June 16, 2002
Well, Alex and I are officially unemployed. For me, it's the first Sunday after my last day at Analogic. First time in my life with no job to go to. This is one of the biggest of the big steps towards a year long sail. Other biggies that are behind us: Alex saying good bye to all her clients and renting her office space, renting the house, having the last big yard sale, and spending the past two winters and springs prepping the boat.
The next two weeks will be spent finishing the boat, (maybe "finish" is too strong a word), getting ready to home school Michelle, closing the house, change of address, the list goes on....
The boat is still all apart, but the woodworking is 98% done and the paint and varnishing have begun. What remains is the conversion from workshop back to boat as I remove tools and materials, and begin to paint and varnish everything both above and below decks. Here is the list of projects.
Thursday July 4, 2002
The boat is launched and we're going crazy packing everything. Alex packed most of the boat before launch since it was far easier to do while the boat was at home. The hard part about packing the house is the need to literally touch (and deal with) every single belonging. This morning I cleaned up the basement shop in preparation for it being a storage unit. Tonight we go to the boat to move more stuff, get cool, have a cookout, and watch Salem fireworks with friends.
Sunday July 21, 2002
The beginning of our trip got off to a slow start with several days spent at the mooring doing errands, moving stuff from the cars to the boat, and just stowing gear on the boat. We were able to do this in stages and by some miracle it all fit! New dishes in the new dish racks, computer and accessories, school books, many parts for unfinished projects, the windsurfer and it’s goodies, sewing machine, and the dodger project, lots of provisions, etc. Plastic bins stow nicely in all the nooks and crannies under berths and cockpit.
The first scramble was to finish the boat and pack it and get it ready to launch on 7/2. Then pack and move the house, then move onto the boat. We moved everything in the house out by Saturday night. We slept at Della’s Saturday night. On Sunday while Denise and Craig were moving boxes in, we were finishing our move out and cleaning the house. We officially moved to the boat Sunday night. It took the rest of the week to move onto the boat, stow the gear, and deal with many land details.
The laptop didn’t return from repair at Dell until Tuesday and so we spent much of Tuesday in the basement transferring files from the home PC to the laptop.
The land details were also many: cancel everything (auto insurance, cable, phone, electric, internet) deal with bank stuff, and finish provisioning.
On Saturday morning we cast off. We motor-sailed via the Annisquam River in Gloucester to York Maine. We stayed at Donnels’ nice dock there and met friends Jeff and Cathy for dinner and fireworks at the York 350 year anniversary celebration. Fun! In the morning Alex and Michelle hoisted me up the mast (on our new self-tailing 2:1 halyard winch!) to adjust the Windex and fix the anchor light.
On Sunday around noon we sailed to Cape Porpoise and anchored there for two nights. Went for a nice walk to town there to check out the native Kennebunkport Republican flora and fauna. Ate the customary first lobster on the dock there.
Next day we sailed the long sail to Boothbay and spent the first night in Hogdon Cove, one of our favorites. While we were anchoring, a local came out to his dock and offered us a mooring. Nice! Next day we picked up a mooring in Boothbay at Carousel Marina, did laundry and shopped Boothbay. Used the internet in the Library. I picked up the 1947 edition of the "New England Cruise Guide" at a used bookstore. Written by Roger Duncan’s dad Robert. About Salem Harbor it reports, “Although Salem is a dirty and commercial harbor, where no yachtsman would wish to anchor, the short bus trip from Marblehead is well worth while. It is a city of great historic interest”. Beverly gets no mention. He liked Manchester-by-the-sea though.
Then to Seal Cove for two nights, then to Port Clyde for a night, then to secluded Long Cove on Vinalhaven for a night, then the sail to Mount Desert.
Sunday July 28, 2002
Yesterday we arrived in Bar Harbor (pronounced Bah Hahbah), the northern and eastern-most point on the trip. We took advantage of strong southwesterlies last Saturday to sail from Vinalhaven Island in Penobscot Bay, 35 miles to Southwest Harbor in Mount Desert Island. On this leg we had what was to be the first of several engine flooding incidents. We stayed in Southwest Harbor three nights and really enjoyed the harbor, the views of the mountains and the town in great sunny weather. Nice sunsets over the mountains.in SW Harbor.Then we sailed up Somes Sound, the only actual fjord on the US east coast and spent two nights anchored in beautiful Somes harbor. The Mount Desert Island Campground borders Somesville and looks like a great place to camp. A highlight was making pizza on the grille (thanks, Joan C!) for the required Friday night pizza-and-video night.
