Onward’s Cruise Journal 2012
Cruise N on the ICW to MD and New England

June 2012

1 Jun 12; Friday; Wrightsville Beach to Beaufort NC

  • Onward was underway at 0630 and as offshore conditions looked so good, the decision was made to head up the coast to Beaufort Inlet via the offshore route. This was the first time I've used the Masonborough Inlet and I found it deep, well marked, and uncomplicated without shoal areas to complicate things. I know from others that the Beaufort Inlet is good and I have experience with its inshore segment. Making this passage made me realize that I've used a lot of the inlets along the Atlantic Coast over my ten transits between New England and the Bahamas but I've not made a complete list. Some like these two, i would not hesitate using again. Others I will definitely avoid in the future. So I started compiling a list with notes that I will eventually add to this website.
  • Onward was able to motorsail on this passage making close to 8 kts. While Ron had the con, I relegated myself to the navstation where I continued to work on the Waypoint & Route problem. I made another call to Raymarine Tech support but was unable to determine why the Raytech software will not write my data to an Excel file.
  • Onward put into Beaufort about 1500 and anchored in my "usual" spot at the edge of the channel. Then I looked at the weather and saw a band of thunderstorms rotating in our direction. The tracks looked like the worst of it would go just N and S of us. But, as the NWS severe weather warnings continued, I still wash't comfortable so I moved Onward further out into the channel and put out more chain.
  • After dinner, Ron retired early and I continued to work on the Waypoint & Route data problem. About 2100 I was haled by a runabout alongside. It turned out to be the owner of a J 120 racing sloop on the nearby pier. The winds had picked up from the S so Onward was lying transverse the channel with its stern within ~ 50' from the pier and this boat. The owner was very personable and asked me if I had the anchor well set. I talked to him of my experience in anchoring here and in general and told him I'd made the choice of having more scope out even though this brought me close to the pier. He then went on to tell me several Annapolis racers are regularly part of his crew before putting his boat up on his elevator.
  • We lucked out and the severe storm cells went N and S of us. We later learned that a tornado touched down in downtown Hampton VA.

2 Jun 12; Saturday; Beaufort NC
  • I was up late last night waiting for the storm front to pass this area before I allowed myself to sleep. In recognition of my valiant-Captain performance, I awarded myself extra time in the sack this AM. They day dawned pleasantly sunny with calm winds. As a consequence, Onward was laying campy streaming along the side of the channel in the prevailing tidal current.
  • After breakfast, I spent most of the morning working on my Waypoint and Route problem. I have never dealt with such a frustrating computer-related issues such as this has become.
  • We cleaned ourselves up and Ventured ashore for a couple of hours of poking about. Ron was looking to do some shopping for a gift for Linda and I just poked about in the numerous shops. I ended up buying a lot of stuff I didn't know I needed: new vented Tilley Hat, new Keene sandals, a beautiful ceramic coffee mug, water-protection bags for my iPhone, gifts for my daughters, etc. I did my best to kickstart the economy yet again.
  • Regarding the economy: I usually chat with small business owners along the way at my various stops and ask how the economy is doing from their perspective. Here I learned that they had a great winter season and the summer season is substantially better than last year. A good sign.
  • Ron and I ended up at the Queen Ann's Revenge restaurant & pub where we enjoyed sampling the great selection of beers they have on tap and had lunch. We had such a good time chatting with the staff and sipping that we ended up having an early dinner as well before heading back to Onward with our shopping loot. Of course, I had my new Tilley Hat blow off my head while in the dinghy because i forgot to use the chinstrap. It was quickly rescued and wasn't even damp!

