This what the prop of one boat looked like when it was hauled out. The bottom of this boat was spectacular. It looked like it had grown hair. The owner divulged that he hadn't hauled and cleaned the bottom for 5 years!!! We were impressed.
Sunday was haul-out day at Raritan Yacht Club. Sadly it signals the end of the sailing season and the beginning of the "got-to-go-work-on-the-bloody-boat" season. As ever it's a jolly affair where 30 or so members gather, a very large crane is rented for the day and 20-25 sailboats are hauled up and put on stands for the winter.
Unlikelast year it was pretty uneventful. No brides went swimming. The 30 experts were pretty subdued. I didn't get barked at once. The trick this year was not actually hauling my boat out.
This year, I am having the boat towed over to a boatyard where I will pay a bit more but can have someone who actually knows what they are doing (i.e. not me) work on the @#!%&$ing outboard.
Not only does the ignition need replacing (OK I could do this) but I need to replace the bracket which is at the end of its life. Not something I want to bugger up.
I am determined to have a working outboard for more than 2 weeks next year, although Alice and I have become pretty good at sailing on and off the mooring.
As the proud owner parent of teenage boy, ...er young man, I have found the various accomplishments and announcements of some notable of teenagers in the sailing world a little troubling.
Back in my day any self-respecting teenager would be out getting pissed* on Specila Brew**, living off chili kebabs, looking for any opportunity of a snog**, worrying about acne or listening to the dulce tones of the Stranglers, The Jam or the anthem of my youth, Teenage Kicks by the Undertones. Ah those halcion days!
What does the youth of the day do? Sail around the world! I ask you.
First there was that young Zac Sunderland. Bloody troublemaker. Youngest person to sail round the world, doing a circumnavigation in an old Topper modified in his Dad's garage for blue water sailing.Then some English teenager, Mike Perham, whose birthday was a bit later in the year than Zac saved his pocket money, did the paper round for a few years and cashed in his savings bonds to buy an Open 70 or something like that. Then about half an hour after young Zac has made it round the world, Mike completes his first circumnavigation. Zac must have been peeved.
Next thing we hear about is that two Dutch parents, fresh from a Sunsail vacation, are being prosecuted by the International Court of Human Rights for allowing their 13 year old daughter to announce that she wants to sail around the world. Hey, she completed her RYA, parts 1, 2 and 3 in a week.
Now we hear that Jessica Watson a 16 year old Australian is being dissuaded from doing a circumnavigation when all she did was give a 63,000 tonne a freighter a glancing blow. It's not like it felt anything. Come on Australia, where's your sense of adventure.
OK, all joking aside, I was fine with all of this but I started to wonder when I heard about Mike Perham's latest adventure. He has signed up to sail on the Bountyboat.
What's the Bounty Boat? Well if you are too lazy to click on the link above I will tell you. The Bounty Boat is the adventure of salty, bearded looking Tasmanian, Don McIntyre who looks like he could handle himself in a typhoon. Don has decided to retrace the famous voyage when Bligh and 17 other unfortunate crew-mates were cast adrift by Fletcher Christian during the mutiny on the Bounty. Let me tell you, that was no week long cruise in the BVI. Here is the gist of it:
April 28, 2010 Marks the 221st anniversary of the Mutiny on the Bounty,
when Fletcher Christian cast William Bligh and 18 of his men adrift in
a 23ft open boat, which marked the beginning of one of the greatest
open boat voyages in maritime history. During the following seven
weeks, Bligh and his men sailed over 3,700 nautical miles, in an overloaded boat, with little food or water and no charts, from Tonga to Kupang in Timor.
Personally I think it's crazy enough that he is planning to reenact the voyage but taking a teenager too... Is this wise? OK Mike Perham is already probably a tougher, more experienced than most of us will ever be but it makes me wonder if things have gone a little far.
I love Fall sailing. Sad though it is that it presages putting the boat away, sailing in the Northeast in late September and October can be spectacular with winds in the teens, temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s, clear visibility and leaves turning on the banks of Raritan Bay.
I had three great sails in the last two weeks. Two Sundays ago was the Lightouse Race, our club’s annual 25 mile race round the 4 lighthouses of Raritan Bay and the entrance to NY Harbor. I sailed on Knot Again, a 34’ C&C. Although there was almost no wind at the start, the wind picked up by noon and we had a steady 15 kts for the 5 hours it took to do the Lighthouse circuit. The early light air did not favor us and we were in catch-up mode the whole way round.
On Saturday, I raced on Knot Again again, this time in a 8 mile cruisers’ race. There 8 boats in the race and we finished second. The wind was blasting the whole way round. We had 15kts of true wind and an apparent wind in the lows 20s. It was outstanding.
On Sunday, Alice and I took Messing About out for a few hours round the bay. The winds were light to start with but by 12:30 the winds were up in the teens and we were cooking.
On the way back, we sailed back and forth at the upwind mark of the RYC Hospice Cup, our club's annual Fall regatta. We had front-row seats as the J105s and J30s made the turn and raised spinnakers. Spectacular!
Picking up the mooring was challenging as it was blowing about 15kts. As ever we had to sail up to the mooring stick, Alice at the helm and me running forward to get the stick. The wind was gusting and we missed it 3 times but Alice has become confident on the helm and tacked us back forth until I could grab it.
It may be our last sail of the season and it will be a great way to remember sailing in 2009.
A few weeks ago, I realized that Alice was being short-changed on sailing. I had been racing a bit but had not taken the missus out on Messing About for several weeks. On a whim one Saturday, we headed down to the club for an afternoon sail.
There was no one around at the club and Raritan Bay was light on traffic of any kind – a few fishing boats, the occasional tug and a couple of other sailboats. Readers of this blog will know that our sailboat, a 26’ S2 Messing About has many virtues but a working engine is not one of them. Over the summer, Alice and I have become proficient at sailing on and off the mooring. At the risk of jinxing it, we have sailed in and out of a crowded mooring field without hitting anything and picking up the mooring first time mostly.
The wind was unusually light. The current was ebbing and quite strong. I gave it one look and suggested we sit and wait. Alice gave me a look that questioned my manhood, pointing out that there other boats were out sailing. So off we sailed. Well sorta.
It was more a case of floating with the current with the sails up. As the mooring field is on the edge of a busy shipping channel that tankers navigate fairly often, I suggested we drop the hook for a while.
About 30 minutes later, it looked like the wind was filling in from the Southeast so we started sailing again. The wind verrrrrrry light and it felt like half our speed over the ground was from the current. After a mile of this, I suggested to Alice that we turn back. Without an outboard, I was concerned that we would have to wait for the tide to turn to get home.
At this point the wind died entirely. The bay was millpond-like. I dropped the hook again.
Every five minutes a puff would blow out of the two rivers that converge in front of our mooring field. Alice and I got into a rhythm of watching a puff head towards us, raising the anchor and with the sails sheeted in tight and flat wait for the light puff to move us 200-300 yards then drop the anchor again. We literally clawed our way back to the mooring field.
Picking up the mooring was especially interesting as the Northern end of the fleet is in the current coming out of Arthur Kill that flows from the North into the Eastern end of the Bay. The Southern end of the fleet is moored in the current from the Raritan River that flows West into the Easter end of the Bay. Our mooring is right in the middle o the fleet where the two currents converge making it very tricky to use the currents to drift in a predictable direction towards our mooring stick. After 30 minutes or so of laying the puffs and figuring out the currents and light air and drifted slowwwwwly up to our mooring.
Not the most invigorating sail but satisfying all the same.