Kaimusailing

s/v Kaimu Wharram Catamaran

Vessel Name: Kaimu
Vessel Make/Model: Wharram Custom
Hailing Port: Norwalk, CT
Crew: Andy and the Kaimu Crew
About: Sailors in the Baltimore, Annapolis, DC area.
23 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD
15 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD
09 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD
05 September 2020 | Shark Shoal, Chesapeake Bay
04 September 2020 | Cove Point, MD
31 August 2020 | Ape Hole, Crisfield, MD
31 August 2020 | Ape Hole, Crisfield, MD
26 August 2020 | Crisfield, MD
26 August 2020 | Crisfield, MD
18 August 2020 | Crisfield, MD
10 August 2020 | Crisfield, MD
04 August 2020 | Bodkin Inlet, MD
28 July 2020 | Bodkin Inlet, MD
27 July 2020 | Crisfield, MD
25 July 2020 | Crisfield, MD
22 July 2020 | Crisfield, MD
11 July 2020 | St Marys, GA
05 July 2020 | St Marys, GA
25 June 2020 | Annapolis, MD
20 June 2020 | Crisfield, MD
Recent Blog Posts
23 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD

No Fuel like Old Fuel

I was clearing out the cabin to resume work on the Atomic Four engine. I partially filled the two water tanks and turned on the water pump and began flushing the antifreeze used to winterize when I noticed water soaking the carpet. We had a leak in the water system.

15 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD

In and Around Crisfield

I was tied up to the city dock at Crisfield, MD, and was the only boat there. It is a popular place with families wearing masks strolling up the pier, sometimes climbing the stairs to the observation deck, most taking a rest stop at one of the picnic tables. The pandemic has altered the usual nature [...]

09 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD

Sharkfin Shoal to Crisfield

I know a lot of my readers are saying, “Look, he’s goiing to come back with a great day of sailing after all that turmoil and hardship.”

05 September 2020 | Shark Shoal, Chesapeake Bay

Cove Point to Shark Shoal

Normally when I do a 36 hour stint I also take the next 36 hours off. I sail all day, sail all night, and all the next day, then anchor and sleep all night, rest all day, sleep all night. Now it was mid afternoon of my rest all day day. I felt rested enough to go sailing again.

04 September 2020 | Cove Point, MD

Bodkin Inlet to Cove Point

It was calm with a slight East wind and light rain. I was waiting to sail out of the Bodkin Inlet. East wind wouldn't do, almost any other direction might. Preparations to get underway included packing the Serotta bicycle, Honda generator, two window sill planters full of basil and oregano, putting [...]

31 August 2020 | Ape Hole, Crisfield, MD

Apeholio

Another photo from Ape Hole, Crisfield, MD.

