The 2010 Sailing Season

January 23, 2011
27° and WNW 19K

Too Damned cold to be sailing!

 
Video made with my new Nikon D7000 camera.

January 5, 2011

Just what I asked for...

Every year at Christmas I say that I am waiting by the door to see my new sailboat come up the driveway.  And every year there is no boat.  This year we were visiting my daughter's family outside Boston so we could spend Christmas with the 2 granddaughters.  I am sure they heard me talk about waiting for my sailboat, but said nothing.  Sometime during the visit Claire, the 4 year old, took upon herself to grant granddad his wish. When we arrived home I noticed on the passenger side of our dirty car this nice drawing of a sailboat done at a height that only a 4 year old could manage. Not exactly the boat I pictured, but a special gift none the less.

 

December 22, 2010
Wind NW 5 knots, Temp 24°

A Sad Winter Sight

The river is frozen in but we hold hope for warmer temperatures and thawed ice.  I am hoping for global warming to kick-in this winter just a bit.

December 21, 2010
Wind NW 5 knots, Temp 24°


The winter Solstice has come complete with the first lunar eclipse on the solstice in over 450 years. 

Now the days will be getting longer and after hopefully a mild winter, we can turn once again to sailing.

December 05, 2010
Wind WNW 25 knots, Temp 36

Brunch with SailNet Friends

Sailing season seems to be over for the year.  We hope that we get the occasional warm day that will allow us to get out, but right now that seems remote. So, to help usher in the Holiday Season we attended Brunch at Deep Creek Restaurant with 3 other couples from SailNet.  It was a festive afternoon and a good time was had by all, we listened with interest as chef2sail told us of his birthday present from his wife, 2 8 minute sessions on the track in Charlotte, NC driving a NASCAR!  Dave told us how he was up to 150 mph. We were all impressed!  Then Eryka told us of her winter plans, a week in San Francisco and then time in Aruba and later time in the BVIs.  Those cruising folks do have creative ideas how to spend winter.  We discussed plans to do another shoot in the late spring, no date suggested yet.


 

 

November 22, 2010
Wind SE 5-8 knots, Temp upper 50s

Sailing with High School Classmates.

Mary and I were joined on this late season sail by Kitzi Taylor of Florida and Barbara Williams of Harwood, MD.  How lucky can we be, joined by old friends and weather was near perfect considering the date?  Kitzi and Barbara have been wanting to go sailing since July and because of schedule today was the day.  Dawn broke with heavy FOG on the Bay and inland as far as our Gaithersburg home.  We were to met at noon and as luck would have it, the fog had just lifted.  We had picked up lunch, Roast Beef sandwiches from bayside Beef and Bull of Edgewater, and after a few minutes were out of the slip and slowly running out of West River.  The temps were cool and the wind was light but we were able to make it out to Thomas Point by 2 pm and back to the slip by a few minutes after 4pm.  I was not expecting many boats but we passed maybe a half dozen only.  Kitzi enjoyed sitting on deck and on the bow.  They were both impressed as we sailed past Thomas Point Lighthouse.  Mary and I had a great time, a sailboat is a nice place to catch on old times with friends.

November 12, 2010
Wind NE <5knots, Temp upper 50s

Any sailing in the late fall is good sailing. With the US back on Standard Time, the sun sets about 5pm this time of year. 

So, with the predictions for Saturday being near 70 we just had to go sailing. 

The day started when we arrived at the slip.  There was costal flooding in the area.  The dock was barley above water. Mary had a hard time boarding, but once on the boat we learned that we had more than 2' higher tide than we have seen before. Just a beautiful day sailing on West River and out into the Bay.  Nothing special, went slow most of the day but we were sailing all the time.  I will take ALL the days like this I can get.  Arriving back at the dock we found the tide was down some but still very high.  The hard part to comprehend was it was just minutes before low tide.

When we finished, just before sunset, we went by Bob Evans Seafood and picked up a half dozen frozen soft shelled crabs and had a wonderful dinner.  Sailing season is coming to a close or at the very least, even if we are lucky, there will be fewer days out on the water.

 

October 25, 2010
Non Sailing Day

I heard back from SpinnSheet Magazine and they will feature one of the Sailnet images from the 9/26 photo op.


Congratulations to Dave on Ausoicious!

 

October 24, 2010
Winds 7-13 knots SW Temp 59°-67°

We awoke before dawn, but one of us didn't want to get up to face the "cold" (about 60° in the cabin), so I made breakfast and cleaned up a bit and went out to make some sunrise images.


After a leisurely morning on the hook, we weighed anchor and sailed out of the Rhodes.  It was nice to visit on old friend
with no powerboats, well, almost none and those around were well behaved and NO water skiers.

 

Mary enjoys the morning sun, but huddles under a jacket to fight off the morning cold.

The local crabbers are still plying the West River for the Bay's riches.  Gulls hovered near by hoping for a handout.

We were passed close by, twice, by the Coast Guard

We set out to cross the Bay and sailed from West River to Eastern Bay #1 and back.

We passed close by Bloody Point and then back to home.


The "new" Poplar Island as it is being reborn.  What was once one of our favorite weekend destinations and then almost completely washed away and is now a historic rebuild project.
For an update on the project check this link.

The season is drawing to a close. But this weekend will be hard to beat as one of the all time great fall weekends.
We will strive for as many more as possible. 

October 23, 2010
Winds 10-14 knots SW Temp 60-65

What a BEAUTIFUL Day on the Bay!
 

