Monday, September 30, 2013

New Jersey, Delaware, Chesapeake

Monday & Tuesday (Sept 23 & 24)

We left our mooring at the 79 street Marina around 10:00 AM, after putting up the dinghy and outboard during slack tide. Motored down to Liberty Marina on the New Jersey side to fuel up before our overnight sail to Cape May. Liberty does not cater to fueling dinky sail boats. The large diameter nozzle at the fuel dock is intended for quickly filling large yachts, not 25 gallon fuel tanks. I had to first fill one of our five gallon cans then siphon it into our fuel tank. Apparently, a common practice at Liberty.

Listening on channel 16 there was talk about the East River begin shutdown to river traffic for a hour or so. Not long after, we saw why. The Prez helicopter was fly north from the DC direction, with a Ospray escort, heading to the UN. After the drop off, the Ospray came back out over the ocean at full speed with the rotors tilted down banking over Long Island. 

Heading south we had a northwest wind 15-20 knots, so we made good progress with just the jib.
Off Sandy Hook the wind slacked off and we went with full sail. Around sunset the wind slowed and we motored sailed with just the jib. Later in the evening after dark the wind picked backup and I throttled the engine back to near idle and we were sailing 6-7 knots on the jib, 2-3 foot seas.

Linda tried to sleep from 9-12, but had a hard time falling a sleep. She finally got to sleep so I didn't want to wake her up, she came up around 1:00 AM. By that time we could see the distance lights of Atlantic City. Except from that distance you can't tell what you are looking at. We must have had the lit up buildings visible for almost 6 hours going down the coast. I came up around 3:00 PM and we both stayed in the cockpit for the remainder of the trip. It was interesting listening to some of the VHF channel 16 conversations among other boats doing the over night sail south. One sailboat had multiple conversations with a trawler. The fellow in the sailboat said he was envious that the trawler owner must be sitting in his pajamas in a warm pilot house. He said, yes he was warm, but only his wife was wearing pajamas.

Linda warmed up breakfast around 7:00 AM and we dropped anchor in Cape May around 9:30 AM, next to the Coast Guard Station. A lot of boats at anchor that looked like they had anchored a couple hours ahead of us and were getting some much needed sleep. Luna was there, later found out that they arrived around dawn, had to slow down to arrive in daylight. We set the alarm to get up at 3:00 PM. Had a relaxing evening and went to bed early.

Coast Guard training, Hey can't you guys see there are
people trying to sleep over here ?

Wednesday (Sept 25)

We left by 7:00AM leaving via the Cape May Canal to catch the incoming tide up the Delaware Bay.

 "Sea Angel" Catalina 34 from Minnesota, nervous about going under the Cape May Bridge.

It was fairly rough starting out, but after a couple hours moving up the Bay the water started to calm down. With good wind, current in our favor we moved up the Bay at 7-8 knots. We followed the incoming tide all the way up to the C&O canal.

 The stream column from the Salem Nuclear power plant was our guide all the way up the bay from Cape May. 

Just before the C&O canal we again saw the Prez Helicopters, but heading back towards DC. He didn't wave this time either.

Once we turned into the C&O canal our speed switch from 7.5 to 5.5 knots, the free ride was over. But we had another surprise as the tide started to quickly ebb and we were back on another current aided speed boost. Gee, down hill in both directions, what a deal.

We were mulling over staying on the free town dock at the town of Chesapeake at the, but really wanted to go further into the Bay. The decision was made for us as three very large 50 foot plus boats had the dock tied up. We anchored in the Bohemia River, not far from the main channel. Here it is mostly fresh water, so I hosed the boat down to get off the salt spray. We had a “deep” spot 8-9 feet deep, have to get use to that.

Thursday (Sept 26)

In the morning I did appreciate the wash down pump that the previous owner had installed. Lots of mud. This boat had spent its summers at Rock Hall, so it was fairly well set up to deal with the Chesapeake. When we woke up I found as series of crab buoys laid out in front of our bow. Well at least the crabber did not wake us when he dropped them in earlier. We got under way around 7:00, with the goal of making it to the Rhode River for the Seven Seas Association GAM, which starts on Friday, ending Sunday.

Now I was trying to avoid having to see if the other item that the PO had added really worked, Spurs. No, nothing to do with horseback riding for you non-sailors. Spurs are a series of cutting blades in front of the prop that are suppose to cut any crab or lobster pot lines that try to wrap themselves around your prop. I reconditioned them this spring, before launching the boat, not having any use for them the last four years on Lake Champlain.

Fortunately, I did not have to test them, but I did have some near hits. More than once I saw a crab buoy pass by the helm within a few feet of the boat, oops ! 

Thomas Point Lighthouse, south of Annapolis

We made it to the anchorage on the Rhode River in front of Camp Letts around 3:00 PM. I was able to attend the dinghy raft up for a discussion of cruising in the Bahamas.

Friday (Sept 27)

Registration and a couple sessions started in the afternoon, but Linda and I got up and went in at 9:00 AM and volunteered to help with the set up.

