I started the day denying that the sailing season is over. October 31st is just another date, I don’t need to stop sailing just because most of my friends’ boats are out of the water and Boston’s sailing clubs are closed for the season. We planned a fun day of sailing November 1st in Buzzards Bay.
First we needed to make it out to the mooring which, without a launch running, is an adventure. Climbing aboard it was clear that Wednesday’s storm was a whopper. The line that the halyard is normally tied down to had chafed through. All the gear below had been tossed all over the cabin. The floorboards were floating about in about three inches of water. The batteries were dead, I suspect the bilge pump had used them up. Or maybe a short due to the water.
Normally I’d have a picture of the chaos to share with you, dear reader. As soon as I peered down the companionway I snapped a picture with my phone. 10 minutes later my phone rang while I was below, ankle deep in water, pumping the boat out. As I reached for a paper towel to dry off my hands my phone slid into the bilge; the first phone I’ve sacrificed to Neptune. Perhaps it will be resurrected by rice but I’m not counting on it. (Update: footage from the rescued phone!)
No engine. No electronics. No main halyard. But at least the water had been pumped out and wasn’t returning. We decided to salvage the remainder of the day by going for a short sail. There was plenty of wind, we probably would not have even deployed the main if its halyard was handy.
We get about a mile out, just beyond the shelter of Mattapoisett Neck and a gust hits. Even with only our jib deployed we’re heel over pretty good and then:
It sounded like Neptune had reached up from the depths and strummed a note on our rig. The boat straightens up, never a good sign after a sound like that. I look up thinking the wire jib halyard had given way. The mast is bent about 10 degrees to port at the top: look no further! We head into the wind as I yell for a tack and head straight for the furling line. The port side jib sheet didn’t get released until the bow was through the wind and we back-winded the jib a bit. I furl most of the jib before we haul in the starboard sheet. Remember, we have no power so we can’t drop all sail. While we slowly limp back to our mooring I attach the spinnaker halyard to the toe rail near the shrouds and then we winch it down to provide the top of the mast some support. I snapped this a few minutes before we picked up the mooring.
I think I’m done for the season. I think that is what Neptune wants.
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