We're back

by Chuck July 12, 2008

So I was right when I wrote in my last entry "I think that's it for the year."

Building the house, moving, and the fair took a lot of time, and Odyssey didn't make it into the water last year at all. That's the bad side, the good side is that's why I have a trailerable sailboat, a whole year of sitting around didn't cost me a dime in slip fees.

This summer I not only cleaned Odyssey up but I took her out for a day on the water. Unfortunately not a sail, but a day on the water.

Spring was very late in the Puget Sound region this year, it stayed wet and raining into late June. I managed to get out on a couple of the nice days to wash Odyssey down and drain the water from the bilges, but that was all for the early part of the year. Getting the green off was a big win, but this year I was determined to sail, so we started looking for a day.

Late in June (the weekend of the 21st) it looked like we'd have a chance, so I sent Dana out to get the license for the boat and trailer renewed. But because it was still the 2007 sticker year, if she bought the $25.00 license sticker it would only have been good until the 30th, and then I would need a 2008 sticker. We decided to put off the first sail into July.

The first weekend in July we were on vacation (Hawaii!), so that meant sailing was off until the second weekend. And gosh darn it I was going to go out.

Saturday I did chores around the house so that I would have Sunday to sail. Then Sunday early I started loading up the boat with all required gear: anchor, sails, lines, cushions, towels, it just goes on and on. However, the motor started, I found new flares at the local hardware store, the brake lights worked after a little fiddling, and the trailer tires weren't too flat. We were off.

The drive to the launch ramp in Everett was a bit scary, the boat and trailer seemed to be a bit squirly. Turned out I'd forgotten to strap the back of the boat down, so Odyssey was bouncing on the trailer a bit. But we got safely to the launch ramp and putting the mast up went smoothly, even though I'd also forgotten my new mast-raising stick. Faster than we thought possible we were in the water and motoring away from the dock into a fairly fresh, and welcome, sailing breeze.

It was a fairly standard run down to the mouth of the Snohomish -- lots of boats, dodging the Jetty Island ferry, etc. Joey was at the helm with Dana giving him lessons in steering. Katie and I did the foredeck work getting the genoa ready to go. So far, so good.

And then, we hit the first of our two major snags of the day.

I'd forgotten to lower the swing keel. Usually I do that first thing coming out of the launch but I'd been distracted by avoiding a wind surfer and the ferry. I remembered, though, just before we hit the washing machine at the mouth of the river, so I went below to lower the keel.

It wouldn't go down.

So I hit it with a winch handle to knock the rust loose.

The whole winch gave a good impression of disintegrating. But the keel stayed up. Which is a good thing at this point.

Sailing was out of the question, so we decided to run up the river for a while and back. We had a lovely motor (except for a couple of idjits on PWCs that were kicking up wakes in a no-wake zone) up the river to the I-5 bridge.

That's when we hit the second snag of the day.

Katie asked "Why do those PWCs have those jets of water shooting up into the air?"

"To show that cooling water is getting to the motor," I replied. "Ours has one too, it just points down. See?"

Only I didn't see. No cooling water jet. No cooling water in the motor. Trouble.

We turned and headed for home, and with the exception of one other power boat cutting our bow and tossing us around with his wake, we made it back to the dock with no problems. I spent the entire time thinking "if the motor fails here, I'll be able to get to there." I didn't need any of those plans, but I was ready. Later when I told Dana she said she was wondering what I'd do if there was a problem with the motor.

It seemed like bringing the boat out was a lot quicker than usual too. Maybe that's just 'cause it's been so long.

Anyway, now it's off to the forums to find a vendor for a keel winch for Odyssey. This may be our only trip this year. But at least we made it out onto the water once.



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