No Fuel like Old Fuel

23 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD
Cap'n Andy | Perfect Weather
I was clearing out the cabin to resume work on the Atomic Four engine. I partially filled the two water tanks and turned on the water pump and began flushing the antifreeze used to winterize when I noticed water soaking the carpet. We had a leak in the water system.
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We also had a prolonged rain forecast. I stayed on board putting pots and pans under the drips from the cabin windows which continue to leak. Although I solved most of the original leaks, new ones developed. The window repair procedure is such a pain I decided not to try to repair the original windows, but do the Euro style windows, externally mounted with screws and Dow Corning 795 glazing adhesive. I found an alternative way of mounting them using 3M Very High Bonding tape, VHB tape. It is expensive, but I found a surplus dealer who had a roll of the tape at a discount. I ordered plexiglass samples of the 4 available shades of tinted plexiglass.
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I remounted the alternator on the Atomic Four. I removed the carburettor and disassembled it following the guidance of the Moyer Marine Atomic Four engine manual. When I got to the part where the intermediate fuel jet is removed, the manual said the correct screwdriver must be used or risk damaging the jet. When I found the correct screwdriver I found the jet had already been damaged and could not be removed. The manual said not to remove it if there was a chance of damaging it. OK. I also found a passage plug seized in the carburettor body, so I did not fool with it. I sprayed the carb’s jets and passages with carb cleaner.
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My plexiglass samples came in as well as a pair of winch handles and the VHB tape. I decided to use the #2074 Dark Gray plexiglass. The alternative was a lighter shade of gray or two shades of bronze. The bronze made everything seen through it look reddish.
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We had another ceiling sheetrock weekend and had sanded and applied 2nd and 3rd coats of compound. We will probably paint the ceiling next time. The room was masked off of the rest of the house due to the amount of sanding dust we created.
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I remeasured my existing cabin windows and calculated the size plexiglass sheets I would need. Unfortunately the stock sizes the vendor had on his eBay store didn’t correlate with what I calculated. I emailed him about alternate sizes. My guess is that he cuts the standard size sheets with a CNC machine to make his stock pieces and he has no waste, but his pieces are very odd sizes. For instance, the dimension 31.88 inches comes up a lot.
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I removed the big fuel filter/water separator and found the element was damaged. I ordered a replacement on eBay for about $15. The liquid in the bottom of the filter body wouldn’t drain because the plug wouldn’t unscrew out the bottom. It was frozen in there, so I used my handy Harbor Freight pump/siphon to pump out the liquid into a clear container (bottom half of a water bottle). It looked like muddy water and I wasn’t sure if it was fuel or not. I sent it through the Baja filter funnel and it went through leaving residue. Ever since I started working on the carburettor, the sediment bowl on the fuel pump, and the filter/water separator I noticed a stale gasoline odor. I was accumulating a lot of bad gas. I wondered what was the condition of what was in the fuel tank.
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I had a 3 gallon plastic fuel tank, complete with pick up tube and barbed fitting, that Doc of Doc’s Chop Shop had given me. There was remnant hose on the barb and debris in the tank. I removed the remnant and cleaned up the pick up tube and barb and flushed out the tank. I found the ship’s fuel tank under the quarter berth and saw its hose could easily fit on the plastic tank’s barb. Since I had been running Kaimu for a while on a 3.3 gallon day tank, why not use a plastic tank on the Atomic Four for now. My plan was to pump over what was in the main fuel tank and dispose of it, once I find out where to dispose of bad gasoline.
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When I asked at the marina office where to dispose of old gasoline they shrugged their shoulders and said maybe I should call Dept. of Natural Resources. I didn’t have to call, they have a website. After much searching and reading of various environmental laws I found the recommended practice was to mix bad gas with good gas and use it in your motor. An alternative is to bring it to your local community hazardous waste disposal site on community hazardous waste disposal day. Somerset county has no such program, although most Maryland counties do.
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I now had up to 25 gallons of old fuel. It will take a long time to mix it with good gas, bit by bit, and burn it up. If the motor even runs.
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The photo is from the recent Labor Day fireworks at Crisfield, not the Atomic Four exploding.

