Thursday, October 21, 2010

Leaving home

We left yesterday at about 10:30. Said last goodbyes… to Kelley, Sue and Bob who came to see us off. Other people are living in our house and the entire contents of the house are packed into the studio ala “Hoarders”. Both cars have been sold (thanks Bob for taking mine!) and we’ve told everyone who needs to know that we’re leaving. I can’t run to the store for... well, for anything. I cried (of course) as we motored away through the harbor. Everyone has been telling us how exciting it is that we’re doing this but all I feel right now is homesick and apprehensive. It’s autumn – my favorite time of year – and we should be stacking firewood and getting ready for winter not heading out in the cold on a boat. So this year, no fires in the wood stove, no Saturday afternoons in the kitchen making bread and tarts. No friends over for pizza and wine. This doesn’t sound like fun anymore… it sounds lonely and irresponsible. I guess this would be the time to fess-up that this 'let's-go-off-sailing' thing was my idea. 

We’d been waiting for our repaired autopilot to arrive from New Hampshire. Only after it was sent did we realize that it would likely get rerouted, along with our other mail, to Delaware, so we’ve been checking in daily with the local post office to head off the package. A week and still no autopilot. This morning we made the expensive decision to buy another autopilot and get going. So much for the budget.

Fifteen miles away from the harbor and the engine stopped. Two scenarios immediately come to my mind; either we’ll have to limp back to Newport and fix something or the engine will explode and fling us into the 55 degree water. Skip, preternaturally calm, says “Hmmm… I wonder what’s up with that?” There was fuel in the tank, but we added the five gallons we had stored on deck and the engine started right back up. I realize again that I have zero knowledge about how this boat stuff works. I give Skip pop quizzes to learn what to do in an emergency. “OK… if you suddenly became unconscious right this minute… what do I do?” Answer: either call 911 (oh... yeah… we’re only a mile from the shore) or call the coast guard on channel 16 on the radio and try to sound calm. R.i.g.h.t...

On the way out we motored inside the breakwater at Point Judith to take advantage of the calm and finish rigging the lazy jacks and the reefing lines on the main sail. The little bit of wind that flapped the sail around also snapped a reefing line across the side of Skip’s new sunglasses (new – as in picked-them-up-yesterday) and they went overboard faster than either of us could get a hand out to grab them. So much for being preternaturally calm. 

The sunset sort of made up for the apprehension I feel about leaving. 

We spent the night tied up alongside the Dock-n-Dine (really) in Old Saybrook where we once again ignored the whole silly idea of a budget and went in for dinner.

This morning Skip connected a permanent fuel lift pump to keep the engine going. (He actually said "to create some positive fuel pressure" but it means that the engine shouldn't stop randomly again.) We calibrated our new autopilot and nosed out into the sound to check and see just how nasty it was out there. Yep... pretty nasty. Winds were steady in the upper 20's, gusting to almost 40 - coming directly from the west, which is, you guessed it, exactly where we want to go. So we headed up into North Cove Harbor Refuge here in Old Saybrook and we're doing a few of the endless boat chores that need doing.

It's cool looking out there, but not good for sailing....

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