Back in Baltimore
13 September 2010 | Anchorage Marina, Baltimore, MD
On Friday morning I ran to the local Stop & Shop supermarket in Newport, to get some final supplies for the trip back to Baltimore. Kirk and Scott were going to join me for the trip south, and I was a little short on bread and lunchmeat. Back on board, I checked the engine and the Racor fuel filters, which is something I always do before a trip. I was surprised to find one of the Racor filters 2/3rds filled with slimy crud. I did have a rough trip from Boothbay Harbor to Hadley Harbor in Buzzards Bay two days ago, but I thought I had checked the filter while I was at anchor in Hadley Harbor. Perhaps I did not, or if I did, the filters must have appeared clean at that time, and only became clogged during the trip from Hadley Harbor to Newport. Anyway, now I was stuck with a filter bowl full of slimy diesel crud that needed cleaning, and that needed a replacement paper cartridge. And on top of that, Oldport Marine was anxious to get me off the mooring, as the Newport Boat Show people needed my row of moorings to put the boat show floats together. So with great urgency I drained and cleaned the Racor, flushed it with clean fuel, replaced the paper filter and test-ran the engine. Everything looked fine. Let's hope that the Buzzards Bay experience had loosened all the crud in the tank, and that it was all captured by the filter. (Later, after several hours running at sea, I checked the Racor filter bowl again, and it had remained clear, so I guess that there was not much crud left in the fuel tank.)
Scott came on board around noon (after he had bought me a few more spare Racor filters, just in case), and Kirk around 1330. We dropped the mooring and after topping up the fuel tank we left Newport at 1400 with a favorable wind and forecast for the next two days. For the first 24 hours the predictions were for NW winds from 10 to 20 knots, with gusts up to 25 knots. After that the wind would become lighter and anti-cyclonic, clocking to the north through east, to south-and south west. We set sail as soon as we left Newport, with the full jib and one reef in the main. It was great sailing and we were flying with speeds consistently at 8 knots or more. Kirk wanted to throw out a fishing line, and we caught an Atlantic Bonito later in the afternoon. Kirk was appointed Chief Fishing Officer, and expertly bled and filleted the fish. We put four decent size chunks of fish in the freezer for later consumption. (More fishing photos in the Photo Gallery.)
During my watch, from 2300 to 0200 on Saturday morning, the wind increased to NW 20/25 knots and I put a few rolls in the jib. (I rarely use the rolling furler as a reefing tool, as it increases the draft in the jib, which is the opposite of what you want with strong winds. But as we were reaching, I thought it was appropriate.) We were surrounded by dozens of fishing boats, and I wanted to get out of that area as soon as possible. CURLEW obliged, with speeds from 8.5 to over 9 knots.
At 0500 I ran the engine for two hours to charge the batteries. I thought that because of the hard sailing the auto-pilot had put a heavier drain on the batteries than normal. It later transpired that I must have inadvertently changed the fridge and freezer thermostat to it highest setting when I put the fish fillets in the freezer. So the freezer had been running constantly for at least 8 hours, which explained the high power use. As soon as I changed the thermostat back to its normal setting the current consumption went down from 12 to around 6 amps, which is more typical.
Saturday morning dawned with diminishing winds and increasing light cloud cover. In succession, we took out the rolls in the jib, shook out the reef in the main, and later replaced the drifter for the jib. On 1410 the wind had become so light that, with the remaining swell and waves, we were making very little headway under sail. Reluctantly we turned on the engine and it stayed on until 0310, when we entered the Delaware Bay and the wind had picked up just enough to resume sailing. It lasted only for two hours and then we ran under engine all the way up Delaware Bay, through the C&D Canal, until we anchored in Still Pond at 1715 in light fog and rain. It had rained most of the day; what a contrast with the perfect sailing weather of the previous 24 hours. We had a little incident on the Delaware Bay, near the Salem nuclear power plant, when all of a sudden we heard a loud bang, and the engine started vibrating ominously. Scott, who was at the helm at that time, just had noticed that there were crab floats that were pulled under water by the current and they were hard to spot in the rain. We immediately put the engine into neutral, and I checked the prop shaft by hand. It turned freely, and when we looked astern, we saw a dirty white crab float surfacing from underneath the transom. We put the engine back into forward at low rpm, and everything seemed to run normally without any vibration, Would it not have been ironic, returning from Maine with its billions of lobster floats, to have become disabled by one of the few crab floats in the Delaware?
