We stayed in Newport about a week and then daughter Abigail joined us and brought in tow her new Beau – Nick – who just happens to be a double Olympic swimming medalist… We had a great visit with them – and Abigail, recently licensed, decided to take me up in a plane as a birthday present… What a thrill to be flown, by your daughter, from New Bedford to Newport – and to circle Toodle-oo! who was sat at anchor in Newport Harbour. Great fun!
Boats are assembling for the the OCC’s Southern New England Cruise and we’ve had a lot of fun socializing with everyone, including a very nice evening at Ida Lewis Yacht Club with which the OCC has a reciprocal arrangement – I can’t for the life of me see how the OCC, a club with no home base, can possibly reciprocate – but there you go!
We sailed up to Bristol with Abs and NIck and used that as our home base for the next few days while I celebrated turning the horrendous 60!
Then… we went out for a day sail on the last night of their visit – planning to circumnavigate Prudence Island… we left in very light air but made good progress – right up until the wind filled in and we decided to tighten the halyard some – which we normally do when tacking through and the sail is unloaded and we manage the tack with the autopilot… All went well with raising it – but when I disengaged the autopilot I found the rudder to be locked solid! This resulted in our first Pan-Pan radio call – alerting other traffic that we were disabled and unable to maneuver. As it turned out, I was able to disconnect the autopilot and free up steering quite quickly and we could cancel the Pan-Pan – though the coast guard took some convincing!
We sailed on and the next thing that occurs is that one of our primary winches started screaming at us – the plastic feeder arm seems to have worn to a level that it makes a devilish noise when pulling a line in fast. This sail was not going to plan so we turned around and headed towards Potter’s Cove for lunch and to take a break… No sooner had we secured the anchor down, than Abs yelled out Fire! Fire! I ran back from the bow, into the salon to find the boat filling quickly with smoke. A quick peak into the engine compartment showed a small fire, so I grabbed an extinguisher and with Nick’s help, worked out how to use the damn thing and emptied it into the engine room. The small fire was out. It looked to be caused by the starter motor jamming on and building up excessive heat.
Remarkably calm and collected, we remained on the anchor to have lunch and a much needed beer and then sailed back to a mooring in Bristol – and promptly went out for sea food appetizers followed by an exceptionally good evening at Aiden’s – who had a new Irish band playing. Turns out Nick and Abigail are Irish music enthusiasts and Nick virtually took over the group’s musical agenda!
The boat is now fixed – new starter motor and repairs to wiring, autopilot sorted and even the fridge is working and we’re back down in Newport – “Dressed” – for the start of the Southern New England Cruise – whose first event starts in about an hour – so I’d better go shave!