First Shakedown Cruise

Cruising Back To Annapolis (continued)

Sailboats on the Severn River, with the radio towers of Greenbury Point in the background.   A sailboat passes us in the anchorage off the Naval Academy seawall. Click on the picture to see a bigger version; use your browser's "back" command to return here.

The Catherine Marie heads out of the harbor with a private charter group.   A couple of kayakers paddle past the Eastport waterfront on their way into Annapolis Harbor.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Today was a short day for me, as a crewperson. We took advantage of the calm morning weather to raise the main and double-check that the three reefing lines were all properly led. That being the case, we dropped the sail and zipped up the Mack Pack. Afterwards, I packed up my bags, since I'll be leaving the boat until Monday, when I'll return to crew for Jerome on another shakedown cruise. Before I left, I had taken good notes about problems we observed during the cruise, so I made a copy of this list for Jerome.

The plan is for Jerome to run me over to Annapolis City Marina in the dinghy, where I'll hop ashore and call a cab to take me back to my boat at Bert Jabin's Yacht Yard. If you're used to living ashore, you know how easy it is to hop into the car and drive someplace. It's a lot more complicated when you're living on a boat at anchor and your "car" is an eight-foot rubber dinghy with an outboard motor. Just for your information, this is the sequence of steps to launch and use the dinghy on Pilgrim:

  1. Untie, remove, and stow the several straps that hold the dinghy securely, preventing it from swinging and banging into the stern pulpit when it is stowed on the dinghy davits.
  2. Get the small ladder from its stowage area at the mast pulpit and hook it over Pilgrim's caprail at the stern. You use this ladder to descend from Pilgrim's stern into the dinghy.
  3. Temporarily remove the horseshoe ring (a floating collar you can toss to someone in the water) from its holder at the stern, since it gets in the way when you have to climb over the pulpit to get into the dinghy.
  4. Go below on Pilgrim, swing aside the companionway steps to get into the big storage room, then untie the wooden boarding ladder, carry it out of the storage room, swing back the companionway steps, carry the ladder up the steps (being careful not to bang it into the woodwork), then carry the ladder to the side deck by the lifeline gate.
  5. Open both parts of the lifeline gate, then carefully install the wooden boarding ladder in the metal hooks, allowing the ladder to unfold and reach down to the water. This is more difficult than it sounds, since the forces can become great and if the ladder is not properly hooked, it can pull out of your hands and fall away from the boat and into the water. (Bye, bye, ladder!)
  6. Go below and get all the stuff you're going to take with you in the dinghy (bags of garbage, gas jug, laundry (don't forget the detergent), shower bag with clean clothes, luggage, sleeping bag, etc.), carry it topsides, and place it by the lifeline gate so you can reach it from the dinghy.
  7. Uncleat both lines used to lower the dinghy from the davits, then carefully lower one side at a time, a foot or two at a time, until the dinghy is floating on the water. You have to do one side at a time because even using the multipart tackles, the dinghy is too heavy to lower both sides at the same time (it's too easy to slip or lose control). You can only lower it a foot or two at a time because you want to keep the dinghy approximately level so the gas tank and oars don't slide around in the dinghy.
  8. Make sure you lower each davit tackle a little more, so the tackle lines will have some slack in them when you step into the dinghy and attempt to detach the tackle blocks. But don't put too much slack in the tackle lines, otherwise the lines can tangle or the tackle block can flip over and totally bollix up the multipart tackle. (If that happens, the line can become so confoundingly snarled you might have to remove the block and re-run the line.) Don't cleat the lines off, but tie-off the line tails at the boat's stern where you can reach them while you're standing in the dinghy.
  9. Step over to the outboard motor and undo the clamps that secure the motor to the wooden holder on the stern pulpit. (You did make sure the gas tank was full, right? The tank that's now in the lowered dinghy?)
  10. Using the outboard motor crane, hoist the motor off the wooden holder and carefully lower it over the side. Don't let it bang into the hull, and don't lower it into the water yet. Engage the crane's line in the cam cleat, and for extra security, tie off the line too, but somewhere low, where you can reach it while you're standing in the dinghy.
  11. Climb over the stern pulpit, then climb down the small ladder and step into the dinghy. (This requires some agility and strength.)
  12. If it rained recently, bail out the rainwater from the dinghy. Right now, the dinghy is in good shape so the tubes hold air, but as it gets older and the tubes start to leak, this is when you'd pump up the tubes with the foot pump.
  13. Tie the dinghy's painter to someplace on Pilgrim's stern, giving yourself plenty of slack since you'll have to move the dinghy over to the outboard motor crane.
  14. For each of the two davit tackles: While holding the tail end of the tackle line, unsnap the tackle block from the lifting strap in the dinghy, and while holding the block VERY CAREFULLY, pull on the tail end of the line to take up the slack. Here again, you have to be very careful to keep the multipart tackle from getting all bollixed up. Clip the block to Pilgrim's toerail (without introducing any twist into the tackle) and take up the rest of the slack. Coil the loose line and place it on the boat's stern where it won't fall in the water. Do the same for the other davit tackle.
  15. Unhook the gas tank (it's secured to the seat) and move it to the stern of the dinghy.
  16. By holding on to Pilgrim's stern, move yourself (and the dinghy) over to the port side, where the outboard motor is dangling from the crane.
  17. Untie the crane tackle line and pop the line out of the cam cleat (hang on tight to the line so the motor doesn't drop into the water). Now slowly lower the motor using the crane tackle while guiding the motor on to the dinghy's transom. If it's windy and the water is bouncy, this step can be difficult and risky—you might lose your balance and fall, or the motor might get dunked by a wave.
  18. Tighten the motor clamps to secure the motor to the transom.
  19. Unclip the crane tackle block from the motor and take up the slack in the tackle line. Clip the tackle block to the boat's toerail and take up the remaining slack. Make sure the tackle doesn't get twisted or tangled. Coil and stow the line on the boat's stern.
  20. Connect the gas line between the gas tank and the outboard motor. Tilt the outboard motor tiller arm down so it's ready to use.
  21. By holding on to Pilgrim's stern, move yourself (and the dinghy) over to where you tied the dinghy's painter. Untie the painter, move over to the open lifeline gate, and tie the painter to the boat's toerail.
  22. Reach up to the deck and transfer all the cargo into the dinghy. Any passengers should board at this time, using the boarding ladder. If there are two people in the dinghy, one person sits on one tube and the other person sits on the opposite tube, to balance the load.
  23. Start the outboard motor and make sure it's running reliably.
  24. Untie the dinghy painter from the boat's toerail and stow it in the dinghy so it can't fall into the water.
  25. Congratulations, you're FINALLY ready to go somewhere!

Anyway, after three days we finally had the dinghy launched (just kidding!) and Jerome drove us down Spa Creek to the fuel dock at Annapolis City Marina. We unloaded the dinghy and Jerome topped off the generator gas jug and dinghy gas tank. Then we walked down the dock to shore, shook hands, and parted company until next week. Our first shakedown cruise was complete.

Internet Links For This Section

Previous Page   Next Page   Contents Page   Sailboat Cruising Page   Home Page