Anchored in a deserted Still Pond we had a nice dinner, of lamb chops, rice, vegetables, and two bottles of red wine. We discussed music, politics, the economy and a few other subjects that I don't remember. I was tired after two nights of little sleep. We went to bed at 2330, and I fell asleep within a few minutes. Around 0030 Kirk called me because he had woken up from the sound of both the fresh water pressure pump and the bilge pump running. I was fast asleep and did not wake up. Kirk and Scott figured out that a hose clamp in the fresh water system had failed, and they shut down the pump on the instrument panel. No need to wake me up with force, and I only heard the story the next morning. It was an easy fix.
We raised the anchor on Sunday morning at 0840, and motored the 25 miles to Baltimore, with sunny skies and light wind. CURLEW was back in her slip in the Anchorage Marina at 1300.
09 September 2010 | Newport, RI
Sunset in Newport
Lekker gezeild, as my father would have said. Which translates, sort of, that looking back, today has been a great sailing day. I left Hadley Harbor at 0800 this morning, after spending a blustery day at anchor. But it was very nice to be able to relax after my 32 hour trip from Boothbay.
It was still windy this morning, but very manageable, with one reef in the main and the full genoa. That the wind was, again, dead on the nose, was only a minor inconvenience. Where Buzzards Bay turned into Rhode Island Sound, however, the seas became so confused, and the wind so fluky, that I needed the engine for a little while to power through the waves. After we entered the Sound, I turned off the engine, and it was all perfect sailing until I lowered the sails just outside Newport Harbor. I picked up a mooring at Oldport Marine at 1700, opened a beer (Geary's Pale Ale, a microbrew from Maine) and enjoined the sunset.
Farewell to Maine
07 September 2010 | Hadley Harbor, Mass.
After saying farewell to the staff at Carousel Marina, and more in particular, the staff of the Whale's Tale bar and restaurant on Sunday, I prepared CURLEW for an early departure on Monday morning. What was supposed to be a stay of 3 days had turned into a whole week, thanks to Hurricane Earl.
While I was hoisting the dinghy on deck early Monday morning, Mike, on his Albin 36 trawler "Balboita", who had kept me company at the Whales Tale bar on several occasions, waved goodbye. He was on his way to Portsmouth. Perhaps we will meet again in either Baltimore or Philadelphia, possible stops on his way south to his homeport of St Augustine.
I had had some problems with deviation of the fluxgate compass, which controls the auto pilot, and had moved the compass sender to a different location, further away from the magnetism of the stereo speakers. It required a full compass swing to eliminate any remaining deviation. This I did in the outer harbor of Boothbay Harbor, which gave me enough space to put CURLEW through a full, slow 360 degree turn. And it seems to have eliminated the problem. Any remaining deviation is negligible.
Once outside the wind was pretty much dead on the nose. I hoisted the main, but kept the engine running. And that was the way it stayed for the next 24 hours. It was quite breezy the entire trip to the Cape Cod Canal, anywhere between 15 and 20 knots (true) from the south west, with an uncomfortable swell running from the south and wind-driven waves from the west. Not the great sail that you always hope for, but more like a delivery trip. I arrived at the Cape Cod Canal at 0625 on Tuesday morning, when the east running current in the canal was at its maximum. As this can run up to 5 knots, I decided to anchor in the lee of the breakwater, and relax for a few hours, as I had not slept in over 24 hours, and wait for the current to turn.
I raised the anchor at 0900, and proceeded under power through the CC Canal. By the time I got closer to the west end, where the canal meets Buzzards Bay, the wind had increased to 20/25 knots (true) from the southwest. Add to this a 4 knot west-bound current pushing against the seas rolling in from the Bay, and you get an area with very high and steep and short waves. On occasion I needed the full power of the engine to keep steerage way. Lots of water on deck, both spray and green. Finally, after some four miles of this fun, I was able to set the staysail (the smallest sail on CURLEW), and proceeded to my chosen anchorage in Hadley Harbor. This is one of the loveliest anchorages in Buzzards Bay, and very well protected from the strong winds that are forecast for the next few days. I dropped anchor at 1305, 32 hours after leaving Boothbay Harbor.
