Second Shakedown Cruise

Cruising To Whitehall Bay

Thursday, May 17, 2007

After two days of boat work at anchor, today we're going to sail up to Whitehall Bay, just north of the mouth of the Severn River.

It was a little dicey getting out of South Creek. The water was shallow and we stirred up more silt, but we got the anchor up and Jerome backed us out of South Creek and into the West River. He backed out because that was the shortest distance to get out of the creek. If he went forward, he would have to turn the boat around, and that might have taken us close enough to shore to run us aground.

We spent a few hours making our way up the bay, tacking as required due to the north or northeast winds. On either tack, we paid close attention to the water level in the bilge, since we haven't yet found the source of the leak. On port tack, we could see a steady stream of water running through the bilge and accumulating in the deepest part. Sad to say, the automatic bilge pump wasn't working again, so it must be clogged. This is not a good sign, because you'd like to think that the pump could tolerate a little dirt—after all, we're talking about bilge water, and you don't want a pump that only works with osmotically refined, hygienically pure water.

Since we could see water running into the bilge, we decided to start pulling up floorboards one by one to trace the water to its source. The Tayana 42 has excellent access to the bilge, so up the floorboards came, and shining flashlights into the dim recesses, we traced the water all the way forward to some plumbing attached to a through-hull fitting near the bow. We couldn't see the leak itself, since it was behind a small bulkhead that was part the chain locker. However, by removing the mattress board for the starboard V-berth, we could see the area just below the leak, and every now and then, a stream of water would spurt into the boat and dribble down the inside of the hull. This part of the plumbing was connected to a through-hull fitting that was just above the nominal waterline, though when the boat was heeled to starboard, and especially when a wave went by, the fitting could temporarily be immersed and water would enter the boat. The plumbing is part of the drain for the windlass locker and the chain locker.

We were pretty satisfied to have found the source of the leak, but even temporary repairs would have to wait until we anchored for the night. The wind wasn't very strong, so it was slow going heading up the bay. Eventually, we cleared Tolly Point but then furled the sails and motored the rest of the way into Whitehall Bay. Jerome headed over to the most protected spot near the head of the bay, but there was another sailboat already anchored there, in the exact spot Jerome would have picked given the forecast winds. There was plenty of room in the bay, though, so we anchored nearby.

Despite being very close to Annapolis, Whitehall Bay was very peaceful. To the southwest, we could see Greenbury Point and its radio towers, and along the remaining shoreline we could see wooded areas here and there with some pretty fine homes (including one that had an adjacent lighthouse). On the long eastern shore of the bay, we could see only two houses, and the surrounding area had a somewhat untended and dilapidated look, like the houses might be uninhabited.

But no time for sightseeing, it's back to work we go. Just like the other day, Jerome fished the automatic bilge pump out of the bilge and disassembled it to clean it. After he finished, he wanted to call it a day, but I talked him into looking at the place where the water had been dripping into the boat, up under the V-berth near the chain locker.

The space under the V-berth was a large but odd-shaped locker, and after removing the items stored there, Jerome was able to climb in and contort himself so he could reach under the bulkhead and touch the leaky plumbing. Working just by feel, he discovered that a hose had become detached from a hose connector, allowing water to leak into the boat. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough slack in the hose to reattach the hose to the connector. What should we do now?

Well, probably every boat in the universe has a package of wooden plugs that look like big bungs to stopper a barrel. Jerome had me fetch the plugs, then he selected one that fit (sort of) into the weepy end of the hose, then he twisted and shoved the plug until it jammed in the hole, stopping the leak. Problem solved! (At least temporarily.)

We finally could call it a day, and in the cool of the evening, we enjoyed some chips and salsa in the cockpit with the day's work done.

Click on the picture to display a chart for Whitehall Bay. (525 kb) Use your browser's "back" command to return here.  

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