Sunday, December 30, 2007

Warning and lizards

That's right folks, this is the last shopping day before the whole world's biggest party. You guessed it, it's Julie's Birthday tomorrow and she is a prime number this year! She loves mail and pictures, etc.
‎"‎Julie Hill‎"‎ jules at change "at" to @ with no spaces.
We began today with a new sound on the boat. Sort of a blub, blub, blub noise at about 6AM. I thought it was the coffee maker and rolled over. Florrie was already up and woke me with the news that the boat was making a new noise and should she worry. Turns out the hose from the water heater came off at the same time as (because?) we ran out of water so the water pump was pumping air. Air compresses, water doesn't. That's right, sounds familiar, but this time it was the other end of the same hose that went before. Put it back on, tightened it up and it SEEMS to be working again. All just a part of boating.
Hi All. It's Florrie writing now... Paradise ain't cheap. That's a sign over the cash register at Snappas, the restaurant/bar next door. We can get almost anything we need here but some of the food and all of the restaurants are pricey. It has to do with the cost of importing everything except locally raised chickens and pigs, I guess. We're "renting a hole in the water" right now. Usually we're only in one place for four nights. But once we leave here after the 2nd (weather permitting) we will not have such easy access to emails, phones, internet or good shopping until we hit the next big town.
It has been about 12 days since I arrived and we've had more social life here than in 12 months on land. Boaters sure know how to party! Christmas dinner was a gala potluck with about 15 other boats. There are dock gatherings to toast the sunset. To get a group together just whisper party and you've got at least five boats interested. The other night we had happy hour at Curley Tails, a couple of docks down the harbor. I want to tell you how it got its name. There are small lizards here that have their tails in a loop over their backs. (There are also other, regular, lizards too.) It turns out that the curl is like a life-saver, literally! I was drawing some palm trees with my new friend Camilla yesterday and "Curley" came between us and investigated her bag. We got a good look and saw that the forward end of its tail was regenerating. Something had grabbed the easiest "handle" and the little lizard got away. I wonder how many times they can grow a new tail. Maybe its something like a cat's proverbial nine lives.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Florrie's Art Show

I added a slide show on the left just below the picture of Harmony. It may take a while to load but it is worth the wait. If you click on it it should enlarge the slide show in a new window. The slide show starts with the "Study for Ice Storm" and "Ice Storm", two images of an ice encrusted tree. Ninety-six paintings and drawings were displayed in two rooms at the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center (NJ) from Nov. 23 - Dec. 15, 2007. They represent 44 years of artistic productivity. The final slide is of Mary Carol Day, wife of the show photographer, Paul Newland, and Florrie. Thanks again Paul for a great job! Let us know what you think.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The race

Yesterday I was invited to crew on a Bermuda 40, made by Hinkley in 1973, in a local race. I ended up at the helm for the second half and enjoyed it tremendously even though there was very little wind. This is the only sailboat I know which keeps appreciating in value over the years and I can understand why. Very light touch and yet a heavy sea boat with lots of wood to keep polished. Florrie spent the day by the pool drawing. We both were happy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Catamaran Harmony Boxing Day

Today is the day after Xmas. Florrie is taking a day off with Camilla while Deve and Lew go racing on Tom's little Hinkley. Xmas was delightful. In the morning we opened presents, talked to relatives on our new Skype (a wonderful program to be able to use the computer as a phone), and got ready for the party. Lew went formal; a xmas tie over his tee shirt. ABout 20 couples got together for a pot luck dinner beginning about 2:00 in the afternoon. Food was great and plentiful. These things have to start early because the cruiser mentality is to go to bed soon after sundown. We managed to stay up until almost 8:00 befor crashing.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Solstice

Yep. Today at 1:08 AM winter arrived. Todays weather report estimates a high of 77 and a low of 71. The front has passed through and the wind is about 15 from the west. Another day in paridise. Which reminds me...Do you know the derivation of the S word. It relates to the shipping of manure which, when wet soaked up water getting heavy and produced methane gas. Several ships exploded when the methane caught fire so manure was labeled "Ship High In Transit" aka "S.H.I.T." (Thank you Lisa for that info.)
Florrie is here and the boat is decorated for Xmas with lights and a cloth Xmas tree in the Salon along with a "Welcome Home" banner for her arrival. Otherwise, I am definately flunking Xmas this year. Just like I flunked Sarah's b'day on the 17th. Sorry bout dat, mon. We are working on a slide show of Florrie's exhibit in NJ but haven't mastered that yet.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Melissa Dec. 18


