Nautical Twilight

Categories Sailing Log

With a wind prediction of 2kts, we went down to the boat with the intention of performing a little maintenance. As usual, the defiant winds of Barnegat Bay easily exceeded expectations, and proved to be plenty enough to blow us around the bay.

I guess with Labor Day looming, the fair-weather boaters are trying to jam in a couple more weekends. Trixie’s was packed. There were a couple trucks queued up for the ramp when we arrived, and even after an extended bathroom break (there was a line for that too) no one seemed to be launching. I wandered over to see what was happening, and the first thing I heard was “I’m fixin’ to drag that boat out of there myself.” Hold on there Country Joe: 1) we’re way too far north of the Mason-Dixon Line to be “fixin'” to do anything and 2) can you hold still for a second so that I can figure out how to draw you for the next Fuzzy Bunny cartoon?

As it turned out, reason and decorum prevailed—a loss for the boat log, but a win for humanity. There was a small powerboat tied to the dock, blocking the ramp, and no one seemed to be claiming it. Country Joe didn’t get past the fixin’ stage, but Old Man Camo tattled to the marina staff. Bob came over and untied the bow line, let the bow swing away, and then calmly kicked the boat into a slip 25ft away, where it docked perfectly, as if it were under power. Ramp operations resumed.

We tied up to the end dock and commenced with our attempts at maintenance. I’ve been trying to get our depth finder working on and off since May, and I still have not found a place where the transponder will reliably get a reading through the hull. I tried the bag of water trick, I tried pressing it into a blob of toilet wax, then I learned “no, no, you need Vaseline.” Perhaps a courteous suggestion, but it’s still not working. I can get a sounding if I fill the bilge with water and submerge the transducer, but when I empty it I can’t make it work with wax or petroleum jelly, and have no faith that it will work with epoxy. We abandoned that project again and I moved on to topping off our battery and taking care of a couple other nagging odds and ends.

The wind had picked up to 5 or 10kts by the time we were giving up on maintenance and we decided to sail over to Governor’s Mansion for a quick swim. I thought the benign conditions would be good for Jen to practice motoring out of the marina. Fortuitous is a different sort of beast when she’s steaming with her keel and rudder up and I’m usually at the helm in those circumstances. Jen got the motor started easily and took us out of the cove without any problems. I hoisted the main, we unfurled the genoa, and we took off.

We sailed almost all the way in to the approach to Governor’s, only dousing the sails and firing up the motor when we had to turn directly into the wind to stay in the deep water. We anchored firmly and I put up the riding sail. I swam. We relaxed. We listened to really smooth music. We generally enjoyed each other’s company. I love it out there.

The time got away from us, and it was 1830 before we started getting ready to go. I had imagined sailing off the anchor when it was blowing 5-10kts, but the wind had kicked up substantially, and it would have been annoying to try to drag the boat into it by the rode, so we tucked in a reef and started up the engine.

The sound of the motor was quickly replaced by the thrum of the keel cable and wind gusts singing in the rigging as we jibed our way through the channel on just the reefed main. When we got to the turn, we set a course for the setting sun and were treated to a wispy sky of crimson and amber and violet that cameras can’t quite reproduce.


Sunset to Starboard


It was definitely worth docking in the dark to sail into that sunset. It may be difficult to imagine how windy it was with such tranquil looking photos, but there was more than one form of “powerful” being expressed. Sailing is awesome.



"Prepare to fend off the bridge abutment."