Curlew's Log

18 September 2018 | Bohemia River and Baltimore, Anchorage Marina
16 September 2018 | Bohemia River
14 September 2018 | Sandy Hook anchorage
13 September 2018
04 September 2018
02 September 2018
01 September 2018
31 August 2018
31 August 2018 | Bristol, RI
30 August 2018
28 August 2018
26 August 2018
25 August 2018
24 August 2018
23 August 2018 | Potts Harbor
22 August 2018 | Boothbay Harbor
15 August 2018
11 August 2018
10 August 2018
08 August 2018

Back in Baltimore

19 September 2014 | Baltimore, MD
Wednesday, 9/17
Underway at 0800, motor-sailing through the Cape May Channel. I saw several boats that stayed very close to the shore at the south tip of Cape May. I never dared to get that close. I believe that you need local knowledge to know where there is sufficient water and where to avoid the shifting shoals. I always felt comfortable going through the Cape May Channel further out, which I have done many times over the years, and always found consistent deep water all the way through, with little change in the channel in 10 years or so. Most of the trip up theDelaware Bay was under power, or motor-sailing, with little or no wind. I dropped anchor behind Reedy Island in my usual spot next to the fixed light. There were a few boats that had anchored further in, but it looked that they were inside the charted cable area. Another boat came in later and anchored near the other group. I was perfectly satisfied with where I was.

Thursday 9/18
Another beautiful sunny, but windless day. I left at 0725 and motored all the way to Bodkin Creek where I anchored at 1710. Tomorrow back to Baltimore.

Friday 9/19
A short trip to Baltimore, where I tied Curlew to the outside of P-dock, while I moved Puffin II, the Nordic Tug out of Curlew's slip into the anchorage. Later Curlew was back in her slip and so came Curlew's summer cruise to an end.

I was 272 hours underway, put 1500 nm on the log, ran the engine for 153 hours (including 12 hours for charging), and burned 140 gallons of diesel.

Through NYC to Cape May

16 September 2014 | Cape May, NJ
Sunday 9/14
Today was going to be interesting. The trip down the East River needs to be carefully planned. You may prefer to leave early in the day so you may get to Cape May the following morning, and hopefully pick up a favorable current into the Delaware Bay in order to get to the Reedy Island anchorage at the top of the Bay before dark. This is what I did in 2013. But you really don't want to go down the East River with the current against you. At Hell Gate the current can run at more than 4 knots and with an average boat speed of 6 that does not leave you with much speed over the ground. Ideally you want to be at Hell Gate just before the south going ebb starts. Today that was predicted to be at 1437. Leaving at 1215 would give me plenty of time to get there at 1430. So I motored towards the first of the many tall bridges that I needed to pass to get back to the Atlantic. First Throgs Neck Bridge where Long Island Sound ends and the East River begins. Then the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, passing LaGuardia airport and the prison on Rikers Island to port. Then around Rikers Island and between North and South Brother Islands, under the Hell Gate railroad bridge and the Triborough Bridge into Hell Gate, which was quiet and had no current to speak of. Leaving Roosevelt Island to port and Manhattan Island to starboard. There was not much commercial traffic, but lots of pleasure craft stirred things up with lots of wake. I had forgotten that it was a weekend. Under the Queensboro Bridge and the cable car that ferries passengers from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. There were lots of people strolling, walking and jogging along the river side. And people always seem to feel the need to wave to passing boats. I started to feel like the king of England. (But it does make you feel good.) Next the Williamsburg Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Approaching the Manhattan Bridge

Approaching the Battery the river traffic became very heavy and I had to avoid several cruise boats, tugs and ferries. Finally through the Buttermilk Channel around Governors Island and we were in New York Harbor. Passing the last bridge, the Verrazano Bridge, at 1630 and we were, almost, in open water. At 1730 we rounded Sandy Hook. Although there was no wind I raised the main, just in case. We had a beautiful sunset over the New Jersey coast.

