Yesterday, June 11, 2006, marks the fifth year since my Gee lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. To celebrate her life and her memory, I took her namesake, the Pretty Gee, out to Cuttyhunk Island. Cuttyhunk Island is one of the Elizabeth Islands, off the Massachusetts coast, which mark the southern boundary of Buzzards Bay.
The weather was wonderful, a big change considering how much rain we had last week. Diane, one of the owners of Aja, a Cape Dory 25, was asking me how long it takes to get out to Cuttyhunk Island on the Pretty Gee. I couldn’t answer her when she asked. Well, in the winds we had last night, it took about four hours to get to Cuttyhunk.
Coming back took about five hours—the wind died about three-fourths of the way back, and I decided to motor the rest of the way, instead of waiting for the wind to pick back up—sitting becalmed in the middle of Buzzards Bay’s main navigation channel is not a good idea. The Pretty Gee can actually sail a good deal faster than she can motor. Her top speed motoring is about seven knots—sailing, I had her up over ten knots pretty easily. Here’s a photo of the instruments just before the wind died. I was hoping that I wouldn’t need to motor back—oh well…maybe next time.
On my way back in, I did see Mike and Randy, on their Columbia 26, Next Year. I helped them step the mast yesterday. They just replaced most of the standing rig last year. She’s a pretty solid boat, and they’re constantly working on her. They were taking her to where she’s normally moored over in Clarks Cove, but she wintered over at my marina. The photo is of them in the distance as I was headed to the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier.
One of the tasks I had for this trip was re-calibrating the wind instruments. I’ve gotten the wind instruments pretty well calibrated over the course of the last two days. I also got a chance to try out the autopilot. The autopilot works pretty well in the two modes I tried: apparent wind and compass course. It is supposed to be able to follow a GPS course, but that isn’t all that useful on a sailboat.
I hope to go back to Cuttyhunk later this month, with my friends Brad and Cindy. We’ll see. There is still a lot of work I have to do on the Pretty Gee.