On Board Cordelia

Our electronic log book. Welcome Aboard!!

13 August 2014 | West River
22 July 2014 | Rhode River
01 July 2014 | Mill Creek
13 June 2014 | West River
04 June 2014 | Chalk Point
04 June 2014 | St. Michaels & The Wye River
28 May 2014 | Chesapeake Bay
19 May 2014 | West and Rhode Rivers
12 May 2014 | Chalk Point Marine
07 May 2014 | Chalk Point Marine
04 May 2014 | West River, Chesapeake Bay
03 May 2014 | MD 258
30 April 2014 | West River, Chesapeake Bay
31 December 2013 | Washington, DC
18 November 2013 | West River
06 October 2013 | Annapolis, MD
05 October 2013 | West River
04 October 2013 | West River
29 September 2013 | West River
22 September 2013 | West River


13 August 2014 | West River
Nick / Calm seas, Light winds
So, I've been a little lax on updating the blog. Partly because of a busy few weeks at work. Partly because of other land-based plans. But, mostly because we have gotten in a bit of a rut with just doing day sails.

Since the last update, we've played host to Meredith's parents and our friend Jack's parents. It is always nice to take folks who don't sail - or boat - out. Especially when there is a steady breeze, calm seas and cool temps. We lucked up and managed to get two of the three both weekends. The wind, however, was the one we were missing. The way I look at it, there's good sailing weather and good entertaining weather. The good company and lack of a strong breeze made for perfect entertaining weather. It's a lot easier to mix a drink or serve lunch doing four knots with just a hint of a heel that zipping along with the rail buried.

We went out two days with Meredith's parents and on the first day did have a pleasant breeze to keep us moving. We were able to get close enough to make out Bloody Point Light before racing the sun back to the West River. Meredith's parents came up early in the season last year and we had a great sail under the Bay Bridge and set Cordelia's speed record - which might have only been matched once since then. We maybe got halfway there this trip... Maybe. Either way, we had a great visit and an enjoyable afternoon. When the wind is light, it can get a little fluky where the Rhode and West rivers and South, West and Bay all converge. We were sailing on a close haul heading into the Bay when I notice the boat coming into the West River was also close hauled. You don't have to be an expert sailor to know something doesn't make sense... Sure enough, right as we reached each other's beams the wind did a 180, sending both crews scrambling to reset the sails. I mentioned it to Bob and Sandy, who we passed heading back from Annapolis, and they said the same thing happened to them. Go figure...

The next day we went out with Dan and Tara. What we didn't have in wind we more than made up for with the quantity of food. We spent most of the day bobbing around, eating and having a couple drinks before we fired up the motor and headed home to shower before the Billy Joel concert at Nat's Stadium.

The following weekend the forecast was called for rain, heat, humidity and no wind. Pretty miserable conditions so for the first time since Easter, Cordelia didn't leave the dock. I did sneak in a short sail with Chuck one afternoon. The weatherman was off on the rain, but the rest was pretty accurate. At one point, the current in the Bay was pushing us backwards.

This past week Meredith and I both got off work early Monday and were able to sneak out to the boat for a nice sail to the anchorage in the Rhode River and back to Galesville, where I dropped the anchor and grilled a steak for dinner. We sat there, watched the sunset and had a very relaxing evening before heading back to the slip.

Our sail with Jack's parents was pretty much a repeat of the windless day on Chuck's boat, but we naturally had plenty of food and beverages to get by. And, to help beat the heat, Meredith, Leah and Anne blew up some floats and drifted behind the boat as we limped back to the dock. Jack's mom had a late flight back to Louisiana and his father was staying in town a few more days for a work trip so we hung out at the dock and had some cocktails until they had to head to the airport.

Luckily, there was a gathering on Dan and Ame's boat. I grabbed some leftover cookies and invited myself on board - just in time to let Meredith finish cleaning up Cordelia and cover the sail. Her and Leah hung out in the cockpit a little longer before joining the Super Moon festivities on Mad'Em Cait. We had a great evening hanging out and talking - and drinking too much...

Sleeping on the Hook

22 July 2014 | Rhode River
Nick / 82, light Easterly winds
After a couple day sails with friends, I was eager to do an overnight trip.

