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On Board Cordelia
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Case of the Mondays…
Nick / 65, 8-15 knots, East
05/06/2013, Chesapeake Bay

After two great days on Cordelia, I totally have a case of the Mondays.

The one upside is that today is kind of a gross day so sailing really isn't the best way to enjoy it. Now a nap on the other hand... This weekend was a different story entirely. As much as I feel like this blog is turning into some kind of homage to great weather, Saturday and Sunday really were perfect days. Still cool enough to not get hot - even when the wind died down - but not too cold that a 15 knot breeze required you to bust out a parka and gloves.

Our friends Dan and Tara picked us up Saturday at our place in D.C. after stopping at The Italian Store for some great sandwiches and Nutella Tarts. If you have never been to The Italian Store, go. They have everything you would need for an Italian meal from antipasto to the cheese course - including the wine. If you don't feel like cooking, even better. Their pizza - whole or by the slice - is always delicious and their sandwiches are out of this world. We've been craving one since we went to a Nationals game a few weeks back and the guy five seats down snuck one in to torture all of us with the smell the peppers and cold cuts while we were forced to get our daily nitrate intake from hot dogs.

Two other friends met us at the boat and we were casting off the lines by 2:30. After a couple tacks out of the West River we looked like a pretty respectable and somewhat competent crew. We headed up to Thomas Point Light before cutting out into the Bay. The winds in the Bay picked up from about 8-10 knots to more in the range of 13-15 knots. With six of us in the cockpit, all the winches were within easy reach, so I didn't feel bad asking for a quarter turn here or there to minimize heeling while still keeping speed. When we turned downwind to head back into the West River, the GPS got a reading of 7.5 knots (with a little push from a following wave). For full disclosure, I think the GPS might be a tad generous with the speed, but I'm still saying Cordelia is fast and 7.5 is the speed to beat.

When we got back to the West River we sailed down into South Creek a little ways to check it out before lowering the sails. The jib was incredibly hard to bring in. At first I thought I was really weak and Tara, who was keeping tension on the running rigging, was really strong. When I saw that she had let go of the line I noticed it was jammed in one of the blocks. I couldn't get it loose so had to remove the block to roll in the jib. Back at the dock we freed the line, but the pulley was toast.

Sunday was a more laid back sail. We picked up Emily and headed out to the boat a little past noon - after a stop at West Marine for a new block.

At Chalk Point, we met more of our slip mates and our only blog follower - Bob. Bob and Sandy filled Meredith's head with all kinds of awful ideas, like tying a rope to a float in the summer, letting it drift behind the boat and pulling her in when her drink needed to be refreshed. I have a feeling she thought this was the best idea she had heard all day and I have a summer refilling vodka sodas in front of me.

One of the best features about Cordelia is the placement of the winches. The two main self-tailing winches are far enough back that I pretty much handle her single-handed once the sails are up. This allowed Meredith and Emily to claim their real estate on the cockpit benches. Meredith would occasionally say my name in that "What the hell are you doing" tone of voice, just to let me know the gust of wind had increased our heel from 15 to 25 degrees and I hadn't noticed. Other than that, her and Emily read gossip magazines while they sunburned.

There were about a dozen Flying Scots and catamarans racing in the river and seeing them fly their spinnakers has really gotten me motivated to figure out how to use our spinnaker. I tacked through their race apologetically trying to stay out of their way the best I could - which is more than I can say for the 45 foot power boat that cut a few of them off on his way through the channel.

I sailed us into the Bay back near Thomas Point and then turned into the South River. As soon as we came into a minefield of crab pots, the wind promptly died leaving us drifting about 1 knot according to the GPS or 0.3 according to the Raymarine speed display. This is when I decided the GPS might be a little generous and another reason I want to figure how to use the spinnaker.

We cranked the engine and headed home, somewhat bummed the weekend - and sailing - had come to an end for a few days.

The West River really is a special area of the Bay and so far, Cordelia has made enjoying it that much better.

Sailing On Board Cordelia
05/08/2013 | Bob
Sandy and I really enjoyed meeting you and Meredith (and Emily) and envy you the weekend of sailing you had. We had our sea trials yesterday and the weather was definitely not this nice. Rained all day and had some pretty good squalls go through as we were trying out the sails and boat for the first time. We are now ready to get out on the water and look forward to seeing you on the bay.
By the way, you have a real knack on writing a good blog that is fun to read.
05/09/2013 | Nick
Thanks Bob. Nice to finally meet you as well.

