Monday, July 31, 2017

Rondout Light

Nothing prepared me for the size of the Hudson River including having lighthouses like this one built way back in 1838 and adjacent to my anchorage here in Kingston, New York.

Lots of people out today enjoying the day including these two on a J22 named Little B.

I am travelling north to Catskill today to have my mast un-stepped at the Hop-O-Nose Marina.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Maid of the Meadows

So I am heading north towards Albany, NY yesterday and I turn a corner and there is a huge wide open space with what looks like a house stuck in the middle! I quickly check my charts and it turns out that there are mud flats all on the westside of this lighthouse they call Esopus Meadows. It was first constructed in 1839 but destroyed by ice, rebuilt 1871 and is the last wooden Lighthouse on the Hudson River.

Even though I carried the tide with me yesterday, there was a very uncomfortable headwind that was so bad, it had me hand steering for some of the way because my autopilot couldn't cope. My face has so much sun and wind damage at the moment and combined with the fact that the tide doesn't change until 4pm with still more headwinds, I think I will have a day of rest. My plan is to get up early tomorrow at 5am and catch the tide 20 miles north to the Hop-O-Nose marina where I will have my mast un-stepped. The bridges along the Erie canal only have a clearance of 19 feet so I will have to drop my mast this side and have it raised again before I get to Georgian Bay in Lake Huron.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

NYC to West Point

I caught the tide yesterday up the Hudson River and I was amazed by how quickly the city disappeared.
Small clusters of homes in beautiful lush hillsides became the norm. There are train tracks on either side of the river with fast commuter rail on the east bank.
There were so many trains passing by that I have enough to do a train video and for those that are interested, like my grandson, I will post to my YouTube channel after I update my  blog. Here it is here.

I passed West Point Military academy at dusk.
And had a gorgeous sunset just before I dropped the anchor.
But I am getting ahead of myself and going back to NYC, here is Ellis Island, the famous entry point for US immigrants.
And if you want to live in NYC for free, buy an old sailboat like three young enterprising guys in the anchorage.
The Intrepid sea, Air & Space museum on 46th street looked impressive.
Here is the FDNY in front of ground zero.
The Indian Point Nuclear Energy Center.

Friday, July 28, 2017

New York City

When I first heard about the fact that you could anchor behind the old green girl, it made me think that it had to be one of the top 5 things on my bucket list. Totally awesome, but along with it was going UNDER the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
And how about being a tiny sailboat in amoung all these GREAT big ships.
There was a yachting regatta going on in the harbor that I had to weave through as well.
Not to speak of all the ferry boats.
And finally, all by it's lonesome just before the bridge is the West Bank Lighthouse.
But really and truly, the most spectacular sight is the view of downtown Manhattan.
I am catching the 10am tide north on the Hudson River today and hopefully will see West Point.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Enroute from Cape May to NYC

No thunderstorms and an end uneventful trip so far which is the way I like it.
Interesting to see how the coastline changes between Cape May and Sandy Hook
That was Atlantic City last night with the Trump Tower unlit and this next one is the north New Jersey shore. Beautiful isn't it?
I'm hoping to anchor behind the Statue of liberty later in the afternoon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Leaving today for NYC

A weather window has opened up this afternoon for me to get to New York so i plan on leaving with the turn of the tide at noon.

I woke up this morning and was surprised to see that good friends on s/v Destiny had pulled into the anchorage in front of me. One of the best things about cruising, is that you can travel all over the Caribbean including Cuba and have good times with friends that also show up in other places.

I wanted to put down into words my experience with 3 separate thunderstorms over the past 3 days, while they were still fresh in my mind. The first was while I was actively sailing, the second while I was motoring and the third was while I was anchored. I have had many experiences with squalls over the years while sailing, some bad while others were manageable, and if you are a boater for long enough, eventually you will run into these things. I must say that thunderstorms were in the weather forecast and I knew ahead of time that there was a good chance that I would encounter a storm or two however I had underestimated the ferocity of the conditions when they arrived. I want to add that I have no photos of the conditions, partly because I don't like taking my electronics out in the weather, but more importantly, because I was too busy concentrating on handling my boat.

The first storm was near the mouth of the Chesapeake and it was a doozy. I was lucky that it did not happen a couple of hours later when it got dark, or near the bridge because I couldn't control the direction of the boat even if I could see more than 50 feet in front of my bow. Because I had the internet, I could see it coming on the radar, in fact I had just dodged another one an hour earlier. In hindsight, I should have sought the safety of an anchorage, which was what I had originally sought to do, but I felt confident after escaping from the prior storm. I also thought that the combination of one reef in the mainsail with my staysail to balance the boat would be good to handle the conditions. Boy was I ever wrong. I had 50-60 knot winds for what seems like the longest hour of my life with torrential downpours and lightning. I let out both sheets and steered towards the wind because I was on a lee shore and ran the engine to keep the boat from being broadside to the waves. The sails and rigging got a good flogging and you have to marvel at the strength of any boat that can be thrashed with seemingly zero damage.

