I started the day by passing my city buildings department inspection, then passing my new insurance carriers inspection, followed by a service call from the cable company. Anyone else want to join the parade through the basement? Then I showed two apartments.
Moving on with my day, I took New Job to New Bedford for the first time. Based on what I could see of her performance in Wareham yesterday, I though she could handle Clark's Cove in low seas and medium winds. Today had just that. 1 foot waves at the point of Fort Rodman and blowing 10-12 from the West.
I sailed from West Rodney French around the tip of Fort Rodman, a close encounter with the Butler Flats lighthouse and then north towards the Hurricane Barrier. I followed a tug boat into the Harbor and here I was, on the other side of the "Barrier". It is about a 140ft opening you need to sail through. There is a strong current and it was working in my favor on the way in.
I sailed over to the Pope's Island Marina and the Rt 6 swing bridge. I encountered a cat rigged dinghy sailing along and the guy was about my same age. Holy Crap! A like minded soul! We chatted a bit and I admired the nice job he and his girlfriend just did on restoring his boat. I hope to hear from him because I have no local sailing buddies that are actually my age. Not complaining, but it would be nice!
One of the topics that came up was how I was going to get back out of the Hurricane Barrier. Strong currents, tides, blah, blah, blah. You know, the kind of stuff that never gets in my way!
I told him that I was going to just try and try and try. And that is what I did... After the third failed attempt and having not even mad it to the midway point, I decided it was time to pucker up and kiss some motor boater owner ass.
Once again third times was the charm. After two failed attempts at eagerly waving at vessels of the right size to tow me, a well dressed guy in a Boston Whaler slowed down and came along sides. He seemed to "get it" without me needing to explain much of the predicament I was in. That was funny in itself. Then came the wave goodbye to my new friend who was staying inside the Barrier. He is taking pictures with a big smile on. I'd much rather be the amusement for a fellow sailor than someone sitting on their lakeside porch (a la Lake Winnipesaukee run aground)
Once on the ocean side of the Barrier, I let the guy know that was enough of a tow for me. In thanking him, I said "You have to be one of the coolest motor boaters in town. Thanks for the help man!". He replied, grinning: "Actually, I'm a sailor too. This is just my other toy." We both got a pretty good laugh at that.
As fun as the day had been so far, I needed to now re-sail around the Fort and back to West Rodney French. It has to be five miles or so and I didn't get out of the seawall until about 6pm. It's mainly upwind this time. The weather was perfect though. I had waterproof gear that I switch into as the boat started to make spray as we went into the wind and the small waves.
Little did I know that a buddy of mine was actually further out pretty much right in front of me on a 68 foot sailboat working as crew. We had discussed meeting up later to take advantage of the full moon for a night sail.
The sunset and i realized that I didn't have my regular glasses with me, just my sunglasses. So I could pick, dark and crisp vs blurry and brighter. What a choice. Sunglasses stayed on.
I pulled in under a very low but a full moon. It was an awesome solo sail. I had felt sick the last few days and now I felt better. The weather, the independance, the feeling of accomplishment or getting into the hurricane barrier and talking my way back out! I have sailing blood surging through my veins and it feels awesome!
When I got home, I had not heard from Devon about the nightsail yet. I got comfortable and started watching the day's America's Cup race on youtube. At about 910pm, I recieved a text from Devon saying "930?". It was like the house had caught on fire, I was out the door in a minute.
When I arrived at Mattapoisett Harbor, Devon and Mike were waiting for me, contemplating their current dilemma. The wind was not what they thought it should be. They had forgotten to tell me that the outboard engine had seized and was useless. That left us with a inflatable dinghy with a motor but no sailboat with a motor and 5mph winds. Devon's boat is 32 feet long long, it is heavy and has been in the water for five months so it is also carrying around five months of sea life growing on the hull. The winds would make it hard to reliably come back and catch the mooring, and if the winds died down at all, we could be left adrift at night. The flip side to all of this negativity is that it was almost bright as day outside. The full moon and not one cloud in the sky made even a game of catch the ball quite possible.
We reviewed the details of our predicament. The engine is there for the the following: a) getting in and out of the mooring field reliably without having to tack and gibe among a bunch of other boats, b) getting us away from danger in the case of no winds or another equipment failure (drifting into rocks, mast break, sail rips, etc) c) getting us back in to safety if a life emergency were to occur (heart attack, bad injury).
Now remember I had already been out sailing for about four hours this day with a) no motor b) no radio c) daylight on my side d) enough breeze to propel the craft.
We also had the option of dragging the inflatable w that outboard and towing the sailboat with the dingy. This would slow down the sailboat immensely while under sail and if we did use it to tow, all kinds of other bad things could have happened, like ripping the inflatable dinghy open or it flipping backwards due to the stern being overloaded. If we had experience towing the sailboat w the dinghy it might have been different. The middle of the night is no time to try something new with boats. I can totally agree with that.
So we resigned ourselves to chilling on the deck and catching up on sailing stories while tied to the mooring. We had the current America's Cup, my Sailtember exploits and their various adventures in racing and pleasure sailing to chat about. It was almost as bright as day. After a good hour and a half we motored back in and called it a night. We didn't actually "go sailing" but as Devon put it "You were on a sailboat" And I finished with "That's better than 99% of everyone else sitting at home right now". We all agreed and went home to regroup and try again tomorrow!