Onward’s Cruise Journal 2010
Cruise South to the Bahamas

October 2010

1-20 Oct 2010; Baltimore MD
Friday; 1 Oct 10

  • I got my annual checkup by my dermatologist something I started doing once I started cruising full time. On the way home, I managed to take care of a priority purchase: new silicone baking sheets. I have used my present set for more three years and they are about done in. In the evening, Grandpa took care of Elena while mom and dad went out to dinner with friends.
Saturday 2 Oct 10
  • Elena took her mom & dad and I for a walk to Fells Point where the annual Fells Point Festival was ongoing. It was a perfect afternoon for an outing, a beer, a pit-beef sandwich shared amongst the adults, a stop by the many artists' booths. I bought a whimsical print. The problem is I still haven't solved the way to hang things on Onward. I guess I just need to get focused on this!
  • We then drove out to Sara and Dan Schwab's home in Eldersburg where Sara had prepared a festival to welcome Elena to the MD portion of her family. Elena got to meet her great-great-aunt, her many great-aunts and uncles, and her MD cousins. She performed on cue -- she has remarkable aplomb at the age of 6 mos for dealing with a lot of strangers.
Sunday 3 Oct 10
  • A lazy day for grandpa as Onward's guests went off to visit friends and watch the Ravens win.
Tuesday 12 Oct 10
  • It was a bit heart-wrenching to see Elena, mom and dad off for their return to LA and to their just-purchased home. It was a fun experience having a 6-mo old aboard. I will miss her chirping away in the early morning when I was up.
Wednesday 13 Oct 10
  • After completing errands, I turned in the rental car. As I was about to board Onward, I happened to look up at the davits and something didn't look right. Then I located the problem. In the hubbub of Elena arriving, I had forgotten to pull the drain plug for the dinghy - and to check it as I normally do before a heavy rain. The dinghy got half-filled with water and I didn't notice it for several days after the torrential rain. When I pulled the drain plug, I forgot to also pull the plug for the subfloor volume. Somehow I've yet to figure out, water gets into this volume if a lot of water gets into the interior. As a result of these screw ups, there had been a lot more than the design weight on the davits. Over the several days it took me to find this out, the solid fiberglass of the transom had actually become deformed. As soon as I realized this, I completely took all the weight off the davits and unbolted the support feet that caused the deformation. I discovered the fiberglass was still structurally intact. A testament to the strength of the Catalina hull! The problem now became how to move the davits to a better location or to reinforce the transom.
Monday 18 Oct 10
  • Over the weekend I decided the best approach was to add SS backing plates on the interior and exterior of the transom to better distribute the load from the davit bases. I rented a car and went to EJ metals where I bought some SS sheet. They located a local machine shop that cut the sheet in the shapes I need and cut the access holes for the power receptacles on the starboard plates.
Tuesday 19 Oct 10
  • I spent the day preparing the SS plates for installation with the help of the marina's shop drill press and grinder.
Wednesday 20 Oct 10
  • I added some additional fiberglass layers on the transome interior under the inner SS plate on the starboard side to provide a smooth seat and additional hull strength. The installation of the reinforcement plates went smoothly and soon the davits were ready to go again. It was actually good that I discovered the need for better reinforcement of the transom under benign conditions where I could effect the repairs.
  • Joahna and her friend Vince picked me up and we went out for dinner. She has decided not to spend the winter in Baltimore after all and now will return to the West Coast. I really enjoyed the experience of having her join me on the cruise from RI to MD. I made another attempt to get her to continue down the ICW to FL with me but she wants to get "settled".

