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Time Bandit
Wish I Was a Crow
05/10/2015, Anne relaxing with two of Graham's four Alsations!!

OK. The cool plan was we would park the boat at the yard and head off on a road trip.

"There's a logical, triangular geographic route here" says I. South Dartmouth Mass, up to Toronto to see my cuz, down to Annapolis to torment myself looking at fancy boats, then back north to the boat.

However, this plan was hatched and planned onboard in our wifi free zone. Consequently, in the absence of Google Maps, the planning phase was executed using our boat navigation app and, using "as the crow flies" routing it was only about 300 miles each leg. Spread over two weeks, that was nuthin'

Hours and hours and hours and many many miles later we reached Toronto. Somewhat further when you follow the road network rather than the crow.

Anyway, it was well worth the effort as we were looked after royally, got to see my two cousins and Anne's "uncle" Andrew.

Rested after several nights in a bed that didn't wobble we made an early start from Toronto heading for Annapolis making the Canadian/ USA border by 10:00. Three hours later we emerged from Customs and Border Protection. Some muppet in Ireland failed to correctly mark my passport last time we flew and, with people all around looking at what we were being done for, were pointed to the big chief.

Digging into my history they then saw that my Green Card status was questionable and, and and on it bloody went. Paperwork, computer forms, finger prints, photos the whole nine yards and over three hours.

Consequently, our plan to make Gettysburg by nightfall was in tatters. Not much of a problem as we didn't have the address. Boom boom.

That's a joy for tomorrow.

Boom, Oo , Yata-Ta-Ta
27/09/2015, South Dartmouth

For as long as I can remember, when listening to music I've enjoyed trying to identify and listen to individual instruments being played. Sometimes following the bass. Sometimes drums. Others maybe the lead guitarist.

Unfortunately this habit has a major downside when trying to get some decent sleep onboard.

My theory (wot I have composed) is that after decades of listening out for individual sounds in an album track (what Anne would call just a cacophony), at nights, at anchor, the subconscious "skipper" in me is identifying the individual boat "band members" and their "instruments".

Tonight we have No Kia playing "BONNGGG - Your Battery Is Low" accompanied by Car Bon playing "Beep Beep" on the monoxide detector, "Whirr" on bilge pump, "Clunk" on mast and "Tick Tock Slap" on loose sail tie.

Only "Hal Yard" has any sense of rhythm and by the time percussion has added on "tinkle" "slap" and "ripple" I'm wide awake and like Donald Duck stuffing in ear plugs and wrapping my head in pillows to drown out the noises.

It's like being in a recording session with Morecombe and Wise doing the Boom, Ooo, Yatatata Song, otherwise known as Will You Miss Me Tonight. Miss me sleep is what I miss. No sooner has the band taken a break and I've dropped off than they start up with another new composition.

I'm quite looking forward to a few nights ashore........which is where we will be for the next 3-4 weeks while Time Bandit gets her new chainplates.

Come back for the photo essay, more woffle and the start of our trip south chasing the sun to the Caribbean.

Nights Are Fair Drawin' In
26/09/2015, Cuttyhunk, Elizabeth Islands

18:47 and the sun has just gone down.

Autumn is on the way. Cooler mornings and chilly evenings calling for a wee fleece and maybe long trousers. Certainly heating on at night.

The yard we are heading to for our "new chainplates before going round the world" project is 25 miles east of Newport. So, with Wednesday being the only day when winds not from where we were headed were forecast we waved Newport goodbye and headed out expecting a nice reach in the forecast northerly. Instead, we headed out straight into an easterly. Brilliant. Dead on the nose. So much for forecasts but at least it was sunny. Wee bit chilly but still shorts weather.

Given the wind direction we changed plan and are now in the 360 degree shelter of Cuttyhunk. Discovered in 1602 by English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold (Bart to his mates). Apparently he was "ravished by its beauty".

I'm going ashore in the morning in the hope of some plain old ravishing.

The name Cuttyhunk apparently comes from the Native American "Poocutohhunkunnoh". However, given these chaps probably didn't rank spelling and writing above hunting and fishing my theory is that "Poocutohhunkunnoh" just sounded like Cuttyhunk to the English settlers when they asked, "where are we?"