We toyed around with the idea of cutting over to St. Michaels, up to Eastport or maybe even Rock Hall, but we got a late start on Saturday and opted for an easy sail up out into the Bay in light winds before cutting back into the Rhode River. Once we found a good spot for the night, away from the jet skiers, skiers, tubers and other assorted drunk people, we started dinner prep and poured a glass of rum.

Shortly after we got settled, Chuck, Norma, and their co-boat owner pulled in. They anchored just in front of us and we rode the dinghy over for a predinner cocktail and to check out some things on their new-to-them boat, a Catalina 36. They had a reef system like Cordelia’s, so I was able to help them figure out how to run the lines.

We headed back for dinner as the sun was setting and grilled some vegetables and pork steaks. I guess pork steaks are a Midwest thing because I had never heard of them, but Meredith’s family makes it all the time. It’s just sliced pork shoulder with BBQ sauce. We lounged around after dinner, looked for a movie on Netflix and then went to bed before actually watching anything.

On Sunday, we took the dinghy through some of the coves and creeks off the river before sailing back into the Bay for a few hours. The winds were even lighter, dropping to about 4 or 5 knots on the way back in. It was a downwind sail, which would have been brutal if it was any hotter, but we set the sails, turned on the autopilot and climbed up to the bow to just enjoy a pretty relaxing afternoon.

Meredith’s parents are in town this upcoming weekend so we are going to squeeze in a couple sails with them, weather permitting.

Playing Catchup and Hooky

01 July 2014 | Mill Creek
Nick / Lower 80s, Winds 5-18 knots, South
Despite the lack of posts, we have been getting in some good sails. I just figured I’d give everyone a break from the usual – and happily mundane, uneventful – daysails with friends. Since the last post, we’ve sailed three weekends with a dozen friends and even got in a couple of swims at anchor.

Meredith’s sorority sister Lauren just started a new teaching job in DC so moved up a few weeks ago. She was present for the inaugural swim – and waterline scrubbing – two weekends ago. She “wowed” us with her graceful cannonball skills. The weekend before we sailed with our friends Anne and Jack and Leah.

Leah – along with 5 more friends – was also on hand for this past Sunday’s longest one-day sail, largest and first trip on Cordelia to Cantler’s. We pulled away from the slip shortly after 9:00 a.m. and motor-sailed in light winds the entire 16 miles up to Cantler’s, carefully navigating the U-shaped Mill Creek inlet. The anchor was down about noon. With drinks in hand we began ferrying everyone via dinghy to Cantler’s.

The place was already predictably packed and the salty smell of Old Bay was heavy, but we were able to squeeze up to the bar while we waited for our table on the back patio which great views of the creek and Cordelia. We ordered a bucket of beers, an assortment of fried food and crab dip to get us ready for the main course: two dozen large crabs. I’m not sure if these Bay Crabs were from the Chesapeake Bay or some other Bay, but they were heavy and full of meat. Possibly the best steamed crabs I’ve had. The setting and company, in my opinion, is what really makes picking crabs worth the effort and neither could be beat.

After we had our fill, we headed back to Cordelia. The wind had picked up and we were able to sail most of the way back to Chalk Point. We probably never topped 5.5 knots the entire time - it was enough to say we sailed, but not enough much that it interfere with afternoon naps on the bow or drinks in the cockpit.

Monday, however, was all about sailing. I greased the furler and added the 150 jib on Saturday, but today was the first time we really got to test it – and as the wind continued to build throughout the day, I wondered if I should have kept the smaller 130 on a little longer. But, who would have ever guessed the winds would still be so good the last day of June.

The West River was abuzz with activity. The sailing club was holding their junior regatta and some local camps might have been out on the water as well. In all, there were easily 75 sailing dinghies darting back and forth across the river. I sailed as far out of their way as I could, but with my draft could only go so far and had to call “starboard” to one of the boats who was less than thrilled at having to alter their course so we could safely cross paths.

In the Bay we were holding steady with high-6 knot speeds and made it to the Eastern Shore – where we tacked behind one of the Navy 44s – in about an hour. On the way back our speed picked up along with the wind allowing us to sail clear into Galesville on a single tack – topping out at 8 knots briefly.

