Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Late Season Overnight

On Friday my wife and I sailed to Jewell Island for an overnight. The forecast was for a moderate easterly blow with rain, but beginning the next day.

We got underway about 5:00 pm. It is about eight miles to Jewell and we didn't want to anchor in the dark, so we motorsailed a lot of the time, on a close fetch. For the last leg, about two miles, we shut down and had a fine reach to Jewell Cove.

Well before we got to the entrance I handed the jib and the main. It is so important to get those things out of the way before entering an anchorage - you really don't want to be messing around with sails when the rocks are 100 feet away and the light is failing. If we hadn't had time to furl the main I'd just have dropped it, and come in all sloppy and sails over the side but focused on the task at hand - keeping the boat off the bricks. As it was, when we entered I was up on the bow keeping a good lookout.

Another boat entered as we did and we were the only boats in the anchorage.  The other boat went to the head of the cove and secured to an old dolphin there. It is shallow in that spot. We picked a wide spot, lowered the anchor to the water, backed down to give her a little sternway, and lowered the hook in 12 feet (low water). I let out 60 feet (30 feet of chain and 30 of rope rode). We waited until the boat straightened out and we backed down pretty hard for about 30 seconds. We usually do that when anchoring for the night, especially if there is wind in the forecast. A lot of folks just back down enough to set the anchor but they don't really test it, and I don't see why not. If you wake in the night and the wind is whistling you can go back to sleep if you know you have already really tested the set of the anchor.

Got a nice fire going with briquettes and beech chunks, very cheery. It was a little breezy now. Nice Friday night music on the radio. Drinks, and dinner of red beans and rice. The forward bunk was cozy and we slept great.

The rain threatened and the wind was rising when we woke up. After breakfast, we got underway as usual. The anchor was dug deep (that's the idea) and when we had the rode about up and down I took a turn around the cleat and, gunning the engine, we broke out the anchor. Then it was easy to get the anchor up and into the roller.

We loitered around the anchorage while I stowed the anchor rode down the naval pipe - I could see there was wind outside and I didn't want to be doing that on a bouncy foredeck, nor did I want to do it while we navigated out the entrance, which has nasty rocks close aboard on both sides. Instead, I stayed on the bow keeping watch and we made sail outside. (The night before, after I dropped the jib I left it hanked on but I folded it up pretty well and tied the folded sail to the pulpit with a sail tie. The sheets were left run aft. The sail was thus mostly off the deck and clear of the anchor but ready to go the next day.)

Then a close reach and a great broad reach, maybe 20 knots of wind. The tide was fair and we were back on the mooring in an hour and a half. By then the rain was in earnest and wet we got! But it was a great late season overnight.


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