Monday, January 10, 2011

Cruise, Day 17

This was another of those ’good news/bad news’ days. I was standing at the office door of the marina when the manager came in to open. He asked if I was the man that had called him on the VHF last night about the outboard problem. I said I was, and he said he’d be down to the boat in a couple minutes. It turned out the manager was also the mechanic.
He had me start it up so he could listen to it. Then he stepped aboard and worked the throttle himself. One thing that frustrates me continuously is the modern tendency to neither say what’s on your mind, or talk around the point in such wide circles that the meaning is lost. So, while it was a shock initially, it was a relief to have him turn to me and say, “There’s nothing wrong with this engine, except you. You sailors are all alike. You putt along and putt along at quarter throttle, thinking you’re going to save gas, when all you’re doing is gumming up the engine. These things are meant to run at three-quarter to full throttle. If it’s run too slow, the engine never gets hot enough to burn the oil out of the gas, so it just coagulates into a gummy, waxy residue that clogs the engine. Go run the hell out it. It’ll be fine. Now, just give me what you think’s fair for tying up here for the night and get out of here.” Simple. To the point. No need for interpretation or reading between the lines. He wasn’t trying to be rude or brusque. In fact we stood on the pier for another half-hour talking about things nautical, mostly classic boats, cruising, and living aboard. The engine was fine, and that was the good news.
I started the engine and back and filled the boat around to get out of the tight spot I had ended up in. I pulled out from between the piers and headed back out Cattail Creek. We ran into Dividing Creek and Mill Creek. By 0940 a bit of a breeze started to fill in, so I set full main and genoa. It was a long sail to Annapolis, so I opted to pass Deep Creek and head straight out the Magothy and around Cape St. Claire. As we approached and passed through the entrance channel, however, I was watching what looked like a strong front to the northeast. Once I was clear of the markers and buoys and had some drifting room, I ducked below to listen to the NOAA forecast again. It had changed. The W 10-15 wind they had forecast earlier was now S-SW 20-30, and small craft advisories were being posted. That was the bad news. So far I’d had a great HOUR of sailing. Yeeha! Such a sudden change in the forecast and weather didn’t bode well. As I watched, the wind that would have been fair for a nice reach to the south was backing to the south and building. Beating to the south in a 30 kt. foul wind was not to be, so I came about and made for Deep Creek. Entering the creek, I set anchor in the junction of the first finger to the northwest, and while I was at it, set the second anchor as well. The total run for the day was 7.2 miles! Oh well.
The evening after the frontal passage, a full moon
rose over Deep Creek.

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