Sunday 6 November 2011

Tying Up Loose Ends, Volume Four: Another Guy Fly-By

     "Hark, now hear the sailors' cry..."
                        -Van Morrison

    Sunday, October 30, 2011.
    Air Temperature:  7C
    Water Temperature: 12C
    Waves: 1-2 metres.
    Strong Wind Warning Issued.

    Hit it.
     The Dock closes for the season tomorrow, but it's looking damned close to empty today.  

 We've got to get Whiskeyjack off the dock and up the river to the yard, then prepped for haul out. Then we have to load Quack on the top of Lady Liberty for the trip home.  Then we have to strip all of the fenders off the dock

   But, there's still time for one last sail.

   There's always time to sail!

   Bookending the season, eager greenhorn Guy was back to build seatime.  The silly bas  fine gentleman sent us an email a couple of weeks back offering to help with haul-out!  After a split-second of thoughtful consideration, I took him up on his ill-considered offer.
   (What, did any of you really  think  I was gonna say "no, that's okay, thanks."?  An extra warm body to help strike canvas, fold sails and hump gear to the car is not to be refused.  Especially when said warm body brings wine.)

     As usual, Guy brought great sailing weather along with him.  Once clear of the marina, we motored west along the shoreline to give our cold diesel a chance to warm up, then we rolled out half our genny and were off with the wind.  We're beautfully balanced, with the wheel needing little in the way of inputs, pretty much sailing herself.


     We're crashing, we're splashing, Guy and I are grinning, and SWMBO and Finn decide to head below for a nap!
    A nap!??!
    Turns out a couple of somebodies were a little chilly.

    On a day like today, foulies make the difference between a great sail and a miserable sail.  After warming up in the v-berth, SWMBO returned to the cockpit in her bibs with another sweater and scarf under her jacket.
     Finn, however was still unhappy.

     SWMBO rummaged below and found a solution.  She returned to the cockpit with a polar fleece sweatshirt.  A couple of turns on the sleeves, and voila, a warmer dog.

    Who is still not happy.

     "You're kidding, right?  I have to wear this?!?  Couldn't you at least find a shirt in any other colour?"


     "I look ridiculous!"


   "Okay, it's warm, and cozy and ... zzzzzzzzzzz."

     As the distance between shore and Whiskeyjack widened, the swells lengthened and shortened, and the ride smoothed out, while the sun played hide and seek amongst the clouds.

   As we were heading out toward the end of the Point, the fish tugs were coming in returning to port, replete with a cloud of moochers circling overhead.

     As the afternoon peaked, we reluctantly did the math, calculating the necessary intersection of estimated return speed, approximate sunset time,amount of time necessary to strip the boat for haulout, to the nearest half hour to correspond with the lift bridge opening schedule.
    In other words, we guessed  when we should head back.

    Hey, I'm a lover, not a mathematician.

   The sun was just over our shoulder as we approached the river mouth, still under sail.  It was also 4:53.  We had 7 minutes to travel 3/4ths of a mile.  Whiskeyjack is a cruiser, not a racer, with a top speed under power of about 6 miles per hour, or one mile ever 10 minutes.  The math was not in our favour. To further complicate the equation, remember the swells we had left behind?  We were back in them, and the entry into the river was going to be, er, interesting.

    Photos below were taken the previous weekend, which was a hell of a lot less hectic.

We could have held off and waited for the next opening, but it would mean entering the river at dusk, (it gets darker earlier on the Bay, thanks to the bluffs to the west blocking the setting sun), then docking and off-loading in the dark.

        What the hell, let's push it.

         The crack crew flew into action.  SWMBO got on the radio to let the bridgekeeper know we were coming, while I cranked up the engine and Guy prepped halyards and sheets to furl the genoa.  We throttled up and made the run into the  river.

        Here's the score:
       1/2 mile from the bridge,
       Bridgekeeper firm on opening on time at 5:00.

       Then we caught a break:  At full throttle, we surfed into the river on the back of a swell, which pushed our speed over ground north of 7 knots.  Wheeeee!!!!!!!!  I was grinning, Guy was grinning, onlookers on the pier were pointing, Finn was unimpressed.  As we pass the commercial harbour, we can hear the bridge warning bell ringing.  At straight up 5:00, the bridge began to rise.
      At 5:02, we passed under the flapping wings of the bridge.

      Minutes later we were tied up to the boatyard dock, shutting down, packing up, and cracking beer and Merlot to toast an excellent close to an excellent season.

     Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.



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