Fishing Boats 'n Floats

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 30 Aug 2008 15:36
Noon Position: 42 10.1 N 067 30.1 W

Course: Northwest Speed: 5 knots

Wind: Southwest, Light breeze

Weather: Partly cloudy

Day's Run: 88 miles

We experienced light winds overnight, I kept the sails up as the swell was low and smooth and the sails were remaining full with the light breeze and protesting with only the occasional mild slat. Nonetheless for much of the night we were little better than drifting at the mercy of the tides that sweep in and out of the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy. At midnight we were approaching Georges Bank and we started to encounter some brightly lit fishing vessels. With there very bright lights and the low cloud cover you could see the loom of their lights reflecting off the base of the clouds, which is great as they are easy to see a good fifteen mile or so away. What I couldn't see very well though is their small unlit fishing buoys. They have a largish spar buoy attached to them with a radar reflector attached to the top but seeing as Sylph doesn't have a radar this isn't terribly helpful. I can now describe them in some detail because at 5.30 this morning I went on deck to look around and found we had drifted over one of them and it had become foul of the windvane. The conditions were so light I hadn't heard anything while dozing below, I had only been up looking around less than 30 minutes before. Fortunately the light conditions also meant virtually no damage, a minor scratch to the paintwork aft, and once the sails were lowered to relieve the load on the buoys mooring line I easily managed to disentangle the buoy from the windvane's rudder. It is one good thing about Sylph's more traditional lines with the sloping forefoot, keel hung rudder and well protected propeller between rudder and keel that she very rarely fouls any thing, the windvane rudder hanging off the end of the transom being the only vulnerable projection, and normally when we are sailing at any speed lines tend to sweep past and under, pushed down by the keel before they have a chance to rise up again and get caught up on the relatively shallow windvane rudder.

With the fishing buoy cleared I found the wind was starting to freshen a little, from the southwest, a headwind, but a workable breeze, so I reset sail and since then we have been on a northwesterly course making good about 4 to 5 knots. The wind is forecast to veer into the northwest tomorrow so the idea is to work Sylph into a good position so that the nor'-westerly doesn't become a headwind as well.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

So where's the fish? Back to hard tack already, what a tight ship this is. Thank goodness I love my job so much. Zzzzzzzz.