Yesterday we motored the 15 miles from Somes Sound to Bar Harbor. The trip around the east side of MDI passes mountains, many cliffs and huge mansions. We passed a race of International One-Design boats. I consider this one of the prettiest boats made, and there were 18 racing.
Bah Hahbah is definitely one of the better tourist spots with buses, boats, kayaks, bikes, a million shops and restaurants… you name it. Including the excellent internet café that this web page is being loaded from.
Monday July 29, 2002
Yesterday we went into Bar Harbor and took showers! Then we boarded one of the free buses and toured the east side of the island, stopping at a nature walk, Sand Beach, and Thunder Hole. Then back to town for internet access (Michele needed an IM fix) and pizza for dinner.The harbor here is very rolly at night, especially on an incoming tide (which happens to be from 9pm to 3am) so we try to sleep and eventually pass out. Good practice for those less-than-ideal anchorages on our trip.
Monday Sept 23, 2002
Hi and sorry to be away so long. Now that we’re out of Maine we have internet again (Yay!!) and so no excuses not to keep updated.
From Bar Harbor we sailed to NE harbor and hiked the carriage trails on MDI, then back to SW Harbor for a day, then off MDI to Blue Hill Bay and the town of Blue Hill. There we met Ed and Ivana and took on Ivana as crew for about 5 days.
Ed brought our dinghy outboard which we purchased on Ebay and had delivered to his house. Having an outboard on the dinghy meant we could be much more mobile than oars allowed. The currents in Maine where we cruise are generally light despite the 11' tides, so we have rowed for the past 20+ years. But on the trip we expect more currents and to need to make longer dinghy trips. So we got a Yamaha 2HP outboard. It's great.
We sailed to S. Brooklin to visit the Wooden Boat school, then to Bucks Harbor to see Flash in the Pan, the excellent steel drum band.
Then southwest to Rockland to drop off Ivana and meet the Zelenka’s for a day. Then to Pulpit Harbor for a few days, then Barred Islands, Castine, Belfast, and back to Rockland.
We start heading west when we met our new friends Drew, Toni and Jonathan. We were coincidentally heading south at the exact same time and passing Owl’s Head within minutes of each other! So we sailed together to Tennants Harbor and Boothbay, where they introduced us to their friend Elaine who is the lighthouse keeper on Burnt island. We spent a lovely evening there before heading to Casco Bay and South Freeport where. There we met Bethany and Hessel and the kids, then Greg and Joan and the kids, then we picked up Dani for the trip back to Salem. We also spent a few days at the Goslings and at Great Chebeauge islands.
With Dani we sailed to Biddeford pool and thence to Portsmouth where we spent two nights at Prescott park and met Teri, Anna, Emily and Ramsey. Then back to Salem the day before Labor Day where we tied up to our mooring and actually slept ashore for a few nights at Della’s while we got things fixed, reprovisioned, and basically decided that land life was too hectic for us. I drove to Boston for an afternoon to register the dinghy which now has an outboard.
On 9/6 we left Salem for a lovely sail to Plymouth. There was no wind and the entire Mass. bay was absolutely flat water. Off Cohasset, we saw schools of tuna jumping out of the water. Amazing sight. Plymouth is a fun place but on a sunny Saturday afternoon the long trip into the harbor brings new meaning to the term “power boat wake”. There were thousands of boats returning to the harbor. Then thru the Cape Cod Canal to Onset, just south of the Canal. The winds were fairly strong out of the southwest and the transit through the canal was very rough with the winds opposing the currents. Power boat wakes were also incredible there. At Onset on the mainland (west) side of the Canal, we spent a few days resting and waiting for the strong winds on Wendesday 9/11 to pass. Tied to a stout mooring there, all went well. The weather was amazing: 40+ knot winds for 8 hours, with virtually no clouds. We sailed a rough sail down Buzzards bay to Hadley Harbor near Woods Hole for a night and then on to Martha’s Vineyard. We stayed at Oak Bluffs three nights and fell in love with the Vineyard. One day we rented a jeep and drove all over the island. What an amazing place.
Then down Vineyard sound to Cuttyhunk for a night. It was practically deserted this late in the season. Then to Newport where we spent three nights and met up with my mom and Aunt Phyllis. Newport is so cool and Mom and Phyllis had a blast. Then on Sunday we sailed across to Block Island where we are now. We spent two nights here and I went bike riding for a few hours while Alex walked to town for a while. Great island to be a tourist and to bike ride on. We plan to leave tomorrow morning for Long Island sound and somewhere near New London CT in an attempt to make it to NYC by the weekend. Whew!!
