Saturday & Sunday Day 8&9

Heavy weather was on its way, and Bill decided to stay in until it passed to spare the boat. Paula decided to leave by ferry and airplane. So we refueled the boat. Hung around. Got a bit bored.  Bill figured we would go to the Cape Cod canal in the evening, to catch the current, if we left the island in the morning. Cape Cod canal has a 4 knot current changing with the tide.  In addition, it had a railroad bridge, but it was always up according Brice. We met this Norwegian guy living at Block Island in his 31 foot Catalina. As he said: “Well, this winter I shoveled quite some snow off my boat”.  He provided us with some tide tables.

Docked at Block Island


Bill haphazardly recharged the battery by idling the diesel on Sunday while we waited for the bad weather to pass. The generator had stopped working, so we run on the batteries. We read and ate, looked at the weather, were pretty much bored. The VHF radio was dominated by the Coast Guard warning about the bad weather. The wind came from NE, our project course.

Text Box: All we needed to do was to keep a good watch in the night. Besides, Bill would favor a storming gale to dense fog.

Around 5pm or so, the wind changed to SW in our favor, still a light gale though. Bill came up with the idea, that we could leave in the evening and then make it for Cape Cod canal in the morning where the tide would be favorable.  We all thought it was a great idea. Buzzard bay is a bit tricky, but we had our instruments and the autopilot. All we needed to do was to keep a good watch in the night. Besides, Bill would favor a gale to dense fog.

Bill on watch

Text Box: All of a sudden all the instruments shut off. “What’s wrong?” Brice exclaimed, “what’s going on?”

So we went. There was no-one out there except a single coast-guard vessel. The wind was strong, but manageable. Indeed, we all agreed this was a good decision. We sailed with both sails furled mostly in, as it provided a nice stability (see maps). I decided to go for the 1am to 5am watch and hit bed. Darkness fell and Bill sailed the boat (no engine), while Brice navigated. We went pretty much hull speed. All of a sudden all the instruments shut off. “What’s wrong?” Brice exclaimed, “what’s going on?” I woke up and checked the auxiliary battery. It showed only 9 volts. We were losing power, and we really needed it for the running lights, so we could be seen in the night. The generator was not an option. The engine, well, Bill did turn the engine on every now and then? Was the alternator not charging the auxiliary battery? Or was it broke? I found a flashlight, I brought, in the darkness and got life in a transportable GPS. “Give me a position, give me a position” Brice would say. Well, maybe our decision to go in the night wasn’t so smart?

Bill pushed the engine throttle and noticed the steaming light got brighter. Ah! Maybe the charger would only work at high rpm? Surely enough, our quick crisis was over and soon we regained power to the instruments. I went back to sleep.


When my watch came around, I wanted more sails up. So a little bit of mainsail caused all the maps to fly off the navigation table in the saloon. Oh well. I adjusted and adjusted, since I figured it was last time to trim sails and sail properly. I got fed up with the furling main and mounted the outhaul on the automatic jib sheet winch, and pushed the button. Pretty soon, however, the winch jammed. Oh boy, we couldn’t furl the main in, if more wind would come. Jammed winches are somewhat mysterious to me. You look at this jammed winch and nothing moves. Every bit of rope won’t rock anywhere despite attacking it with tools and everything. I remember other times in races, where the captain would scream: “Fix it ! I don’t care how. Just fix it. NOW!” And somehow we would fix. We would just attack it without any clear idea what it would take. And solve it, without any clear idea of how we solved it.

But now it was night, I was tired and alone. I started working. Bill came around and asked me if I had trouble, somehow he must have read my mind while sleeping. Yeah, I could use some help. We worked and pulled and pushed and rammed and did things to it. All of a sudden as by magic the winch gave up. We asked each other: “What did you do?” Well, I guess we will never know.


Monday Day 10

So I am told, we arrived at the canal on schedule, ready to cruise the 4 knot current. But guess what, the bridge that is never down was down. Bill had to turn around and sail back. So much for Murphy’s law. We went back and made through the canal. And finally about 5pm, we arrived in Hingham harbor. We got to our allotted slip, but the wind was against us, a 2 knot current was against us and there was no space. Anyhow, after a couple of attempts where we were lucky enough to avoid hitting anything, we rammed the boat into the slip.

And ...

As they say in Danish... Snip, Snap, Snout, now is this story out.

(or something)


Happy sailing,




Bonus pictures on the next page












Klaus relaxing in the cockpit


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