Riding with the wind...

Who: Ko Barrett
Port: Mayo, MD
12 November 2012 | HHN to Dividing Creek and return
07 November 2012 | Herrington Harbor North Marina
30 October 2012 | Deale, MD
28 October 2012 | Deale, MD

An excuse to spend the night aboard

14 December 2016 | Rhode River
Ko Barrett/Winter is Coming
Yeah, I was down two days ago to winterize the engine, but I left the MarineAir heater on and felt uneasy. It was probably the safest option to keep my water pipes and head from freezing -no stand alone heater to tip- but I decided with frigid air arriving tomorrow I would feel MUCH better if I came down to stay on Little Wing. I finagled my schedule to allow for telework and here I am, enjoying the quiet night in my still-warm cabin. Only one other boat with lights on in the marina. I'm hoping to limp through this cold snap with my water tanks full, extending my precious cabin season with full functionality for as long as I can.

I arrived and found I needed milk for the morning. Headed to Lou's and found milk AND ginger beer and pistachio ice cream. Life is good. Really good.

A little anti-freeze

12 December 2016 | Blue Water Marina
Ko Barrett
I returned from Monaco late on Saturday and try as I might, I couldn't muster the energy to head out to Little Wing to tend to needed tasks. Come Sunday, I took advantage of a cold, clear day to clear the gutters at home and stack some firewood. With the cold front coming, I vowed to head out on Monday to winterize the engine, even if I had to do it in the rain.

As it turned out, the rain gave way to a beautiful afternoon with temps in the 50s. I stopped at the local Ace Hardware to buy 8' of tubing so I could pour antifreeze into the engine water intake from a vantage point that also allowed me to check the outflow of the Diesel engine. It worked perfectly and within 15 minutes, the engine was winterized. That left me with time to remove the dodger and Bimini and to load up the cockpit cushions.

The reverse cycle heater worked very well. Replacing the pump has made a huge difference.
Every simple task done alone helps me to grow in knowledge and self reliance. I love the boat.

End of the holiday season

05 January 2016
Cold and windy.
I took advantage of a mid-week morning on the boat to take the tree down. The sandbags held the base in place quite well, despite a few nights with 20kt+ winds. And my live aboard neighbor appreciated the Caribbean feel. I must say, the blue led lights grew on me - I used to think they were hideous on the party boat in my old marina. But in moderation, as a part of a holiday tableau, they were just right.

I'm hoping to use the sand as a base for a brick walkway in the yard...if it hasn't hardened into 60 lb, unusable blocks. I did notice a Quickcrete brand name as I was hauling it to the Jeep.

Keeping the freeze at bay

05 January 2016 | Mayo, Md
Ko Barrett/ Cold
Tonight it is forecast to go into the low 20's, so I high-tailed it out here to fire up the heater and forestall winterizing the engine for a few more days. It has been so warm until now. Thank you El NiƱo! Last night was the first freeze night for my garden. I'm hoping the engine compartment will stay warm enough with the cabin heat on.

Put a pad under my zebra rug. Now it is stylish and functional. Nice.

A long overdue update

31 December 2015 | Blue Water Marina: Mayo, MD
New Year's resolution: Get back to this. So, here I am with much to catch up on. Briefly, moved Little Wing to a small marina on the Rhode River in April 2014. No pool, hot tub, security guards or services. Only unspoiled sunsets over Camp Letts and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Laboratory, a very small number of active boaters and clean bathrooms. Owners descend from a long line of watermen. The marina used to function as a boat yard, but no longer.

This spot is more accessible to secluded anchorages than HHN, but a downside is that the view from my slip is so beautiful and the area so quiet, I am content to sit in the cockpit and enjoy it. Too many days find me working for hours on the teak and ending the day with a sundowner in the cockpit and a live jam playing on the bluetooth speaker. Candlelight dinner to follow. No complaints, but resolution: sail more.

Raising the bridge

25 August 2013 | Choptank River and Knapps Narrows
Ko Barrett: gorgeous end of summer weather
So, each year I set a few modest goals to help build my skill set in this vast new sailing universe I am now exploring. And I really mean modest here: grab a mooring ball while single-handing, various boat improvement tasks and, in this case, raise a bridge and negotiate the passage. Hard as it is to believe, I have hardly used the VHF since owning Little Wing and it was daunting to do this and secure passage for the first time.

But first I have to comment on our sail from Herrington Harbour North Marina into the Choptank to an anchor site. We left the marina around 10am in glorious weather with a steady NW wind. We hit a few snags backing out of the slip for the first time with the dinghy and dropping and having to retrieve a lost fender, but we negotiated those minor challenges well and headed off.

We headed to Irish Creek, which the Cruising the Chesapeake guide assured us was shallow but negotiable. Not so. We headed in, followed the instructions for avoiding shoals to the letter but scrapped bottom three times before turning around and hightailing it out of there, happy to have avoided getting stuck.

Low on fuel, we decided to head up Broad Creek (right next door) to what looked like a nice anchor site on Leadenham Creek. We arrived at around 5 and settled into a small inlet on the starboard shore just inside the first marker. A check of the fuel gauge gave us pause as we thought about our plan for the next day. But that could wait...our main task was to break out the celebratory victuals and enjoy the mostly wild coastline, interesting cloud formations and welcome breeze, keeping the biting flies at bay. We toasted the sunset to a soundtrack of Workingman's Dead.

Next morning, we decided to head for Knapps Narrows bridge in order to reduce sail time and fuel usage. The wind, which was supposed to shift helpfully to the SE, was barely discernible. Not wanting to risk running out of fuel while in the Narrows, I called BoatUS to locate a place to purchase diesel before transitting. They had a boat nearby and, since I had an Unlimited Gold membership, encouraged me to sit tight and await a fuel delivery for the mere cost of the fuel (well, at a premium price of $10/gal). Trevor arrived and delivered six gallons, while dispensing local knowledge that made it all worth it - who lived nearby, where to go for a sandy beach, etc. We were soon underway.

We motored to Knapps Narrows. I hailed the bridge as we were approaching the first channel marker. The bridge operator chided me in a good natured way for calling wayyyy too early and I confessed my nervousness about a first passage. I called back at a more appropriate location, he opened the bridge and we motored through without incident. We pulled up to the floating dock at Knapp's Narrows Marina for a lunch to cap off our experience prior to motor sailing back to the slip to end a magical weekend.
Vessel Name: Little Wing
Vessel Make/Model: Hinterhoeller Nonsuch 30U
Hailing Port: Mayo, MD
Crew: Ko Barrett
About: Only me, a 58 year old, slightly feisty woman, five years into sailing and LOVING my floating adventure. Short-term goal is to explore the Chesapeake. Later: points North
Extra: Always wanted a waterfront cabin and now I've got the best there is: a floating cabin that meanders to one beautiful place after another.
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Little Wing's Photos -

Who: Ko Barrett
Port: Mayo, MD