Travel 2017-2018


Final Pre-Launch Touch-Up

The hull paint was chipped in some places. Down to a thin layer in others. 

We touched it up.

The bulk of the bottom paint is in good shape. We hope this little touch-up will reduce barnacle and algae damage for another year or so. 

CA scraped the residue from our old blue fenders. You can see that there’s a lot of dirty smudge action. 

Next year, we’ll wash, wax, and paint her for real.

Next weekend: oil change, sails, and bimini cover. And maybe some interior cleaning, too.

On a side note, we’ve got innumerable Virginia boat registration problems. We let the dinghy registration lapse, so now we’ve got a new number for it, which is confusing. We have a fake no-title registration for Red Ranger to make Florida happy. Coast Guard documentation is good enough for 49 other states. Not Florida. Sigh. So. We might try to re-register everything in Maryland. Or. Maybe wait until we get to Florida again and subject ourselves to their idiocy.

Through Hull Exercise

The Whitby design has a fairly large number of through-hull fittings. They let water in (and out) of the boat in a controlled fashion. For fittings below the waterline, we have huge bronze valves — sea cocks — to be sure we can close off the hole in case a hose fails. 

We never expected oysters, though. They’re tricky little devils.

You can see the essential elements of the valve here: 

A flange at the bottom that bolts through the hull. A run of pipe screws into that and reaches out into the outside world.

A giant lever to open and close the valve.

A piece of bronze pipe where we can put 1½” or 1⅝” hose. Yes, we have two sizes. Choose wisely.

In this picture it’s hard to see the two little plug” on each side. These give you some access to the internals.


The original design for a Whitby 42 had the following:

  • Two sea cocks forward for the MSD (Marine Sanitation Device — the toilet) and sink.
  • Three sea cocks amidships for the galley sink, a deck drain and the “water box” that has all of the incoming water. (Engine cooling, head flushing, refrigeration cooling, etc.)
  • A small one amidships for the macerator pump output.
  • Three sea cocks aft for the cockpit drains, the aft MSD, and the aft sink.

Nine, all told. Add two for air conditioner output, and we’re at 11 holes into the water. Each with a valve and a hose. 

History

First things first. When we bought Red Ranger, the A/C output hoses did not have sea-cocks on them. I fixed this ASAP. A hose without a cutoff valve is an accident waiting to happen.

A few years later, we realized we didn’t use the A/C very often. At anchor, we rigged breeze catchers. At the dock, we found the fans were adequate. And the aft A/C in particular, only seemed to cool the bilge. We don’t want to carry it around. We took it out and sold it. This simplified the plumbing and pumping under the floor, also.

For a large boat like Red Ranger, it’s common to have “Y” valves for the MSD’s. Waste can go to a holding tank or it can go straight out to sea. In much of the US territorial waters, the holding tank must be used and the waste must be pumped ashore. Off shore, however, the “Y” valve can be switched and the head pumps overboard.

Because the previous owner planned on staying in Chesapeake Bay, the “Y” values were not installed. The through hull was put in, but it was capped off. The heads only flushed into the holding tank. This means the through hulls for the holding tanks are left perpetually closed.

We replaced the MSD (with it's water flush drippy pump) with a composting toilet. 

If you’re keeping score, this eliminated two through-hulls: the aft MSD and the aft A/C. We had Deltaville Boatyard pull out the giant bronze fitting (and the little plastic fitting) and seal up the holes.

Later, we removed the forward A/C. We didn’t use it, either. Why carry it around?

Latest Updates

Recently, we had the Drain Hoses redone, eliminating another through-hull. We had Phipps and Osprey here at Herrington Harbour rebuild the drains. They pulled out another giant bronze fitting (and the little plastic fitting) and sealed up two more holes.

The deck drain on the starboard side was always slow. The drain on the port side leaked into the engine room. 

Now we know why the starboard drain was slow.

That’s an oyster. 

