Custom Search
Join Duckworks
Get free newsletter
Comment on articles
on this site
by John Alesch - Austin, Texas - USA

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five

This article was originally written for the Day Sailer Association Quarterly.

I had tried to sail the Texas 200 in 2010 single handed in my 1976 Day Sailer II and only made it two days before I had to pull out. For the 2011 event I had asked my cousin Bill Meier from Green Bay, Wisconsin if he wanted to sail with me. He said yes to the adventure. Bill was a Lake Michigan sailor and had not sailed the Texas coast. Bill arrived in Austin on Friday June 10th. Originally Bill planned to get in around noon so that we could get the boat loaded with our supplies and camping equipment and get him some familiarization with the boat. However, his flight got cancelled and he had to take a later flight getting him into Austin late in the afternoon. We headed for dinner with my brother at a very good bar-b-q place not far from my house. After dinner we headed for Dripping Springs, Texas where I live. I wanted to let him see the boat he would be sailing in for the trip. We didn't have time to do the planned loading of the boat due to the fact it was getting dark and I have no lights where the boat was parked. We figured we would get an early start in the morning and have plenty of time once we got to Port Isabel. We then headed to the motel to get Bill checked in.

Saturday morning I woke with a case of the hives. Don't know what caused it, but it went away after about an hour. I headed over to get Bill and we then had breakfast. Before we could leave however we had to do some repair on the trailer. Thursday evening, while getting things ready for the trip, I decided to grease the bearings on the axle. One of the grease zerks broke. It was an odd size. While I waited for Bill's flight to come in on Friday, I had tried to find a new zerk at a couple auto parts stores in Austin. None of them had this odd size. I also looked for a bolt that might work to plug the hole, if finding a replacement zerk failed. After breakfast on Saturday Bill and I went to a store in Dripping Springs to find a zerk. This store sold zerks for tractors and other related equipment. They had the right one. We got back to my house and proceeded to put the new zerk in, only to find out that the hub threads were stripped.

We worked on it for over an hour and finally decided to see if we could patch the hole. We finally put a temporary patch on the axle, hooked up the trailer and headed for the store to find a way to make a permanent patch for it. Everything else was packed up in the Jeep for the trip, so we thought after we patched it we could leave straight from the store on our trip to the coast. Bill came up with an idea for a patch and after an hour or so we had it ready to go. We drove a couple miles. We stopped to check to see if we were losing grease. The patch was holding. No grease lost. We then headed for the coast. The patch held for the whole trip.

We arrived at the White Sands motel in Port Isabel on Saturday June 11th about 7pm. After getting our room we made arrangements to get our slip and launch the boat. I thought I had remembered everything I needed to do before launching the boat, but I hadn't. After launching the boat, Bill rowed it over to the slip while I parked the Jeep and trailer. When I got to the slip he informed me that we had a leak. It was then that I realized I forgot to put the cockpit drain plugs in, oops. The one for the inner hull had been in while we drove down. I usually keep that one in while on the trailer to keep wasp from making nest inside the boat. Quickly we got the cockpit drains put in. We got the Day Sailer secured in its' slip and headed off to a late dinner and then headed to our room. We unloaded our provisions and camping equipment from the Jeep and into the room.