In and Around Crisfield

15 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD
Cap'n Andy | Cool
I was tied up to the city dock at Crisfield, MD, and was the only boat there. It is a popular place with families wearing masks strolling up the pier, sometimes climbing the stairs to the observation deck, most taking a rest stop at one of the picnic tables. The pandemic has altered the usual nature of this place, and it has hurt the local economy. This once was a thriving fishing port, The Seafood Capital of the World. It is still a waterman’s town and lots of seafood available at the restaurants and shops that are still open. It is the poorest town in Maryland’s poorest county. The county has a total of 4 deaths due to the coronavirus. Real estate is being snapped up by urban dwellers who want to find a place that is more open, less compact, less social jamming together. Think NYC subways. People are working from home anyway, why not do it in a place that has almost no coronavirus.
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There is a cautionary axiom though. I speak to Hawaii every week and they were proud of their strict policies to contain the virus. Now they are having some outbreaks. I am sure it will happen here too in Crisfield. When the birds fleeing the virus roost here, the virus will break out here too. Fortunately on a boat in a quiet marina, I am feeling safe, but I know I may somehow get exposed, if I haven’t already been. That’s the problem. A large percentage of people exposed to the virus do not have dire symptoms, yet they develop antibodies and test positive for the virus. They are shedding the virus as they go about their daily lives. I believe the virus will die out if it can be contained, but I don’t believe it will be contained. There are too many people who ignore or forget some of the health constraints. I’ve run into some of them. They rush past you in a store, elbowing you. They insist on shaking hands. They wear their masks in a way that does not cover both nose and mouth.
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My option was to call SeaTow to take me the 500 yards or so from the city dock to my dock in Somers Cove. I thought I might be able to sail SUNSPLASH into the marina and into my slip. I rode the bicycle over there and went out on the dock to my slip. Yes, it was possible. My dock neighbor was a 20 something foot Cape Dory, maybe a 27 or 28. I was feeling weak after my sailing escapade and did not put the bicycle on the city dock right away. It seemed I had to rest a bit before I did anything else.
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The wind was East which was not a good direction to sail into the marina, but it seemed doable. I took SUNSPLASH out under mainsail alone and found I could easily sail into the marina entrance. When I got there it felt like there was a current that stopped us right then and there. I had to spin the boat around and sail out. I bent on the genoa and sailed in again with both sails. Still no go. I sailed back to the dock and took several tries to get SUNSPLASH at the dock without damaging the dock or the boat.
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I called Sea Tow the next day and they said they couldn’t come out till late afternoon. I found out they were coming from Solomon’s Island, which is not far from Cove Point, which took me 2 days to arrive here. They arrived later than late and we quickly tied up the boats and motored into the marina and soon I was in my slip, bow in, while most boats there are stern in. The finger piers are short, so if you go bow in, there is no finger pier alongside your cockpit, you have to go forward to get onto the dock. I was OK with that, but my power cord wouldn’t reach the stanchion unless I tied up stern in. A neighbor showed up and we talked a bit and he said, yes, he had always tied up bow in, but his power cable wouldn’t reach either, so he was tied up stern in.
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During the tying up procedure I slipped and almost fell in with no finger pier under me, I had to grab what I could and the Sea Tow captain asked if I was hurt. All over was my reply. So, I was docked but no power to charge the batteries. Too exhausted to tidy things up. I slept like a dead man.
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The next morning it rained and I was sore and stiff and reluctant to get out of my bunk. The leaky windows fixed that. I made coffee. Really nothing for breakfast. Not really hungry. I put tupperware bowls under the drips of rainwater. I ended up trying to stretch out on the bunk in between the bowls of rainwater. I got up though and decided I had to turn this boat around so I could get some power.
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My plan was to take the two genoa sheets and tie them together making a very long line that I would tie to the bow, string around a piling out away from the dock, and bring back onto the short finger pier. Then I would take the stern line which was tied to that same piling and shift it to the starboard stern cleat and bring that line to the dock. Then I would push SUNSPLASH out from the dock, spin her around with the lines and haul her back in. It actually worked. I connected the power cable and took a rest.
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With power I could try to use the computer, but the marina internet was useless for blog posts, etc. I went on the bike to Food Lion with a shopping list, but without my mask. I went back with the mask and got a roast chicken and breakfast ingredients, eggs, ham, and cheese. They were out of fly swatters.