3 Jun 12; Sunday; Beaufort to Alligator River
  • Anchors aweigh at 0610 and I was able to catch an unscheduled opening of the Beaufort Bridge to start the next leg N. The run N was pleasant in great weather, sunny and dry. There was a 10-15 kt SW wind that we were able to motorsail with on a few legs. Good old Wilkerson Bridge didn't get any taller since I passed through heading S. It is still the lowest clearance on the ICW and bent my VHF antenna in half. We cleared the Alligator-Pungo canal at about 1700 and decided to press on N to get through the Alligator River bridge before anchoring. I had a nice chat with the bridge tender as we approached and his timing was as impeccable as always so Onward passed through without breaking stride. We anchored for the night just NE of the bridge about a mile off the channel. I cooked some beef tips with garlic and onions and made a nice gravy with red wine. Served with wild rice it was delish!

4 Jun 12; Monday; Alligator River to Hampton VA
  • Onward was underway by 0630 and found Albemarle sound well behaved. We found Coinjock fairly deserted but for 2 boats as we passed through -- and they followed us out. Onward made the 1500 opening of Centerville Turnpike bridge which set us up to the lock passage at 1600. Unfortunately this put us at the last ICW bascule bridge at Gilmerton just after it started a 2.5 hr restricted period. But, luck was with us and we got to the bridge just after a tug and barge got an opening for its southbound passage. Of course the midship diesel tank ran dry as we charged to make the opening but I was quick enough to switch tanks that we never lost stride. The Jordan lift bridge that was dismantled has now been replaced with a fixed bridge with plenty of clearance. We passed ICW mile marker 0 at 1700 and decided to press on to Hampton where the fabulous beer menu of the Taproom was singing its siren song.
  • As we entered the channel to Hampton, a severe thunderstorm passed just NW of downtown and hit us with driving rains that prevented me from seeing the channel. I had zero visibility forward but two beautiful rainbows astern. The GPS and chartplotter continued to work normally so all was well until the storm passed leaving a beautiful evening. I considered anchoring just off the channel across from Hampton Downtown Piers but decided against it due to the narrowness and current. As the dock master had gone home, we just went in and picked up a berth for the night.
  • Showering revived us both and we headed off to the Taproom. While walking along the pier, we were astonished to see the Pride of Baltimore II tied up! Somehow we had been so busy maneuvering that we'd missed it on our way in! The Pride is one of many tall ships involved in OpSail 2012 which is celebrating the anniversary of the War of 1812. There is a big todo in Norfolk next week and then the fleet moves on to Baltimore! I plan to check that out.
  • We also noticed a waterfront building with metal walls and roof located just W of the marina had been torn apart! Apparently by a tornado that touched down Friday night 1 June while Onward was a Beaufort. I'm happy we missed that!
  • The Taproom was great! Fantastic beers on draught from around the world and good food. Ron and I partook of both. It made the trauma of the storm in the channel fade.

5 Jun 12; Tuesday; Hampton VA to Smith Ck
  • While waiting for the Dockmaster's office to open up, I took my camera to try to get a photo of Onward with the Pride II in the background. One of the boaters in the marina told me that the Pride had been slammed into a piling on the face pier and had damaged the pier as well as one of the timbers on the hull where some of the port shrouds for the foremast are terminated. Over the last 2 days, the Pride's crew had effected a repair. Neat.
  • Onward was underway at 0900 and once getting to Pt. Comfort found the winds to be ~ 10 kts greater than forecast: 15 - 25 kts from NE. We slugged it out until we got far enough N to be able to head more to the NNW and then we got a nice boost from the winds while motorsailing with the genoa. At Wolf Trap Light, we were able to bear off to the W a bit more and soon Onward was flying. We saw blue skies to the N which should have held the promise of the E winds forecast. When we got there, the wind veered N instead of S so there was nothing for it but to slug our way N toward the Potomac.
  • We decided to take advantage of the calmer waters and daylight to press on across the Potomac for Smith Ck - the first inlet on the MD shore from Point Lookout. We anchored in the N arm of the creek about 2015 at the end of a long day that ended much better than it started. Along the way I had baked a white pizza and a calzone. It was an amazing night in that Ron did not join me in having a beer! We ate the pizza while we played a game of Farkle which I lucked out at the end to make it 2 games to 0 for this trip. We enjoyed the quiet night with temperatures in the 50s for a good sleep.