Saturday (Sept 28)

Again we headed in early, not for volunteering, but for the showers. Ah . . . endless hotwater, I was surprised I got out of there before lunchtime. Various sessions were held all day. Linda and I split to attend some different talks. Lots of good information. Had breakfast, lunch and dinner ashore.

Met a lot of people who are heading south. I had counted over 90 boats in the anchorage. I assume we will be crossing paths many times with a lot of these folks.

Sunday (Sept 29)

They had a nautical flea market in the morning. Tried hard not to add any junk to our boat. Did buy another solar shower as our old one seems to have sprung a leak. Headed back to the boat early afternoon. Finally after two weeks we did not have anything that we had to be doing, could finally just putter and/or veg-out. Finally got that afternoon siesta. Later, we headed over to a local marina, that we refueled at on Thursday, to help empty out the remaining end of season ice cream from their freezer. Cheap birthday celebration for our birthdays which are a few days apart. One of us remembered them both and the other forgot them both, guess who, again oops. Starting to sound like the governor of Texas.

Monday (Sept  30)

First day in two weeks with no alarm, got up when we felt like. The anchorage is emptying out. We are staying for another day to work on a couple little projects and to relax. Then we head over to St. Micheals for a couple days.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Down The Hudson


Left from the Whitehall town dock around 8:00AM. Cloudy. There was a trawler on the wall overnight with us, but we never saw the owners. Just as after we left another south bound sailboat appeared behind us in the distance, then followed by the trawler. We slowed down our arrival to Lock 11, since we would all be locking through at the same time Another easy lock up at Lock 11, although rather crowded by Champlain Canal standards, never had to share a lock before. Still rather cool and overcast, forecast was for sun in the afternoon after a front came through. We did so well at Lock 11 we decided to skip right over Lock 10. Actually the canal planners discovered after establishing the lock numbers they did not need a Lock 10 after construction commenced.

A couple miles before Lock 9 the cold Front came through. Winds were clocking 30 miles per hour. The wind chill made it very cold, had on my fleece jacket and foul weather jacket, although the temperature was probably in the mid 50's. Coming up on Lock 9, which has a long open fetch to the north wind, we started to get some wave action. The lock was not ready for us so we tried to slow down as much as possible. Had the engine in reverse numerous times to slow down our wind driven speed. Would have to put it back in forward to maintain steerage as the wind driven backend of the boat was pushing us off course. After the lock open we had the same problem going in. How to slow down without slamming into the exit doors ? I managed to slow the boat down and keep near the wall, but once I put the engine in neutral, the wind was driving us fast forward again. I quickly grabbed one of the hand lines, but could not hang on, because of the force of the wind. So I put a couple wraps on the rear cleat to bring us to a stop. Normally a no-no, but it did save our ass. The sailboat behind us went through the same drill. The trawler came in third on the right wall, it was then we found out the owner was by himself. He did not have a stern line, but he did have a bow line. He tossed the bow line to the lock tender. Of course once the lock keeper tied it off the trawler spun around and was now facing in the opposite direction, but at least safe from hitting us, our first thought. Once the lock doors closed the wind abated somewhat. Unfortunately as we rose in the lock we were becoming more exposed again to the north wind. And with the rising water the cleated hand line could not hold us as tight to the wall and there was no way to pull it in tighter. As we rose the stern started to pivot away from the wall and there was too much force for Linda to push the bow off the wall. Fortunately the front end of our mast was over six feet off our deck, so at this point it cleared the wall, but our bow anchor did scrape the wall, no damage to either.
Going wrong way
Boy were we happy when the lock door open to let us out. We were even more happy when we managed to clear the lock walls without any further contact. The port side of the boat was a mess. The lock hand lines which spend much of their time under water are more like slimecycles, which we managed to get wrung out all over our decks. Our fellow sailboat behind us had the same problem. We suddenly looked like we had been at sea for a year without a mop.

Fortunately by the last up lock at Fort Edwards the wind had died down to a reasonable level. Our Trawler friend had enough and called it a day and tied up to the town wall at Fort Edward. Gee, it wasn't even noontime yet !
The rest of the day by comparison was rather uneventful. Unfortunately, we were getting down into the GE PCB dredging area of the canal. When we brought out boat up four years ago they were just starting phase 1. Now they are well into Phase Two and the dredging operations are vastly expanded. Well, guess who has rightaway in the locks, not us, so we had to tie up and wait a number of times for our turn. Greatly slowed our progress for the day. During one of our tie ups, as we waited we got to meet our fellow sailors, Bunky Bernstien and Carol Hanley in their C&C “Luna” also heading for the Bahamas.

Both boats spent the night on the wall at Lock 5, since it was closed before we arrived.


