10/13/2009, Solomon's Island, MD
We sailed from Annapolis this morning, weighing anchor at about 7:30am and getting underway in earnest by 8am. The winds were not exactly as forecast, but they still allowed us to sail south. We sailed to weather anywhere from 45-70 deg off the wind all the way down to Solomon's Island. The Chesapeake Bay was festooned with sail boats departing from Annapolis as we were. The winds allowed for decent way however they never became the spritely zephyrs that were forecast for the afternoon. We made sufficient way to make Solomon's Island by 4:30pm.
As we approached the Island, we hailed the Yacht Center and spoke with Quinton whom hooked us up on C-dock where we tied up last time we were here. Once the Song was secured, Dave & I set about performing the required maintenance tasks. We changed the engine oil, the gear oil, and one fuel filter. The work was done in short order and soon we were immersed in the heady smell of homemade chili heating up on the stove. We served the chili with tortilla chips, homemade pico de gallo, and a generous dollup of Cholula sauce for good measure. We washed said chili down with a cold beer and all was right in the world.
Dave is cleaning dishes as I write. Soon I will check tomorrow's weather and call home. Tomorrow, we intend to sail to the Rappahannock River and visit a previous location we stayed in order to survey a boat for Dave Simeon. So far, we are on schedule and all is OK with crew and boat.
s/v Song of the South, moored at Solomon's Island, MD
10/12/2009, Annapolis, MD
Today was the last day of the Annapolis Boat Show. We spent the morning hours wringing the last bit of information and "freebies" out of various vendors. I managed to score some free spare parts today as well as getting 90% of my brass yacht lantern polished by the Flitz guy. We hooked up s/v "Arrania" with photos and video we took of them as they departed Solomon's Island enroute to the show. They were grateful and gave me a custom "Arrania" belt.
At lunch time it was time to get serious about bugging out. We got a lift to the grocery store from the Leows shuttle and obtained provisions for our voyage home. Then we packed up all the stuff at the hotel that came off the boat before the show. The shuttle dropped us and our 10,000lbs of gear off at the show gate. We then ferried it to the floating dock where it sat until it was time to load up. We had enough time to woof down a late lunch before it became time to begin departure preparations. The cannon fired early (about 4:30pm) and it was time to go. We spend several hours making ready before it became our turn to depart. As we pulled out, the show goers and exhibitors lined the docks on either side and gave us a hearty send off. We pulled out of Ego Alley in the dark and motored over to the Naval Anchorage looking for a spot to drop our hook. We anchored on the far side of the anchorage and began the task of setting the Song to rights. I regret that I did not get pictures of the departure, as I had my hands full navigating the boat through the narrow passage with other boats fore and aft. Some boats bombarded the crowd with promo T-shirts and others with water balloons. We had nothing to entertain the crowd, as we did not realize what would transpire. In retrospect, we should have motored out wearing nothing but our underwear - that would have gotten us some applause, or some water balloons!
Once we were firmly on the hook, we set about putting the remaining 5,000lbs of stuff back where it goes and stowing our provisions. It took 1-1/2hrs to square away the Song. After that, we ran the engine to charge the batteries some and had a snack.
Tomorrow we set sail for Solomon's Island, MD on the cusp of a cold front. We expect the winds to be 10-15kts WNW in the morning, clocking to 20kts NNW in the afternoon. Thus, we will have brisk sailing all the way to Solomon's Island. As such, we have decided to belay our oil change until we get to Solomon's. We will however conduct a fuel filter change while enroute.
At this point, our beds are made and we are tired and dehydrated. The temperature is fairly cold and we expecting some good sleeping conditions for tonight's snoring contest.
Until tomorrow...rest well.
s/v Song of the South, at anchor in Annapolis, MD
10/11/2009, Baltimore, MD
Today's the day we set off for Baltimore with Amy, Hunter, Austin, Carrie Franklin, Michael VB, and Jessica Koutsoukos. We had breakfast at the hotel again this morning, as they offer the food in the style and quantity that the kids want. Big bowls of berries, bacon, waffles, and sweet rolls are high on their list. As for myself, I'll be glad to be shed of the hotel breakfast buffet because I'm a recovering "baconaholic" and the temptation there is too much for me to bear.