Poocutohhunkunnoh replied the locals which probably means, "Bugger off".

Either that or the early settlers didn't have enough space on Ye Olde Scrabble Board and so shortened the name.

The pool that is the Cuttyhunk harbour is pretty much a mooring field in 7 - 10 feet. Moorings at $45 a night. However the considerate folks have allocated a square shaped area for peasants like us that are too mean to pay the bucks. Only 5 boats here on this first night. Come Saturday, there were nearly 30, half of them trying to save cash and squeezing into the anchoring area.

In summer months its chocka.

Four weeks from now, when we get the boat back, not only will Cuttyhunk be empty of boats but all of New England. In Newport, boats were already being lifted out. Seems a bit early as it was 75* yesterday but I guess when you only get 5 days holiday every other year its better out than in.

Tomorrow Sunday we head for South Dartmouth and the boatyard.

Two Off.......
21/09/2015, Newport RI

Two names, two boats, two worlds.

The Loch Long. Twenty one feet of pure one design racing keelboat.

My dear old dad had two Loch Longs, Thalia #4 bought in 1949 and Whisper #63 bought in the early '60's.

We found Thalia and Whisper on the hard together here in Newport, but in a different sphere, a different world. Somewhere between 150 and 200 feet these superyachts dominated the yard but I'll bet dad had as much fun, if not more in his twenty one feet.

It's busy here. Not only is the International Boat Show in full swing, but the New York Yacht Club is hosting its invitation only Swan 42 regatta. The moorings are full and the anchorage chock full. We are s ten minute dinghy ride from the dock and spent a good extra five minutes in the pitch black last night puttering around trying to find Time Bandit in the midst of dozens of anchor lights.

We had been out for dinner with Bill and Laurie from Toodle-oo, recently fried courtesy of a stray lightning bolt and Mike and Jane of Jammin', both from the summer Ocean Cruising Club New England cruise.

Today we met up with friends from our Wayland days, Carol and Steve.

It's a mad social whirl here!

Welly Boots and Bathin' Suits
16/09/2015, Newport

Welly Boots and Bathin' Suits

That just about sums up the weather. One minute it's 75F or 8"F and blazing sun. Next its distinctly chilly, Occasionally with lashing rain.

We were up with the larks and made an early getaway from Scituate heading for the Cape Cod canal 27 miles south. A fresh offshore westerly had us cracking along in flat water at 8-9 knots.

While the sun is out, Autumn is making its appearance felt, and seen. The nights ARE chilly. Fill TOG duvet and heating on. The leaves are turning on the trees and we're waiting on the New England Fall to make its show.

Overhead, the birds are headed south, like us, and apparently a number of other full time cruisers.

Weekend leisure yachts and sleek J boats are giving way to chunky cruisers festooned with the paraphernalia that marks the itinerant yottie. Solar panels hanging off every corner, steps running all the way up the mast, wind generators, chunky vane steering gear hanging of the back, dinghies, kayaks and other assorted necessities and toys littering the deck.

There are eight of us anchored here in Onset at the western end of the Cape Cod canal. All presumably having enjoyed a great thrash south in flat water, 20 knots breeze and sunshine.

We saw this exodus, in reverse, when we came up from the Caribbean last May, just 14 weeks ago. It seems more like three months.

It actually seems like much longer.

Back in Scotland our annual "migration" from summer cruising grounds to winter berth was 150 miles and took just 48 hours. This Caribbean - USA migration is different job. 1500 miles and weeks.

Maybe that's why we spend half our time on boat jobs. Talking of which, there's a busth water pump awaiting my attention.


At this time of year in New England, the summer south westerlies start giving way to occasional "nor easters" as fronts blow through.

One was scheduled for today so, slept lightly, ears tuned in to a change if weather.

Sure enough, shortly after midnight a light clang on the mast signalled some breeze arriving.

Come 5am it was blowing nicely from the north so by 06:30 we were outta there. "There" being Portsmouth Yacht Club, the friendliest, most welcoming place yet.