Woke up early to be ready for the lock opening at 7:00 AM. Was very foggy, both boats locked through then tied up and we waited 45 minutes or so for the fog to lift.
Since we were beyond barge land we made it through the rest of the NY State locks quickly. The Federal lock was having electrical problems so we had to tie up for 30 minutes before they let us in. Then it took them another 15 minutes or so to fix another issue to let us down. Made it to Catskills just before sunset. We went to Hop-in-Nos and Luna went to Riverside Marina.

Sean was there at 8:00 AM and the mast was up by 9:00AM. Since he had no one else scheduled for the day, we took off to Lowes and Walmart pick up a couple items. Late afternoon Sean came back to hang me up in the bosun chair to install the radar. By the end of the day we were finished.

Mast going up
Had a couple good dinners at the Creek Side restaurant at Hop-in-Nos.

During Sandy they were completely flooded out. Boats they pulled for the Hurricane floated off their jackstands. The water was one foot below the roof gutters. All the parked cars were totaled.

Started backdown the Hudson as a sailboat. It was so nice to have room again down below. It was like having a whole new boat. We stopped for the night at Mariners Restaurant in Highland NY, just north of Poughkeepsie. Free dock with dinner, but our real goal was to hike up and do the “Walk Way Over the Hudson”,, an old railroad bridge turned into a walk way. Pretty cool.
Mariners Restaurant from Bridge


Food was OK at Mariners, nothing special. The view from our outside table was impressive as the full moon was rising.

Moonlight over Hudson
The dock we tied up is where all the local seagulls hang out, it was a mess. Cleat to Cleat S**T. Had to wash off the bottoms of our shoes.

Another nice sunny day. We spent the night in Haverstraw Bay, by Croton Point Park.

Headed down to NYC and picked up a mooring at the 79th Street Marina. Now we had to pay for that full moon. The currents from the full moon high tide were ripping and with an opposing wind gusting to 30 knots it was somewhat chaotic, especially when the southerly winds started sending 2-3 foot swells up the Hudson early in the evening, when the out going current had our stern to the incoming waves. I was prepared for a wave to climb into our walk-off stern. Fortunately that did not happen. It was to chaotic to even consider lowering the dinghy. Linda had to resort to her back up drugs to combat all the motion.


Things calmed down somewhat overnight. Ran into “Luna”, Bunky and Carol, they were also staying at 79th Street. We headed into NYC to do some sightseeing and food shopping. Came across a street fair along 20 blocks of closed to traffic Columbus Ave. Munched our way up the street on our way to pick up some parts at ACE Hardware. Tomorrow we plan to head overnight to Cape May after a fuel stop. North or Northwest winds should allow us to sail most the way.

On the mooring

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Off the Lake at last

Friday evening we finally finish packing the boat and getting things set up at the house for our house sitter. Put the cars away for 9 months, last two tank fulls have been non-ethanol, batteries on trickle charge, etc.

Saturday morning we were up by 6:30 AM and had a series of parts and items to pick up at ACE and Bayside automotive to finish a couple other projects. We then left at the Crack of Noon. Witnessed by Steve and Joan Peyea, they were more than happy to push us away from the dock, hogs that we were.

The winds were light to moderate out of the north, so no problems with a horizontal mast over head.

Passing by Northshore in Burlington called Carol Nelson to prove we were finally leaving.  Glad I had my clothes on.

 Picture by Carol.

Got a phone call as we passed the Brother Four Islands from Kathy Manning and Keith Kennedy who were sailing by.

Saturday evening we dropped anchor at West Port, us a few hundred geese. Woke up to a cool morning 50 degrees. Boat was covered with bugs who apparently thought it was too cold to be flying around.
We did better this morning and were on our way by 8:00 AM. Poor by John and Genie Soboslai's standards, but good enough for us. Winds built up to 15 – 20 knots out of the south, so we had a high wind chill taking it on the nose. The deck and dodger was wet all the way to Ticonderoga. Finally became pleasant in the narrows all the way to Whitehall.

Reached the first lock, #12 around 4 o'clock. Lifted up.

Were informed that all the locks now close at 5:00 so we tied up on the public docks in Whitehall, hey free power and I could pick up WiFi from the local Library, what more could I ask for.

Sunday night is not the night to find an open restaurant in Whitehall after labor day. After a long walk we wound up at a Howe's Bar and Grill, the only place that was open. Long on the bar, short on the grill. Food was good prepared by Howie who was also the bartender and waiter. Felt like we were at “Cheers” in some alternate reality, everyone seemed to be friends.

Plans are to be up are 5:30 AM and leave at 6:15 for the next lock opening at 7:00

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Friends had a Bon Voyage Party on Sunday afternoon at MBBC.  I think they wanted to make sure we are really leaving.

I'm the little guy standing, wearing the diaper, apparently.  Well, at least I'm standing. 
Check out the letters in the sand.
Artwork by Priscilla

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mast is down

Mast came down today. Linda talking with Ed Bombard, owner of the beautiful Chris Craft in the foreground. Sorry for the lousy photo, camera battery was out of juice, took the picture on an iPad, but didn't realize I was taking video in the bright sunlight, dork that I was today.