We set off for Baltimore and it only took us about 30min to get there. We arrived neatly at the inner harbor and finally found a place to park. Firstly, we attended the Baltimore Aquarium. The aquarium is one of the best around and had terrific displays of jelly fish, deep sea life, sharks, rays, and terrestrial Australian displays. It was a great time and we all learned a lot. I acquired a book for identifying whales & dolphins from the gift shop. We encounter dolphins frequently and have encountered whales in the past, so being able to identify them seemed like a good activity for the boys and us alike.
After we did the aquarium, the kids spied the ESPN Museum and we went there. It's a big sports place with restaurants, TV's everywhere, sports games, sports history, and memorabilia. We had lunch there as well and it was pretty good, although it took awhile to get service because it was very crowded.
Austin & I peeled off to tour aboard the USS Torx and the USS Constellation. The Torx is a WWII submarine which you can walk through and the Constellation is a 19th century American warship. Both are really cool and really give you a sense of life aboard during the different time frames.
We had to leave Baltimore so that the family and guests could begin their trip home at a reasonable time. We drove back to Annapolis and picked up our laundry on the way in. We packed up the remaining stuff in the car and off went my crew and our guests. I will miss them for sure.
Coming aboard now is Dave Hinman, our scout leader from Troop 232. I hooked up with Dave back at the boat show and we finished the day availing ourselves of the various activities and boats at the boat show. We completed the evening with dinner at 49 West and made a direct run for the hotel room. All it took was a little bit of food on top of a few "painkillers" from the boat show to take us old men out of the lineup.
s/v Song of the South, moored in Annapolis, MD
10/10/2009, Annapolis, MD
As most of you know, we have been away from our kids more than ever on this trip. Carrie Franklin and family have been nice enough to have driven them up to visit with us and to attend the show a bit. The entire crew is together and all is again right in the world.
We spent yesterday touring the boat show, eating, and doing some tourist grade shopping. We topped the day off with a rooftop dinner at Jerry's, before everyone was ready to retire.
Tom Hick's joined us for lunch at Middleton's Tavern. We spent more than an hour talking with Tom and it was good. Tom was the developer whos vision made our home at Minnesott Beach possible. He's from the Annapolis area and was in town for the show. We offered for him to crew with us back to Minnesott, but he is a lawyer and had court scheduled for the coming week. However, we'll give him a last call before we leave in case his schedule opens up.
Tomorrow is Sunday and we plan to visit the Baltimore Aquarium and Baltimore Inner Harbor before our younger crew sets out for home. It should be an eventful day.
Amy is planning to return home via land with the boys. She has had quite enough time away from them and will be riding home with Carrie Franklin. Dave Hinman will officially come on to help crew the Song this afternoon, when his wife drives home as well. We also have possible additional crew in both Dave Simeon and Tom Hicks.
I am currently working on a plan which will enable the Song to reacquire her bulky gear, ship her provisions, and be ready for an on-time departure from Ego Alley on Monday night. The sail boat show ends on Monday night and we're expected to leave the docks starting at 5pm in order to make way for the power boats coming in for the power boat show. We currently plan to anchor out in either the Naval anchorage or the South anchorage before departing for Solomon's Island on Tuesday. In addition to provisioning, we have many maintenance actions to perform before departing such as changing engine oil, changing gear oil, and changing fuel filters, just to name a few. We also need to disinfect the boat as we come aboard to reduce the chances of catching anything from the hundreds of people that have toured through the boat.
We'll update you with a more detailed plan as it comes together.
s/v Song of the South, moored at Annapolis, MD
10/09/2009, Annapolis, MD
One of the coolest things about sailing is the people you meet and the friends you make along the way. It's amazing how you end up crossing paths at other times and in other places. Being at this boat show, we've both made new friends and ran into existing ones.
We've really enjoyed getting to know Kathy and George McCreary from Caliber Yachts. We have much in common and we really like them both. We hope that we'll be able to see them again.
Dave Hinman, our boy's scout leader, is coming into town tonight with his wife in order to visit the boat show this weekend and we hope to spend some time with both of them. After the show, he is going to help me crew the Song home. Dave is a sailor at heart and is looking forward to getting aboard a boat of his own soon.
The owner and salesman from Beaufort Yacht Sales are here at the show and we always enjoy hanging out with them. They're a good bunch and we want to do anything we can to help them sell boats. See our salesman in todays blog photo.
