Week 9 - Day 6 - 840 days remaining

Posted on: Fri, 2019/06/07 - 20:17 By: kevin.klop

Dinghy partially deflatedWe woke this morning to find the dinghy looking somewhat wrinkled and pruned in the water next to us. It definitely has a leak and would need to be pumped back up again if anyone was to use it today. We decided to bring it up on deck and completely deflate it rather than pump it back up only to have to deflate it again a few hours later.  The prolem was that someone would have to get into the dinghy to take the engine off the transom and remove the paddles from it before we brought it on deck and we weren't sure it would support someone's weight.

Fortunately, it did.

We also did some practice of man overboard drills, deploying the life sling, which was of older (original manufacture, I think) design with the polypro (floating) line coiled instead of stuffed.  This did not pay out well at all and required that we pull it back in, hand uncoil it, and then try again.  Once the line was deployed, circling to get the line closed around a victim (we used a fender) was a cinch [pun intended].  Fortunately, the Quijote now has a brand new life sling with a properly stuffed line rather than a coiled one.  The skipper donated the older life sling to the LMYC sailing club to use however we wish.

Crew in the morningAfter setting sail in earnest, we were treated to a typical Pacific Northwest day in which we experienced all four seasons in the space of 2 hours before breaking out into Puget Sound surrounded by a crown of dark Cumulus clouds with a blue sky above our heads.

We hove-to for a bit of munching and then set across the sound with me on the helm while others climbed into their rain gear in case the rain and virga caught up to us, which it did a few times, though it wasn't a driving rain that we had experienced the first day.

We dropped Tina off at Shilshole Marina, with me docking Quijote for the first time.  Success, though I did misjudge the wind a bit and came up slightly short of where I had planned.  Still, any landing we walk away from (and can even use the boat afterwards) is a good one, right?

After that, it was off to the locks.  Though I had been a passenger through the locks three times already, this was the first time with me at the helm.  It looked like a great set of luck had struck. The railroad drawbridge was already open as we approached, and the green light to proceed into the small lock was on.  We were almost to the small lock when a voice came over the loudspeaker apologizing for the green light and telling us to clear the water channel as they had traffic coming in.  We drifted back and moved over towards one side to allow a sightseeing/ferry boat to move in ahead of us.  Now we commenced about an hour of station keeping.

Quijote is a bit different than the other bigger boats I'm used to in that it has a sail drive.  I'm used to an angled drive.  Like anything, there are pros and cons to both sorts of drive, but the biggest difference is that an angled drive "prop walks" and a sail drive doesn't.  Since we were trying to keep station, we weren't moving very fast in the water, and this means the rudder is more or less useless.  Without the prop walk, I was missing one of the tools I'm used to in orienting the bow of the boat.  I only had prop wash to work with.  This made it a bit of a challenge, and a bit of an anxious time, especially as there was another commercial boat also in the same restricted water as we were and also trying to keep station.  Still, we managed and eventually went through the lock with me at the helm - a first!  It might not be the locks of the Panama Canal, but it was my first time :)

We still had two more draw bridges to navigate past.  As we closely approached the first one, we gave the one long + one short air horn blast to request they open the drawbridge, which resulted in a near-immediate response from the drawbridge of a long + short of their own.  Our skipper remarked how he now had horn envy of the bridge's horn.  Beginner's luck on my part since we were getting close to rush hour in Seattle and we could have well been stuck there for quite a while as they let traffic through before opening for the silly sailboat.

Teddy Bear relaxing while we do all the workThe second drawbridge went even more slickly as I didn't even have to signal - they just opened up right in front of me without my having to even ask, so I've been named official draw bridge helmsman.  The next time, though, will be when we set forth for San Diego, and it only seems right that the skipper be at the helm as he says goodbye to the place that has been Quijote's home.

Along this trip we had a lot of discussion about proposed watch schedules, how we'll handle provisioning, and which legs we'll be on.  I had planned to do the Seattle-> San Diego, the San Diego -> La Paz and the Puerto Vallarta -> Tahiti/Fiji legs (i.e. the first three legs).  However, the crew complement for Puerto Vallarta -> Tahiti leg is already full.  With all the financial commitment to the Clipper Race, I'm not sure I want to commit to two one-way tickets (Vancouver -> Tahiti and then New Zealand -> Vancouver) air flights, so whether I'll be able to participate in the Pacific crossing is now somewhat in doubt, darn it!

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