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.


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.

Continue reading “Our first Gam.”

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.”


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!”

Docking on our own – and an engine decision.

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.”

It takes a village to dock a boat.

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.”

Cockpit cushions (and an engine update)

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)”