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Monthly Archives: December 2015

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Our two bow anchors…a 75# CQR secondary on the port side, a 110# Bruce main on the starboard side.

We’ve been in Biloxi, Mississippi for a month now and, overall, it’s been an enjoyable stay, boat repairs excepted. Regarding the repairs, they have all been made. We are going to replace our roller furler, dinghy, and main sheet lines but that’s strictly maintenance. We will measure these lines here at the marina and then order them online so that they will be shipped to our home in League City. We will pick them up there and bring them back with us. We’ll leave for the seven hour ride back to Texas next Monday, 21st…returning shortly after the first of the year.

I personally have mixed feeling about returning to Texas. On the one hand, it will be nice to see Sarah and family…on the other hand, we still have a ways to go to get to the Keys and on down into the Caribbean and the memory of our Friday 13th adventure back in November is still pretty fresh.

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This shot shows both of our anchors tied back to a bow cleat to prevent jumping their guides.  The 110# Bruce main anchor on the right is also secured with a chain lock.  Anchors should never be dependent on the windless to keep them on board.

A week or so ago a boat from the next dock over from where we berthed at Seabrook Marina (K dock) completed what they refer to as a “Gulf crossing…” in weather similar to what we experienced back in November. We wouldn’t call motor sailing from Kemah, to Galveston, to Venice/Buras, and on to Destin, Florida as a “Gulf crossing…” but coastal sailing, none-the-less, they do. Regardless, it seems pretty evident they got caught in similar weather as we did. According to their post on Facebook, their anchor jumped out of its guides and rode on the outside of their boat for a spell. Long enough to do fairly significant damage to their cap rail and a stanchion, as well as banging up the front starboard hull enough to go through the fiberglass and into the core. Not good.

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Our chain lock for our 110# Bruce anchor, designed to keep the main anchor chain rode from playing out should the windless fail.  Notice this anchor is also tied off with line and cleated. 

Captain and I had quite a discussion regarding our two main anchors on the front of our yacht prior to departure. Conventional wisdom is to remove the anchors completely when on an offshore passage. Husband insisted on not only not removing our main anchor, but adding our secondary anchor to its bow guides as well. We have three anchors on board. I wasn’t happy with this arrangement but, back to conventional wisdom, if one doesn’t remove the anchors prior to a passage it is more than a little important to make damn sure the anchors are securely tied down to prohibit such a catastrophe as happened to the couple above.

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Anchors are a big, big thing.

Our two main anchors weigh 75 and 110 pounds respectively, should they jump their anchor guides while underway in huge seas they just have to set there and bang up the boat. One doesn’t go to the bow of their boat and manhandle those kinds of weights in large confused seas. Research is showing more and more that falling off of one’s boat, even if tethered and still attached to it, will as likely as not result in one’s death before crew can get them back on the boat if seas are heavy.

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Mainsail being raised and almost to masthead after the final batten installed.

The repairs to Freedom have been made. And, I’m really glad they’re done. Getting the repairs done was a royal pain in the behind not because they were so extensive or expensive, they weren’t, but because of where we are and the lack of people, businesses, and facilities to get them done. I suppose that is the nature of the beast in cruising, still.

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Tricolor mounted…

In Kemah, there are maybe a half dozen places one can have a sail repaired within a five mile radius or so of the marinas. Here in Biloxi, the nearest qualified and genuine sail loft was either in the New Orleans area or in Pensacola, roughly a 100 miles away. We chose Schurr Sails  in Pensacola based on recommendations we got from the Sailing and Cruising group we belong to on Facebook. They were wonderful and we highly recommend them. To make their service even sweeter, when the repair was made, Hunter, the owner, indicated he would be in the Mobile, Alabama area if we’d like to pick the repaired sail up there. Of course, we did, for picking the repaired sail up in Mobile saved us at least two hours of boring drive time.

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Husband on left, Chris on right as they rig the reefing lines.

One gentleman of whom we’ve had a great relationship over the past couple of years is our good friend Chris Earls with Competition Yacht Services in Kemah and Corpus Christi (361-728-8074 and 832-385-1916). We first met Chris when he installed our bow thruster while working for another company a couple of years ago. Chris and his family have been in the rigging business for years and years down in Corpus and he is experienced in just about every aspect of yacht repair and maintenance…power plants, mechanical, electrical, etc. He also has no problem going up to the top of our huge mast, 72’ above the water line.

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From bottom, radar reflector, radar, and the new television antenna.

Aside from the torn mainsail, the three other major things that were damaged were the masthead tricolor fixture, the television antenna and, most of all, the bow thruster. After talking to a few people here on the dock in Biloxi, all they could say was “good luck” in finding good decent people to work on our boat…so we didn’t even try to find a local. What we did do was call Chris.

After we spoke with Chris, he agreed to obtain the new bow thruster motor and drive over from Texas to Biloxi, install the new motor to repair the bow thruster, take the old motor back to Texas to be repaired (if possible), take care of all of our mast lighting repairs, help us install our repaired mainsail (our mainsail weighs 137#), and take care of rigging our reef lines. He arrived last Monday around 8:00 at night, we went to dinner, and then he worked to 1:00 AM removing the bow thruster motor. By yesterday afternoon around 4:00 PM he was finished with everything, paid, and on his way back to Texas.

We can’t say enough good about Chris (and his lady, Lori, as well). He does first class work, second to none, and his prices are more than reasonable. Anyone need a top level yacht guy, please give him a call. You will not regret it.

So, Friday, December 4th, 2015 – three weeks to the day after our ill-conceived decision to go offshore into the slop – our boat is repaired. Our trip offshore three weeks ago, however, did reveal a few issues with the boat we were not aware of. For example, we found out we had a drainage issue in our sail locker, forward. We have a badly abraded roller furler line. And, there are a few other issues. None are big deals, but none can be ignored. So, rather than continue on, we will take care of a bit more maintenance before driving back to League City to spend 10 days or so with the family for the holidays.  We will then return Biloxi and continue our journey after the first of the year.