Category Archives: Stupid Mistakes

I’d Rather be Lucky than Smart

It’s blowing outside – 25kts plus – and we’re heeling and bashing into the waves. Not a nice night, we’re below in the saloon, enjoying one of Laurie’s dinners. Life is good.

Bang! Something noisy happens right around the mast area. We look at each other and listen for more noises.  All is quiet. Must have imagined it…

We bash on into the night.

Dawn breaks and the wind is still blowing. We’re still heeling and making good progress towards Ireland – it’s been a fantastic passage – fast, but very tiring since we’ve been on the same tack for a week and walking through and around the boat is challenging. Anything we can avoid doing we avoid – especially if it means going forward where the waves are highly likely to give you a salty dousing.

Holy crap! The port side mast winch is missing! Altogether! It’s gone!

I clip into the lifeline and start to move forward. Lying on the deck beside the cockpit I see a large black plastic washer – it’s part of the innards of the winch. As I move forward, I see that there are components of the winch lying variously around the deck. The main body lying on ropes that had been stored on the winch. The screw on cover that holds the thing together was within inches of going overboard. Bearings are lying on the deck. I pick up all the pieces and miraculously, the entire winch is still aboard.

I’d rather be lucky than smart – but perhaps we’ll modify some passage procedures accordingly! :-)



Messed that up!

Our plan was to go through the Cape Cod Canal today in order to go to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod. Doing so requires planning as the current in the canal runs at about 4 knots – making for a very quick – or a very slow transit. Having checked the chart and currents, I worked it out perfectly that we’d go through at noon – leaving time for various jobs on the boat…

I tweaked the Monitor Windvane (energy free self steering mechanism – called ‘Gale’) trying to get her to steer just a little better by tightening lines and so forth. We tried her out in Buzzards Bay and she did fine when close hauled (into the wind) not so well when running with the wind. More work required.

I attempted to move the blades of the wind generator in hopes of balancing them better and remove a worrying vibration – turns out the cap screws holding the blades on screw into captured locknuts – which become uncaptured when loosened! So there I am sitting up on top of the radar arch, reaching up to the generator and dropping nuts onto the deck below. How the first one didn’t fall off the boat I have no clue! The next challenge became how to handle mutiple nuts and bolts while trying to line up blades! After a struggle, I got it back together – but suspect blades went back in their original positions since the vibration still persists!

The we tried out the dingy outboard and found that a fitting on the (new) gas tank was incompatible – requiring a jaunt into town to find a replacement. What a nice place Marion is! Beautiful manicured gardens and charming little stores – and a good chandler!

With the new fitting attached, the outboard started up easily – facilitating a quick visit over to Hawk anchored just nearby. Evans Starzinger is a double circumnavigator – the last time doing it the hard way in the higher latitudes of the southern oceans… wanted to get his take on how to deply a drogue – very helpful…

Once the dingy was taken care of, we were just a little late leaving – 12:30, so would arrive at the canal about 1:30 for a fast passage.


What a dummy! – I got the whole thing absolutely arse about face and the current was against us. At least it allowed us to mess around with Gale some and we ended up motoring against the current at the entrance to the canal and took a left hand turn into Onset – where we are anchored in a very nice and sheltered harbor – and perfectly positioned for a 7:30 am transit through the canal tomorrow – with a favorable current this time!

With a lack of boats surrounding us, the SSB radio is being tested out here and I’m delighted to report that reception is good and we’ve been able to hear Herb Hilgenberg and Southbound II reasonably clearly, giving weather information to yachts transiting the Atlantic. He will be a major source of information for us as we cross next week.

Here’s a great photo from our departure dinner at Mike and Jane’s – what a splendid evening! (If you click on the photo it enlarges. In my right hand you’ll see the little Spot device that updates our location in the blog…)


toodleoo sendoff dinner 2