End of the Nice Weather (May - June 2002)
We managed to get a few more sails in before the weather turned unbearably hot.

Sunday, May 5: Daysail with Kelley & Keith

We took the boat out for the day with Kelley & Keith. We had intended to leave just after noon to take advantage of the extended high tide that day, but there was absolutely NO wind, so Theresa & Kelley went to the beach while Keith & I played some Magic. Toward the late afternoon, though, the wind started building and the girls returned from the beach, so we decided to go out for an evening sail. By the time we got under the bridge, we really didn't have enough time to go all the way out into the Gulf, so we sailed around in the Pass-A-Grille channel. As evening came on, the wind built to a quite healthy 24+ knots, so we ended up having a really nice evening sail.

Sunday, May 25: Memorial Day Outing

Theresa and I took the boat out for Memorial Day, leaving around noon on Sunday and returning Monday afternoon. We were experimenting with a "low impact" outing -- one bag each, plus a bag of food, a bag of linens, and two bags of ice. That made the loading/unloading easier, but I still think that we took too much.
(I know that *I* used very little out of my personal bag, so I needn't have taken so much.)

We sailed out through the Pass-A-Grille Channel, then back in through Egmont Channel and over to the Manatee River. I discovered during the day that our boat has an odd problem sailing directly downwind: the genoa starts to jibe well before the main, so the only way to get the boat sailing smoothly on a run is to go wing-and-wing. Other boats I've sailed (like my J/24) were quite comfortable on a run with both sails on the same tack, but the Beneteau won't do this happily any farther off the wind than a broad reach. The result is that there are certain downwind tacks that you can't adopt without either dousing one sail or suffering repeated backing and filling of the genoa. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, since I'd just alter course by 10-20 degrees to correct the problem, but when sailing in a tight channel (like the Manatee River), this wasn't possible. It was particularly demoralizing to have a small C&C 26 sail right over top of me as we edged our way up the river in this fashion!

The anchorage was (predictably) quite crowded, so we anchored on the north side of the channel. It was an odd experience because the current and wind were running contrary to each other, and the boat was feathering into the current while being blown downwind. The result was that the boat pointed downwind to lie atop the anchor. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, as I kept thinking that the anchor chain had wrapped around the keel or something.

Theresa and I set to work making dinner, but when Theresa removed the seat cushions over the settee lockers, several cockroaches scurried for cover. What ensued was a large-scale cockroach hunt that revealed a major palmetto-bug infestation. I was more than a little amused to see my normally-stoic wife standing on the chart table screaming whenever I flushed another one out. I'm sure the neighbors must have hated us. Theresa begged to go home, but it was already too late to head back. The wind died that evening and it got kind of hot aboard, so I didn't sleep well anyway.

Monday, May 26: Return from Memorial Day Outing

The next day, we got underway in the late morning, and the wind came up to give us a nice sail across Tampa Bay. I had intended to take the "inside route" to Tierra Verde, but I decided that it might be a nice opportunity to try to find the unmarked "short cut" channel that cuts through the shoals on the north side of Egmont Channel. This provides a much shorter route from the mouth of the Egmont Channel to the mouth of Pass-A-Grille Channel. Guided by our electronic chartplotter, we worked our way slowly and carefully through the narrow channel without incident. The shallowest part was about 8 feet deep.

We made it back to our slip that afternoon without further incident. On arrival, Theresa and I removed the last remaining ZipLoc bags full of oatmeal and the such from the boat and took them home. Only then did we discover that the ZipLocs had small holes in the sides which by all appearances were gnawed by the cockroaches. Who would ever have imagined? We threw it all out.

Monday, June 3: Post-Memorial Day Work

Our Memorial Day trip revealed several items of work that needed to be done on the boat, the most pressing of which was the elimination of the cockroach infestation. I removed all of the canned goods from under the settee, cleaned the cans, and packed them into a bag. I had intended to take the canned goods home, but I decided that they posed no threat, and they might still be useful aboard. I DID, however, find an open tub of dry potato soup flakes left over from our trip down the ICW. The container had a tight-fitting plastic lid, but I suspect that the cockroaches had somehow muscled their way in. I threw it out. I also discovered a mass of cockroach droppings inside a roll of aluminum foil, indicating that the cockroaches had been using it as a nest. Disgusting. I threw it out. In the course of this work, I found and killed several more cockroaches too. When I had that locker empty (for the first time since we bought the boat), I dragged the hose down inside the cabin and hosed out both the locker and bilge. Satisfied that the interior of the boat was clean, I scoured off the deck to get rid of the bird poop, mildew, and grime that had been accumulating over the past month.

Tuesday, June 4: Fixing the Traveler

I didn't find any more cockroaches aboard the boat today, so I took the time to replace the ball-bearings in the outhaul traveller. I can't begin to describe how tedious it is to replace 130 tiny plastic ball-bearings one at a time, but the job's done now, and the traveller works correctly again. The old bearings were completely shot (destroyed by the sun).

Wednesday, June 5: The Bug Bomb

Satisfied that there was nothing left on the boat that a cockroach might consider food, I decided to "bomb" the boat with a heavy-hitting RAID fumigator. The directions said to "open all cabinets and enclosed spaces", though, and that proved a momentous task aboard a boat the size of ours. It took me over two hours to open everything up and stack cushions and such in a way that might allow the dry fog to reach all surfaces. When everything was ready, I set off two of the bombs and quickly retreated to the cockpit, closing the cabin up completely to trap the poison inside. The directions said to leave the area for at least three hours, but as of this writing it's been five days. I hope that every cockroach and cockroach hatchling is now well and truly DEAD.

Tuesday, June 11: Reconstruction

I returned to the boat today to clean up the disaster area I created when I set off the bug bomb. I took some great pictures (cabin1, cabin2, forward) that, I hope, will convince any reader that avoiding cockroaches is far easier than getting rid of them, despite powerful modern poisons. It took me the whole afternoon to put everything back together properly, but I was pleased to find only dead cockroaches aboard the boat. Still, it was a disgusting job. Just a hint: when cockroaches get sick, they seek out water, so you tend to find the dead cockroaches in close proximity to moisture. The problem is that dead cockroaches putrify rather quickly in hot water... Did I mention DISGUSTING?


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