Inspecting a Columbia 8.7

1/25 Friday, 61/46, sunny, N10-15 - With the arrival of the cold front, we seem to be entering the time of strong northerly wind that lasts until mid-February. It’s rough in the marina as waves roll in through the entrance, bounce off the seawall, and pile up in the fairway. This side (the north side) of C-dock is the worst spot in N through NE wind, but other docks are only marginally better. We have Grace well-secured. The ride is tiring (some dock neighbors are fighting sea-sickness) but not stressful. For our Bowley’s clients (and anyone else dealing with tying up for rough conditions), the arrangement we’re using may help improve your situation, too, though it’s somewhat counter-intuitive. As the primary dock lines (two bow, two stern, and fore and aft spring lines), we use the LIGHTEST diameter of nylon 3-strand recommended for our type of vessel. In Grace’s case, this is 7/16”. Then, as back-up, we double up the “important” lines (what’s “important” will vary by situation, but in our case, it’s both bow lines, the mid-forward spring line, and the port stern line) with the next size up (for Grace, 1/2”), setting those a bit looser, so they only go taut if the 7/16” were to stretch beyond its limit and fail. What this accomplishes is that the lighter line works as an excellent shock-absorber because of its stretch, and the heavier line is there as security. We have chafe protection on most of the lines at notorious wear points. We are super-impressed at the effectiveness and chafe resistance of sewn-on leather chafe guards. We were skeptics!

This afternoon we did a Basic Rigging Inspection on a 1976 Columbia 8.7 (the one we were out sailing with two weeks ago). Dobbs and I were pleased to find that the owner chose his vessel wisely - the boat is in good condition - well-maintained, with some nice hardware properly installed. The owner is smart, skilled in machining, and open to learning new things - all qualities that serve him well as a live-aboard sailor. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work - I love what I do.

The potluck tonight was cancelled due to cold and wind, so Dobbs and I shared the big salad I’d made, topped with some sautéed chicken breast, aboard Grace. The breeze laid down for a short time over dinner - a welcome break, but it’s back now and we’re jostling around again. I’m concerned for our situation with the big wind forecast from Saturday night through Monday - if it’s this rough now, in 15 knots, what will 20-25 be like?