Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sailing ... at long last
A beautiful day, and after Terri got back from her 'marketing seminar' we drove out to Muskegon to try our first time taking the boat out of her new slip. Got there around 5ish, and managed to untangle the web of security lines that Fanny's been draped with since her last run-in with this 'dock of doom', and the engine started up on the first try, and we got her out of her berth in almost a dignified fashion. Thought I'd wring out the engine a bit after a long winter, so I motored all the way out to Lake Michigan before hoisting the sails. Once out on the lake, the sails went up smoothly, and we had a beautiful westerly sail for about three hours on the big lake, about 8 miles out, and back again, with our top speed registering at 6.5 knots, but mostly hanging around 5 knots on average.
When we got a long ways out, I got curious to see how far we'd come, so I had Terri try and plot our position using the GPS coordinates and our old beat up chart. We had just passed a buoy, which we guessed might be the '5 mile' marker, but Terri's estimates only put us as 3 miles out. But just before we turned around to head back, I had her write down the coordinates again, so I could check it with 'Google Maps' when we got home. Turns out we were about 8 miles out, which makes more sense considering our speed and time on the water, dead-reckoning-wise.
Sights of note: A blimp that was circling the beach and Muskegon, we're guessing for the waterfront festival or something, and there was a flotilla of about 30 boats that looked like they were doing a gathering of some sort outside of the channel, and then, en-masse headed west around sunset (maybe safety in numbers for crossing the big lake? maybe we ought to look into that sort of thing ourselves for our first crossing).
On the way back in, we managed to sail about halfway down the channel before the wind cut out, so we doused the sails and turned on the motor. Almost to the end of the channel and the engine overheating signal came on. Killed the engine and tried sailing again, but the wind had died to complete dead calm conditions. We then went into our 'engine overheat play book' and tried every solution we could think of: checking the filter, checking the coolant, and I was close to taking apart the impeller. We tried turning on the engine again, and it overheated after travelling about another 500 yards, so we turned it off again and tried a few other solutions. After the third time, it seemed to fix itself, and went back to its normal temperature readings and was fine the rest of the way back to the slip, where we had an another semi-dignified docking maneuver.
I can only guess that maybe we had something stuck to the outside intake entrance that was stopping the water from coming into the engine, and it worked itself loose on its own, or maybe there was something fouling the prop and causing undue strain on the engine. But I don't feel like calling Torreson and paying another service charge for them to tell me that there is nothing wrong with the engine again (we had a similar problem last year). But at least we aren't completely in the dark about the situation, which we would have been four years ago.
All in all, a nice day on the water, hopefully we can get out and do it again soon.
Our 'turn around' position according to Google Maps: