from the other boats and ships, noting their positions, and making sure
we were giving one another plenty
of passing room. At the mouth of the
Delaware, off Cape May, in driving
rain, we’d finally motorsailed around
the shallow Prissy Wicks Shoal, and
out into the Atlantic. Blessedly free of
land and shipping dangers, and with
a long night and day of hard sailing
and motoring against tides behind us,
we’d turned northeast toward home,
Newport, Rhode Island, breathing a
sigh of relief.
AND NOW THIS ...
Ithaka trotted along at a slower but
steady clip under sail as we checked
the packing gland, and compared it
to the pictures in the owner’s manual.
It looked like the seal was wearing
out, after only three years of ser-
vice. Very annoying. We had a replace-
ment seal already secured higher on
the shaft, so that a change could be
made without pulling the shaft. The
owner’s manual had cheerful step-by-
step instructions about how this could
be accomplished with the boat in the
water, which seemed a highly danger-
ous proposition. Prying the seal loose
would send a fire-hydrant blast of
water into our faces. We could see no
way, even if one could get the old seal
off, that we or anyone else would ever
be able to slip the new one into place
against powerfully gushing water.
We still had cellphone reception, and
called the company to ask for advice.