Sunday, May 02, 2010

It's been a really crappy couple of days for the cats...

... and not so great for us, either, although we are very, very glad to finally have our boat back. Friday morning, we arrived in Bellingham, supposedly needing only to get briefed on the operation of the watermaker and new fridge, to find the boat swarming with boatyard workers. Thus, the cats spent Friday shut in the forepeak to keep them from "helping" (or escaping). This was not good. We'd been assured that all the work would be complete by Tuesday, and that the yard would take the boat out for a sea trial sometime between then and Friday. Obviously, that hadn't happened.

The jib was still sitting in its bag on the foredeck, where we'd left it last Sunday. The hydraulic system was still not hooked up, so the rig wasn't tuned. Nothing (lights, radar, new wind instruments) on the mast worked. Basically, the boat was exactly as we'd left it the prior weekend. Pissed doesn't really adequately describe our reaction to this state of affairs. By late that afternoon, the hydraulics were hooked up, the rig was tuned, and the jib was back on. After the yard told us all was good with the mast, Art tried the radar. It still didn't work. A call to Furuno tech support suggested that the problem was the video cable. An attempt was made to solder it. It worked until the housing was put back on, then stopped. A second attempt was successful - hopefully the fix will last - I'm a little nervous about it, honestly. The watermaker apparently works, sort of, but its electronics aren't talking to each other as they should, so that's going to have to be addressed by the branch of the yard down here in Seattle and/or the manufacturer in Eugene, OR. After everyone had left for the day, it started to rain, which was when we discovered that the Spartite around the mast partners isn't. Grrrr. Testing is apparently not Seaview's strong point.

We let the very annoyed cats out of the forepeak, ate dinner and went to bed. We needed to get up early the next morning to catch the ebb out of Bellingham to carry us to Port Townsend, where we planned to stop for the night.

We cast off from the yard at about 7:30 Saturday morning. So far so good. About 20 minutes out, Art suggested that it would probably be a good idea to check the packing gland. That, along with our entire stern tube/cutlass bearing assembly had been completely rebuilt. You can see where this is going, can't you? I went down to look at the gland, and there are two nuts spinning merrily away on the end of one of the bolts that hold the entire assembly together. If you don't have a boat, you probably don't know that had this particular item come apart, we'd have had a large hole in our boat about 2' below the waterline. This is, most assuredly, not a good thing. In fact, it is a very bad, potentially boat sinking thing. Art was able to get the thing properly assembled while I sailed around in circles with the engine in neutral. Did I mention that it was raining?

Things really couldn't get any worse from there, and they did, in fact improve quite a bit.

The ebb was really picking up by the time we got going again, and we went bombing down Bellingham Channel and Rosario Strait at about 10 knots over the ground. The wind was straight on the nose, so we were motoring. The cats, who hate the engine, disappeared into whatever dark and small parts of the boat they cram themselves into whenever we turn on the noisy thing. We were at or above 10 knots for a couple of hours, and covered a lot more ground than we had expected, finding ourselves at the head of Admiralty Inlet at noon. This is more than 40 miles from Bellingham, and if we were going to stop as planned in Port Townsend, this is where we would turn west and head in. However, knocking off at noon when we were only 45 miles from our destination seemed, well, stupid, especially as it had gotten sunny and on the edge of almost warm as the day went on. We figured we might as well just keep going to Seattle. This really annoyed the cats - the last couple of hours of the trip, Maggie would yell at us any time either of us went below, and would stand on the top step of the companionway yelling through the drop boards when we weren't. She was ticked, and had things to tell us. For an 8 pound cat, she's pretty damn loud.

We pulled into our new slip in Elliot Bay Marina at 6:30, completely beat, but really glad to be home. We averaged over 8 knots for the whole trip, which is really amazing - our usual speed is just north of 6. No one had any energy to make dinner, so we foraged. Even I didn't manage to stay up past 10:30.

This morning, we were both moving very slowly. Tomorrow, we'll take the train back to Bellingham to retrieve our car. I suspect we'll also be giving the yard an earful.

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