September 27, 2012 by Last Star blog
So this morning dawned sunny and bright and another beautiful fall day. The “to do” list was short. We knocked off a few clean up items and considered going for a sail in the afternoon. I had to get a bit of work done on the Explorer that I planned to do yesterday at Andrews AFB Auto Skills shop but that was closed UFN, Funding issues I guess. So when you drive your truck into “quality auto care” at 9:30 they ask you when you want it back, not if you have an appointment. Oh and they offered to drive me back to the marina; Patricia and I walked back. The truck was ready by 1130. Patricia and I had lunch, spent half an hour looking for Cooper as we thought he might freak a bit if he returned to the slip and it was empty–not sure how that would compute in a cat’s little brain. Once we found him we pushed off with the usual crash-bang-rub as we hit all the pilings on the way out of the slip.
First order of business was to drop the anchor as we had never used it before and knowing it worked seemed like a good idea. After that we motored out along the channel until we cleared the last of the crab pots and decided to take out the main-sail (big white fabric-y thing that you see on most sailboats). Well our boat has an in-mast furling system for the main-sail. This costs a bit in performance but is way practical in regards to reefing and stowing the sail. Now I suspect this works best when used often, not once every two years. So getting the sail OUT was a bit of a challenge; there was some issue with a seam that kept catching but that was only part of it. In addition to the binding was a little issue of a birds nest, yes a birds nest in the boom. Seems in the time the boat was on the hard birds had thought the boom was the finest tree branch for making a nest. Now the owners decided they would keep the birds out by blocking the openings with some form of wire or grill you buy at the hardware store. I don’t think Forespar designed their furling system with freaking chicken wire or caging in the engineering–YGTBSM! Here’s a photo of what blew out when I cleared some of it to get the sail out. Bear in mind I threw what I could overboard (its organic–relax) so the bulk went over the side.This is just a fraction of what was in there and I needed pliers to get the wire material out of the boom and lines. The birds scoffed at that wire and just used it to reinforce their nests.
Needless to say it worked a bit better after the offending wire was removed. At this point Patricia had had enough with the whole event and decided that since there was little wind, her Captain was a bird brain and that this whole endeavor was just too much work that rather than sweep as she was directed she would just ride her broom home.
Now if you look closely at the photo above–and ignore the Wicken on the broom you will see a fully deployed main-sail, no one at the helm, us fooling around on deck and the boat just drifting mindlessly (our usual state). This is ill-advised in most circumstances but when there is no wind I think we were still relatively safe. Cooper spent the afternoon in his favorite “on the go but not on deck” cubby.
When we returned to the Marina, we raised the boom with the topping lift (look it up) and inserted a hose in the end of the boom and flushed out about a bale of hay from that damn boom. Truly unbelievable what came out. Amazing that those little birds in essence filled the damn thing with grass and bits for their nests. Very determined creatures I guess.
Big T-Storms rocking DC and Baltimore tonight; hope they miss us. We still hope to push off the 1st of October and move south.