Saturday, December 13, 2008

An evening update

Chris here. First of all, we're not actually on land as our little gizmo gadget shows us to be. Our SPOT messenger thingie that updates our location sends the message to Yahoo Fire Eagle, which in turn updates our location on our blog page. Unfortunately, it looks like Fire Eagle only likes to position you on land, so it picks the closest land spot to you, thinking you were in error, and places you there. I've sent them an email to find out if there's anything I can do about it.

Things are going well here. We left at approximately 9:30am after putting our dinghy on the foredeck. I think we made a big mistake getting the heavier, bigger dinghy. Even with the 6 to 1 lifting tackle, it was still VERY difficult to put it on the foredeck. Hopefully we'll figure out a better system over time. The good thing is that it fit, though, so I'm sure we'll get it going.

Once we left Back Creek, Pelican's home for the past month, we found the new autopilot didn't want to keep us on a straight course. We're guessing that it had something to do with trying to calibrate it yesterday when it was blowing 25-30kts and there were 2 foot waves pushing us around. We ran through the calibration again and things seem to be going well. We also figured out how to slave it to our GPS so it will automatically hold our course. Very cool! It's not that I care about whether it will automatically turn for us, but it will make sure that it doesn't deviate from our layline by more than a few feet. I love it!

The full enclosure that, well, encloses our cockpit was a great thing earlier today, and once the sun went down we appreciated it even more. We pulled out the propane heater we bought at Home Depot, hooked it up, and now it's fairly toasty in the cockpit. It's 28degrees actual outside the enclosure, with a 10-15mph wind in our face (if we were actually outside), but it has to be in the 50's inside the cockpit. Awesome!

We got to sail for a few minutes today. The wind was on our stern for the majority of our day, and it was pretty suckish, so we ended up motoring. At one point, it shifted into a better spot and picked up to 10kts or so, so we raised sails and immediately saw it die (the wind that is). We lallygagged along for a couple of hours at about 2-3kts, and then decided to turn the engine on again.

There's a full moon out tonight and everything is crisp and clear. It's a beautiful night to be out. Casey and I just came off our 4-8pm watch, and Kristen and Kaitlin are on the 8pm-12am watch. Then it's back to Casey and I. Dinner was wonderful - Chicken and rice. Everything tastes good when you're underway - even Gene's boiled beef tips and heinz gravy (the guys who joined me for the trip from CT to MD know what I'm talkin' about).

Well, I'm supposed to be napping. We'll see how that goes. Until later!


Jaye said...

Hey, congrats on getting going again! About getting dinghy on foredeck, we saw a slick trick by some cruisers in Maine.
1. Bring dinghy alongside your mast
2. Put a snatch block on a spare forward halyard, like a spinnaker halyard
3. Run a line up from the dinghy, through the snatch block, and down to your windlass
4. Hoist the spin halyard so the snatch block is about 10 feet above the deck and cleat off
5. Step on the "up" button for the windlass
The dinghy will come up like an elevator and center itself over the foredeck where you can lower it in place. Use tools, no muscles!

JMM said...

Jaye - if you see this comment - I have a question re: your elevator lift method. Is the advantage to this trick the use of the windlass (rather than a winch) for cranking? Other than ease on muscles by using the electric aid, don't you get the same centering on the foredeck effect from attaching the spinnaker halyard directly to the dinghy?

Or am I missing something here? Many thanks from someone who carries a rigid on the foredeck.

Jim - james dot malkin at sourcemedia dot com

Jaye said...

JMM - there's 2 benefits to the Maine elevator trick. The first addresses the problem Pelican's crew has, using electric instead of muscle. But there *is* a subtle difference between attaching the spin halyard directly to the dinghy, and the Maine trick. Think about where the end of the spin halyard will want to hang in each case if there's nothing on it. If you attach the spin halyard directly to the dinghy, it will naturally want to hang just alongside the mast. OTOH, if it's linked to the windlass, the end of the spin halyard is at a point over the center of the foredeck 5 or so feet in front of the mast. Thus when you're lowering the dink into place you have less muscling around to do to get it where it needs to be. (You're welcome, from someone who carries a 10' RIB on a 33' boat and doesn't believe in davits)