The forecast was for a SW breeze to pick up later in the evening, but it did not get there until

Monday 9/15 at 0015, when I finally shut down the engine. Later the lights of Atlantic City lit up the sky.

The wind was now from the west, at 8/10 knots, just enough to keep us moving on a close reach. Main, yankee and staysail all set. At 0300 the wind veered to the NW and increased to 12 knots. This was great sailing, on a full reach, in smooth water, until 1005, when the wind became very light and from the north. I started the engine and motored to Cape May, where I dropped anchor off the Coast Guard station at 1210. It was too late to round Cape May into the Delaware. The favorable current into the Bay would end soon and I would not make it to the Reedy Island anchorage before dark. And I discovred that Cape May has an urgent care health clinic close by Utsch's Marina and I thought it would be wise to have a professional look at my injured toe. Dinner at Lucky Bones.

Tuesday 9/16
In the morning I launched the dinghy, zipped to Utsch's Marina, bought 12 gallons of diesel to compensate for the use of their dock and limped to the health clinic. A nurse and a doctor looked at my toe, said that it looked painful, but OK; told me to soak it in warm water with anti-bacterial soap, treat it with Bacitracin and keep it covered with gauze. They then gave me a tetanus shot and I was done. While in the waiting room I had been reading on a Kindle. When they moved me to a treatment room, I picked up my Kindle, but it had suddenly died. The screen was partially frozen. I have not a good relationship with Kindles. This is the third one that died. I like them on board, because, unlike an iPad or a Samsung Android tablet, you can read on a Kindle in full sunlight. Ah well. No more Kindles for me. Back on board a Cabo Rico 38 had anchored nearby and I met Janice and Chris on Kalisto. They were starting their cruise south. Perhaps I will run into them somewhere, when I take the tug down south through the ICW.

Manhasset Bay

13 September 2014 | Port Washington, NY
Friday 9/12
I left Port Jeff at 0920 and had a decent sail in a shifty breeze from the north at 10/15knots. Before I got to the entrance of Manhasset Bay I turned on the engine. While checking the prop shaft's vibration I accidentally dropped the hatch over the stuffing box. Normally I keep fingers and toes away from open hatches, but this time my left big toe was 1/8 of an inch in the way and the edge of the hatch sliced a nice chunk of skin and flesh off the tip of the toe. It was blooding profusely and I had just enough time to wrap it up with some gauze until I could get to it later. I picked up one of the free visitors moorings that the town of Port Washington had put out. They are free for the first two nights, then, I believe, they are $25 per night, which is really inexpensive for this area so close to New York City. I did not intend to stay beyond the 2 night limit, but I never saw anybody collecting dues. Kudos to the town of Port Washington. Compare that to the unfriendly town of Port Jefferson which does anything to chase visitors away. I launched the dinghy and had happy hour oysters and drinks at Louie's Oyster Bar. What a stark difference with the public that you see in Maine and further east in New England: Here it is all city types in suites and dresses, who probably just left work in Manhattan.

Saturday 9/13
Port Washington not only has free moorings, it also has two free dinghy docks, one of which is right across the street from a shopping mall with a Stop and Shop supermarket, a Rite Aid, a liquor store and a West Marine a little further down the street. Besides shopping I loaded 24 gallons of fuel, 12 of which in the two jugs on deck. I often see cruising boats with many fuel and water jugs lined up on the side decks, tied to a board at the stanchions. I think that is OK for inland waterway cruising, but unseaworthy offshore. The two jugs I carry are on the after deck, tied to the stern pushpit, out of the way of boarding seas, and if ever one would come loose I would notice it from the cockpit before it can do any damage, and I do not have to crawl forward to secure them again properly. In the afternoon I ran the engine warm for a scheduled 100/150 hour oil change. I also changed one of the Racor filters, although the vacuum gauge was still pointing in the green zone after 300 hours. When I checked the v-belt I noticed the beginning of a small crack after 400 hours. I thought I still had an original Yanmar/Mitsubishi solid v-belt as a spare, but that was not the case. (So much for good record keeping!) I did have a NAPA belt but my previous experience with this type of cogged belt is not great. I don't think they are up to the demands of the large output (100A) alternator. I then lined the forward deck anchor locker with the plastic tiles that I had bought at West Marine earlier that day. Someone else told me that they had done this. It is a great improvement and I should have done this a long time ago. It drains rain water and spray that collects in this locker away from the dock lines, deck wash hose, snubber, and other “stuff” that I keep in there.

