Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 69-Meyers Chuck to Ketchikan

I woke up at 5:30 and looked out on the Strait from the top of the dock.  Not good.  Whitecaps all around and 30 nautical miles to Ketchikan in this weather didn’t seem fun.

Around 10 the weather seemed to be abating, but the forecast was for worsening conditions.  One of the boats poked their nose out and reported 1-foot seas and calm winds.  We all scrambled to head out.

The first few miles were as reported, but conditions quickly deteriorated.  First 2-foot chop, then 3-foot chop.  I was still making a reasonable 12 knots, but I could hear the wind howling through the straps holding the dinghy onto the roof.  One of the boats I was traveling with was reporting winds over 30 knots almost directly on the nose.

As I worked my way south I started to get the swells from the south rolling up Clarance Strait.  I’d estimate seas of 5 feet.  Thankfully they were spaced far enough apart that the C-Dory wasn’t pounding too much.

Finally around Guard Islands conditioned calmed, but the rain moved in.  Visibility was down to ¼ mile in the congested area outside Ketchikan.  I didn’t feel like dealing with getting gas in the downpour, so I headed straight to Bar Harbor and tied up.

I went and helped Chillax and Sweet Pea get tied up (high winds make docking interesting) and then returned to the boat to dry off.

After sufficiently drying, I walked into town to schedule maintenance work on the engine.  Then I dug into the windlass problem to see what was going on.

The symptoms seem consistent with a control arm problem.  I had tightened the control arm down a few days ago as much as I could, but there was still some play in it.  Today I undid the whole thing and realized the problem (I hope!).  The screw holding the control arm in is bent.

Now the tough part comes: finding a new screw.  It’s not a standard item.  It’s a Lewmar specific part and there’s only one Lewmar repair place in Alaska and it’s in Anchorage.  Fisheries Supply doesn’t even have the part in their system, West Marine is out of stock, and Lewmar isn’t fulfilling orders until after the Olympics end (they’re a British company).

By the time I figured this out it was too late to make any phone calls.  Something to do tomorrow, I guess.  I suppose I could always have the local machine shop make me a new screw.

I ended up having dessert on Chillax and then turning in for the night.  I’ll be up early to try and sort out the windlass issue tomorrow, and then get the boat hauled and engine maintenance taken care of.

33.4 nm today and 2,420.7 total

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