Monday, September 20, 2010

No Turning Back

Southern Lake Champlain
43 45.80 N 073 21.48 W

We're not only heading south, but the mast is down too.  No turning back now.   

Actually, we'd love to turn back and to stay 3 more weeks.   In early October, Lake Champlain is even more beautiful.  The weather is usually great, and the foliage is in full bloom.   The only thing that prevents us from staying longer is cold.   We know from experience that if we don't leave quickly, that the cold will be nipping at our heels all the way down to Florida.  Sailing in the cold-damp weather is not fun at all.   We prefer to make it to northern Florida by November 1.

Right now, we're traveling at flank speed.   We hope to make it to Lock 12 at Whitehall before 5 PM when they close.   It's a splendid September day.   Clear sky, slightly cool, a 15 knot breeze from the North.  The trees in the forest have about 5% fall color.  This is the kind of day that makes us and many others so very fond of September.   Sadly, 9/11/2001 was a day like this one.

You would think that as we get more practiced at raising and lowering the mast, that we would get progressively better at it.  That's the theory.  Today, we messed it up completely.  I think it is the worst job we ever did.  It all happened because I had a better idea for how to handle the loose lines and cables for lazy jacks, halyards, side stays, and so on.  In the past, we lashed all of it to the base of the mast; and that made the base too heavy in my opinion. 

To make a long story short, my idea backfired.  We wound up with a massive snarl with everything tangled with everything else.   It took us hours to untangle the mess and that's why we're late heading for the lock.  

Engineers fight their entire lives to find the answer to "There's always a better way."  versus "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."   Basically, the liberal versus conservative views on technical problems.  Neither answer is correct 100% of the time, but we try to do better than random guessing.  Our screw up today only goes to show that this engineer, still hasn't settled that question.  Oh well, it makes for fun things to write blogs about.



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