We left our mooring in Spa Creek at 9:30 a.m. and negotiated our way through all the boats in the harbor on our way to the Severn. We crossed the bay, turned into the Eastern Bay, then headed into the Miles River and pointed our bow toward the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. We came back to St. Michaels a fourth time because we wanted to be at the museum Tuesday for a program on the John Smith shallop built by Sultana Project.
The Pink Castle
As we neared St. Michaels, we spotted The Pink Castle. It can be seen from the Miles River. We had thought it would only be visible from Leeds Creek. After reading about the Stewarts who built it in Boyd Gibbons' "Wye Island," it was a treat to get a glimpse of the exotic place.
The Pink Castle
We were awakened at four in the morning by a helicopter close overhead shining a search light into the water. Robert got up and looked out the companionway and Spa Creek Bridge was filled with fire engines and ambulances. We thought someone must fallen or jumped into the water. Robert turned on the VHF radio and about 4:20 a.m. we heard the Coast Guard announce that the "person in the water near Spa Creek Bridge" had been assisted. This morning one of the guys at the City Marina told Robert someone had jumped in the water and wouldn't answer his brother who was still on the bridge, so the brother called for help. The person in the water was fine.
Around the Americas
My second day at the boat show began with a film about a voyage around the Americas on a boat called Ocean Watch. The session was led by Cruising World Senior Editor Herb McCormick who used the session to introduce his book "One Island, One Ocean" about the voyage. Ocean Watch's voyage was the first continuous circumnavigation by sail of the American continents, which meant the boat passed through the Northwest Passage so ardently sought by early European explorers, including John Smith who explored the Chesapeake in 1608. It was a feat that could not have been accomplished then or even a couple of decades ago because polar ice extended too far south. But that ice is melting. They made the passage from west to east starting in Seattle, Wash. They also went around Cape Horn from east to west, in the direction that should have been against the prevailing winds. But the ocean gods smiled on them and gave them an easterly.
It was an epic voyage by already storied sailors made possible by Sailors for the Sea, founded by David Treadway and David Rockefeller Jr. The vessel was a 64-foot steel cutter. The core crew: photographer David Thoreson, first mate Dave Logan, writer Herb McCormick, skipper Mark Schrader and oceanographer Michael Reynolds. Sailor's for the Sea's mission hopes to convert sailors and other recreational boaters into stewards of the ocean and coastal waters, Rockefeller said in the introduction to "One Island, One Ocean." The Ocean Watch voyage furthered that goal by documenting the need for conservation and through taking advantage of opportunities to provide education, especially to young people, along the way.
One story from the voyage gave a telling insight into the consequences of melting ice. Ocean Watch was asked to deliver supplies to ornithologist George Divoky on Cooper Island, a tiny barrier island in the Beaufort Sea. McCormick and two other members of the crew went ashore for a visit. For 33 years, Divoky has spent each summer on Cooper studying guillemots (a species of seabird in the auk family, not members of a British rock band). From 1999 until 2002, Divoky told the Ocean Watch crew, he saw one polar bear on the island. Since 2002, they've been there every year.
"And last year, they were here every day for my last week on the island, a different bear every day," he said. The bears are starving because the seals on which they fed have disappeared along with the pack ice that Divoky could see from Cooper Island for most of the first 30 years he spent his summers there. The polar bears are coming to Cooper Island in search of food - and that would be the guillemots Divoky studies.
"I mean, people ask me if I believe in climate change," Divoky told McCormick. "And I say, 'No, but I believe in polar bears.' When I see a polar bear, I know that's a polar bear. But I also know I was out here for so long, and I didn't see polar bears. So, you now, something's going on."
The saddest images from the film and in "One Island, One Ocean" were of Peruvian beaches littered with trash and dead wildlife, apparently killed by the garbage, which was dumped off shore by incoming freighters to avoid paying the established fees to offload ashore, McCormick wrote.