All sails up, goose winged with the pole we pointed at Gloucester, our planned overnight stop.

However, 15 knots begat 20, which begat 25 which begat 30 so come 09:00 we were abreast the turn in for Gloucester.

We couldn't let the breeze waste so, poling on, surfing at up to 9.3 we headed fur Situate where we landed at 2pm

59 miles at an average speed of 7.7 knots. Whoo hoo

Typically, "should have been here yesterday".

We always turn up just after some great event....."yeah, Phil Collins was here on holiday last night and put on a free gig. Should've been here yesterday dude!"

So, having missed the Scituate fun we're Boston bound tomorrow. If we can find a bus.

That Swirly Thing
10/09/2015, Portsmouth Yacht Club

Aaaah. It's that "Swirly Wind"

That was the mild curse Charles, an old friend gave when his ball missed the green by a country mile during a summer when I went through a golfing phase, way back when.

Funnily enough Charles is Sybil's dad. You know? Sybil from Downton Abbey aka Jessica Brown-Finlay.

We just finished a crash course in Downton. Seasons one and two in about a week. Not much doing at night up Maine way!

Anyway, "swirly".

We are here in Portsmouth New Hampshire. More accurately, off the Portsmouth Yacht Club on New Castle Island on the Piscataqua River.

The pilot book said to get here at slack water, which we did. It's our second visit although eight weeks ago we anchored way over on the other side, had a quiet night and slipped away quietly at dawn.

Different this side.

On a boat, unless one is possessed of a really cool disposition, or on someone else's boat, the slightest change in movement or noise level will instantly rouse the deepest sleeper from a state of near coma to the alert state of a gazelle that just caught a whiff of lion.

On the far side of the river we must have been in eddies ville. The non swirly, eddy side of the river. Here, we are catching the full run of the tide.

Just after midnight we were woken by the strange sound of rushing water like we were off at the races hurtling toward some edge of world torrent.

We leapt on deck to check what was happening. A quick look around to get our bearings showed we were still off the clubhouse so at least we weren't to about to plummet to our doom. Up forward to check we were securely tied showed the source of all the swishing and gurgling. The 4 foot diameter mooring ball was swirling around like a giant white eyeball in the dark water. The wash from the buoy was running back hitting us and creating a sizeable bow wave.

At the back, the dinghy was straining at its leash and I was pretty happy with my new habit of tying on a back up painter.

The current is running so strong we're not sure if our asthmatic little 2.5hp will get us ashore in the morning. We could be swept out to sea and, well, doooomed.

If we survive, its a day trip into Portsmouth then at night we are invited to dinner at the yacht club, having already been very generously given an evening meal tonight.

Craig's pal Jay us coming by for a drink as well.

Come Friday and a forecast 20-30 knots from the north we're catching the wind and tide and hopefully ticking off the 60 miles to Boston. Failing that, we will stop at Gloucester again and maybe catch a concert in Rockport.

So, nerves calmed, tide rip slowed, one thirty am, blog content prepped and so, its time for bed said Zeb.

Time Bandit 1 :: Lobstermen 0
03/09/2015, Stonington

Along the way north, while talking to fellow cruisers we were told, in fact warned of the nuisance of lobster pots. Some even said they wouldn't go back to Maine because of them.

Owing to the colder waters, the further north you get the better the lobstering. Consequently, the ocean is simply littered with pots. To make a bad situation worse, for whatever reason, up here the fishermen tie a "toggle" to the pot buoy on a length of maybe 12 ft of line. So, not only do you have to weave around the pots but you have to work out whether the pot buoy is tied to the float a few feet away.

We got it wrong yesterday and with a light thud our rope cutter made short work of it. Thankfully as we've sat this afternoon in North Haven watching some poor bloke diving on his prop while clunking off the adjacent moored boat.

Maine is an interesting place. In the 1800's the state built more ships than anywhere else in the US to ship lumber, ice and granite to the southern states. Maine granite was shipped ready cut and polished to build New York's libraries, cathedral and railway station.

The last of these Windjammers gather in Camden for the long weekend so we are heading back there tomorrow for the festivities.

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