SingleHanded Adventure

Sometimes I get myself into situations and I think, “damn this is going to make for good IMG_0037blogging later!” I decided to head across the Chesapeake to Worton Creek where Rachel’s family keeps their boat, a 53′ 1979 Hatteras. Again, I elected to go alone. I guess I could have found someone to go with me, but the ultimate challenge is to manage all parts of the boat alone. I am my own cook, navigator, helmsman, deckhand and mechanic. If something goes wrong there is no one but me to figure it out.  I always wear a harness when single handing. When the boat is on auto-pilot (which it often is) it will sail away and leave me if I fall over. THE BOAT DOES NOT CARE.

The sail over was uneventful, once you get over the dept-meter reading a steady 13 feet and constantly having to steer around crab pots. Actually I kinda gave up on steering around them when under sail, the boat should’t hang up on them and its too much extra work having to constantly adjust the wheel and trim. It took me about 5 hours to motor/sail under a full main and working jib.

A great evening passed and after a lazy sunday I took off to return to Baltimore around 3pm. Winds out of the south at about 15kt made for short choppy seas which I motored into for hours. My computer also refused to charge so I was reduced to naviguessing around the man-o-war shoal that is north of Baltimore. I eventually turned and sailed under a reefed main and jib towards the mouth of the patapsco river. I decided to check my phones radar app to see what the deal with any precipitation was and saw a nice line of storms headed for baltimore.

So for the first time I set about battening down the hatches for my first storm on the Chesapeake. I furled the main and jib. Right after I got them tied off the wind picked up to 42kts at one point, the highest I have seen on my meter so far this season. It was really blowing. The seas were 3-4 foot whitecaps and the engine would just keep the bow into the wind and make about a knot towards Baltimore.

I went down to to grab my binoculars and noticed water on the cabin floor “Here we go IMG_0040again I thought”. The water seemed warm so I pulled the engine cover back and sure enough there was hot cooling water champagne toast new-years fiesta  happening everywhere. The hose that carries the raw water from the heat exchanger had split in two and water was flying in all directions. I climbed back on deck and assess my situation. I’m in the middle of the channel with the wind from the east a mile of bay to the west, overall not a bad spot to have an engine failure. This was all during the height of the storm mind you, I turned the tiller to windward and let the boat slowly drift while I went and dug out a spare length of hose. The fix was quite easy as the hose was located on the top of the engine. Within 10 minutes I had the engine running again without any leaks. The line of storms passed and the seas eventually calmed to where I would make good progress heading home to baltimore. Pretty exciting stuff overall.

I made a video of my antics for your viewing pleasure.


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