The Twine Cruise

It seems like every cruise on the boat develops a theme of it’s own. There was the trip that it rained the whole time, the flat calm trip, the children falling down the hatch trip…you get the idea. The most recent cruise was a four-day delivery. I was very fortunate to have as crew a couple who have recently bought a boat of their own, and who were interested in seeing how to sail a traditional gaff rig. They were very good company (they passed the ultimate test, which was that the ship’s wolf took to them immediately) and they took some spectacular photographs, and yet the theme of the trip seemed to be unusual repairs that can be made with waxed twine.
             The first night out, as we were washing up, I noticed the sink pump was making a strange air sucking sound. It turned out that the ball valve in the fresh water line had failed. Some 45 of the 50 gallons of fresh water that I had taken on board a week earlier had already leaked out into the bilge. As we examined the failed valve the next morning, we noticed that the spring that held the valve under compression had given out. I struggled to think of what I might have on board that could substitute for the worn out spring, I came up blank. Then one of the crew (not the wolf) asked if we might have some sort of waxed thread or string that could be seized to the valve in place of the spring. Since maintaining a traditional gaff rig is virtually impossible without several types of waxed twine, we had several thicknesses of line to choose from. After several minutes of improvising, the valve no longer leaked, and we could refill the main water tank.

fixing the water valve with twine

             Later that same day, while motoring though a calm we started having difficulty with the diesel throttle. The vibration from the engine would cause the throttle to gradually, but continually, ease off. I had run into this before, and the long-term solution involves breaking down the throttle and shifter assembly and reassembling them: not something to attempt while crossing the shipping lanes in Casco Bay. Once again, twine to the rescue. A few wraps of waxed twine between throttle and shifter and the problem was solved for the rest of the cruise.
             The truth is we had a terrific first cruise of the season and the number of problems we had with systems was minimal. As I rowed away from the boat for the last time after the cruise, I noticed that one of the slide boards was crooked. Oh well, it can be re-seized with twine.

a great cruise



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