I guess I'll start by coming straight out and say the 2013 sailing season was a bust. Chameleon didn't leave the boat house once this year except to be pulled out for cleaning and maintenance. The spring got off to a decent start with the annual prep work. Even though I was still recovering from an injury that wouldn't allow me to bend my left arm at the elbow last winter, the clean up and waxing was completed in a timely manner. However, other planned maintenance slowed me down. The CDI furler luff had become severely bent over the years and I wanted to straighten it before another sailing season started. I attempted to follow the manufacturers directions of placing the luff inside a sealed tube (PVC pipe) and allow it to heat in the sun for two weeks to allow the luff to relax. Our spring was rather chilly this year so I applied heat lamps in an attempt to warm the luff. After two weeks had passed there was no change in the luff and as I attempted to remove the forestay I managed to crack the luff about 10" above the drum. I think this was actually the best thing that could have happened since 15 years in the desert sun had done irrevocable damage to the furler. It took another couple of weeks for the new one to arrive and be re-assembled. I thought this would be a good time to upgrade the forestay with Blue Water Yacht's 5/32 cable and also add a Johnson Lever modification that I had been eyeing for a year. It has made pinning the forestay much easier!
After getting the furler squared away I inspected the 150 Genoa and discovered some of the stitching showing signs of deteriorating and also a couple places along the luff showing wear. I really wanted to replace the main sail first, so I did some research into repairing the genny vs. replacing it. Sailright was very helpful with the materials and how-to videos on sail repair. I was able to re-stitch those areas that were weakening and reinforce the 32' of luff with new material. We will see how this holds up over next year's season. I will say Dacron is unlike any material I have ever sewn before. I will have to find a really good gripper foot for our machine if I do any extensive sewing on this stuff!
Next thing on the list was to do something with the notorious black stripe that oxidizes about 20 minutes after you spend hours buffing and waxing it. After a lot of research into sealers and wonder liquids that promise extraordinary lasting results I came upon Erik's website from the Mac26X KnotShore at http://www.enctrader.com/hardtlefamily/KnotShoreDefault.htm. He recommends using NewGlass2 and has for many years with good results. I took his recommendations to heart and ordered a bottle. It has been 6 months and I still love the looks. Keep in mind though, Chameleon hasn't been out in the weather during this time...
After all this prep work and cleaning, the weather warmed and winds returned just in time for vacation at the lake. Our only problem was it was the wrong lake for sailing. We were heading to Big Cedar Resort on southern Missouri's Tablerock Lake. The problem is, Tablerock is nestled into the Ozark Mountains which causes the wind to pretty much skip right over the lake. The second problem is the area surrounding Big Cedar isn't conducive to large boats. With the local narrow, winding, mountain roads, large vehicles can soon find themselves in a predicament. Oh well, another week gone, but what an enjoyable week it was! A two bedroom log cabin with natural stone fireplace all to ourselves for a full week. It even snowed one morning. Not something you see often in the Ozarks!
On returning home life got busy as life often does. A lot of chores needed attending to (it's amazing how much time it takes to maintain a home and 10 acres) along with kids, activities, etc. etc... After several weeks of playing catch-up, we were off yet again on vacation. This time to Washington, D.C. where I was struck with another mysterious injury. This time to my big toe. The pain was incredible but I managed to hobble on to Baltimore, Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown and Virginia Beach where we paid tribute to Neptune as we passed his monument.
Once home, it would be several weeks before I put any more miles than necessary on my feet. All in all it was about 6 weeks before I could stand to be on my feet any length of time. This put us surprisingly close to the end of the sailing season. With about 4 weeks until time for winterization, I was determined to get on the water. One Saturday found us hitched up and ready to roll when I noticed a HUGE bulge in the inner sidewall of the right rear trailer tire. Now, these are brand new tires with less than 1500 miles on them and I am no longer happy about the prospects of my weekend. I jump online and try to find a local dealer that carries this brand but have no luck. It is too late in the day to haul it down to the local shop so it looks like a job for next weekend. Saturday comes around yet again as it has a tendency to do and I run up to the local NTB. The salesman takes one look at the tire and says "we need to get the air out of that tire before it explodes". I had already dropped the pressure to about half because I too was concerned about it flying off the rim and it still looked that bad. Guess that shoots another weekend.... We are now down to two good weekends before the weather gets too dicey here in Missouri. I just can't justify de-winterizing Chameleon for a couple of trips out only to re-winterize her again. It looks like the season is done before it ever got started. Looking back on this summer though, all-in-all, it was still a pretty good season.