When the film was over, I asked McCormick if they had done any research on how fast climate change was happening and whether there was anything we could do to change it, he said that's a really big question, telling me what I already should have known - such a question has no quick answer that could be given in the three minutes before the next presentation was scheduled to start.
Then he nailed it.
There are 8 billion people on the planet, he said.
"That's the thing nobody wants to talk about. There are too many damn people on this planet. Nobody wants to talk about it for a lot of different reasons.... We've got to figure that one out."
One Island, One Ocean
Around the Americas on You Tube
Herb McCormick blog
David Thoreson blog
A writing lesson
After McCormick's presentation, I stayed to hear Lin and Larry Pardey again. This time they were talking about adding to your cruising fund with writing and photos. Lin told this story about how she became a writer and about her one and only writing lesson. She and Larry were in Panama and she happened to read a magazine article that made her mad. It said people needed big boats to cruise, but that a few Spartan souls were cruising on 30-foot boats. She and Larry had been cruising on 24-foot Seraffyn for two years. She wrote a blistering letter to the editor saying there were plenty of small boats cruising. Three weeks later got a telegram from New York that said simply, "Prove it. Monk."
That was in the era when you only got telegrams when somebody died, she said. They didn't know anybody in New York and for a while they couldn't figure out what on earth the telegram was about. Finally, they realized it was from the magazine editor. With encouragement from Larry, she set about writing an article that would prove it. They were having dinner one night with a friend whose wife was the South American bureau chief for UPI. Sometime during the gathering, Larry said his wife was going to be a writer. The woman asked Lin if she'd like a private writing lesson. Lin said yes and went to visit the woman the next day. The woman sat her down with some paper and told her to write a story from the dinner the night before. An hour later, the woman came back and asked Lin to show her the story. She didn't read it, she just told Lin to go back and cut half of it out.
When she came back the next time, she asked Lin to show her the story. Then she told her she'd just learned the two most important lessons about writing. First, there's a story in everything, it's up to you to find it. Second, your words aren't precious, you can get rid of half of them. (I hear echoes from a previous lifetime...)
It was a great way to start a session filled with great information about writing better articles, taking better pictures and selling them to sailing magazines, by a couple who've written 11 books, in addition to the magazine articles, videos and DVDs they've produced.
Lin and Larry Pardey's books
...And a sailing lesson
I went from ways to make money to ways to get rid of a fair chunk of it. Don Street's session on offshore preparations reminded me of our need for a passive way to generate power - he's not much of one for running engines or generators.
He recommends at least two sea trials in 25 to 30 knot winds to test the integrity of the boat's rigging. We try really hard to avoid 25 to 30 knot winds. Seeking them out will require a whole new mindset.
Some of his recommendations went right over my head because I don't have enough experience, but some I think I understood:
*Take a good look at the boat's pumping capacity - 10 gallons a minute is not enough.
*Put a T-valve or a Y-valve on your engine's saltwater intake and run a hose into the bilge. If you get swamped and the pumps can't keep up, let the engine suck water from the bilge.
*Make sure your steering cables are not worn and that you have replacements and know how to install them.
*Install your emergency tiller and go out and sail dead downwind and see if you can steer with it. If not, go back to the drawing board.
*If you lose your rudder you should be able to get the boat into a harbor by using a drogue to steer or if sailing wing-on-wing, sheet a staysail dead downwind and the boat will wander 20 degrees or so, but will steer.
*Check your rigging very carefully and have a rigger go over it.
*If you have a sloop rig, have a removable staysail, don't depend on reducing the size of the roller-furling jib in heavy winds. The reduced jib is located too far forward and can cause the boat to be blown sideways when it comes out of a trough. A good proper double reefed main and a staysail will handle most blows.
*A heavy weather staysail sheet should be twice the length you need and looped through the sail's clew instead of tied on with a knot. Knots will hold if tied properly, but often aren't.
*A storm trysail track should always be on the port side of the mast.
*Make sure you have a preventer on your boom. He explained how to rig one, but I'm afraid he lost me. Robert explained to me how to do it later.