Saturday October 19, 2002
We’ve made to the Chesapeake Bay and are back cruising again after many weeks of fighting with the weather.
From Block Island we had a nice sail in fairly heavy seas and winds, downwind past Fishers Island to New London. I was last in New London for the Chris Craft Sailboat Rendezvous and was blown away with the amazing Tall Ships there for Op-Sail 2000. The New London we visited was deserted. We were the only boat in the inner harbor. Between the trains passing 100 feet away every 10 minutes and the depressed downtown of New London, we were glad to leave the next day for a sail. We looked for a place about halfway to City Island (about 40 miles) and came up between New Haven and Bridgeport at Milford. We needed a place to sit out the remnants of hurricane Isadore, and wound up staying four nights there.
As I was signing into the Milford Yacht Club guest log, I noticed the last boat to visit there was two weeks earlier. The dockmaster arrived and was surprised that real live guests had arrived! The people were so very nice there. The harbor is very snug and we had a wonderful time. For me there were two other Chris Craft boats: the Cherokee 32 “Relic” and the Comanche 42 “Bikini”. I met both owners and had nice visits. I met lots of great folks in the Yacht Club including Tom who took me windsurfing on Saturday over at New Haven bay. We had a blast in 25 knot north-westerlies. For Alex, Carol F.V. drove down and visited for two nights and we explored the cute town of Milford. All in all we felt very welcome there.
When the weather settled, we headed for City Island, NY and spent a day watching Long Island Sound get narrower and narrower until we passed under the Throgs Neck Bridge into the East River. City Island is a cool place. A combination of a New York neighborhood with boating stuff all around you. They have six yacht clubs and we picked up a mooring at the funky Stuyvesant Yacht Club. We could see the NY skyline from our mooring.
The next morning we cast off the mooring and headed for the East River. Thru the Throgs Neck Bridge, past La Guardia and Rikers Island Prison, past a huge prison barge (prisoners playing basketball surrounded by razor wire on the top deck), then to Hell Gate where the East and Harlem Rivers meet. Then down the East River, past parks, the UN buildings, under the famous NY bridges, to the 23rd St marina on the East River. Funky place with only a few (Expensive!) slips, few facilities, and minutes from the greatest city in the world!!
We stayed for two rolly nights in the thickest mud ever seen, and had a blast for two days in NY. Bought bus and subway passes, got on the bus and got off when we saw something interesting, then back on. The first day we went to Times Square, Central Park and back down Fifth Avenue. The second day we went to Chinatown, the Village, had a bus tour of Ground zero, watched a TV commercial shoot in the Village, and headed to Broadway for a Show. We saw Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” and were all blown away by the most hilarious play ever!!
The next day we set sail for Sandy Hook New Jersey, about 20 miles south of the city. Down the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge and past South Street Seaport to the Battery, then across to Liberty Island, past Staten Island with lots of ships, both anchored and moving. Under the Verrazano Narrows bridge and then 10 miles south to Sandy Hook NJ, about as unlike New York as is possible. With the remnants of Hurricane Lily coming through we spent four nights there, two calm and two rough. Meanwhile we waited for Tropical Storm Kyle to declare itself, but noooo. It was destined to be the third longest running storm in the Atlantic, Ever!! It sat off Bermuda and churned for three weeks, making every front that passed into 20 knots or more of wind, and churning up 6-8 foot swells all over the Atlantic. And us with 120 miles of unavoidable New Jersey Shore to negotiate.
While we hoped for 48 hours of settled weather to do it all in one overnight, we finally gave up and did 40, 50 and 30 mile day sails, in 6-8 foot following seas and 20 knots of wind. Each time entering and leaving the festive New Jersey inlets in the absolute worst conditions: incoming waves and wins, outgoing tides. We did Ok on the Mannisquam and Atlantic City inlets, with the boat doing fine and the dinghy being towed looking just a bit scary. But entering Cape May was very ugly. The conditions outside weren’t so bad, and so I cut the buoy a bit at the inlet and we found ourselves in 10’ breaking seas. The boat handled them OK but the dinghy was flipped in one second and the painter (towing line) snapped in another. We turned to go around it to inspect it, but in those conditions there was no way for us to save an upside down dinghy full of tons of water. We said a very sad good by to it and faced the inlet. We anchored inside Cape May and called the Coast Guard to let them know a loose dinghy was out there. We began to think of how we could get another dinghy quickly. The Coast Guard called up two hours later to let us know it washed up on the nearby beach!! We had no way to get there and so called up Sea Tow. They went by truck and had our baby back, in perfect condition, by 8pm that night for a very reasonable fee!! Yay!!
