28 April 2017 | Annapolis, MD
Saturday 4/22: Rainy, very windy and cold, all day. Wind NNE and gusty. Replaced the impeller on the Yanmar. It was in surprisingly good condition, after 435 hours. I kept it as a spare. Then I changed oil and oil filter. Changed one Racor filter and the engine fuel filter. Finally I replaced the belt, which also was in good condition after almost 600 hours.
Sunday 4/23: I turned on the heat! It was cold, rainy and windy. I launched the dinghy and got some fuel at the marina. Walked around the boat yard and took pictures of an interesting aluminum vessel, with three rudders (two on each quarter and a smaller one in front of the single prop). I cleaned the brown stains caused by the tannin in the waterway from Curlew's hull.
Monday 4/24: Another windy and rainy day. At 1000 I put out more chain (now 130 ft) because of the expected increase in wind force to 30 knots. Gale warnings issued for tomorrow.
Tuesday 4/25: Heat on until noon. Heavy rain, strong ENE winds in the AM. Clearing, then rain again later. Did I write before that I was glad to be on the Bay again?
Wednesday 4/26: Finally the weather improved enough to leave. Underway at 0710 and soon we were under sail. The wind was from the NW at 10/15 knots. Overcast, but dry. I took pictures of Corret who passed me. A perfect breeze for her, but Curlew needs 15 ft on deck to move at near hull speed. The wind died at 1245 and I motored the rest of the way to Solomons.
Thursday 4/27: Went shopping at West Marine and the liquor store. Put 26 gal in the water tank. Dinner at the Dry Dock restaurant. Sunny and warm all day.
Friday 4/28: Thunderstorms at night. When I started to raise anchor at 0745 there was no power to the windlass. I ended raising the anchor by hand. Underway at 0830. Sunny, but no wind. On the Bay it is often all or nothing. I picked up a mooring near Bert Jabin's on Annapolis' Back Creek.
Back on the Chesapeake Bay
21 April 2017 | Fishing Bay near Deltaville, VA
Corret waiting for the bridge in Great Bridge, VA
Monday 4/17: I left Oriental at 0740. Sailed down the Neuse River and motor/sailed the rest of the way to Belhaven, NC. Anchored close to the dinghy dock. The Cabo Rico PH47 "Truant" was anchored inside the breakwater. I had a really excellent dinner at the Spoon River restaurant. Service was great too.
Tuesday 4/18: Overcast, cool (60s). I left late at 1200 for the short trip to the Pungo River anchorage.
Wednesday 4/19: Leaving early this time, at 0620, for the trip down the Alligator River-Pungo River canal, through the desolate Alligator River and across the Albermarle Sound. I anchored in almost the same spot as on the way south, behind Buck Island.
Thursday 4/20: Left the Buck Island anchorage at 0630 and motored to the free dock at Great Bridge. Near Great Bridge I was hailed by "Corret", a 36ft Islander, hailing from Maine. They had recognized my boat as a Chuck Paine design (most people think it's a Crealock design, like most other Cabo Ricos). I met her owners, Bill and Susan Henderson. We had drinks on Curlew. They keep Corret on a mooring in Rockland, ME, and live in an old house on the St George River. He used to work at the Lyman-Morse boatyard.
Friday 4/21: I left the dock at 0745, went trough the Great Bridge Lock and through Norfolk, VA. At 1000 I passed mile 0 at Hospital Point. I was glad to be on the Chesapeake Bay again. No more bridges, and space to sail. Unfortunately there was little wind. I played with different sail combinations for a while but at 1330 I turned on the engine and motored the rest of the way to the anchorage at Fishing Bay. Heavy thunderstorms struck between 2100 and 2200, with heavy wind gusts and sudden wind shifts. I had put out plenty of scope and were anchored way up the Bay near the marina. The anchor held fine.
To Oriental again
16 April 2017 | Oriental,NC
Curlew behind the breakwater in Oriental
Sunday 4/9: I raised anchor and was underway at 0815. I had to negotiate a few shallow inlets (Shallotte, Lockwoods Folly and Snows Cut), but found plenty of water in all. At 1550 I picked up a mooring in Carolina Beach. The dinghy dock was under construction for repairs due to hurricane Matthew. The temporary dingy dock was at the Mona Black marina. The outboard was again difficult to start. Not seized. I cleaned the spark plug a few times but in the end it started. Dinner (Oysters and Shrimp) at the Shuckin' Shack.