It’s living inside the valve. Once upon a time, the forward head sink didn’t drain well. We were in the Bahamas and I used a screw-driver to get rid of the oyster living there.

In Chesapeake Bay, I wasn’t too motivated to dive in the turbid waters to dodge jellyfish and inspect the openings.

Today, Red Ranger has seven holes through to the ocean.

Maintenance

These things are super robust and very reliable. You can see the core of the valve is a giant, machined cylinder of bronze. The body, similarly, is a casting with the inside machined to match this tapered core cylinder.

All it needs is a little marine grease to keep it moving.

Which leads to the annual through-hull exercise.

  1. Open the floors to inspect all seven devices.
  2. Check the hose clamps. (Double clamps below the waterline.)
  3. Apply grease by putting a ⅛” NPT Zerk fitting into the drain holes and pumping in grease. (Only when the valve is open. Greasing a valve that’s closed doesn’t do anything.)
  4. Operate the lever.

Step four can be really, really hard. Six of the seven through hulls are readily accessible. A pipe wrench can be used for leverage to move the bar. The main water intake valve is one we use fairly regularly, and it’s hard to move without some extra leverage.

One valve is almost inaccessible. It’s under the aft cabin ladder. You don’t reach down through the floor. You open the aft head, lay down, and reach over the top of the drive shaft to get at the handle. 

In this picture, you can see the body — with the core removed. The bright line in the bottom of the picture is the drive shaft. The shadowy thing on the left is a prop-lock brake.

On the top of the picture is a tiny rectangle of light. This is where the old aid conditioner access used to be. The hole is barely large enough for a wrench. That’s a 1⅜” socket on the ½” drive wrench. 

When we bought Red Ranger, I rebuilt all the through hulls that I could get to. At the time, there was an A/C unit on top of this, and I couldn’t get at it. 

There was a fair amount of banging and clanging, but — as you can see — we eventually got the valve apart, cleaned it, greased it, and reassembled it.

All of the through hulls have been checked and greased and they all operate.

There are a few more things to do. We should be in the water soon. I hope. With new drains, and no oysters.

The Drain Hose

We’ve moved the deck drain hoses. The Whitby has wonderful bulwarks that trap water running over the decks. The original Whitby design had hoses that ran from deck drains to through-hulls below the waterline. It’s an elegant idea that keeps the cockpit dry and makes sure dropped tools don’t always fall overboard. It improves your footing to have a big, sturdy frame running around the deck.

However.

The two “saddle-bag” fuel tanks are in the way of this elegant idea. 

On the starboard side the drain hose had two 90° turns around the fuel tank and to make it down to the through-hull.

On the port side… well… it’s complicated. The location of the through-hull would be a nearly inaccessible spot just aft of the sea-chest. It looks like the builders opted instead to run the drain hose around the lazarette and “T” it into a cockpit drain hose. 

Here’s the new design, viewed from the inside.

The old port side had a long stretch of hose that can have standing water in it during winter’s freeze-and-thaw cycles. And this means the hose can work its way off the hose clamps through protracted stretch/shrink cycles.

Which means rain water running down into the engine room.

Which fills the bilge. 

And. This.

“What am I looking at?” you ask.

That’s the floor of the engine room. At the left edge of the picture is a wheel on the engine. At the bottom of the picture is a bracket that used to hold a refrigeration pump. The rectangular opening is under the floor of the engine room, which is the top of the center file tank. The hoses are fuel lines.

The red?

The red is diesel fuel.

Yes. The bilge and the pan under the engine were filled with diesel.  Filled.

How can that happen?

Here’s my theory. Water runs down into the bilge. Red Ranger is blocked with the bow slightly lower than the stern. Enough that water pools forward in the cockpit and forward under the engine. 

Instead of running aft to the deep bilge, the water runs forward, pooling on top of the center fuel tank. 

