29 October 2017
15 October 2017 | Liberty Landing Marina
04 October 2017 | Liberty Landing Marina
24 September 2017 | Hop O Nose Marina, Catskill, NY
11 September 2017 | Oswego, NY
09 September 2017 | Leaving Cobourg
02 September 2017 | Cobourg

This is More Like Cruising

29 October 2017
New York to the Chesapeake
October 16 - 19, 2017

With the engine starter fixed, we topped off Sojourn's fluids and headed out on Monday morning. We had laid in a course to Atlantic Highlands inside Sandy Hook, NJ. Our intent was to anchor in behind the breakwater and then head out in the morning for an overnight motor/sail to Cape May, at the entrance to the Delaware Bay.

As we went under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, we had out first look at the Atlantic Ocean. With the winds offshore, the ocean swell was low, so we discussed foregoing Atlantic Highlands and heading directly to Cape May. A final check of the weather forecast showed continued offshore winds 10 - 15 knots, so we reefed the mainsail - a practice we maintain for any night sail. We had been flying the number three Genoa since we stepped our mast in Catskill, NY. Soon we settled into a nice beam reach.

This was Matthew's first time sailing on the Atlantic Ocean and he took it all in. He had a steady hand on the wheel and was picking up the electronic navigation very quickly. One of the last purchases we made in New Jersey was a cell / GPS enabled iPad. We had time, with our engine shenanigans, to download the charts for our trip and we were able to accomplish more detailed trip planning on the iPad, as well as check our current position and get regular weather updates.

A quick note on communications. Before leaving Canada we had extended our Bell Mobility coverage and for $10.00 per month on a 2-year contract it now included unlimited talk and text in US and back to Canada and extended our Canadian data plan to the US - in our case - 3 GB. In addition, the iPad we purchased as unlocked and we had put Verizon pay as you play on it, so we still had data at a reasonable price for weather and for internet checks.

The sail was excellent. We managed a solid 6 to 6.5 knot throughout the evening and into the early morning. Tuesday morning, pre-dawn winds grew to 15 to 20 knots and the wind and waves were more quartering than offshore. Still, the period between waves was relatively long and the height of the waves was just over a meter. We clocked 8 to 10 knots on a regular basis and surfed down a few waves at 12 knots with Matthew on the helm. I slept through those speeds.

We pulled into Cape May in the dark, circled around a couple of times when our sleep-addled minds could not reconcile what we were seeing to what was on the chart. Eventually we figured out exactly where we were and continued on to anchor in front of the Coast Guard station. We had a bite of breakfast and slept for a few hours. In the afternoon, after getting squared away from night sail, a couple came by in a dinghy. They introduced themselves as Cathy and Rob, sailing a beautiful Island Packet. They too were headed south. They invited us over for happy hour - and we accepted.

Over drinks on their boat, Packet-Inn, we discussed travel plans for the next day with Cathy and Rob and agreed they were heading out at roughly the same time as we were. We always feel comfortable when we are buddy boating. It is nice to have someone close if you have an issue and it is good to be able to give back should they run into a problem. Fortunately, neither of us had to call on the other during the passage up the Delaware.

The Delaware Bay and Delaware River can be described as a 'nasty piece of water'. Because of its shape - wide at the bottom and narrow at the top, the current runs slowly at the entrance to the Bay and the current speeds up as the Bay and River narrows. It is called the Venturi effect, just like water through the nozzle of a garden hose. The Delaware floods (fills) for about 7 hours and ebbs (drains) for around 5 hours. To successfully move from Cape May to the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal you have to get from bottom to top before the tide turns and gains significant speed.

If you ask 3 sailors what is the best way to successfully transit the Delaware you will get at least 5 opinions. Here is our take on the process.

First, don't attempt to transit the Delaware if the wind in opposite the current. This is the same rule that applies to crossing the Gulf Stream. So on a flood current, going inland on the Delaware, you want an East wind. North or South will also do, but not a West wind. The opposite is true for the ebb current. We had a North wind, so that would give us a reach going up the Delaware.

