Solomons to Annapolis

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Zahniser’s accommodated our early arrival by juggling their work schedules and Glen finished up our AC replacement Tuesday afternoon.  The new AC unit is quieter and draws much less amperage at start up.  With the last of our refit completed we loaded up with diesel and picked up one of Zahniser’s moorings for the evening.

The morning marine forecast had small craft warnings.  Itchy to be in Annapolis we decided to head out and see what conditions were like in the Bay.  We rationalized we could come back if it was bad.

Outside the harbor things were fine as we passed Drum Point and started northeast toward Cove Point.  Conditions changed significantly as we rounded Cove Point loosing the lee shore protection and headed north straight up the bay.  It started getting bumpy.   At this point we’d been traveling for over an hour and figured we’d tack up the bay if needed and take some discomfort rather than spend an hour going back.

Over the next hour the wind strengthened (unpredicted) and the bay got rougher.  Every few minutes a wave would catch us just right and white water would join the spray hitting the windshield.   Frequently the bow was just dropping off one wave as the next wave caught the bridge deck underside and jerked us upward.   We hadn’t planned it, but we were giving our hull strengthening a truly tough test.

I went below and spent a few minutes at the forward berth with both hands under the mattress feeling and watching what was happening.  Everything felt solid.  The bridge deck strengthening was working as intended.  There wasn’t any evidence of twisting or localized upward deflection I’d seen and felt before

Odyssey was doing fine but we weren’t, it was just uncomfortable. We hated going back and decided we’d head for Herring Bay as our closest harbor of refuge.   Ruth turned us a bit to the NW and I was just starting to work on a heading number when I looked aft and found we had a problem.

We carry the dinghy suspended forward by the towing bridle and aft by a harness around the engine motor housing.   With all of the bouncing the engine tilt lock had released tipping the engine from vertical to its out of water horizontal position. That pulled the engine harness back and freed it a bit dropping the engine and dinghy a couple of feet so part of the dinghy was in the water and flooded.  We had a huge problem that needed an immediate fix.

Ruth slowed us but couldn’t stop because we’d loose steerage and we had no interest in getting broadside to the waves.  We didn’t want to turn because that would have the dragging dinghy catching breaking waves.  Lowering the dinghy and reattaching everything wouldn’t work because of the danger of being in the dinghy in rough water.

I figured I could temporarily hold everything in place by tieing a line around the engine shaft housing, passing it over the dinghy davit, pulling it tight and securing it to a cleat.  Then I quickly released the engine block and tackle, pulled it down and attached it to the horizontal engine shaft housing.  A few hard tugs and the dinghy cleared the water.  Dinghy secured, I got the bearing for Herring Harbor.  An hour   later we limped in licking our wounds and happy to be off the bay.

Early the next morning we were off again in the morning calm.   About half way to Annapolis the wind started to build.  Ruth throttled Odyssey up a bit and we made it comfortably to Annapolis.

Dinghy attachment

There was one positive outcome from our bumpy adventure.  The dinghy now travels with the outboard shaft in a horizontal position instead of a vertical position.  That’s a plus, because the dinghy rides just a bit higher and fits Odyssey’s transom a bit better and there’s no possibility of the harness slipping.

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