Today at the show, we had drinks with Ron & Judy from s/v Pioneer out of Minnesott Beach. They are from our home marina and drove up for the show. It was good to speak with them in an atmosphere beyond idle chat from boat to boat. They are veterans of the Annapolis Boat show and have come up to Annapolis for the past five years.
When we arrived, we got to meet Pete and Sharon Refree and they were a great assistance in getting us into the show. We had lunch with them and we hope to see them again as well.
We also ran into Tom Hicks, the developer of our home at Minnesott Beach. He's from the Annapolis area and is in town for the boat show.
We were sailing up the Chesapeake Bay, when we crossed paths with s/v Celebration. We berthed next to s/v Celebration in Elizabeth City during this past summer's cruise and we cruised in a loose group with them and others through the Dismal Swamp Canal and into Portsmouth together. It was a surprise to have them arrive off our starboard bow coming the other way when we were heading North through the Chesapeake.
There's a chance that Dave Simeon from Wayfarer's Cove will sail back from Annapolis with us if he's able to make good headway on a job he's doing this weekend. If he does, I look forward to learning some from his experience.
We would not know many of the aforementioned if it were not for being into sailing. In fact, without the help of several mentioned we would not have a sail boat. So, we are really enjoying meeting these good folks. We also enjoy hearing from you readers in our blog comments.
Our kids will be arriving shortly, so there will soon be many new experiences to write about. I will sign off now in order to get ready for Hunter and Austin's arrival. Good night to all.
s/v Song of the South, moored in Annapolis, MD
10/08/2009, Annapolis, MD
We came to the boat show to help Caliber sell more boats, for the adventure, and because we like being around nautical places, nautical people, and doing nautical things. However, we ended up finding hidden treasure at the boat show.
Last time we attended this show, we did not own a sailboat and we focused mostly on talking with Caliber and perusing the various vendors. This time, we arrived with a different point of view. We own a sail boat now and have been operating it for almost two years. We have questions, problems, and a lot more to learn.
As we arrived at the boat show this morning and began to systematically explore the tents and booths, it occurred to us that the manufacturers of all our gear and equipment were in attendance. We began to visit the booths of all the manufacturers of our major gear or systems. As we visited each, we presented any questions or issues that we had with their products. They were all very accessible and helpful. We got answers to questions, engaged in technical discussions, and in many cases received hands-on instructions in maintaining or operating various equipment or systems. From the stand point of a Captain responsible for the boats operation and maintenance, it was extremely helpful and educational.
The fact that we had our boat at the show representing Caliber also carried a lot of weight with the manufacturers because they have a vested interest in continuing to integrate and sell their products to Caliber as well. Several manufacturers gave us on-site warranty support and in some cases even came aboard the boat to inspect problems first hand. By the time this is over, we will have had (2) warranty issues resolved, received hands on-maintenance training regarding (3) critical systems, and had several technical discussions regarding the use and applications of numerous other systems. We will also have developed personal rapport with many business owners so that they will know who we are if we should contact them for additional support.
For those of you that don't know, any boat is complex and is in a constant state of degradation. Boats are expensive and time consuming to maintain, especially sail boats because they tend to have more systems and more complex systems. As a Captain, you have to be a jack of many trades. In addition to being able to sail or navigate a sailboat, you will often have to be an electrician, mechanic, plumber, carpenter, HVAC technician, wood finisher, rigger, janitor, climber, radio operator, electronics user, cook, diver, diplomat, doctor, referee, rescuer, accountant, and many other roles.
While responsibility for crew and safe passage lies heavy upon the Captain, he also bears the burden of ship's maintenance. For as many hours as a boat is used for it's intended purpose, there are countless and less obvious hours that go into maintaining the boat, planning it's passages, or trouble-shooting and repairing the inevitable break downs. Just a few hours spent at today's boat show have made this job a lot easier for us and have advanced our capabilities as Captain and crew.
Our boys will be arriving for a weekend visit tomorrow and we are very anxious to see them.
Note: I failed to acquire good pictures for today's subject, so I will replace today's photo with a more appropriate photo during tomorrow's update. Thanks for tuning in.
s/v Song of the South, moored in Annapolis, MD