Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pretty Chuffed with Myself

[Maryanne]You may think this is strange for a person who has lived aboard a sail boat for 6 years - but I had never taken the boat off on my own (Without Kyle aboard). At first it was simply I didn't have the opportunity (Work certainly got in the way, and I while I was at work, Kyle would often set off on his own). Then Kyle was always around anyway, or if he wasn't I was busy doing laundry, and grocery shopping in a strange town.

Of course I have single handed the boat (during watches while Kyle slept), But I had never been the only one aboard and set off anywhere.

Finally this week I did it. Kyle had an early show at the Logan Airport and none of the public transport systems would get him there in time. To avoid another taxi fare, we decided to sail over and anchor by the airport for the night. The next morning I dropped him off at the airport taxi/ferry dock and set off for the 2 hour return journey to our mooring.

AT 4:30 in the morning there was little wind and little traffic. With the Autopilot set, all I really had to do was keep watch, enjoy the view and press the occasional button. It's strange not to be able to share it with someone, but I was also relishing having the boat to myself and making my own decisions - you grow in confidence quite a lot when there is nobody to double check with!

I got to enjoy the city scape at night, with the office lights blazing, and sunrise between the Boston Harbor Islands with calm water and nobody to disturb the view - cool. And of course, Kyle got to work on time.

About time, but now I've done it. I even picked up the mooring ball first time without issue.. BIG GRIN.


Lou and Meg SV *Starrider* said...

Hey Girl, congratulations! Did you pick up the mooring at the stern or at the bow? We have only used a mooring twice. First time we did a long rope from the bow and Meg slipped the rope through the eye from the stern steps. It was a pain to deal with the long rope.

So we tried while on vacation picking it up from the bow. Meg used a boat hook (she is tiny like you) and barely had enough strength to lift the ball up with a boat hook to slip the rope through the eye. But we picked it up on the first try. How did you do it all by yourself?

SV-Footprint said...

I hated moorings when we first had to use them (and I'm still not a big fan). The best thing about them is the easy get away - WAY easier than hauling a muddy anchor.

I was lucky on this trip, I arrived at slack water and with no wind. AND the mooring balls here come with 2 lines already attached and floating in the water - all you have to do is hook them.

Kyle and I practiced with me doing everything on my own a few times before hand (otherwise I don't think he would have felt comfortable)

I brought the bow to a stop up to the ball and hooked a line. Cut the engine and then tidied everything up.

I'm not too fussy which bit of the bow I get the ball too, but I aim for the starboard side since you can see that best from the helm. If the current (or wind) is a little strong I move a little ahead and let the boat drift back on the ball while I'm walking up to the bow (as casually as possible if people are watching). I make sure I have the boat hook at the bow and extended before I get to the mooring ball.

I generally try and get the thing cleated somehow to the boat (either bow, or at the anchor cleat - whatever works best for each occasion) first and then work out what I want to do with it, and how I want it attached/threaded. With the screacher track and stays in the way that bit can be fun!

We've also moored at balls where there are no lines already attached, but the line was loose through the shaft of the mooring ball so we could just pull on the top shackle, and not have to lift the ball (just the weight of the line/chain passing through the ball!) and especially in a current that can be hard work.

I try and get it cleated very QUICKLY before then tying my bridle and releasing everything back into the water.

We've never had a problem collecting the ball at the bow end, so we haven't tried picking it up at the back... But I'm nervous about holding onto a line for too long in a strong wind or current - that the boat won't turn or I'll end up dragged into the water. (There is a story you should ask Kyle, so far things are looking good that we can swing by in September so you can hopefully do that face to face).