The second storm was south of Ocean City, Maryland, out about three miles from the coast. Again I had the internet and thank goodness too because it was fast moving. There would not have been enough time for me to get my sails down, if I had not known ahead of time from the radar. Even the marine weather warning on my VHF, which is really loud by the way, was barely 5 minutes beforehand.  This time I wasn't taking any chances and I dropped all my sails and just motored. Again I headed up, lying about 50 degrees away from the wind so that I wouldn't get broadside to the waves when they built. This time I had white out conditions again but it only lasted 20 minutes or so.

My third storm was here in Cape May, where I am anchored directly outside the USCG training station. It was midnight when it hit, but I had been wakened an hour earlier by my anchor alarm going off and saw it on the radar so I got myself ready. I buttoned down the boat, got my foul weather gear on and started the engine. I had my 45 pound Manson supreme with 120 feet of chain and 2 snubbers which fortunately held. The wind was blowing me towards the rocky shore about 50 yards away and I had a 2 knot tidal current running sideways to the shore. I put the engine into gear and idled into the wind at the height of the thunderstorm.

All in all, I can thank my lucky stars that nothing happened during any of these events and I have learnt a valuable lesson in not taking any storm too lightly. I need to respect Mother Nature and listen more closely to the meteorologists. More than anything else, managing storms is all in the preparation.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cape May, New Jersey

Came up from Ocean City yesterday and had a very pleasant voyage. For about 10 miles up the coast, there was a beautiful beach with lots of people enjoying their summer vacations. If nothing else, this cruising lifestyle has taught me lots of geography. I have to admit that I had never even heard of Ocean City before, but plenty of others obviously had. When I reached Cape May on the other side of the Delaware basin, it was just the opposite with hardly anyone on the beach.
I motored into port, putting down my hook just before a gorgeous sunset.
There are northerlies in the weather forecast over the next few days, so I will stay here and let them pass before heading to NYC.

In the meantime here is a video of my sail from the Chesapeake.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Moving on

The anchorage here in Ocean City Maryland is not the greatest with jetskis and lots of traffic. I'm the only one here and I think that I can make the cape May Anchorage by nightfall. And good wind for sailing finally. Wednesday and Thursday are no go days because of the wind from the north.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Made it to Ocean City, Maryland

After getting beat up by yet another thunderstorm this afternoon, I decided that enough was enough and I pulled in to wait out the Stormy conditions. They are supposed to disappear Thursday.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Leaving from Reedville

Saying goodbye to my very best friends Walt and Mary.
My new to me light air Genoa is ideal for these conditions.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Provisioning for leaving

I'm getting ready to push off Saturday for New York. It is a little late to be starting the great loop and there is no way that I am going to make Demopolis by the end of hurricane season so I have resigned myself to pulling the boat out and winterizing it somewhere along the way, I am not going to go down that horrible Delaware, but am headed to Norfolk down the Chesapeake which is the shorter way anyway. Today I am planning to fill several jugs with diesel to top up my tanks, get some ice and last minute salads.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Launching the new genoa

The wind was light enough first thing in the morning to raise the sail safely to check it out and see if it fitted okay.

Weather window looks possible for Saturday for heading north.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Back home

I arrived back to the boat yesterday and am getting ready to let go the dock lines once more. The boat had a faint odor of "old boat" with a couple of cups of water in the bilge which wasn't that bad considering I have been gone for 4 weeks. Weather doesn't look ideal for the next few days for going north to New York but something will come along.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Captain's license

I have decided to study for a Captain's license for boating. I really have no interest in working again but I must say that I have had such a great time with the delivery of friend's boats lately that I would be up for doing more. What made me think of getting it was a conversation with a captain in Annapolis who said that I could be taken to court by an insurance company if anything went wrong on a voyage. From what I gather, the Captain's license protects you from this. So anyway the downside to all of this is that I have to go back to school!!!!!! I thought that I had seen the last of a classroom 40 years ago. Anyway I purchased a new Nook from Barnes and Noble and downloaded the $17 complete study guide on it.
When I first heard that I could be sued, my first reaction was that I would not do any more boat deliveries, but after I considered what it would take, it is not that big of a deal. Ok it costs several hundred dollars and I have to study for the test but exercising my brain is not a bad thing and I have plenty of time when I am cruising to study for the test. From what I can see, there are 3 aspects to conquer. One is the experience, which in my case is cruising on a boat full time for 4 years and a lifetime of boating. Secondly understanding the "rules of the road" when it comes to boating, and reading this book will hopefully reinforce what I already know. And finally memorizing all the answers to the questions that they ask in the exam.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Video of my sail from Annapolis Maryland to Penobscot Bay in Maine

