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10-Aug-02 SUCCESS



0600- Got up and had breakfast. Today I was taking Little Squirt all the way to the opening to Gander Lake. Why so early you may ask. Well that is what time Original Squirt woke up. When she wants up everyone gets up, and since I was planning on getting up at 0700 it was not a big deal anyway. Original Squirt is now 13 months old and utterly adorable. She was upset when she realized I was getting ready to leave. Somehow they know, but I have a secret weapon. I put BLUE’S CLUES on and she scurried over to the TV and didn’t even look at me when I kissed her head to leave.

0808- Reached the dock and prepared to leave. Battery level is 12.86v. Winds are very light. Except for once when the main got wrapped around the sail when I was setting up I had few problems. Took down the mast untangled the line and launched at 0843. However there was no wind and I had to proceed on engine alone.

0853- A very light wind has picked up. I had been running one engine with the sail up, the daggerboard down, and steering with the rudder. It was a simple matter to just tilt up the engine, and proceed under sail alone. However by 0902 when I was passing the little island that is my first marker the wind had faded to the point it could not move the boat so I put the trolling motor back in the water and proceeded at pwr level 3. I seem to be moving slightly faster then the motor alone should be moving me at this level. I believe the sail is still providing a little extra push.

When I set up the motor the fact that there is no safety on it concerned me. What I mean is that if you let go of the engine it does not shut off. I solo most of the time and the thought of falling overboard and having the boat leave without me is scary. What I did was to take a alligator clip and use it to attaché one the wires to the engine wire. I then wrapped a loop of cord loosely around the spot where they joined. The other end of this cord when around my wrist. Should I fall over boat or have any other kind of emergency I would yank on the cord and the alligator clip would be pulled loose and the engine would cut out. It seems that although this is a great system for making the engine stop it is not so good for making it go. The connector get dirty and unless you position things just right the engine will not run. As a result it keeps cutting out from the loose connection. It is very annoying.

0905- I am once again sailing without the engine. If I’m getting anything out of this trip it is lots of practice tilting the engine out of the water with one hand while holding the main and rudder with the other.

0914- I am passing Glenwood park which is my second marker. I believe this is the best time I have ever made reaching this spot. Usually I will take a break here, but I don’t need a break yet so I continued on.

0923- No wind again. Engine is back down and running on level 3. I have decided not to take down the sail or the rudder, or lift the daggerboard. I would only be wasting time as I would have to stop to do it, and then I would have to put it all up again if the wind picks up.

0926- Slight wind. I set engine to level 2 in order to maintain the same speed. I need to conserve the battery. I have a long way to go.

1120- Reached Opening to the main part of Gander Lake. This is a major achievement for me since I have never been able to reach this goal before. I had reached here last year using a gas engine I had borrowed but that was not the same. Besides the gas engine failed on the way back and I had to row most of the way back. I decided to continue on down Gander Lake towards Gander. I had some ridiculous idea I might make Little Harbour which is half way down the lake. Gander Lake is huge.

1205- I saw a little beach with some cabins on it. I looked nice with a little dock. I decided to stop there for lunch. The dock was a wreck so I pulled the Little Squirt ashore.

1216- Checked the Battery. The voltage was 12.53V. 12.6 is 100%. I had lunch and checked the voltage again at 1236. The voltage was 12.55V. I attribute the increase to the solar cell. Name a gas engine that refills itself whenever it is not being used. I took a picture before I left.

Picture of Spot where I stopped for lunch.

1245- Launched and setup up the sailing rig. I decided to continue down Gander Lake.

1309- I let the Little Squirt get to close to the shore. The Daggerboard hit the bottom several times. There was no damage, but I decided that this was mother natures way of telling me that enough was enough. It was time to head back. There was still little to no wind. I was running off a combination of the sail and the engine at level 3.

1341- Stopped to take a picture of Gander Lake. This lake is a treasure, which is taken for granted by the locals and ignored by everyone else. It is a real shame. I checked the voltage while I was stopped. It read at 12.35V. I also called the wife to let her know that I would be late getting back due to the lack of wind. The trolling motor is a agonizingly slow way of getting around. I was lucky to get through. There are few spots where I sail where a cell phone will work due to lack of signal.

Picture of 3-in-1 sailing. View from Cockpit

1404- Replaced the traveler with a small piece of rope I had. I tied it off to a cleat on the back of the boat. I was hoping the extra tension on the sail would improve its efficiency in the slight wind.

1429- Still running at Lvl 2 on the engine. The sail is helping but not a lot. I am getting worried about the battery. I could stop and recharge, but that would take a very long time.

1437- I have reached the entrance to the outflow of Gander Lake which is the area I usually sail in. I took a picture of the entrance and checked the voltage. It is now 12.28v. It is occasionally very sunny but mainly overcast. The more sun I get the more the solar cell will pour into the battery so I am very grateful to see it. There is now no wind at all.

Picture of opening which leads to Gander Lake Outflow

1455- Voltage is 12.24v which is slightly over 50% of the battery capacity. I have pulled up the daggerboard and removed the rudder to decrease drag. I can still steer using the engine instead of the rudder. I have left the sail up in the hope that the very slight breeze that is blowing will assist the engine. At least the current leading to the Gander river is going the same direction I am. Every little bit helps. The sun is now steadily bright. I have discovered that my sail is too heavy too maintain a proper shape in this light wind. I have found that by sitting on the leeward side instead of the windward side I can tilt the boat so that gravity puts the sail in the proper shape. The engine is still periodically cutting out due to my homemade safety.

1517- I have made a decision. I need a cushion for these long trips. Sitting on the wooden floor for so long is starting to get uncomfortable.

1519- Voltage is now 12.16. I have been running at lvl 3 since leaving the main part of Gander Lake. I tried to phone home but there is no service. As long as the engine is running it is using more power then the solar cell can provide. I desperately need a breeze so the battery can recharge some. I have a stowaway aboard since a was ashore for lunch. There is a grasshopper hanging on to the front part of the boat. I hope he hangs around till I reach dock or he will certainly drown. I am a long way from shore for sure a little guy.

1527- Sun very bright. Still no wind.

1536- Checked voltage. Now at 12.13. I am very worried.

1538- I have sighted the water tower in Glenwood. It is still a very long ways away, but at least I can see some sign of home port. Still very sunny. Still no wind.

1549- Voltage is now 12.10v.

1603- Voltage is now 12.05, but there is a slight breeze. I have just enough wind to take up the engine and move under sail alone. I desperately need to give the battery a chance to recharge a little.

1638- Arrived at dock. The wind had failed again just a little ways from the dock so I took the sail down and pulled the rudder and daggerboard. However I felt I was close enough to go for it on engine alone. I saw my stowaway still clinging to the front of the boat. He wasn’t moving so I don’t know if he made it or not. I had may hands full and when I looked again he was gone. Either blown away by the wind or the grasshopper had cooked in the sun. Or perhaps he had just hopped away.

0945- Next day. I checked the voltage. I don’t know how much voltage I had when I reached dock, but with a little charging from the afternoon and the mourning it was now at 12.19v. I disconnected the solar charger and recharged with the plug in battery charger. It is much faster.




LESSIONS LEARNED

1. My safety on the trolling motor is crap. I need to improve it or get rid of it.
2. The line for the main has to be replaced. It is ordinary rope and is does not move through the pulleys when it is wet. Braided line would work much better.
3. I need a quick way of disconnecting the line that I tie to the trolling motor to prevent it from getting lost if it falls over board. It is a pain when moving the engine.


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