Monday, July 28, 2008

Much of a Yarn

Someone once said that, "education is what you get when you did not get what you want," and I have enjoyed using that bit of wit numerous times--particularly in reference to the times I received an education instead of what I had initially sought.

This weekend, two of my Sea Scouts and I met Steve Alexander to take our largest boat--a US Yachts 27--on her first cruise in 6 years. Except for the past month while we struggled to make her engine work, his boat had been on dry land all that time.

The weather was gorgeous for sailing, with a nice breeze...but we could not raise sails because the halyards had not been put back. Cap'n Alexander showed us how to fasten the "small stuff" that was a placeholder to the sheet, so we could use the thinner line to pull the thicker line into place in the pulley at the top of the mast, but we could not get the line through the pulley at the top of the mast.

We decided to take Amanda Grace out anyway, to put the engine through its paces, but
discovered in preparation that the thimble had been cut off the end of the anchor rode and the anchor wouldn't have worked without it. So, thanks to Cap'n Alexander's patient tutelage and skill, Caitlin and Rebecca learned some marlinespike. They also cleaned out the anchor locker, and laid the rode in neatly.

The Volvo Penta diesel engine started and sounded beautiful for a "one-lunger." Cap'n Alexander reviewed proper procedure for helm commands and responses, then we cast off with Rebecca at the wheel. Out in the main channel, Rebecca gave her half throttle, and in about a minute the engine
temperature alarm went off. Even though Mr. Schmoker cleared the clog in the salt water cooling system, there is apparently not enough water coming through. So, the Cap'n shut her down, turned the boat about, and we sailed back under Bimini power. A three-minute tour. Upon reaching our row in the dock, he turned us deftly, and then we used the boat hook and other boats' bows to crawl back to our slip.

The scouts and I did not get what we wanted--a glorious experience with sails raised and full in the wind--but we got a whole lot more. More experience we can use in future, and more to make a better story. Let's face it, if all had been uneventful, this post would read "we had a nice shakedown sail," and that wouldn't be much of a yarn, would it?