It’s a Wrap!

Our planned haul out date was in mid-October. We wanted to squeeze as much out of our delayed boating season as possible. But 2020 has been quite the year, and true to form, things did not go as expected. 

We deliberately stayed away from the water over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Weekends are always more crowded, but this summer seemed to be even crazier on the weekends than in previous years. Not only were there more boats, the captains did not seem to be very experienced or were outright careless. As retirees, we can avoid the weekends (although this is really painful when the weather is beautiful.)

After Labor Day weekend we lazily headed over to Napatree again. 

The Ocean House overlooking Watch Hill as we enter the anchorage.
Another Napatree sunset after a quiet and peaceful day onboard.

Dean and MJ were also here at Napatree. Dean dragged Al out in the dinghy for a little fishing as the sun retired for the day. Evidently fish can get more active around this time. Or is it when the current changes??

Dean and Al fishing as the sunset’s colors deepen.

The next day was lovely. Just a simple relaxing day at anchor. Al worked on the boat while I worked on a weaving project.

We spotted Renaissance Woman, a Kadey Krogen Whaleback. Marianne and I had connected by email and phone through the Krogen grapevine (Kadey Ladies). She had once fractured her back and offered support and wisdom to help me through my recovery. We were both thrilled to physically be in the same place at the same time. Former Connecticut residents, they now live on Renaissance Woman and are traveling south.  

Renaissance Woman, a Kadey Krogen Whaleback
Marianne and Ric “visit” with us by dinghy.
When you see the birds acting like this, it means the fish are out there. And if the fish are out there…..
Dean grabbed Al and out they went again.

Interestingly (to me), Al has decided he wants to fish now. He likes Dean’s approach – catch and release. Al has since spruced up and refurbished the fishing equipment that languished in storage at home. I think that’s good. There may come a day when there are fewer and fewer boat projects and he will need something else to do! We all know that when he runs out of projects, he sells the current boat. And that ain’t gonna happen this time!!!!

And another Napatree sunset. Al gives the sunset a little salute with our Bahamas conch horn.
The night lights of Watch Hill, the Ocean House still visible. I don’t have a fancy camera so this is the best I could capture.

The weather changed overnight and I awoke to a thick and damp fog blanket. While enjoying my morning coffee and surveying the anchorage, I saw some movement.

A catboat was quietly sailing by.
And there he goes, after crossing in front of our bow.
The day continued to be overcast and downright rainy. Everyone else left the anchorage except for us. I guess we were really trying to get the most out of our short season. 😉 The next day wasn’t as nice as predicted so we headed back to the club then.

After spending the weekend at home, back we went to SYC. The weather had turned chilly and windy so we reverted back to “dock potatoes” status. Hey, at least we were on the boat!

MY FIRST (and only) BEACH WALK OF THE ENTIRE 2020 SUMMER SEASON!!!!!! How did I get there when I could not get in and out of the dinghy? We drove from SYC to Watch Hill. 😁 It was a nice day – picnic lunch out at the USCG station, a walk on East Beach, ice cream at St. Claire’s Annex.

And that brings us to late September, still plenty of time for fall boating, right? We left SYC and scooted over to West Harbor on Fishers Island for a few days. On our way out, we stopped by our mooring in the outer Town of Groton field to pull it out for the winter. Al usually does it from the dinghy but he decided we could do it from the Kadey Krogen. It seemed to me that this could be tricky. How do you pull out a mooring that you are simultaneously secured to?? But hey, I went along with it. Al usually knows what he is doing. Or figures it out along the way.

After I maneuvered the boat to the mooring, Al secured the mooring ball with another line to the transom.
Al contemplates how to use the dinghy hoist system on the flybridge as the power to haul up the mooring and chain.
And there it sat on the transom. The mooring chain is connected to the winter stick and the float, ready to be released. I went back to the helm and gave Al the ok to let it go.
We never even used the mooring this year, but it was nice to see it used by friends when needed.

After that chore, we traveled the four miles to West Harbor and chose to pick up a mooring instead of anchor. While on the bow securing the mooring line, Al noticed thinly spreading oil on the surface on the water near our bow. Uh oh…… 😳😬 the oil is coming from us. This is not good. Not good for the environment and not good for us because that should not be happening. Al surmised that it must be the bowthruster that is leaking oil. He immediately contacted Shennecossett to request an emergency haul-out the next morning. 

We spent the night in West Harbor, obviously disappointed that our short season was going to be even shorter.

Al takes the helm as we head into the haul out well. Gee, Al never brings the boat into the club, that’s my job. Will he be able to do it???? Of course!
Al, waiting for the crew to bring the travel lift to the well. Not the end of the season that we had imagined. An emergency haul out with only three weeks left meant we wouldn’t put her back into the water. We also had no idea how long a repair might take.

The obligatory haul-out photos to document the event…………

Up she goes.
On her way for a bottom washing.
Now this was interesting! As soon as Kindred Spirit was up and blocked, Al inspected the bowthruster to see where the oil leak originated. It was not the bowthruster (the large lower opening.) The oil was dripping from the small thru-hull higher up the hull (in the darker blue boot stripe.) That is the drain for the anchor locker. After some thought about why oil would be coming from a chain locker, Al realized that the motor and gears for the windlass is mounted below deck in the chain locker. It has about a quart of oil in its gears. Upon inspection, Al discovered the seal is leaking on the windlass and had dumped all of its oil onto the chain which then leaked out. This is actually better for us because it is most likely something that Al can fix himself. Ahhh, another winter project is added to the list.

Sometimes you need a little levity during times of disappointment. Dean snapped this photo at just the right moment —-

Al is draining the stale water from the boatyard hose before using it to flush the engine before the final winterization. But it sure looks like something else, doesn’t it???? 🤪

Once Kindred Spirit was on the hard on her poppits in her winter location, it was time to climb up and begin the process of removing our belongings and things that don’t fare well when stored aboard in the cold long months. I will be completely honest here. As I stood at the bottom of the ladder and looked down at the gravel and up at the transom, tears leaked from my eyes and I froze. This wasn’t because the season was ending abruptly. I was having a moment of PTSD remembering the last time I was on Kindred Spirit, on the hard, only four months ago. I was fine out on the water but this brought back a flood of memories. A deep breath and Al’s steadying hand on my shoulder helped me overcome it.

This looks familiar! Sweet Liberty, the former Kindred Spirit #3 is right behind us again. She is close enough to almost touch.
By the following week, the boat was shrink wrapped. See how close these boats are?? Sweet Liberty on the left and Kindred Spirit on the right.
After a day of winterizing, we enjoyed a lovely meal at Ford’s with our dear friends, Mary Jo and Dean.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. That’s just the way it is. Especially 2020. Our short season on Kindred Spirit was only 10 weeks. We were never more than 12 miles from our homeport and only put 20 hours on the engine. Of those 70 days, we spent 33 days aboard Kindred Spirit. Not too bad. I think those times actually helped me to recover from the spinal surgery by bringing a sense of normalcy to my life. We are looking forward to the 2021 season!

3 Responses

  1. Karen LeBrasseur

    Such fun to read. Michele. So informative and photos are glorious – I love the one with Al and his friend fishing as the sun set. You really must write a book over the winter. Thanks – you are inspiring.


  2. Kim Dalton

    What a year it has been for you, Michele. Glad to hear you got a chance to spend some of the summer aboard the Kindred Spirit, your happy place. Love catching up and reading your blog. 🙂

  3. Lynn Turner Fox

    So fun to read. Thanks for sharing Michele. Abs here’s to a longer boating season in 2021!

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