I'm enroute back to my boat in the Chesapeake after sailing to Buck's Harbor in Maine and in the meantime, I put together a short video of my sail.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Favorite things

When I am on someone else's boat, there are some things that I really appreciate. Such was the case over the past week when I sailed from the Chesapeake to Penobscot Bay in Maine. Here are 4 things that stood out.
1. Binoculars.
I have a pretty good pair of ProMariner ones on my boat but the Bushnell marine ones felt very comfortable. And get this. They were just 5x70 ones
2. Hat
I usually use a beanie but this Grundens hat really kept my head warm and stopped my ear phones from falling out.
3. Preventer.
It isn't easy to see in the photo but there is a dyneema line running from the back of the boom to the front. The front of it attaches to a line coming from the bow around the stays/shrouds.
4. Reefing system.
Again not easy to see from the picture but reefing was a piece of cake from the cockpit. Just pull on a line and no going up to the mast to lock the sail on to the Kringle.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Buck's Harbor in Maine

Wow! Talk about Beautiful. Stunning scenery with picture postcard vistas.
We managed to avoid all the lobster pots last night and got to the mooring around midnight. Up first light this morning to catch a bus south to Boston.
Overall the 4.5 day trip was uneventful but fantastic. We didn't see any whales because of all the fog but we saw lots of seals, porpoise and sea birds. We did have a number of issues because of the new rigging but nothing too serious.

An amazing adventure!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Made it to Maine

We are just sailing into Penobscot Bay and expect to tie up to the dock later in the evening.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Leaving C&D Canal for Maine

Left at 1pm and caught the current going down the Delaware. Passed the Ship John Shoal and took a video of it.
Bit shaky because it was like a washing machine. Nothing like what we are expecting tomorrow night with squalls up to 40 knots. Thursday and Friday are also expected to be bad so we are aiming for Block Island to shelter.

C and D Canal

The canal linking the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware basin is known as the c a d canal.
We overnighted at a place called Schaefer's marina at the western end and the plan is to transit the canal later this morning to time slack water at the eastern end to ride the current out of the Delaware.

Yesterday we raised the mainsail for the first time and discovered that all 3 reefing lines were short.
So this morning before we leave for Maine, I am going to take out the first reefing line and use the second reefing line in place of it and take the third reefing line out and use it for the second.

The weather forecast for Tuesday night does not look good north of cape May, with a cold front passing through. Winds will be 25 knots and squalls 35-45 knots and thunderstorms. We are trying to figure out what to do. We could go east from cape May instead of heading NE or we could duck into the cape May Anchorage to wait until the storm passes.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Last minute preparation before shoving off

We spent the day tidying up loose ends around the boat, going over procedures with the Riggers including deployment of the whisker pole and reefing. They also installed a top down furler  intended for the spinnaker that Don is referring to as the marriage wrecker but it is doubtful that we will be using it on the way to Maine. We went out into the bay to try it out and it worked reasonably well. The idea is that you can launch it from the cockpit unlike the sock where you have to go up on the foredeck.
The plan this morning, is to motor sail up to the c and d canal and overnight there. The next day go through the canal, down the Delaware bay and then make a bee line for Nantucket. After that sail around Cape Cod and onwards to Penobscot Bay. Weather looks good for the voyage.

In the meantime here is a video of the Sailboats here in the marina.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


If you are a sailor, the best place to buy used sails is a marine consignment shop on the outskirts of Annapolis.
I was looking for a Genoa for my Westsail 32 because I have had to repair it a couple of times lately and I looked at the dimensions on the sailrite website and this is what it came up with.
So I did a search on Bacon's 100,000 sail database and came up with about 60 hits. I combed through these until I found one that appealed to me.
They brought it out and laid it on the table and I couldn't believe my eyes. It was almost new, hardly been used, exactly what I was looking for and what a steal! The only trouble was, that it was yellow. Yes yellow! Who ever heard of a giant yellow Genoa! What a hoot. Oh well. As long as it gets me to where I am going to, who cares right?
They do sell a lot of other stuff in the store so what follows is some eye candy for you to drool over.