If you want to minimize your transit time and can maintain at least 5 knots, head out of the Cape May Canal, or the mouth of the Bay, 2 hours after slack water on they flood tide. That way you will be able to take advantage of the maximum current heading up the Bay and your speed will increase by 2 to about 4 knots. You can complete the 55 miles very quickly.

We decided we did not mind spending the extra time, so we headed out at 0700 and moved against a mild ebb current - less than one knot - for a few hours. We were able to sail for a good portion of the morning, gaining some speed from the increasing current. We stayed out of the shipping lane for the most part, although there was not a lot of activity on the Wednesday morning. We called ahead to Packet-Inn and Rob confirmed that they intended to anchor just off Reedy Island, within site of the C&D Canal. We arrived at the anchorage at dusk and followed them into a well-protected anchorage and a quiet night.

The next morning, we transited the C&D Canal and anchored at Turner Creek on the Sassafras River. We anchored with a half dozen other boats - again, a quiet anchorage and a good night's sleep.

Fair Winds
Mary, Rob and Matthew

Its Alive

15 October 2017 | Liberty Landing Marina
No. I am not talking about some sea monster slithering out of the fog-shrouded water of New York Harbor. I am talking about our venerable diesel engine - a 36 year old, 4-cylinder Westerbeke 30 HP diesel engine. 2 years a go, we finished a series of repairs and maintenance that had the old 'Iron Gennie' absolutely purring.

Three weeks ago, our starter solenoid (original equipment as far as I can tell) did not want to engage the starter. Quick work with a screwdriver - shorting across the terminals - took care of that. We ordered a new solenoid to be delivered to Hop O Nose Marina where we had raised our mast after coming on to the Hudson from the New York State Canal System. While replacing the solenoid, we noticed that the starter motor was also looking a little tired and a few sparks seen in the starter pushed us to order a new starter and have it delivered to a UPS office in New York. I wished we had checked that before ordering the solenoid. Missed opportunity.

We set out from Catskill, NY to anchor down river just outside Kingston on the Hudson. That morning the starter complained just a little more but did its job. We anchored the second night south of Haverstraw, NY. The following morning, the engine started - albeit with some complaining and we made for our 3rd anchorage, west of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour.

The normally quiet anchorage was alive with activity - police and ferryboats coming and going. Just west of the anchorage was the Presidents' Cup Golf Tournament at the Liberty National Golf Course. That afternoon we witnessed 2 Marine MV22 Osprey aircraft make a low pass over Liberty Sate Park and then land just north of us. Twenty or thirty minutes later, two Marine helicopters circled the same field and landed shortly there after.

We later learned that Former President Bush had been at the tournament. It seems the day before, Obama, Bush and Clinton had all been in attendance. On Sunday, we were told; President Trump would be visiting the tournament.
And it came to pass that 5 Coast Guard 'little boats' with bow-mounted machine guns visited our little anchorage. "You're not planning on going anywhere are you?" one of the CG asked us. We had already planned on staying aboard.
Later that afternoon, the 2 Osprey appeared, a long string of black SUV's assembled and every level of law enforcement drove the short stretch of road from the landing site to the golf course. Then the 2 Marine helicopters flew overhead and landed in the park. A well-choreographed movement of vehicles and CG little boats escorted the President to the golf course.

For the rest of the afternoon we listened to the cheers of the crowds at the tournament and sometime around 5 or 6, the cavalcade reversed it's path and an hour later, all went quiet. The ferries took the last of the VIPs to NYC and Jersey City and then just after 8 PM the anchorage went quiet.

On Monday morning, the weather was great to make the transit from New York to Cape May. We stowed the dinghy on the bow, prepared overnight snack bags and got ready to sail.

I turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. Reset and turned the key again. Nothing.

We had picked up the new starter motor on Saturday on a trip into New York, so we decided to install it. The install was straight forward - 3 bolts and 3 wires. The starter turned over beautifully, but the engine wouldn't catch.

Over the years I have come to know this W30 quite well, spending a lot of time on our last trip in the small spaces surrounding the engine. So, once again we emptied the port side cockpit locker and down I went. We bled the fuel lines from the primary filter to the secondary filter on down to the re-built injector pump and up to the injectors. We could not get fuel to come out of the injector lines.