Monday 4/10. I stayed another day at the mooring. The outboard started easily this time. Did some food shopping in town (small market, not very well stocked). Dinner at Gibby's Dock & Dine. Met Dutch couple Dick and Petra on their aluminum sailboat "Sally Lightfoot" who had picked up a mooring near Curlew.
Tuesday 4/11: Motored to the Wrightsville Beach anchorage.
Wednesday 4/12: Replaced the undersized fuse in the solar wiring. Took the dingy through the Banks Channel to one of the marinas near the bridge. Lunch at the Fish House Grill. Shopped at West Marine and Harris Teeter.
Thursday 4/13: Yesterday I entered the anchorage via the Shinn Creek. My original plan was to leave via the Banks Channel but now I started to feel less confident about the water level, even at high tide. So I left the way I came. I had to wait 30 minutes for the bridge to open. Then went through the shallows at the Mason Inlet and waited 15 minutes for the Surf City Bridge to open. Anchored in Swansboro at 1745. Lots of current.
Friday 4/14: Underway at 0725 and anchored behind the breakwater in Oriental at 1530. Curlew was the only boat in the anchorage.
Saturday 4/15: I walked to the Village Hardware store to have one of my propane bottles refilled. They refused, as the certification of my propane bottle was out of date.
Overnight the water level had dropped by at least one foot. The depth was now 5'9'. Curlew draws 5'8' and was bumping occasionally in the light swell. I moved a boat length more to the west, where I found 6'6".
I removed the malfunctioning fuel gauge sender from the diesel tank. I soldered the corroded wires back together again. There was not much wire left at the sender itself, but I managed to get a good solder connection anyway. It will last for a while, until I can order a new sender unit. I covered the solder points with duct tape, replaced it in the tank, and covered the top of the sender with more duct tape to keep moisture out as much as possible. And now it works again! It's a temporary fix, that probably will last for years.
Dinner at M&M's. Which has become one of my favorite dinner places on the waterway.
Sunday 4/16 (Easter):
In the early afternoon I re-anchored again. The water level had dropped another foot. After a few tries I anchored off the marina bulkhead. Not much protection from the S/SW and it is breezy, with 15/20 knots from the SW.
Leaving Little River
08 April 2017 | Little River, SC
Wednesday 3/29: Back on board. I upgraded the Garmin 741 chartplotter with a new software version. I had noticed on the trip south that the Garmin sometimes shut itself of for no apparent reason. I hoped that the software upgrade would fix that.
Thursday 3/30: The Garmin kept shutting down. ("RTL trap") When I called Garmin they told me to check the voltage at the pins and if that tested OK to return the unit.
I replaced the Tohatsu's spark plug and checked the fuel (removed some bad fuel).
Friday 3/31: Replaced all the red halogen bulbs in the dome lights with LEDs.
Saturday 4/1: Installed a new LED light fixture above the computer.
Sunday 4/2: Changed the Tohatsu engine oil again and "gave it a good run" (as my old Seagull outboard manual would say). Cleaned the milky oil residue from behind the valve cover.
Monday 4/3: Gave Curlew's outside a good cleaning.
Tuesday 4/4: I tried to adjust the Questus radar gimbal to make the Raymarine radar antenna more level, but the effect was marginal. Replaced the 25W lightbulb in the Red/Green running light fixture.
Wednesday 4/5: Called for a pump-out. Ran the Tohatsu again and checked the oil. Not milky. Engine was starting promptly and running fine. Installed a Volker holding tank vent filter. Seems to be effective in stopping the smell when emptying the head. Heavy thunderstorms at night with tornado warnings.
Thursday 4/6: Rinsed the bilge, filled the water tanks and test-ran the engine. The fuel gauge had stopped working. Its wires were corroded and one had broken off at the sender in the bilge. I took a sample from the bottom of the diesel tank to check the quality of the fuel (it was clean). Gale force winds all day.
Friday 4/7: Still very windy. The Garmin shut down again with an RTL trap error message. I began to suspect that there might be a conflict between the Vesper AIS and the Garmin via the NMEA0183 connection. The Garmin problems only started since I installed the Vesper.
Saturday 4/8: The pump out boat stopped by at 1400. At 1510 I finally left the Coquina Yacht Club and motored to the nearby anchorage in the Calabash River.