Today was the perfect October day. Warm temps (in the 60s) and nice wind, 10-14. We are anchored in Rhode River for the night and plan to enjoy tomorrow too. This is why we keep a boat and can decide to go sailing when the mood suits us. We cooked a nice pot of chili and will have eggs and bacon for breakfast. And now thanks to the magic of my phone, I can tell all my friends what a good time we are having. There will be more fun tomorrow for sure...

If you must see where I am take a look at my SPOT position.
http://www.findmespot.com/mylocation...8232/-76.53348

 

October 15, 2010
Not a sailing day

It isn't often that anyone can see themselves on a Google Map or Google Earth, but now I can.  I was looking at Google Maps of my boat slip and they just posted an image that was captured over the summer.  Instead of the boat being neatly tied in the slip or away sailing it shows the boat pulling out of the slip.  And because I can see smudges around the mast I know who was on the boat that day.  It was taken on July 31st and you can see the 5 of us on the boat.

Ok, I didn't say it was a sharp photo, but you can make out the boat and I can figure who was on board.

 

October 2, 2010
Winds 6-10 knots NE-ENE Temp 60-65

The season has changed, today was fall like weather for sure.  Cool temps and light wind.  But this is Chesapeake Bay sailing at its best.  We left the dock at about noon and motored out of Galesville to the Red #4, hoisted sails and sailed out.  We made a detour down Rhode River and sailed past Camp Letts and past the backside of Little Island and slipped in between Big Island.  We tacked down past what was High Island, but is no longer there and is just low water.  We hadn't sailed around Rhode River in a long time, so this brought back plenty of memories from our early sailing days.  Then it was back out to West River and out to the Red # 2 and we gybed and sailed wing & wing back to Galesville. When we arrived back in Galesville our good friend Don Wagner was shooting photos of us, see below... 

We left for a dinner party with some old friends at 7pm.  A great relaxing day of fall sailing.  Next week is the Annapolis Sailboat show.


Sailing on West River.
Above Photos by Don Wagner.

 

September 26, 2010
Winds <5 knots NE-E Temp 68-70, Light Rain
Rte 450 Bridge across the Severn, Annapolis

So, it was payback time for friends.  I participate on The Chesapeake Bay forum on Sailnet.  A small group there decided we would do a PhotoOp. I volunteered to do the photography.  We met Saturday night for dinner at the Fleet Reserve Club in Annapolis for a get together before the shoot. Thanks to Don and Jaye for their efforts in arranging dinner and for supplying Mary and me with diner. It was good to get together and put faces to screen names.  The special requests for the photos were to shoot nearly straight down on the boats.  But I thought it might be a good idea to shoot some telephoto images as well. So, I enlisted the help of Mike and Don.  We left early on Sunday morning and were on station on the bridge by 9:30am and happily captured several boats that needed to leave early.  We were done by 11am and shot over 600 images.  I suppose the sailors who had fresh images of their boats were happy, but it would have been nice to have some wind and no rain.  We are already talking about the next session.

September 19, 2010
Winds, 4-7 knots NE-E Temp mid 70s

Ok, so September is some of THE best time on The Chesapeake Bay.  Sure the wind is not always blowing like it was for my trip to Baltimore 10 days ago, but the air is clean and not as hot as the summers here are.  I will take 6 knot winds and temps in the 70s anytime.   Today's sail was beautiful and the temperature was a cool 75. temps but the winds were light.  As always we enjoyed all the other boats sailing our home waters.  As we sailed out of Galesville there was just one other sailboat, a Flying Scott, that was actually sailing.  But soon the wind picked up as we approached The Bay and everyone was sailing... we sailed out to our old friend Thomas Point and turned for home.  The Redskins-Texans game was on the radio and at that time the skins were winning (later, after we were back in the car on our way home they lost by a filed goal in overtime).  So we put up with the 2-3 knot winds as we sailed in.  We had a visit from our sailing friend, Joe, in his fishing boat.  We sailed slowly in with a Catalina 30 an Albacore and a gaff rigged catboat. 

Next Sunday, the 26th will find us not sailing, instead we will be on the rte 450 bridge photographing sailing friends from Sailnet/Chesapeake Bay forum.  I will post some pictures here.


On the left our sailor friend Joe and his fishing boat, an Albacore and a Catalina 30  and a gaff rigged catboat all on West River all on West River.

September 18, 2010
Winds, 5-10 knots NE-E Temp Upper 60s

The wife is home from her western trip and sailing was the order of the day.  What a stellar afternoon, just perfect.  We just sailed out of West River and out in the Bay and back. We had a wonderfully relaxing time.  There were plenty of boats out today,  some were note worthy, we sailed near a classic John Alden cruiser (see below) and crossed paths with a sister Catalina 27, Raggdoll.  It was a peaceful and relaxing day.


Mary back from Colorado and sailing was great... we sailed along with this classic Alden sloop and then
crossed paths with Raggdoll, another Catalina 27 and as we turned to head in after the
wind dropped out came the spinnakers, we really liked the one in Maryland colors.

