Whew, where did January go? Last I remember, we were headed back to work after Christmas break, how are we here already? It’s been busy at work for both of us, we’ve had our noses to the grindstone, so to speak.
A major wind storm blew through our marina in early January; the winds were gusting 40 to 50 knots! At one point, one of the fingers of the wooden dock broke free, causing a number of boats to drift and collide. Thankfully Eudora was not affected, and nobody was hurt. The damage sustained by the boats was mostly surface damage. The poor owners will have to make extensive fiberglass repairs.
During the windstorm, one of our lines actually snapped, and another started to fray. We decided that it was time to replace the lines, and got nice new 35′ lines that are 5/8″ thick. We also purchased two new fenders. We want to keep Eudora safe and prevent as much damage as possible, no matter what the wind is doing.
Speaking of lines, we had another training day on the water. This time, we didn’t venture far, only in and out of the marina. The goal was for Matt to master docking, and for me to master working the lines, and master we did!
Matt made five or six successful docking attempts. Again, I’m glowing with pride here. I would be extremely flustered at each maneuver, but Matt calmly takes it in stride, and he is really getting the hang of which way to turn the wheel and when to use the thrusters. We’ve had at least four (maybe five?) other boaters tell us that our slip is one of the trickiest that they’ve seen, so it speaks volumes that Matt is able to get us safely in and out of the spot. We had a beautiful calm day, low winds and almost no current and it may be a different story on a blustery day, but it’s still a great achievement.
The training day helped me get more comfortable with my role as well. As first mate, I’m responsible for undoing the lines and getting them aboard as we depart, managing the fenders up and down, and then securing the lines as we approach the dock. I was completely clueless a few weeks ago, and now I’m able to confidently handle the lines and do my part.
I have to give thanks here to our trainers. I came into this with no boating experience, and they’ve all been extremely patient, have clearly explained how to do things, and have repeated themselves when I’ve asked for extra guidance. Thank you for the knowledge you’ve shared, and the patience you’ve shown. I know I have so much more to learn, but I’ve built up my confidence and I’m less afraid to get involved.
The other role that I play is to help Matt navigate by calling out the distance between Eudora and any boats, docks or obstacles that may be in Matt’s blind spot (on a 40 foot boat, it’s a sizeable blind spot). It sounds something like this “six feet off the stern…now five feet…holding at five feet…now four feet” etc. I try my best to remain calm if we creep a bit close…no need to panic the captain!
We have another training day planned for later this week. This one will be a bit more rigorous, and we were given route planning homework to complete prior to departure. Matt and I checked the tide tables and currents, weather and wind forecasts, and plotted out our entire course for the day. We’re looking forward to learning all we can on this trip, hopefully after this one we can apply to our insurance to be deemed “Competent Boaters”. We’re feeling ready, fingers crossed!