Old Field Beach anchorage

11 September 2014 | Port Jefferson, NY
Thursday 9/11
An early start at 0615 to get through the Plum Gut into Long Island Sound before the current would start running against us. Once through there I turned off the engine and had a close hauled sail in relatively smooth water with the wind between 15 to 25 knots from the SSW. I started with one reef in the main and just the yankee, but later I even had to furl the yankee and set the smaller staysail instead. I dropped anchor in the area below Old Field Beach, where I had anchored the year before. The mooring field again was deserted, and there was only one other sailboat in the anchorage.

Orient Harbor

10 September 2014 | Long Island, north fork, NY
Wednesday 9/10
I left Block Island at 0855 with a steady breeze from the NE between 17/20 knots, which later diminished to 10 and then 5 knots. I started with one reef and the yankee, then unfurled the staysail, then shook out the reef, but at 1405 the wind was down to only 5 knots. Engine on. The current at the top of Gardiners Island ran up to 2 knots against us. I've had the feeling for a while that the prop was beginning to foul. Boat speed was down from what I expected at a certain rpm, and I noticed some vibration in the shaft. At 1700 I dropped anchor in Orient Harbor, north of Long Beach. This is a great anchorage, and new to me. One other boat (a 70ft Oyster sailing yacht) anchored later, but much further out in deeper water.

A sad moment before dinner: I finished the last drops from the bottle of Dutch Jenever :-(

En toen was de jenever op...

Back to Block Island

09 September 2014 | Block Island, RI
Monday 9/8
I left Cuttyhunk at 0715 with a nice breeze from the NE, raised the main and unfurled the yankee, later added the staysail. The wind was veering from the NE to the ENE and to keep the yankee drawing I had to deploy the whisker pole. At 1255 the wind had veered even more, to the SSE and I took the pole down. The current had now turned against the wind and thus the apparent wind on deck increased from 15/17 knots to 20 knots. When I crossed the tip of Block Island's North Reef there were breakers all around us but once we were in the lee of the island it turned into a perfect reach in smooth water towards the entrance of the Great Salt Pond where I dropped anchor at 1440 in an almost deserted anchorage. Hoisted the wind generator, launched the dinghy and went ashore later for dinner at The Oar. This place is usually very crowded, but when I walked in the outside bar was closed, and the place was almost empty. It felt like the season was over and, I guess, it was in New England. Compare the picture of the dinghy dock with the one that I took from the same spot earlier in the season!

Tuesday 9/9
A crappy day. It felt more like October. I went ashore and walked around town, food shopping at the Block Island Grocery, and back on board. The tillerpilot had done such stellar work so far that I improved the electrical wiring and made it permanent. Somewhere I must have a remote control for this unit. It could be on Puffin II, my Nordic Tug 32; at least I could not find it on Curlew. A remote control will allow me to adjust course, or turn it on and off, from the cockpit, without having to go to the after deck to reach its controls.


07 September 2014 | Elizabeth Islands, MA
Sunday 9/7
I left Onset at 0900 and motored down the narrow channel to Buzzards Bay. A light breeze from the north picked up and I raised the main and hoisted the drifter. At 1310 the breeze had become so light that I had to furl the drifter and turn on the engine. At 1425 I picked up a rental mooring in the tight mooring field of Cuttyhunk. It was clearly the end of the season here, as many moorings were unoccupied. I took a walk up the hill at this small island. The visibility was excellent and I took a few pretty pictures.


06 September 2014 | Onset, MA
Friday 9/5
I expect to be here for a few days. The weather forecast calls for fog tomorrow, very windy and thunderstorms. I went into town to explore. A typical small town whose commercial district had seen better days. But it has an amazing beach and a section full of old summer houses.