A long time ago, we’d had a mechanic look at the center tank. The top of the tank had holes in the aluminum. (They took of the inspection plate, stuck a camera down inside and took pictures to show pin-holes and stalactites of oxidized aluminum. The center tank had water in it. We know it leaks. We haven’t been using it. It requires a fairly sophisticated repair to create a proper dam around the lid. (Either remove the engine or cut away the keel to replace the tank.)

If the water was leaking into the tank, then, it will — eventually — fill the tank. Since water is denser than diesel, the remaining diesel from the bottom fo the tank floated up and into the bilge.

Yuck.

It’s all been pumped out, and poured into the bilge-water reclamation tank.

Now we need to find a way to clean the diesel residue. I think it means a little soap and a lot of water once we’re blocked so things drain aft and can be properly pumped out.

The Sea Chest

Red Ranger uses “raw” water for a number of things: flushing the forward head, rinsing in the galley sink, cooling the engine, washing down the anchor. Once upon a time, it also had air conditioners, a fridge, and an aft head that used raw water also.

All of the raw water comes through a single intake called a sea chest. It’s box with a hose that leads through a hole in the bottom of the boat and a bunch of hoses leading various places around Red Ranger.

When I removed the aft head, the water-cooled fridge, and the A/C, I capped the hoses. This means putting in a hose barb-to-threaded pipe adapter and a cap on the threaded part.

However.

That’s four separate hose clamps to inspect each year. And it’s just a hose full of raw water laying around in the bilge. Which leads to this:

“Why is this hose here?” 

“Because it’s a right pain in the ass to shut off the water intake, disconnect it from the sea chest, and cap it properly.”

IMG_0421

We’re out of the water right now, so closing the valve is academic. And the consequences of a mistake are negligible. 

The gray rectangle is the top of the sea chest — it’s a piece of acrylic that lets us see the state of the water flow. 


IMG_0428


Here’s the bonus fitting we replaced. It’s a valve with an elbow, a fitting to change from ½” pipe to ¾” hose threads and a cap.

We can attach a hose to this and use dock water instead of raw water. It’s a way to flush the engine. More importantly, we can use this to put anti-freeze into the water box and fill the various systems for storage over the winter.

The previous version of this fitting had a valve handle that was rusting from exposure to salt water down there.

And you can see the clutter of hoses in the background of the picture. It’s a busy place.

Still to do?

Final work on the through-hull changes. Here’s what’s been done so far…

The original scupper drains ran down to a through-hull fitting below the water line. Very clean. Also. A very long run of difficult to maintain hose. With a 90° turn that never seemed to drain well in heavy rains. At the bottom was a through-hull fitting, all of which are potential problems.

Here’s the new design.

About a foot of hose and it drains through the upper part of the hull. This will develop a rusty weeping stain on the side of the boat. 

But.

We can access it, repair it. and clean it out when it’s backed up with leaf litter.

We can even add a valve between the bronze part and the hose in the unlikely event of hose failure while we’re heeled over.

The port-side drains were much more complex. A hose went from the deck scupper to a T-fitting shared with the port cockpit drain (and the aft head sink.) Seriously. Three drains with various T’s and hose clamps.

Worse: the port side T-fitting broke and leaked into the engine room. We’re excited to have the port drains simplified.

Here’s the starboard drain. It’s a robust bronze fitting. It will develop a weeping stain that we will have to wash and wax.

Forward of the fitting you can see blue scuff marks from a fender we used to use until it started leaving vinyl on the hull. The port side is worse. We have a lot of cosmetic work to do.

You can see the reflection of the neighbor’s boat. So the wax I put on four or so years ago is holding up pretty well.

We also replaced the old through-hull fitting that was part of the air conditioning we removed. We’re waiting for the plastics guy to fill the two holes with solid FRP plugs, glass over, prepare, and paint the openings. All of that requires a stretch of warm weather.

Then we can look at the fuel pump drip. But that’s another weekend on Red Ranger.