Having run the battery down trying to get the engine started, we borrowed a portable generator from our travelling companions John and Joan on RThyme II out of Belleville, ON. Still nothing.

We called TowBoat US's 800 line and had a towboat on site in just over an hour. We asked to be towed to Liberty Landing Marina. (A word to the wise - don't leave home without good towing insurance. Get the premium package.) We will follow up with a blog on insurance later.

On the way into Liberty Landing, I called the service department and they were expecting us.

STOP! Before reading any further, anyone with an understanding of marine diesel engines, write your guess as to what our problem could be. Write it in the comment section and then finish reading to find out the remedy.

On Tuesday morning, the technician from the marina came aboard and retraced all of our steps - fuel was turned on, fuel was getting through the system to the injector pump, but none was coming out of the injector lines. We had changed the primary filter. On the advice of a good friend of mine - a sailor, diesel technician, surveyor and fellow sailing instructor Craig Morley of AquaFacts in Port Stanley, ON - we run a 2-micron primary filter. The logic being, the finer filter will clog first and it is easier to spot and correct and problems in the glass bowl of the Racor filter.

We checked the oil and discovered the level had gone up a bit. Two things could cause this - water getting into the oil (in that case the oil will be milky) or diesel can get into the oil in which case it is difficult to detect other than the oil level going up.

After a few hours, we came to the conclusion it was the injector pump. Our technician removed it and we sent it off for an overhaul. It's second in 2 years.

We got the pump back a week later on the 2nd Thursday we were in the marina. We lost a few days when the technician overhauling the pump could not get it done on the prior Friday afternoon and there was the Columbus day holiday on the Monday. He did get the pump finished on Wednesday and air freighted it back to the marina on Thursday. The technician showed up at our boat at 11 am on Thursday morning, installed the injector pump and ... no go! As he left at about 3:30 he said, "You mentioned you had just changed the starting motor. Is there any chance the starter motor is the wrong one?"

How did you do on your guess?

He crawled back into the locker to access the front of the engine. We turned the engine over briefly and sure enough, the engine was turning backwards.

I called the shop we bought the starter from and who had done the pump rebuild. The call went from parts person to the shop manager to the owner. By the end of the conversation, they confirmed that they felt there was an issue with the starter and that they had another starter in stock. I had the inventory tag from the original starter we had received and it had the correct part number on it. At that point, I decided to rent a car and drive from Jersey City to Boston and take the old starter back.

The staff at the shop was excellent. Please understand, I was not looking for fault and after meeting the crew at the shop, I felt quite comfortable that the mistake was with their supplier and would not be picked up the normal flow of a parts department. This was an after market starter because Westerbeke no longer made this starter.

Driving home, I called John and Joan on RThyme II to explain the situation. You see, on that first Monday morning John had said that it might be the starter was incorrect and was turning backwards. RThyme II had since travelled on to Annapolis, MD to the boat show and then to Solomon Island. I wanted to thank him for his insight - which seemed odd to me at the time, but turned out to be totally correct. We look forward to catching up with them along the way.

Saturday morning, Matthew installed the new starter and we bled the fuel lines and with a little coaxing, Sojourn's 36-year old engine came to life. We ran it for a while and then shut it down for 15 minutes. It started quickly the 2nd time and we ran it for another 10 minutes and then shut it down. After letting the system cool, we checked the fluid levels and all were where they should be.

Next we took Sojourn out for a sea trial. Everything worked. Today, Sunday, the weather is overcast and the city is fogged in. We will work out the bill with the Marina tomorrow they have already indicated a willingness to assist in what could be a major financial hit with docking and several hours of technician time. The shop we got the starter from was very generous in settling with us given the initial issue was caused by one of their suppliers.

So after 2 weeks on a dock overlooking New York City, we know the neighbourhood of Jersey City, the transit system, ferries to NYC, shopping and couple of really good restaurants better than most travellers who stop for a day or 2.

The people at Liberty Landing Marina have been great. The crew at Hansen Marine were professional and extremely helpful in resolving our issue. Sojourn is ready to get back on the journey south. And in the words of Eric Burton and the Animals, "We gotta get out of this place..."

