10/29/2011, party central at the
Last evening the wonderful folks of the exclusive end of Calvert Marina New (best) Docks gave us a wonderful party and helped us celebrate our long 15 year journey of rebuilding cimaise and finally heading south in her.
It is a bittersweet moment, to sail away from such good people and from our home of many years. We plan to return, how could we not!!
In the future when we talk about our cruise, we will say it didn't begin when we left the dock to go out in the big ocean, it began when we took a slip at Calvert Marina. We found people united by their love of boats and the water, - sailors, power boaters, fisherman, people who couldn't care less about fishing, live-a-boards, weekenders. We found ourselves joining a community of friendly caring people with who we spent a great many pleasurable hours, collectively and individually. So we will always say that our cruise began at Calvert Marina with the people we found there.
The weather is totally confused. Two days ago it was 70 degrees and tonight it supposed to SNOW!!! We are in process of changing our plans, depending on weather. It appears heading anywhere near Cape Hatteras (the graveyard of ships) is not a good idea for the next week or more. There are several nasty storm systems coming and going out there. Gale force winds from the north blow against the Gulf Stream - which is a current heading North- stand up into huge waves and sink boats.
Plan B may go into effect. Monday- Tuesday - we are planning to head down the Chesapeake Bay towards Norfolk VA. Plan A -turn east and sail into the Atlantic - PLAN B ! We are contemplating turning on the engine and motoring south on the inside passage - fondly known as the DITCH. The Intra-Coastal Waterway - ICW - runs from Norfolk all the way to Florida and then up into the Gulf of Mexico. We would motor and in some places motor-sail down to Morehead City - Beaufort NC. That will take us south of Hatteras and a couple of hundred miles closer to BVI. We would then leave thru the cut into the Atlantic a week from today - plus or minus a day or two..after the last of the lows head up the coast away from us.
Ah the hum of the machine, converting seawater to drinking water at 8 gallons an hour. We should be able to fill our tanks in very little time. I spent a day cleaning years of slime from untreated dock water. We had custom stainless tanks made years ago to replace the leaking aluminum ones. Now they are being filled with drinking water!! What a concept after years of only using the tank water for cleaning and hauling hundreds of gallons of water from the grocery for drinking!
After a fourth (last) trip back to ole ver-ginny (in a week) to seek Christopher's assistance with setting up the data portion of the satellite phone, it appears to be working. We can send and receive email, which means that our weather routing service will be able to track our position (via Spot GPS and emails) and they will keep us up to date on the nearby weather patterns. We of course will be plotting our own, but having experts either back up your conclusions or correct them gives us a sense of safety. Commanders Weather will send us a 5-8 day forecast and maps for our rhumb line as we leave the coast and then will contact us to warn us of problems and provide and suggest navigational adjustments to stay clear of storms.
The final test for the Sat phone occurs on Saturday when Chris arrives. Capt Mike arrives on Monday. We have a weather chart download software package that needs to be set up for sat phone use. Then we will try to download a weather chart and then print it. Fingers are crossed.
Ah.. wait.. I hear you....what is a RHUMB LINE??? From Wikipedia - " In navigation, a rhumb line (or loxodrome) is a line crossing all meridians of longitude at the same angle, i.e. a path derived from a defined initial bearing. That is, upon taking an initial bearing, one proceeds along the same bearing, without changing the direction as measured relative to true north." Or in simple terms, you pencil a line on your chart from point A to Point B - your rhumb line.
Then you start to drift off course and must make corrections to your rhumb line using "dead reckoning". "In navigation, dead reckoning (also ded (for deduced) reckoning or DR) is the process of calculating one's current position by using a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time, and course. "
So there will be a quiz. Just remember -.you run down your Rhumb Line, which becomes a RUM line when you reach Sopers Hole at BVI. Running on the water??? WHAT???? What happened to sailing?? Next lesson..
You should be able to follow this adventure on the spot maps here on the blog.
Enough for today, gotta go get pretty for the party tonight our dockmates are having for us.
"Life begins where land ends."
We have a fourth, Chris is coming to aid with the watch schedule and also to have an adventure. Cap't Mike says it is safer with four, a little more cramped, but safer. The Watch Schedule has now changed to have 2 people awake at all times, except when Mike is on watch. (He likes his nights alone). Also Steve has been taken off the evening meals, which is a good thing unless you want a ham sandwich and a pickle for dinner.
We have had a lot of friends and family come by to visit the last couple of weeks. This has been a good thing for us, we stop fussing with the boat (which is ready - nearly!!) and take them out sailing in whatever weather, warm, cold, dry, wet..mostly wet lately. Cimaise is performing fine, even with being loaded to capacity. She feels heavier and no longer responds as a bouncy fast racehorse, but instead moves in her own graceful way, heading up only in big blows as she cuts through the water. She is maintaining hull speed in a 10- 15 knot breeze without a lot of effort.
We are very happy with her new headsail. It is smaller (130% versus 150%) than her 30 year one, more flat and better suited. (a- 130- sail covers 130% of the area from the pointy end of the boat to the mast- so it extends past the mast -an additional 30% of the foredeck length) We tacked up stream with it yesterday without the main, and except for the current pushing us over near the southern shore we would have made it back in under sail. Cimaise is an older design yacht, in the 70's and 80's boats were designed to have their headsails be the more powerful sail. Newer boats depend more on the main sail.
This weekend we will clean and sanitize the water tanks and then start up the watermaker for the first time. Hopefully our careful installation will pay off.