While sailing towards Hadley Harbor I took some pictures of CURLEW beating into the waves, and also from a beautiful old NY50, who was flying downwind, with full mainsail and jib. (Pictures in the photo gallery)
04 September 2010 | Boothbay Harbor, Maine
All preparations finished, a last beer at the Whale's Tale (and a bowl of Jack's Famous Chili), and we were ready for Earl. Fog had rolled in earlier in the evening but had dissipated soon. It was eerily calm. The rain started at 2000 and a little later I took the dinghy back to CURLEW. Around 2300 it was all heavy rain, still no wind. I woke up at 0200 this morning, and it seemed that the wind had picked up a bit, telling by the sound of the rigging. Nothing serious yet, so I thought I could get another hour's sleep before things would start for real. Next thing I woke up at 0600, and Earl was "roaring" by. I saw gusts of almost 15 (fifteen!) knots on the wind display. I wasn't quick enough with the camera to capture this event, but I managed to get one of the next strongest gust of 11.8 kn.
I wasn't going to complain if Earl turned out to be less threatening than was predicted, but an anti-climax it was, nevertheless.
Waiting for Earl
03 September 2010 | Boothbay Harbor, Maine
CURLEW has been on a mooring at the Carousel Marina in Boothbay Harbor for the last several days, waiting and preparing for Hurricane Earl. The latest is that Earl will pass just south of Down-East Maine, and that the Boothbay area will "only" get 35 to 50 knots of wind. But this is only a forecast. A slight deviation to the northwest and we may get stronger winds.
I took the jib and staysail down, moved all loose gear off the deck, lowered the boom on the boom gallows, and secured everything else. Later today I'll wrap a line tight around the mainsail cover and prepare my big Fortress anchor, just in case. Then ashore for a quick beer at happy hour at the Whale's Tale, and back on board before the fun starts.
It should all be over Saturday morning.
Rockland loves Curlew
27 August 2010 | Maple Juice Cove, Maine
A little too much, I'd say. For the third time Rockland did not let us go without effort. Again, we had a fouled anchor. A few years ago we first hooked an old steel hawser, and a week later, an old (?) electric or phone cable. Both we were able, with some effort, to clear. This happened in two places in the southern part of the harbor. This morning, when I raised anchor - we were in the north anchorage this time - it was firmly stuck. I had to circle around the anchor before it finally freed itself from whatever it was caught on.
Sailing was spotty today. Lots of wind shifts, moments when the wind disappeared altogether, or when the wind on deck was 45 degrees off from the direction at the mast trunk. We went through the mine field of lobster floats in this part of Maine and I was rather sailing than motoring as I pretty much can ignore floats when under sail. Ever since Kevin Bray fixed the rudder gudgeon floats have become much less of a concern. Thanks again, Kevin.
Maple Juice Cove is a nice anchorage on the St. George River. To get here from the east we took the inside route, south of Mosquito Island, around Marshall Point with its picturesque lighthouse (picture), while dodging rocky islands, stone ledges and lobster floats everywhere.
Note to self: never again anchor in Rockland without a tripping line with buoy.
26 August 2010 | Rockland, Maine
Lauren and Mike joined Mary and I on CURLEW on Friday, 8/20. We explored Camden, Pulpit Harbor and Belfast, where we had drinks at the Three Tides (too many) and dinner. On Tuesday we returned to Rockland. Mary, Lauren and Mike left early Wednesday morning for the long drive back to Philadelphia and Audubon. I understand that they enjoyed the ride so much, that they made a detour to the Delaware Memorial Bridges in Delaware before returning north to Philadelphia.
After they left the weather turned with lots of wind and torrential rain. I moved CURLEW to the northern section of Rockland Harbor to get out of the swell (the southern part of the harbor is wide open to the east, but is closer to the public dinghy landing) and had just anchored when the rain started in earnest. It rained all day and night. We must have had at least 2 inches. It took me quite a while this morning to bail out the dinghy.
