Adventures of the delivery kind

Just as the sailing season began winding down, opportunities for boat deliveries turned up. The first was a short run, with owner on board, from Sandy Hook, NJ to Annapolis, MD – a simple 3 day run. What started as such, turned into something of an adventure.

With good weather forecast with favorable winds all the way, we departed Atlantic Highland yacht basin early morning, October 19th. The boat was a beautiful Gozzard 36 in great condition, and a very comfortable sailing boat.

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The run out of the harbor was uneventful on flat water and light winds ……

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Rounding Sandy Hook we had a distant view of the NYC skyline ….

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Winds began to pick up and we got sails up for the expected skate down the Jersey coast to Cape May and the Delaware Bay.

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As with so many good plans, conditions changed. Turning south we found head winds and moderate chop. We were forced to tack well off shore, and made several such tacks working our way down the coast. It was a moonless night with limited visibility, but clear and cold. In the middle of the night we picked up the lights of Atlantic City about the time the engine rpms fluctuated, dropped and died…….. With only one other boat in sight, it was easy to sail on, if slow, and progressively further off shore while we sorted out the engine issue. Turns out it was water in the fuel, and cleaning the racor filter got us back motor-sailing more directly toward our destination. The sun came up to another pleasant day, if still a bit choppy..

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A few more hours and we turned into Cape May.

 

 

IMG_20141021_122604082Adventure two was just around the corner. Having had fuel issues, we decided it prudent to fill the tank, so headed into the marina. As we turned the corner in the channel and slowed engine speed to idle, the overheating alarm sounded – shut down and coasted up to the outer pilings to assess the problem. After exhausting our ideas and talking with the marina staff, we restarted and made a quick run into the marina fuel slip. An hour or so of further assessment, and consulting calls to my service tech gave us confidence to continue on with the caution to keep the rpms up to where the engine temp stayed in normal range. So on up Delaware Bay. Not much wind help, but incoming tided helped us along as the sun set on day two……

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As night descended, we were making good progress and expected to arrive in Annapolis the next morning. It was an uneventful trip though the C&D canal despite a scolding from a tug captain who thought we were in his way as we entered the canal. While well lit, it is still a dark ride.

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The dark calls for caution when passing on-coming traffic including the large Cargo ship Bess – sorry, no pix, we were busy. As we approached the west end of the canal, lightning lit up the sky, and soon the rain began. Exiting the canal put us in heavy rain and 15-20kt winds and chop. Visibility was down to maybe 100 yds. Following the chartplotter, we made it around to the Sassafras River and dropped anchor near what appeared to be a shore-based light. A spot light from there tagged us, and after assuring good holding, we went below for some much needed sleep.

The morning found us anchored about 150yds from a large motor yacht – guess we misjudged the shore line!

The run down the Bay was quite a ride. Winds were on the stern quarter blowing 15-25kts. Seas gradually built from 2-3ft waves to 5-7 feet, short period. Our speed over ground, motor sailing with genoa and stay sail was 7-11kts – the 11 came when surfing down the 7ft waves. Once under the Bay Bridge, conditions improved and we pulled into Jabin’s Yacht Yard right on schedule after a quick stop for Fuel and pump out.

Good company, a variety of sailing conditions and minor emergencies made for an interesting three days!

More pretty boats!

Well, the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis has come and gone. We had five days of variable weather, with frequent showers, some fog and occasional sun. We also had lots of folks. All the boat displays were busy, including our Passport Yachts. And in the mix were some serious buyers!

Here are a few images from/of the Show ….

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During set up, bringing our 545 Passport in …

 

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In addition to all the boats, there were great seminars by ICW experts like Mark & Diana Doyle (On the Water Chart Guides) and Wally Moran of Sail magazine. As important were the social opportunities to get together and meet fellow sailors we may only know from on-line forums.  All-in-all a great few days!

Change on the horizon

Change on the horizon

All the signs are here. There’s color in the trees – besides green. Large flocks of birds are wheeling with intent to move. Skeins of geese are lining south. Skies are beginning to take on that slate grey, and mornings are not as warm despite the sun whose angle is lessening. And, cruisers are gathering here in the Chesapeake to stage their annual trek southward. Local anchorages are filling up with home port names from as far away as Canada. The annual Seven Seas Cruising Association GAM is just behind, and the Annapolis Boat Show just ahead. For those preparing to head south in search of warmer climes it is a busy and exciting time. For those who are not, it’s time to prepare boats for the coming cold. Having tasted that southbound experience, it’s a sad time to watch others leave.

Since the great time at friends’ wedding (last post). Valinor competed in the Hospice Cup regatta. A very light wind day. Lots of boats in several classes – our Hospice class had nearly fifty. It was a great start and the first couple legs went well then the winds died and the tide changed which brought an opposing current. OK, so we didn’t finish in the time limit……..but we still had a good time, and for a great cause.

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The next week was the SSCA GAM at Camp Letts on the Rhode River. The plan was to sail down early (to get a good anchoring spot, and enjoy the water time). The weather know what we intend to do, and takes great glee, I’m sure, in messing with our plans. Those two early days saw 20-30kts of wind and 3-4ft short chop on the Bay – even worse in the southern Bay. Fortunately all settled down by the Friday start of the GAM, and it was a nice sail for the 12nm or so down from my Eastport slip.

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Evening in the anchorage was worth the trip in itself…..

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The GAM saw record attendance with over 200 cruisers and about 4 dozen boats. Lots of good information was shared and the seminars were great. It was fun to visit with folks you may only see once a year here, but follow their blogs to share their travels and experiences around the world.

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It is often great entertainment to watch fellow boaters in anchorages as they maneuver in and out. So it was that I watched three boats find the shoal in front of the Letts boat house – helped pull one off. Also hailed a large power boat that he had a line overboard – just as he came to a stop with the anchor rode wrapped on his prop….lent a hand there too to untangle.

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It was a beautiful day and all outcomes were successful. Next morning, it was my turn to head out. Again, weather forced a change of plans. I intended to spend the week sailing wherever the wind pushed me — what wind? The Bay went calm, and the forecast was for that to last most of the week.

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I made a motor run to north of the Bay bridge to a cove off the Magothy River where I found a quiet anchorage with only a couple other boats. After settling in, a light rain found us but left a beautiful rainbow as it cleared.

IMG_20140929_185408621So, all-in-all a good day and pleasant evening.

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Next morning I made an early departure for home slip and began working on the boat ‘to do’ list in preparation for a club cruise in just a few days. More on that annual chili cruise next time……..

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