Saturday, July 23, 2011

sealed with a kiss

I had to explain the brown cardboard box that arrived on the porch the other day.  The red lips raised questions in the household.  It was just my Icebreaker thermals arrived from MooseJaw, the Michigan-based dealer for Icebreaker.  They had, as far as I could tell, a decent price on the base layer leggings and shirt.  There were initials on the lipstick motif sticker, indicating (maybe) that the contents were checked and inspected before shipping.  Good price, good service from MooseJaw.
It will be probably reach 100 degrees in a couple of hours, I won't need the thermal gear for a while.  I'll pack them into my hypothermia kit for the fall sail.  And I'll plan on wearing them in late October for an overnight trip towards the north end of Chesapeake Bay.

Speaking of good service, I emailed Outdoor Research to find learn how I could replace the tent pole for my bivy.  One of this metal tube that connects the pieces of the delrin tent pole cracked during the last trip.  I wrapped tape around the broken tube and the pole worked fine.  The bivy is such an important piece of gear to me that I wanted to replace it.  The reply from Michael in the consumer service department said a new pole was in the mail.  Service doesn't get any better than that.  Here is a link to the bivy that Bruce uses.  Mine, a simpler one with just one pole instead of two and a little bit smaller, is not shown on their product chart.  I'm not sure if it is available anymore.

Above is a photo from SailingAnarchy that shows a 35 foot boat that capsized in a severe thunderstorm in the Great Lakes.  Six people were rescued, two were lost.  Webb Chiles discusses the incident in his journal here.  When reading a discussion thread I found it interesting that the coast guard first learned of the capsize from two personal locator beacons that were activated on the boat.  The thread does not mention the type of plb used, it could have been SPOT.
This confirms the value of having a SPOT on board.  There has been some question about how long a SPOT would work in the water.  I hope I will never find out the answer to that.  But just the single emergency message, sent with a location, is enough to get a rescue effort launched.  The idea that I can trigger a rescue effort with the push of a button gives me piece of mind.

The capsizing of the boat confirms that Bruce and I took proper action last Spring as we sailed up Chesapeake Bay on day two and heard severe thunderstorm warnings on the weather radio.  We cut short our sailing day, anchored in a protected cove.  The thunderstorms never arrived, but none the less we did the right thing.  Had we continued on our path that day we would have been on exposed water with no protection available, there would have been nowhere to hide.

There were severe weather warnings on two other days when we were sailing in waters that offered several protected areas.  On those days we continued sailing while watching the sky and monitoring the weather radio.  The storms did not appear on those days either.

I've been caught only twice on the water by fast moving thunderstorms.  I was solo daysailing on the Elizabeth River when a small storm came in over Craney Island.  I recognized it by the wall of dust it was kicking up on the island.  I dropped the main and tied it tight to the boom to minimize wind exposure, then waited out the wind under the mizzen.  It passed in about 15 minutes.  The weather station across the river showed that the wind went from 15 mph to 32 mph in under two minutes.

The biggest storm for Spartina was last fall leaving Jones Bay to head south on Pamlico Sound.  I could see the black sky to the west, used in the wind in front of the storm to get around Boar Point as quickly as possible and anchored a hundred yards off the shore.  I do not know how high the winds were but it felt much stronger than the 32 mph of my earlier experience.  The winds and heavy rains lasted for almost an hour.  I kept busy with the bilge pump.  I will always be glad that I was not out on the open sound in that storm.  The X in the map below shows my anchored position and the orange color indicates the most severe area of the storm.

There are good winds today accompanying the 100 degree temperature.  I'm staying indoors.  Winds will be lighter tomorrow, the temperature a little cooler.  I hope to be rigging Spartina at dawn so I can sail in the (relative) cool of the morning.


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