That’s a Lot of Lead

House batteries were nearly dead. See House Batteries for their last days.

I have a theory that ice in the bilge may have frozen the switch in the on position, and the motor’s overheat protector kicked on and off over a period of weeks, running the batteries down in the dark winter months.

Or maybe they were just old. Or both.

Each one is 62# of lead and acid. They have to come out of the engine room, up the companionway ladder. 

Did I mention we’re on the hard? The deck is at least 10’ in the air. Climbing down a ladder holding a battery is an invitation to a disaster. 

We have a little 2-part block and tackle we use to raise the dinghy motor. This can hang from the mizzen boom. Or. I can sort of cheat and hang it from a mizzen halyard and lower the batteries over the side instead of over the transom. 

Hoisting is a similarly back-breaking chore of lashing a line through the handles in the tops and using the block and tackle to get them up onto the deck. Then down the ladder. Then wrestle them into their space in the engine room.

Here they are all snug in their beds, waiting for the wires to show up.

I’m going to install the Flow-Rite battery watering separately.

The previous batteries with T105 Plus with non-standard filler spacing.

These are T105, and there’s a HydroLink branded version of the FlowRite Watering System.





Then this. Note that the four house batteries are in different orientations. Plan carefully.

red ranger batteries

Yes, there are a passel of wires and fuses. The color coding is literally the color of the wires, making it easier for me to sort out what I’m doing.

When I was done, the charger was charging them, the voltage was sensible and my back is killing me from all all that lifting and hoisting.

House Batteries

The house batteries date from September 2011. We’ve gotten a hair over six years of service from batteries that are normally replaced every five years. They’re not *stone* dead. See Sudden Death—Joys and Concerns for details of the last time they died.

DSC03472

They’re not dead. But. They’re barely charging. The engine battery is happily sitting at over 13V. The house batteries, on the other hand, keep slipping down to 12V or less. And when the solar panels raise the voltage enough to charge the engine battery, it’s being drained by the house batteries. Not a good look.

I’ve got a little specific gravity tester. The acid seemed to register 1.10 (It’s hard to read.) This means there’s almost nothing in there but water. The sulphur is all bonded onto the lead. Which makes sense after six years.

Last time I replaced them, we were in the water. Moving each 62# battery off the boat was a series of awkward movements. Out of the engine room. Up the ladder. Out of the cockpit. Onto the dock. 

We’re on the hard, now. That means lowering the battery from the end of the mizzen boom using some kind of block-and-tackle. It certainly needs to be done ASAP so the pumps can keep the interior dry.

In 2013, I added these filler tubes to make it easier to top off the water. They’re great. But. The batteries still age.

IMG_1740

Now comes the hard choice: West Marine GC2 batteries or Trojan-brand? Theoretically, the WM is the same as the Trojan without the fancy maroon case. There is a minor difference: the WM is essentially the T105, and I’ve got T105Plus. The difference is 20 amp-hours times four batteries.

If I get the WM, I can have them delivered to the local store. To get the Trojan’s, I may have to go to Stevens Battery Warehouse in Annapolis to pick them up. Not too difficult, really.

Winterizing and The Pink Stuff

When we lived aboard, we didn’t winterize. Winterizing is a potentially big job. But we think we’re getting a grip on it. Except for one thing. And this year, it was a problem. So we had to do some diagnostic work.

Here’s the overview:

  1. Scout — the dinghy -- comes in. CA took a picture of Scout and I on the foredeck.
  2. Sails come down.
  3. Change the oil in the outboard.
  4. Put anti-freeze into the raw water system. (The Pink Stuff.)
  5. Drain (to the extent possible) the fresh water system. We don’t anticipate Great Lakes style super-cold winter conditions, so we can be a little flexible here.
  6. The bimini cover needs to come down to get cleaned, also.

The wind this past weekend was amazing. Gusting into the 20’s in the marina. So we left the sails in place for now. They’re hard to wrestle with if there’s any wind at all.