Once securely in the slip, we toasted a great sail with some rum and called it a successful day.

Three’s a Crowd

13 June 2014 | West River
Nick / 81, 5-17 knots
Another weekend on board Cordelia is in the books. We had a pretty packed weekend, and although the majority wasn’t spent on the water, we still got in two good, albeit short, sails.

On Saturday, Meredith and I had dinner plans, so I headed to the boat with a friend a little earlier than usual while Meredith hung out with a friend in DC. We were on the water by 10:00 and with the northeast wind were able to get the sails up just outside of our slip. The winds were light enough that I could easily single-hand up the channel. Once the river opened up I sailed toward the Rhode River to avoid tacking all the way into the Bay. The wind, which was on the lighter side to begin with, predictably slowed down the further up the Rhode we got. By the time I sailed us to the anchorage by Camp Letts, we were barely making a ripple as we watched the campers paddle around and explore the islands.

A quick gybe and we were heading back down the river. A tack later and we were in the Bay with no destination in mind. I knew I had to be back at the slip by 2:30. I trimmed the sails and settled in, only needing to mind the helm every couple minutes to adjust our course after a gust or large wake hit us.

Around 1:00 we turned back toward the dock – as most of the other sailors were just leaving their slips – and sailed wing-on-wing until it was time to drop the main and furl the jib.

Meredith and I played golf Sunday morning so we didn’t get to Cordelia until after noon. We originally were going to meet some folks at the slip for a quick sail followed by crabs at Thursdays, but their plans fell through. Which was fine because it gave me the opportunity pump the holding tank, check the pressurized water pump – which due to some miracle, now works fine – and give the deck a quick wash-down.

The weather forecast and several folks at the dock warned of winds building to 21 knots, and we were slightly concerned being the only boat, on a very crowded West River, heading out while everyone else was motoring in. Just to play it safe, I only hoisted the main and we were being pushed along at 4.5 knots. After closely watching the wind speed and not seeing anything over 12 or 13, I decided it was time for some real sailing. I unfurled the jib and our speed quickly shot up over 6 knots, getting close to 7.5 thanks to a couple gusts heading back to the slip.

We aren’t setting any records, but according to our GPS have sailed more than 175 nautical miles on about 20 trips since we launched Cordelia on April 19th.

Plumbing Problems… AKA: Head Case

04 June 2014 | Chalk Point
As with any trip on a boat, something has to break. It just wouldn't be complete without it. If you're lucky, it's something small. In the grand scheme, we were pretty lucky.

When I tested the pressure water at the dock Thursday night, I noticed the pump wasn't cutting off. Easy fix. There's a leak in the system. A few yoga poses in the starboard lazarette and ready to roll. Meredith put sheets on the v-berth, got out the earplugs and joked that we should have a blog title, "What Sailing is Really Like" where we just post pictures of us wearing headlamps, covered in grease, contorted in small spaces or crawling all over each other getting into bed while wearing ear plugs and sleep masks. You know, just to counter the Kennedy-esque mental image of sailing everyone has. But I digress...

Even after the leak was fixed. The pump wasn't keeping constant pressure. I continued searching for smaller leaks but couldn't find any. The problem became very clear mid-shower on Saturday, after I was covered in soap I might add, when the pump completely died. Add that to the project list.

The second issue had to deal with the head. Meredith noticed that when she flushed the head the cabin and cockpit had a less than pleasant aroma. I tried to convince myself that carry around a couple gallons of "gray water" was bound to not be pleasant, but she wasn't satisfied with that answer and turned to Google. They had a long list of possible causes and I decided to look at the tank to see what was up. As I pulled back the settee bottom a nice wave of stench hit me. Apparently the marina forgot to tighten the holding tank lid after they winterized it and each flush caused some delightful stuff to seep out. I found a new washer, tightened the lid, bleached the top of the tank and called it a night. Once back at the dock we tackled the issue head on, so to speak. I pumped the bilge into a bucket for disposal. Cleaned it with bleach and dried it out.

Hopefully that fixed the more noticeable of our two plumbing issues that popped up over the weekend. On to the water pump next, which means more working in small - but less smelly - spaces...