Second Little River intermezzo
28 February 2017 | Little River, SC
Saturday 2/25: Back on board. My new Quantum sails (yankee and staysail) had been delivered to the local motor shop (the CYC had no possibility to receive packages).
Sunday 2/26: Put up the new sails with help from Breck.
Monday 2/27: Found that the Tohatsu outboard had seized. I sprayed the cylinder with a liberal amount of WD40 and "un-seized" the piston by putting a breaker bar on the pulley nut and moving it back-and-forth until it moved again..
Tuesday 2/28: I flew back to Philly.
First Little River Intermezzo
25 January 2017 | Little River, SC
Friday 1/13: Breck texted me that the LED light was off. He will check on board tomorrow.
Saturday 1/14: Breck checked out what had happened. The AC plug at Curlew had become unplugged. (Not the one at the pedestal.) This is strange, as this side is secured to the inlet at the cockpit coaming with a threaded safety collar. Breck thought it had to have happened shortly before Christmas, after he last checked up on our boats. The batteries were completely discharged and everything in the freezer, which must have drained the batteries, had defrosted. He re-attached the power cord and turned the electric back on. The battery charger started charging the batteries and the freezer also turned back on again.
I flew back to Little River for a few days. I emptied everything from the freezer and the fridge that had gone bad. Fortunately everything in the freezer had become frozen again and the smell was not as bad as I expected. The next few days I spent on replacing the (rusty) propane solenoid and performing a capacity test on the batteries. They are 4 years old but seem to have survived the period that they were discharged. They had about 360 Amp hours left (original it was 420Ah). Not bad. I also replaced the last incandescent or halogen bulbs with LEDs. My neighbor told me that he thought he had seen someone in Curlew's cockpit around Christmas. He wasn't sure though. But why would someone unplug an AC shore cord? Nothing has seemed to have been touched.
Wednesday 1/25: I flew back to Philadelphia.
To Winyah Bay and back to Little River
21 November 2016 | Little River, SC
Curlew in her slip at the Coquina Yacht CLub
Friday 11/11: Did household chores, added diesel to the tank and met with Breck, who keeps his CR38 nearby, and Chris, who lives aboard his CR38 a few slips down from Breck. Dinner at Clark's. (Note to self: Bring earplugs next time to avoid having to listen to the Trump crowd?)
Saturday 11/12: Cold, very windy. Met Breck and friends for breakfast. Made reservations at the Daytona Halifax Harbor in central Florida. Beer and chili at the Officer's Club. Had a nice talk with Dennis who was on a a 46ft Mainship, also on his way south.
Sunday 11/13: Left early, but decided to stay inside the waterway. Cold weather, windy, showers. Around 1400 I anchored in Cow House Creek, an isolated, almost depressing anchorage in this weather. Temperature 45F, but it felt like 35! Heavy rain most of the day. Started the Honda generator so I could run a space heater, in addition to the Espar hot air heater. A miserable day!
Monday 11/14: Foggy and cold. When I tried to raise the anchor it had snagged on something. Had to force it out with the engine in forward and reverse. Finally it broke loose, with branches attached when coming up. Finally underway at 0950. I anchored later at Winyah Bay in a strong current. May be going outside tomorrow.
Wednesday 11/16: Woke up on Tuesday in dense fog. I decided to cancel the rest of the trip. I was not having fun. Motored back to Cow House Creek and from there back to Little River. I reserved a slip at the Coquina Yacht Club where I will leave Curlew until the spring.
Thursday 11/17 to Monday 11/21
I cancelled my reservation in Daytona, and booked a flight to Philadelphia for 11/21. Prepared Curlew for a long absence, with winter covers over the caprail, extra docklines and fenders. At Breck's suggestion I left a small LED light on, visible through one of the portholes. When Breck checks up on his boat he will check that that light is still on, so that he knows that the shore power is still on and the batteries are being charged. I changed the engine oil in the outboard, which appeared all milky. Water in the oil? That needs to be addressed in the spring. On Monday I took an Uber to the Myrtle Beach airport for my flight to Philly.
To Little River, SC
10 November 2016 | Little River, SC
I stayed at anchor in Oriental and did some household chores. Put 12 gal diesel in the tank from the two jugs and filled the empty jugs at the marina. Dinner at M&Ms (again). A lively bar.
Tuesday 11/8: Motored from Oriental to Mile Hammock Bay. Nine other boats in the anchorage. Cold, 40F, clear.
