Last Sail of The Year

I intended to just change the oil and get the boat ready for haul-out tomorrow.  But after a pea-soup morning fog that mostly burned away around noon, the temps were 50 degrees at our house on the creek (about 45 on the water), and the sun was shining.  Who could resist?

I washed the bird poop from the deck, drawing water from the creek with my canvas bucket (the water’s turned off at the pier now), stowed a few tools, started the engine and unmoored the boat, easing out onto the creek and out toward the bay.  I slipped into my harness and clipped in as we motored down the creek.

You can still see a bit of mist left over from the fog this morning.

You can still see a bit of mist left over from the fog this morning.

The sky was blue and cloudless and the temperature very gentle on the creek.  Turning into the channel towards Herring Bay brought the wind in my face and I knew it would feel a good bit cooler on the open water.  I put my jacket and ski gloves on.  Once past the channel marker into freer depths, I turned out of the channel and raised sail, setting off due east and taking the southerly breeze on the starboard tack.  Too much breeze in fact, as I began to fight weather helm immediately.  I rolled up a third of the headsail and Cay of Sea settled down to a more reasonable angle of heel, allowing me to relax a little and enjoy the sailing.

This is much better - I was burying the rail before.

This is much better – I was burying the rail before.

Four miles out and back allowed me to survey a surprising amount of traffic for a Sunday afternoon in early December.  Quite a few sailboats too, surprisingly.  Even with reduced sail we made between 4.5 – 6 knots, easily under control, the water turning way in a continuous furrow off the bow.  This was a great day to sail.

You can see the residual misty conditions in this photo.

You can see the residual misty conditions in this photo.

You can see the remnants of fog in the photo above.  Odd effect with the sun shining strong and clear through it all.  We forged out into the bay another 3 miles until we came to the fish trap.  And here I have questions – maybe someone can enlighten me.  I was in 30 of water, but the fish trap – comprised of several dozen poles sticking up out of the water – looked like it was in 5-6 feet of water.  Those poles didn’t move, sway, or react to the swell at all.  How long are they, and how deep is the water there?  And how in the world do they set them into the bottom of the bay?  They just look kind like sticks stuck into the mud.

Fish trap - there's a lot more of it off the left frame of the photo.

Fish trap – there’s a lot more of it off the left frame of the photo.

We came about at Green Can 83A and followed our reciprocal course west, another beam reach on the opposite tack.

DSC_1741

Clouds began to dim the sun so that I took off my sunglasses.  The sky turned to a watery pewter, as the sun manfully attempted to maintain ascendancy over the sky, but the wind grew more chill and a threat of rain lurked in the back of my mind.  Time to get back.  Being cold was one thing.  Being wet in 45 degrees was entirely different.

Pretty spectacular effect.  Almost like looking at the moon shine on the water.

Pretty spectacular effect. Almost like looking at the moon shine on the water.

Now we’re at the channel entrance to Rockhold Creek again, and I’m scrambling about the deck, getting down the sails, tidying up the lines.  All this takes more time with the harness on.  Finally I’m shipshape enough to start the engine and motor up the creek.  A fairly large motor vessel comes planing up to the entrance of the creek, reluctantly pulling in very close behind me.  I ignore him, and he gradually drops further behind.  It’s always remarkable to me that some people drive their boats just like they are in their cars on the beltway.

I have one stop to make before reaching my home slip: the pump out station.  That taken care of, we cross the creek, make the turn into the slip, and tie up.  We’ve been on the water nearly two hours.  Time to clear some gear off the boat for winter.  I gather up the bed linens, towels, pillows and comforter.  I grab some other gear that might be useful ashore while the boat is out of the water (binoculars, hand-held gps).  Then I get down to the oil change, which goes remarkably smoothly, given my propensity to make a mess with oil changes.  I spilled less that a teaspoonful as I removed the oil filter.  That’s done.  Sea cocks closed, head winterized – all that’s left is to motor across the creek tomorrow and winterize the engine after she’s hauled.

After that, the real work begins – projects I-IV, and maybe a project V, but it’s not urgent like I-IV.

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4 comments
  1. CH(COL) Larry USA ret. said:

    Thank You.
    I have dock space if you decide to extend your sailing season.
    Cape Coral FL SW Gulf side.
    Be Safe have a blessed Holiday season.
    Ch Larry

    • Thanks Larry. I’d love to take you up on that. Maybe next winter! I’ve always wanted to sail that coast (I’m a Florida native).

      Rick

  2. Mike said:

    Being a warm water sailor, (Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys), I have never had to go thru a winterizing. A sort of sad time. But best wishes for you and yours this Christmas Season. And soon it will be spring and slash in. :-)

  3. Thanks Mike. Some day we’re going to spend the winter season down there on the boat. Meanwhile, winter is a great time to do work on the boat without being distracted by the desire to sail. I get a lot done Dec – April.

    Rick

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