My Great (mis)Adventure

I’ve been a little ambivalent about cruising; I mean I like the idea of living on a boat, going where the wind takes us, etc. but I’ve never spent more than a week on a boat.  I moved onto the boat on June 1 and quickly fell into the routine.  We left a little later than originally planned due to trouble properly securing the solar panels and awaiting the proper documentation from the coast guard.

We finally left on June 16, 3 days later than planned. We motored out of Galveston bay, got fuel, and headed out into the Gulf of Mexico.  I don’t do well with late nights, so I went below to sleep and Andy took first watch.  I came on watch about 2:30 a.m.  Andy promptly decided we should set full sail and we pulled out the jib and raised the main.  I freaked out a little – I’ve raced for years, but it’ll be the first time I’ve taken watch  alone.

Once sail was set and Andy went to sleep, I got into the swing of things.  The wind was great- 12-15 knots at 60 degrees off starboard.  The stars were amazing.  The moon was waxing and close to full, but I could still see the Milky Way.  The sea seemed to flow past at an incredible rate and we were sailing at 7-8 knots.  The sunrise was beautiful.  Andy took over watch a little after 7 am and I went to sleep.

I awoke at 9 to the sound of the main flapping and got up.  Andy said we should drop the main, but then we realized it had done so itself.  The main halyard had come loose from the sail and the sail had dropped into the stack pack.  We tried sailing with the jib for hours, but there was no wind.  We finally got tired of bobbing around without wind and shade and decided to start the motor.  It started up fine, but we weren’t moving at all.  Andy went below while I started the motor and shifted gears.  He diagnosed a problem with the prop shaft.  It seemed to have shifted aft and wasn’t connected to  the transmission.

After discussing our options we decided to put into Lake Charles (50 miles north) for repairs.  We started heading north slowly.  About 3 am the wind came back up and I had another wonderful night sailing.  By the morning we were 6 miles from the jetties, but then the wind died  We spent another day drifting, trying to avoid the oil rigs and anchored ships.  Late in the afternoon the winds came up as a storm hit. The winds were 20 plus knots sustained and were above 30 knots for a few minutes.  Strangely that was less stressful than setting the main in the dark (because Andy was at the helm?).

After the storm we anchored outside the jetties and got a good night’s sleep  The next morning the tow boat picked us up and towed us into the Olmstead shipyard.

It’s not what we’d planned, but cruising is all about the adventure.  Now we get to visit with old friends (Michael Richard) and make new ones (Fluffy Olmstead).  And I get to sleep in a comfortable bed with air conditioning and have hot showers for a few days,  Life doesn’t suck!