July 16, 2017: Wind: less, and a dead windlass

Winds were gusty through Saturday night and Walt’s smartphone anchor motion alert sounded once at about 3 am, causing him to climb up to the deck to see that all was actually well and the alarm had probably been triggered by accident. There was almost no wave action to bump the boat about, and we slept well in general. However, as Walt was using the remote anchor windlass control at the bow at about 9:30 am to begin to raise Braesail’s anchor, attached to about 120 feet of heavy chain, Joy and I, stationed in the cockpit, heard a strange, sharp, screeching sound that we at first thought was a dog’s bark. I immediately thought that something had gone wrong with the windlass, and it indeed proved to be non-functional. Fortunately, we were in water about 35 ft. deep, there weren’t any other boats very nearby, and the wind was varying from about 3 to about 9 knots, so raising the anchor and moving elsewhere was not an urgent matter. Walt tried attaching a large line to the chain and winding the line on a winch on the mast, but the angles were wrong and this tactic didn’t work. He then wound the line on one of the winches just outside the cockpit, Joy tailed the line as Walt hand-cranked the winch with a winch handle (our power winch grinder, ideal for such purposes, was of no use because it was awaiting the purchase and installation of a small part that Walt couldn’t get at the Refuge Cover General Store), and I stood at the helm to move the boat at whatever low speed and in whatever direction was necessary. First, the chain tangled and had to be straightened out, but soon it was coming up, little by little as Walt winched up a section with the line, untied the line and reattached it farther down the chain, and coiled the raised chain portions in the anchor locker at the bow of the boat. Talk about a strenuous morning work-out!

By about 11 am, the chain and anchor were back on board, we were motoring out of Gorge Harbor around the anchored boats and little islands and through the narrow gateway in the cliffs, and Walt was VERY tired!

Sea near Gorge Harbour
View of the sea, islands, and mountains outside Gorge Harbour

It was another delightful day with moderate winds and lots of sunshine, but Walt didn’t have the energy to deal with sails. We passed the green shallow-water marker buoy and the red even-shallower-water bell buoy whose clanging chime we heard when we passed it on Saturday and enjoyed the wonderful scenery, and our son Martin called from Portland to let us know that he had finished the 202-mile bicycle ride from Seattle to Portland (the annual “STP” in about 15 hours (12 hours on the saddle), had averaged about 16 mph, and was well (he made the ride in a single day in 2011 also). Yaaay, hooray, woo-hoo, cheers, applause, and hearty huzzahs from his parents and grandmother!

We were docked in Campbell River’s Discovery Harbour by about 1:30 pm, three helpful dock hands having assisted with the tying up process and having complimented Walt on his superb “parking job” and kindly relieved us of our garbage bags, and while Walt walked up to the marina office to register and pay fees, Joy and I prepared a lunch of soup and quesadillas. Walt then took a long and well-deserved nap after his matitudinal exertions, and Joy and I walked up to the shore to explore the availability of restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, stores, restaurants, etc. Baskets of bright flowers decorated the walkway; we enjoyed our stroll and we found what we needed, including a Dollar Tree store at which I was able to purchase kitchen sponges and large trash bags.

Upon returning from our expeditions, Joy and I napped and I began work on this blog entry. Walt tried without success to diagnose the problem with the anchor windlass, and finally gave up for the day as dinner, a lovely tuna/vegetable salad made by Joy, was finding its way to the cabin table. After supper, taking care of laundry in the nice facility next to the marina office occupied most of my evening and I was able to use Canadian “loonies”–no little plastic tokens to lose this time!

Back on Braesail, Walt was working on his presentation, so Joy and I played two games of Farkle and called it a day. For many hours, I lay awake with the non-functional windlass issue and many other stew ingredients bubbling about in my brain, though I knew there was not a thing that I, myself, could do. Tomorrow should bring SOME answers.

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