Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I've got a GEAR!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. I've been gone for seven days for work, but good things are happening. Before I left I got the linear drive arm installed for the autopilot and primary anchor and chain replaced on the boat. Today the guys from Y.E.S. are here reinstalling my transmission. If all goes well I might even be able to take this boat out for a spin this weekend. I am still not getting my hopes up until I am pulling out of the slip.

On another note, I went sailing in San Diego this past weekend. What was supposed to be a relaxing trip to Isla Contadora in Mexico really put me to the test more than I was expecting. We pulled out of SD harbor Saturday morning for an overnight sail to Isla Contador about 18 miles from the dock. The sail down was excellent, but once we dropped anchor we realized there was no oven, no fuel for the range, no grate for the BBQ grill, and no matches to light it anyway. So dinner suddenly turned into a difficult proposition. After much debate I pulled out a trusty emergency signal flare, lit it, and used the flare to light the little bbq grill. I pulled the grate off the range top in the kitchen and delicately began grilling our pork tenderloin. We had no plates, no silverware, no pots, and no pans so wine from our three plastic cups and eating uncut pork tenderloin off a plastic fork was as good as it got.

About the time we started thinking about hitting the sack I went to turn the battery selector to 1 so that we had number 2 in reserve to start the batter in the morning. Unfortunately, batter number two was completely dead and had no longer been taking a charge while at the dock. This meant running off one batter. About this same time we realized we were only ten feet from another boat in the anchorage which meant we were dragging anchor. So we fired up the Yanmar to charge batteries and relocate to a better holding spot. Thinking the hard part was passed us we hit the sack only to wake up every hour on the hour to check our holding.

At the 5:00 a.m. anchor check I realized that our anchor light was no longer on. I immediately went to start the engine and sure enough, that one little light completely killed batter number 1. We were at anchor in Mexico with no engine. This scared me a little. After working out our plan we sailed out the anchor and had a great beat back into San Diego Harbor. We were going to sail the boat right into the slip, but after dropping the main I realized the jib didn't have enough power to allow us to tack if needed. We called off the attempt and just before we reset the mainsail and struck the jib seatow drove by us. I kind of believe in signs sometimes and this isn't one I could pass on. No batter meant no VHF to hail Seatow so I just waived my arm and he came right over and towed us into our slip.

Overall it was a huge pain in the ass of a sailing trip, but for all the problems we encountered there wasn't a single one we couldn't handle. I'll never take out another charter boat without gong through it with a fine tooth comb. Lesson learned. Hopefully I'll be sailing Romance again by the end of the week and won't have to rely on charters and other peoples boats.

P.S. if you are having boat work done in the Kemah area don't trust any shop except YES. Click the blog title "I've got a GEAR" above to go to thier web page.

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