Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Preparing for a Cruise

It's now nearly the end of July and the time I normally get my act together to go for a two week cruise. The cruising grounds of Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Naragansett Bay, and Vineyard Sound are rich and varied.

You could really spend a lifetime in this area and never tire of all the great places to go. I've explored Naragansett pretty well, but I hope this year to make it to Woods Hole (yup, the place where the oceanographic institute is), then maybe to Cuttyhunk and Tarpaulin Cove, both in the Elizabethan Islands that border the Vineyard Sound to the west.

Funny story there. Ok, funny for me, less so for the Cunard line. I had bought Wind Hawk in 1991 and the summer of 1992 I cruised her along with Laura on her Albin 28, Penn Central to Nantucket. Laura's uncle owned a place there where we visited. Anyway, I had to return the next day because of work schedules so left.

As I was travelling down the Vineyard Sound I noticed (the way on might notice an elephant in the livingroom) a huge ship coming up the sound. Now, I was near the middle of the channel and my depth indicated 28 feet. That's not too much. Soon enough, off Cuttyhunk, the big ship stopped. It had run aground. "Well, well," I thought, "That boat is way to big to be here!"

From wikipedia.com, "In August 1992, her hull was damaged when she ran aground off Cuttyhunk Island near Cape Cod, while returning from a five day cruise to Halifax along the east coast of the United States and Canada. A combination of outdated charts and faster than normal speed (proportional to the distance from the coast, only 20-30 miles) led to the ship's hull scraping a rock on the ocean floor. The accident resulted in the ship being taken out of service while repairs were made in drydock. Several years later, divers found red paint on rocks in the vicinity of where the ship was said to have hit bottom."

Turns out, I was right.

But what does that have to do with preparing for a cruise? Well, outdated charts for one thing. True, my 6' draft is hardly ever a problem, but it's good to know when it will be. So I have recent charts. But more than that, you need to make sure the boat is good, too.

So, I've changed the oil, the transmission fluid, will fill the water and fuel tanks Saturday, make sure I have food, snacks, and all the other stuff you'd need on vacation (water toys and so forth).

Also, I'll bring my inflatible because I went to the trouble to fix it, and probably the engine which I haven't gone to the trouble to fix, and some gas for it.

But the big deal before cruising is to check things like the steering gear (done that), the rig is tuned (did that). I also will be rigging the jack lines and making sure all the loose gear is stowed. Day sailing is one thing, cruising puts much more strain on the boat for longer times so it makes sense to do all that sort of maintenance before hand. Better than fixing after.

Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be any disasters, but it does mean there should be less of them....

Anyway, I expect to have data services for my laptop so expect some posts, and hopefully some cool pics.

See you on the water!

1 comment:

Zen said...

Cool running Capt!
and...lets be careful out there.