Sunday, May 20, 2007

First Sail of the Season

I gave brother-in-law Alex a call yesterday to see if he could drive up to Muskegon and give me a hand with hanking on the sails on Sunday, since Terri was going to be busy with Civic duties and Keenan was off in Forensic land, and he graciously accepted my invitation (little did he know what he was in for).

I arrived around 2, drove out to the big lake to check out the situation out there (big waves, with whitecaps), and gusty winds. Back on Lake Muskegon, the wind was much more spirited than I had anticipated, and I was starting to feel that Alex perhaps was going to be wasting a trip, and we wouldn't be able to put the sails up in this weather. I spent the next hour or so arranging my tool box, and installed the two 'anchor brackets' to the new bow pulpit. I had lost the plastic 'grippers' that were originally part of the bracket installation (they had broke on removal), but made some nifty replacements out of some cork gasket material I had left over from a repair last year. After a lot of wrestling and cursing, I eventually got them both installed and the anchor back in its proper position on the pulpit (need to remember to rig up a safety line to secure it better, next time I go out there).

Alex arrived around 3, and we were briefly stymied by an inproper reinstallation of the boom (put on upside down), and after a little monkeying around with it, discovered something new about the 'thingamajiggy' that attaches the boom to the mast (yep, more technical 'boat jargon'). We managed to get the mainsail hanked on with little difficulty after that, and I was just about to call it a day, and give up on the headsail because of the gusting winds, when -- VOILA -- the skies cleared up, the wind ceased, and gave us a magic window in which to raise the jib on the furler and install the jib sheets. The weather remained quite warm and sunny and not too windy when we were finished, so I decided that we might take the boat out for a spin and give Alex a few brief sailing lessons. Other than when I took us out of the slip, and pulled us back in, Alex pretty much remained at the tiller for the remainder of the sail, we crossed Lake Muskegon a few times, practicing our 'coming about' maneuvers (and getting the hang of it eventually), and returned about the time the sky was clouding back up again, the gusting winds returned, and the temps started dropping. A beautiful afternoon, surprisingly enough, and it sure felt good to the feel the wind in my hair and the rasp of lines in my hands again. Thanks to Alex for the helping hands and we'll have to do it again soon.

A couple of distressing repair items to make note of: the spreader lights no longer seem to be working (I didn't try the anchor light - perhaps they just aren't hooked up when they reinstalled the mast?) and one of the spreader lights looks to be loosely attached to its base. There was water in the bilge and under the engine compartment again (check it again next time, at least the bilge pumps were working). Used battery #1 this time. Forgot to leave the sander out there, bring it next time. Also forgot to bring the log book, so I could double check my outhaul & reefing lines installation. Lost a sail tie overboard while flaking the mainsail, may need to pick up another set. The port sheet is looking a little frayed, may need to be replaced, and a few of the dock lines are looking a little sorry, and may need to be replaced as well. Minor stuff mostly, the continuing saga...

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