It's hard not to like a guy with Don Street's sense of humor even if he does make you feel out-of-your-league and not very bright to boot. I expect it might help if I read his books "The Ocean Sailing Yacht, vol.1" and "The Ocean Sailing Yacht, vol. 2" which he recommended with the caveat that new materials and technology have come online since they were published in the 1970s. They're out of print, but still available on Amazon. There may be new stuff out there, but in my limited experience (see blog entries on the shallop "Explorer") Don Street was right when he said there's nothing in yachting you can invent, it's all been invented.
The Ocean Sailing Yacht
Don Street's blog
A dingy traffic jam
I spent the remainder of my time at the show picking up LED lights and cleaning solution per Robert's orders. Then I sat on the dock waiting to be picked up and watched the dingy shuffle for a while.
We tried to go to a fundraiser where Lin and Larry Pardey were giving a slide presentation at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, but it was delayed because of the boat show and we wanted to get an early start for St. Michaels on Monday, so we went back to the boat. We were starving, so Robert made quesadillas and black beans. Yum. Then we walked downtown to get some eggs at the CVS, but they were sold out. That's OK. I love walking in Annapolis.
A lovely lazy day
Madison and I spent most of the day on the boat. On the way back to the boat I stopped and visited for a while with our new friends Leo and Denise who are tied up to the mooring next to us. Leo is an engineer and he's already engineered a way to keep the boat from banging on the mooring ball, which has awakened Robert and me two or three times. I had a very pleasant visit before heading back to Arwen where I caught up on the blog and Madison caught up on her sleep. In late afternoon, we went to pick Robert up at the dingy dock at the end of Shipwright Street. We fed Madison, then went for a walk around Church Circle to State Circle, down to the harbor where Robert shopped for fudge and bacon (fudge for me, bacon for him and Madison). We met a couple from Toronto who are here for the boat show. They live on their 43-foot Saga. We continued up Green Street to Duke of Gloucester and back to Market, where we'd left our dingy at the dingy dock at the end of the street. It was a great walk. We came back and ate dinner and talked about Robert's day at the show.
Robert didn't think I could do it, but I was off to the boat show by 9 a.m. I spent the morning and early afternoon in some really helpful seminars. The first was "Safety Precautions for Offshore Sailing" by Retired Coast Guard Captain Ken Louttit. He gave a good overview of the network of local, national and international agencies and even private ships that cooperate to save lives and boats of people who get in trouble at sea.
He started with some interesting information about the U.S. Coast Guard. On an average day they perform 74 search and rescue missions, save 14 lives and assist 98 people in distress. They board 193 ships and boats a day to inspect them and respond to 12 oil spills. In descending order their top four priorities, as far as budget allocation, are: port, waterway and coastal security, maintaining aids to navigation, drug interdiction, and search and rescue.
As a pleasure boater, he said, the best option is to avoid trouble in the first place. The second option is to self-rescue - if you get into trouble, use the equipment you have and your ingenuity to get yourself out. The last option is to call for help - but if you need to call, call early, don't wait until the water is lapping at your toes.
Under the best-option-is to-avoid-trouble category, the seven P's came tripping off his tongue: "Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance." That means: have a good crew, good boat and good equipment and have the crew trained on that boat with that equipment, practice man-overboard and other safety drills under controlled conditions during the day and at night and keep a sharp lookout. He showed photos of container ships losing their cargo. One thousand to two thousand containers are lost every year, he said. There's no tracking system, so no way to warn boaters about where they are. Most sink, but some do it slowly.
Capt. Louttit said from his experience, the big six things that get people in trouble are: cold, wet, tired, hungry, scared and seasick. He suggested that it is wise to guard against those things. In his experience, he said, 60 percent of those who go offshore will be seasick the first day and captains should plan with that in mind. He stressed leaving a float plan with someone, having proper safety equipment and wearing life jackets. He also stressed making sure the registration for EPIRBs and PLBs is up to date and that if you loan your boat and/or EPIRB to someone that you should go into the data base and make note of that.