The raw water system has a clever winterizing setup. It starts with a case (6 gallons) of anti-freeze. 

We have a 6-gallon drywall bucket that has a hose fitting on the bottom. We have a 2-foot section of hose that feeds into the “sea chest.” (All of the raw water that comes into Red Ranger comes through a strainer into a box with outlets for the various systems.)

We close the through-hull input, attach the bucket to the sea chest, and work all of the raw-water systems.

  • The forward head flushes with raw water. We flush this until it runs pink. After that about a half-gallon will fill the hoses up through the anti-siphon fitting.
  • There’s a raw-water pump for the galley sink. Pump this until it runs pink.
  • The deck wash down uses raw water. Switch the valves and run the pump until it sprays pink on deck.
  • The engine uses raw water. This gets a little tricky.

(There used to be an aft head, air-conditioning, and refrigerations. They’re all gone, making our life simpler.)

The raw-water side of Mr. Lehman’s heat exchanger doesn’t really use too much anti-freeze. Only a gallon or so seems to sit in the heat-exchangers. The exhaust hoses may hold another gallon or so. 

The Tricky Part

The tricky part is getting Mr. Lehman to start in cold weather. He does not like the cold.

There’s a cold-start fuel override. This is really important because a cold engine won’t crank very much at all. It’s a huge burden on the starter motor, which means a huge burden on the starting battery.

The cold-weather start is a two-step process. Pull the engine cutoff and then push it in. Set the throttle pretty wide open. Then run down to the engine room and push a small “button” on the side of the fuel pump. There’s a little “clank” noise as a throttle bypass is set up.

DSC02218

Crank. The engine starts with a vengeance. It’s a sudden, loud firing of cylinders.

Leave the throttle wide open until all four a firing. Failure to do this means you have to do the process again.

And again.

Do Not try to simply crank a cold engine.

You know you’re in trouble when the alarm buzzers stop working. 

Yes. You read that right. The alarm buzzers stopped. Voltage displayed on the panel? 1.88V.

1.88V. 

That’s all of the batteries stone dead. Or is it?

Theory 1. They’re all actually dead. Volt-Ohm meter indicates they’re not dead. Also. Engine room light is on. So house is working. 

Theory 2. Starter battery is dead. I can use the emergency bridge to let house and starter work together. Or. I can just buy a new starter battery. It’s not complex to unwire the starter and lift it out.

So. I start unwiring the starter battery. Wait.

IMG_2358

The fuse looks “funny”

If you look closely just above the V in 58V, you’ll see that the conductor has burned away. 

And yes, that’s a 300A fuse. That’s about the ampacity rating of the huge #0 wires from battery to starter. That’s a lot of current. A real lot. This is a difficult fuse to burn out.

We have a spare. Volt-Ohm meter shows the starting battery at 12.8V. It’s still healthy. 

Put the battery back together. One more careful, careful try at this. 

  • Is the cold weather starter thingy set? Yes.
  • Throttle wide open? Yes.
  • Alarms buzzing? Yes.

The fourth or fifth try (I lost count) was the charm. Started. Ran. Flawlessly. It drained the last three gallons of pink stuff into the cooling system. 

Yay!

Afterwords? Overall system voltage at 13.55. Solar panels charging. Batteries reasonably happy.

Two more jobs to do: sails and fresh water. A few more weekends in which to do them.

Counter Top Replacement

The whole story is kind of complex. The bottom line is that we have a counter-top issue in Red Ranger’s galley. A serious “Concern”. Or maybe Concern in bold.

There are two strategies available. (Three, if “Ignore It” is a strategy.)

  • Replace the counter top with a new counter top using new materials.
  • Skin the counter top with something that conceals the “concern.”

When we lived in Florida, we put a layer of composite particle board on the counter-top. It was super-easy to work with, because it was flexible. You could cut it and force-fit it into place. A little silicone and we were done in a day. Done. 

