Archive for October, 2009

Saturday, 10/24/09

October 24, 2009

I had a restless night’s sleep as the boat was bouncing around with a little swell coming in from the bay. After sleeping in, Laura woke me up to say friends of hers were coming down to visit around 11 am.
Chris and Bob were friends of Laura’s when she was at Griffiss AFB. We took the dinghy into town and picked them up for a rolly ride out to Second Wind. The boat was still bobbing around and Chris looked a little green while Laura showed her around the cabin. After a couple hours on the boat, we went back to shore for lunch at our favorite deli – Chick and Ruth’s on Main St. Lunch was great (as usual) and we said our goodbyes to my new friends.
Back to the boat where we picked up our banking paperwork then a walk up the hill to complete a few transactions we couldn’t finish before we left.
The weather has been warm but rainy and windy since last night. It is supposed to be nice tomorrow with north winds to blow us down the bay. We’ll be leaving shortly after our breakfast buffet at Buddy’s (the real reason we stop in Annapolis…).

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Friday, 10/23/09

October 24, 2009

Today was a really weird day. We got a fairly late start as I don’t think either Laura or I have recovered yet from our sleepless night at sea from NY. It wasn’t until after 9 am that we were up and getting the boat ready. The anchor chain was really muddy and it took us probably 15 minutes to bring in the 100 feet of chain and clean it off on the way in.
The day started out very calm with a light breeze from the east. We motored slowly for an hour while we recharged our refrigeration then picked up the RPMs to our normal 5.5 knot cruise. The winds gradually picked up from astern so we rolled out the mainsail off to port with the sheet all the way out. As we motor-sailed down the northern Chesapeake the winds fell off to port and we rolled out the jib and turned off the engine. We were sailing along nicely with a 12-15 knot breeze off the beam (side of the boat) – our first real sailing in the last 5 days.
The winds increased over the next few hours to almost 25 knots which overpowered Second Wind with her big sails up. The autopilot was working hard on the gusts which tried to head us up into the wind. On one big gust, the autopilot quit altogether. This has happened in the past when the autopilot has moved the rudder as far as it can and the boat is still not on course. So… I reset everything and tried to turn on the autopilot. It wouldn’t work! Laura steered while I went below to check things out. Eventually, I looked under the aft bed to check out the autopilot motor and steering quadrant (top of the rudder post). I didn’t see the autopilot connection to the rudder. It had broken off and was laying in the bottom of the boat. Bummer.
Laura steered for awhile while I took it all apart to see what was broken and needed to be fixed. I found two broken wields on an aluminum bracket that was used by the autopilot to control the rudder. This was something I couldn’t fix easily on the boat. I got out our cruising guide for Annapolis and started calling marinas and repair shops. On the 5th try, I found a place that would wield the bracket today. YEA! We hustled our way into Annapolis harbor and set a record of 5 minutes for tying up to the mooring, dropping the dinghy, putting the outboard on the dingy and getting together all of our dinghy stuff (registration, lights, life jackets, etc…).
The repair shop said it would take about an hour to wield the bracket so we went for a walk in town – our first on-shore in 5 days. When we came back, the bracket was better than new – the mechanic had wielded both sides to prevent it from coming apart again. Back to the boat and I went to work on installing everything.
While I was deep in grease and cables, I heard a knock on the boat. I figured it was the city marina boat coming by for payment on the mooring. I heard someone say to Laura, “Hey! You are on our mooring!”. Oh boy. Now we’ve got to move the boat to another mooring. Turns out it was just a joke and our friends Chad and Wendy (that we last saw in Trinidad 3,000 miles away from here) saw our boat and dinghy’d over for a visit. We invited them onboard while I finished up my installation and cleaned up.
We had an awesome evening catching up on last 2+ years of our lives. They stayed until about 10 pm when it started raining and they decided to go. We already made plans for tomorrow at their boat then Sunday brunch at Buddy’s Crab House. Just looking at them brought back all these great memories of Trinidad and Grenada. Nice!

Thursday, 10/22/09

October 24, 2009

The currents through the C&D Canal can run up to 3 knots so we have to pick our best opportunity for when they are helping us. Today, it didn’t turn in our direction until after noon so we used the opportunity to sleep in (until 9 am) and work on a few boat projects in the morning. We pulled the anchor around 12:30 pm and motored out of the quiet anchorage behind Reedy Island.
The trip through the C&D was uneventful and we popped out the other side about 3 hours later. We had hoped to make it to Worton Bay but it turned out to be too far – it would be dark before we got there. So, we decided instead to anchor in the Sassafras River only about ¾ miles from the ship channel.
Right after anchoring, the biggest flock of geese we ever saw flew by and decided to spend the night near shore about ½ mile from the boat. We heard them squawking and jabbering all night.

