Sunday, July 1, 2012


According to the sages and the keepers of the data, the last 6 months around here have been the driest on record. That would be a good excuse for why at least 3 of us found our way onto the ground this past weekend. Would be, except for the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers has managed to keep the lake level within inches of normal. Maybe they just moved the shallow spots around to make it more sporting?

Deb was at the helm as we motored into the cove for the yearly Fourth of July raft-up-to-watch-the-fire-works party. We spotted Miss My Money being pulled off a shallow spot by a jet ski from Gail Force; who had come up stopped at that same spot earlier. Deb decided to follow as Miss My Money motored around some other boats to saddle up to Gail Force, where Friend Jeff has found a spot deep enough to float. As Kintala turned to drop the hook and settle into the building raft, we looked back to see Friend Joel swinging out on a halyard, trying to rock his keel free from the bottom ... and he was in the deep part of the cove and right next to the "NO WAKE" marker leading into the West Access marina.

There were other tales of shallow spots as the assembled eventually totaled 13 boats. Three departed after the show (typically good but a little shorter than years passed - hard times have touched most of what all of us do these days), leaving 10 crews to brave the record heat. Swimming and drinking lots of fluids seemed to do the trick, though Deb and I were a little uncomfortable below, even with the fans running. After more swimming this morning most of the assembled headed up the lake. Kintala and two other boats hung around hanging, we thought, on Kintala's buried hook.

Except it wasn't that buried, something that no one really noticed until the far shore wasn't so far. Kintala slowly backed her rudder into the mud and brought the other two boats up short while they each had a few inches of water to play in. They cast off and stood by to see if we needed help, but we weren't stuck very hard and our newly operating engine found it an easy task to push us back into deep water (that being anything that reads over .5 on the depth sounder).

Kintala draws about 5 feet, there was less (way less) than 2 feet under her keel, and it’s about 4 feet up to her anchor roller ... 11 feet ... max. I know I dragged in at least 25 feet of chain; yet the anchor came up without a spot of mud. It’s a puzzle.

Before heading out this weekend we pulled the big screacher off the furler and put up the smallest of the head sails. It is easy to get Kintala over canvased and we have been reading about modest sized head sails being the choice of experience. Fly the right sized stay sail with the smaller jib and I'll bet Kintala would be a happy boat out on the open water. But flying the cutter is a lot of work; say 1/2 hour extra to rig and an equal amount to un-rig, plus the added effort of tacking two head sails. (We do a lot of tacking on the lake, dozens of them over a normal weekend.) The extra speed would make a lot of sense on a full day's run down the coast or across the Gulf Stream - but the math doesn't work at Carlyle. At best the extra speed would mean 10 or 15 minutes difference at the other end of the lake...for at least an extra hour's work and triple the effort of every tack. We need the practice of course, but practice will have to wait until temperatures fall back below 100+.

While my paranoia is getting better (at least when it comes to the engine repair) I still start at any new noise and can't keep my eyes off the engine gages. Outbound at the beginning of the weekend there was a new rattle from below. Turns out that the right RPM starts a sympathetic vibration which has the burner tops on the stove dancing against our new counter top ... and when we bounced something off the hull inbound at the end of the weekend my first thought was that a belt had failed and gone flying against the engine box. Wouldn't it be wonderful if sailboats didn't need engines?

No comments: