It seems like there is never an end to the project list on a boat…
We finally got the mast back on Shannon. It no longer looks like a wannabe power boat.
It once again looks like a proper sail boat.
So, as soon as we got a good-weather day, we took her out. It was glorious.
We motored down the channel out of Everett, turned West, raised the mainsail and killed the engine.
Suddenly the world was silent save for the wind in our faces and the water lapping against the hull. All was right with the world.
A few minutes later we unfurled the headsail and really had fun.
All in all we spent a couple hours under sail, checking out the new rigging and getting to know how the boat handles on all points of sail.
The next day we went out again. This time we found that we had a real knack for finding the areas where there was no wind. Sure we could see other sailboats with their sails full, making good progress across the water. But as soon as we would get to where they had been, our sails would go slack and we would ease to a crawl.
We had set out trying to make it around the small island that sits just West of the Port of Everett. We made it a little less than half way when the winds finally gave up completely. So we motored back to our slip, a little disappointed that we didn’t get to sail much, but still totally happy that we are on our boat, enjoying the sunshine.
The following week found us taking care of a number of small things like scrubbing two years of grime off the outside of the boat, changing out a pump, ordering some hard-to-find engine parts, running some new wires and that kind of thing.
We also tackled an important job, replacing our house battery bank. On a boat, the house bank is the battery or batteries that power the lights, water pump and all of the other 12volt items on the boat when at anchor or while under way.
House batteries are different than starting batteries in that they are designed to give up their power slowly and more deeply than starting batteries.
Shannon has a small shelf built into the lazarette where two batteries were strapped down. One starting battery for the engine and one, slightly larger house battery. The house battery was over eight years old and it was pretty clear that it would not be able to handle any extended periods at anchor, away from the power at the dock.
So, we ponied up the dough for a pair of 6 volt golf-cart batteries. These have a ton of amp-hours (power) and are designed to handle the kinds of loads we’ll be placing on them. They should allow us to stay at anchor for two to three days before needing a charge.
The trick was that we had to now fit three batteries onto a shelf that was almost completely taken up by two.
Fortunately the local marine supply shop that had the batteries also had a battery box that fit the two batteries in it side-by-side. This allowed us to place the one box on the shelf next to the starting battery and it just fit.
With just two new battery cables and an extension for one small wire, we were able to more than double our available power while at anchor.
We still have a couple more big jobs to do before we can start relaxing and shift our focus to cruising instead of maintenance.
After we put the mast back on and tightened down all the rigging, the deck flexed ever so slightly and the windows are now leaking water into the boat when it rains. I guess I can’t complain too much. I mean the sealant on those windows is over 35 years old. No sealant is going to last forever.
Also, all of the stanchions that hold the life lines up need to be re-bedded to the deck and have larger washers added below them.
Don’t think that we aren’t having any fun though. In spite of the list of things that still need to be done, we took the day off from working on the boat, and we took her sailing.
We decided to try and make it around the island that we failed to circumnavigate the last time out.
This time we thought we’d try a counter-clockwise route as the winds were favorable for that direction.
As we neared the North point of the island we looked past it and saw the little town of Langley on Whidbey Island a few miles beyond. Kelly looked at me, smiled and said, “Should we?”.
I just smiled back and nodded.
We set a course for Langley and gave the harbor master a call to see if they had any guest moorage available for the evening. They did, so we sailed her close to shore, dropped the sails and motored into the tiny little marina.
The harbor master was waiting for us and helped grab our lines as we eased in to the dock.
After getting things settled with the marina we walked into the beautiful little town of Langley and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Mo’s Pub And Eatery. I’m delighted to say that Mo’s has a great selection of Gluten Free dishes too!
On our way back to the boat we stopped in at the local store and picked up some ice as the blocks of ice in the ice box were getting way too small. One of the trade-offs of keeping the boat simple is that we need to regularly feed it ice to keep things cold.
So, I write this aboard Shannon, tied up to the guest moorage in Langley on Whidbey Island after our first real “trip”.
It is a small step in the big picture, but it sure feels good to know that this is just the beginning of our adventure. It was starting to feel like we would never get out of the marina at Everett. The rigging work took so long to complete and even once it was done the list of things to do seemed daunting.
Life was beginning to take on a level of familiarity that was a bit scary. We didn’t come this far just to become live-aboards, living on our boat in a slip at a marina. No, we walked away from the life that we knew so we could become cruisers!
Now that we are in a new location, one that we actually sailed to, it all feels so real. We can actually do it. Sure, it will be scary at times. There will be stress and anxiety, but there is a sense of great accomplishment as well.
There will always be more things to do, it is a boat after all.
Being a boat though, it also means that there will be new adventures too.
P.S. Nathan did a great job of steering the boat on our trip to Langley. Look for a blog post from him describing his adventure soon!