September 9, 2010
Winds, 20-25 knots W-NW

Wednesday evening was windy but cool, we slept well.  Early on Thursday morning with Small Craft Warnings for the Bay and with winds still a blustery 20 knots we decided since we were going down wind to test the waters.  We also decided to alter our float plan, we decided to skip Rock Hall and instead sail to Mill Creek just South of The Bay Bridge.  We set out motoring until we passed the busy inner harbor area.  Once we past Key Bridge we hoisted out Genoa.  We decided to motor because the previous day we had to dodge several tugs and barges and a couple large ships as we entered the harbor, but today we had the harbor to ourselves and the wind.  Under Genoa alone we still had consistent 6-6.5 knots with a max recorded speed of 7.3 knots.  We roared out of Baltimore and as we passed Bodkin Point Shoal we turned more South and continued race down The Bay, passing the same marks we saw the day before.  We made our destination, Mill Creek, by 3:30, and we tied up on Cantler's restaurant for an early dinner.  We were under whelmed by the food.  We had thought about having crabs but at $60 per dozen we changed our mind and had simple seafood meals (steamed shrimp for Mike and I had scallops).  Both were OK at best.  By 4:30 we had finished dinner and decided to head for our old friend, Rhodes River.  We were securely anchored by 8:00.  We were asleep by a bit after 10pm.  After a nice breakfast on the boat we sailed the short miles home on Friday morning.  As we entered Galesville the clouds.  We finished our trip  on The Bay with 4 days perfect weather, cool temperatures and breezy.  We had some great times, brothers can be good friends too.


Mike puts together some images from yesterday's webpage, Aeolus II in Henderson's Wharf & Marina.


Our marina, Henderson's Wharf & Marina on the far right.


Loads of sailboats line the inner harbor.


Old Glory (a somewhat smaller version) flies proudly over Fort McHenry


Fort McHenry

USS Comfort and the Key Bridge

Fort McHenry on the far left and the Frances Scott Key nun where he was onboard
a British Ship September 14, 1814 when he wrote The Star Spangled Banner.


The Frances Scott Key nun (left) close to the Frances Scott key Bridge (right).


Sandy Point Lighthouse with the twin spans of The Chesapeake Bay Bridge.


Sandy Point Light House and me with the lighthouse in the background ad I pass under The Bay Bridge.


Aeolus II approaches The Bay Bridge, Anything Sailing burgee proudly flies...


The twin spans of The Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Whitehall Bay.


Enchanter of the Seas crosses under The Bay Bridge.


Thomas Point, an old friend.  A wonderful sunset on Rhode River, a perfect end to a perfect 4 days sailing The Bay.


A fellow cruiser on Rhode River, my brother Mike at the helm and me.


Galesville, home port and the clouds rolled in, but we had a wonderful 4 days.


Our Thursday Spot Track

September 8, 2010
Winds, AM 10-15 knots S; Afternoon 20-30 knots W

Today started out with light winds.  We had placed a reef in the main in anticipation of heavy air so we shook out the reef and had a glorious romp from The Magothy River to the entrance of the Patapsco River and the entrance of Baltimore.  Then about 11:30 the wind shifted and quickly built to 25 knots.  We again reefed the main and furled the genny in to about 50%.  Still we were taking a brutal beating from high winds on the nose.   Finally a little after noon we lowered all sails and motored  up the Brewerton Channel  and under the Key Bridge.  At times with the throttle at almost full power we barely made 1.5 knots, slow going by any standard.  The spray from pounding into the waves was unrelenting, we were soaked and had to wear foul weather gear to stay warm in the almost 90 degree weather.

As we turned into the Fort McHenry Channel, we passed under the Key bridge at almost 2 in the afternoon.  Shortly after that we passed the Frances Scott Key Star Spangled Banner bouy.  The spot where Key penned our National Anthem, just a mere 195 years, 359 days and 7 hours after he witnessed the flag by the dawn's early light. (see the red, white and blue nunn bouy below). And we passed the famous fort just 40 minutes later, and then turned toward  Fells Point.  Along the way, we passed the USS Comfort (the Navy's hospital ship that was recently deployed to Haiti and other spots.  Also of interest is the USS Brown, one of the last surviving WWII Liberty ships.  We docked at about 3pm and went to a nice little tavern for a hamburger and beer for a late lunch at The Riptide Pub in Fells Point.  We returned to the boat for a much needed shower to wash off all the salt and then a short nap.

Mike's wife Barbara and 2 sons Chris and David and our mom drove to Baltimore to have dinner with us.  After driving around we selected Bertha's Mussels (of the famous bumper sticker fame, "Eat Bertha's Mussels".


We pass the Baltimore Channel light, one of the several tugs we saw on the way to Baltimore, some of the spray we weathered entering Baltimore.



I got soaked  from the spray and the foul weather jacket kept me warm on a very hot afternoon, a car carrier passes us and the Key Bridge, The Frances Scott key Nun.



USS Comfort and Fort McHenry



One of the last Liberty Ships, the USS Brown



Our Spot Track from The Magothy to Baltimore

September 7, 2010
Winds SSE 15-20kts

The start of our sailing trip... we got a late start and then had to shop for groceries and load the boat and bend on the sails.  We pulled away from the dock by 2:45.  Pretty late for what was an ambitious day of sailing from West River to the Magothy River's Deep Creek and the Deep Creek Restaurant.  But our ace in the hole was the wind.  We made record time, averaging about 6 knots over the 20 miles, with a top speed of 8.3 knots by GPS (see below)!  We tied up just about 6pm. and went for dinner.  The Deep Creek Restaurant's special for the night was crab cakes and I have a hard time turning away from those.  So, that's what we had the $19.95 special.  I recommend this out of the way place for it's food.  Oh, did I say the overnight dockage is free is you eat dinner...

Tomorrow we hope for an earlier start, that should be easy... and Baltimore is out destination.

 

Thursday, September 2, 2010
Local wnds predicted to be just 5-20 knots for the area as the storms pass.

With hurricane Earl approaching the area I thought a little music might be helpful...
so I turned to our sailing friend, Jimmy Buffet's "Tryin to Reason with Hurricane Season".  We all know there is no reasoning with hurricanes.  But we have to get through this spell so I can go sailing next week with my brother, Mike as we spend a few days sailing The central Chesapeake.

