Wednesday, September 26, 2007; 7:15 pm -
A mooring in Misery Island Cove off the coast of Manchester, Mass.
"Cowboy coffee" brewed in the percolator on the Origo
3000 stove this morning, my first cup done and onto number two. I
got it ready to fire up last evening, just needed to light the stove at
and I got off to a bad start yesterday, with outboard problems.
The "new" Honda would not start again -- I could not even pull-start it,
again. Locked up solid just like the last time. On my
mooring I removed the outboard's cover, unbolted the pull-cord drum's
three 10mm bolts, and checked the starter gear and flywheel, as
instructed after the last time this happened. It didn't seem to be
stuck in the flywheel, as reportedly was the problem the last time.
I replaced the drum but was unable to get the
aft-most bolt's threads to catch, no matter what I tried. With the
drum held by two bolts, with the cover still off, I tried
electric-starting the motor again -- and it started right up! The
only conclusion I can reach is that I loosened the starter gear from the
flywheel when disassembling the pull-cord drum and didn't realize it;
when I got the drum off, the gears were free.
After wasting over an hour wrestling with that one
bolt, I called Ryan Marine Service to find out how essential, critical
it was -- if I could run the motor without the third bolt holding the
pull-cord drum fastened without doing any harm. Fortunately Mark
had a guy in a boat nearby and sent him over to Chip Ahoy. Adam
arrived about twenty minutes later and had the bolt in and tightened within
a minute or two! I was afraid of breaking something -- so much in
there is mere plastic/nylon, like the pull-cord drum with its
interlocking tabs and pins -- so I was reluctant to force things together strenuously
enough, apparently. To me, the bolt didn't seem long enough, couldn't
catch, so forcing the drum had to have been the solution.
With that unexpectedly late start -- I dropped the
mooring at about 1:30 pm -- I decided to head straight out to Misery
Island along my familiar route up the coastline instead of my intended
"new" route around Coney Island and its ledge up to Eagle Island then
Bakers Island, around Misery Island to its cove.
It was a perfect day: Sunny and in the mid-80s.
The wind was out of the SW at about 10 knots; waves were about one foot,
making for a very pleasant sail out here,
most of the way. I arrived at the cove around 3:30 pm and found
the moorings about half full with
Finding and grabbing an empty one was not a problem, though I had quite
a bit of company
with the other boats in the cove around Chip Ahoy.
Once settled in, I realized that I'd forgotten to
bring along the sandwiches as planned, but not a problem. I opened
the "food locker" and chose a can of Campbell's Chunky Soup and heated
it up on stove out in the cockpit. At dusk I lit the
made a couple of phone calls, read for a couple of hours, pulled out the
AM/FM radio from its storage and waterproof bag, and eventually fell
asleep with the companionway hatch wide open. (I'd closed the
forward hatch for the night earlier.) I slept very well, hardly
needed the sleeping bag. The full moon illuminated the cove
all around Chip Ahoy when I climbed out to the cockpit to check the
I was up before dawn as usual, watched a dramatic
as the coffee was brewing. I was glad
was ready to go with a touch of flame to stove. I'm close enough
kelp-covered island rocks to hear the quiet splashing of gentle
ocean edging in against them. The
have awakened too, raucously calling to each other from the nearby
rocks. A couple of large herons have been flying in, landing in
treetops just above the rocky shoreline, apparently checking things out
before flying off.
Most of the other boats left the cove one by one last
evening, the last to leave departed from nearby behind Chip Ahoy at
about 9:00 pm. It became very quiet, peaceful after the exodus.
This morning there are only four of us left at moorings: Two
powerboats moored further in toward the beach and a sailboat of about 36
feet that came in late, moored out further to the mouth of the cove.
Though I packed the anti-virul pills (for my
shingles), I forgot to pack the Advil (for the accompanying aches).
