Thursday, July 4, 2013

A moon tide on the summer solstice

June 22

As we took the dinghy out to Lil Provo today I immediately noticed that the mast was rocking back and forth. It made me look more closely to see what the problem may be.  As we got closer I saw a tangle of rope and steel cable and we got closer I could see the problem.  The standing rigging going to the spreader had half broken though and the strands of cable that broke had flung around and caught the flag lines in the broken strands.  It seemed to make the balance of cables loose.  Once I got on board I went and adjust the cable tension on the good cables and ran the jib halyard to the deck plate on the side that sprung and put as much pressure on it as I could. This secured the mast.  I then had to make a decision whether we would venture out into the bay.  Being the mast seemed secure I decided we would go out under motor and do some fishing.

We dropped the mooring ball and headed out into the bay.  The water was calm and almost like glass.  I had no problem with the cable damage as the mast was secure and not moving much at all.

We went about 2 to 3 miles and began to fish. While we were fishing we noticed a large number of sailboats were headed in our direction.  Eventually the sailboats arrived with a couple power boats that were carrying large buoys.  It was the Keyport Yacht Club regatta group and it was regatta day.  They set up the buoys and the boats began cruising back and forth.  We just sat there watching and fishing.

A few hours passed and they were still cruising around. We noticed they were going a lot faster than earlier and took a check of wind, current, and wave action.  It was starting to get rough and we needed to think about getting Lil Provo back to the safety of the harbor.

I started the motor and gradually got her up to full speed, just a little over 6 nots.  The wave action was making the mast rock side to side so I knew I had to find the line that would allow us to smooth out the ride.  I turned her a little toward the wind and it made the ride a little smoother.  We cruised back the 4 or 5 miles and made it back to the confines of Keyport Harbor.

While we cruised with in outer part of the harbor I realized the tiller was jumping up and down.  I couldn't figure out what it was and then realized it was bottoming out.  I changed direction toward the channel hoping to get to deeper water when suddenly the tiller pushed up and out of the brackets.  I had a hold of it and pulled it into the cockpit and used the motor to steer.  This had never happened before and I was concerned about the brackets leaking water into the bilge.

When we entered the harbor the motor started to die and did.  It sounded like we were out of gas, but checking the tank proved otherwise.  There was. Plenty of gas. It had to be a gas filter problem or maybe vapor lock.  Being we were already in the mooring field we needed to maintain control of her and not bump into any other boats.  I restarted tried restarting the motor and she started right away, but if I tried to run normally at low rpm she sounded like she was going to stall.  I gave her full throttle and she took off and gave me control.  I was cruising through the mooring field at full speed, something I would not normally do.  As we got close to the mooring I heard someone yelling and as I looked around there was a person on a boat yelling and waiving his arms. I thought he was upset with the speed I was going through the mooring field, but he pointed up and there was a person on the top of a mast.  I reduced the throttle and moved Lil Provo to her mooring.  Once there I looked over at the other boat and my wake was nil to the other vessel. No big deal, we continued to moore.

We took care of everything on board and made sure she was secure.