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I tried the laptop in several locations in the marina and none were any better than on the boat. I ended up posting the blog from the phone which is tedious but works. The bicycle began skipping its ratchet in the rear hub and then finally stopped grabbing altogether. I could spin the pedals but there was no connection inside the hub. Ken the computer geek and bicycle fanatic told me to only use 3-in-1 oil, so I put a bunch of that into the bicycle hub and eventually it began working properly.
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I had a roast chicken sandwich for lunch with the last of my wine. Last of my wine? In a panic I went out and right around the corner was an inauspicious liquor and wine store. I went inside with my mask. Yes, they had wine, and they had a 20 percent off sale on 5 liter box of cabernet. Great. I get the feeling that many of these shops are very grateful for any business they can get now, with no tourists, or not many, so I am glad to help them stay in business.
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I needed to bag the genoa and replace my temporary mooring lines with real mooring lines. The bagging of the genoa went OK, I took my time. The mooring lines also took time. I was sore and feeling tired. Riding the bicycle always loosens me up and I probably couldn’t have done much without the ride to Food Lion, twice.
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The next day I felt better and put the mainsail cover on. I wanted to get a menu from the local Chinese restaurant, there is only one in this town, and also get more water from Food Lion which is right next to the restaurant. I headed out on the bicycle and swung by Cornelia Marie’s house on Cove St. less than 5 minute bike ride. I had texted her to get a flyswatter on her way down from Baltimore and there was no reply. At her house the landscapers were doing the lawn and CM’s car was parked. As I arrived she came out and said she could not find her phone and maybe left it up in Baltimore. I let her use mine to contact those she needed to contact.
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She said let’s drive to the stores and shop, pick up the menu, then return and do a bike ride. I was all for that. When we returned we took a ride to the Red Shell Shanty, a small bistro in the marina that only opens on Fridays and Saturdays. I had the Puppy Hole Burger, which is a burger with a crab cake on top of it. It is an amazing piece of culinary indulgence. On special was a drink called “Orange Crush”. Too sweet. We cycled back to the house and took Nori the Wonder Dog in the car to the town beach. Nori was sort of pooped out and didn’t expend her usual amount of energy. She had already gone for a doggy walk in Cambridge and swum in the river there, and had accompanied us on bicycles to the restaurant and back, no wonder she was pooped.
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Back at the house we let Nori take a rest and we went out again on bicycles to the town beach. Very nice weather, but getting cloudy. Maybe a couple hours to sunset. We came back after a while and I returned to SUNSPLASH. I didn’t want to leave my boat unlocked and also my blood pressure medicine was there.
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The next day was scheduled for ceiling sheetrock work. We hemmed and hawed, then got to work. It’s the same with any project the worst part is the planning and the worrying. We ended up doing all the seams and screw divots. At the end I could barely raise my arms up to the ceiling.
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We had the pizza night operation going on in the background. CM made the dough to my recipe and we worked on the ceiling while the dough rose. I put the makeshift plywood table on the front porch with the pizza oven and a large propane tank. I realized I had a ton of basil and oregano in my planters on the boat, so I rode over there and got two zip lock bags of green herb for our pizzas. I wonder what people think.
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I made two pies and CM made two pies. All were very good. Eve, the artist, came by and we had a great time, eating pizza and drinking wine. I ended up cycling in the dark back to the boat.
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The next day was the first Sunday of NFL football, and of course the NY Jets, my team, looked lousy and lost their first game of the season to a divisional rival. We had pizza for lunch. CM left to return to Baltimore early, anxious about her missing phone.
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The next day I began clearing the cabin to resume work on the engine. I put water in the water tanks and began pumping out the antifreeze that is used to winterize the plumbing system. Some water is leaking out of one of the tanks, probably the one forward. It is inaccessible until I take the rest of the cushions out of the vee birth.
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My neighbor at the dock also has an Atomic Four engine and he says it runs great. He had a diver scrape his bottom and I got the diver’s business card. He looked at my zincs and said they are about half gone, which is good news, I had expected them to be totally gone.
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The photo is at Ape Hole again.

