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Posts from the ‘Mischief Managed’ Category

Another Spring —

So, it must be sailing season!

Well, the calendar says it’s Spring, and the forecast seems to confirm that. Temperatures are rising, but not yet safe from overnight cold. Meanwhile, Spring boat chores are underway. With a new to me boat acquired less than a year ago, the to do list is lengthy. Some of it is cosmetic, but some more substantial. An engine tech is currently working on replacing a leaking water muffler – hopefully done this week. The canvass shop is modifying my main sail cover. The cabin and all storage spaces have been emptied and cleaned — now to organize gear and supplies that will be needed for the sailing season.

Fortunately, a sailing friend has volunteered some time to help work thru the list beginning this week. Water at the marina gets turned on in a few days. Freshwater tankage and AC lines will get flushed and engine run to clear antifreeze from the lines. A trip to the pump out station will have Mischief ready to sail.

The first trip was a run down the Bay to Galesville. Home port is moving from Bodkin YC to West River Yacht Harbor. Improved logistics and proximity to a number of other Hunter sailors are the primary reasons. We’ll stay social members of the Bodkin YC.

Three significant plans are in the works for the season. First, I’m entering Mischief in the West River Wednesday nite races – non-spinnaker class. Working on lining up crew now. Second, my helpful boat friend is purchasing a 40ft trawler that currently resides in the St Lawrence river (upstate NY). So, I get to help bring her down to the Bay via Lake Erie, the Erie Canal, Hudson River, off-shore to Cape May, up the Delaware Bay and Down the Chesapeake to her home slip. Looks like a fun 2 week cruise. Third, a float plan is in the works for a cruise around the perimeter of the Chesapeake stopping at interesting harbors/anchorages along the way. That an occasional Club cruises should make for a full sailing season.

Tuesday April 4th was a beautiful sunny and warm day to be on the water although the winds were right on the nose as we moved Mischief south to Galesville. Cleared the bridge early PM, and made it into the slip — with no help from strong winds – about 4pm. All in all a good day!

‘It gets easier, as we get older’…..

Or so the song goes – ‘…to say, not today’. It’s my new favorite Willie Nelson song. [  A good way to think about shifting priorities with age, and maybe why we’re seen as getting cranky by some! In any event, it seems to fit the aging sailing skippers that I know – and I’ll own up to it as well.

I do notice that the physical requirements of managing a cruising sailboat are becoming more apparent. Still manageable, but not as easy as in recent seasons.  My single-handing days are not yet over, but I do plan to open the boat to more frequent crew this coming season. Finding and selecting compatible crew is a task that demands attention and time.  I’ve taken it on over winter to get acquainted with interested folks figuring those that would also take the time now are likely serious about sailing opportunities. A slow process so far, but promising!

In parallel to the crew search is the process of preparing a ‘new-to-me’ Hunter 33.5. She’s an older boat, but in solid condition.

Recent engine service and winterizing by a professional tech has been a bit pricey (what boat related work isn’t) but well worth it. It provided an opportunity to learn a lot about the lay out and especially the plumbing.  At least I now know where all the thru hulls are located 😊. Some fitting modifications of the cockpit canvass surround is done. The below deck inventory and storage plan is well along. Managed to build a set of companionway doors to replace the annoying drop boards…

The serious above deck and hull cleaning and waxing is a Spring project, along with some minor gelcoat repairs.  Maybe a trade off with some crew help? Also need to get the new name (Mischief) and port-of-call (Annapolis, MD) affixed to the hull.

Meanwhile, at home I’m spending time developing cruising plans. I started looking at the Downeast circle, mapping out routes and working out equipment and boat modifications that would be needed. Then reality struck following a chat with a friend who just made that trip – 4,000nm and 4 months among other considerations took that off the table.  I’ll get to hear more details when he presents a seminar next month. A cruise up to the Maine coast is still alive on the planning table. If not, then extended cruises exploring the many anchorages around the Chesapeake will pretty well fill the season. Over the years, I’ve visited most all the popular spots and some less so – all worth going back to. Then there’s always a circumnavigation of the DelMarVa peninsula which I’ve done twice and provides a bit of off shore sailing.  Also, have two extra sails I haven’t flown, including a gennaker. Looking forward to experimenting.  Had my first spinnaker experience in the Fall races on another person’s boat – including a broach ☹

Just survived the first winter cold front with temps down to 0 degrees f and high winds. Boat managed with a small heater on board. Appreciated the weather updates from my friends who sailed south – not! Past the winter solstice so lengthening days and warmer weather nor too far away…..

Coming home

Paperwork done – she’s mine now. Time to get her to home port at Bodkin Yacht Club. Dean, the buyer of my previous boat Valinor II, volunteered to help with the delivery. We picked a favorable south wind day with lots of sunshine.

I previously completed all the setup of dock lines in the new slip and arranged them to ease the arrival. The slip is outside facing the creek making for a simple entry.

The sail up the Bay from below the Bay bridge at Annapolis met with varied wind conditions. The course was mostly straight north.

The Departure from the West River all the way up to the Bay bridge met with steady south wind around 5kts, so a motor sail trip. With engine and some wind assist, we made about 6kts over ground even with a slight outgoing tide. (Note: the plan was for a motor sail regardless of wind to test out the engine)

North of the bridge the wind picked to 10-18kts. That provided a good chance to take her off the downwind course and try out a fun beam reach … and fun it was. She sailed well and solid with moderate heel.

At the entrance to Bodkin Creek, we dropped sails and headed in through a narrow entry channel seeing a bit less than 6ft depth for our 4.5ft draft. Once through the entrance, it was an easy run up the creek to the Club and her home slip.  A few members on hand helped with lines and she was secured quickly — time for a beverage – or two – to celebrate!

Persistence Pays

That’s what I said in my last post, and for once I was right.  Success was achieved by following all reasonable sources in the yacht brokerage world on a daily basis. For some reason, the inventory of used boats is very low at this time. I speculate that, as we came to end of the covid ‘lock down’, folks decided the future was less certain and it was time to enjoy the present. Good decision to my way of thinking.

So, a new to me boat joins my list of things to enjoy NOW.   She’s a 1989 Hunter 33.5.   She’s exceptionally well equipped both for sailing capability and cruising comfort.  The short list of projects mostly revolve around detail cleaning and organizing while I learn a new boat – always an adventure.

Part of the transition process involves renaming, which means deciding on a name. Previous boats were Valinor and Valinor II – the name derived from Lord of the Rings in which Valinor was the undying lands to which the heros went at the end of the tale. Valinor III was an option but passed on as I didn’t want confusion with Valinor II now owned by a nearby sailing friend.  To stay in the same imaginative world, I picked ‘Mischief’.  For those that know the tale, you will recognize the ‘Mischief Managed’ quote which, when spoken, would instantly hide the printing on the Marauder’s Map. I will be very careful to avoid that with respect to nautical charts…….  There will, of course, be an appropriate renaming ceremony to avoid Poseidon’s wrath with all the right words and beverage(s).

So, for all those in the Chesapeake Bay area – look (out) for Mischief (the boat that is) on the water soon.