Mo’ Dinghy, Mo’ Problems

04 June 2014 | St. Michaels & The Wye River
Nick / 75, winds between 0-20 knots
Graceful dinghy entrances and exits aren't Meredith's strong suits, so this was really all just a matter of time. So, coming back to the boat late Friday night - after a couple sundowners, followed by a drink at dinner and a quick-ish stop at a bar - was really just pushing our luck. So, as the dinghy pulled up to the swim ladder, Meredith grabbed on about the time we started drifting around the boat. You can use your imagination as to what happened next as her feet stayed in the dinghy and her hands stayed on the ladder.

Moral of the story: A couple drinks improves some things, like your ability to play golf or bowl, it does not improve your ability to board a boat.

Overall, though, we had a great weekend on board Cordelia. Blue skies and perfect temps made up for the light, then too heavy, then non-existent wind. This was our first on-the-hook overnight trip of the season, as well as our first time to really explore St. Michaels. On our trip last year we brought Bailey, got there on the later side of Saturday and left Sunday morning - all limiting our time exploring.

Cordelia was packed and just about ready to set sail first thing Friday morning. We pulled out of the dock around 11:30 a.m. - later than I wanted, but if we made good time still early enough to avoid anchoring out in the Miles River, hopefully. Once we were out in the Bay the wind picked up to about 9 or 10 knots and gave us enough of a boost to kill the engine and sail all the way to the Eastern Bay on the same tack. Throw in a couple tacks up to round Bloody Point light and we fired up the engine again to pull into the Miles River. The prime anchorages were pretty empty and we easily got a spot between the Bay Museum and the Inn at Perry Cabin.

We cracked open a bottle of wine and waiting to make sure we weren't dragging before setting out for dinner. I was on a quest to find a fried softshell crab sandwich, which I did and which was very good, even though it meant eating at a "more touristy" place on the water. On Saturday we did some window shopping and explored the Maritime Museum. It is a really great museum, if you haven't been. Very hands-on and they take full advantage of their prime waterfront real-estate.

For a change of pace, we decided to anchor out on the Wye Saturday night. The wind really picked up and the choppy, green-brown water of the Miles reminded me of the Mississippi Sound. We motor-sailed into the wind and tucked into the first bay on the Wye, where we spent the night grilling and listening to some '90s R&B blaring from two powerboats anchored up nearby before motoring home Sunday morning a dead calm.
Vessel Name: Cordelia
Vessel Make/Model: 1985 Ericson 35 MkIII (http://ericsonyachts.tripod.com/er353.htm)
Hailing Port: Chalk Point, West River, MD
Crew: Nick & Meredith Simpson
We know a boat blog might be a tad cheesey to some, but we wanted a way to keep track of where we've been and what we've done on Cordelia. [...]
When we started looking for a new boat, we narrowed the list down to a Beneteau 351 and a Tartan 37. The Beneteau was nice and fit all the requirements – it stayed on the list. The Tartan, needing a lot of work, did not. The broker (Forbes Horton / forbesyachts.com) who showed us the Beneteau [...]
Cordelia's Photos - Main
43 Photos
Created 1 July 2014
We sailed over to St. Michaels on Friday (May 30th) and anchored in Fogg Cove before sailing to the Wye (May 31st) on Saturday. Then motored home on a windless, but sunny, Sunday.
13 Photos
Created 2 June 2014
Start of the 2014 season.
18 Photos
Created 5 May 2014
28 Photos
Created 31 December 2013
30 Photos
Created 24 September 2013
We rafted up with friends on Ridout and Aberdeen creeks.
19 Photos
Created 5 September 2013
We ended the weekend / kicked off the week on Cordelia with our friends Andrea and Adam. 06/23/13
15 Photos
Created 25 June 2013
We sailed to St. Michaels and anchored up in the Miles River with Bailey. 06/01/13-06/02/13
10 Photos
Created 3 June 2013
From a bad Friday to a great Sunday.
28 Photos
Created 31 May 2013
Meals, drinks and snacks.
9 Photos
Created 23 April 2013
84 Photos
Created 8 April 2013
Pictures of projects completed or in progress.
15 Photos
Created 11 March 2013

On Board Cordelia

Who: Nick & Meredith Simpson
Port: Chalk Point, West River, MD
"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." -- The Wind in the Willows