22 Oct 10; Friday; Annapolis to West River
  • It seemed like a never ending struggle but by 1145 I managed to get the critical tasks done to make Onward ready for sea. One of my last tasks was to deliver some flowers to Amy in the Anchorage Marina Office. She has been so helpful - particularly in getting Onward into a slip that was convenient for the visit of Elena.
  • At 1150, Onward was underway under clear skies with winds NW at ~ 15 kts. I had intended to put into Baltimore Marine Center for fuel but there wasn't sufficient room at the diesel fuel area given the strong winds blowing onto the pier. As I still had 50 gal of fuel aboard (I only used 70 for the entire trip down the coast from Ri!) I decided to push on motorsailing at 1800 rpm under genoa alone and doing > 7 kts SOG. As I approached the Bay Bridge, I changed my plans. I had originally intended to put into Annapolis and spend the night and morning visiting friends but I was exhausted because my cold prevented me getting much sleep the previous night. So, I decided to go directly to the West River and anchor off of Pirates Cove Marina where the Corinthians Fall Out Before Haul Out party marking the end of the season would be held.
  • As Onward approached the entrance to the West River, I decided to furl the genoa. This usually straightforward task didn't go as expected and I discovered the furling line had somehow gotten 3 wraps around the fixed part of the forestay below the drum. How this happened is a mystery - probably connected to my forgetting to immediately tension the furling line and setting the stopper clutch as soon as I deployed the headsail. I had to completely remove the furling line from the clutch and blocks so I could untangle the wraps at the bow. Oh joy... With the genoa furled I soon anchored and declared cocktail hour. Ron Draper called to say hello and while talking to him, I heard a strange sound. I discovered that fresh water was being sprayed out of the stern from the overpressure vent hole in the water inlet/pressure limiter unit. It is amazing to me how many things seem to act up when Onward makes the transition from being at a pier to the cruising mode.
23 Oct 10; Saturday
  • At 1130 I moved Onward over to the T-pier at Pirates Cove, bow to bow with Beckoning. Jim was in DC and prospective buyers were to come by to see Beckoning which now rides amazingly higher in the water since Jim took all his personal belongings off. I spent the early afternoon organizing the interior. I talked to Mike and Angie Williams and they were about to move Lady of Lorien from Cambridge to Pirates Cove to have some life line work completed on Monday. I told them I would hang out here until they arrived. Harriet and Skip Hardy are already in Charleston.
  • Corinthians began to arrive after 1500 and cocktail hour began shortly thereafter. It was good to be back together with a number of the members of the Annapolis Fleet that were also on the Maine Cruise. Festivities were capped by dinner at Pirates Cove where I got yet another fix of Maryland crab cakes before I start down the ICW -- adhering to the rule: don't order crab cakes outside of Maryland.
24 Oct 10; Sunday
  • I said farewell to fellow Corinthians as they headed back home. I spent the rest of the day working the to-do list. Jim Wholleber did me the favor of stopping by West Marine to pick up a replacement bilge pump for the one that died in the gray water box . Before he arrived, the prospective buyer for Beckoning came by and asked me how I liked the C470. It was easy for me to extol the virtues of the boat and what a pleasure it is for me to singlehand it from Maine to the Bahamas each year. After he left, I began to think about how strange it will be not to have Jim as a fellow C470 owner if he does sell Beckoning.
  • I hadn't run the outboard for some time. This year, I did have the good sense to run the fuel out of the engine before not using it for a month. Before I reconnected the fuel line, I decided to check the fuel tank to see if there was any water in it from the deluge of a couple of weeks ago. I used my small hand pump to pump out the low corner and found water mixed with the gas in the 10 oz I pumped into a plastic bottle. When I pumped a second bottle out I found just fuel. The engine started fine and ran well. So I went ashore to meet Jim and we got to have dinner together.
25 Oct 10; Monday
  • I replaced the bilge pump for the gray water box and cleaned it out. Mike & Angie Williams sailed in on Lady of Lorien from Cambridge MD where it had been on the hard during the summer while they were in Colorado and europe. They were scheduled to have new lifelines installed part of the total replacement of rigging in preparation for their sail back to the UK across the Atlantic in the Fall. I went over to say hello and catch up. I later joined them for dinner at Pirates Cove.
26 Oct 10; Tuesday
  • I continued working my To Do list. Angie & Mike had me over for cocktails and a smoked turkey and ham pie - a bit of British cooking - Delish!
  • 27 Oct 10; Wednesday
  • We decided not to move today as the threatening cold front finally started moving through. I looked up off my stern to find Allegretto with Ron Draper at the helm sailing across my stern. He was just coming in from Annapolis as part of a short cruise with his brother Robert aboard. Of course, I went over to visit for a while. In the evening, Ron had several of his buds from Chesapeake Beach meet him at the bar and I joined them. A great group of guys whom I met with Ron last June. I had to cut the carousing short as I had an early departure scheduled for the morning.

