Curlew's Log

13 September 2016 | Philadelphia, PA
10 September 2016 | Atlantic Highlands, NJ
09 September 2016 | Port Washington, NY
30 August 2016
28 August 2016
26 August 2016
22 August 2016
18 August 2016 | Belfast
17 August 2016
10 August 2016
08 August 2016
06 August 2016
05 August 2016
04 August 2016 | Castine, Smith Cove
01 August 2016
31 July 2016 | Rockland Harbor
30 July 2016 | Rockland Harbor
29 July 2016 | Rockland Harbor
28 July 2016

The Trip Home

13 September 2016 | Philadelphia, PA
Down-wind down the New Jersey coast

The cold front was coming through a little earlier than predicted and at 1100 on Sunday morning the wind shifted suddenly to the NNW and increased from almost nothing to 20 to 25 knots. This put us on a lee shore, with no protection from the breakwater. I had planned to leave around noon, but was almost ready to leave when the wind-shift hit. Using the windlass controls from the cockpit I raised the anchor while the seas were rapidly building. With a double reef and the engine on at low rpm I moved slowly away from the shore. Amazing how quickly a short and steep sea builds up in these shallow waters. It was a bumpy ride in breaking seas and gusty wind, but at 1240 I rounded Sandy Hook and things started to quiet down. I shook out one reef, unfurled the yankee and shut down the engine. At 1400 I was under full sail, with the wind at 15 knots from the NW. I could see 8 sails ahead of me and one behind. On the AIS I saw that there was an entire convoy heading south! At 1500 Willet, a nice looking ketch hailed me and we chatted for a while. Around 1600, to my great pleasure, I passed three sailboats. Once clear I went below to check the Racor filter. Again, there was some sediment in the bowl. Not as bad as on the trip out, though. And not surprising, after the rocking and rolling getting out of Sandy Hook Bay. I drained and flushed the bowl and the fuel now flowing was clear.

Sunset at sea

Then the phone call that I had feared came through: My father-in-law, George, had passed away at age 95, two weeks from his 96th birthday.

At 1725 I put the yankee on the whisker pole out to SB, but as the wind increased and backed from the N to the NW I took the pole in 30 minutes later. For the next hour the wind went back-and-forth between N and NW and 6 and 18 knots. It settled after a while at 15 to 20 knots from the NNE, just as predicted. I continued under main only. I had no appetite to do lots of work on the foredeck in the middle of the night while running dead downwind. At 0245 on Monday I even put in a reef when the wind started gusting over 20 knots. An hour later, off Atlantic City, I suddenly saw the shade of a sail moving against the backdrop of the shore lights. And it seemed pretty close too! I had not seen any running lights, but it is possible that they were just drowned out by all the lights on shore. With the binoculars I could make out that it was a catamaran, under reefed mainsail only, slowly bobbing up and down at very low speed. It had its running lights on, as if under power. I changed course to pass to seaward of the cat, while trying not to jibe. Curlew had the wind now a little over the port quarter, which was the side the boom was out on its preventer. The cat followed an erratic course. I had my hands full controlling Curlew and had no hands free to hail him on the VHF. Suddenly he jibed, luffed, crossed my wake within a few boat lengths and headed away from the shore. Strange.

At 1115 I entered Delaware Bay and headed towards the anchorage behind Reedy Island. We've had biting flies on board on and off during this trip. It was bad down the Jersey coast, but on the Delaware Bay they really became ferocious. I had to close the companion way to prevent them from infesting the cabins, and, despite the warm temperatures, had to wear long pants, socks and a long-sleeved shirt. I must have killed hundreds of them. And they bite even through your socks. Well, they at least helped me to stay awake! After I had dropped anchor at dusk they disappeared but I spent quite some time killing the last few down below and then washing all the dead ones off the deck and cockpit. Below I picked up one dead fly after another.

The next morning I motored up the Delaware and pulled into a slip at the Piers Marina in Philadelphia, next to my Nordic Tug. I'll move Curlew to her slip in Baltimore after George's funeral.

Curlew and Puffin II in Philadelphia

Through New York City

10 September 2016 | Atlantic Highlands, NJ
I left Port Washington at daybreak to catch the ebb down the East River and Hell Gate. Passed Hell Gate at 0805 with 4 knots of current adding to 6.5 knots of boat speed. There was very little traffic on this beautiful Saturday morning, until I got near the Battery. I thought it was appropriate to pass close by the Statue of Liberty today (I normally go through the less crowded Buttermilk Channel behind Governor's Island).

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

(Got that, Donald?)

