Pottering Blunders--Revisited Solo with Dog--Lake Pueblo,

Thos. Westerman (thomasw@vanion.com)
Mon, 30 Aug 1999 10:35:50 -0600

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Tim Spofford wrote:
>Of course, you still have to remember to latch the hitch. Yesterday I was
>hooking up in front of my house, one of my neighbors came along and admired
>my boat and we chatted a bit, and wouldn't you know it I forgot to finish
>what I was doing. Fortunately when it came off, I was only going 10 mph.

Here's the disclosure for my weekend:
*Smashed GPS (by the mast falling down--ThunderStorm)
*Keel Down Trailerloading

Here's the account: (skim it if need be, there are some questions and pleas
for advice)

The wife was working all day saturday so I decided to take the boat out and
do an overnighter. I had really wanted to do this for a long time. Only
overnnighter time was first time out on the boat and with a major motor
problem, didnt get very far and it was a bad experience. So, I took the
dog and off we went to Pueblo. Didnt make it to the lake before dark, so
ended up staying at Albertsons parking lot about 10 miles from the dock.
Not a bad situation--I asked Mgt. and they were fine with it as long as I
was parked at the edge of the lot. There was a hollywood video 1/2 block
away so I rented two movies and watched them on the little 9" tv/vcr I had
in the boat (I was set for a relaxing hide away weekend on the water). It
rained but we were safe and dry in the boat on the trailer. We did real well.
Sasha (the dog) and I were on our own (which means no crew for rigging,
unloading, etc) But up early saturday morning we managed great and I even
got the mast up on my own without incident (no raising kit--just me) I was
pleased and surprised. No problems.

We puttered to a small cove on Lake Pueblo (5K acres of backed up ArKANSAS
river) where 4 other sailboats were anchored including a 40 footer a 36, a
26 and an old style '69 28 footer. It looked really cool and I anchored
out my new 3' chain on my small danforth off the bow. I bought an orange
plastic crank roller (for an elec. extension cord) and used this to manage
the anchor rode rope--it works great and I highly recommend it. I set up
my first boomTarp awning with bungee cords. It worked great attached
forward to the side shrowds and aft to the stern cleats --over the boom,
but need to rig a spar batten side to side at the rear for higher position
of the back corners. We camped out and enjoyed it.

STORM #1 and the tragedy with the Garmin GPS III

Within time a nasty storm blew in with lightning. I decided to lower my
mast to reduce my hitability. Dont know if it was a good or bad idea. I
was close to shore and cliffs (high as my masthead) and the 4 other boats
had higher masts than me so maybe I was safer anyway without lowering the
mast. It was raining and I had too much confidence in lowering it since i
raised it on my own. It got away from me and BAM !! Down it went in the
rain slipping right through my wet fingers holding the forestay. It
bounced on the GPS which was on top of center of the companion way hatch.
I saw the hatch "flex" under the stress. I was horrified. And it was
raining hard in a squal storm. It also missed the crutch. I went back and
leveraged it into the crutch. The Companionway hatch looked ok, just some
cracks in the Gelcoat on the back rim and They may have been there already.
BUT, the Garmin GPS III had a nasty Groove in the top of it that matched
the rear of the mast. The front plastic clear screen was intact, but the
internal LCD under it was now all fractured and turning black and all
manner of shades. The case was warped and the gasket all distorted. I was
heart broken as I rushed to get inside out of the rain and seal up the
companion way. There was lightning all around and thunder and hard rain
beating on the deck. I was soaked, my hand was now blistered from the
forestay wire--and my pride and pocketbook were injured.

The storm blew over and we were safe. dont know if we would have been hit
or not if the mast remained up. I did not have jumper cables or extra
chain to hang over the side into the water. A second storm blew in 2
hours later and the mast was still down so we weathered it too without
incident other than the anchor dragging on the bottom placing us 10 feet
closer to shore but still out of danger of hitting bottom. We were fine
(but need more chain length).

Later in the evening, one of the neighbor sailboats came over in their
zodiac tender and said they had seen Sasha and asked if she needed to be
"shore relieved". I was pulling up anchor to go beach for that very reason
so I re anchored and off we went. I enjoyed the neighborly hospitality. I
may bring my Canoe with elecric motor next time I do a boat camp out as a
tender just for fun.

The Best Part--Sunset

Since I missed sleeping on the water the night before I decided to stay
despite a 10:30am Sunday meeting I had to be to 60 miles away--I decided to
stay and get up early to make it back. The sunset was absolutely
fabulous, the air was warm and clear and clean--It was spectacular and
marvelous. I put on my dock shoes and went forward and sat on the bow to
watch the sunset. I had a very relaxing Hawaiian music CD playing down
below. It was most memorable experience as my mind was caught away to a
special fantasy of being anchored in a beautiful lagoon on a beautiful
tropical evening in the south pacific with lovely beaches and a sunset to
match all--enjoying it from the bow of my live aboard sailing vessel. It
was worth all the other headaches. Sleeping aboard was a dream, calm and
soothing. I set the anchorage and running lights (which worked great) and
went to bed.


There were gnats stuck all over to my hull in the dew. It was gross--My
boat had become fly paper. All was quickly and effieintly bucket hosed off
in 4 buckets and we pulled up anchor and headed for the dock/ramp. I
docked up and went to get the truck/trailer. It went into the water fine
right next to the dock to I could steer it onto the trailer solo. It
went great doing it solo until I tried to put the boat on the trailer.
Thunk. I hit something that was keeping me from going on despite being
well aligned. Tried again--Thunk. What the heck?
Can someone tell me how to remember to raise the keel up before trying to
load the boat on the trailer? I seem to have a problem with that.

All in all a good weekend. As for the GPS, per their website, it seems for
$89 I can get it refurbished through the factory to like new
specifications. My Home Owners has a $500 deductible and I can replace it
used for about $200. So if it costs me $89 plus postage, maybe that is
not too bad of a deal. Do need to figure out some safe way to lower the
mast by myself if need be--Any Advice?

Best Regards,

Thomas Westerman
P19 #578
Colorado Springs.