Melissa is my only biological daughter and my firstborn so you know she has poor old dad rapped around her little finger. When she was little I used to tell her bedtime stories that went something like this:
"Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was just about the same age as you. She was very very strong because she ate lots and lots and lots of vegetables. Not just the good ones like peas and corn and carrots and potatoes and green beans and onions. She also ate the yucky ones like lima beans and even the awful, dreaded brussel sprout. Bleeech!
Because she was so strong, they called her Mighty Melissa. One day Mighty Melissa went to visit a friend who lived on a farm. And on that farm were pigs and goats and horses and sheep and dogs and really stupid chickens. But they also had some cows and a great big, huge, tremendous bull who was very very mean and liked to chase people and butt them with his head. That day, Mighty Melissa and her friend went exploring in a field. They thought that the bull was in the barn but they were wrong. The bull was in that field too. When the girls were well into the field, the mean old bull charged. Mighty Melissa's friend screamed and ran but Mighty Melissa stayed right there. It wasn't because Mighty Melissa wasn't scared. She was very afraid but Mighty Melissa was not going to let fear get the best of her. Ooooooh no. She stood there and just as that huge, mean old bull was about to butt her with his head, she punched him. She punched him so hard, because she was so strong from eating those vegetables, that she knocked him out. Several minutes later, the bull came to and said. "Oooooooooch, why did you do that?"

Mighty Melissa asked the bull, "Why did you scare me and try to hurt me?"

The bull replied, "I am a bull. That's what I do. I scare people and they run away or I butt them."

"Well", said Mighty Melissa, "I am Mighty Melissa and I don't run away from fear. Do you want to try this again?

"No" said the bull.

So Mighty Melissa and the bull became friends and the bull never chased people again."

Now, I don't know what effect these stories had on Melissa, but I like to think they had something to do with her ability to face events and deal with them when others, including me, might be frozen with fear or become depressed and never want to get out of bed. Melissa, you are my hero now. I love you, Pumpkin.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Catamaran Harmony corrected

"I know the word is picnic not nitpic but,
those are 'characters' for harmony versus 'symbols'. Once a calligrapher always a calligrapher."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tropical Storm Olga

As of 8:00 AST, Olga was at 18.8 by 69.5...over the Dominican Republic and headed West. While it is expected to produce high winds in the Turks and Caicos, we shouldn't be affected at all.
Yesterday we had a 5 foot and a 3 foot ray swimming around the marina. Ho Hum.
The real excitement was the report from the dock boy that the delivery people had delivered the diesel fuel into the gas tank and the gasoline into the diesel tank. One boat had just taken on fuel before this was announced and was very upset. Turns out that the report originated from a ferry that fuels here when the engine "blew". Actually the ferry had blown it's injectors and the fuel was fine, much to the relief everyone. Well maybe not the ferry captain. All is quiet again.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Street Festival

Street festival. Lots of food, singing groups, kids, local food, the prime minister, bands and even a local motorcycle "gang" with jackets saying "Motley Few" (all 6 of them). I can't wait until Florrie gets here and I have someone to share things with.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Well I am back. The first thing I did was to get sick and spend 36 hours in bed and bathroom Bleeech! So now I can't sleep. Then I find out that Florrie was the same way back in NJ so who knows. Anyway I am back and the boat seems fine. Tomorrow I will test the engines and maybe get an antenna for WIFI. I can get it on the boat but sometimes have a hard time connecting. Al sent me 200 pictures from the Beaufort to Marsh Harbour part and I will try to put them in where they belong so look back for new pictures. It is now 67 degrees at 3 in the morning. NJ is 23. Tee Hee.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Catamaran Harmony in Marsh Harbour

Here we are. I will be home for T day then back here on the 4th of Dec. Florrie will join me about the 18th +/- so there won't be any additions until then. Hope every one gets too much turkey and has a nice nap.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Nippers Bar

The pool at Nippers.

