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Bloopers, grandkids, and knots

Granddaughters Lina and Emmy Walrath Visit Afterglow.

Along with some of the best sailing we have done this whole trip, all is not perfect on and off Afterglow. Close to 37 years of marriage, we still have our times of stress and duress, though luckily nothing too overwhelming. In his upcoming blog, Allen will tell you all about the 15 knots of wind and 3 knots of current going our way for a change when we went to Shelter Island Harbor, New York, and having the boat go close to 10 knots (over the ground) on the return trip to New London. Leaving New London to get back to Mystic was a fantastic sail, also with 15 to 20 knots of wind, but with the current against us. Great tacks! Nevertheless, this blog will talk about our bloopers on and off the boat.

The weather models that cried "Wolf":

The problem with weather models is that, when they agree at least, you have to believe them. The one time you don't, you will probably get your butt handed to you. Back when we lived in Seattle, we used to have a saying: "Don't let the weatherman ruin your plans." To us that generally meant that if rain was in the forecast, just pack up your layers of clothing and go anyway. Here in the Long Island Sound area, we are trying to learn what that actually means but three times in a row now, when bad wind and rain was a few days out, we headed for shelter, which generally meant exhortatively expensive marinas (when did they become more expensive than Hotels in the same area?) or still very pricy moorings (still more than a Comfort Inn and without the breakfast), only to find that the weather models were a lie and it was not needed at all.

This time we had gone across the sound towards Sag Harbor and the Hamptons. We had an amazing sail across and anchored for the first night at Shelter Island, a lovely large island which is mostly a nature preserve. We found a huge tagged Horseshoe crab shell and reported the tag. They sent us a nice certificate showing the date and place it was tagged:

It was Monday, and we had our grandson Michael's school awards ceremony (see our next blog post) back in Mystic on Friday, so tthe plan was to go to Sag Harbor, then sail back to Mystic on Thursday. However, after we arrived, the weather models agreed that Wednesday had very strong winds forecast and rain and strong wind on Thursday, so we got reservations at a marina in Mystic and sailed across L.I. Sound on Tuesday (fabulous sail). The weather never showed up so we ended up staying two nights in a marina when anchoring would have been fine. Oh well, better safe than sorry.

Blooper #1: Hitting the Rocks: Tuesday's sailing trek to New London from Shelter Island was fast but exhausting as we had to avoid maybe about 30-40 lobster and crab pots as we crossed Long Island Sound. Later that day, we just wanted a quiet night’s anchorage, and Allen thought the free mooring buoys at Avery Point would be just the right spot. Earlier I had alerted him about a small red nun buoy, but that was forgotten as he was trying to find an open mooring buoy to use. The public buoys at the entrance were all occupied and there were some available a little further in... Halt! Crunch! The keel dinged some rocks, not once but twice, and then Allen saw the little red buoy he needed to avoid. Allen’s tunnel vision and wishful thinking had blinded him! We soon got out of there, motored over to New London Harbor, and had the worst night’s sleep on one of the buoys closest to the Sound with the rollers coming straight up river. Allen Asked his Mom (who is an astrologer) to have a look at his star chart. There it was, to quote his mom: "At the moment your natal Neptune is conjoining the South Node and opposing the North Node. The opposition tends to show that you may become side tracked by pursuit of imaginary success and ideals which are not implemented with any consistency or eye on practicality. You may have to deal with self delusion or wishful thinking." Note, I had never told her what had happened to make me ask. A couple of days later Allen free dove and inspected the keel in the 74 degree water of the Mystic River. A 3 inch dent in the front of bulb keep but it can wait until the next scheduled haul out.

Blooper #2: No Grilled Cheese for the firemen: While a mighty good sailor and tactician, Allen is also a great cook. When we were staying overnight at our son Ivan’s home with his dog Arlo and grandson Michael, Allen pulled a cheesy blooper when making grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Little did he know that the stove fan intake was really, really low. The smoke alarm went off (several times), but we were too slow in shutting it off. Two firetrucks pulled up, and eventually three burly firemen examined the kitchen to insure that nothing more than sizzling butter in a frypan sensitized the alarm. Allen sheepishly explained, “I was just frying grilled cheese sandwiches.” Allen shook hands with one of them and apologized that he had not made any sandwiches for the firemen.

Blooper #3: Watering the Boat Inside and Out: When we arrived at Safe Harbor in Mystic, all went well except that Allen had made the reservation through DockWa for the following week! Gone are the days you can tell a person that you are coming in tomorrow. Nevertheless, they had a slip vacated by a full time tenant that was hauled out for the week and we got in. Allen decided to wash some of the salt away and hose Afterglow down. After a quick lunch, he got out the hose and asked me to deal with zippering up the eisenglass surround, which I immediately did. Little did he check that two windows on both sides of the boat were open as he sprayed the boat with fresh water. He had watered the boat inside and out. We spent the next hour drying out the couch cushions, blankets, and dishes as well as mopping up and recleaning the refrigerator and cabinets. All in a day’s work.

Norma’s Bloopers: My bloopers are of a different nature; rather than episodic like Allen’s, mine are persistent and indicate that I am not the brightest leaf on the tree.

1. Upwind and Downwind: While I can sort of figure it out at the time Allen is quizzing me, I cannot tell you the difference once we are sailing. Are we upwind or downwind of that green can? Heaven knows!

2. Clove Hitch: I can do a clove hitch using my right hand as fast as anyone else. But, if I have to use my left hand, that’s a different story. I have to stop and think about it, and I am so slow that I sometimes miss that we have even reached the dock and I have to now do a cleat hitch. Not a problem but that clove hitch…. My two visiting granddaughters quickly learned all three knots—the clove hitch, the cleat hitch, and the bowline knot while I still struggle with two of those essential nautical knots. I don't even want to hear about rabbits going into or out of holes!

3. Plastic: Everyone knows that plastic on furniture can be kind of gauche. However, after seeing what happened to our previous fabric’s frayed and dirty edges, I have wrapped the port and starboard aft cushions in plastic. So I’m gauche! At least I know my new cushions have clean edges…..

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Great photos of the girls - they are really lovely young women. Interesting bloopers but you take them in stride, which is great and hat else can you do!!! But happy that you have had some great sailing.

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