Sailing Gods

Stephen and Roberta Arnold
Sun 6 Jun 2010 22:44

28:10.6986N 082:50.1542W


Sunday Jun 6, 2010 6PM


I’m not a religious person but I’ve come to believe there are sailing gods that must somehow be appeased. Among them are the Wind God (aka WG) the Rain God (aka RG) and Mechanical Failure God (aka MF…G). There are lesser sailing gods like the Wave God (who probably works for WG) and a few others that I’m missing and a whole sailing god hierarchy, but that’s not important here.


During our trip from Pensacola to Anclote Key all three of these gods had a shot at us, and the conversation probably went like this:


RG: Hey WG what are you up to today?


WG: I’m watching the boat Chanticleer. It’s 10 AM and it just raised sails for its trip from Pensacola to Anclote Key. Right now I‘m giving her about 13 kts of winds that will take her to his destination.


RG: That’s so unlike you giving a boat the winds they need.


WG: Not to worry I’m waiting until the sun goes down to have my fun.


RG: Hey WG the sun is setting on Chanticleer what do you have in mind?


WG: First I need you to create a squall line behind them. It should look like it is moving right to left and also getting closer to them. That will make it hard for them to out maneuver us.


RG: Ok no problem. I started the rain about 3 miles out and now it’s about ½ mile behind them. Anything else you want me to do?


WG: Not at the moment. Look we made her take down her main. Now watch this, as the rain goes over her I’m going to drop the winds down to about 4 knots. That should make the boat bounce around in the waves.


RG: Look at her bounce, but wait she has put her main back up and is trying to sail out.


WG: No problem let me give her a wind shift. See we already have her headed northeast instead of southeast.


RG: Wait she is tacking


WG: No problem, I’ll just turn off the wind shift. See now she’s headed for South Texas. Before she tacks back RG, I need another shower right now that she runs into after her tack and I’ll give here 20-25 knots of wind.


RG: You’re a mean one WG. Looks like we caught here with all sails up. It must be too windy to drop the main she is furling the jib.


WG: I’m not done with her yet, as soon as you move your rain shower out of the way I’m going to turn off the winds.


RG: Look who just walked in its MF…G, Long time no see


MF…G: So what are you guys up to?


RG: We’re just messing with Chanticleer


MF…G: I had a lot of fun with her last week.


WG: Well they are out of the rain and there is no wind and they have dropped their main and are motoring away.


MF…G: Sounds like a job for me – ‘ZAP’


RG: So what did you do?


MF…G: I just shredded their impeller they won’t be motoring long.


Mean while back on the boat, shortly after starting the motor I realize it didn’t sound right. The exhaust has a different sound when the impeller isn’t moving water. Our marine diesel uses sea water to help keep the engine cool. In a car air flows through a radiator to keep it cool, on the boat sea water flows through a similar system to carry away the excess heat. Without the impeller to move the water the engine overheats.


With no wind and no motor we were left to bob like a cork.




So this is what I removed. Sitting in a boat slip this is about a 20 minute job. Bobbing and rolling in the Gulf made this an hour long job. So once it was fixed I returned to the cockpit drenched in sweat, but we were motoring again.


RG: Hey WG, it looks like the engine is fixed.


WG: No problem I’ll give them 5 minutes and then I’ll give them 10 kts of wind, but I’ll make it out of the south so that if they want to sail they’ll need to beat into the wind.


RG: They’re still motoring, I guess they are too beat to do anything else.


WG: Let’s give them a break until tomorrow I see somebody else I want to mess with.


That was it for Saturday and here is a picture of our track for the night.



Sunday morning we were sailing again.


RG: Chanticleer is moving along nicely, looks like they are making lunch.


WG: I feel an opportunity –they are just sitting down with their sandwiches let me crank up the wind. I think I’ll add 10 -12 knots to the 13 they have.


RG: Did you see that he managed to catch his sandwich as the boat healed


WG: Beginners luck. I’ll give him 10 minutes of this then I’ll drop it back to 13 knots or so and in the afternoon I’ll slowly drop the winds enough so that if he continues sailing he won’t get to Anclote Key during the day. Then there is always tonight.


RG: Good thinking there WG


About 3 PM I realized that at the rate we were going it would 9 or 10 PM before we reached Anclote Key. Land falls at night in a new harbor are not a good thing so on with the motor.


WG: It’s about 8:30 PM and time to have some fun with Chanticleer again. Since they are motoring I’ll leave it up to you RG.


RG: No problem. Stephen’s asleep so first I’ll try a little fake – lightening in the distance to see if Roberta wakes him up. It worked. He turned on the radar and nothing within 36 miles.


WG: Nice


RG: He’s back asleep now for the real thing. I’m going to start a rain line behind and to the right and slowly move it their way. Roberta has Stephen up again and has  taken over. My plan is to make it look like the rain will pass on his right, but it won’t. There will be rain ahead of him continuing off to his right.


WG: Looks like he has turned left to avoid the rain.


RG: No problem, I’ll have the rain move the same rate as he is and the only way for him to get back on course is to turn right and go through the rain.


WG: It took him almost an hour but he finally did it he turned through the rain. I’m about ready to move on to the next boat are you?


RG: Sure, wait the MF…G is back.


MF…G: You guys still playing with Chanticleer?


WG: Yep


MF…G: I’ve got a new one I want to try.


WG: sure be my guest.


MF…G What I’m going to do is have one of the pins on the mizzen goose neck fall out. I’m not sure what will happen.


I was on watch and heard a heavy metallic thump on deck – it was close to where I was sitting, but I wasn’t sure where. I had to get out the flashlight and found a 3” long pin on deck. Looking around I realize where it came from. It’s the vertical pin that holds the boom to the mast. It is a strange arrangement where the vertical pin has a cut out that the horizontal pin fits through. You can see the horizontal pin in the picture has worked free. I found the remains of a cotter pin that was used to keep the horizontal pin in place.



The sail tie was my attempt to keep it all together for the rest of the night.


WG: That definitely was a new one – see you later MF…G


MF…G: Goodnight all.


So that was our trip. We are no safely anchored and trying to figure out how to appease the gods.