I will spare no suspense that today was the first day we actually got to stretch our sail-legs on s/v Bosco! Let me say that while her engine has been giving us nothing but trouble (even today), the rest of her performs beautifully.
The weather showed strong winds in the 18-25 knot range. It has been raining pretty much since last Sunday (almost a week), with no end in sight. So we figured now is as good a time as any to go for a sail. Before leaving dock we put 2 reefs, which reduce sail area, in our sails so that we could ‘play’ on the conservative side…especially in stronger winds.
The plan was to leave our marina at 10:30AM. We recruited our new BFF, Dan (s/v Clyde) to come along and join us for our first sail. Figured it would be nicer to have an extra pair of hands for crew if necessary, plus his carefree attitude is just what we needed to counter the stress that we…uhem…Jake was feeling.
With myself (Jilly) at the helm, Jake dismounted us from the dock lines and I had the engine purring. Sure enough, within just a few seconds, the boat veered into a piling and popped off the starboard rub rail…and down it sank (not the boat, just the rail). Ooops! Turns out I didnt have the boat in gear so I had no steerage…my bad! Our buddy Dan said he’d dive down tomorrow and retrieve it for us. Good guy that Dan.
I figured, “well, okay, I guess I’ve already had my F%&k up for the day so now I can just relax and enjoy myself”
So that’s what I did. I manned the helm (steering) all the way out of the marina and channel and out into the last range marker before some open and deep waters. I turned Bosco into the wind, pulled the throttle down to near-neutral (kept it just barely in gear to keep us on our heading a bit better) and we sent the main sail flying up, followed by the jib. FINALLY. Sailing at last.
Once up, I powered down the engine completely. With Dan and Jake as my crew, we started sailing at a beam reach.
We spent the better part of the day heading south along the Bay towards the Chester River. The winds were fairly strong at around 15-20 knots. Since our current wind instrument is broken (wind vane part works, just no electrical signal to our instrument), we had no way to tell our exact wind speed. But its okay because we felt completely confident in our sailing ability to maneuver without too much worry. The wind-vane part of the instrument did give us general wind direction which was helpful. I would glance up every so often to check our course, tell crew to trim sails and then sit back and soak it all in.
It was fantastic. For the first half of the day, I was the helmsman (steering the boat) while Dan and Jake trimmed sails. They took turns hanging out at the bow (front) and foredeck.
We got upwards of about 6.3 Knots (which is really good for our boat) and were VERY comfortable at that speed. Bosco is an Island Packet with a full keel, so she rides in high winds like a dream. Sailing her is a breeze! She is so smooth and doesn’t heel (angle) that much when pulling fast through the water.
I needed a break so Jake took over helming so that I could go forward, take photos and hang out. We turned up the music in the cockpit and with that and the water splashing on the hull of the boat, it felt like heaven…despite the crappy weather. After several hours, the weather started to get a bit worse. The wind picked up and rain started falling a bit harder. So we decided to turn around and head back since we figured it’d take about that long to get back. Our course back wasn’t exactly the same because the wind shifted. We decided to head up and only perform one tack (instead of tacking back and forth) to get back towards our destination (which happened to be directly into the wind by this time).
Another 2 hours passed in a matter of seconds (or so it seemed). We could see the harbor ahead, probably about a mile and a half away. We furled up the jib (head sail) and fired up the engine. We motor-sailed for about 3/4 of a mile when our RPM’s started acting wonky…NOT AGAIN!!!
We were mentally prepared for this, as it had happened exactly the same way last time, so we suspected that our problem still wasn’t fixed (but were desperately hoping it was). We suspected something with the fuel injection or possibly air getting into the system. And sure enough within a few seconds, we puttered out completely.
Jake learned that if air does get into the fuel, we can bleed the system of air and theoretically get ourselves going again. So while we were on a beam reach in 20 knots of wind, Dan and Jake worked together to get the engine bled and fired up again, while I manned the helm to make sure we didn’t get too far off course. Since we still had our main sail up we could get some forward momentum, just not in the direction we needed. Within about 10 minutes they had the engine purring again.
So we crept along toward the marina for about 5 minutes and the engine did its thing, and puttered out. Again. This time, no restart. We had our phone pre-prepped with Boat US phone number and had a tow on the way to us in about 30 minutes. In that time, Dan’s very mechanical mind got to work trying to troubleshoot our engine issue.
We talked it through and believe that our problem is with an electrical or mechanical fuel feed pump. We’ll see when we break into it tomorrow 🙂
As we waited for the tow, our girl started drifting away from the marker we were supposed to wait near, so Jake dropped our badass Rocna. And like last time, it set with zero issue. That was one of the best purchases we’ve made so far!
Boat US Tow came and had us back in our slip about 30 minutes later…and holy crap it was already almost 5:00PM! Where did the day go? Time literally flew by today and it was really fun overall. Well, really fun for me and Dan. Jake was kind of stressed all morning and after the engine failed on us. He did really enjoy the sailing part of things…why can’t sailing have more sailing involved? Haha.
Just like in climbing. You spend all this time driving to places, then hiking for hours with heavy packs or bushwhacking to find a climb…then you spend only maybe an hour actually climbing before you have to go back.
All-in-all it was a really great time. Although Bosco still has some issues in her engine compartment, she sails beautifully and that’s the most important thing for us. We loved the sailing part and I, especially loved the feeling of freedom and adventure. I had zero stress today and felt tons of confidence in myself and our goal.
We sailed a total of 14 miles today! Not bad.
We decided to treat ourselves to “Burger Night” out in the only restaurant that’s open in town, Bay Wolf. We hooked up with a few other liveaboards; Dan (s/v Clyde), Bob and Christina (s/v Dreamtime) and us (s/v Bosco). We spent almost 3 hours eating, drinking and having really great conversation that we closed the place down…actually they kicked us out because they wanted to leave. 🙂
A fine end to a great sailing day…glad to know our girl has the sailing spirit in her!