The Victory Ship John W. Brown from Baltimore came up through the Verrazano Bridge while we were leaving New York Harbor. The anchorage at Atlantic Highlands was packed with cruising sailboats, but I found a spot just outside the breakwater with enough room to anchor and protection from the SW through the NW, which was where the wind was supposed to shift the next day.

Sunset in Atlantic Highlands


09 September 2016 | Port Washington, NY
Curlew in Port Washington

When I left Newport on Thursday 9/1, tropical storm Hermine was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. And there was a good chance that it would come up the US east coast and hit eastern Long Island. Time to seek shelter in Port Washington. It was overcast, with a light wind from the west. Numerous showers and thunderstorms at first, and a steady rain later. I anchored off Orient at 1545. Motor-sailed all day. On Friday I was up early to catch the beginning of the north-going flood through Plum Gut and west-bound into Long Island Sound. The wind was 15 knots from the NNE and I sailed for a few hours. At 1255 I called Brewer's Capri Marina in Fort Washington and reserved a slip. There are town moorings, but I assumed that they would all be taken with Hermine approaching. And waiting for a storm it is nice to be in a marina for a change. And when I entered Port Washington I saw that all town moorings were indeed taken. I entered my slip at 1800.

Saturday more boats were coming into the marina. I doubled all the dock lines, added chafe protection, wrapped the furling lines around the yankee and the staysail and locked the furler drums with a twisted shackle. The next few days it was just waiting for Hermine. It was taking its time and did not seem to make up its mind whether to go east or west. It was just churning off the New Jersey coast. I killed the time by riding my bike around town, having lunch here and there and doing some shopping. Finally, Hermine was slowly moving north-east. On Tuesday it was windy, but nothing over 254 knots. On Wednesday I left the marina, filled the fuel tank and picked up one of the town moorings, a few of which had now become available. On Thursday the GRIB files seemed to initially indicate that there might be a window to go south on Friday afternoon, but that closed pretty quickly. The next window would be Sunday mid-day, when a cold front would pass behind which the wind would turn to the NW. I decided to go through Manhattan on Saturday, and anchor off Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey. Sunday morning would be September 11th and there were all kinds of events organized for the 15th anniversary of this tragedy. Probably not a good day to be in New York Harbor: Too much traffic.


30 August 2016
Yesterday was another sunny day. I had decided to go to Newport. I had not been there in several years, and it would be a nice change from the usual Block Island stop. The wind was light at first (a lot of light wind, this summer), but as the day progressed the wind increased and I entered Narragansett Bay with a nice breeze, under full sail. Some of the twelves were out. I picked up a mooring at Oldport Marine. Today I walked to the supermarket and later dingied around the harbor, admiring (some) of the large yachts at the Newport Shipyard and the mansion of the New York yacht club. When I bought a Yanmar fuel and oil filter at Oldport's it appeared that Yanmar had changed the part numbers again. It took a while to make sure that I got the right filters. The lady at Oldport's was wondering out loud how the mechanics could keep track of all these changes.

To Onset

28 August 2016
I left Boothbay Harbor at 0800 on Saturday and at 0850 we were off the Cuckolds lighthouse. Farewell to Maine, for 2016 at least. I shut off the engine at 0920 and hoisted the drifter. The wind was light from the N. Later I jibed and poled the drifter out to starboard, but the NNE wind became even less and at 1030 I turned the engine back on until 1330 when the wind shifted to the ESE. I continued with the drifter until 1645 when the wind died almost completely. During the last few hours I had three visitors: Three red-breasted nuthatch birds played hide-and-seek on board. They suddenly all disappeared later. These are tree birds and don't belong at sea. I motored through the night and entered the Cape Cod Canal at 0725, with the ebb current with us. I anchored in Onset at 0845.

Back to Boothbay Harbor

26 August 2016
An expedition yacht at anchor in Boothbay Harbor

I left Rockland Tuesday morning and motor-sailed through the Muscle Ridge Channel. The current was not very strong and the tide was low. Normally, when single-handing, I avoid this route because it is dense with lobster floats and often at high tide they are pulled under water. Not today and I enjoyed the trip through this pretty area. Once through the MRC I shut off the engine and sailed back to Boothbay Harbor. I picked up my usual mooring at the Carousel Marina. As I was going to stay here again for a few days, I hoisted the Ampair. Dinner and drinks at the Whale's Tale, of course.

I stayed three days in Boothbay doing laundry and shopping for food supplies. Mike drove me to the “dump” to dump used engine oil and then to a camp ground where I filled one of my propane tanks. Looking through the overstock books at the local bookstore I bough a copy of The Encyclopedia of Yacht Designers. Originally $150. Now $50. A expedition mega yacht with a helicopter on deck anchored in the harbor. It was a conversion of a dutch ocean tug.

