Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Sailing Season '04

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Barbara and I took the Mid-Harbor Marine launch out to Chip Ahoy and enjoyed Salem's Independence Day fireworks from the mooring -- along with hundreds of other boaters at their moorings around us. Coming back in the launch (after an interminable wait for a pick-up) was like a reenactment of the Mariel Bay Cuban boat lift while I lived down in the Florida Keys, the launches jammed full of "immigrants" seeking American shore!  The weather was beautiful, if breezy and a little chilly.  (Jul. 4, 2004)

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Yesterday, I took Chip Ahoy out to play around with the singlehanded reefing set-up, but there was just not enough wind outside the anchorage ... in fact no wind at all once out in Salem Harbor. So today, Barbara and I took the boat out in more of a breeze (SSE at 8 gusting ESE to 16) and everything worked just fine, especially, and finally, the new roller-furler. I didn't really need to reef, but it was good practice in a fair breeze, and now I know that it works.   (Jul. 11, 2004)

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Barbara enjoyed a real sail, after the virtual doldrums of last weekend while I tested out my new reefing system. It's great having someone else aboard who can take the tiller when I need to go forward to make an adjustment. For this she gets a steak dinner cookout tonight.

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Getting ready for my shakedown cruise to Scituate this weekend, I bought an old Johnson 3 hp outboard, registered the dinghy yesterday, and applied my new registration numbers and state decal. I took "Chip Mate" out to Chip Ahoy this morning for the first time under its own power.  (Jul. 17, 2004)

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Back on the mooring five hours later:  The Scituate shakedown cruise was a bust with little or no wind. What little there was came from the SSW -- the direction I was heading. After a lot of tacking I finally made it past Marblehead Light and neared Massachusetts Bay at 2:00 pm; after leaving the mooring, it took almost 3 hours to make good only a few miles. I made my decision and turned back. Otherwise, I suspect I'd have been tacking well into the night before reaching my destination, some 30 miles due south across the Boston Harbor shipping channel to the South Shore.

04-07-21.jpg (211238 bytes) Chip Ahoy on its mooring (Jul 21, 2004)
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On Friday, July 23, I headed out for my shakedown cruise to Scituate on the South Shore at 11:00 am, heading into a SW headwind of 5-10 knots. Instead of following last year's course around the Boston Harbor buoys and by those down the coast, I tacked further out into Massachusetts Bay -- thinking the fewer tacks the better. The tiller-pilot again mysteriously quit working, so I was at the tiller until reaching my destination ... 13 hours later it turned out. It was quite a good sail, but as the sun set I realized I wouldn't be making landfall until well after dark ... and the Scituate harbormaster who'd reserved a slip for me was expecting Chip Ahoy at about 6:00 pm.

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After the sun set, I started the motor, soon dropped sail, and motored in the dark the remaining distance using GPS to navigate directly there. I arrived just before midnight pretty exhausted. On Saturday in Scituate there was a deluge and the rain and high winds continued into Sunday. I got the GPS/VHF NMEA DSC (distress calling/position) wired and working on Sunday morning. With the fuse replaced,  the tiller-pilot seemed to be working again after running the multi-meter on it for some eight hours, then hooking up the tiller-pilot for another three.

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Though I planned to return to Marblehead on Sunday, due to weather I put off my departure and headed home on Monday, a perfect day: sunny, in the high-70s, with a NE wind at 10 that turned E in the afternoon. I averaged about 3.5-4 knots, taking eight hours to get home. The tiller-pilot (photo on left) worked fantastically until I was  closing in on the North Shore and Marblehead: then it just died, again blowing fuses. While it was working most of the trip, I got a lot of tweaking and adjusting done on-deck that I've been intending to get to.

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Today I drove up to Raymarine's impressive service center in Nashua, NH. Lee Tang, s tech group leader, determined that the positive wire in the tiller-pilot's plug was loose; the factory-installed set-screw hadn't held the wire. Instead of using the set-screws, he soldered the positive and negative wires to their respective terminals, bench-tested the unit, and declared the tiller-pilot was working perfectly.  (Jul. 27, 2004)

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After last weekend's shakedown cruise, I took up the shortcomings I'd discovered and corrected them. In Scituate, I wired the boat so the GPS and the VHF speak to each other. I can now hit the "DSC" button on the VHF and send out a Mayday which also provides my longitude/latitude position, plus the GPS is hard-wired to power and no longer needs my connection to the "cigaret lighter" adapter.  (Jul. 31, 2004)

August has arrived, my month's cruise up the cost of Maine begins on the 3rd!


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