I visited my favorite boat store again (Hamilton Marine) and bought a new reefing line (I had to cut the old one to free up a riding turn on the reefing winch a few days ago), and also found an electric foghorn that will come in handy in the fog.
18 August 2010 | Rockland, Maine
We've been motoring way too much lately. With the perfect and sunny weather that we have had recently, the wind has left - gone missing most of the time. These days, with reliable, small and powerful diesel engines, it is too easy to turn on the engine and continue at 6 or 7 knots if the wind drops below 10 knots. And there is always the excuse that the batteries needed charging anyway.
Right now I am reading Roving Commission no. 9 (the British RCC annual publication of members' logs from 1969). I love reading these older publications to remind me of how our sailing style has changed in the last 30 or 40 years. One account described how, after sailing for a few days in the fog, the skipper of a 38ft sailboat had to use an Aldis lamp to communicate with a commercial vessel to get a position. His latest sun sight was a few days old and he wanted confirmation of his DR position. Is there anyone out there who still knows how to use an Aldis lamp? Or a sextant? Another account describes how the owner of a 40ft sailboat had to rebuild the water pump of his 10hp Sabb diesel engine. A ten hp engine in a 40ft boat? Now that's an auxiliary engine. We are all motor-sailors now. Today we motor-sailed from Wooden Boat through the Fox Islands Thorofare, and did not shut the engine off until the last 6 miles to Rockland. We did sail into the anchorage, though.
17 August 2010 | Wooden Boat, Maine
After shopping in the morning, we left SW Harbor around 1100 with no wind and light fog in the expectation that it would burn off later. On the contrary, once out of the harbor it shut down with no more that a few boat lengths of visibility. Radar on, fog horn at the ready, we proceeded under reduced speed looking and listening for other traffic. As this is a well-trafficked route we heard several other boats around us but avoided hitting any. Later the fog cleared and the wind picked up a bit so we were able to sail into the anchorage at Wooden Boat. Here I bought a t-shirt and a hat at the Wooden Boat store. Both our previous visits were on a Sunday when the store was closed.
This was our first fog episode this trip.
Rainy Day, Dream Away
16 August 2010 | South West Harbor, Maine
A rainy day in South West Harbor. Everybody seemed to have the same thought that this would be the perfect laundry day. So, with only two washers and dryers, there was a bit of a back-log and it took us all morning to do two loads.
Today would have been my dad's 100th birthday. So here is a picture of him in 1982; I had just bought a new (to me) boat, and we were doing the survey. He thought the boat was too big (it was 31 ft.).
14 August 2010 | Little Cranberry Island
Thierry and Mary
We left Mistake Harbor in the morning, a little after low tide, and motor-sailed most of the way to the Cranberry Islands. While the wind was from the east when we traveled east, now that we returned west, the wind had also changed direction, so again we had, what little wind there was, dead on the nose. About 10 nm before we reached the Cranberry Isles the wind had shifted more to the south and we could unfurl the jib and turn off the engine. So, today's trip ended with a nice sail, and we even anchored under sail in Cranberry Harbor.
After we readied the dinghy we went ashore and had a nice dinner at the bar of the Isleford Dock restaurant. Despite being on a small island, this appeared to be a very popular spot for both the locals and the people that summer on Mount Desert Island.
Mary says: I highly recommend the Isleford Dock restaurant. Not only is it a fine mix of locals and people "from away", the food is good. We ordered mussels, which were cooked just right with lots of flavor - and simply prepared. We both ordered halibut which was served with a white bean ragout, very tasty. We then had a blueberry crumble with ice cream on the side. I am so glad Thierry recommended that we dine on shore tonight! Dinner was well worth the price (including the wine, drinks etc.).
This far east in Maine our Verizon air-card cannot be used. It thinks that we are no longer in the USA and wants to charge us roaming charges of up to $20 per mb for their Global Access program. So we are dependent on other WiFi sources. Fortunately we have a (weak) free signal here, so I was able to post a few days' worth of blogs.