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22AUG03 - NOT MY BEST DAY


First let me say that I have not been following my duties in keeping up this websit. Other things to do I guess. I have three unrecorded trips. One I went out on on my own by engine. One where I took my mother in law sailing for the first time ever. And a second trip by engine where the engine worked flawlessly for the first time, but the blade hit a rock on the way back. I stopped the engine immediately and rowed the rest of the way to dock. This becomes important later.

I decided to take a day off. The whole week had been clear with a wind that was good for sailing, and since the season is coming to a close I decided to put in a leave pass, and spend the day on the water.

I got up at 6:30 and followed my usual routine as if I was going to work. By around 8:00AM the boat just had to be hooked up. I had even taped a canadian flag to the end of the spar. I complained it was hard to tell wind direction and my wife had give me this little flag figuring it would help.

I started turning the boat trailor to attach it to the car when I notice a resistance. It didn't seem to want to turn. I thought it was a rock under the wheel and pulled harder. I found out I was wrong when I heard a snapping noise. I had broken the flag off the spar. It seems that the spar which was tied to the top of the boat was pressing against the camping trailer which I did not notice was in the way. I should have taken this as a omen of things to come.

I arrived at the dock at 08:40AM and started to get Little Squirt ready to go. I was going to try something new today. I would set up the boat for sailing but would leave the rudder and electric motor sitting on the bottum of the boat. I was going to motor with the gas engine to the opening of Gander Lake since it was a extremely difficut sail due to the fact the wind always went the worst possible direction. While I was setting up a couple of guys in a Glenwood truck came up and we chatted. They seemed to think I was some kind of sailing expert. I told them I was a highly unskilled amature. Another guy came along after they left and asked me if I was a carpender when he found out I had built the Squirt. I told him the only carpentry I had ever done was a few crafts. I also told him that I was not a professional sailer which he assumed I was when I told him I was in the military. I'm a supply tech with the army. He told me he wanted to hang around to watch me sail away, but left when I told him I was motoring off.

By 9:09AM I had reatached the flag and was ready to go. I just had to put fuel in the outboard and put the boat in the water.

I put up the sail just to have a picture of her all set up. I found out later that the camera was still set for closups and the picture is blurry.



09:33 I had tied the boom and spar together so I could lift them up out of the way, but I found that they were set too low to row so I readjusted them and started to row out into deep water so I could start the engine. The engine started on the first pull, but imagine my surprice when I found I was not going anywhere. At first my inexperiance with gas engines had me confused, but after a little fiddling I realized the pin in the engine was broken from when I had hit the rock coming back from my last trip. I did not notice because I had turned off the engine and rowed the rest of the way back. It never occured to me that I would break the pin so easily because I usally run with a electric motor. I've hit rocks a slew of times and have never broken the pin. I guess gas engines don't take abuse so well. I had to row the boat back to dock. The dock was full so I pulled the boat up to the shoreline next to it. I pulled the gas engine off, and when I started to go ashore I sank half way up to my knees in some kind of slimy black mud. I put the engine in the car and relaunched the boat which is now covered in the same black mud.

I took a picture a short time before anchoring.



11:02AM Anchored just before the opening to Gander Lake from the outflow. I had to fingt the wind the whole way with the electric motor at full, but here I was. There was still a brisk wind and it was time to put up the sail. I untied the boom from the spar and let them rest closer to the water. I would raise the anchor before raising the sail to make life simpler. I also had to bail the boat. I have a leak that definately has to be repaired. It is becoming a real pain. I also decided I should put a snap on hook on the end of the line I use to keep form losing the rudder should it come off.

11:11AM Everythings ready to get under way. All I have to do is pull the anchor and raise the sail. Unfortunatley the wind died down in the 11 minute period I was setting up. After a steady breeze all morning now that I was read to sail there was very little wind at all. I got under way under sail and headed out of the outflow using the elec engine to move. The wind was hardly moving the boat at all. A gander river boat came towards me, and no matter which way I went it came closer. It seems they wanted to get a look at me. I guess they didn't know they should try to keep some distance between themselves and a boat under sail. I lost the rudder while I was putting up the sail, but I simply used the line attached to it to drag it back and hook it up again.

12:05 I'm screwed. I managed to get out into Gander Lake but the voltage is at 12.25v. That's half my power. There still is no wind. I have to reseve what's left of the battery to get back. I decided to cook my lunch and take stock afterwards.

Take a look at my kitchen.



12:15PM Got my alcohol stove lit and put on the soup. At 12:17PM I noticed a slight wind picking up. I'm getting optomistic. Silly me.

This Is what the water looked like.



12:20PM Notice that the pot was not even getting warm. I took the pot stand off the top of the stove and let the pot sit directly on the burner. It seemed to work better. I lifted the pot a little off the stove to make sure it got enough air.

I ate my soup while it was still on the burner and by 12:31PM when I finished my soup, Buttered bread and orange pop there seemed to be a fair breeze blowing. At least enough for sailing. I was going to go for it.

13:08PM Have given up, and am heading back. Mother Nature is playing a sick game with me. I take down the sail the wind picks up. I put up the sail the wind dies. I've had the sail up and down about half a dozen times. I've left it up thinking that it might assist the engine. I doubt it is there is practically no wind. The daggerboard and rudder are sitting in the bottum of the boat.

13:28PM Took a picture of a boat heading toward Gander Lake up the outflow.



13:48PM Engine is acting sluggish. I took a measurment and to my shock it was 11.30Volts. The battery is below 0%. I should have enough power to get back, but I don't. I'm only half way. I'am going to have to try to sail again

14:00PM Still can't sail. I decided to row back, but I was tired and fed up. Instead I alternated rowing and electric motor. If I let the battery rest I could run it for a few minutes without problem. At one point the Gander river boat that had passed me on the way up pased me on the way back. I could see them pull in at the same dock I was heading for.

14:47 Finally made it back.



The Couple from the Gander river boat were there. Their boat is the green and white boat in the picture above. They were quite upset with themselves when they found out they had passed me when I was in trouble. I thanked them and told them I would probably not have aceepted a tow anyway for fear of damaging my boat. When he held up a fully changed deep cycle battery and told me he could have loaned me it I could have cried. I finally loaded up the boat and took the motor to a local repair shop. When he told me he would have it done in less then an hour the thought occured to me that if I had bought it to him when it had first broken I would have been on the water by 11:00Am with the gas motor.

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