Finding crew and first practice

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Once April rolled around, Incorrigible went back in the water, and we could get out to race. We had 2 weeks to get practice in before the first race.

The crew is shaping up well. We started with a base crew of the two owners, plus 2 friends from the Downtown Sailing Center (www.downtownsailing.org). To that we added, a father-daughter set of friends, and a couple of interested but not terrifically committed friends. That didn’t leave us particularly strong. Two weeks before racing started, an acquaintance on Race Committee reached out to see if we had a slot still for a friend of his. We said, “sure”. We also grabbed an unassigned sailor from the crew board. Finally, at the race rules night, two guys walked in, both looking a little lost. I introduced myself and lo and behold, they were looking for a boat. So, they got added to the list.

All told, this ended up meaning the full mailing list is 20. Depending on weather, we can’t leave the dock with less than 6, though 8 is better. And more than 10 starts becoming crowded.

The first day of scheduled practice, we hadn’t swapped the forestay out. They also predicted 65kts gusts. We opted out.

Before the second practice, on 4/10, we had a chance to swap the forestay. The wind prediction was a most less hectic 2kts, so out we went. The new crew showed up, and we spent 2 hours walking through the boat, laying out lines, practicing rigging the spinnaker. Eventually, we got underway.

The  wind was pretty light out on the Patapsco. We motored around, and finally got the main up. It was a bit of a struggle, but we were shaking rust out. The wind was still light.

Eventually, we got the jib up to, and the wind started picking up. Because it was still flukey, and there was commercial traffic, we left the engine running. Over the course of the next hour, the wind built.

As we were coming to a mark to practice a mark rounding, all of the sudden, there was a shudder, and then silence. My eyes immediately went to the depth sounder, but it showed 55′ of water under the keel. As my brain processed that, the buzzer on the engine when it is in ‘on’ but the engine is off came on. Ah ha! The engine died.

Handing the tiller over to Pat, I disappeared below, followed closely by the mechanical engineer, and the naval engineer who happen to be part of the crew. We pull the cover off, and begin discussing options: engine will crank, therefore not battery related. Tank was topped off in November, so we have gas. Oil level is fine. Cooling is fine. I settle on water in the fuel.

I grab a cup, and set about draining water from the fuel separator. Eventually, I get liquid, and it’s 3 TBSB of water. Problem found. I follow the youtube videos for bleeding an engine, and try cranking the engine. Nothing. We try bleeding the second filter and priming. Nothing. We start again. Nothing.

An hour into it, we give up. We call Boat US. We tack across the river for another hour until they arrive. They hook up to us, and start dragging us unceremoniously back to home.

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But, first, we get a nice police escort. We ended up timing our return with a cruise ship departure. The police didn’t want us getting too close, so they escorted us to our slip. Nice of them…

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