Wednesday 11/9: Left Mile Hammock Bay at 0635. In a convoy with several other boats to the Surf City Bridge We had to go slow to be not too early for the scheduled opening at 1000. Then slow to the next bridge, the Figure Eight bridge and then slow again to the Wrightsville Beach bridge. Reserved a mooring in Carolina Beach, via the Dockwa app. A first time for me using this app. Had some difficulty getting confirmation that my reservation was confirmed, but Dockwa was very helpful on the phone trying to resolve the issue. Picked up a mooring, in an almost empty mooring field at 1600.
Thursday 11/10: Motored to Little River and took a slip in the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club. Dinner at Clark's, the restaurant on premises. Lively bar, run by a very efficient bartender. Otherwise the atmosphere at the bar was marred by the comments of many obviously wealthy older people, all very vocal Trump supporters.
To Oriental, NC
06 November 2016
Curlew at the free dock at Great Bridge, VA
Thursday 11/3: I left Hospital Point in a convoy of boats. At 0945 the railroad bridge closed just before I got there. After a 30 minute wait it opened and we proceeded to the Gilmerton Bridge, which opened after a 15 minute wait for a straggler in our convoy to catch up. AT 1130 we arrived at the Great Bridge Lock and at 1215 I filled up with diesel at the Atlantic Yacht Basin. I had called ahead to see if they had dock space for the night. They said they had. But when I tied up to their fuel dock, after a hard time docking due to a hesitating and slow moving sailboat in front of me and a huge powerboat bearing down on me from astern, plus a yelling dockmaster ashore, he said he had no space. Then he gives me a diesel nozzle that barely fit in my fuel fill fitting. Fortunately there was just enough space at the free dock across from AYB. Later, on my way to the supermarket, I walked to the marina at AYB, to look at a Nordic Tug that was for sale, and to see if my friend Mike was on board of his boat. I was told in no unclear terms that I had no business walking around their property, by the same dockmaster who was yelling at me while I was trying to dock at his fuel dock. A very unfriendly place. A warm day, 80F.
Friday 11/4: Left the dock at 0800, went through the Centerville and North Landing bridges. Windy, gusts to 30 knots. Sailed down Currytuck Sound. Bypassed Coinjock. Anchored around 1500 behind Buck Island, with 12 other boats.
Saturday 11/5: Cool clear morning (45F), light wind. Left at 0745. Sailed down Albermarle Sound. The usual bumpy entrance to the Alligator River. Took the sails down to go through the Alligator River bridge, which opened promptly. Entered the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal and anchored in the anchorage at the top of the Pungo River at 1825. During the day I had received an email from the Anchorage Marina that Joe Hanay had died.. Before I left he had told me that Schatzi, his little dog, had drowned. I guess Joe, who had been suffering from COPD and other ailments for several years, gave up at last. He was 88. I also spoke on the phone with Lisa and Jean. My brother-in-law, Juan, who was suffering from stomach cancer, was not doing well.
Sunday 11/6: Left the anchorage at 0630. When I got to the Neuse River at 1200 I set all sail, turned off the engine and sailed to Oriental, where I anchored just inside the breakwater. Dinner at M&Ms.
Start of the trip south. To Norfolk, VA
02 November 2016 | Norfolk, VA
Sunday 10/30: I left the Anchorage Marina in Baltimore, but had to return quickly. The engine was overheating and the throttle handle moved with difficulty. Back in the marine I added coolant to bring the level back up to the pressure cap. The throttle cable linkage appeared to be bent at the engine. Easily straightened. Left the marina again and motored to Annapolis. A fine fall day, but no wind. In Annapolis the outboard was running poorly. Bad fuel, most likely.
Monday 10/31: I left Annapolis on the back end of the cold front that had passed last night. A windy trip downwind to Solomons.
Tuesday 11/1: A calm and cool day (45F). Motored to Hills Bay, just south of Fishing Bay. Dropped anchor. Underway I cut off another couple of feet of rusty anchor chain. This chain is now getting shorter and shorter, every time I cut of a section. After this trip I'll buy new chain. Buiochias, another Cabo Rico, hailed me. They had seen me on their AIS receiver. Good to know that my new Vesper works!
Wednesday 11/2: An overcast day, with the sun coming out later, but little wind. I motored to Norfolk where I dropped anchor at Hospital Point, with many other southbound boats. Now it was getting warm: 76F!