Rick, Don and I managed to get out on ‘Odalisque’ around 11 am from Nyack Boat Club on Wednesday, August 3rd. With light or no wind evident we motored up to near the magnificent cliffs where there was at least some evidence of a light breeze. We tacked up river and tested the echo effect of one of the rock faces from varying distances and verified that sound does indeed travel about 1,126 feet per second. Life is perhaps a little more interesting when you are sailing with 2 science teachers.
We buzzed in close to Sing-Sing, the notorious Ossining prison and looking for guards in the guard towers surrounding this impressive complex. We got quite close to Croton Point when someone spotted a large, maybe 3 – 4 foot, fish break water and splash down on the surface. Probably a Sturgeon. I only saw the effect of the large animals splash.
We had a race to participate in at 6:30 so we headed south back to Nyack as the wind shifted from the NE to the SE and we hit our best speeds over ground near 6 knots. The sky had clouded over giving us some relief from the sun and rain was expected and experienced. It was not a pounding rain but a spritzing or gentle rain as I would call it. We tied ‘Odalisque’ to the NBC dock around 5 pm and waited for Matt to join us.
The tenacity of the rain increased so we raced in the rain and got wet. I can’t tell you how many adjustments, tweaks, jibes or pole launches we did but at the finish we were very close to 2 boats in our division finishing 3rd over the line. The PHRF corrected results I saw put us in 1st place over our competition. I’m afraid that this first place finish thing is seeming to be more like a habit then an accident. We brought ‘Odalisque’ back to the NBC dock to spend another night aboard.
Rick stayed around long enough to enjoy a hot meal at the NBC snack bar and enjoy some frosty beverages with Don and I aboard ‘Odalisque’ once we said good night to Matt. When Rick was going to his car around 10 pm he heard what could have been fireworks but sounded more like gunshots. Then he heard police sirens wailing. A pretty big, if rare event in Nyack. Don and I heard none of it as we were ensconced in the cabin of ‘Odalisque’ hiding from the wind and rain.
The next day Don prepared for the rest of his trip up to Maine for a family shindig and I slowly found the energy to move about. Don left around noon leaving me to contemplate my own retreat and returning ‘Odalisque’ to her mooring. Once I had nearly all of my belongings off of ‘Odalisque’ I thought that I was ready to take her back to her mooring except that there was very little juice left on our batteries; I had left the power on overnight which had trickle depleted the batteries of which one was seven years old.
It was bullet biting time so I drove off to Haverstraw to get 2 new batteries leaving the boat tied up at the dock. Once I had the new batteries connected the engine started but still ran at high rpms (2000) and would stall if I tried to lower the throttle to a normal idle speed of 600-800 rpms. Matt joined me and decided to look at the spark plugs (which were fine) and then he replaced the distributor cap, rotor and ignition wires (thankfully the spares were on the boat). Once we started her up she ran just fine at an easy 600 rpms at idle and would throttle up when asked to. We motored uneventfully back to the mooring and enjoyed putting the boat away when she was dry, clean(er) and functional in every sense instead of wet, broken or about to break, and barely functioning.
There is a lot of give and take with boats much as there is with human relationships. I always enjoy sailing or racing our boat but I especially enjoy using it in a manner it was intended for; cruising with friends, even if we just tie up at the dock for the night instead of anchoring out. I thoroughly enjoyed my ‘birthday cruise’ on our boat and hope we can make it a tradition. I’ll also try to work on all the other things ‘she’ has asked me to do for her.
It was also great to sail with old friends who helped me to make this happen. My thanks to all of you. You know who you are.
Hope you are enjoying high summer.