Today, in the off chance Earl changes course toward the boat, I am heading down to check lines and to remove all sails and the bimini to help reduce windage and possibly save the sails.  Of course the storm is predicted to only to brush the DelMarVa coast.

If you check the map below you will see we have 3 named storms, Earl, Fiona and Gaston and a tropical wave forming.  Things are sure not looking great for the current hurricane season.

 

August 29, 2010
Winds S-SE 5-9 knots, Temp low 80s

Finally, Sailing again...
Sail With Courtney day...

After what seemed like an eternity, we were sailing again.  The roller furler is back from Sailmenders (Shady Side) and I am happy to report she did a great job on budget and and on time (see left).  And we have 3 "new" sails in the locker, not really new but new to us.  A full batten main and a 120 and a 150 both for a roller furler.  The two jibs need a blue stripe before I can fly them but they look to be in pretty good shape.  And the main will be tested soon.

This weekend was the "Sail With Courtney" weekend and we proudly flew our burgee (see above).  It must be difficult to loose a daughter so young to such a nasty disease.  I applaud her father for the courage to challenge the sailing community to share in her memory and to make a decent statement.  I have a young daughter and I wonder how I would have reacted.  We purchased a burgee and proudly flew it this weekend (see above) and will likely fly it more.

Saturday was a very light wind day so Sunday was THE day to sail.  The winds started out very light, but by noon they started to pick up to about 5-9 knots.  We motored out to Parish Creek and set sail and sailed slowly out past the 1A and across The Bay, then we tacked south and then across  the Bay out almost to Bloody Point.  We turned around and headed back about 3:30.  Broad reaching was slow going.  Just as we turned at the 1A the wind picked up to about 8-9 knots and we raced in.  We had a glorious afternoon.  We returned to the slip about 5pm and after a stop at the market for dinner fixings we were home by 7pm.  We crossed paths with 2 tugs and barges as we crossed the Bay.  They seem to me more dangerous than ships, the ships do move fast but they are easy to see, tugs are low in the water and not in the general shipping lanes, they tend to hug the western shore.  We keep a sharp lookout when near the shipping lanes and so far have been lucky to avoid both of the Bay monsters...

August 13, 2010

Not a sailing day...

OK, so it's Friday the 13th... and still no sailing, but getting closer.  The 150 genoa that had the blue UV protection coming loose has been repaired.  I had dropped it off at Sailmenders in Shady Side and for just $120 and not quite 2 weeks it is back in my sail inventory.  I have not had the opportunity to bend it on yet but as soon as I get free time and the weather is good I will go out and put it on and get some sailing in...  it looks like we may get a break on Friday to go sailing, my fingers are crossed.

August 2, 2010

Not a sailing day...

I noticed last Saturday while sailing that my blue trim on my 150% roller furling Genoa was coming un-stitched. Thanks to Tom, Catalina 27, Kiona #1914 who keeps his boat in Shady Side, I was alerted to a sail repair shop near my boat in Shady Side.  I dropped off the sail today at Sailmenders of Shady Side (a very small sail loft but one that seemed friendly and, I hope reliable) and learned that her rates seem reasonable, $60 per hour and likely will be 1-2 hours, I should have the sail back in 2 weeks (I have out of town guests coming next weekend and this does not present any sailing delay to me …  I will report back when I know more. 

 I was surprised to learn some interesting facts about my problem.  My sail has a Blue Trim cover which is a good UV shield, black trim is the absolute best and white is the least protective.  The Sun’s UV rays destroy the Dacron fabric of the sail, so when the sail in wound on the roller furling drum only the blue is exposed to the sun.  I learned 2 important facts, one is that the thread they sew the sail and sew the Blue Trim cover to the sail is NOT UV protected!  So, in just a short time the thread rots and the trim must be re-sewn, which is significantly better than replacing the sail.  So, my problem is a common problem that just shows that the blue protective trim is doing it's job.

Another fact I learned is about half of the sails with a white UV trim are wound backwards and when the threads fail so too does the improperly exposed sail cloth. If this happens the sail mender must cut away the rotted sail cloth and make the sail smaller.  The sail mender was doing just that on another sail when I arrived.  Seems like a costly mistake!

July 31, 2010
Morning Winds SSE 7-12 kts
Temp 77-80

Every once in a long while the gods shine on you... today was just such a day on The Chesapeake Bay!    With recent temps in the record strings of days in the 90s, today's cool temps in the upper 70s was a blessing.  We packed a lunch, Grapes, Ice Water and Roast Beef and Turkey subs and lots of water. We decided to leave home early again, about 8am this time and we picked up our nephews, David and Chris and Chris's friend Christine (David's fiancée, Ariel has left for NJ for school).   After a quick breakfast stop at Panera Bread (a local bread and sandwich shop) and a stop for ice we arrived at the boat about 10 am. We pulled out of the slip to what looked like calm seas.  We motored out almost to Parish Creek on West River and the breeze started to fill in.  We sailed past Tolly Point and ate lunch as we turned to sail back.  The wind picked up to about 12 knots as we reached West River. 

As you can see, David, seemed to enjoy the Perch Seats, and Chris & Christine enjoyed the time on the bow.  Today was a beautiful day and a perfect day to sail on the Bay, our little day was about 20 nm.  After we returned and buttoned up the boat we went to Pirates Cove for drinks and finally home by about 7pm.  We are both tired but feeling great!

We noticed that the blue trim seemed to becoming unstitched, I took the sail down and will find a sail maker to fix the problem.