In the afternoon I was hailed by the crew of Bright Ayes, a Caliber 47 that was anchored to windward of me. They had noticed my SSCA burgee and as members of the club asked me if I could ferry them into town, as their dinghy outboard had failed. I picked Wayne and Betty up at their boat and dropped them off ashore, where they were going to rent a car to get a working outboard from somewhere. I walked around town and then had oysters and a beer at the Quahog Republic restaurant. Later Betty and Wayne invited me for pizza at Marc Anthony's, a large and popular place.

Saturday 9/6
Fog and drizzle all day, breezy and thunderstorms later in the day. I picked up Wayne and Betty again and towed their dinghy to the Onset dinghy landing. They were going to pick up a new outboard and when I later ran into them again they were under their own power again.

From Boothbay Harbor, Maine, to Onset, Mass.

04 September 2014 | Onset
Wednesday 9/3
In the morning it was clear and sunny and there was a nice stiff breeze from the NW. I was underway at 0920. I raised the main with one reef and unfurled the yankee and the staysail. I tried the tillerpilot and despite the breezy conditions (15 knots from the NW) it performed remarkably well. We made 6.5 to 7 knots through the water. At 1045 the wind started backing towards the WSW. I turned off and disconnected the tillerpilot and engaged "Taaie Toon", the Hydrovane windvane. Taaie Toon is a character from a Dutch comic series that I grew up with, about the adventures of a single-handed sailor Kapitein Rob and his sailboat Vrijheid ("Freedom"). This series started shortly after the German occupation of Holland ended in 1945. Taaie Toon was one of its colorful characters. (He is the one on the left in the picture.)

"Taaie Toon" the Hydrovane in action

At 1300 there were several whales visible in the area, but none came close enough to have his (or her) picture taken. At 1415 I shook out the reef. The wind was now around 10 knots from the WSW and shifted back and forth between WSW and WNW for the next several hours.

Thursday 9/4
In the early hours I ran the Honda for an hour to charge the batteries. Although it was maybe not strictly necessary, I don't like to discharge the batteries to more than 70% of their capacity and by running the Honda for an hour I brought them up to 90%. At 0400 I crossed the shipping lanes to and from Boston harbor. I saw a few ships, but none that came close. At 0945 I entered the Cape Cod Canal, early enough to catch the current towards Buzzards Bay. At 1030 I had to wait for the lift bridge which was closed. This bridge's sole purpose is to move trash and garbage from Cape Cod to the mainland once a day. At 1120 I anchored in Onset. This was a new anchorage for me. I usually anchor in Hadley Harbor, but that tends to get crowded with anchored boats. Onset has a spacious anchorage. There were a few boats anchored already, most of which I had seen in Maine, and were obviously also on their way south.

Fog in Lewis Cove

02 September 2014 | Linekin Bay
Monday 9/1
Dense fog in the morning. The visibility improved slightly in the afternoon, but not for long. I hope that it improves tomorrow because I'm anxious to leave. Filled the water tanks.

Tuesday 9/2
Dense fog again. A cold front is supposed to clear out the warm humid air tonight which should also give me a decent breeze from the right direction tomorrow. As usual, it cleared up a little shortly after noon and I left the mooring at 1315. I tested the tillerpilot installation and it seemed to work. As the fog was getting worse again I rounded the tip of Spruce Point and anchored at 1400 in Lewis Cove in Linekin Bay. Shortly thereafter visibility shut down completely. Later that afternoon another boat came into the anchorage. I could hear them but did not see them until the fog lifted briefly.

Boothbay Harbor and the back-up autopilot

31 August 2014 | The Carousel Marina
Thursday, 8/28
I left Maple Juice Cove at 0835, navigated the minefield of lobster floats down the river and sailed to Boothbay Harbor with a cold and gusty wind from the north. I had to tack up the river towards Boothbay and a sudden gust took my hat and blew it overboard. Bummer; it was a nice old embroidered Curlew hat. Picked up a mooring at the Carousel Marina at 1255. I spoke to Jack Cogswell, the owner, about my broken autopilot and he recommended someone who could look at it. Then I called the credit card company again. The card that they had sent to me at the Carousel Marina had been returned, and was now also cancelled. I told them not to bother to send me another card (the 4th this year!) until I am back home in Philadelphia.

