Cruising on s/v Slight Breeze

Posted on Thursday 21 July 2011

Tomorrow, I head down to Connecticut for the annual summer cruise on my friend’s boat s/v Slight Breeze for a nine-day cruise. This will be the second year I am participating in his summer cruise. He asked me along last year when one of his normal crew, and the only other sailor in the crew, had other commitments. This year, it’ll be a full boat, with Sabin, Frank, the captain and myself along.

The itinerary for the trip hasn’t been determined yet, but I’d like to head to Nantucket and try getting to the head of the harbor. There’s a small possibility that we might head south, but I think it is far more likely we’ll head east into my home waters instead. I plan on contacting Gary and Ellen, two friends of mine on the Vineyard, since we might stop in at Menemsha, where they keep their boat and near their home. With three sailors aboard, our options for where we can go, and what sailing schedule we can handle is quite a bit more flexible.

S/V Slight Breeze is an O’Day 302. It is a pretty solid boat. The boat has been through some serious weather and done quite well by its crew, even though it was designed as a weekend cruiser/racer from what I know. A couple of seasons ago, Capt. Slight and his crew ended up going through the tail end of a named storm due to a medical emergency, and s/v Slight Breeze handled the conditions quite well.

We have some work to do on this cruise. Before we leave on Saturday morning, we’ll have to re-terminate the cap shrouds and re-tension the rig. The rigging was quite slack when I looked at it at the end of last season, and some of the turnbuckles were bottomed out. To remedy this, I’ve picked up a couple of Hayn HiMod mechanical turnbuckle stud fittings to replace the lower swaged fittings currently on the shrouds. This should allow use to shorten the shrouds enough to tension the rig properly.

There are probably a few other jobs that have to be done, but tensioning the rig is the most important task. I’m bringing a pair of Loos tension gauges along with me to measure the tension in the rig. Fortunately, I’ve done this a few times, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Last year, one of the major projects we accomplished was returning the autopilot to service. One of my friends has described a long passage with no self-steering as a form of hell. I would have to agree. Having the Autohelm wheelpilot operational has made cruising on s/v Slight Breeze much less grueling.

Hopefully, we won’t have a repeat of last season, where the fresh water side of the engine cooling system blew a small draincock and sprayed coolant all over the interior of the boat. We had to jury rig the engine to allow us to use it to get back into the home harbor. Using a pencil and some rescue tape, we were able to reduce the leakage to a few drips a second, slow enough that we were able to motor into the harbor and up to the mooring safely.

The trip’s timing is good, since I need to get away from some of the things happening in my shore-side life for a while. I think that this trip will help me give Ellie the space and time she needs right now. It should keep me busy enough to forget about the problems we’re currently having as well, at least for a while.

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