Christine & Chris Chris relaxing on the bow David on the perch seats

July 25, 2010
Morning Winds W 5-8 kts
Afternoon Winds W 12-16 kts
Temp 88-96, Squall late
 

The weather forecast was a heat advisory with severe thunderstorms.  We had 2 more high school friends that wanted to go sailing so, we decided to go early.  Mary & I went left for the boat  at 6:40am.  After stops for cash at the bank, some ice and water at the Edgewater Giant and lastly gas we arrived at the boat about 8:20.  I spent a short time mounting the new portable head and a bit of cleanup after last weekend's squall.

We were ready to push out by 9:30 just as our friends, Albie, a Baltimore lawyer and Chris, a San Diego sailing enthusiast arrived. Albie is perhaps my oldest friend, we attended the same elementary school together some 50+ years ago. We have drifted apart, but a good friendship is easy to reignite, today was perfect for that. Chris was a high school friend also and is an active member of the Dana Point West Yacht Club.  Her specialty is racing  but she seemed to enjoy the change of pace of more casual sailing here.

 The morning winds were forecast to be light and variable from the West and they were just as predicted.  After a nice reach out the Galesville channel we turned to an almost dead run out of the river.  After what seemed like an eternity, we cleared the Green 1A we had a better time on a broad reach to Bloody Point. We did experience some dead spots while sailing across The Bay, but the company was good and the Bimini offered some protection from what has become a killer sun.  Both Albie and Chris took turns at the helm while I relaxed.    With frequent bottles of water we survived the excessive heat.

As forecast, the winds picked up to 12-15 knots shortly after noon and our speed jumped from 1-3 knots to 5.5+ knots even though we were beating. After about 4 hours we decided to turn around and sail back in hopes of missing the squalls predicted.  We had an early lunch of an assortment of sandwiched, roast beef and turkey that Chris brought.

My rule of thumb is to be off The Bay before 4pm when bad weather is forecast. So after dodging a fast moving freighter in mid Bay we made for the Green 1 A again.  After tacking several times into West River we finally made the Galesville Anchorage and dropped sails and motored into the slip.  I started getting he boat put away while the other 3 made a dash for Pirates Cove and cold drinks.  I am used to doing my own tying up and lashing the sails down and putting on the sail cover.  It is easier to do it myself than try to explain to someone else just how I want it and then watch to make sure it is done that way, so I didn't mind be left to handle the cleanup.  Just as I was finishing I noticed the clouds darkening in the West.  I hurried to finish and gathered all the gear to take home.  I opened the car and stowed the gear and hopped into the driver's seat just as the sky opened up.  Last week's storm seemed to have more rain, but this squall had more wind.  I was glad to be safely tied up for the day and not being caught out like last weekend.  I glanced at my watch and it was 4:05, just as I have always said, if you are off The Bay before 4pm you will likely be safe, and I was just that. Some summer squalls come early; but the majority are late arrivers.I drove the short run to Pirates Cove to learn that a tree had fallen on our waitress's car and taken down the light line as well.  The result was drinks were just fine, but no dinner at the Cove was to be had tonight.  I opted, in honor of the storm clouds, to have a "Dark & Stormy", it just seemed appropriate for the day.  After we finished drinks we elected to head for the Green Turtle in Edgewater for an early dinner.  We talked and talked and finally we left.  It was a very hot day but a good time was had by all.

July 18 2010
Winds W 8-10 kts Temp 88-90, Squall
Another day on The Bay with an old friend

Yesterday was a HS "Rconnection Picnic" for the Wheaton HS Class of 67, this was like an unofficial reunion.  As like so many of these events I made connections with old friends.  Today Steve Ellis of Tucson, AZ accompanied me for a day of sailing.  We slipped the dock lines by 2pm and made a slow run out of the river. By 4pm we were in The Bay and decided to turn around, Steve needed to be back to New Carrolton Metro by 6:30.  After several brisk tacks in a half an hour later we ran into a small squall.  The wind was about 25-30 knots and the rain was cold and horizontal.  Steve didn't seem to mind, enjoying all the experiences The Bay had to offer.  We waited until the rain stopped and tied up the boat and left just in time for Steve to make his deadline for the soccer game at RFK stadium.  Another fun afternoon with an old friend.

July 15 2010
Winds NE-E 8-10 kts Temp 88-90
A day on The Bay with an old friend

Sometimes the best place to catch up with an old friend is a sailboat.  Greg, a high school friend was in town for family and a HS reunion picnic.  Sailing seemed like a good time to catch up those so many years. So, in spite of the reported high temps and no wind we set out and found that The Bay obliged with not so hot afternoon with pleasant winds.  We sailed past Thomas Point lighthouse to the mouth of the Severn, and back to the slip in about 5½ hours.  Greg, a retired City of San Francisco arts director who recently relocated back to his old college town, New Orleans, seemed at home on a sailboat.  We talked about some favorite topics, theatre, books and food and our all time favorite topic, grand children.

It was amazing that in the entire afternoon we only crossed paths with 2 other sailboats. That seemed pretty amazing for a beautiful afternoon of sailing.

We finished the day with a pleasant dinner at Pirates Cove and had their special soft-shell crabs stuffed with crab-imperial and topped with a cheese sauce and baked.  That left us all wishing they had just simple soft-shelled crabs.  The mix sounded good but was over the top with just too much. 

Saturday brings us to our unofficial high school reunion picnic, perhaps some other classmates with be sailing with us this week.

 

July 3-10 2010
Our Family Vacation, Martha's Vineyard, MA
Temps ranged from lower 60s at night to high 90s in the day
(we had one stifling day of 97)

Just because I own a sailboat doesn't mean I get to take all my vacations on the boat.  This year my adult daughter wanted to go someplace close to home (my 2 granddaughters don't like road trips at almost 2 and almost 4) so we decided on a nice house in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard.  The house was on the water overlooking Vineyard Harbor and I had quite a view! (see below).