Mary, Rob and Matthew

New York, New York

04 October 2017 | Liberty Landing Marina
Beautiful fall weather; cool evenings and sunny warm days.
What was supposed to be a 3-day stop to wait for a weather window to transit the Jersey coast has turned into longer stay.

We anchored in behind the Statue of Liberty on Thursday. Took a day to tour Time Square, Broadway and have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. When we went to start up on Monday morning the engine would not catch. Concerned that we had picked up some bad fuel at our last stop, we changed the filter and bled the system - but no joy. Called TowBoat US and within the hour we were towed to Liberty Landing Marina.

Yesterday a technician went over the entire system and finally declared the problem is with the injector pump.
I was with him the entire time and he was great explaining his elimination process. I called Hanson Marine in Marblehead, MA (the distributor for Westerbeke Engines) and they said they could take care of the repair right away, so we have overnighted the pump to them. So here we sit. Our weather window for the Jersey coast extends to Sunday and then the small tropical cyclone that is forming in the Gulf of Mexico may cause us to have to stay in the NY area until next Wednesday. That too is part of cruising.

Yesterday, Mary and Matthew (who has joined us for a few weeks) travelled by ferry to the 911 monument while I stayed and worked with the tech and then cleaned up the diesel smell to make Sojourn habitable again.

We have a few other projects we are working on. One of them is completing both the Basic and Intermediate Cruising standards with Matthew. Now we have not said much about Matthew. Matthew is an instructor at the yacht club and is on track to get his Basic Cruising Instructor certification in the spring. He and his family have become our friends and with Mathew having the fall of school, we invited him to spend a few weeks cruising with us to gain more big boat experience.

Matthew joined us in Catskill, taking the train from Toronto to Hudson, NY. He is great to have on board and instantly became a full fledged member of our adventure.

We also have some a few projects to complete, like linking the new nav system with the AIS enabled VHF radio.
Big excitement on Sunday was the arrival of President Trump to the Presidents' Cup golf tournament. We were anchored about half way between the golf and the Statue of Liberty. We were aware he would be attending the tournament, but Sunday morning 5 coast guard boats complete with high powered bow-mounted weapons showed up in the anchorage and check to make sure who were were and that we did not plan on travelling any where during the President's stay at the tournament.

The VIP ferries were shuttling spectators from all over the NY/NJ area to the dock just beside us. Just before 2pm, 2 MV22 Marine Osprey aircraft landed in the park between the anchorage and the statue of liberty. That was probably the ground troops. Then 2 Marine helicopters landed - one would have been Marine 1 with the President on board.

As the motorcade travelled down the road adjacent to the anchorage, the Coast Guard boats kept pace. Just before that, they had halted all marine traffic in the anchorage as the police had done on the roadways.
For the next 3 hours, there was at least 1 CG boat within a few hundred yards/meters of us at all times. We felt very safe and protected.

We are currently docked at Liberty Landing Marina with full repair services and abundance of yachts around us. For those of you in Cobourg Marina - these are truly yachts - 65 to 100 feet of shiny fibreglass, professional crews and multimillion-dollar price tags.

So while we wait for our injector pump, we will enjoy our amenities, get caught up on our blogs, get some projects done and hope that little weather disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico behaves itself. If it does not, its name will be Nate.
Since we are on our adventure for 9 months, we are not in a hurry and we take this as part of our cruising adventure.

All the best,
Mary, Rob and Matthew

On the Hudson

24 September 2017 | Hop O Nose Marina, Catskill, NY
Because of the activity of getting off the dock, unstepping the mast in Oswego, cruising the Oswego and Erie canal and re-stepping the mast at Hop-O-Nose Marina in Catskill, NY - I am waaaayyyyy behind in posting. So I think I will work backwards and forward from here.

It is a quiet Sunday morning. Yesterday 5 or 6 boats had their masts stepped. A couple of them headed off immediately to try to catch a brief opening between Jose and Maria along the Jersey coast. We are working towards the next window with no storms coming across the Atlantic - at all. Next Saturday (30th), Sunday and Monday have offshore winds for 3 days. Means waves will be down as well.