28 Oct 10; Thursday; West River to Reedville
  • Onward weighed anchor at 0800. This was a bit complicated by the > 100 ft of crab line debris that it picked up on the bottom. The promised light W winds picked up to 10 -15 kts so we were able to make a fast motorsail down the Bay. We made such good time that we passed our original destination, Solomons, and pressed on to Reedville where we anchored a few minutes after sunset. I anchored in he outer area in order to have enough light to finish getting the crab line off the anchor chain.

29 Oct 10; Friday; Reedville to Norfolk
  • The wind that had shifted to the NW and picked up to 20+ kts overnight had decreased just a bit. We weighed anchor at 0700 and began the trip S to Norfolk. Conditions were great and I motorsailed and sailed under the genoa and for a short time with a scrap of mainsail making > 7 kts SOG. We anchored off Hospital Point at 1630.
  • At this stage of the journey, I am hearing VHF calls from vessels I recognize but don't know well. We'll see what new friends this passage brings.
  • I am still battling the chest congestion I developed in Baltimore. It is getting perceptibly better each day but I'm still way down in energy level. I'm looking forward to some sunshine to bake in.

30 Oct 10; Saturday; Norfolk to Great Bridge
  • Onward and Lady of Lorien made an 0800 departure to start down the ICW with the plan of stopping at Great Bridge overnight to do some grocery shopping. The morning became interesting when a >600' coal ship decided to back through the Gilmerton Bridge (with the aid of 2 tugs). Of course it timed this to interfere with the regular opening and thus backed up some 25 - 30 boats behind it for 30 min. As a result there was a huge gaggle that made its way to the lock only half of which actually got through on the next lock-through. Onward made it in with room for 2 others behind. We tied up at the bulkhead NW of Great Bridge for the night. After a shower and lunch, I walked to the Fresh Foods store with Mike and Angie for some shopping. The manager kindly gave us a ride back to the canal with our shopping. I later walked back to the fabric store in the same shopping center to get some buttons to repair those lost from some of my favorite sailing shorts. And stopped to get some limes and garlic from Fresh Foods - how could I overlook such staples?
  • I made some chili stew with the fresh vegetables that I had just purchased and had Mike and Angie over for dinner. Delish!

31 Oct 10; Sunday; Great Bridge to Coinjock
  • Onward and Lady of Lorien headed S to Coinjock. A few miles N of Coinjock we encountered a tug pushing a barge that was challenged keeping it in the channel with the strong W cross wind. Later, as we transited the narrow cut just N of Coinjock, we encountered the steel schooner Appledore II aground on the E side of the channel. Apparently they didn't take the advice to stay N of the cut until that tug and barge got through so they were crowded/washed out of the channel and were firmly stuck. Mike bravely took Lady in to take a line to his bow in an attempt pull the bow of the schooner around but this didn't work.
  • Onward put into Coinjock Marina and Lady of Lorien rafted alongside. I took on 107 gal. of diesel - the first fuel since departing East Greenwich RI - what a difference a clean bottom makes as it took me over 130 gal on the trip N to go from Baltimore to East Greenwich! We enjoyed dinner at the marina restaurant.