I am not ignoring anyone. Last time I sent out the scouts who were very successful. Rum at $8, SINCE SEEN AT 20, PER LITER. We left West End and were confronted with all marks out and 6 foot debths until we found the channel and took off to cross the banks. There is something weird about being out of sight of land and in only 12 feet of water. Beautiful colors and clear bottom. Overnight at Great Seal. This was reported to be the most popular anchorage in the Abacos. We were the only boat there. Are we in the right place? Next morning again on the nose at 15 to Spanish Cay. Again, almost no one there but the dockhand, who is also the chef, opened the kitchen for us and made us a fabulous meal of lobster soup, with a lobster tail in it, and Grouper. Expensive but excellent. Other than that Spanish Cay isn't worth it and if you anchor, you aren't even allowed on the island. Next to Green Turtle Cay which is a big step up. Protected harbour but blowing and we were worried bout "the rage" which is large set of waves, I mean really large where cruise ships avoid it. Yesterday morning it was calm so we scooted out to check ut Whale Cay, where the rage hits, and got across without trouble. Now we are in Great Guana Cay which is what the brochures show. Green seas good beaches and Nippers, a great bar on the ocean side and a short walk from the harbour. Then a cold front came through at 2 AM this morning and it is now 20-25 so it is a bar day. They have WIFI which is why I am able to get on the net and a free phone back to the states. But it is hard to see the screen even with a towel over my head to block the sunlight from the screen to check spellings. By the way, cell phones do NOT work here despite having been assured by Verizon and Sprint that they would. The beach at Nippers

Saturday, November 10, 2007

catamaran Harmony in Bahamas

We did it. We left at 6:30 this morning and had a great sail. One of the nicest I have ever had. Beautiful blue water. Predicted wind speed was 5 to 10; real 10-15 from the north. Seas were 2 to 4 with a few 6s. Sailed most of the way and then it went light so we motor sailed the last 1/3. Arrived about 3:30 and are now at a dock, all signed in with customs and immigration. Next major problem is finding the rum. Send out the scouts.

catamaran Harmony in Bahamas

Thursday, November 8, 2007

catamaran Harmony north palm beach.

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north west corner of the North Palm Beach Anchorage. You may need to zoom in to see where we are. It is a short dinghy ride to a dinghy tie up one block from a Publix. Great place to provision. 26 50.4N 80 03.4N

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Crew is HAPPY to be aboard! by D R Gray

Life aboard Harmony is just a wonderful fix for my sailing addiction! She is so comfortable, able, well equipped and a pleasure to be aboard with Capt. Lew and our chef Al Schwartz, an old friend.

Our trip has been one of increasingly warmer days, mild evenings, comfortable anchorages and fun marinas. For me the sailing off shore is a particularly exhilarating experience I can hardly describe! Being one with the sea. Adjusting our wonderful craft to use the the wind with Mother Nature's permission is living so basically - wind, sea and the sailor!

The anticapation of sailing across the gulf stream is so exciting. It is facing the challenge of nature and relying on our skill and Harmony to take care of us. Sounds like sailing across the ocean but each venture is thrilling. I am so absolutely happy! Life is wonderful and I am so grateful for this time aboard harmony with such good company!

between a and b.

double click on the map to enlarge.
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Catamaran Harmony 27 09.2N 80 11.7 W

(son Jimmy and Riley from last summer)

Manatee Pocket is a place the charts make look unapproachable. But Skipper Bob says it is good as did Dave and Kathy on Puff, so we went. A fairly well protected harbor with an anchorage and lots of marinas just off the Port Lucie River. Tucked in and anchor holding.

Catamaran Harmony leaving Cape Canaveral

Due to some predicted heavy winds for tonight, we went inside through a bridge, lock, canal and another bridge to the Indian River. The canal was spectacular with manatees, dolphin, birds galore and we went very slowly. Motored all day on the starboard engine and pulled into a small restaurant marina for dinner and sleep. Up and off by 7:30 and now motoring down the ICW again. There really is no way to get to the ocean for a long way ahead.
9:19 at Vero Beach and the crew wants to stop for the night. 27 40.07N 80 22.89W on the ICW

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Catamaran Harmony Cape Canaveral

(queen sized sleeping loft)

7AM and we are sitting at a dock in Cape Canaveral. You sail down the coast and see the launching pads for miles and miles. Then you go out around a restricted area which gets extended up to 100 miles for a launch. Last night a monster cruise ship was leaving just as a small sailboat called the marina from the entrance to the harbor. The coast guard ordered them to go back outside the harbor several miles and wait until they were given permission to enter after the cruise ship had been escorted out. I bet the people on that sailboat are BIG fans of home security now.
I got taken out for a birthday dinner of oysters, gumbo and a hot brownie with ice cream. YMMMMM. Then a full night's sleep at the dock. Life is good. The only thing missing is family. I did get some lovely e-cards and emails and voicemail wishes.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Catamaran Harmony outside