If you have to be rescued, the first thing the Coast Guard will want to know is where you are. Then they will ask for the number of people on board, the nature of the distress, a description of the vessel and whether you have PDFs on (if you don't they'll tell you to put them on....) Then they'll ask you 20 more questions which will help them send the right equipment and have a plan of rescue when they arrive. It's good to keep talking on the radio (better than cell phones or sat phones) because the Coast Guard can direction-find on the radio signal to help locate you. He told of one rescue where the people being rescued gave the Coast Guard a location 13 miles from where they were. The only way they were rescued was because they stayed on the radio.
The type of vessel or aircraft that rescues the people on a vessel in distress will depend on the circumstances and distance from shore. You have to be seen to be rescued, he said. A flashlight waved at the rescuer is better than a strobe, whistles are better than yelling, and mirrors are good reflectors in sunny weather. Flares must be timed - once the rescuer is past, a flare can no longer be seen. He warned that flares cause sparks and unless held in the right direction might set a life raft or clothing on fire. He also pointed out that if you don't have a flashlight, whistle, PLD, etc., on your person, you don't have it. He wears his on a chain around his neck. One other point I found interesting. He said never, never tie any line dropped from a helicopter to your boat. If you do, it will be cut and your rescue could be at an end because, depending on the helicopter, there may not be a spare.
My take away was that Robert and I need to spend a lot more time practicing man overboard drills and making sure we both know what to do and where everything we would need in an emergency is located and making sure it's easy to get to. We've been to safety presentations before, but it's easy to get lax. It is best to form good safety habits and never vary from them.
I hadn't intended to go to Mike Horn's Pangaea presentation, but I happened to be outside the door when it began and I wandered in. He's a professional adventurer and it was fascinating to hear about his exploits. In 1997, starting on the Pacific Coast, Horn hiked to the source of the Amazon in the Andes, then floated the river from there until it empties into the Atlantic. In 2000, he completed a solo journey around the equator without motor transport, sailing the ocean part of the trip in a 28-foot catamaran not intended for blue water. In 2004, he spent two years and three months circumnavigating the Arctic Circle alone. During that trip, he said, he envisioned the Pangaea project. We heard much about his adventures, but he ran out of time and we didn't learn much about Pangaea. Named for the supercontinent that, according to theory, broke up millions of years ago to form the present continents, the boat is being used by Horn to educate young people about the environment and the need to respect and preserve it, according to the expedition's Web pages.
The take away for me: "Travel and adventure are about learning your own limitations." So many people, he said, don't want to get out of their safe environment.
Lin and Larry Pardey
At noon, I went to hear Lin and Larry Pardey, who have inspired so many sailors, talk about cost control while cruising. The Pardeys began sailing together when Lin was 20 and Larry was 24. They have circumnavigated from east to west and from west to east - almost 200,000 miles - in the small boats they built, Seraffyn and Taleisin. They've written 11 books and produced numerous tapes and DVDs to help other sailors figure out how to cruise safely and how to be self-sufficient on a limited budget.
Lin offered many ways to keep the costs of cruising reasonable, but for me the most encouraging information she shared was from her personal interviews with long-term cruisers about how much they spend a month. The non-Americans on 35-40 foot boats she interviewed spend about $1200 a month, she said. The North Americans spend about $1500, on average. Families spend slightly more because of educational materials and the cost to feed more people - about $300 to $400 more a month. She said they talked to three couples who spend about $700 a month. When she asked them what they would do with it if they had another $100 a month, they said they'd go out to eat more or buy better wine. She said a budget of $2,000 is very common.
She said you will spend more the second year than the first year because you will have replacement and maintenance costs, but also because the first year you will be so entertained by the freedom you will have that you will spend less money on entertainment costs.
Some specific suggestions:
Keep the systems on your boat separate. If your battery fails, you want to still be able to get water out of your water tanks or raise your anchor. If you keep your systems separate, you may be able to get to a port where parts are available instead of having to foot the expense of flying them and possibly someone to install them to some out-of-the-way place.
