About a week ago we realized how close we were to Essex, Ct, so we decided to attend the Seven Seas Cruising Association's Essex Gam. I called and let them know we'd arriving Friday afternoon, and early Friday morning we left Milford, Ct. confident that we'd arrive in time for the Friday Night cocktail party.
Unfortunately about 9:30am we heard a bang and engine reved up a tiny bit. We hadn't hit anything, and we hadn't gotten tangled up with a lobster pot buoy, so what could it be? The Captain quickly opened the engine compartment and saw that the rubber drive shaft dampner had broken.
This rubber donut helps to dampen vibration from the propeller and shaft and also serves as a sacrificial link between the propeller and the engine. If you get tangled in a line, or strike something with the prop, this rubber thing will break before you damage your transmission or engine. But now we were beating into the wind, so it would take a lot longer to get to Essex.
We don't have an unlimited towing policy, so we just kept sailing and by 4pm we were about even with the end of Long Sand Shoal, so I finally called Tow Boat US and Tim came out to get us. The whole thing was super easy and totally stress-free, but this is NOT how we intended to arrive at the Connecticut River!
Tim took us to a mooring at the Old Lyme Marina that I had arranged over the phone. This yard is very familiar with sailboats, and Aldens in particular, so we felt comfortable going here. Funny thing is, when we were looking for boats in April of 2013, we came to this very marina and looked at "Pilgrim", another Alden 44, but ended up buying our Alden 44 in California.
Needless to say, we didn't make it to the cocktail party, but early Saturday morning we drove our dinghy two miles upriver to the Essex Yacht Club and joined the gam.
We thoroughly enjoyed the seminars and camaraderie at the gam. Of particular note was the weather guru, Chris Parker, who gave two educational talks on weather. And the demonstration on liferaft deployment was fun.
The Captain particularly enjoyed talking with Leutenant Michelle, a USCG helicopter pilot with only 600 hours, but SIX successful rescues. (Pilots always find lots to talk about.) And we both enjoyed meeting all the other SSCA members. We had a great weekend and we'll work on the mechanical issue tomorrow.