Nov 4, on watch from 12 to 3. I am at the computer just before 2 working out our average speed when I notice that the time has jumped from 1:59 to 1:00. So much for daylight savings time but I have now 2 more hours watch? DR comes up at 2 thinking it is 3...or is she being nice.
Here is a question for you. What do you do when the boat is going over 10 knots steadily, not surfing. My answer is reef. That is what we did for the first time yesterday. We had left Charleston about 1 and got out into the ocean. Predicted weather was 10-15 subsiding later today. By 3 it was 20-25 on the beam and not comfortable. Predicted was now subsiding after midnight. They were right about that, it was after midnight...about 5 hours after. Seas are 1 to 2 foot. Sun is out and we are motor sailing at 7 knots. AAAAH!
We had to go farther from the shore than I had planned. There are quite a few of buoys marked on the chart as Y N PRIV. Last night we sailed near where one of these was supposed to be and did not see any lights so we have been keeping clear. For those tracking, we are now at 31 11.507N 80 50 738W Shipping traffic has been very light. On my watch I saw one freighter going into Savannah but nothing else.
3:30 and we are 9 miles off Jacksonville and I got phone service but not internet. 30 26.800N 81 14.063W. Now 7 miles out and connected. WOW

Friday, November 2, 2007

Riding out the storm

(click on the cat)

Yesterday we went through a different kind of storm. Some old guy came over to the boat about 11 AM ranting and raving and ended up taking off my bow lines. We filed a report with the dock master and they said they would take care of it. About 2 PM we were on the boat talking to a guy, George, who works at the marina when the same old guy shows up again ranting. He tried to untie us and George stopped him. I radioed the marina and they sent someone down who "handled" it. Apparently the old guy is quite rich as he rents a place at the resort hotel by the year. A bit of a pickle for them as we are not the first boat that has been hassled. The boat has been retied so someone would have to climb to the far side of the boat to reach the lines which go through the middle of the cleat on the dock.
We are still in Charleston Harbor Marina waiting for Noel to get past. Today should be the worst of it, now blowing about 30 in the harbor, and then it should diminish. Winds predicted 10 to 15 by Saturday afternoon with seas 3 to 4 feet. We may just end up motoring a lot through Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Catamaran Harmony Mutiny

We are now at the docks in Charleston. Well right across the harbor on the East side. We tried to find a sheltered anchorage on the ICW but there were whitecaps in the "most protected" one and the wind seemed to be building. Very low country with no trees nearby, just lots of tall grass. Turned around and made the last bridge just in time. All on one engine as the port one was not putting out any water. In Charleston we docked and I spent about an hour testing the water system. Turns out the belt was loose and not turning the pump. When I tightened the belt, all worked. That is until we went to make dinner. The propane ran out so we switched to a new tank. Nothing! No pressure, no solenoid. I was too tired to want to go out to eat so we tried the MREs. For those who don't know, MRE stands for Meals Ready to Eat and are what is given to the troops in the field. They are a step above C rations and some camp meals I have had. They have there own heating unit when a slight bit of water is added to a pouch. All in all, it made us appreciate Al's cooking even more. Some talk of mutiny if these were the only choices on the trip.

This morning we moved to a better dock while there was only some current. It really flows through the marina. Better being no birds and guano on the dock and closer to the facilities. Sitting around having breakfast and planning the day when BAM. A 50+/- blue boat had banged into the 75 foot catamaran just in front of us. Broke its rail and it is scheduled for a charter today. That will get the juices going.

Also this morning, I got up and made some coffee on the 110V system. I turned around and noticed that the light for the stove solenoid was on. Tried to light the stove...Nothing. Turned on the valve at the propane tank and it worked. Overnight the gremlins took pity and fixed the propane system. I wrote an email to the manufacturer of the solenoid and have not heard from them yet. The whole thing makes no sense to me unless there is a loose connection somewhere.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Catamaran Harmony at anchor

33 11.524N 79 16.734 A very strange anchorage. Wind from NE current from SW and the boat wants to head one direction with the anchor going straight back so we used two anchors, one astern and the other ahead. About 2 AM the chain started making noises. I looked out of the hatch and the shore appeared to be about 5 feet from the boat and sliding by at a nice pace. Time for "anchor alarm practice". ( next time maybe I will get dressed first) According to the GPS we were making circles in out track of about 100 feet and the anchor was not dragging. Watched for awhile and sure enough it was happening. The debth remained about 12 feet throughout the circle. Shortened up the bow anchor and it seemed to stop the chain noises so back to sleep. At 6:30 we were in the same spot. It is now 11:30 and we are running on a single engine and headed for Charleston. We will probably anchor out in the ICW tonight and then go to the town docks for a couple of days. It looks like the storm is blowing out to sea and there may be a good weather window coming.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Catamaran Harmony to Myrtle Beach