Friday 8/29
Martin came on board to check out the autopilot. No luck. He believes it is the computer. I am not convinced and suspect the hydraulic ram. Martin tried to call someone at B&G but since it was the start of a holiday weekend nobody answered. I proceeded to install my back-up solution: I have carried for many years a small Autohelm/Raytheon (now Raymarine) tillerpilot ST1000 that can be made to work with the Hydrovane self-steering windvane unit. I had never installed it, because the below-decks B&G worked so well. But now I needed it to help me sail back the 500 or so miles to Baltimore. With other parts that I had on board I fabricated a short tiller extension to the Hydrovane and with some wood that I scavenged from Jack's marina I built a crude platform that I bolted onto the starboard stern seat bracket. Then I temporarily hooked the tillerpilot up to a 12V deck outlet in the cockpit, turned it on, and voila, it worked! At least, it moved the Hydrovane rudder from port to starboard. The real test will be after we leave. It is my intention to use the tillerpilot when under power, or when sailing in light airs. The TP1000 is designed to steer small boats, up to 6,600 pounds (3 metric tons) displacement. Curlew, fully laden, weighs almost 35,000 pounds (15 metric tons). But that assumes that the tillerpilot is attached to the boat's main rudder. In this case, it only has to control the small Hydrovane rudder. I am optimistic that it will work.

Drinks and dinner at The Whale's Tale restaurant, in the form of Jack's excellent Bahamian clam chowder. The evening was concluded by watching an impressive (delayed 4th July) fireworks from the restaurant's deck. Too much wine that night. I had not intended to stay out so late.

Saturday 8/30
Today I suffered from the night before. This is going to be a dry day. Relaxed, charged batteries and rode my folding bike to Hannaford's. Boothbay Harbor has its annual chili and chowder contest this weekend and there were several places where you can get samples. Jack, like in 2013, won the chowder contest. Well deserved! I also talked to Mike who was having the teak deck on his Wilbur down-east powerboat replaced with a synthetic product. It looked great. I had met Mike here in the years before, when he still had his Albin trawler. Last spring he had bought this Wilbur "Blueberry Gull" and last winter she got a new coat of blue hull paint. His boat looks terrific. He lives in St Augustine, but summers in Maine, mainly here in Boothbay Harbor.

Sunday 8/31
I did laundry in the morning. Later I tinkered some more with the B&G autopilot. I did find voltage at the input and output side of the computer, but no movement in the hydraulic ram. The B&G system needs boatspeed to activate the autopilot. I pulled the speed impeller, put it in front of a heat gun (on the cold setting), and I had "boat speed". When I turned on the autopilot, nothing happened. Also, the dockside test for hard-over time did not result in any ram movement. Ah well, lets forget it until I'm back in Baltimore. Then I loaded more fuel and gas in jugs for the return trip. Fog was forecast for tomorrow, but it should clear up on Tuesday.

Maple Juice Cove

27 August 2014 | St George's River
Wednesday 8/27
I left Rockland at 0955. On the way out I took a picture of this huge single-masted mega yacht. This mast is so tall, it might not even clear the Verrazano Bridge!

I set the main and the yankee while still inside the breakwater. The wind was from the SW 10/15 knots, pretty much from the direction where we wanted to go. First a long starboard tack to a point south-east of Metinic Island, then I tacked to port into Muscongus Bay and from there up the St George's River to anchor in Maple Juice Cove, where I anchored at 1740. On the way the B&G autopilot failed. Not a good thing to happen when you are single-handing a 42 ft sailboat, that needs to get back to Baltimore. But not much I could do at this time. I will call an electronics expert from Boothbay Harbor tomorrow.
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) [...]
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