The view was a sailor's dream with boats of all sizes and descriptions coming and going.  The surprising, to me, was the large number of gaff rigged boats.  There were plenty to be seen, unlike my beloved Chesapeake.  We had little day-sailors and up to large commercial schooners available for day trips and sunset cruises. I am sure glad I took my spare binocs, cause they got a workout when I found idle time to sit on the deck (behind the house, not the floating kind).  An assortment of the different boats can be seen below.  I have to say that I was a bit taken by the general size of these boats.  Most could be divided into two distinct categories; day-sailors and cruising boats (small and large).  I even saw a boat I have only seen in pictures, the 30' International Shields one design (lower right).  It was heading out for a Saturday club race in Edgartown as I ate lunch.

I spent most of the week thinking that a boat like my little 27' Catalina would never be seen on these waters.  But then on my last day, when visiting Oak Bluffs for lunch we went by marina basin and there was a Catalina 27 anchored as proud as could be.

Friday June 25th, 2010
Temps in upper 80s Winds 5-10  SE

With a heat wave putting a lid on mist outdoor activities in the Chesapeake Bay region for a week and record temps at 100° on Wednesday, when the temperatures dropped below 90° we decided to go sailing for a few hours.  So, after a few hours of morning work we set out.  A couple stops and we were able to leave the slip by 2:15.  We set sail just out of the slip and sailed out past 1A and headed east.  At about 4:30 The powers that be on the boat decided it was too warm so we turned to sail back.  We were half way between Rhodes River and the turn toward Galesville when a call came over the radio for the Coast Guard.  A message that was very loud and clear but the voice showed signs of stress. The captain said he was on a sailboat at the entrance to West River, we had just passed that a few minutes earlier.  The accident was a cigarette boat had hit a jet ski and the driver of the jet ski was bleeding badly in the water.  The captain said, "we need a helio immediately!"  The time was 4:56.  I turned and started to tack back out, keeping to the northern shore so as to stay out of the way of rescue craft.  The sailboat who hailed the CG and the cigarette boat and a second jet ski were all gathered close together between Rhode River and Parish Creek .  A few minutes later a CG RIB arrived as well as an Anne Arundel Fire boat.  And shortly later, just 18 minutes form the first call a MD State Police Helicopter was circling overhead.  A few minutes later the TV helicopters started to arrive.  The State Police helicopter found a place to land just off Rhode River. And then the CG Rib started toward Rhode River with the victim on board. At 5:40, about 45 minutes after the first call the State Police helicopter lifted off on their way to the hospital.  The last I heard he was in critical condition in Baltimore, I sure hope he pull through.

Lessons learned, a sharp lookout is paramount at all times!  It is refreshing to know that help is a radio call away, and it seems that 15-20 minutes is the  minimum time required to wait even with perfect weather.

After the sailing we looked for someplace different for dinner.  We drove through Deal looking but all the places were either too crowded or not what we had in mind.  By 7:30 we were back in Edgewater and found Fuji, a Japanese Steak House.  Mary had a nice portion of Hibachi Shrimp and I had a Sushi & Sashimi combination.  The dinner was great but a bit high priced for a regular venue, dinner for 2 was $75 including tip.  We drove home and were there by about 10:30. 

 

Friday June 18th, 2010
Temps in 70s Winds 5+  SE

After a busy late Spring with weddings, holiday weekend with the grand kids in Boston and a special Anniversary getaway weekend I finally was able to go sailing for the first time in almost a month. It was so good to get back on the water even for just a few hours.    Work was starting to get in the way but we managed to get out of the slip by about 4pm.   The winds were light, about 5 knots, but very pleasant.  We sailed for almost 4 hours, it was a great time.

Pictured here are the Ospreys who have built their nest on the West River Red #2, a proud pair standing guard for my river.  And as we sailed in we passed the boat above we both enjoying the splendid afternoon.

Saturday would have been a great day for sailing again, but alas, it is the annual DC Soap Box Derby and another photo assignment.  If you want to see my efforts (all done while proudly wearing my Catalina 27 Cap of course) can be seen at www.dcsoapboxderby.org .  Sunday is Father's Day in the US and we have planned a crab feast at the boat, but as I write this early Sunday morning the plans are shifting to indoors (temps are predicted upper 90s), so no boat today! 

 

Friday May 21st, 2010
Temps in 70s Winds 5-10 SE

Oh WHAT A DAY!  The winds were forecast to be 0-5kts, so we decided to try some fishing.  My brother, Mike was with Mary and I today. I stopped by K-Mart and dropped a Grant ($50) for a boat fishing license.  Then we went by Bayside Beef & Bull to picked up 3 Roast beef sandwiches (this is THE best, THE cheapest and THE fastest lunch anywhere).   Then we stopped for gas at the local Shell station, it seems that Giant food store and Shell have some summer marketing campaign that gives you a discount and because I spent $300 I got a 30¢ per gallon discount.  The tank on the van was near empty so after 25 gallons of gas and the discount on our bill was $7.50!  We went by the bait shop and picked up some worms and then ...

On to the boat ... we filled the gas tank and took off the sail cover and noticed a nice breeze on West River.  We motored out of the slip and put up the sails.  After a short run out of the river we turned to head toward The Bay.  Then we noticed another Catalina 27 motoring toward us.  As they came up close we exchanged waves and small talk, the boat was RaggdollRaggdoll's crew was husband and wife and a small child.  We sailed on together for a few miles or so and then we heard the cries of the small  crew.  Raggdoll, waved and turned back to West River and hopefully more peaceful water.  It is always fun to sail with another Catalina 27, fair winds to our new friends on Raggdoll.