Sharkfin Shoal to Crisfield

09 September 2020 | Crisfield, MD
Cap'n Andy | Calm
I know a lot of my readers are saying, “Look, he’s goiing to come back with a great day of sailing after all that turmoil and hardship.”
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Sad to say, the litany goes on and on.
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I had anchored at Shark Shoal due to not being able to sail up to the last daymark. It was wise to call it a day and drop the hook. Maybe tomorrow.
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Tomorrow came and the wind was so strong I couldn’t pull the anchor in. So I wrote another blog post.
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The Coast Guard called me at 6:30 AM, waking me from precious 3 hours of sleep after 36 hours of hard sailing. Couldn’t get back to sleep. Previous owner Husband texted that they called him also at that hour. Must be a story there, he said.
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After writing my blog post and posting a picture of the vast empty Chesapeake, empty but shallow. I found I could pull the anchor now, after some eggs on brioche roll and coffee. The problem was we were on a shoal and there was no guarantee that we could sail off it. It would be close. I pulled the anchor in first, then set sail. The genoa needs to be sorted out before hoisting, one of the first things I learned as a youth. You take the tack or the foot and run along it with your hands, making sure the sail isn’t twisted around somehow. I didn’t do this and found the sail twisted around after trying to hoist it. There were other problems, halyards wrapped around spreaders, snagged battens in the rigging, and the worst of all was that the genoa halyard was just a tad too short to allow me to put the genoa’s tack tape into the roller furler’s (broken roller furler) foil slot and hold the halyard at the same time, so I had to somehow get the halyard close enough that I could grab it and still keep it from going back out of my reach, while putting the sail into the foil. Once I got the sail into the furler foil, I could hoist it, as long as it wasn’t twisted somehow. It always seemed to be twisted somehow.
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The mainsail was less of a problem. The boat had to be facing into the wind of course, but the main went up smoothly without too much effort. I had to be careful of the winch handle which was used for the genoa sheet winches and the halyard winches for both sails, there was only one winch handle on board.
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We were now sailing. The anchor was stowed on deck as before, but the anchor rode was stuffed into the anchor locker which had a hatch door cover over it. The rode wouldn’t get out off the deck and cause trouble that way. We were sailing with depth sounder reading 7 and 8‘s, fingers crossed, and a bit of sailing tension. The real channel, which we had missed, went up North a bit, then crossed over in a narrow cut to Tangier Sound, which had plenty of depth. A sailboat, an expensive and well sailed sailboat took that route as we nervously cheated over the Shark Shoal.
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It seemed to take forever. The wind that had been so strong that we couldn’t have gotten underway now was easing and we were going slowly over some shallow water, hoping not to spend too much time there. The other more expensive sailboat was far away before they turned into the Sound, then they turned up into the wind and raised sail. Beautiful boat. I watched them turn tail and head down Tangier Sound. We went and went and the depths still were, now, 8 and 9‘s. We had to keep on crossing the shoal. I was more confident because the depths were marginally deeper than when we started. I was bitten on the leg by an annoying fly. The same thing happened a couple years ago when I sailed the C&C 24, TRILLIUM, down through the Chesapeake. I had a fly swatter on board and I would say I killed a thousand flies if I had killed one fly.
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The flies were persistent. If you didn’t react to their slightest landing on your skin and swat them, they gave you a painful bite. Swatting one on the hard fiberglass of the boat would produce a blood stain, your blood. They were annoying.
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We ended up being able to turn South into Tangier Sound, deep and wide. If only we had the wind from earlier, we would sail the last 15 miles in a few hours and be in port. The wind was fickle, there was no wind. As for the water, the tidal current was against us, so sometimes our GPS information would show us sailing North when we were pointed South and I could watch the bubbles slowly drift by, we were indeed sailing South. But at a crab pot buoy I could see the water going North, we going South, and just sitting there next to the crab pot buoy, not going anywhere. It was nice weather, very sunny, and my face was already burnt, so I used my corona virus mask over my forehead to block out any more sun there. I was sunburnt.