Fog and cool weather

22 August 2016
On Friday, in a light southerly breeze, I sailed from Rockport to Pulpit Harbor.

On Saturday I sailed to Stonington where I anchored off the town. Lunch ashore and then a quick walk around town. I had not been back to Stonington since 2010. Unfortunately, the old lady who ran one of the small galleries, had died. She was married to a gentleman from the Netherlands, and the last time I saw her, wanted me to sing the Piet Hein song in dutch. Later I moved to an anchorage near Hell's Half Acre (the Stonington anchorage is notorious for wake from the local lobster boats).

When I woke up on Sunday at 0600 it was clear, but around 0700 a thick fog rolled in. It was cool, if not cold, and I ran the Espar heater for a few hours. Waiting for the fog to lift I installed a 12V outlet at the pedestal to power the tablet that I use for navigation. Around noon visibility had improved sufficiently to get underway. The Stonington area is dense with lobster floats and a bit of visibility helps to avoid them. I sailed most of the distance to Rockland, except for the part through the Fox Islands Thorofare. I anchored in the Rockland S anchorage at 1705

Monday was a cool and windy day. It almost felt like fall. Torrential rain at night and early morning.

To the Opera House

18 August 2016 | Belfast
Concert at the Opera House

I motored (again, no fog, but also little wind this summer), to Rockport and after a long search I finally found the mooring that Rockland Marine had assigned me to. I walked around tiny "downtown" Rockport and saw a damaged Hinckley Picnic Boat ashore. When I saw its name, I remembered hearing a conversation between its owner and the Coast Guard over the VHF a few days ago. They had hit a rock somewhere east of the Fox Islands Thorofare, lost steering and were taking on water.

Finally, in the evening I attended a chamber concert at the Opera House. Main feature was the Brahms Piano Quintet. A very spirited performance, with Simone Dinnerstein and the Chiara String Quartet.

Curlew is normally the prettiest boat in an anchorage, but in Maine she has lots of competition. Rockport is a center of traditional boats and Rockport Marine has an outstanding reputation in that field.


17 August 2016
Belfast waterfront

After I left Rockland on Tuesday I motored for an hour an a half. It was sunny but there was no wind. When a little breeze from the SSW picked up I raised the main and set the drifter. Had a nice sail up West Penobscot Bay until I got to the beginning of the Belfast mooring field. At 1440 I picked up a town mooring in Belfast. I noticed that the oil pressure gauge was pointing low and was fluctuating somewhat. No sound alarm though. The Yanmar has now 3000+ hours on the clock. I'll have it serviced when I return to Baltimore. The engine uses a little oil (I add 1 qt between oil changes) and smokes a little more than when it was new. Otherwise, if you see the engine, it is so clean, it looks as if it just came out of the box: No rust, peeling or discolored paint, no oil or fluid leaks. These Yanmar 4JHs are pretty good little engines. I had oysters, beer and a hard boiled egg at the Three Tides bar, as I always do when in Belfast.

Today was laundry day. Belfast has a big laundromat within walking distance from the dinghy landing. In between I had a burger at Rollie's and shopped at the local co-op. In the afternoon I took a walk down the new promenade that runs along the waterfront. You cross the Front Street Shipyard's lot where they can haul and maintain large pleasure craft and commercial vessels. They have the biggest travel lift that I have ever seen.

Rockland, again, and a rant

15 August 2016
Thunderstorm in Rockland

I left Burnt Coat Harbor on Thursday around 1030. There was some morning fog but with blue sky up high. The wind was 15 knots from the WSW and I sailed under the easy rig of one reef in the main and the yankee, no staysail. That gave me enough speed with good visibility on deck thanks to the high-clewed yankee. The automatic fog horn sounded the one long, two short blasts of a vessel under sail. Through Toothacher Bay, Jericho Bay, Merchant Row, East Penobscot Bay, the Fox Islands Thorofare and West Penobscot Bay into the Rockland south anchorage. Mostly under sail, but with occasional assistance from the engine.

On Friday back to the Verizon store, where it was determined that the microphone in my brand new phone had failed. So they gave me a new phone, but now I had to go through the whole rigmarole again of reinstalling all the apps and other stuff that you keep on a “smart” phone. And that includes not only contacts and such, but also downloaded navigational charts. In between I visited the (small) Rockland boat show and moved Curlew to the north anchorage after a wind shift and a thunderstorm with torrential rain made the south anchorage too exposed.

