Tuesday, July 11, 2023

day twenty - no other choice

I wake early, sail off anchor at 5:40.  With no outboard I have to time my arrival in Chestertown to the winds and tides.  Studying the forecast the night before I saw there would be wind out of the northeast and a slight flood tide running southwest to northeast in the morning.  The trick is to get in before 9:00 as the tide picks up.

Sunrise glows in the trees along shore, LAGNIAPPE is quietly anchored not far from the small cliffs.  Bobby had told me he would be heading to the ramp at Rolph's Wharf today, he is in no rush.  Making 1.7 in the wind shadow of the trees on shore.

At 6:10 slip out on to the Chester River, better wind and making 3.3.  It is the prettiest of mornings, one of the best on this trip.  At Primrose Point at 7:00 where the river curves and I come in sight of Chestertown and the marina.

More wind and making 5.2 up the river.  I've lost track of the days and think it is a Monday, a day when the marina should be mostly empty except for local boats.  I see it is full, and mostly with high end yachts.  I don't like the idea of sailing close in with all those big boats.  Off the marina I tack back and forth across the wind to get a feel for both the wind and running tide.  I round up and drop the main, and then point to the marina under mizzen and jib.  "She looks beautiful" I hear someone saying.  It is a woman out on the deck of a big yacht, she is shooting some video of SPARTINA.  Possible evidence, I think, should  insurance companies become involved.  Wind is on the beam and I can tell from the water near the pilings that the tide is modest.  We sail in gently and I see and empty slip.  Push the tiller to port and we round up into the slip.  I quickly get lines on the cleats, then breathe a sigh of relief.  It is 8:00 in the morning.

The dock master walks over and tells me he watched me sail into the slip.  He says I am either crazy or know exactly what I am doing.  I tell him there is a third option:  Without a working outboard I had no choice but to sail in.  He also mentions that the empty slip I have chosen is rented year round, I'll have to move at some point in the morning.  So I back SPARTINA of the slip, turn her so the wind is on her port side, push off and sail down a few slips to an open one.  The yawl rounds up to the dock and I put out her lines.  Trip is over.  5.39 NM for the day.

My plan was to spend a few days in Chestertown, a favorite town, day sailing and enjoying the Eastern Shore.  Without an outboard, I'll pass on the day sails.  

Instead I relax and enjoy the waterfront for a few days.  I see some friends, visit some favorite restaurants.  My friend Vick with organic flower farm comes to see me, and brings a nice bouquet to take home to my wife.  And Wendy, editor of SAIL Magazine, is in town too and she joins us for a fun and great lunch at the Modern Stone Age Kitchen.  How nice.

And after a couple days, one more blueberry muffin with iced tea at the Evergrain Cafe and then I am on my way home.



Rick Lapp said...

Steve, sorry to hear about your motor troubles. What are your thoughts about a solution? Rick

Shawn Stanley said...

I know you mentioned earlier in this trip's dailies that you'd give us followers more info on the outboard. I am excited to hear it. Those crazy little machines buzzing on the transom are truly magnificent when they work, and confounding when they do not.
It usually ends up being a piece of crud in one of the tiny jets in the simple carb, but hard to diagnose in the field (and easy to lose little parts overboard!) - On the sailboat with an Atomic 4, I had a spare carb ready to bolt in, and ran a fuel pressure gauge to confirm fuel delivery, and several filters including a water separating. Let's hope you maybe got a bad batch of fuel with some moisture or crud in it and a carb cleaning will make things good to go.
I am running larger V8 motors in my powerboat these days, and the same problems persist. I am working on troubleshooting a hard start issue on stbd engine. Would not want to be cruising to a beautiful place like Chestertown (on our list) with engine trouble.
Glad you landed safely and trouble free (I sailed myself in and out of a few docks in my day) and again, I look forward to the story.
Solomons, MD