It was nice. For a year or two.

Now it’s looking a little icky. And we (by “we”, I mean “The Commodore”) saw kitchen countertops made from recycled materials.

“Ooooh,” was the command I was given. 

Start here: https://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/All-Products/Cabinets-Countertops-Countertops

Wow.  The Richlite recycled paper. Wow. Wow.

But. 

That requires dismantling the galley. The fiddles have to go. And then I have to figure out how to replace them. The countertop includes a cupboard with a lid in it. I’d have to figure out how to cut the countertop to put the hinged lid (with a nice frame) inside it.

That’s serious finish carpentry. Careful cutting. Proper tools. Several days to get it apart cleanly. A week or more to reassemble. 

Nope. Replacing the counter-top is a big-old nope.

And. The smallest piece of Richlite is immense. Fine for your terrestrial house. But way too big for the 36″×18″ space.

The Skin Alternative

Here’s what we did instead.

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/52421575

This is High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). It’s a cutting board. NSF-safe cutting board material. Suitable for food handling. It’s ¼″ thick. 

It sits on top of the old material nicely. It’s awkward to cut because it’s super flexible. You really need an assistant (or a table saw) to keep it from flopping around why you cut.

It sands (and files) like wood, leaving a million little plastic beads. Have a vacuum cleaner handy.

It doesn’t drill well at all. It catches the bit in a curlicue of plastic and the drill jams and wrenches.

The big holes have to be cut in phases. Cut for a few seconds. Pull the hole saw out and knock out the plastic that accumulates in the teeth. Cut for a few seconds. Knock out the plastic. Eventually, you get all the holes cut. Maybe your hole saws are better than mine, but mine jammed solid.

Cutting the sink hole isn’t too bad. The wood isn’t exactly the right shape so, I cut inside the wood and then filed and sanded until the sink went in. The clamps hold the sink against the underlying wood, so it’s solid. Solid.

However.

The fittings (two fresh-water, one raw water) are now going through a countertop that's ¼″ thicker than it was before. It appears that most fittings expect 1½″ and that’s how long the threads are.

In particular, the back of the Delta faucet had two big plastic “nut-with-washer” things that hold the faucet assembly down. The bold was now too short, only a few threads would grab. But. A ⁹⁄₁₆″ nut with a big fender washer seems to do the trick. 

Edging

So. There’s this edge around the HDPE skin over the counter top. What to do?

Nothing adheres well to HDPE. Silicone sealant will cling, but it’s not a proper adhesive. Clear silicone it is. 

And. This thing I learned online.

  • Vinyl Glove.
  • Rubbing Alcohol.
  • Two Paper Towels.

Silicone the seam. Remember. Push the bead forward from your caulk gun. 

Done?

Splash some alcohol on one paper towel. Put on your gloves. Wipe your finger with alcohol. Run it along the silicone bead to push it down and create a nicely curved fillet. 

Wipe the excess silicone onto the dry towel. Refresh the alcohol with the wet towel. When you’re done, it looks really good.

Back Story

In case you’ve gotten this far. The story is long because the Whitby was designed with a double sink. In the confined space, a 24″ double sink means two sinks that are too small for anything useful.

The previous owner had replaced it with a single sink that was 20″ or so. And a block of wood to fill the void. The wood rotted.

We put a particle board skin down. It was ¹ ⁄₈″ thick and didn’t matter much when reassembling the fixtures. Now we’ve got something that will last the life of the boat. 

The Portlight Issue

The Whitby has a dozen opening portlights. Plus three hatches.

In the bright, tropical sun, it can get warm. Really warm.

The previous owner had curtains. We took those out because they’re dust and mildew catchers. 

We tried to make window shades from HDPE board. If you’re careful, you can cut a piece of “ Laminated Polyethylene (HDPE) Corrugated sheet” that fits the lens of the Beckson Portlight, and wedge it in. It cuts most of the light. 