OUCH! For the first time on the trip and maybe since May I had to put on socks for warmth. Long pants and a jacket. We motored all day to the town docks at Bearfoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach. The guidebooks say it is free but we were greeted with "you know, we now charge 1.50 per foot." It turns out the really nice docks across the channel are also 1.50/ft. But of course by then we had already paid and tied up to some stairs as the dock where we were had no cleats. There are lots of shops here but no showers or grocery stores . Asked in a store and the lady said, "There is a convenient store across the highway". "What highway" I asked. "Its the only road here", she said in a haughty voice like I was some stupid Yankee. "I arrived by boat", I explained which cracked her up.
So now it is the next morning and it is 50 degrees out according to the little thermometer. Sweats and an omelet for breakfast. There is a storm, Noel, which is predicted to go out but... So far it looks like a short weather window might happen on Tues or Wed but needs to be monitored. If not, Charleston isn't too bad a place to hang out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Catamaron Harmony in the rain

Last night was 34 24.243N 77 35.432W in a little side creek After a day of fairly moderate rain with a few clearings we anchored for the night. Made about 60 miles from Beaufort to just south of Surf City, NC. In the middle of the night it started blowing with heavy rain. Got up several times and we seemed all right. Checked again about 6:45 and we had dragged and were aground. Luckily pulling up on the anchor chain cleared us and we decided to leave early. Going along fine on one engine then I put the port one on as we came up to pass another sailboat. Not pumping water and started to steam so I throttled down and heard a clunk. Immediately shut it down and checked fluids. Needed some water but otherwise OK. Since it wasn't pumping water checked what I could, cleaned the strainer and all was ok. Tried it again and it was fine. I think the steam was from a lack of antifreeze coolant for the heat exchanger and the clunk was from going into neutral too fast with too many RPM at the time. We have been using the port engine only when we need maneuvering Tonight we are heading for Southport. DR wants to revisit the scene where she was taken to fix her boat from her trip North on the ICW.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Catamaran Harmony still in Beaufort

We are still here. Crew has arrived (Al and Donna). The fridge guy was here but, even with the help of the Sea Frost tech in NH, it is still an ice box. Mechanic said he would be here this morning to fix the lift pump gaskets, which arrived yesterday thanks to the Wilmington office. Not here yet. Luckily, we could leave without him and be careful about oil levels. Weather forcasts suck with small craft advisory and rain until Monday but then the wind turns NE and again starts to kick up. NOAA says Tues will be 30 to 35 from the north with 7 foot waves on the outside. It doesn’t seem to matter when we leave, it will be the ICW rather than outside. Hopefully the winds will be less inland as bridges don’t have to open if the wind is 35 or more.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Catamaran Harmony in Beaufort

It is very frustrating trying to get things done. We need 2 gaskets for lift pumps. They cost less than $2 apiece. However, they are Yanmar parts and guess where the main factory is. New Jersey! So I call and they will sell only to authorized dealers. I call the Charleston Boat Works and am told that the computer only shows 2 and they are in NJ and would take at least a week to get to me. They wouldn't overnight them. What a pain. I make several other calls and people tell me they will try to find some and call me back or That person is not available right now and they will call me. So now it is the next day and no calls. AARRGGHH.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Catamaran Harmony: Cobbs to Beaufort