Early the next morning we raised anchor in the dark and the rain to pick up the dinghy and motor out the much calmer back side of Cape May via the 5 mile Cape May Canal and into Delaware Bay. It poured all day and well into the next as we motor sailed up Delaware Bay to Delaware City at the east end of the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal. We left at low tide to ride the current, waves, and winds all pushing us up the bay and were pleasantly surprised that the current rode us all the way in, doing 9 knots for the last 10 miles and arriving a few hours early. Many big, honkin’ ships passed us in the Delaware Bay shipping channel.
Delaware City is a neat old town on a 2 mile long, 60’ narrow part of the old C&D canal. Their dock is a mile long in one straight line and the protection is excellent. The people there were great and helpful. The entrance to Delaware City typically shoals up. At low tide we wouldn't have been able to make it in but fortunately when traveling south, both entering and leaving are typically done at high tide to catch the currents in Delaware bay and in the C&D Canal. We stayed for four nights recovering from days of continuous rough sailing in New Jersey and waiting for Tropical Storm Kyle to pass. Meanwhile we rented a car ($15 a night from Enterprise!) and made plans for me to go to Annapolis for the Sailboat show one day and all of us to drive to Baltimore to see Dani and Don Wood for the next day.
The Annapolis Sailboat show was just amazing! I went with Ben Allen and it was great to get a 15 year old sailing addict’s perspective. Annapolis is a very cool place. Baltimore was also great. We went to the National Aquarium which was amazing, and were tourists, having dinner at Crabby Dick’s in the Fells Point area, recommended by our buddies from Milford. Michelle and Dani did hours of non-stop girl bonding and catching up on everything.
Monday October 21, 2002
We Left Delaware City on Monday 10/14, early in the morning to catch both the high tide and the westward current in the C&D canal. A decent but cool day with medium northerly winds for a long sail to Dividing Creek on the Magothy River, just North of Annapolis. We arrived just before sundown to run aground at the mouth of the creek. Using the dinghy to set a kedge anchor and a sheet winch to pull us off worked in a jiffy. We were the only boat anchored in this quiet, protected creek which was good since a nor-easter was planned for the following night. Carol, Ken and Ben Allen live aboard on the other side of Dividing Creek and we visited with them while we were there. Many thanks for the loan of your car! We went to Annapolis for the morning and enjoyed the town very much. Then we provisioned at a real grocery store and got ready for the nor-easter. In Dividing Creek it was beautifully protected and we barely tugged our anchor lines despite the 45 knot gusts happening outside. We had a great dinner with the Allens where we caught up on the last year of life, and headed out on Thursday morning.
By now it is getting cold. At night we need a few more layers to keep warm, and some mornings it was only 40 out. The days warmed up though. We headed thru the bay bridge, past Annapolis, and to St. Michaels on the eastern shore for three nights. St. Michaels is a great little town where we enjoyed the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. I had my first boiled crab and local oysters. Yum! There we also met George and Leslie on Whiskey Dream.
On Sunday we made a long (40 mile) sail south to the Solomon’s Islands. The Solomon’s is a major boating area just off the Patuxent River that serves the DC area. It’s where we’re sitting right now while I type and Michelle and Alex study Ancient History. That’s all for now,
Saturday October 26, 2002
Two days ago we sailed from Solomon’s to Crisfield, MD, a fishing and boat center on the east shore.
Solomon’s was very nice with thousands of slips, and amazing boat resources. We bought material for the up coming sail cover and dodger projects at a local sailmaker. At a marina’s consignment shop I found the Balmar high-output alternator I have been looking for and after a bit of negotiation, picked it up with a regulator for a reasonable price. Yesterday I installed it and wired up the regulator. It went well and now the batteries now get a faster and better charge when the engine is running. Big currents and voltages are your friends. Yay!
We fired up the sewing machine and re-stitched the aging dodger. While the machine was out, I made curtains for the boat from material we have had with us since we launched. The curtains are practice for the sail cover, which is practice for the dodger.
Crisfield is a small fishing town, once the self proclaimed “Seafood Capital of the World”. We tied up to a marina a few days and were one of two boats there. Now we’re anchored in the basin for two nights waiting for the winds to settle on Sunday for a sail south. Only 60 miles to the ICW at Norfolk