In normal years the winds grow stronger in September and October. But so far in 2021 that has largely not been the case. So while I enjoyed my companions on each day sail, the winds have been less than stellar.
And the riddle of the mainsail batten slide has not yet been solved, though some progress has been made. The photo above shows the “stack” of black slides on the rail on the aft side of the mast. The smaller ones attach to the sail by a webbed strap. And the larger ones by a black plastic piece. The latter are needed to bear the weight and force of battens which give shape to the sail.
And it is one of the larger heavier ones that came off the track, and apart, being held, upside down (they swivel) by my friend in this next pic.
Harken now sells a newer model, in which the clevis and cotter pin connection has been replaced with a bolt and nut. And my contact there referred to ball bearings, that may have escaped. I will have to take this one off the sail, examine more closely and ask about older models.
First, a two hour circumnavigation of Hart Island with the Old Salts. John and David:
I missed a picture of Sarah, but caught her the next time.
Next I sailed with Lloyd and Rhoda on their Catalina, “Jazz Sail”. We sailed almost all the way around City Island, to the north side of the low bridge, to fuel the boat. And again, I missed taking their picture.
Third was the best sail of the four, wind wise, with three friends, Darshan, Jose and John.
We were close hauled to the Whitestone Bridge and then broad reached back.
And the fourth sail was with the Old Salts again, aboard Bennett’s “Ohana”. It turned out to be the last Old Salts outing of the year because of my error in not checking on a spare fuel filter and hence not having a usable engine the next Wednesday. This was more of a float than a sail; we motored out to the Sound seeking the 5-7 knots of wind that had been forecast, but even with the big colorful code zero sail aloft, we never achieved boat speed of more than one knot — and then the “wind” died — and we were floating out toward Block Island with the tide before turning on the diesel. But good company and having no fear of heeling we broke out the wine while underway. Here are Beau, Phillip and Bennett,
and Sarah, David and Anne.
In my idiosyncratic and highly personal system for categorizing days, a Sail day is any day that I sail (or float) or live aboard any boat. Any day that includes such activities with others is given the highest priority of Sail day. Next come the Work days, those spent working on ILENE but not sailing or living aboard her. And the lowest category is the Other days, involving work on other boats or at the club, meetings, social or cultural events and the like.
My Other day was planned as a work day, but There was very good wind and Bennett sang a siren song that I had not the will to resist: “Let’s sail”. So the W day became a S day. But hold on— it became an O day in the end with some repairs we did to Ohana: sanded primed and painted the shift lever box at the starboard side of the binnacle and mixed up and applied some two part epoxy to fill small holes in the topside gel coat to port.
The two W days, a total of seven hours, were very much a contrast between success and otherwise. My mission on the first was to filter out the water and transfer diesel fuel from the forward fuel tank to the aft one. By engine hours since the last fill up in New London, it was running low. But the “repaired” brass hand pump I intended to use, still did not work. So I put in the two gallons from the yellow Gerry can, closed the ports and put the cockpit sole back into place. And I bought a newer stronger, battery operated pump to do the job next time.
The other task was the oil change, but having drained the old black oil and removed the dirty filter, I found that I did not have the clean replacement filter needed so work stopped until the replacements I have since ordered arrive. So it was not total failure: progress was made — but neither task was completed. A third task also was not completed but resulted in a pleasant unanticipated prize. I took everything out of the two storage spaces behind the cabin’s starboard settees in a search for the rubber cover for the “fast idle” button on the gear shifter. I had found both the metal button and the cover and put the cover in a safe place, but that place was not one of the two I searched. The prize? I had lost a box full of fuses about three years ago and had bought a few small new ones in the interim. But the lost box was in the searched place, atop a fuel hose so I had not found it until now. I better organized the rats nest, e.g., all small pieces of wood combined in one bag, all cherry bungs in another, etc.
Before the second work day, I had been filled with trepidation and regret that I had ruined the water maker by not flushing it often enough and would be unable to winterize it without paying Bryan, the friendly mechanic, to drive to City Island from Newport to do it for me as I had to do several years ago. The Spectra Ventura 150 is an expensive toy and I’d hate to lose it. But with careful preparation and reading, I got the job done with only two short free calls and a thank you text to Bryan. I had been losing sleep with anxiety, and shame and hence was elated. I also completed the other scheduled task of the day: scrubbing dried fish guts from the starboard midships topside, the seagulls’ chosen restaurant this year. I’ll never accuse our cats of being messy eaters again.
Ilene’s hauling date has been set for October 20 or 21.
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