2015 Shakedown What-Did-We-Forget Overnighter

After having the boat torn apart and put back together for various projects and changes to systems, we schedule an annual overnighter to really check it all out. Just one night, because if we forget something fairly essential to our comfort (like pillows – 2 years in a row) or safety (this year I need to update fire extinguishers), then it’s only overnight, and we’re not committed to something that is unlivable for several days or more.

As I mentioned above, this year fire extinguishers was noted, but we remembered the pillows!  We discovered that it is also important to sew lifting loops on the new headsail bag, so that we can lift it off the deck with a halyard while managing ground tackle and mooring lines. Speaking of ground tackle, we discovered that a chain lock on the sprit will make stowing the anchor quicker and more secure than the carabiner I am currently using (attached to the toe rail).  I also failed to get all the dishes washed before we cast off, so the first order of business before dinner last night was scrubbing up enough dishes and cookware to prepare and eat dinner.

Aside from those small items, we had a really pleasant time, with beautiful weather – calm wind conditions, but beautiful.

Beautiful, clear and warm weather.  Unlike other cruises we've taken in May, we experienced no fog this year.

Beautiful, clear and warm weather. Unlike other cruises we’ve taken in May, we experienced no fog this year.

This time of year is striper season.  Striped bass school in the bay (not sure if they are coming into the bay or going out) this time year, and the sport fishermen are out in force.  There were at least 75 fishing boats within our view as we tried to cross the shipping channel.  They are all going slower than we are (!) and pulling plane boards port and starboard.  These three-tiered boards are towed in such a way as to allow the fishermen to set more lines without tangling them, and move them away from center-stern orientation as well. A boat trawling with plane boards can set 10-12 lines.  It’s nerve-wracking to navigate a whole cluster of striper fishing boats. The boats don’t really keep to any semblance of traffic pattern – they’re all going every which-way – and with the long (and numerous) lines off the stern, each boat can make a footprint at least 100 feet long and 30-40 feet wide.  So we alter course often and make the best guess as to which way is best to cross their paths.

A course of 103 degrees took us from Herring Bay to Knapps Narrows, the gateway into the eastern bay.  We passed through the Narrows and turned left (north) in Harris Creek, stopping for the night in Dun Cove.  We dodged a big barge and dredge on our way up Harris Creek. We were the fourth boat in the cove that evening.  Eventually, there were 6 sailboats in the cove, all widely spaced in this large anchorage. This is a fairly popular place to overnight.

One of the yachts anchored with us.

One of the yachts anchored with us.

Anchor set, and Ruth made dinner. I cleaned while she relaxed. Then showers and bed time.  I’ve noted this before, but time on the water is exhausting.  We couldn’t keep our eyes open.  I rose once at 0430 and checked our position. We had swung all around the anchor in the light evening breezes. Typical for us at anchor, I rose first and started coffee. Then we began our long morning of reading and drinking coffee. Commitments in town for the afternoon had us cleaned and stowed for travel by 1015. Back through the Narrows, through the fishing boat gauntlet, and in our slip by 1308.

30.8 nautical miles round trip, all of it under power.  Transit time one way – just under three hours.

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9 comments
  1. kjessen said:

    On my lake, even though good size, 8×30 miles, I rarely have a destination. We just go out and go where the winds allow. Your post made me realize that I have tended to not go out if the winds are particularly light, feeling it is a “waste” if the sail/s don’t fill. Now I intend to get out a bit more and just try to enjoy being on the water. Might not be a bad idea to see if I can use up some diesel to make room to increase the proportion of “fresh to aged” fuel. I feel like I am making aged sherry.

    Also, I should probably replace my sail cover for my 87 Watkins 29. What I am sure is the original is now so fragile that tears are virtually impossible to mend.my original main and cover was rigged for a dutchman flaking system that worked fairly well. I know am the proud owner of a new to me main sail from an unfortunate Watkins 29 owner who had just purchased new sails and then had his boat totalled. I think we both benefitted from a deal taking them off of his hands. His /my new sail, however is not fitted for the dutchman system and I am torn from trying to duplicate it and put holes in the new sail, or try to set up some lazy jacks or some other systems. All of this will slightly alter what I need in a sail cover.

    I would appreciate any thoughts from the group.

    • Like you, we allow the wind to determine our destination. We have anchorages that we like both to the north and to the east that are within 3 hours of our marina. Usually, one of those will serve, regardless of wind direction. But if we have determined to go out overnight, we’ll go regardless of wind, and almost regardless of weather – boating in the rain is part of the experience! We also burn enough fuel each season to keep it fairly fresh.
      In a survey I recently read, a number of professional skippers/boat delivery captains said they preferred the Dutchman or StacPac system for the main. Apparently, it’s pretty easy, and nearly fool-proof. Personally, I don’t like it. My slip neighbor has it (don’t remember which system he has) and it doesn’t seem easier at all. In fact, it’s about the same amount of labor required to stow and launch his main as it is mine (without either system). I’m also NOT a fan of lazy jacks. My main just isn’t that big, and the lazy jack lines need tending to keep them out of trouble. Just another thing to look out for when sailing.