We purchased a sat phone, waiting on the sim card to arrive. It will allow us to receive and send information anywhere. We will be able to download weather maps and email, if the Single SideBand radio cannot do it. The radio however is free and the sat phone is expensive to operate. It gives us a sense of security, being able to call anyone from anywhere.
Well, it is time for coffee and then a day of packing and repacking. I managed to deep storage a lot of tuna, and kept out 10 cans for the trip and put them in a special place that is easy to get -( where?? I have no idea) We have been logging all the inventory, where it is, how much there is, when it expires..so I can find a 3/16 screw..but can I find a can of tuna for lunch in the food locker...noooooo!!!!!!! I did not think I needed to write down what is in the actual galley lockers....WRONG!!.. time to go fishing......hmmmm here tuna tuna tuna...maybe I need a cat!
4+WEEKS OR SO TO GO !!
I think we are ready. Going sailing as much as possible in October. The Grab Bags are packed, loaded with all the essentials in case we need to move to the life raft. ( a move not desired nor expected)
The watch list is posted.
The bells were struck for every half-hour of each watch, with a maximum of eight bells. For instance, during the Middle Watch you would hear the the following:
00:30 1 bell
01:00 2 bells
01:30 2 bells, pause, 1 bell
02:00 2 bells, pause, 2 bells
02:30 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 1 bell
03:00 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 2 bells
03:30 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 1 bell
04:00 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 2 bells
At eight bells your watch was over! All other 4 hour watches followed this same procedure except the Dog Watches.
We had such an enjoyable weekend !! We took off time and actually went to the Seven Seas Cruising Association's Annapolis Gam. We have belonged to this group since we lived in NH. It is an association of sailors who live aboard full time (or are planning to) and cruise the oceans blue. We have no idea what a Gam is, but it was fun, lots of cruisers sharing stories, recipes and tips, visiting old friends and meeting new ones. The majority of sailors we met were actually world cruisers, having just got in from ports like South Africa and the Med.
And of course.. there were three world cruising gurus. Margaret Roth, the surviving member of the Hal Roth world adventure team. They sailed everywhere on a 30 foot sloop in the 80's, and wrote lots of books encouraging others to follow them. We read their books decades ago and started dreaming and planning. Now we are going to follow them (definitely not as far) , but with lots of new tools to make it easier (GPS and such), but we also have our sextant and almanac.
Lin and Larry Pardey have been sailing the world for decades. They have broken records by rounding all the southern horns including Cape Horn in their homemade wooden and engineless boats. They started in Seraftyn a 24 footer, and ending building another larger one, Taleisin, a 29.5 foot cutter. I would advise you to google this pair if you are not familiar with them. They have sailed everywhere, using only the wind and their ample skills.
They continue to share all their experience through their books, blogs and magazine articles. Their writings encourage all us fraidy cats to just cut the lines and go. Lin states over and over, even while experiencing 90 knot winds of the coast of Chile, that the majority of the adventures are beautiful skies and stars and the sounds of the soft ocean caressing your boat. She encourages sailors to ready for the worst and then just sail. They have surveyed hundreds of cruising boats over the years and found that the average size for a long term cruiser is 32 feet (we are 34). These smaller yachts are a bred of bluewater cruisers built to be sea worthy and far less expensive to manage than the 40+ yachts you see at every marina in the states.
We got to actually sit and eat breakfast with Lin. She is one of the nicest and funniest people you could meet. Always the cheerleader. The last seminar we went to Lin told us how to compete with her - by writing and selling sailing stories. She says there is plenty of room for all.
Later for the blog, Lin said to be careful to sail all the time and blog when you can. So we are sailing this weekend with friends and family on the wonderful Chesapeake Bay. I will try to remember to turn on the SPOT. You are supposed to be able to track us both on the BLOG and the SPOT web page. Please leave a comment to tell me if this is working ! Mitch
I don't know who named them swells. There's nothing swell about them. They should have named them awfuls. -Hugo Vihlen
And, so it goes, the lazerette is packed and also the stores room formerly known as the aft cabin. The galley is sorted and ready for stores ( too soon to pack food). The clothes problem has been solved. Vacuum bag the tropical stuff and ditty bag the warm sailing gear, leaving the old odd assortment of summer/fall stuff in the hanging locker for now.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a nicer day, but we are driving and not sailing. Heading to Virginia to pick up one of Steve's oldest friends for an evening with us on cimaise and we will return Joel back to the circus (really- he is a circus guy!) the next day.
Hoping to sail up to the SSCA Gam near Annapolis later in the week. The SPOT device is supposed to update our position on the blog in addition to sending out emails. We will see later this week.
I am adding various photos to the gallery of our past sailing life with friends and family, have a look.
Another Steve and Mitch production. an outboard mount on our crowded stern rail. Look closely in the gallery photos and you will see stainless muffler clamps (ACCK!! Not an official MARINE part?.... Yep..shhhh it is our secret ).Stainless butt hinges are then bolted on the clamps as a pivot point, a stainless tube ( holding the starboard mount Steve made) is attached using bimini hardware. It swivels outboard over the dinghy so we can use a block and tackle on the crane ( built of the same components, with a dyneema line),all which easily hold our 60 pound motor and then locks it to the stern.
All the tools and spare parts came aboard yesterday and 1) we did not sink from the weight and 2) they all fit in the designated locker! We may have room for food after all, as long as we leave the lawnmower,Prius and chainsaw ashore!