July 29 – An eventful sail upriver – the engine dies (again!)…

The forecast was for the hottest day of the year and maybe the hottest on record ever… I had some time for myself and was looking forward to making a few radio contacts afloat somewhere from up-river. I brought the Sportyak to the marina  (for the first time in the season) and was also looking forward to some gunkholing. I launched the tender at the ramp, rowed it to the boat and latched it to the starboard side of the boat with two fenders in between. Cast-off was at 11:35 hoping to reach Aylmer Is. in one hour and Pinhey Point cove in two. There was little wind, hence the trip NW was on the engine. Everything went fine for abt. 3 miles. However, once abeam of Aylmer Island (at 12:43) the engine suddenly died. By that time the wind was 5 kts from the NE, so I set sail, and worked on the outboard, which did not take too long to start again. However, I was feeling tired from wrestling the motor and decided to motor-sail back to the anchorage NW of the Blueberry Reef. I anchored there at 14:00 to take a rest. However the wind suddenly picked up from the SW at abt. 15-20 kts. placing the boat on a lee-shore. The anchor did not drag and the boat swung nicely at it. However, the position was not confortable and at 14:45 I decided to weigh anchor and cross back to the marina. Weighing anchor against the wind in a lee-shore is not something I like to do when single handed (why? well, once the anchor breaks ground the boat is adrift and I’d be at the bow witnessing how the bow folds downwind towards the shore…), so I used an old trick that I learned from famous Welsh captain Tristan Jones: I started the engine, latched the tiller in mid-boat, set the engine in forward gear at low speed (just enough to counteract the waves), and went to the bow and weighed anchor until the scope was 1:1. I secured the rode on deck and went to the cockpit and over-rid the anchor with the motor going forward towards deeper waters. Once there I let the boat be adrift for a minute while I returned to the bow to retrieve the anchor and brought it to rest on the anchor roller.  Twenty-five minutes after I was at the green-red-green junction marker and in 10 more minutes Sassy was moored at her dock. I decided to bring the Sportyak onto the cockpit where it fit at a slight angle. I have a new hypothesis about why the engine died but will not be able to test it until next time I motor Sassy up-river. If it fails, it would be time for a new outboard. It was a short outing but it left me very tired and also disappointed (no radio contacts and no gunkholing…). Here is the APRS track as as recorded and broadcasted by the Kenwood HT-D72A and as displayed in the http://www.aprs.fi website using Google Maps:
Fifth sail - APRS

And the following is the same track as recorded by the GPSMAP 78. The track is shown over the Canadian Hydrographic Service raster chart 1550A01 usiing the MacENC software in a Macbook Pro. This was possible after the track was transferred from the GPS to the computer as the Garmin GPSMAP 78 only uses Garmin propriatory charts (the one installed in it is the Garmin’s Bluechart g2 HXCA015R):

Entire track - GPS

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