Monday, August 14, 2017

The Arch is Installed!

Our new arch is installed and looks beautiful. The main reason for getting an arch was to support new rigid solar panels. Alex, who installed our new lithium batteries, suggested rigid solar panels since they put out so much more power than the semi-flexible panels we currently have. The semi-flexible panels were fine for cruising around the Chesapeake but they were inadequate for the Bahamas. The shorter winter days and longer periods at anchor meant that we had a lot of trouble keeping our batteries charged last winter. 
George has been busy since we returned from the Bahamas researching arch manufacturers, taking measurements, ordering the arch and making arrangements for the delivery and installation.  We would have liked to have had the arch installed while we were in Marathon, FL. Alex could have then installed the solar panels.  Unfortunately for us, the person who makes arches in Marathon was backed up 3-4 months and we weren't willing to wait that long. 
We chose an arch from Klacko Marine in Canada. George found them through the blog of another Hanse 415 owner. We liked the idea of going with a company that had already made arches for the Hanse 415. We also liked the fact that it includes an arm that pivots down to raise and lower the dinghy and outboard motor. In addition, the arch completely replaces the existing pushpit so looks much cleaner and frees up space. 
We also considered  Atlantic Tower Sail Arch and Kato Marine.  The Atlantic Tower Sail Arch couldn't be made to fit our boat. The Kato Marine arch was the most expensive and did not include the pushpit or mechanism for raising and lowering the outboard. We would have had to buy and install a separate outboard motor lift. 
Doug, at Klacko Marine, said it would be no problem to ship the arch to us. He has two guys who make deliveries using a trailer. Our local boatyard, Generation III, installed the arch. It looks as if it has always been there. 
George is now working on installing the block and tackle system to raise & lower the arm.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rhode River/Magothy River

A short while ago we had a break in our very busy retirement schedule (hahaha) and made an impromptu decision to take Breeze On out for five days. It is the first time we have spent more than a single night on her since April. We sailed to the western shore of the Chesapeake, heading first to the Rhode River. 
We took the Porta-Bote with us. George had used our Hot Knife to cut into the transom a bit more so that the outboard would fit better. He had also tightened up a bolt which was the likely cause of a slow leak we noticed the first time we used the Porta-Bote. We were able to assemble the Porta-Bote on the foredeck, although I wasn't as good a help our friend Doug was last month. The outboard fit better than before but the transom could use a little more tweaking. The boat stayed dry, no more leak. We loved how fast the Porta-Bote went. We were able to explore much more territory than we cover in our inflatable dinghy. The Porta-Bote is roomy, really comfortable and handles chop much more smoothly than the inflatable. The only issue was that the black seats got really hot in the sun. I am currently making cushioned seat covers that will Velcro onto the seats. That should take care of the problem. 
During a day of very nice wind we sailed up to the Magothy River and spent a night at an anchorage known as Eagle's Nest, aka Horse Farm. We towed the dinghy and found that it tracked really well behind us. After using the dinghy to explore around Gibson Island we hauled it back onto the foredeck and disassembled it. The next morning we sailed down the bay back to the Choptank. The wind was in the 20's, gusting to 30 knots.  At one point we were moving at over 10 knots! (Albeit with the current). We spent one more night out, anchored in Trappe Creek. We noticed our friends Sue and Gord entering the anchorage on their boat, Unity and invited them to join us for sundowners in the evening. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Catching Up

We have been spending time this summer traveling, working on projects and spending time with friends and family. Most of our sailing has been single nights at anchor or day sails, usually about once a week. Three weeks ago we took advantage of a brief respite from hot and humid weather to spend a night at anchor with our friends Doug and Laura. We were expecting an easy sail in 8 knots of breeze but found wind in the teens instead. We chose to sail with just a full main. As we were tacking down the river there was another boat, sailing with just a genoa, on the opposite tack a few hundred yards ahead of us. George said something was going on with their genoa. I looked up to see it flapping like crazy, then falling down into the water. Next, their mast fell down. It was a very upsetting sight. We turned our engine on, dropped the mainsail and motored close enough to ask if they needed help. They declined our help and the help of another small motor boat. We continued on to our anchorage. George and Doug assembled the Porta-Bote on the foredeck. We used the spinnaker halyard to lower it into the water. George attempted to unlock the dinghy outboard but couldn't get the key to turn. It had frozen since we last used it in April. Doug used a hacksaw to cut the lock off. We used a block and tackle on the end of the boom to lower the outboard onto the Porta-Bote.  It didn't fit!  The transom was too thick for the outboard. George used a chisel to cut away enough of the plastic transom so the the motor would fit over it. By then it was time for dinner so we ate, left the dishes for later, piled into the dinghy and motored to Oxford for ice cream. We had to be quick in order to get back before dark. It seemed like a lot of effort for ice cream but it was worth it.