  2. Anonymous said:

    Good idea on the anchor lock. I’ve had mine tied up with line, but just bought a ss fitting from marinepartdepot.com
    Stainless Steel Anchor MPD_502 1 14.99
    Lock
    Also looks like a tensioner would be good to get it snugged up with no slop that allows the anchor to move about. You can do the same just with the lock, but have to match it to the perfect chain link position and then mount the lock. Anyway a lock will be a great improvement. Relieved me of some worry that the line might give way. Your caribiner is a better solution compared to that.
    We’re not used to that level of striper fishing here. Mostly river fishing for them w/o big trolling rigs. Small shrimpers ganged together here in summer is similar though.
    Having the bag off the deck should keep things drier too. Good idea.
    Glad your trip was a good shake down. Showers? Your head shower still functional? Or deck wash? I’m not used to functional indoor plumbing. Yet.
    Happy sails.
    Greg W.

    • Greg, I’m not that concerned about the anchor rode being snugged up. I’ll set up the chain lock so that it’s reasonably snug, but not perfectly tight is okay. I will still keep a line around the anchor shank and sprit for safety – It’s easy to tie, and it stays tied to a pad-eye on the sprit. A square knot keeps the shank from rising up. If we go off shore any distance, we’ll stow the anchor anyway.

      We use a sun shower (5 gal bag) on which I added an extra long hose with push-button nozzle. I hoist it on a halyard, and it provides more than adequate water pressure. Adjust the temperature of the water by adding hot water from the stove (a kettle full is always enough) or cold water (the sun can make it really hot). Run the hose into the head compartment through the opening port. Shower drains into the bilge (eventually will build and fit a shower sump) and we pump it overboard. Shower every night before bed, and you feel incredibly cool and dry with night air coming in through the fore hatch :-).

  3. Anonymous said:

    hi rick ,I just left you a note on the Watkins forum .. I have a new anchor lock to install but the haws pipe is only 1 1/2 inches in diameter . do you use an all chain anchor rode .I prefer braided nylon with about 20 ft. of chain but the eye splice in the nylon rode is not going to fit down the 1 1/2 inch haws pipe . maybe I should buy a different haws pipe fitting , the oblonged ones. any advice ??? .thanks for this wonderful site . blessings, jim Donavan allmand 31

    • Hi! Been there/done that! The solution is an anchor splice in the line, passed through the last chain link. In essence, it’s a back splice on three-strand twist and it is *the* way to attach your anchor. If the last link is rough, or you are concerned about chafe, use a file and smooth it off, or wrap tape around it – or both! My anchor has been spliced like this for 8-9 years. Check the splice every year, or several times per season, and redo as necessary.

      This is an incredibly secure way to attach three-strand to your chain, and it will easily fit through the hawse pipe.

      • Jim, I just realized you mentioned braided nylon, not three-strand. You can still splice the braided nylon, but it’s little more complicated. I haven’t learned to do it yet, but it’s not too hard, from what I understand. There are other ways to do it as well: You can sew a loop in the line with waxed line or “squidding” line – it’s a heavy braided fishing line that will pass through the eye of a sail needle. Sew the braided line together with many pass-throughs, then whip the sewn connection with the same line, like you would finish the end of a piece of line. The length of the whip should be equal to the diameter of both ends joined together. Wrap it tightly. You can finish by wrapping the ends several times at 90 degrees to the whipping, and knotting the ends together. This forms a very strong eye in braided line, and three-strand as well. Old timers would tar the wrappings for security. You can use that dipit/whipit stuff to do the same.

        I think I would just learn how to splice it, though. There really is no stronger way to form an eye in a line.

  4. Anonymous said:

    thanks rick f or the details .I have never seen an anchor line spliced directly to the chain without using a metal eye which makes it about 2 1/2 inches at the widest point. I will give your method a try .do you use 1/2 inch line and 5/16 chain .? the dingy looks good. there are some jim brown trimarans that were built in the 70s using the west system epoxy that are still in very good condition .so the dink will last for the grandkids as well . :-) . jim s/v eternity

    • Jim, you can also replace the hawse pipe with one that has larger dimensions. This is a lot more work, of course, than splicing line, and a lot more expensive.

      I use 1/2 inch line. Not sure the size of the chain. You don’t need a thimble if the surface of the chain link is smooth.

      I’m familiar with the Jim Brown-designed multis. Stitch and glue with epoxy is very strong, and now that I’ve glassed the entire bottom and transoms, the whole structure is a good bit more stiff and rigid.

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