Yes, they get old and brittle. But they’re cheap! $12 fills all of the portlights with a shade.

We’ve decided to try some SOLYX window tint film. CA got some samples. They have patterned privacy films and different levels of transmission for UV protection.

Unretouched image of film and no-film.

She also bought SOLYX’s little installation kit with the fancy squeegee and box-cutter. We had a squirt bottle to mix up soapy water — this is essential.

Also, they talked about using two pieces of tape to separate film from backing. There’s a knack to this. Once you figure it out, you can use two pieces of masking tape and — with only a few false starts — get the plastic to separate. While you’re peeling, squirt it with soapy water until it’s so slick it will slide all over the window. She squished it on, and then carefully used the razor knife to trim the edges.

It’s exacting work. Stressful because the material is so fine, it’s hard to make a clean cut that doesn’t involve tearing some part of the file.

We had to take a stress break to make espresso after doing the six portlights in the main saloon and v-berth.

We waited until the next day to do the aft cabin. Once that was done, we could mess with hose clamps and other ordinary chores.

We think we want to add some more LED light bars. About eight years ago, I bought a really nice “Tigress” red/white LED strip. Back then, it was the state of the art. They’re not made anymore because simplistic red/white has become kind of dumb.

LED light bars nowadays are either bright one-color, or they’re RGBW with a color-mixing control that allows you to pick any color you want. Or let it do different sequences of fancy color displays. The shopping is excruciatingly complex.

We also want to replace the counter-top.  Something like Green Building Supply’s Recycled Paper Countertops looked really cool. But they’re thick and heavy and expensive. We only need a tiny (36″×18″) piece. This is difficult to buy, because the pieces tend to be huge. They don’t seem to offer a cutting service.

Instead. We’ll go with a big sheet of HDPE. Essentially, a cutting board. A little silicone goo to keep water out, and we may have a better countertop. Boring white, but without a seam and a leak.

Contrasts

It was a weekend of contrasts. Two dear friends came down to visit for the weekend and sail. We’ve had some drive-by visits where a quick sail on Red Ranger can be worked out. This visit was a stark contrast to those. These were folks looking to sail. 

To make things more complex, we have tenants on Red Ranger.

Chris was seriously entertaining a “crack-of-dawn” departure: nautical twilight. 40 minutes before sunrise. Amy was not delighted with the idea because we didn’t need to cover a lot of miles by sailing through all of the available daylight hours.

Saturday, we got a comfortably early start. The wind built from what we call 10g15 (10 kn gusting to 15 kn, or F4) to a steady 17 kn (or F5.) When we cross over to Beaufort F5, conditions start to get sporty. The good news is that the sea state in the Bay was pretty flat, so it didn’t turn into Red Ranger crashing into the waves, throwing spray everywhere.

We started the day with a relatively simple Yankee-Mainsheet until the wind was clearly past the 17kn threshold. While we could reef the main, I prefer to drop  the main entirely, and raise the mizzen. Since the winds were building and projected to keep building, jib-and-jigger seemed more prudent.

Our tenants — the crew of Island Time — were working at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis. That meant we could sail around with their apartment during the day on Saturday.  Chris, Amy, CA, and I went back to DC to leave Red Ranger for the tenants on Saturday night.

On Sunday, we returned to the boat. The six of us spent a long time chatting while we waited to see if the rain was really gone or whether there might be a tiny bit wind.

The wind didn’t show up, but we went out for an hour or so and drifted around haphazardly. We rigged the mizzen stays’l to see if we could coax a little speed out of Red Ranger in the nearly still air. 

On the left side of the picture is the mizzen mast and mizzen sail. There’s a red sail cover in the lower left corner. The mizzen stays’l is a vast contraption, stretching from just abaft of the main mast all the way back to the end of the mizzen boom. 

Saturday — blustery and lively, Sunday — chatty and slow: a weekend of contrasts.


  © Steven Lott 2017