We sailed on out past the West River number 1 marker (us old-timers still think of it as #73), my brother Mike has always wanted a set of Stern Rail seats (perch seats and they are advertised), so this spring I bought a set of these seats and Mike made the first sail with them.  I think he enjoyed them (see right).  MIke likes to be close to the wind and feel sailing.  When he has a Seafarer 22 and someone else was on the helm he would stand at the bow pulpit in front of the sail.  So, now in his (our) old age, he sits on his perch!

We tried some fishing, remember we went to the bait shop so we had to try our luck.  After several passes we had no hits and reeled it in and headed back to the slip.  The temps seemed to stay at a constant 72 degrees and the wind was nice constant Even that was a very rewarding sail, with winds at a constant 5-10 knots we were able tack all the way back to our little cove and ran the engine just a few minutes. 

As I said, OH WHAT A DAY!

 

 

Friday May 7th, 2010
Temps in 60s Winds 15-25 SE

This was one of those Fridays, appointments and work filled morning and then a glimmer of free time in the afternoon meant we had to see if we could squeeze a few precious hours of sailing.  The weather forecast was rain for Saturday and Sunday is Mother's Day for sailing is out.  We set out and made a quick stop for a late lunch in Bowie (Panera Bread)  and then right to the boat.  I noticed a brisk breeze on the water so I figured it is easier to shake out a reef than to put one in later, so I reefed the main.  Out we went.  At first, as we ran downwind out of the river I thought the reef was just too cautious. But after we turned the corner and reached out to the main body of West River the wind picked up and by the time we passed the red #2 we were flying along at about 6+ knots.  By the time we were within  half mile of Thomas Point we came about and turned for home.  The wind was still building and we would round up under the gusts.   After we passed Parish Creek and well within the lee of Shady Side shoreline we lowered the main and furled in the Genoa.  Then it was a quick drive back to the slip.  We were both beat, but it always feels good sailing.  Mary likes out new winches (Lewmar 30ST) and she was able to crank in sheets, the 2nd speed helped in today's high winds.


Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Temps in 60s Winds 8-10 NE-SE

A Beautiful Sailing Afternoon

So, with the weather forecast to be rain for the next week, Mary & I decided to sneak off for an afternoon sailing.  Boy was it the right decision.  The wind and temps were just on the barely warm side and the wind was barley enough, but it was glorious! My friend Don, skipper of Der Baron, a C&C 35, that is near by was oh so kind and took  some photos of the boat under sail, thank you Don! 

We arrived at the dock about noon after our usual lunch at Bayside Beef & Bull.  It was an opportunity to try out our new Self Tailing winches (Lewmar 30ST) see photo at right.  After a few tacks we were able to get the art of releasing the sheets down and it was easy.

We sailed out of the river and into the main channel of West River.  On one tack we took a side trip all the way into Rhodes River down past Camp Letts and then we turned and sailed back out into West River and out into The Bay. 

A little after 4pm the wind started to die, so we cranked up the engine and made it in about 5:30pm.  Mary met up with Don and he gave us the CD of images.  Don was excited to also include photos of his Osprey (on a nest in back of his house) that were enjoying Spring in a family way.  More Osprey chicks to follow we hope.

So, with warmish temps and a nice breeze we set out and sailed for about 5½ hours.  After buttoning up the boat we headed over to Pirates Cove for a nice fish dinner. Simple and tasteful is the only way to describe Broiled Rockfish (that is the local name, the rest of the world call it Stripper or Stripped Bass).  Speaking of Rockfish, here in Maryland this is the Trophy Season for the fish and the radio was filled with reports of 32", 36" and even a 44". I have to go spend the $50 for a boat fishing license so we can get one of those big fishes.

 


The photos Aeolus II & Osprey courtesy of Don Wagner.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
Temps in 60s Winds 8-15 SE

No sailing, a work day.

Thanks to my brother, Mike, today was a great work day on the boat.  I had ordered a pair of Stern Rail Perches and had a pair of Lewmar St 30 2 speed self tailing winches.  I was worried about the removal of the old winches which I don't think had ever been removed and maybe not ever cleaned.  This was surprisingly easy to remove the old Lewmar 10 (single speed) chrome number one winches. There was only a very thin split ring sitting in a slot to hold them together.  Once the ring was pried open the then carefully removed, the winches came apart easily. No springs lost not parts in the water, we even kept ALL the screws and and washers and nuts!   Then a quick cleaning of the old surface and filling the old holes with epoxy (packing tape covering the bottom) and a nice new backup boards (there were none on what was most likely the original installation) and nice new longer screws (the accommodate the backup board).  The entire job start to finish was under 2 hours plus the 2 hours to run to West Marine to get the new screws.

We also installed a pair of Stern-Rail perches (seats).  That was pretty easy and straight forward. Of course the weather forecast is for rain next weekend...  I promise pictures for of the new seats and new winches on the next sail.  It is a good feeling to get some new hardware installed... a few more projects remain.

 

Sunday, April 12nd, 2010
Temps in 70s Winds 8-15 SE

FINALLY, Sailing!

