Sunday, November 2, 2014

September Gifts

This has been a great sailing season. Less worrisome than the first. Certainly a more confident skipper this season.  I continued to throw little curve balls to keep him on his toes. There is always something new to add to the shit list. But the operative word this year was sail. And sail we did. -Corleto

As August drew to a close and fall was on the horizon, we were blessed with wonderful warm temps and sunshine. We did our best to take advantage of this September gift. We took a wonderful trip to Plumper Cove that included one of the best return voyages we have ever experienced in the Collingwood Channel.
Winds near perfect, keeping Corleto on a starboard beam reach for pretty much the entire journey back to Horseshoe Bay. Every time we thought we would have to tack the boat, the wind would make slight directional shifts to our advantage.  As the wind began to pick up, I reefed the main and kept the boat comfortable. We had been averaging 5.4 kts for the 90 minutes or so that it took to get close to Horseshoe Bay. Then we short tacked twice before dousing our sails and started our engine to make our approach into harbour. It was the gift of a good sail. Certainly one of my favourites of the season.

Perfect day with perfect wind in Collingwood Channel

The following week took us to Bowen Island, to an anchorage that we had visited many times over the summer, but it was now Fall and we found ourselves in the water having a swim! Yes, life is good on a boat. That trip also enabled us to use a new set of headsail sheets. The originals had lost their suppleness and had often bound up in the cars and cleats when tacking or gybing. It was a constant irritation. The new lines now slipped ever so effortlessly through the cars and made tacking so much smoother. That was the gift of new sheets.

The new sheet cleated as we head to Seymour Landing
Charlene, displays the new sheet/snap-shackle attached to the drifter

Big smiles after getting out of the water, and it's the third week of September!
But of course with all of that boat use comes maintenance. The hour meter on the engine screamed it was time for an oil change. It was also time for a fuel filter and transmission fluid change. We all know how the last one went- an hour job grew into a two day ordeal. I wanted to avoid that if I could. I also had to consider a situation that Dave and Pete had found themselves in when they were on their trip with Corleto. I would have to service the cooling system. I decided that the cooling system could wait until after the up coming ONN Weekend in October, but that fluid changes would and should be complete before we cast off again.

New Oil Extractor and a seamless oil change.

The last weekend of September was dedicated to the engine. This oil change went very smoothly. Acquiring an oil extractor was a big help over last years mess. Changing out the transmission fluid and adding the precise amount called for in the Op's manual would prove to make a huge difference with the shifting into forward and reverse. And changing out the fuel filter, the task which I feared most, turned out to be almost as easy as oil change. It's only hiccup being me forgetting to fill the new filter with clean fuel before the install. But I quickly realized it when I was not getting any fuel through the bleed screw, so with a quick top up of the filter and a re-installation, the engine was purring without any hesitation. The sound was the gift of a happy engine.

I emerged out of the engine compartment with a smile and a sense of new found engine confidence. I packed up and readied the boat for what will likely be her final big weekend before the New Year- ONN 2014. We shall see what gifts October brings.