Been a hard summer for Fanny, she's only been able to get out about once a month, and it seems to always be a cloudy overcast day with either too much or too little wind. Each time we visit her, she looks very sad, covered in cobwebs and decks stained with bird and spider droppings. Me and Terri drove out this afternoon, after a long hiaitus due to conflicting schedules, a full illustration workload, and uncooperative weather.
I was a bit leery to take her out, to tell the truth. After her diesel repairs by the marina came back with a surprisingly low pricetag*, I was sure that perhaps the mechanics missed a crucial problem with the engine, and we'd go out and get stuck without the power to return to our slip again. We got there around 12:30 or so and started off by giving her decks a good scrubbing, and then straightening up a bit down below and tending to a few minor repairs. The wind was a light 5-10 knots, so we figured we'd give it a try, despite my fears, and, if the engine failed, we could at least have better wind this time for attempting our first 'sail into the slip' experiment.
The engine did fine, however, never heating up much past 130 on the meter, and once we got out past the mooring balls, we raised the sails and didn't turn the engine back on until we came back. For once, the weather was beautiful, the skies were blue, the wind was a comfortable but boisterous 5-15, and we tooled around at a steady 5 knot speed, with only a heel once in a while to make Terri whimper.
The winds were from the Northwest today, which made sailing down and back the channel possible, and we did one for the record books, both sails up, moderate heel and averaged 5-6 knots both out and back. Once on the big lake, the waves were a bit more choppy, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-3 foot waves, a few whitecaps on the bigger waves, but not completely uncomfortable. We were running short of time, however, so after about 300 yards past the lighthouse, we decided to come about and head back for the marina, and for smoother sailing on the little lake.
We came *this* close to trying a sail into the slip on the way back in, but the wind was picking up closer to 20 knots by this time, and I just plain chickened out once we got in the mooring field, and popped the engine back on for the rest of the maneuver. A beautiful, but short sail today, and hopefully we can get out for one overnight before the season is over.
*the diesel repair came back with a 90 cents for parts and 120 dollars for labor, with an enigmatic explanation that 'the coolant was checked and the engine was run 'up to temperature' and everything checks out fine' -- I'm still not sure why the coolant went dry before, or if the thermostat was even checked... but it seems to be working now..