I am afraid it has been awhile. Lets see. My brother, Em, and his daughter, Linda, joined as intrepid crew. We finally left Cobbs, after a wonderful man, Simon from his Blue Water Marine, got the water pump working in the starboard engine. Of course he found something else, a leaky hose in the fresh water heater. No parts but a little ingenuity and imagination got a new hose in and off we went. Well almost. IMPORTANT lesson: Make sure the electrical hookup is off before you leave the dock.! After some quick action on the helm and Em jumping off and retrieving it, we set off. Came down the ICW to mile 0 and then noticed that the bridges were all closed in Norolk from 3:30 to 6:00. A quick u-turn and found an anchorage. Picture a checker board with the red squares being the boats and the black squares being crab pots and you got it. The next morning everyone took off. By the first bridge we were 17 sailboats and 12 motorboats. Timing the bridges we arrived at the lock in the middle of the pack. Not everyone made it into the lock and we haven’t seen any of the others for the rest of the trip. Everything went well until Pungo Ferry Marina where we stopped for fuel. We left and went under the bridge marked as 60 ft. when it happened. Someone tried to use some water and there was none in the tanks. As it turned out, it was all in the Port engine room. Quickly spun around and, with Em bailing by the bucket and me on the bilge pump we got it back to the marina. What had happened was that the hose for the fresh water heater had come off emptying the tanks and flooding the compartment. Amazing that the engine still worked at all. After getting all the water out and adding a second clamp to the hose and getting more water, we took off again. I only ran the starboard engine until I really checked out the port one. We had gotten water into the transmission and the oil was all cloudy. Over the next day, I did “oil changes” with short bursts of using the transmission until all the cloudiness has disappeared. We only made it to Coinjock (mile 50) that night.
Next morning we left and only used the Starboard engine. We were able to run at 6.9 knots without any sign of overheating. At 7 we got a little steam so we kept it down. Got to mile 105 where the Alligator River narrows and the canal begins. A lovely little spot. Next morning we tried out the transmission for awhile and it seemed fine. Using both engines we got to a lovely spot just past mile 175 on the South River just across the Neuse River from Oriental. Next morning we were in Beaufort, at the docks where the current runs incredibly fast. A lovely dinner, Thank you again Linda, and a front was supposed to come through. Apparently NJ got more weather than we did. It is now about 80 degrees and no clouds in the sky. A wonderful time to head south but that will have to wait for more crew on the 25th.
Em and Linda went to the airport about 11 this morning and I miss them already. It was a good trip even though…but that is Linda’s story.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lamy Marine avoid at all costs

This is a warning about Lamy Marine. Never use them. I am not saying Lamy Marine Lied but they said one thing and then did another. I am not saying Lamy Marine is incompetent but they couldn't fix the fridge and blamed it on water for the condenser even when there was water to be had. They said they would be back then went to the next city and would not answer their phone. Enough said.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Cobbs Marina, in Little Creek just north of the bridge tunnel in Norflok is the most professional and friendly working marina we have ever seen. Homespun, yet they know what they are doing. You can let them do the work or you can do it yourself. Since I want the bottom done right, I will let them do it. The lift had about 3 inch clearance on each side but we are succesfully "on the hard".
Florrie has gone home, via Baltimore, while I take care of business here. Emory (my brother) will be coming here on the 15th with his daughter, Linda. Hopefully the bottom will be painted, the SSB installed, the fridge repaired, the batteries working well, the solar panels working, the engines given a "spring Tuneup" with lots of preventive maintenance, the rigging checked out with a working anchor light and whatever else I can think of.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Just north of Norfolk

We are now sitting at Blue Water Marina in Hampton, VA. No room yet at Cobbs. This is the place where the 1500 starts and a few are in already. Last night was Mobjack Bay just down from the fish stakes. A strange place. As we came in it was like being at war. About 100 pelicans decided to come down the bay in a straffing formation at about 15 foot elevation. ```````````````````````` Thankfully they split and went around us at the last minute. Then, this morning, Dolphins feeding and lots of them. Very little wind and temperatures in the 80s. What a strange October.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pelicans in the Chesapeake

Yep! Just north of the Potomic River were about 14 brown pelicans. And people question global warming. Present postion is 38 03.049N, 76 20.478W after a full day of 80 degrees, sunny (after the fog burnt off) and little wind.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Boat Show

There is something very wierd about a bunch of individualists being packed together like sheep. Got what I needed and left. Florrie went to galleries instead. Only went on one boat..Gunboat 48. So much for wishes. Then we went to the Caribbean 1500 party and caught up with some old friends and met some new ones. Dinner at Charthouse for a splurge with 1500 friends from the 2000 ralley. If you are considering going to the Caribbean for the winter, check out I went once on my Pearson 40 and crewed for others 5 times. A lot of fun.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Somehow a group of ducks claimed the area of our boat at about 5 this morning. It must be a high rent district as others decided they also wanted to move in causing a loud discussion. We are now at Mears Yacht Harbor in Oxford MD (38 41.680N 76 10.074W) near, what else, Chambridge MD. Yesterday was at one of Florrie's favorite spots; Boby Owl Cove. Best crab cake Florrie ever had was in Oxford yesterday.
Refridgeration is still not working despite shorting the thermastat. Calls for the compressor but does not cool the plate despite the freezer working fine so it can’t be the compressor or coolant. Anyone with any ideas?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

