1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: Arthur was a no-show....

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Arthur was a no-show....

In my mind, I name every voyage. For example, years ago, leaving Penetanguishene, Georgian Bay shortly before midnight for an overnight trip to Tobermory (Lake Huron) in early October, a full moon in the sky, Van Morrison’s song Moondance played over the speakers - What a marvellous night for a Moondance, you can hear it now can’t you? So that trip south became the Moondance tour. It also became the tour where I was held up for two weeks by hellacious 30 knot plus winds out of the southwest. 
If you never believe anything else I tell you, believe this - you do NOT travel south on Lake Huron in those conditions. Even the lake freighters give those conditions a pass.
On the bright side and because of this delay, I missed, by two weeks, being in the Erie Canal or New Jersey for the arrival of a lady by the name of Sandy. Who knew?
That memory by the way is courtesy of Arthur, 2014’s first named storm. I was so excited to be meeting Arthur earlier this week, I even took a dock in Melbourne FL to be prepared - but Arthur STOOD ME UP, going instead to spend time in the Carolinas. All I saw was some blustery 20 knot breezes one evening, this after the foreplay of doing a 360° spin during a 60 knot squall a few nights before (and did I tell you, I LOVE my Mantus anchor, which held through it all?).
Just like my water pump...water spraying everywhere!
So this trip is respectfully named the ‘If it ain’t broke, it WILL be’ tour! Readers paying attention may recall I’ve mentioned a trip of a similar name from a few years ago. This appears to be the reprise of that voyage - unfortunately.
Trying to leave Fort Lauderdale, my impeller required replacing. No biggie, but since no good deed ever goes unpunished, the entire water pump now needs rebuilding. Although it didn’t leak a drop previous to the new impeller, it now pumps out like a New York City fireboat hose.
But that’s ok, I decided I could fix that one later. After all, Gypsy Wind is a sailboat, and I was planning on sailing her up the coast, not motoring. That is, if the winds should co-operate, which of course they aren’t, and haven’t.
They had NO idea the danger they were in!
So on my next attempt to leave Fort Lauderdale, I got all the way to the first bridge (Sunrise Blvd) and the throttle cable decided to stick. Nothing like approaching a closed bridge in a narrow canal with other vessels - like the local water taxi filled with tourists -  beside you and an engine roaring at high revs and no way to slow it down. Someone care to hand me (and my insurance agent) a Valium please? And there were the tourists, waving at the pup and I, no idea their very lives were in danger...
Turns out the cable needed replacing....no biggie, my friend Dave, in the Middle River anchorage, had a spare Morse cable, so it got done, and with Dave along, we (finally) managed to leave the next day.
Still no wind, but we got to Palm Beach, so I was making progress. Three days to make 40 miles. Yow!
Dave left the following morning since it appeared there was nothing left to fix. Dave is a ‘fixing’ machine. You should have seen him several weeks ago in the engine room of Gypsy Wind, had to be over 100° down there, pounding away at a recalcitrant exhaust elbow. And exhaust elbows are the king of the heap when it comes to not wanting to be fixed. Dave got ‘er done, and enjoyed himself doing it.
We’ll be adjusting his meds soon I suspect!
From Palm Beach, I sailed on to Fort Pierce, and then on to Melbourne, sailing up the Indian River. Yes, I said sailing, and on the ICW. The Indian River is known for it’s sailing in fact. We had a great beam reach the entire day in fact.
I was really annoyed though when a big new cat was catching me, on only his mainsail no less, but what the hey, it’s a cat, right? They’re really fast, right?
Then, as he sailed on by, I heard a quiet thumping, noticed water coming from the side, and the slightest scent of....you got it! Diesel fuel. The wuss was motorsailing past me. Some people have no shame! Gypsy Wind’s pride remained intact.
Reaching Melbourne, I sailed past Dragon’s Point, coming into the wind to furl the genoa and anchor. Problem was, the furler wasn’t having anything to do with this, it was jammed, and no amount of cursing appeared to be helping the situation.
I’m sure the locals wondered about the crazy man on the red boat sailing around the anchorage at the bow while yelling at his foresail.
Then of course, I was stood up by Arthur. Observant LiveBloggers will note that had I actually gotten away north when planned, I’d have been in North Carolina to greet Arthur when he came ashore as a full fledged hurricane instead of a juvenile un-named storm.

Well! Won’t that teach ol’ Arthur not to mess with me? He should’ve talked to Sandy beforehand.
Finally leaving Melbourne, and sailing with the main only, I arrived in Coco, only to discover that my depth sounder was no longer sounding. There is only so much pain one can endure. I searched for the rum....and found I’d finished it along with the impeller repair.
From Melbourne, I then headed to St. Augustine, and amazingly enough, nothing else broke. That means I have time now to fix a few things - which of course gives other things more time to corrode, age, deteriorate, and otherwise get themselves into a position to fail.
(...to be continued when something else breaks....it’s just a matter of time, right?)

I recently started a new Facebook page, Sailing and Cruising. The purpose of this page is to provide a place for new sailors, and those planning on heading out cruising, to be able to ask the ‘old salts’ among us their most important questions, starting with “What anchor is the best?”, and “What is your favourite cruising destination?”, both questions guaranteed to start a major battle in any sailing forum.
Sailing and Cruising will also allow the aforementioned ‘old salts’ an opportunity to improve their karma (Lord knows they need it!) by helping out the newbies amongst us, to pay back for all the help they’ve received over their own beginning years. We all know they weren’t born as smart, rich and handsome as they pretend to be.Well, other than me, maybe!
Sailing and Cruising is also a place where sailors can relax and cut up a bit, so there’s a fair degree of irreverence on the page, and then there’s Funday Friday, where anything goes ‘as long as you can justify it nautically in some way’. 
To say that this creates some ingenious excuses for bad behaviour would not be inaccurate.

Seriously though, old salts can answer the usual newbie questions only so many times before they lose their minds, and the ‘irreverence’ is their way of blowing off steam. Of course, it does set a terrible example for the newbies amongst us, but since sailing will eventually ruin their (your?) tender minds anyway, I may as well give them a good head start on the process. I’m here to serve!
Still, and I’m really proud to be able to say this, the page is growing rapidly, with over 700 members from around the world in the first two weeks and more joining every day. There’s a HUGE amount of expertise on the page, with some world class sailors being members, and contributing all kinds of good tips, stories and information. I’ve learned a great deal in the past few weeks.
If this page interests you, you can sign up by going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/SailorsandCruisers/ - if you have any problem there, use the contact form on this page to request a sign-up.