Hope to see you and Sandy out there soon.
Happy Hour
Nick / 68, 8-10 knots, East
05/03/2013, West River

Having a happy hour on the water is always better than grabbing a drink at a bar in D.C. With that and the weather forecast in mind, I had planned on cutting out of work a little early to head out to the boat with our friends Andrea and Adam. I instead ended up cutting out of work a little late so traffic was heavier than usual. Regardless, we were on the water about 6:30 and had the sails up by 6:40.

The weatherman called for light winds but I think they were probably up around 10 knots or so and we were able to cruise around the West River and poke our nose into the Bay-proper at a nice 5 - 5.5 knots.

We only saw a couple boats taking advantage of the longer days and warming weather. One sailboat was coming in while we were heading out and a Hunter flying a mammoth blue spinnaker was on a nice run back in from the Bay.

The three of us sailed until dusk and then headed to Thursday's to take advantage of their Orange Crush special. Even though their website says they are open until 10:00, the kitchen was closed and the bar was doing last call at 9:00. We got a round of drinks and then headed over to the always reliable Happy Harbor for dinner before heading back.

Meredith is FINALLY back in town after what seems like a month of constant traveling and Saturday will be her first sail on Cordelia. If all goes well, Sunday will be her second.

Sailing On Board Cordelia
First Sail
Nick / 68, 12-15 knots, South
04/28/2013, Chesapeake Bay

After a nice day in Annapolis, I was really anxious to get on the water. Our friend Chuck emailed asking if I needed crew or if I wanted to be crew. Chuck and his wife, Norma, took Meredith and I on our first non-lesson sail and did such an amazing job of entertaining that I got the greenlight for our first boat.

Sunday was a good shakedown cruise. I had to rework some of the running rigging during tacks because the cam cleats kept holding the jib sheets and preventing us from tacking or gybing. I'm sure we looked completely inept trying to tack while the cleat was holding the jib on the other side of the boat.

So far I'm loving the West River. We were able to raise the sails shortly after pulling out of the slip and avoided the 40 minutes of motoring we faced while trying to round Long Bar in Herring Bay.

The winds were from the South and steady at about 12-15 knots, with a couple periods going up to 18. Since the winds were so light on Saturday, the Bay wasn't too choppy despite the Southern wind. We went from slip, to the middle of the Bay and were back in the slip drinking a beer in less than three and a half hours. I forgot to check out the distance covered on the GPS, but I'd guess a little more than 20 nautical miles based on our speed. With a full main and only 100 percent jib we were able to get a steady 6.4 knots, broke 7 a few times, and even got the rail wet. We must have had the sails trimmed pretty well - or in spite of our sail trim - because I could let go of the wheel and Cordelia would hold her course without any weather helm.

I was most excited about being able to head about 28 or 29 degrees off the wind which saved us a tack in the West River channel. Guess that 6'2" fin keel does have its perks.

There weren't a ton of boats out on the Bay, but we did get to enjoy some sort of small one-design Catamaran race, and saw a windboarder zipping down the river faster than the powerboats heading to Thursday's.

It was a great day and I'm hoping for a lot more just like it.

Sailing On Board Cordelia
Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show
Nick / Sunny, 65
04/27/2013, Annapolis Inner Harbor

The weather was so perfect Saturday that being near the water was almost as nice as being on the water.

I headed up to Annapolis to check out the second Spring Sailboat Show, despite hearing mixed reviews based on last year's show. The show wasn't as big as the one in October, but along with the smaller scale came smaller crowds. There weren't the long lines or crowded cockpits. In fact, the ONLY line I saw was in the Shellback Rum tasting tent, even that moved quickly and after everyone's had a few turns in line, waiting was a pretty enjoyable and social experience.

I also liked that instead of just having new boats they also had brokerage boats. It was a good opportunity to compare boats just off the production line versus some older models. My main takeaway: Newer boats are much better laid out and carrying the beam further aft gives you a ton more storage. I was a little envious of the massive lazarettes and storage lockers. I wasn't jealous at all about the lack of real wood, the laminate / linoleum soles and the general loss of "warmth" the newer production boats have. Some of them looked more like an Ikea showroom or a sleek, modern hotel instead of a boat.

The caveat would be the Hylas 70 which is not only larger than our condo, but also a lot nicer. Granite everywhere. Industrial refrigerators. Gleamingly varnished hardwood. A 60" flat screen. And the engine room was amazing. You could actually stand over your engine while changing the oil instead of contorting your body into a cabinet the size of a microwave - which the Hylas also had at least two of.

There were also a lot of interesting vendors selling everything from galley ware and lines to electric engines and props. The tents that caught my attention were selling hammocks. Meredith is always look for a comfortable place to get some sun on the boat and for comfort it's really hard to beat a hammock. I especially liked the hammock-style chairs. They stretch out like hammocks but also let you sit up in them, and the added benefit is they only have to hang from one point. I think it would be fairly easy to tie it to the spinnaker halyard - like a boson's chair.

