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After what I considered a brutally warm Summer, the opportunity to float my little boat finally presented itself again.
The weather forecast was calling for daytime highs in the low 90s, a touch warm, but if a tenant called with a cooler issue, they wouldn’t die.

The kicker was the high winds expected on Thursday. 15-25 MPH, with gusts up to 35.

So, on Wednesday, I hitched up the trailer and headed North. I got a bit of a late start, leaving Tucson around noon, and arriving at Roosevelt Lake around 1600. I forgot to pack my coffee and camera.
The iPad’s camera will have to suffice. I purchased some Eight O’clock grounds in Globe, along with a few provisions.
Set-up took the usual 2 hours in the 94 degree heat, and I was on the water just about dusk, with a tailwind to push me Northward. The lake level was extremely low, about 48% of full elevation, making the entrance to Salome Creek a bit tight in the dark.

The wind got fluky in the narrow channel, so I had to fire up the outboard. Earlier in September, I noticed a couple of bad O rings in the fuel hose, and changed them out, hoping this was the actual cause of the problem I’ve been dealing with for quite awhile. At low RPMs, the motor ran just fine that night, taking me to my anchorage. Maybe that fuel starvation problem is history?
A quiet evening was spent dancing in light breezes, then slowly built to 15-ish after I hit the sack. Looking forward to the winds tomorrow!

Day 2-

The solar panel was keeping the battery well topped off, but I’m pretty stingy with my electrical usage.

30 watts

After a little sleeping-in and breakfast, I set a reef in the mainsail and was out on the lake proper by 0930.

The NOAA robot said the same thing it had said the day before, 15-25 with gusts to 35 MPH. Pretty darned exciting in a MacGregor 25!

I got a few hours of spirited sailing in before the SHTF, when I hove to in order to clean up the cabin.

Stuff was everywhere!

By 1245, I was doing lunch at anchor back in Salome Creek, after setting up a boom tent as protection from that giant gas ball in the sky.
I had been able to negotiate the entrance under foresail alone. Nice.

1430 hours, here comes the wind. 20-25 knots, with gusts around 30+. I’d used some very ancient bungees for the boom tent, and they were sorely tested.

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It was kicking up some dust out there.

Long about sundown, I put away the noisy boom tent, and had an early supper.

Day 3-

Up at daybreak, turn off the anchor light, and go right back to sleep. It’s calmed down to about 10-15 knots of wind. Ahhh.

0930, coffee and a little breakfast. Pam had packed up a couple of ramen noodle packages, both way beyond their expiration dates.

4 year OOD ramen

Opening the package, I didn’t care for the smell of it, so I par-boiled the noodles, tossing out the first boil.

They still tasted like crap, and reminded me of that throughout the day, whenever I’d burp. Ugh.

If I could advise anyone, it’d be to steer clear of 4 year-old ramen. The 3 year-old stuff was still good.

Out on the lake that morning, the winds were ranging from 2-15 knots, and after making my way to the Western side of the lake, I rigged my spinnaker for what I’d hoped would be an epic run back downwind.

Well, good luck with that!

Suddenly the wind turned insane, blasting upwards of 20+ knots, and the lightweight spinnaker was thrashing about, straining the rigging and my patience. After a few rounds of losing and re-establishing control of the damned thing, it wrapped around the furled foresail. Great.

Head on up to the foredeck, untangle the mess, and stow the infernal thing down the hatch.

Where are the mannerly winds?

Unfurling the 150% genoa, I made my way back Eastward, past the marina as the sun was setting behind the hills. Not wanting a repeat of Wednesday night’s dark passage, I made a dead downwind beeline for the creek mouth, motorsailing to my familiar anchorage.
My pool-playin’ buddy called at 1900, just as I was putting out the anchor, and I had to tell him “Sorry, I’m 140 miles away.”

Day 4-

55 degrees F., 29.94 in/Hg, severe clear.

I’m running out of ice in the cooler.

Making my way upwind towards the marina, there are a few sailboats heading downwind. I intercepted them, finding the flotilla consisting of ‘Ol Dennis on his Cape Dory 28, Bruce and David aboard a Catalina Capri 26, and Rick and Ayla aboard an O’Day 25, with their adult children and grandchild.
Dennis let me know of a planned raft-up with dinner and cocktails back up in Salome Creek. “What time?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders, noting the very light wind.
Thanking him for the invitation, I scurried towards the marina, where I paid an exorbitant sum for 20 lbs. of ice and a 6 pack of Budweiser.

Hoping for a clean downwind run to the raft-up, I rigged the spinnaker at the dock, and set off.
By the time I was halfway across the lake, the wind had turned to a beam reach, so I snugged the luff down hard on the spin, and it performed pretty darned well, considering it’s an asymmetrical-type sail.
Getting ready to line up my entrance to the creek, a good-looking Cape Dory 30 appeared from behind, with a woman snapping pictures of my little boat.

I called out “ahoy”, learning their names to be Daren and “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named” (okay…), and begged her to get me a copy or three of those photos. Looking forward to some shots of my boat under spinnaker!

I mentioned the raft-up, and they said they’d be along directly. I doused the sails and motored on into the creek.

One of the problems with anchoring out so much is you don’t get to practice your docking nearly enough.

Took me 3 friggin’ attempts to come to a zero-impact landing on the upwind side! Well, better to go around a few times than to bash someone else’s boat.

The folks watching this folly were quite polite.

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Man, was I experiencing some boat-envy!

The Capri 26’s cabin space is astounding (to say nothing of the two beautiful Cape Dories and the O’Day), and her skipper Bruce was a consummate dinner host. Steak, potato salad, veggies and after-dinner Grand Marnier liqueur. About all I could offer to the feast was a bit of French bread for the crudites and cheeses, and a bar of decent chocolate for dessert.
Thank you to all who contributed to such a fine dinner and conversation!

Another part of my first raft-up that I really enjoyed, was the fact that nobody thought it necessary to fire up a stereo.

As darkness fell, the raft-up had thinned down to four boats, all hanging on one Bulwagga anchor with very little scope. I wasn’t too worried, as the forecast that night was for light wind.

Day 5-

Nobody wanted to stay for breakfast, so I deployed my anchor and waved goodbye to the last of the group.

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Except for my issue with docking, I really enjoyed my first raft-up. Beer!

Made a breakfast burrito, cleaned up and got back out there, meeting wind just barely strong enough to fill my genoa. Slowly crossing to just past the marina, while cursing their retail monopoly over the lake, the wind died.

I drifted slowly back East, took in a little swimming and hull cleaning, then the breezes slowly returned. It looked like I could sail almost straight downwind to my final night’s anchorage, but the high walls of the creek had the winds going berserk.
Oh, well, drop ’em, and motor on in.

That evening, I tried to set my anchor so I could pay out the rode, and drift to the lee shore for some exploring. Well, that didn’t work, as I’d chosen a fairly rocky area to drift into. The keel, snugged all the way up, stopped my boat about 15 feet from shore. Not wanting to wade over basketball-sized rocks, I gave up that notion, hauling back in on the rode to deeper water.

I should probably invest in an inflatable dinghy of some sort.

The next morning, after riding the wind for as long as possible, I hauled the boat and slowly tore her down for trailering back to Tucson. I guess a tenant had contacted Pam with a small electrical issue, non-life-threatening, so I have some work to do.

Whoopee.

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4 Comments

  1. LOL- I’ll have to remember that about the Ramen !! LOL :))

  2. Tom, you should be a writer

  3. Writer

    • Thanks, Harry!

      Leana, we all miss you!


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