This weekend was a whirlwind of sailboat activity. A number of Canadians arrived on Thursday and we quickly got down to business. We had a brief motor-tour that evening with storm clouds ominously rolling in over land from WSW but promised ourselves plenty of sailing the next day. Friday came but the nice weather did not. Nevertheless we bravely climbed aboard with more geographic representation than you could shake a stick at - we had residents of Ontario, Quebec, Japan, Maryland, and of course Maine.
It was at this point in the weekend that the wheel-steering on the boat decided to give its final sigh and give up the ghost, leaving us circling the shipping channel while dark rain clouds glowered overhead. I sprang into action, with wrench and pliers in hand, and squirmed my way past the engine and down under the cockpit flooring. The problem was pretty obvious but without a second set of hands underneath it was going to be difficult to fix so I requested a helper down below. In the end this simply resulted in two people crammed under the flooring with one stuck near the exit and the other (me) becoming more claustrophobic by the minute with no clear escape route. Above, Appleton Estate Rum was passed around and laughter could be heard floating down to my dark tomb.. this despite the sounds of heavily flapping sails, and other disconcerting noises. The folks seemed far less disconcerted.
Repairs were abandoned at this point. I fully disconnected the wheel steering and the emergency tiller was attached to the rudder post, resuming our cruise.
The rest of the weekend was perhaps the most beautiful and tempered as one could hope for, with temperatures in the 70s and almost cloudless skies filled with nice relaxed winds of 12 to 14 knots.. and we made a point to use them. The tiller has proven much more effective and, in fact, its performance seems to suggest that the wheel steering never had full range of motion in the first place. This could explain the previously horrible turning radius and pointing abilities, as well as the horrible tacking performance.
Monday was by far our best day, and I made a point to bring my camera, so many pictures will follow. Here is one to wet your appetite - he kind of looks like Neptune's creepy womanizing son or something, doesn't he?