Splish, splash…an unexpected evening swim with Angus…

Here’s the story of my unexpected evening swim with Angus from Bob’s perspective…

photo credit: Elena Galey-Pride

photo credit: Elena Galey-Pride

It started out as a normal walk with the dogs. The thundershowers of the early evening had just stopped so we thought it was a good time to get the dogs off the boat in case it started raining again.

A few days ago, I pulled a muscle in my back, so Sherry has been lifting the dogs from the dock into the cockpit while I stand with the other dog on the main dock.

A little while earlier I had taken a pain-killer and washed it down with a glass of wine, so my back pain was at a low point.

As we came back to the boat I waited on the main dock with Charles while Sherry went down the very narrow finger dock to our cockpit. The dock was slippery so she walked slowly and carefully.

Two conditions made the whole procedure very challenging: Windsong II was up about 18″ from the dock since the tide was in and the boat was about 16″ away from the dock because of current from the flood tide.

Sherry put one foot up on to the deck of the sailboat and used her momentum to lift herself and Angus (who was in her arms) up on to the deck. Well, she did not have quite enough momentum (!) and when she came back down she fell between the boat and the dock still holding Angus in her arms. Splash!

I moved down the dock as quick as my back would allow and tossed Charles onto the cockpit seat. He of course began barking and running around the cockpit.

Sherry and Angus were just surfacing at that point, Sherry still holding on to Angus. I laid down on the dock, got my hands on Angus and lifted him on to the dock.

I somehow got him into the cockpit and then lowered the helm seat opening the cockpit to the swim platform. Sherry swam to the stern of the boat like a mermaid and grabbed the reboarding ladder to bring it down. She then climbed aboard the back of the boat. The only loss was one slippery sandal. Once she was back on board and saw Angus was OK she began laughing and laughing. Stress relief, I guess!

We went below and got everyone dried off. Angus actually likes the hair dryer it seems. He slept most of the night with us in the aft berth and quite enjoyed the treat. Charles stayed closeby guarding us from any monsters.

Baking on board…

I had been meaning to do some baking on board. There’s nothing quite like fresh, warm, homemade goodies, but it took St. Patrick’s Day to really get me going.

Being part Irish, we both love Irish food so we decided to have corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread on March 17.

I used a simple recipe that called for ingredients we had on hand and away I went. Well, I didn’t have buttermilk so I soured our 2% milk with some Key lime juice, which worked very well. (So I guess it’s Floridian Irish Soda Bread, really.)

I didn’t have a big enough mixing bowl so I used one of our pots.

The small propane oven on Windsong II couldn’t accommodate a turkey, but it did quite nicely for a loaf of bread.

It was rainy and a bit on the cold side that day so the corned beef cooking away (see corner left pic) and the bread baking created wonderful aromas and warmed up the cabin so it was nice and cosy.

When the bread came out of the oven, it was all we could do to let it cool before we slathered it with butter and scarfed it down with a dollop of our friend Deb’s homemade strawberry jam.

I’m going to have to do more baking!

A visit from Captain Flash (or hangin’ around)…

richard4

richard8

It was a fabulous sunny day with a cloudless blue sky when Captain Flash showed up to check our rigging and install our anchor light.

(Some of you may recall that we broke it last year going through the Julia Tuttle Bridge in Miami.)

On a sailboat, the main engine is composed of the mast, the rigging and the sails. You might think it’s the diesel engine, but that is called the auxiliary engine for a reason — it is actually the secondary means of propulsion.

Using the wind to move a 14,000 pound sailboat through the ocean at 7 knots puts a significant strain on the mast and the wire rigging that keeps it up. Prudent owners who want to stay safe — and avoid having their mast fall down on them — need to have their rigging checked on a regular basis.

Enter Captain Flash (also known as Richard) of Mac Sails. Today he carefully inspected every part of the rigging on our boat. He was here for the whole day. What he was looking for was corrosion in the fittings, which connect the wire to the mast, the spreaders or the chain plates.

After inspecting the chain plates on the deck, he needed to go aloft — and hoist himself up the mast. To do this, he used one of our lines (the topping lift) to haul a block (pulley) to the top of the mast. He rigged a line through the block. One end was attached to the bosun’s chair that he sat in and the other end he used to lift himself up the mast (55 feet).

It was quite a sight — the closest I have gotten to Cirque to Soleil around here. (I managed to get some neat video which I hope to post in the future.)

When Richard wanted to stop and inspect something he tied the line off to a ring on the chair.

Captain Flash found two fittings that looked a bit suspicious. They have some corrosion on them, and we don’t know if it’s coming from the outside (not a big deal) or from the inside (potentially a big deal.) To be on the safe side, we will have both of them replaced.

I’m so glad that Bob agreed not to go up the mast himself! Richard was really much more suited to this job. And now we’re both feeling confident that Windsong II is in shipshape condition with strong rigging to hold up her mast.