November 6, 2014
Plenty to report this time. The problem with the halyards was clearly beyond our abilities and expertise to fix, and I’m very pleased to report that Port Townsend Rigging, in the person of Lisa Vizzini, stepped up to the responsibility in a quick, friendly and effective manner. It turns out that the headsail halyard apparently got wrapped around the upper spreader bar inside the mast during its installation at PT Rigging in March. Everyone makes a mistakes (more on that later), and it’s the response to a mistake that distinguishes a good business from an average one. PT Rigging came through with flying colors!
An excellent local rigging company, Rigworks, Inc., served as a surrogate and provided new, re-routed halyards in one day. They were also prompt, friendly and professional, and we learned a lot watching them work. One of the interesting tricks of the trade is that they tied a bunch of steel nuts on the end of the halyard and used a magnet to guide the halyard as they fed it into the mast from the top. We also got from them a $175 (!) roll of Teflon tape that can be used to protect the lines from chafe, should any appear.
We were also able, thanks to Hannah’s slim arms, to replace the failing outhaul car on the boom. She had to reach past her elbow into the back of the boom to remove nuts that held the outhaul car’s track in place, while I used our new impact driver to loosen the screws and Birgit twisted on the driver with a Crescent wrench (called that, by the way, because for a long time those wrenches were only made by the Crescent Tool Company in Brooklyn, N.Y.). And don’t get me started on Vise-Grips. Suffice it to say that only brand name Vise-Grips (not Vice-Grips) are worth your money.
San Diego is a great spot for marine supplies. There are riggers, machine shops, and a wonderful marine hardware store called San Diego Marine Exchange, all walking distance from Shelter Island. I even got some hard-to-find charts of the San Blas Islands of Panama.
So, with all that done, we decided to do a test sail yesterday. We went out around noon, under sun and blue skies, and sailed up and down San Diego Harbor in 15-20 knots of warm wind. A very lovely November day. Sorry, Seattle.
Further on the subject of mistakes, as we returned from the test sail, the captain of our ship (ok, it was me) managed to put her aground on a sand bank near the entrance to the Shelter Island Marina. “What’s that sign say?” Hannah asked innocently, as we sat there stuck. It said, “Danger, Shoal!” I’m pleased to say that the exactly correct nautical terminology was used – which you will find under the entries for “O” in the handy new glossary that you can reach on the tab above. Anyway, it was nice soft sand. We raised the sails, which heeled the boat over enough to get us off. Hannah’s hat blew off during the excitement, so we got to perform a nice “Man Overboard” drill and got it back.
The saying is, “There are two kinds of sailors, those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.”
A post-sail inspection of the halyards showed no compression or abrasion, so it appears that the problem is solved. We stopped by the fuel dock on the way back to our slip and filled the tank to the tippy-top.
Now we are back at the dock, watching the weather, stocking up, and wallowing in luxury at the San Diego Yacht Club. In the spirit of full disclosure, as John Erlichman used to say, I have to report that they make an even better bacon cheeseburger than the Sloop Tavern. That’s an achievement of a very high order. The only snarky comment I have to make is that you can understand the issues of race in the United States quite well by comparing the ethnic composition of the SDYC to that of the US prison system.
So, now we cook some meals to eat during the three day passage to Turtle Bay, about 300 nautical miles down the coast of Baja California. We’ll leave here either Friday or Saturday. Life is about to change a lot! We’ll definitely have limited phone and internet access, but we’ll try to keep you up to date.