A very short sailing day

   So, it was a Saturday, and the weather was gorgeous! wind wasn't TOO high, but good enough to get some solo experience under my belt. so I packed my backpack, and headed out to the Marina.

   Then I headed down to the boat, and started preparations... staying the dinghy, taking off the sail cover and so on. to be quite honest, I was a bit on the terrified side... I had never tried to single-hand the boat out of the slip before, and I was a bit inexperienced in backing it up. I knew that it had a pretty good prop-walk to port, but that was about all I knew. I took a deep breath and cast of the bow line, and then the stern and tried backing out.... several times. this was a lot easier with someone to help fend off the dock. then I saw Ian (the Marina Manager) coming down the dock, and he came down to help me out of the slip.  He told me if I come back and they are open, just to give them a  call on the radio, and they would be happy to help me back into the slip.  He also told me that he had a slip opening up nearer the waterway end of the dock that would be easier to get in and out of, and he would let me know when it opens.  See what I mean about the Foss Harbor Marina staff being friendly and non-judgmental?  that is just good ole customer service.

   So out I went into Commencement bay.  After my debaucle trying to back up, I thought it might be wise to spend some time practicing backing up to get the feel of it.  So I went to a place where no one was, thankfully there was not a lot of traffic at this time. 

   I tried backing straight, then turning to both starboard and port to see what the Latency was, (whoops... geek term!)  and to get the feel of how it turned.  I was beginning to get the hang of it.  I kept backing up, hard to starboard then hard to port, Hard to.... CRACK!  What the.... ?  I held in front of me, vertically mind you, about 2/3 of the tiller in my hand.... oh GREAT!  I look down and the remaining third of the tiller was still attached to the rudder, thankfully.  the only problem was that it was only about a foot and a half  off of the deck, so I had to steer with my lower legs.  This wasn't too hard.  Oh well, turn around and head back to the Marina. 

   On the way in, I saw Allan, a live-aboard who is berthed near me and waved the remains of my tiller and said... "This is one way to cut your Sailing day short!"  He fortunately had pity on me and met me at my slip and helped me get in. 

   So, I guess I am going to have to get a new tiller.... In taking a closer look at where it broke, It appears that it was around the hole they drilled for the Auto Pilot pin... I am guessing that they didn't treat the hole well enough, That, along with the fact that the Tiller had been unprotected for years, and only had varnish on one side, encouraged the tiller to rot from the inside out, to the point it just finally gave out.  It also delaminated on the Aft End... So I am guessing they did not treat the holes drilled for the bolts that attach it to the rudder either...

This is where it broke
You can see the De-lamination on the aft end. 
What was left of my tiller

The pin came right out... 

This is the Pin for the Auto Pilot... I think the
source of the problem

The way it is supposed to look...
you can clearly see how bad the de-lamination is....

The Pieces fell out when I remove the bolts...

Yep... need a new Tiller!

I will not make the same mistakes with the new tiller... stay tuned and see how I handle that...


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