Monday, January 13, 2014

At Eau Gallie - at anchor and how to NOT scrape the bottom of the dinghy

Eau Gallie sunset on the western bank
After almost two months at Titusville, we finally backed out and headed south down the ICW. One of the most fundamental principles when backing out of a slip is to be sure there are no lines still attached. Sounds pretty simple but it's more difficult than you might imagine. First of all, you have a lot more lines attached than normal since you were leaving the boat unattended for two months. So Ann and I double check each other on lines still attached. I got everything off (I thought) and gave the backout signal but Ann motioned to port, there was one more line still attached! It was from the aft piling to the midship cleat opposite the dock, one we normally do not use. Sure enough, it was still attached so I rushed to undo the line, just in time. Several times in the past we've come to an abrupt stop so we've learned by doing.

Getting up to speed we noticed that we were not getting up to speed. We normally cruise at 7.3 kts or faster but today we could only manage 6.8 kts! The dinghy appeared to have an abnormally heavy pull on the painter and we could see bad stuff on the front of the bow. No time to do anything about it now so onward we motored to our anchorage.

Upon arriving, we thought we would lift the dinghy up by the motor hoist so we could get at the bottom while still at anchor. So far, so good. Seeing the bottom covered with barnacles, I got out a scraper and proceeded remove them as the dinghy was suspended from the motor hoist. Now that is not a very stable configuration on a boat at anchor with other boats producing a bow wave. So my first mistake was not to wear gloves, barnacles are very sharp! A slight motion from a bow wave resulted in a blooded hand! Being under the dinghy (to get at the bottom still in the water) was thought not to be a good idea with more boats going by so I crouched up to get back into the cockpit and bumped my head on one of the many barnacles still on the dinghy bottom. Blood was everywhere. I should have worn a hat - I'm an expert at closing the barn door after the horses have fled.

So several bandages later, I finally scraped the bottom okay, not perfect but good enough for now - and - learned what not to do when scraping the bottom in the future! I also had to clean out the knotmeter paddlewheel which was solid with barnacles after two stagnant months at Titusville, much like the bottom of the dinghy. Eventually I got it to turn freely. Now we'll see if the 6.8 kts was due to the fouled dinghy or if there's more crud on Fleetwing's bottom.

We're headed for Vero Beach on Tuesday. When we called in to Vero we were told that they are rafting up at the present to fit everyone in. That's not our favorite thing to do so we'll just stay one day instead of two if that's the case.