After what can only be described as a setback, cracked ribs and all, we are finally sailing again.  Today's outing was ever so brief, we were out just 3½ hours.  The time was fraught with small problems.  We quickly scrubbed down the bird poop and ran the engine to charge batteries and I unfurled the main and got the dock lines ready to cast off.  With the admiral on board we set out. We motored out a few hundred yards and I began setting the main.  But since we had set up the Bimini it was hard to see the main as it went up and of course one of the battens got hung up on one of the jack lines.   I lowered a few feet and started again, this time another batten got tangled.  So I lowered the Bimini so I could watch the sail and keep it free.  With Mary driving and heading into a nice 8-10 kts of wind and then the engine dies.  I restarted it and began to raise the sail again.  The engine dies again: sheer frustration, half a sail up and now bearing off I tried without success to restart the engine. OK, this is a sailboat so we bore off and allowed the sail to luff and raised the main to the top of the mast.  Now we could actually sail, with n o engine, I was a bit worried about venturing too far from the gales anchorage so we tacked a few times under main alone (this boat sails fairly well under just main).  I wasted some 15 minutes to allow the engine a chance to breathe a bit in case it was flooded.  But still it would not start!  I then checked to see if there was gas in the tank and to my surprise there was none showing on the dipstick (this is an outboard).  I poured in the small emergency 1 gallon can we keep on board and BINGO, it started and ran just fine. After motor sailing for about 15 minutes to charge the batteries after many attempts to start the engine earlier we unrolled the Genoa and cut the engine.  Out of the river we flew, wing & wing.  We gybed over the main and our speed picked up and turned as we past the Red number 4 and turned onto a close reach.  We were speeding along but without the GPS our speed is only a guess at 5.6 kts.  We sailed out to the Red number 2 and turned to come in.  By then the wind had picked up to 15+ knots and we were  a bit over powered (full main and full 150) but we continued on with weather helm a bit hard. After we crossed behind the lee of Curtis Point the wind dropped enough to let us step out at some real speed (6+ knots?).  We sailed back to the Red number 4 and rolled in the Genny and lowered the main as we motored into the channel and the wind.  After a short trip in we were tied up in the slip again.  As the sun set, we buttoned up the boat and then it was off to dinner at Pirates Cove for some simple fish dinner. 

Other than running out of gas this was an uneventful first sail, quite pleasant.

Friday, April 2nd, 2010
The first HOT day!  Temps in upper 70s Winds 5-10 SE

My Worst Day on the Boat EVER!

I have never had a day like Friday (4/2).  Here on The Chesapeake Bay the weather was outstanding, our first day with temps in the 80s.  A perfect day to make my first sail of the season, or so I thought.

After some last minute work and it was off to the boat.  I had loads of "stuff" to carry to the boat.  I loaded up for the first trip carrying a duffel bag and camera in one arm and the boat's silverware box and a new box of flairs for the season. No hands for me.

This was my first glimpse of the boat after spending 3 days cleaning the deck and cabin over the last 2 weekends  and it was that glimpse that left me in agony.  The birds appreciated my cleaning efforts and found a new home on the starboard side of the boat which is covered in bird poop.  I have to find a way to scare off the birds.  And now I have to re-clean the boat, damn birds.

I had left the lifeline gate down, so while balancing all the stuff I was carrying, I stepped on the boat and turned to step into the cockpit.  Somehow, and I don't know exactly what happened, I tripped or stumbled and fell into the cockpit finally ending up with my butt on the cockpit sole and my back bouncing hard against the corner of the port seat.  It knocked the wind out of me and at first I thought I had beckon something.  I sat for a minute or two (the wife was still in the car and missed the ballet) to regain my composure and breath.  I used the main sheets to pull myself up to the seat.  I fully expected to have broken something or maybe to see a pool of blood, but no such luck. 

I sat there regaining my breath and feeling like I had been kicked by a mule.  My left side really hurt and left arm hurt too.  I decided not to go sailing just as a precaution if something was really wrong.  I texted my daughter (the Doctor) and asked her what might be wrong ... she rattled off a list of possible serious problems but my symptoms didn't point to anything beyond maybe a cracked rib. So, after a time of rest, I managed to head home... not my best day of sailing.

Two days later finds me still in agony, surprising, no bruises but I am really sore.  So, maybe I will be up for sailing soon, I have to feel better.  At least nothing is broken except maybe my ego. Thank goodness there are no pictures or worse yet video, something good came my way Friday! 

Saturday, March 27th, 2010
Cool temps 40s


Mostly cleaned for Spring.

More cleaning, some on deck and mostly in cabin.  I am hoping the temps will rise enough to actually go sailing in the next week. The long range weather is for temps in the upper 60s this week, so MAYBE we can get out for a day.  The water was WAY up at the dock today, maybe up 18" more than normal.

The 2009 Sailing Season Visits


Thank you all for your time and interest in my website. 
I have always been amazed at how many places have come to visit, I only hope you feel your effort was worth the visit.

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

SPRING!
What a glorious day, temps in the 70s and a light breeze...

I spent the day cleaning the boat. Not fun, but is good to spend any time on the boat even if it does involve scrubbing and boat soap. After many stops; breakfast, West Marine, gas we arrived at the boat around noon.  I spent the next 6 hours cleaning the deck and cockpit.  I ran the engine to charge the batteries and it worked well.  seems to be pretty topped off now, and ready for some sailing.  I still need to spend a day cleaning the inside, but that will wait for another day.  We had a delightful dinner (steaks on the portable grill) and then we discovered car problems... well, I won't go into that on a sailing blog, but it did put a damper on the fine day.

Sunday March 15th, 2010
Daylight Saving Time has arrived and Spring is just around the corner.

After a cold rainy and very windy weekend I thought it a good idea to just make a check on lines etc (I had a line badly chaffed over the winter).  The water was way up and the boat is very dirty, but other than that she is fine.

 

The time has come to make the switch to a new sailing season.  I hope you will find this filled with fun adventures with family and friends as the days tick off on the calendar.

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