No wind. Or is there?

We continued our slog down Long Island Sound towards New York in dead calm, motoring again. We wanted to get to Manhasset Bay where our friend Alan on Snow White was anchored. We saw more weather moving in and hoped we could get the anchor down before the rain.

Three hours before our turn into the bay Jack said, “We have no wind.”

I know that, I thought, that’s why we’re motoring.

“Really,” he said. “The instrument says 0.0. It should show our apparent wind while we’re moving.”

Sure enough, the instrument and the repeater both registered 0.0. We stepped out on deck and looked up. The little cups that spin with the wind were just sitting there. Huh? We weren’t hit with a gust or anything. How could it just stop working? A couple of hours later the wind actually kicked up and still the thing wouldn’t budge. Jack was grumbling non-stop about things breaking.

We turned into the bay in what felt like 15 knots and as we went further in we came under the protection of the shore. I stood on deck with the binoculars trying to get the lay of the land and spot Snow White.

“I think it see it,” I yelled, “but it looks like nothing but moorings.” I strained to see where boats were anchored.

Just then an old flat bottom skiff motored towards us. The driver slowed down as he approached and called out.

“Pick up any yellow mooring. It’s free for two nights. If you need launch service call on channel 9!”

We like free, and we easily found an empty mooring right next to Snow White, who was anchored just on the edge of the mooring field. In five minutes we were secure, just as the rain started.


Alan finally noticed us and dinghied over in the rain. We had a nice reunion dinner and we regaled each other with our adventures since we last saw each other in Norfolk, VA. We told him about our wind instrument and he matter-of-factly suggested it was just in need of a cleaning, which involves a trip up the mast, something I’m not willing to do, nor do I trust myself hoisting Jack up, even with an electric winch.

“I’ll do it,” Alan said. Are you kidding?! I love cruising people, and they must think we’re so lame because we don’t know what we’re doing and we’re old. But yes, Alan, we’d love for you to go up our mast!

The next morning he arrived with a set of ascenders and proceeded to march his way up our 60-foot mast as if he hadn’t a care in the world. I hid down below, cell phone ready to dial 911 in case I heard a loud thud.





There was no thud. Alan brought the offending piece of gear down and he and Jack probed it and squirted it and blessed it and Alan scampered back up and reinstalled it. Success! We have wind! Or at least we know the speed of it.

That was above and beyond for Alan to do. After Jack saw how easy the ascenders are he’s considering getting a set for himself because this is not the last time someone’s going to have to chase down a problem at the top of the mast and we can’t always count on Alan to be anchored nearby.

I’ll still be below with my hand on the cell phone.


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3 Responses to No wind. Or is there?

  1. Jenny

    were you at least looking for “Loo-tenant Da-an” ? that would have been first thing in our head….
    wow…and cool ! let me have a turn !

  2. clarkhaley

    My wife (Michelle) hoists me up our mast when it must be done. Going up is a breeze because the spinlocks and the self tailing winch ensure that I will stay up. It’s the coming down that always makes me a bit nervous!! When I call for her to start lowering, I always lock my legs around the mast until I’m confident that she hasn’t lost control of the line around the winch. After dozens of ascents, Michelle has never let me fall and I don’t think you would let Jack fall either, but I feel for you – 60 feet is a long way up!!

    See you in a couple of weeks in Annapolis!

    Clark Haley
    Double Wide

  3. Jim

    Ascenders are not as easy to use as they look; I get worn out just thinking of it – Alan probably made it look easy. I like going aloft, but want someone very dependable handling the line, and now I always use a back-up line as well.
    Another option is mast steps – steps sewn into a web with sail slugs on it – hoist the mast steps up the mast, then climb the steps – with a bosun’s chair as a backup, and to sit in and move around the mast while working aloft

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