38 51.475N 76 10.784W

Anchored in Shaw Bay just off the Wye River in a very wide anchorage with few boats yet. We expect more as it is the last weekend before the boat show. We left Annapolis after getting some fuel and ice about 10 AM. Winds were 15 to 20 with gusts to 25 from the North. Waves 2 to 3 feet. Downwind mostly with only the jib up doing 5½ knots gently. No clouds at all. Very very pleasant.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


A little farther up the Chester then a very nice sail to Annapollis Harbor. We tried to stay for the boat show but they are kicking us off the mooring. On Sat, after the front comes thru, we take off for the Eastern Shore. We have a reservation at Mears Marina in Oxford for Wed-Sat and will rent a car to see the boat show on Thur and Fri.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hazards of the Chesapeake

We are now in the Corsica River at 39 04.590N 79 07.577W . Last night was cloudless and Orion stood out like jewels. It is like a picture postcard. That is until you look down to see millions and millions of pure white jellyfish. No swimming here! Hopefully none will be sucked up into the water cooling system, clogging up the filters And that is after leaving the Sassafras river and running the gauntlet of crab pots which line the 2 or 3 mile entrance to the river. There used to be a no pot lane but it is also full of pots. We’re not talking a few and you just alter course a little. We’re talking doing figure eights in a strong current with 15 knots of wind with black pots which disappear under water with the waves and current. So, as long as you don’t look down too closely and get through the pots it is ideal. But we are still the only boat at a very large anchorage and the sun is out with a light building wind. All in all very positive.

Corsica River

Just off the Chester River and next to Emory Creek. How could we refuse. Well protected and almost empty. Ran down the Chesapeake with a good wind which didn't last very long and we were inundated with flies. Many dead and a few wounded and the battle isn't over yet. They seem to like my ankles. AAAARG!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

39 22.379N 75 55.649W

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What a difference a day makes

We left about 6:30 AM. What had been a 4 foot rip current chop became a 4 inch rip current chop. We arrived in Chesapeake City on the C & D canal just before 6 PM. We are now anchored at 39 31.541N 75 48.439W on Google Earth.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Most dangerous part of sailing

The most dangerous part of sailing is having a schedule, either real as in picking up a crew somewhere at a particular time, or imaginary. For the next week it looks like a NE wind 10-15 with higher gusts coming down the Deleware River. We want the current to be with us, that is flowing north. The combination leads to choppy seas and very slow going. We tried it yesterday. At times we were halted completely by chop. Then the starboard engine overheated. I thought we were going to have to replace the impeller so we went back to harbor with the jib and one engine. Turns out that the strainer was clogged and when it was all cleaned out the engine was working fine. Also cleaned out the port strainer. Cape May is not a bad place to hang out.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On our way

We left Thursday about 4:30 and motored-sailed overnight. Friday the wind came up a little and we were able to handle the jib and main in 10 knots of breeze mostly hobby horsing. We kept the starboard engine on to keep the speed up and got to Cape May about 6 PM. & anchored almost in the channel for the night with lots of large fishing boats coming and going. Sat morning we moved away from the channel only to have the wind shift and pick up with gusts to 30. We ended up pretty close to another boat, even with 2 anchors out. Since we needed to get fuel and let off George Merz we went into a marina and decided to stay for the night.
Florrie has been doing a sterling job of keeping the crew well fed. Pancakes, toast and Salmon omelets for breakfasts, sanwiches for lunch, Salmon one night and a meetball stew the next. It is all good.
Hi All,
Well..."it’s all good" depends on your perspective. I HATE hobby horsing for 26 hours, even on this much more stable boat! Anytime I went below my stomach wanted to stay upside! (Unless I was lying down.) So the reality is, I just plain don’t like off-shore sailing. Give me a calmer Bay anytime.
BUT, that admitted, I am delighted to be in Cape May! It is basically a marsh with channels cut through it. There is a big commercial fishing fleet here and the Coast Guard is aware of everything that comes and goes. It’s funny to hear them radio to some passing boat to put it’s running lights on. Lew & George did a sterling job of keeping this boat going. They both loved all the nautical stuff. I even did a 4 AM - 8 AM watch, all by myself, while they slept. (That is a huge first for me.) Sunrise was truly spectacular, just a smear of hot pink above the long dark arc of the earth. All of a sudden the center of the pink turned orange, then creamsicle orange and a glowing ball burst over the horizon.
This morning as we saw George off to the taxi to get busses back to Staten Island, we watched egrets or small cranes in the marshes by the marina. It is all sky, marshes and boats here. Osprey circle the docks. Seagulls are everywhere, of course. It finally feels like we’re on vacation.
I’m starting a couple of new paintings for the show in Nov. and have to get to it while we’re steady on the dock. Tomorrow, going up the Delaware Bay is going to be difficult for any art.
So that’s it for my two cents. Today it IS all good.
Love to All,

Monday, September 10, 2007

Home to Sassafrass River

Proposed trip without showing stops at Atlantic City and/or Cape May. Click on map to enlarge it.


