Sunday, June 2, 2013

Go Where The Wind Blows You

One important tenant of the cruising life is you never know what to expect.  Baxter and I had a friend ask us once what are plans were for where we were going.  At the time, we were contemplating crossing the North Atlantic this summer, or maybe cruising to Maine, or even taking a quick run to the BVI before hurricane season but we couldn't be exactly sure.  He said to us "Just go where the wind blows you" and I have adopted that as my new philosophy to live by.

Given that, our passage began Thursday with a great run down the Chesapeake Bay, moving along at over 7.5 kts and out Cape Charles by the afternoon.  We had light wind on the stern and very minimal seas so we motorsailed for a few hours.  It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and by that, we made a bimini out of canvas that we found on the boat.  We worked on a couple other boat projects and just enjoyed not being at a dock.  The night was a little chilly but the weather was good.  We turned the engine off at sunset and sailed through the night.

After 16 hours of fast sailing, we turned the engine back on Friday afternoon. About the second hour that the engine was on there was a loud noise...and smoke...and a lot of oil in the oil pan...blah blah blah.

Baxter was able to diagnose the problem, fix the leak while underway and we were off again- until the noise came back.   Our fear is that there is significant damage to the engine from running without oil  Most boats have a low oil alarm and/or shut off and ours just didn't work. Ugh. we can always second guess ourselves with the "should have" " could have" would have" of things that we should have checked but you can't stay on top of everything all the time.

In any case...we were 75 miles from New York City so we decided to sail there for repairs and call Tow Boat US (like marine AAA) since we have a membership that includes free towing.  They were not interested in towing us very far so they told us to sail as far as we could into the harbor and then they would come find us.  Terrapin happily agreed.  We tacked around 600 ft cargo ships, doing over 8 kts, sailing around range markers and in and out of the channel markers.  All the way to the Verrazzano Bridge, when we lost the wind and a container ship was on target to run right over us in 14 min (thank you AIS for telling us how long we have until impact.).  Moitessier would have been proud. From there, Tow Boat took us through Brooklyn, in front of Manhattan across the Hudson to Jersey City, where we are now.

So, we went where the wind blew us.  I never thought our lives would take us here.  Would I have picked a different set of circumstances, sure...but then maybe that would have changed our decision and I wouldn't see the Statue of Liberty or the new World Trade Center.

We are waiting for an analysis on the engine this week, praying for little damage and a quick fix and then we can set sail again - I hesitate to say where because only time will tell.  As Baxter's Dad says; "it's not how you act that counts but how you react when bad things happen." We're trying to react to this issue with positive thoughts, a longer term view of getting moving again and learning from this problem. What we did find out is Terrapin LOVES blue water and that is where she belongs.
Old warbirds practicing overhead as we left the Chesapeake.
Make-shift bimini with a happy dog.
One of the benefits of ocean sailing.
Kala is in there somewhere! Her blue leash is clipped into the boat for safety.
Wing on wing to make some more speed to NYC.
New York Lighthouse
Kala is impressed with the New York skyline.
Stretching out on new cockpit cushions.
This photo reminds me of the CSN&Y song "Southern Cross". To paraphrase... "We've got 47 feet of waterline nicely making way..."
We love this boat. She is a sailing machine!
Baxter at the helm pulling into Morris Canal from the Hudson River
When you're stuck you might as well enjoy a little paddleboarding. Making lemonade out of lemons (Manhattan skyline in the background.)
IMOCA 60 race boat skippered by Zbigniew Gutkowski in the Vendee Globe. The boat is right behind Terrapin!

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