Lin and Larry gave lots of good advice about taking care of sails to extend their life. They recommended checking them every six months and covering them anytime you're not using them to prevent sun damage. They also recommended taking roller furling sails down if you're going to be gone for a few days. There were also great suggestions for finding less expensive places to get hauled out in foreign ports.
Lin recommended trying local foods which are often delicious and less expensive. As an example, she said Larry loves peanut butter, but it cost about $9 a jar at some port they were visiting. They found a local nut butter that cost $2 a jar that he liked just as well.
She suggested limiting the amount of time spent cruising in company with other boats, because you tend to spend more and are more likely to have an expensive repair that has to be expedited because everyone else wants to move on.
Finally, she said, don't be so cost conscious that you don't allow yourself to do crazy wonderful things. One of my favorite stories she told was about how she used to go into shops and just hold beautiful things. Larry told her to buy some of them for herself. She said that she didn't need them and didn't have any place to put them. One day he brought her a shoebox and asked if she could find room for that on the boat. She said "Yes." He told her to go fill it up with beautiful things that she could fondle to her heart's desire. Then she could give them away as house gifts when someone asked them to dinner or for some other occasion when they needed a small gift, then start filling the box again. I loved that idea.
Much more information, including a discussion of insurance, can be found in their book, "The Cost Conscious Cruiser."
The Cost Conscious Cruiser
I found this interview with the Pardeys that I really liked, especially their comments about safety. For example: "It's easier to buy things, than to learn things."
An interview with Lin an Larry Pardey
A great day
After the Pardeys' presentation, I went to a seminar on what it takes to get your captain's license which was very well presented by Capt. Paul Trulove of the Annapolis School of Seamanship. Then I went off to see the exhibits. I had several objectives in mind and managed to find most of the vendors I wanted to check out. I was delighted to have a chance to meet Lin and Larry at their booth and to get signed copies of a couple of their books. They will be a much treasured part of my library. I was also delighted to get to meet Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas, the founders of the great sailing magazine, "Good Old Boat." It was an altogether great day at the boat show.
More power...at a price
Robert went to the boat show with a list of things to check into and a plan to buy a Honda generator one of the vendors was offering for about $90 off. I spent the morning on the boat with Madison. Robert called about lunch time to say he'd bought the generator and was taking a water taxi to deliver it to the boat. We were surprised that the water taxi was only $2.50 from the show to the Spa Creek moorings. We needed an adaptor to plug the new power source into the boat's electrical system, so we took the dingy to Back Creek, tied it up at Ellen Moyer Nature Park, and walked to West Marine.
A tall ship
On the way back to Spa Creek, we saw Pangaea arrive in Spa Creek. It's a very distinctive sailing vessel. The boat's skipper, Mike Horn, is scheduled to make a presentation at the Boat Show on Friday.
By the time we got back to the boat, Robert had just enough time to return to the show for a seminar he wanted to see at 4 p.m.
He got the generator going after he got back and we are luxuriating in being able to plug the computer in without worrying about depleting the batteries we need to start the engine. It's noisier than I had hoped.
A walking tour of Annapolis
Late as usual, we raced to the Visitor's Center so I could be there at 10:30 a.m. for the walking tour of Annapolis. Robert and Madison went back to the boat then went exploring Spa Creek by dingy.
The Four Centuries Walking Tour is led by a guide in a costume from the colonial period who takes you from Church Circle to State Circle, where you visit the Maryland State House, then down Maryland Avenue to the Naval Academy. Along the way he points out landmarks and historic buildings of interest, and you end up at the Naval Academy in time to watch the midshipmen assemble in front of Bancroft Hall and march in to lunch together.
