Monday, August 11, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: Mill Creek (Annapolis)

July 21-22, 2014

To celebrate Bill's birthday and for a little summer fun, we decided to head out for two weeks on the Chesapeake. Every sail is a shakedown cruise of sorts: we play around with different systems and sail configurations, set new priorities for installations, etc. so we were really looking forward to having this time aboard Phoenix to test the waters, so to speak.

Our initial plan was to head directly down to Eastern Bay, but our friend Smitty invited Bill to go out fishing for rockfish, so we changed our plans and headed to Annapolis instead. The water was like glass that day as we made our way past Baltimore light and to the Bay bridge, so there was no point in putting up the sails.

Baltimore Light

Heading towards the Bay Bridge -- not much wind out there

The fishing boat's home port was in Mill Creek -- where we had just visited the month before on our anniversary sail, so once again we wove our way through the entrance off Whitehall Bay. This time we anchored a bit further up the Creek, closer to Cantler's Riverside Inn and directly across from Martin's Cove, where the fishing boat was docked.

Mill Creek Anchorage
Relaxing in Mill Creek
After a quiet evening, we were up early so Bill could meet up with the guys for the 7 am departure. We rowed into Martin's Cove and I returned to Phoenix to get some work done when I wasn't swimming and/or tidying up the boat. (Fortunately, we can work remotely from the boat, so I was able to work and have conference calls while we were out and about.) 

Smitty and his Dad, fishing with Bill

Bill catching our dinner
The boys were back around lunchtime, and Bill caught our dinner for the evening. Hard to beat fresh, grilled rockfish!

We were up the next morning, ready to haul anchor by 7 am, and the motor would not start. We checked the batteries and they were fully charged, so that wasn't the problem. We had had intermittent starter issues on previous trips, particularly when the motor was hot. Bill had just replaced the starter solenoid, hoping that would do the trick. Wondering if the new solenoid was at fault, Bill pulled the starter, attached the old solenoid and reinstalled the starter. Amazingly, the motor started, and it was decision time.

We debated what to do next -- continue heading south and deal with a motor that may or may not start up again on demand, take the starter in to one of the small marinas in Mill Creek to see if they could repair it, or head home and take the starter to someone we know and trust to do the work right, even if it meant delaying or cancelling the rest of the trip.We opted to head home and get the starter repaired.

We hauled anchor at 9 am. The winds were in our favor (south 8-10 knots), but since we weren't sure if the motor would start again if turned off, we motor sailed home with the genoa, and were back at our dock at 1:15 pm. We had lunch while waiting for the motor to cool off. Once it was cool enough to work on, Bill pulled the starter and took it to Butch at Glen Burnie Generator and Carburetor by 3 pm. Apparently, the starter was the problem, and Butch was surprised that it was working at all. Within 2.5 hours, Butch cleaned and rebuilt the starter, tested the new solenoid and had us back up and running! Now that's service!

That evening, Bill reinstalled the rebuilt starter, and we decided to head back out the next morning to start our sailing trip anew.

1 comment:

  1. Good thing you had the old started as a backup. Good sailboaters are always prepared