This is a test of the feature that allows me to post via email. We are still in Keyport awaiting a weather window and final preparations. Gabrielle has passed and we will get a little rain and then it should clear and we could go on Wed.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Here is a FREE program for keeping boat records you can download. The download is in two parts: the original and an update once you have downloaded the first one. If you get a message to load .NET be sure to get the 1.1 version, not the 2.0. ".NET" is from Microsoft and is also free. The program is very easy to use. One issue is that if you want to print a report, the program sets up a preview which, on my computer, doesn't open. However, if you click on it then click "control P" it prints anyway. To get it, click on the title above. One of the best parts of this program are the tide charts. Also the weather faxes work really well and are fast although I haven't been able to figure out how to change them from the Southeast to the Northeast. But they should be helpful when I go south.

While I'm at it, there is also a great FREE forum at with many topics and a crewfinder. This is a non-commercial site so don't expect to find a crewing position that pays. On the other hand, you won't be asked to pay more than a share of the food and your own travel expenses either. This is the time of year that people need crews to go south.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Guess where everyone ended up on the raft? About 7 boats got together on Sunday despite rocking and rolling on Labor Day weekend. We got there about an hour after it was scheduled to begin only to find that we were the first ones there. So we set an anchor and became the center boat. Having the largest cockpit, naturally we became the hangout. Monday was fluke fishing day. George, Ronnie and I managed 3 keepers (NY=19 inches).

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Always something

It's always something. Put the rebuilt starter back on only to find that they reversed one of the connectors and there is no way to connect it. Took off the starter and rewired the connector then reinstalled the starter. Didn't work at all. Reconnected the wires (I had forgotten one) and it fired up the engine right away. While the engine was running and I was doing my happy dance, I noticed the engine room was full of smoke. OH #$%#! Cleared out the smoke and fired it up again while watching it. Turns out the exhaust hose had sprung a leak and was shooting water all over the engine producing steam. Luckily the hose was long enough to reconnect after cutting off the bad part. If course one of the hose clamps broke. Good thing I keep spares. Reattached and seems to be working. All in only 4 hours.
We also started another blog for the longer descriptions of the trips:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I've been working on the port engine starter. AAAAGH! As I recently told a friend, if I die and go to Hell, I will spend eternity as a diesel mechanic. To balance it all:

"If there's one thing in my life that's missing,
It's the time that I spend alone,
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water.
It's kind of a special feeling,
When you're out on the sea alone,
Staring at the full moon like a lover.
Time for a cool change."
- Little River Band.

click here to see a video and listen to the song

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

So we have a problem with birds in the harbor at least close to land. One guy put up a scarecrow. Not to be outdone, this guy put a blow-up doll on the bow. Click on the picture for a better view. If you look real close, there is a seagull on the back of the Bimini.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This is my favorite tool. It is a Milwaukee 1/2" right angle drill (0721-20) with a 28 volt battery. It gets over 1000 in/lb torque which is the highest I could find. I got it from Amazon dot com for $372 and it included the case and a spare battery. It operates, without load, at 400RPM and is reversible so that it operates both speeds of a two speed winch. The bit is shaped to fit into the winch and you can get it on EBAY for about $45. The other bit is square and has a circular post which slips under high pressure. It is only about $20 but I don't recommend it. It also comes with a battery charger which takes one hour to fully recharge the battery. Actually I have used it quite a bit and it is still on the first charge.
With this, my wife can hoist me up the mast, trim any sheet, hoist the sunken dinghy on board, etc. etc. I am told that the electric winch handle you get at the boat shows is less than half as powerful and about $2000. Electric winches, at least for the size I need, are about $3500 apiece and, of course, need to be installed. Thanks but no thanks.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Captain hard at work. I will try to post our position in lat and long so you can go to Google earth, put in the coordinates and there we are. Right now we are at 40 26.388N, 74 11.816W (cut and paste into Google Earth) That is the condo and the boat is in the mooring field...upper left...the only cat there. I can try to put in charts too.

We plan to take off in Sept for a month in the Chesapeake then south for the winter. Anyone know of good cruising spots in the keyes and Bahamas?