Looking forward to the show in October and next Spring's show, as well.

Maritime Musing
Guys' Weekend
Nick / High 60, Low 45
04/23/2013, Chalk Point, West River

Meredith was out of town this weekend, so I decided I might as well stay on the boat with our dog, Bailey, instead of sitting at our condo.

I grabbed some stuff for dinner, our grill - since we can't grill on board at the dock - and plenty of warm clothes. Bailey's bowls, food, bed and a couple toys might have taken up more room than all of my stuff combined.

This was my first time sleeping on Cordelia and Bailey's first time on the new boat. Saturday was pretty windy and probably would have been too much for Bailey since he gets car sick on long car trips home for the holidays on the perfectly smooth interstate. Instead of just sitting there and enjoying a sunny, but cool, afternoon, I would mount my never-ending list of small projects.

The first order of business to finally remove the tape used to hold on the plastic winter cover. Seems easy, but the backside of that stuff must be some hybrid of crazy glue and pancake syrup - it was strong, sticky, leaves gunk on everything it touches. After working on a three inch section for close to 45 minutes, I declared defeat and decided to flush the water tanks, test the refrigerator and hook up the hot water heater. All went relatively smoothly aside from a leak in the pressured water hose feeding the hot water heater tank that required crawling in the starboard lazarette while contorting into a sundry of yoga poses.

Meredith wanted to be able to lock the old boat from the inside for when we spent the night, but it never was on the top of my list of things to care about (Note from Meredith: I never said I wanted to lock the boat from the inside - I just wanted to bring my gun with me to which Nick told me I would shoot a hole in the boat). Mainly because every time we stayed on Windsong, we put the mesh companionway slats in for ventilation. Having a lock on a screen door seemed pointless, but since the forecast called for temperatures into the 40s, I figured that wouldn't be an issue. I also needed to do the seasonal impeller change, so I had an excuse to run to West Marine - a store I have a love-hate relationship with. I love walking up and down the aisles, looking at the various things I don't need, but seem fun. I hate that they never have anything I actually do need. Such was the case with the impeller, despite their computer saying they had two in stock. But, West Marine stockholders can rest easy. I still bought several items, including a few I needed: Canvas cover for the outboard, new log book, teak oil and some sort of odor eliminator thing because Meredith was saying Cordelia was starting to have a "boat smell." (AKA diesel)

I also stopped by the hardware store to see what I could do about locking the companionway when I was on board. I settled on a sliding brass bolt latch. It looked nice and while not necessarily pirate-proof, would wake us up if someone tried to get in. It has the added benefit of not having an actual lock aiding us in getting out.

Once back at the marina, I started prepping dinner. A steak (marinated in salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic), roasted baby bell peppers and grilled pineapple drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. All washed down with a French red wine some friends gave us for taking them to the airport. I ate in the cockpit and had the best seat in the house.

I woke up early Sunday - though later than if Meredith would have been with me because she ALWAYS wakes up about 30 seconds past sunrise on the boat - and went for a nice run along the West River and South Creek before diving right back into a couple projects, including finally tearing the tape off the rub rail. I was able to purge a couple lines, attach the fenders to the dock and just generally straighten / tidy up the inside of Cordelia.

Going for a sail, however, wasn't going to happen. Since West Marine didn't have the impeller I was promised, the water pump was out of commission. Instead I took the dinghy for a quick spin with Bailey to see how he liked it. I'd say somewhere between going for a walk in the rain and getting a bath, but definitely above going to the vet (read this as, I didn't need a muzzle). After a few minutes he crawled in my lap and started shivering. Maybe because he hated it and was scared, but likely just because he is spoiled and considers anything under 70 degrees Antarctic conditions. At any rate, he was glad to be back on terraferma, he is a terrier after all.

All in all, despite still not actually sailing, there really is nothing half as much worth doing as messing about on boats. And, Bailey might start to agree as he associates Cordelia with plenty of treats and resisted the urge to pee in my lap like he did after I took him on a plane for the first time. Baby steps...

Maritime Musing

Weather looks nice - if a little chilly - for the weekend.

Meredith's going to be out of town, but I'm still planning to try to squeeze in a sail, take care of some projects and possibly spend the night on Cordelia with Bailey.

Bailey has spent the night on our old boat and even went across the Bay with us to Oxford, MD. There was zero wind on that trip so we had to motor the entire way there and back. Hope he takes to the heeling of the boat more than he does heeling on his leash.

Maritime Musing

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

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