Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chapter 1 In Which We Are Reminded That We Don't Know What We Don't Know Until We Know It.

We took off on our first overnight trip this weekend. We knew that it would be a bit like camping as the interior of the boat is stripped down, the galley facilities are limited to only a microwave and an ice box but we'd still get the opportunity to work on sailing the boat a bit and have the chance to see what equipment on the boat would make a big difference in our quality of life.

We packed up, loaded up and headed out towards Galveston. We still really dislike the way the lines are set up on the boat and will be making some changes soon( if we ever get our Dyneema rigging). We reefed for a threatening storm but it missed us and gave us nothing but a momentary cool down. The sail to Galveston was blessedly uneventful except for the fact that it was ridiculously hot. Stupid hot. We kept Kitty in the shade, hydrated and cooled her off by misting her with fresh water.

When we reached our chosen anchorage of Baffin Pt. we got to learn a few things about anchoring. Namely, that we really don't know jack about anchoring because we've always been tied to the dock. After about an hour of a hands on learning experience with wind, currents, mud only about a foot under the keel, and a length of rode dtermined to take all the paint off the keel, we came to the conclusion that this anchorage sucked. It all was a bit much for us on our first go so we opted to head towards Offat's Bayou which was a little more protected although it is a tricky entrance and would add another couple of hours to our trip.

We found a little spot just off the channel well before the cut to Offat's ( which is tricky with thin water, commercial traffic and a winding route through obstructions) tucked up behind a marina. We managed to get the hook set and decided that it was time to pay some serious attention to a secondary anchor as we really needed a stern anchor here. We also noted that not bringing a snubber was really dumb and an anchor riding sail would be a welcome addition. Once we were secure, it was time to make dinner because we were all very, very hungry.

Our galley is currently not in working order but we do have a generator, an inverter and a microwave so Mark instructed me to bring along some micro friendly supplies for this outing. I was pretty sure that a microwave on a boat is great when you are plugged into shore power but maybe no so much on the hook. Mark assured me that our generator could handle it so I planned according to his wishes. I threw together a little Tikka Masala, micro Jasmine rice and popped it into the micro. It was at this time that the generator decided to quit. The micro is fine, just not so good at running without power. Dinner consisted of cold rice, Pirate's Booty, cherries and ginger cookies. We did have cold beer aboard so it wasn't that bad (St. Arnold's Elissa- very tasty)We then prepared to spend a sleepless night because neither Mark nor I trusted the anchor or our abilities. It ended up being fine but we still had no sleep. Kitty slept as she always does, for about 4 hours before waking up, having a snack and going back down.

The next morning, with the generator out we had to make an emergency run back to Kemah because while I can do without food and I can do without sleep, going without a coffee is a hardship I am not prepared to undertake. I remained cheerful despite the heat, despite the anchoring follies and despite the lack of sleep but I know my limitations and another day of no coffee and I would no longer be capable of cheerfulness. So we packed up, hoisted the anchor (and put an anchor wash down on the priority list) and began the slog back to Kemah.

Real sailors do not motor sail. We are not real sailors apparently. With such heavy commercial traffic, light winds and shallow water around us we opted to motor sail back home. I really do prefer it with the engine off but you do what you have to do. It was stupid hot, we had no sleep, no food and no coffee but on our trip back we saw pod after pod of dolphins. At one point a dolphin came within 6 feet of the cockpit and gave me the once over. They never fail to delight me.

We made it home safely, tied her up and went off to lay like slugs in the glorious air conditioning. It was a great trip. Not so much for being a perfect, idyllic trip, but for all the myriad little things that went wrong that we now know we need to address and most importantly, because I know without question this is what I want to do. I was hot. I was tired. I was hungry. Despite it all, I was happy as can be and can not wait to do it again but next time, you'd better believe we will have the coffee issue resolved. Priorities and all...


  1. SO CUTE!!! And look! Hasn't she figured out the meaning of life and stuff already? She's so precocious!!!!! Right? Isn't life just a bowl of cherries? Or wait...was it 42? Either way, she's adorable and it looks like she's gaining too, isn't she? The gluten free stuff must work!

    As far as this goes:
    "Real sailors do not motor sail."

    My totally and completely unqualified opinion is that (committing crimes and abuse and stuff notwithstanding) real sailors with no sleep and no real meal to speak of and a BABY (for crying out loud) get to do whatever the heck they want to do. Personally, I'd choose crying under the covers. :-) :-) :-)

  2. RE: "Real sailors do not motorsail." Maybe not, but real cruisers do. And they (we) do it a lot.

    Good luck with the anchoring lessons. Ultimately you'll probably find that it's not that hard. We much prefer anchoring to docking. And, to keep our anchoring stress levels down, we use 2-way headphones so we can just talk back and forth at a normal level. No yelling, no forgotten hand signals, etc.

    I hope this goes through. If it does, it will be the first of about a half dozen comments I've submitted that just never showed up.

    Good luck to you. We're currently luxuriating in the A/C at a hotel in Loreto, Mexico prior to our trip back to the States for a couple weeks.


  3. Thanks Steve! Isn't AC wonderful? I do not think I would appreciate it had I not spent time baking myself to a crisp in the 100 F heat. 2 way headphones- duly noted! Oh, and your blog hates my comments too so I understand the frustration with writing out a nice comment only to have it eaten by the Interweb Monster.

  4. How awesome! And Kitty looks right at home too. yeah it seems like you all have the same muck/mud issues we have here. It gets better in the sand. In lieu of a wash down, a bucket on a piece of rope does the trick. We've had that arrangement for years, but we're kind of luddites.

  5. Anchoreing is mission critical. You need to be a good hooker to get a decent night's sleep.

    I'll make a vid of some secrets I've discovered... perhaps next Spring... words will do this no justice...

    A fast passage is a safe passage. No need to lolligog about... get there and get the hook down and enjoy the achorage... and the sundowner.