U.S. Capital for nine months
One of the most notable things I learned during the tour was that Maryland's old State House was the capital of the United States for nine months during 1783 and 1784. It is where George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief in December 1783 and where the Treaty of Paris, wherein Great Britain acknowledged the independence of the American colonies ending the Revolutionary War, was ratified by the American Congress of the Confederation. It is also where, in May 1784, Thomas Jefferson was appointed ambassador to France. There's a painting of Washington resigning his commission in the State House and Maryland is currently restoring the room where the resignation took place to look just as it did at the time. The significance of Washington's return to private life probably can't be overstated. There were those who wanted him to become king of the new nation. He had been granted powers by the Continental Congress that, had he chosen not to relinquish them, could have torn the nation apart. His resignation helped solidify our representative form of government. It's nice to know the room where that momentous event took place still exists and is being restored. Incidentally, women were confined to the gallery. It was thought they didn't know anything about politics and were too disruptive.
Maryland State House
A historic irony
The other striking thing about the Maryland State House is the contrast between the statues on opposite sides of the building, as noted by our guide. To set the scene, the Maryland State House is the oldest still in legislative use in the U.S. The old portion of the state house was completed in 1779. That part of the building is wood and plaster, our guide told us, because the state didn't have much money at the time. A new portion was added between 1902 and 1906, when the state had more money, and it is redolent with marble and tiffany ceilings in both the senate and delegate chambers. The statue in front of the old side of the building is of Roger B. Taney, a Marylander who became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and who had the distinction of writing the Dred Scott decision. This now infamous decision held that a slave who had sued for his freedom and that of his family because they had lived in a free state did not have standing before the court because as slaves they were not citizens.
Dred Scott decision
The statue on the other side of the building is that of another Marylander who became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice - Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to hold that office. Before he came to the Supreme Court, Marshall's victory in Brown v. Board of Education effectively ended racial segregation of schools in the United States.
Thurgood Marshall biography
Lunch time at the Naval Academy
I had toured the Naval Academy the day before, but on this tour we arrived in time to watch the midshipmen line up in formation before their noontime meal. As we walked onto campus we could see them streaming toward Bancroft Hall, the dormitory where their mess hall is located. I took lots of photos, which I loaded into a separate gallery.
Then we went off to see the old gymnasium, where a model of the Wright Flyer, first flown at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1911, hangs. Our guide said the Army asked the Wright Brothers what in the world they would do with an airplane. The Navy said, make it so it will land on the water and we'll take it.
Posing for pictures
While my tour group, a fairly large one, stood gawking at the plane, a midshipman appeared with a sign. It said: "Lost a bet, will pose for pictures." He explained that he was a plebe and he had lost a bet with an upperclassman. The catch was, he had to get the photos on his phone. Amid a goodly amount of laughter, everyone volunteered and many cameras made their appearance. After a while, he said he'd met the requirements for his bet and now there would be a fee. I liked his sense of humor.
When we were downtown one evening earlier in the week, we saw a young woman approach a couple of cadets in uniform, one male and one female, standing on the street and ask if she could have her picture taken with them. They looked embarrassed, but politely agreed. You think maybe being asked to pose for pictures is a joke among the midshipmen....
After my tour, which lasted until about 1:30 p.m., I caught up with Robert and Madison and we headed off to Back Creek. We stopped to look at a 36-foot Cape Dory we covet, then went off to explore one of Annapolis' great waterfront parks, the Ellen Moyer Nature Park on Back Creek. We spotted our old friend, the Mystic Whaler, at the Annapolis Maritime Museum as we entered and left Back Creek. We came back around to Spa Creek and went past the moorings and further up to another park Robert and Madison had found earlier in the day. This one has a nice long walking, jogging, biking trail that followed the creek for almost a mile. I think Madison sniffed every tree. Spa and Back creeks are filled with moored and anchored boats.
My kind of town
Annapolis is a really wonderful city. Besides being the home of St. John's College (liberal arts) and the Naval Academy, it is the capital of Maryland and the county seat for Anne Arundel County. It has a population of less than 40,000 people, many old, historic houses and a gazillion sailboats (and every other kind of boat). It's a very charming city, laid out, our tour guide said, around Church Circle and State Circle, after the style of English cities on which it was modeled, with many streets paved with bricks. And the city has a very well-run harbor.