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We only had about 15 miles to go to get to Crisfield and I wondered if we would ever get there. We spent the entire afternoon bucking a tidal flood current with very little boat speed due to very little wind. I checked the forecast and it had mostly N at 10 to 15. Ha.
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I had forgotten to include losing the steering wheel while approaching Hooper Island Straight. It started by the wheel spinning and no steering happening. Then the wheel came off in my lap. This was at a critical moment where the channel is very narrow. In the dark I felt around and lined up the key on the steering wheel shaft with the keyway inside the wheel hub. It would not mount onto the shaft. After more attempts I found the key was tilted a bit in the wrong direction, I clicked it back and remounted the wheel. Later I found the hub nut in the cockpit and screwed it down.
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At some point I could see the Crisfield windmill, a huge wind turbine. I steered in the general direction of it while monitoring the depth sounder. I was getting strange readings, like 88 feet, 105 feet, 65 feet, all within a few moments of each other. Then it dawned on me that I was reading decimals, we were in a shoal in about 6 feet of water. I turned us toward the channel and nervously watched the depth until it started deepening.
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A huge luxury yacht motored by and I followed in its wake. My estimate of arriving at Crisfield in about 2 hours wasn’t far off. I arrived at the last turn to Crisfield’s channel, sailing to the right of the ship channel. The wind was nearly dead and it was dark. I decided not to try to ghost into a strange harbor in the dark and anchored.
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The next morning I found the batteries were dead. No VHF, no depth sounder. There was also no wind. After about 3 hours of sailing we had covered about 1 1/2 miles. Then we were truly becalmed. Cornelia Marie called and asked if I wanted her to come out in her skiff and tow me in, yes indeed, come and save me. I expected her to arrive about 3 or 3:30 in the afternoon. She had to go get the skiff on its trailer, get enough fuel to tow a sailboat 3 miles, and launch the skiff, park the trailer some distance away, walk back, then leave the small boat harbor to come out the channel.
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Meanwhile the wind returned, weak, so weak that I was moving backwards, the flood tidal current flows North here. At some point the wind increased so that I was standing still next to a ship’s channel buoy. Then we slowly crossed the channel crabwise.
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Every small power boat that came out the harbor was scrutinized, was it CM? Then she did approach. On board she had her friend Eve and Nori, the wonder dog. By now I was sailing acceptably and we wondered if she should tow me or not. I thought it would be good if she accompanied me, then tow if the wind died.
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Her trusty outboard stopped for no apparent reason and I was sailing away in a freshening breeze. I expected her to have her boat running again in short order, but she just stayed put, pulling the starter cord from time to time. I couldn’t sail on and leave her like that, so I jibed and sailed toward her.
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We had a sort of man overboard drill and I was trying to get a line to the skiff as I sailed by. Finally we got tied together and I was towing the tow boat. Although the extra drag must have affected SUNSPLASH, we sailed to windward to follow the channel. I found out she did not get additional fuel and thought I would be closer, and probably would not have been able to tow me all the way in. I said I was saving her fuel.
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It looked like I could tow them into Crisfield’s harbor entrance, but then I would have to cast them off to short tack into port. It was getting late but we were almost there. A pair of young lads in a skiff came by and the girls waved them down. They agreed to tow Eve and CM into port. I cast them off.
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There had been a large Trump rally on a beach and the boats were returning to port. They were probably not all sober. As it began to grow dark I held my trusty Walmart work light up and pointed it aft to simulate a stern light. The batteries were dead, so no navigation lights. The wind was also dying and I was inching along when the marine police arrived. They deemed me a hazard to navigation and after much discussion, towed me to the city pier. Thankfully they didn’t write me up. A large fireworks display began, very impressive. I said they didn’t have to do that just because of my arrival. The cops laughed at that one.
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Well I finally made it to Crisfield, not quite to Somers Cove and my new slip. The photo was sent to me by Eve, it shows Nori the Wonder Dog gazing at SUNSPLASH.