Saturday I discovered that all my contacts were screwed up. Somehow the contacts in the “Cloud” were all duplicated and in many cases even triplicated before they downloaded to my new-new phone and it took another visit (number 4) to the Verizon store to somewhat fix this problem. Then back to the bar with the free WiFi connection to finish installing apps and uploading data. I cleaned up all the contacts on my phone, and turned automatic back-up to the Cloud off until I return home, where I can hopefully clean it up before I sync my phone again. I can see the advantages from storing stuff off-line, but there are way too many clouds around: There is a Verizon Cloud, Google, Yahoo, Instagram and Facebook Clouds, and more. And they all keep overlapping data. And, on this topic, I keep my photos organized in Google Picasa (with back-ups on multiple computer hard drives and memory sticks). No longer supported by Google since July. They want you to move to Google Photos in, where else, the Cloud. Gone are all your albums, everything thrown in by date the picture was taken (or scanned). Worthless.

In the afternoon I visited the Landing Gallery with the new Irma Cerese show (whose paintings Mary and I bought some years ago) and then the new modern art museum that had recently opened.

On Monday I tinkered with the settings of the ARS-5 regulator. Some years ago I destroyed the diodes in the alternator on two occasions due to overheating. Since then I have a blower blowing cool air on the alternator and run the ARS with reduced belt load. I can see the alternator temperature on the ARS regulator display and it has never run hot since then. Today I increased the belt load setting back to its normal default to increase the alternator output. I'll have to keep an eye on its temperature to see how this affects it.

I bought tickets to a chamber concert in Rockport next Thursday and reserved a mooring for that night at Rockport Marine. Finally, at Hamilton Marine I found two 50 ft sets of ¼ inch Dyneema line in their sales bin. I will use these to replace the nylon webbing jacklines that I run on Curlew's side decks. These stretch a lot when wet and shrink bar taut when dry. I don't use them very often (I run wire jacklines from the side of the cockpit to the mast that I use most of the time, if I feel that I need to be attached to the boat) but sometimes when you want to go forward underway at night they give you a (probably false) sense of security.

Burnt Coat Harbor

10 August 2016
Lighthouse at Hockamock Head, the entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor

After two days in Somesville I left this morning. The day started sunny but soon it became overcast with drizzle later. The wind was first light from the SW and I motor-sailed down the Western Way, then made a long tack south between the Gott Islands and the Duck Islands. The wind picked up to 15 knots and I put in a reef. And long pants! At 1330 I entered Burnt Coat harbor on the south side of Swan's Island, under sail, and anchored twenty minutes later.

As soon as I had the sailcover on the rain started in earnest and fog rolled in too.

I called my sister-in-law Jean that afternoon, but she could not hear me. I heard her clearly. Next I tried to call my home voice mail, but no sound had been recorded when I listened to my voice mail later. Now what? More cell phone troubles?

Somes Sound

08 August 2016
Yesterday I stayed on the mooring in SW Harbor, Had a burger at the Dry Dock Bar (internet!) and back on board did some domestic chores, and scrubbed the cockpit gratings with salt water.

Today, Sunday, I motored up Somes Sound into the protected anchorage at Somesville, at the top of the Sound. The anchorage was actually much more spacious than I had expected. I had seen it from ashore on previous trips, but never anchored there. I went ashore and took the free LL Bean funded bus to Bar Harbor, which is, as I wrote before, the only place in Mount Desert with Verizon mobile data service. I don't like to do my finances on a public WiFi system, so I took my small laptop and sat on a bench in Bar Harbor to download my financial transactions with my phone as a WiFi hotspot.

Returning to Curlew I saw Paul, whom I had met before in my marina in Baltimore. He sails a Pearson Trident (with an outboard motor in a well!) and was about to leave for further down-east Maine.

Vessel Name: Curlew
Vessel Make/Model: Cabo Rico 42 cutter
Hailing Port: Baltimore, MD
Crew: Thierry Danz
About: Hometown: Philadelphia, PA - Members SSCA, Cruising Association (London, UK)
CURLEW is a Cabo Rico 42, built in 2003. LOA 46' 10" 14.25 m LOD 42' 6" 12.95 m Beam 12' 8" 3.85 m Draft 5' 10" 1.80 m Displ 32,000 lbs. 14,500 k Mast height 58' 17.7 m Sail area (100%) 931 ft2 86.5 m2 Sail area (total) [...]
Curlew's Photos - Main
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Friends and their boats who were/are important to me.
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A picture gallery of our trip south in the winter of 2008 and 2009.
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Pictures taken by the factury during Curlew's construction.
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A picture gallery of our trip south in the winter of 2008 and 2009.
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Created 17 February 2009
These are Thierry's previous boats (and his dad's and his grand-dad's)
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Created 15 February 2009