Wednesday, 10/21/09

October 24, 2009

It was a beautiful sunrise over a crystal clear sky on a calm ocean. The winds were very light out of the east – just enough to keep the sails from flogging. We motorsailed around Cape May and into Delaware Bay around 10 am. We had a favorable tide for several hours but slowed to around 3 knots by the time we approached our anchorage at Reedy Island. This was an anchorage we had not used before so I was very careful to follow the chartplotter while Laura was out on the bow keeping lookout with our spotlight. It turned out to be a very easy entry between the breakwaters and the water behind the island was very calm.
We anchored after a 30 hour run from Sandy Hook and both hit the sack early to catch up on our sleep.

Monday, 10/19/09

October 24, 2009

No wakeup alarm was set but I was up early so we could get south as far as possible today.  We had the anchor up and were motoring down the river by 5:15 am.  It was a very clear night and no problems navigating by the lighted buoys, radar and chartplotter.  Just before sun-up, it started getting foggy and eventually we were totally socked-in with fog.  We navigated carefully for the next 2 hours as I gave our position on the VHF radio and had our automatic fog horn running.  The fog didn’t lift until almost Newburgh – 30 miles from where we started.

The tides were kind to us with an outgoing current early in the morning and later in the afternoon.  Getting underway early had really helped chew up the miles and we were at our planned anchorage just north of the Tappan Zee bridge by early afternoon.  With a helping tide, we decided to motor down to the 79th Street Boat Basin in NYC and pick up a mooring for the night.  This would give us an opportunity to check out the place for a possible charter destination.

Around 5 pm we were at the Boat Basin and called them on the cell phone.  Turns out their moorings are limited to boats 40 feet or less so they wouldn’t let us have one.  The dockage was something like $5 / foot so we didn’t want to spend that kind of money.  We decided to keep going and try to make it though the harbor before dark. 

Our plan worked well and we made it to the Verrazano Bridge just around dark.  We continued to motorsail through the lower bay to our favorite anchorage behind the breakwater at Atlantic Highlands.  Travelling through here in the dark was a challenge.  There are 4 major ship channels and it seems like 100s of buoys.  Between the radar and chartplotter, we made it fine without incident.

Tuesday, 10/20/09

October 24, 2009

My job for this morning was to take apart the pulley and bearing I had changed the day before to make sure it was working fine. The bearing was good but I still didn’t like the alignment for the belt. I decided to put a longer bolt through the pulley and add a couple washers so the belt would line up better. The belt looked a little worn so I decided to change it with a spare. The problem was this was the inside belt of 5 so I had to take every belt off to change it. 1 ½ hours later I was finished and we pulled the anchor to motor over to the fuel dock. After filling our fuel and water tanks, we departed Atlantic Highlands and headed out to sea around 1 pm. Our goal was upper Delaware Bay by Wednesday night.
We had a slight helping wind from behind as we motorsailed south down the NJ coast. The winds were not quiet enough to keep us moving at a decent speed so we kept the motor running almost the whole time. Laura and I took turns at 4 hour watches. Around midnight the winds died completely so we pulled in the jib and sheeted the mainsail in tight to help stabilize the boat. The seas were pretty calm with a slight swell from the south.

Sunday, 10/18/09

October 24, 2009

The weather forecast for off-shore NJ was for south winds on Wednesday night into Thursday so we decided to leave early and try to make it through there before Wednesday night.  We dropped the car off at Laura’s parents in the early afternoon and they drove us back to the boat.  Shortly after 3 pm we were underway on our trip south.

Our goal was to anchor outside Kingston after a short 20 mile journey the first day.  We arrived there just after sundown and found a good place to anchor.

After dinner I performed my daily checks on the engine and saw that one of the belts was a little loose.  There also seemed to be black specks around which might be pieces of belt.  I squirmed down into the engine room and took off the pulley that controlled that belt.  The bearing didn’t turn smoothly so I decided to change it with a spare I had.  I still didn’t like the way the pulley lined up with the pump it was running so decided to keep a close eye on it.