Cove Point to Shark Shoal

05 September 2020 | Shark Shoal, Chesapeake Bay
Cap'n Andy | Breezy
Normally when I do a 36 hour stint I also take the next 36 hours off. I sail all day, sail all night, and all the next day, then anchor and sleep all night, rest all day, sleep all night. Now it was mid afternoon of my rest all day day. I felt rested enough to go sailing again.
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Ihad planned a route that took us South down the Bay to Kedges Straight and planned the route through to Tangier Sound. I found out how to make a route on my cell phone also. The wind was a mild SW breeze. The anchor line was leading aft along the stbd side and the breeze was holding us against it. I was able to partly raise the main and get the wind to spin us to stbd and thus head into the wind. I raised the sails with the sheets slacked, then slowly brought the anchor line and anchor aboard. I tied it off on the pulpit, maybe 4 tie offs of the 100 feet or so of anchor rode. The anchor was stowed on deck with the short section of chain wrapped over the pulpit and cleated down on deck.
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We began sailing out of Cove Point cove. A sailboat was nearby with a red official looking RIB tied to it. It was either the Coast Guard or Towboat/US. I hoped it wasn’t the CG stopping any Labor Day boaters and issuing fines. As we sailed off to the South and got farther away I relaxed and concentrated on keeping as close to the wind as I could. We would have to tack at some point, I wanted to be as far down the Bay as possible.
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When we were still quite a ways off the Eastern Shore I was shocked to see 30 on the depth sounder. We had just been in over 100 feet of water. I quickly tacked away toward the West, toward the Potomac. So far it had been a pleasant easy sail.
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Our clear sky was being encroached by a storm front. The approaching dark clouds brought high winds, like a microburst, that lasted for an hour or so. Also they brought rain and hail. The Bay was whipped into large choppy waves. I held SUNSPLASH into the wind with both sails eased. I wondered how long the genoa could take the whipping in that wind.
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At some point I was wondering where we are, what is around us, I couldn’t use the cell phone navigation app because of the rain, the storm obscured anything on shore. It was close to dusk and some navigation aids were lit, buoys and shore facilities, but nothing was visible. I had left the cell phone in the cabin, wisely, to keep it dry and charged. I couldn’t leave the helm for a second in the wind and storm. I kept an eye on the depth gauge and it consistently read about 50 feet.
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The wind and rain eased up slowly, and I could see the military installation at Cove Point again. I thought we must have gone miles, but we are probably no further than before. A lot of wind and commotion and then calm and no gain. We were drifting in almost no wind, strange after having that storm batter us around. I had some steerage and pointed the boat out into the Bay.
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My plan was to use the ebb tide as a boost to get down to Kedges Straight, then use the flood tide to carry us into Tangier Sound. We had about 40 miles to go, maybe 10-15 hours if all went well. It was now dark and lights to the South of us turned out to be a ship. I was sure our running lights were not all working so I shined my trusty Walmart work light at the ship. Whether it saw us or not, it did not turn toward us and passed by. My try at getting the boat going faster by taking a stbd tack out into the Bay didn’t help much. Plus it puts us in danger.
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I felt threatened sitting in the middle of the Bay with all that ship traffic and me with inadequate running lights. I decided to sail to the Eastern Shore and take advantage of the shoal we had been on. It deep enough for SUNSPLASH. We crossed the Bay to the edge of the Hooper’s Island Shoal. We had just under 30 feet of water. There were two flashing navigation aids, one white and one red. Our course passed between them. A ship going South passed us and I felt relieved to be in depth of water they could not sail through, they could not ram us even if they tried. As it passed to the South another set of ship’s lights grew as that ship came North and passed us. I was so glad to be out of the ship channel.
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The approach to Hooper’s Island Straight is deep and wide, it narrows but only shallows in a few spots.At times the boat almost naturally goes wing and wing with the main on one side and the genoa on the other. The moon peeks through the slot between the sails. Good sailing. The wind has been good and we’ve gotten up to 5.4 knots at times, I’m very tired but glad to put away distance at this rate.
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I kept the cell phone on deck and had the problem of using reading glasses to look at it, but in the couple of minutes of looking at it the boat would start to stray off course. I had a couple of unintended jibes and noticed after one of them the boom vang had come loose from the mast. The vang keeps the leech of the mainsail tight. Now the sail lost some of its shape.
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I didn’t plan on using this channel, it’s complicated, narrow in places, and I don’t think a vessel that is restricted to sail only can always use it. I used it because the tide was turning and to use the flood tide I had to use what was available. I could never have done this without perfect weather (almost), dry so I could use the cell phone on deck, a fair wind, now, full moon with clouds dissipating. Clear enough to see all the navigation aids. We certainly need them on this part of the trip.
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The channel of the straight is like a fishhook lying point up, the point is where we exit. The wind seems to go light, but we will make it through. The forecast had a warning about a cold front and high winds. They arrived, knocking us down, but we are almost through the Straight.
It is a fight to sail a 135 genoa in 20 knot winds, You have to drive the boat, then let it stand up, head up, bear off to keep steerage. We were not making the next buoy marking Shark Shoal Channel.
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We were being driven onto the shoal. I headed up, tightened the helm to keep us pointed into the wind, went forward to deploy the anchor. The boat tacks over anyway and the genoa almost sends me to my grave. It was very lumpy. stay low and hang on. I had meant to use a technique of heaving to, dropping the anchor, then lowering sails. Cannot do that now. Glad I left the anchor on deck with most of its line and its little chain. Unchained it and fed out line. The anchor line became taught. Undid the genoa halyard, clawed it down on deck and jammed it between the stanchions and the dinghy on the foredeck. Dropped the main and tied it off with the too long reefing gaskets. Glad they are long enough. Very rough place to anchor, on a shoal with a gear buster pushing big waves on us. Cell phone gps says we are underway at .6 knots, set marker on the cell phone display and we haven’t moved. Guess the anchor line stretches enough to give false moves. Tied off a loose halyard, must be for the spinnaker.
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Sent a text at 3:22 that I'm anchored on the Tangier Sound side of Hooper Island Straight. Very bouncy. I take my blood pressure medicine, eat a stack of Ritz crackers with peanut butter and take benedryl and ibuprofen along with some wine. I continue to check the gps display and we are anchored solid. I fall asleep immediately.
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I was awakened at 6:30 AM by a phone call from the Coast Guard. Someone had reported a sailboat in danger, adrift on Shark Shoal, which is where we were. The shoal is about 10 feet deep so we are in no danger. I assure the CG that we are OK, do not need assistance, thank them for their work. Now I can’t get back to sleep. Darn.
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I loll around, make breakfast of the last 3 eggs and a brioche roll. Whether I like it or not I am awake. I look at the halyard I tied off in the middle of the night and it’s the mainsail halyard. It had a figure 8 knot in the end to keep it from going up the mast. Glad I tied it off. I looked at the boom vang. The eye strap on the mast that secured that end of the vang had snapped. It won’t be too hard to repair with a proper strap. Some of the genoa had gone overboard and I pulled it up on deck. I tried to haul in the anchor but the wind was too strong, still, so I decided to retreat to the cabin and write up my trip.
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The photo is of the waters of Hooper’s Island Straight.