Fortunately, I have the bottle of surplus prescription Tylenol 3 from my
broken shoulder in the boat's First Aid kit, so took one of them this
Today's supposed to be another hot one, hotter than
yesterday and likely to break the record for today's historical
temperature -- reaching into the 90s. Though
now, the wind is supposed to become SW at 10-15 knots with gusts to 25
late this morning, 30 knots in the afternoon. Waves are supposed
to become 1-2 feet.
It's calm at 8:30 am, the sea is flat but for a very
gentle rocking, just enough to let me know I'm on a boat. I'm in
no rush to go anywhere -- I've got another cup of coffee to go in the
percolator and no schedule to maintain. This is so relaxing that
I'm reluctant to leave.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007; 5:30 pm - 87°
Home in Marblehead, Mass.
I dropped my borrowed mooring out in the cove at just
before noon. It was calm but a slight breeze had arrived.
The outboard started right up this morning; I let it run for a bit
before shutting it off. It started up again when it was time to
depart. Each time I'm about to start it -- this brand new motor --
I now cross my fingers before pushing the starter button.
Off the mooring and out of the cove I raised the main
sail. Unfortunately, heading into the slight breeze to raise it
was heading directly back toward home. Even away from the island
there was little air moving. I hoped once I got out of the lee
it'd pick up, and it did, very slightly. I unfurled the genoa
about halfway, but it was just beating itself to death. I kept the
motor running, hoping the breeze would pick up at least somewhat.
What breeze was present was coming straight at Chip Ahoy, bow on,
pushing the genoa first to one side then the other. I found that
if I tacked a little closer toward the coast I could keep on a somewhat
port tack, keep the head sail from flogging, the boom and main sail
consistently to starboard.
When I got too close to the mainland's rocky
coastline I tacked back out. I'd planned to take my "new" route
home, out beyond Misery Island then down to Eagle Island, around Coney
Island and its ledge, along the end of Marblehead's peninsula then into
Salem Harbor and my mooring area. Considering the conditions, I
decided to head back straight down the coast toward Salem Harbor.
I had enough wind barely to shut off the motor at last and still make
progress, barely three knots.
It was a slow and leisurely sail back at first, a lot
of tacking to keep on a close-hauled heading while dodging lobster pot
buoys. Within about an hour the wind picked up, though still from
the SW, dead ahead, and continued to increase, about 10 knots gusting to
maybe 15-20 now and then. It made sailing a whole lot more
interesting and fun -- I regretted not taking my "new" route home.
The closer I got to Salem Harbor the more the wind built, to some 15-20
knots with an occasionally stronger gust. As soon as I entered the
"No Wake" zone inside the harbor I furled the genoa, started the
outboard (yahoo, it started right up again!), and dropped the main sail
-- I was into the "wind tunnel" again.
My mooring area inside Salem Harbor is often like
coming into a wind tunnel, regardless of wind direction. From my
mooring it's often hard to judge what conditions out on the Sound will
be. With a SW wind particularly, it's blowing from the far end
directly through and out to the Sound, almost howling. Just
motoring through the field of closely moored boats is frequently a
challenge, and it was this afternoon. I was a bit concerned about
being able to pick up my mooring, with my still-mending broken collar
bone and rib, weakened left shoulder, but lined the boat up perfectly
and grabbed it on my first approach, dragged it from the cockpit to the
bow around the shrouds with some effort and tied off the boat.
With the motor shut down, lifted and tilted, the
rudder secured up and out of the water, the sail cover secured over the
boom and main sail, and things aboard put away and straightened up, I
took a deep breath and a short break -- opened the forward hatch and
cracked open a beer to celebrate a great overnighter out to Misery
Island and back. The temperature then was about 90° at 3:00 pm.
It was satisfying to be back on Chip Ahoy's mooring, just across the
water to the dock and up the street to home -- and air-conditioning.
Imagine, looking forward toward air-conditioning in late September?
I was back home here about an hour later.