Big decision is whether to make the trip from New York to Cape May NJ in one overnight sail or do a 2-stop daytime only. My vote is the former. Mary has not voted yet, but with a 3rd crew coming on board on Wednesday, then the overnight is much more comfortable. We don't need as large a weather window.

Over the past 3 days, we motored down from Waterford, NY. There was one more lock to transit - the Federal Lock at Troy NY. After that, we were on the Hudson. It is hard to believe the tide comes up that far upriver, but the tide tables showed a 5-foot tide range as far up as Albany. We were on an ebb tide so the current worked in our favour increasing our Speed over Ground (SOG) by a knot. As we approached Catskill, NY where we are now, the tide turned and for the last 2 hours we lost a knot to a know and a half. If you are motoring all day, the gain and loss of actual speed over ground cancel each other out -so you just go. For shorter jaunts, watching the tide and current is important - like on the Delaware.

Our mast is up and we had time to do some other work that did not get done before leaving Cobourg. We are waiting here for a delivery on Monday, to pick our crew on Tuesday and then it is a purposeful trip to be in position for the weather window on Saturday - either just above New York Harbor or at Sandy Hook, NJ.

Today we have final stowing of equipment and then a major provisioning at the local Walmart. Once provisions are stowed, a fuel stop, pump out and then heading down the Hudson.

Our time here at Hop-o-Nose has been great! The team here is exceptional. Thanks to Tim, Brian and Sean. When we stopped here going north 7 years ago, I celebrated my 60th birthday at the Creekside Restaurant in the marina. This year we are celebrating one of Mary's milestone birthdays (I am not a liberty to say which one) and my retirement from corporate work in June and from the Yacht Club this week - with the last of the paperwork completed for the Sailing School.

We decided to pick a theme for the cruise. I chose "59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)" by Simon and Garfunkel and Mary chose "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Anne Womack. So between "Slow down your moving too fast" and "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance" the theme of the cruise is "Slow Dancing". It will be interesting to see how that all works out.

Over the next few days I will get back to filling 'how we got here'. Stay safe all, and in the words of Robert Fulghum - When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Mary and Rob
s/v Sojourn

Arrival Oswego, NY

11 September 2017 | Oswego, NY
Sunny and warm
After leaving Belleville, we motor/sailed to Wapoose on the south side of Prince Edward County - and Sojourn's new home next summer. We took the time to sort out all those things we piled on board to be prepared to clear US Customs and Border Protection on Monday.

From Wapoos, it was just under 45 NM to Oswego, NY - the entrance to the New York Canal System. Calling ahead to the Oshwego marina (they monitor CH 16) we arranged for a dock, a diesel top up and pump out. It's always nice to start a new adventure with one tank full and the other empty.

That evening we assembled the mast cradle we built in Cobourg. We wanted to keep our cockpit canvas up, so we built the cradle taller - 11' by the time we finished. (For younger readers, I was through high school by the introduction of the metric system and I have issues with lengths and weights in metric.)

I have to say, having worked in the marine industry for many years, I am completely impressed with the skill and safety of Bernie at Oswego Marina. along with his wife Laura - you could not ask for you mast to be handled by a better person (other than Wayne and the crew at Wiggers in Bowmanville). Every other time someone has raised or lowered Sojourn's mast, I have lived in fear of it crashing through the deck or causing injury to someone involved. Rounding out the top 3 of raising and lowering masts, the crew at HopONose Marina in Catskill, NY are really impressive as well. Sojourn's mast is 54' long, heavy and ends up 52' 10" above the water.

Tomorrow we enter the locks.

End of Day 1

09 September 2017 | Leaving Cobourg
Quiet departure about 0800. Winds from the North, cool but no waves. Sailed most of the way to Presqu'ile. No charge through the Murray Canal. Happy 150th Canada. No issues to report. (That won't last...)
Vessel Name: Sojourn
Vessel Make/Model: CS36T
Hailing Port: Cobourg, ON
Crew: Mary and Rob
About: If you want to follow each stop, click on the link below. We use SPOT satellite messenger system to post our whereabouts - 'cause our blog is usually a couple of days behind.
Home Page: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0LQ8iq0QedAIXyAAV2nM3Zd0AFfS6CE8B
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