Charging the Batteries
1/4 Friday, 82/55, partly cloudy, SW10-20, 1129.6 - When we’re not connected to shore power or motoring everyday, we use our #2 battery as a house battery and preserve #1 for starting the engine. Today it was time to recharge. While we were preparing to get underway, Dobbs spotted a manatee across the fairway. It seemed fascinated with the dangling painter of a tender in davits. Around 10am we motored out of the marina and onto the Indian River.
Steaming south, first we charged battery #1 for 15 minutes. Then we switched to #2 and charged for an hour, at which point we were about 7 statute miles south and just north of the NASA Causeway Bascule Bridge. Dobbs brought Grace up into the wind, I raised the mainsail, and we bore off downwind back toward the marina. The motor was silenced, the headsail brought out, and Grace cooked along at 6 knots under first reef main and full 135% genoa.
We had sailed past the marina, about halfway to the railroad bridge, when we decided to try beating back. The breeze had built to 20 knots and we knew it would be a challenge to short-tack in the narrow channel with the canvas we were carrying, but we tried anyway. Grace was overpowered and making leeway toward shallow water, so we started the engine, took in sail, and motored in. With a 2nd reef main and our 100% jib, I’m just sure we could have done it (but sliding down on a shoal doesn’t seem like an appropriate time for a sail change…). Working together - Dobbs at the helm and me handling lines - we expertly backed Grace into the slip, despite a breeze over the port quarter trying to blow the bow off. Dobbs had me pick up the line on the leeward bow piling as we backed in and then snub it from the stern, to pop the bow up as needed to keep Grace backing straight. We received applause from dock neighbors and a compliment from the dock hand. We try to be a good example.
After lunch, I tried doing some office work but the internet connection today is poor. Instead I walked up to the Sav-A-Lot and bought a few more groceries. The alligator was there on the bank of the pond. There was supposed to be a potluck dinner at the marina tonight, but rain squalls have moved in ahead of a front. It seems everyone is eating on their boats, us included. I made a Caesar salad with cannellini beans. Now it’s 8pm and even though I have no good excuse to be tired, I am. Dish washing will take a half hour, and getting ready for bed another 15 minutes - 8:45pm - that makes it sound better, right?