Bodkin Inlet to Cove Point

04 September 2020 | Cove Point, MD
Cap'n Andy | Breezy
It was calm with a slight East wind and light rain. I was waiting to sail out of the Bodkin Inlet. East wind wouldn't do, almost any other direction might. Preparations to get underway included packing the Serotta bicycle, Honda generator, two window sill planters full of basil and oregano, putting tools away from the Atomic Four repair, row the anchor out into the channel to kedge out when the wind is right, organize below decks so that sailing on edge won't create chaos, stow, pack, bring the dinghy on board, and just wait for the wind to change.
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Now it is evening and almost all that has been done. Bike still needs to be stowed below. I began listening to the VHF, scanning, there is an alert about a large tree in the water, but I will not be on that side of the Bay. On our last trip down to Crisfield I noticed an Eastern channel under the Bay Bridge. SUNSPLASH's mast will fit under that span. Since I am going Eastern Shore I might as well cross the Bay up here, then follow the red channel markers down to Hooper's Island channel. I've never been able to sail into Crisfield, but now it is a must.
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High tide is at 7am and the wind is forecast to be SSE at around that time. I will kedge out of the slip, bend on sails, bring the anchor aboard, and sail East up the inlet to its dogleg which points North. If I don't get the right wind, I will stay put. Out on the Bay the wind will be from SSE or S and I will be on stbd tack toward Kent Island, through the bridge, maybe have to tack down the Bay. The wind is forecast to go SW which should make most of my route a reach. I entered the whole thing in OpenCPN with a VMG of 4 knots, which we should be able to do, at least, and the route came back as 22 1/2 hours. Will I sail all night?
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As it turned out the wind did fill in, a very light southerly, and I sailed out of the Bodkin using the mainsail only. When I got out into the Bay, after considerable time ghosting out the Bodkin, I began bending on the genoa and had to set it up 3 times. It is a large sail and getting the corners sorted out without fouling the genoa sheets took 3 tries. It was difficult to raise the sail, as always, it is a roller furling sail but the roller furler has been broken for many years.
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I began tacking South into the light breeze and found it was too light to overcome the tide current at the Bay Bridge. It didn't help that the boat is obviously heavily fouled on the bottom. Our best speed was 3 1/2 knots. After several tacks under the span of the bridge, I finally got through. I began tacking down the Bay. The same current was at its height and the boat also was giving up too much leeway due to the bad bottom. Then there was a dangerous thunderstorm forecast. We didn't get hit by lightning or sucked up by a tornado waterspout, but I was soaked, we had tense moments of microburst laying the rig down flat. The small mainsail on this boat is enough to overpower the rudder, so when a gust hits, the boat spins up into the wind no matter what you do with the rudder. In spite of all that wind, we didn't get sailing very much, just tried to recover from a knockdown. Then the wind totally stopped. Dead.
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After a few hours some wind did settle in and we were on our way down the Bay. The wind went from South to Calm to Southwest. The most productive part of the trip was about 20 miles done overnight before the wind died again.
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As I am writing this we are becalmed at the mouth of the Choptank River. The forecast is 5-10 W or SW. It is totally calm. I have been up 24 hours plus and haven't even made 1/2 the voyage. If the wind had happened as forecast we would probably be close to Crisfield. None of the actual wind was remotely like the forecast. Direction, strength, and when it would occur, none matched the forecast.
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When the wind was South it was tediously slow, but we were close hauled sailing to windward and it is possible to adjust the boat so that it sails itself. That luxury vanished with the storm winds when I couldn't leave the helm for a second.
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The wind refused to come to the mouth of the Choptank. The water was flat with a few little wavelets, not ripples, not from wind, but from power boats. I tried to use any little puffs of wind to improve our position, but there was also the tide current problem. The Chesapeake is really an estuary and has current of water draining off from its watershed, it also has currents created by the tides. At certain places the water is constricted, like at the Bay Bridge, and the currents are enough that you have to take them into consideration. At the Bay Bridge we had to tack back and forth beneath the trestle until a gust got us through. It was the same way on the Bay at the mouth of the Choptank.
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Let's say by noon I had enough little spurts and starts of wind to sail across the Bay. When I sailed back, I hadn't gained anything. The wind died again. It came back on the second sail across the Bay. I was feeling low at the amount of sailing we had done and the lack of progress, or maybe the loss of some distance toward our objective.
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Midafternoon we had enough wind to sail across and back with some hope of making distance to windward. The current was strong. I could see the trail of our wake and it pointed back, not to our tacking over on the other side, but to a point further downstream. We were losing ground.
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At some point I had to take over the helm from my arrangement to let the boat steer herself. Normally windward selfsteering can be set up so that the boat just follows the wind. We were seeing, however, that the balance of steering and sails fails to take into account the action of the sea state, and it has trouble with changing strengths and direction of the wind. Now I was steering the boat and had noticeable improvement in our results, we were making progress against the wind and tidal current.
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The whole afternoon went on like this, tough winch grinding tacks and a small gain when we got near the other side. I would sometimes let the boat steer herself while I hook a break. I was getting sensitive to sunlight. My face will probably look like a pizza when I get into Crisfield.
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I was learning how to sail this boat, a slug covered with barnacles, to windward. Let the boat stand up by heading up till the jib starts vibrating. When a gust tries to heel the boat work the rudder to head up, keep the jib right on the edge. By keeping the boat more vertical the keel is more effective at preventing leeway. By keeping the jib right on the edge the lift/drag ratio is at its optimum. The sail is creating less drag relative to the lift it's creating.
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After tacking against wind and current all afternoon, it was time to find a place to anchor. I searched ahead on the chart and it was obvious I had to anchor on the West shore and the mouth of the Patuxent River looked promising. I would be sheltered on 3 sides. I had never been in that anchorage, so I thought about sailing in and out of it, then making preparations to douse the genoa and get the anchor ready to let go.
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The anchor, genoa, and dinghy are all on the bow making it difficult to prepare to anchor. It was now rough in the Bay, probably difficult and dangerous to work on the bow without dropping the genoa. I sailed as close to the mouth of the river as I could, then dropped the genoa. Next I got the anchor out on deck. My plan of sailing into the river became impossible, sailing under main alone would not bring the little sloop into the wind and ebbing tide current. I looked for an alternative anchorage. Cove Point was nearby but open to the West. I sailed in and anchored in 14 feet of water. It was very rough at anchor, the Bay chop came right in, no shelter. I dropped the main and triced it up. Now for food, wine, and sleep.
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The photo is of Cove Point.

Apeholio

31 August 2020 | Ape Hole, Crisfield, MD
Cap'n Andy | Post Tropical
Another photo from Ape Hole, Crisfield, MD.
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