Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fair Weather Sailors No More

Up at 5:30am for a nice sail 35 mile sail to Reedville. Well, at least we thought so. Prepared to go, left boat at 6:30am to walk dogs, back at 7am, turn engine key, NOTHING! Nigel Calder’s Electrical and Mechanical book indicated engine possibly too cold. Yup, we believe that with temperatures in the 50s and reports of possible 40s. So, we try to warm it up. NOTHING! Ryan replaced the glow plug. Bam - it started. Phew. Thank goodness it wasn’t anything too complicated because there are no marine services in St. Mary’s.

9am pull up to college dock to walk dogs just one more time before take off. 9:30am - Full speed ahead, we can still make it to Reedville before sundown and dinner time for the dogs. Dillon starts staring at his food cabinet around 3:30pm. His tummy knows dinner is served daily at 4pm. He hates to eat late. If not served by 4pm, he begins to frantically pace and then stare us down as if we’ve turned into imbeciles.

Wow, what a day. We’re back to school in St. Mary’s at 3pm. With reports of SW winds 20 knots gusts to 30 with waves 3 feet, we shouldn’t have been so positive about reaching Reedville, south of us. How bad could it be if we motor sailed - we thought? Down right, SLOW! We put in two reefs to be cautious because we were experiencing sustained 25 knot winds with gusts at 30 knots. After turning off the engine, Prudence held strong but wow did those waves spray and drench us. No way were they just 3 feet. At the beginning of the day (maybe), by afternoon, waves were easily 5 feet intermittently. On top of that, we couldn’t tack -well easily.

First time out in winds this strong was a good lesson. I think deep down we knew there was no way Reedville was happening today, but the practice was great. Tide was against us, along with waves and wind from a disadvantageous direction, but we had lots of time to get a feel for how Prudence moves through such weather conditions. Slow, but steady.

In honor of our lost flag at sea, Ryan whistles Taps. Our dear flag originally flown on the Mandy Lee was lost at sea sometime this afternoon most likely in a 29 knot gust.

While our flag is now lost to Davey Jones’ locker, Turlock (our dinghy aptly named after our reading of Mitchener’s, The Chesapeake), is recovering from his rolling, thrashing, and partial submerging all day long.

Our most proud moment of the day was when Sarah and Dillon took it upon themselves to hunker down low on the cockpit floorboards beneath the steering wheel. We began to rest a little easier knowing that they would not likely roll overboard. .

Mandy experienced the sickest moment of the day towards the end of the trip when nature called and could not be held off. Try using a head on a boat when she is getting pummeled with waves and wind while wearing foul weather gear. Before departing the head after a very brief visit, the motion sickness began and stayed for about 30 minutes just long enough for her to actual moan and almost upchuck. She recovered nicely, able to enjoy a pasta dinner with 2 glasses of wine.