  

We wanted to catch slack tide at the Race so we left before the wind picked up and motored for an hour, but eventually the breeze started filling in so we turned off Thumper and settled in for a nice sail.  As we sailed past Gardiner’s Island, the wind increased from the predicted 10-12 to a steady 18 knots and the water was getting choppy but we were quite comfortable on a beam reach.  That day we learned something new about Pegu Club.  When the wind hits 18 close hauled she definitely needs a reef, but it’s not necessary on a beam reach.  Good to know.

The only problem with our sporty sail was that we were going to need to make a 45 degree turn to port and then sail straight for several more miles to Three Mile Harbor.  Where was the wind coming from?  Why the port of course.   Continue reading “Let’s go to Three Mile Harbor! O.k., let’s not.”

Vacation (part two): also known as the week I lost all faith in NOAA.

Wednesday morning NOAA was calling for 8-10 knots as we prepared to head from Stonington to Shelter Island.  Since the wind was going to howl on Thursday, the plan was to pick up a mooring at Shelter Island and spend the day in Greenport, then continue our journey on Friday.  Not so much.

We were enjoying a nice sail through Fishers Island Sound with approximately 10 knots of wind, but when we were out of the shelter of Fishers Island the 8-10 knots turned into a steady 18-20.  What the??  I suspect 18-20 is a lot more comfortable in other areas, but on Long Island Sound the water turns into a bit of a washing machine.  Combine that with having to sail close-hauled, and this was not going to be our idea of a good time.  In fact, it was looking like a repeat of last year’s slog from Block Island to Three Mile Harbor.  

Continue reading “Vacation (part two): also known as the week I lost all faith in NOAA.”

Vacation (part one): It’s about time!

Due to vacation availability and our schedules, June 24th through July 2nd marked our first vacation in eleven months – we were WAY overdue!  The plan was to head to Block Island on Saturday morning and then spend the rest of the week in Narragansett, but we have learned in the past that vacation plans are written in sand.  This one proved to be no different.

We started improvising right away on Saturday when we woke up to pouring rain.  Because we had spent the previous weekend at the SSCA Gam in Essex, we still had several things to take care of before we could leave: put in our reefing lines, insert cotter pins and tape the turnbuckles, top off our water tanks, fix the wind instrument, buy a dinghy at Defender, etc.  Wait a minute!  Buy a dinghy at Defender?  Yes, after thinking about it for several months we had reluctantly come to the conclusion that we needed to sell our beloved Pegu-teeny and buy a – gasp! – inflatable.

Continue reading “Vacation (part one): It’s about time!”

Our first Gam.

Last fall when we went to the Newport Boat Show we joined the Seven Seas Cruising Association.  According to its website, the SSCA is the oldest and largest worldwide organization supporting the live aboard cruising community.  Its members consist of people who are cruising, who have cruised, or who are planning to cruise.  We had thought about joining in the past, and after spending some time talking with some SSCA members at the booth we signed up without hesitation.

In addition to offering camaraderie, a great monthly bulletin, and access to helpful hosts around the world at various “cruising stations”, the SSCA also has annual Gams at many locations – including Essex, which is just 40 minutes from West Hartford.  The Essex Gam is a weekend-long event that brings together members to meet, share information, and listen to a number of speakers who give presentations on assorted topics.  We were very much looking forward to our first Gam, so on the weekend of June 17-18 we found ourselves driving to Essex instead of Shenny.

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Settling in for the season.

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.”