A Tale of Two Bays
It began as a simple, short 20nm run down Bay. Weather forecast called for favorable ENE wind 5-10kts. Slip neighbor volunteered to come along. Purpose was to get the autopilot checked out … drive not turning the wheel.
It was a sunny day. We got an early start (8am) and motored out to the main channel in a good breeze on the nose, then turned south and began setting sail….
That’s when Poseidon stepped in. It must be payback for something I neglected. As it turns out, that was exactly right.
An hour out, the engine gurgled to a stop.
I discovered that three of the mainsail slides got slipped in the mast track upside down….makes raising the sail against that friction something of a challenge. Also, it was worrisome for getting it down.
The upside…we were sailing. But the forecast had begun to fail. Winds built to the east…a nice beam reach now, but in 2 to 4ft waves. It was a bouncy ride, and slowly the pieces made sense.
Old fuel in the tank. Significant wave action. Fuel filter clogged with algae…thus the motor’s decision to take a break.
By now we were making really good time sailing at 5 to 6.5kts and steering over some of the bigger waves. Next step was a plan for arrival in Back Creek (Annapolis). Very familiar water. It was my former home Port. Easy to sail in to the dock. Not so easy to be sure we could stop…softly! [For non-sailors reading this…sailboats, unlike cars and power boats, dont have brakes, and we’d lost the power option.]
Solution: call Towboat US. A very nice captain delivered us the last 15mins of the 5 hour trip to the dock.
Now safely deposited at my old dock with local friends to help. Day 1-2, E-tech found the autopilot problem. Answer: Send control unit to Raymarine for repair. Called my friendly tech from past winter’s work to sort out engine issue. Two visits to change fuel filter and get engine running….success.
Days 3-4, Putter (that’s a nautical term) around boat doing small jobs that had been put off, and visit with my former slip neighbor and other local boat friends.
Day 5, Weather forecast called for 5-10 kts from the South…sounds familiar. I was skeptical, but woke to a calm, sunny day. As for Poseidon’s pay back…when I bought the boat about a year previous, it had sat unmoved for over a year with a partial tank of fuel. My bad for not getting it clean then. Lesson learned. Take note if you’re buying a used boat.
Schedule has Clean Fuel coming about 11am, so a noon to 1pm departure seemed likely. Well, it turned into a 3pm departure after what appeared to be considerable problems with the pumping system transferring/filtering the fuel.
(Still Day 5) South winds 5 to 10 kt. Waves 1 ft. Isolated showers in the morning, then scattered showers with isolated t’storms in the afternoon. Ok, at 6am that last part about t’storms wasn’t in the forecast.
The late start to the north raised concerns about the PM t’storms. Seems they were moving northeast and we never caught up – good news!
The Bay giveth and the Bay taketh away. All the hassles of the southbound trip were replaced by a wonderful downwind cruise in near ideal conditions. The 5hr run down turned into a 4hr return with 5-18kts on our stern and waves less than 1ft. The only excitement was another close encounter with a northbound tanker at the Bay bridge. Kindly let him go first. As a matter of interest, tankers headed for the bridge announced that transit 20mins out.
On the approach to MYC, as we drooped sails, more good news – the engine started easily!
All in all, a good week on the water if a bit on the pricey side, but then this is a sailboat we’re talking about.