6 Jun 12; Wednesday; Smith Ck to Herring Bay
  • Onward was underway at 0615 as the crew was in the homing mode. There were threatening skies all around us until early afternoon but the weather remained calm but with little wind to help us as we headed N up to Herring Bay.
  • Well this leg of the Onward Saga came to a close at 1500 when Onward put into Herrington Harbor S. There I took on diesel and water and offloaded Ron and the laundry. It was a good if "interesting" trip N - with Beryl adding unnecessary spice.
  • I got to enjoy a few beers at Mangos tiki bar with Ron and his friends before we went off for a light dinner at Neptune's and thence on to Blues Night at another local bar. The music was good but did not compare to last year when the young guitarist Andy mesmerized us with his talent. It was a late night and the Captain had a sound sleep aboard Onward at the T-head.

7 Jun 12; Thursday; Herring Bay
  • Ron Draper is a true friend - he does laundry! We spent the day with him schlepping me around to get propane, rum, groceries, boat stuff and lunch. We wrapped up the day with barbecued chicken at Ron's while we watched sunset on the Bay.

8 Jun 12; Friday; Herring Bay to Leadenham Ck
  • I took Ron out for breakfast and then bade him farewell so that I could move Onward to the C470 Rendezvous early.
  • Onward departed Herring Bay at 1000 and was at anchor in Leadenham Creek by 1300. I took the opportunity to clean the ICW mustache off Onward's hull and stern as well as do a bit of stainless polishing before the other C470s arrived.
  • Beckoning was the first member of the C470 fleet to appear and was soon rafted alongside with new owners Don and Mary Kay. How appropriate as Onward and Beckoning had rafted many times with Jim Wohlleber the former owner. By late afternoon there were five C470s hanging on Onward's Manson Supreme Anchor.

9 Jun 12; Saturday; Leadenham Ck
  • At midmorning more C470s began streaming in. Jim Wohlleber, former owner of Beckoning, scheduled a flyover at 1500 to photograph the fleet. So, besides socializing it was time to dress ship with an array of flags. Onward carries two strands of West decorative flags and a complete set of signal flags strung together -- a must for Corinthian cruises. So I began stringing flags. Don alongside on Beckoning began stringing flags too. Soon it was a flag stringing contest. Then Don decided to really one-up me by flying the Great Flag of the Corinthians. Somehow it had completely escaped me that he was the Fleet Captain of the Annapolis Fleet of the Corinthians! Hard to beat that but not to be outdone, I flew the DoD Senior Executive Service Flag presented to me at my retirement.
  • At 1500 Jim arrived in a seaplane and circled the raft of 8 C470s before landing. Charlie and Jenny from Lady fetched him by dinghy and his transportation departed. Two more C470s came in and we added two more Manson Supreme anchors for a total of 3 for the 10 C470s on what was forecast to be a quite night.
  • Onward served as the hors d'oeuvres barge for the cocktail party. Jim conducted the Changing of the Guard ceremony and passed the Vice Commodore Flag for the C470 Association to Bob Jones. A whole lot of drinking, noshing, and socializing went on until late.

Drat! These Admirals Go Back to Other C470s!

The Catalina 470 Fleet for the 2012 Chesapeake Rendezvous
Lady C470-119; Jenny and Charlie McNamara
Southern Cross C470-58; Tony and Theresa Geddie and crew Bill
Silhouette C470-75; Bob Jones and Pam Thompson
Dulcinea C470-110; John and Colleen Miller
Beckoning C470-76; Mary Kay and Don Andrew
Onward C470-126; Joe Rocchio
Light Waves C470-90; Peter Frichtman and Audrey Kalen
Irish Mist C470-157; Miles & Lisa McNamee
Comfortably Numb C470-73; Larry & Wendy Cohen
Escapade C470-83; Jon and Marilyn Van Tassell

10 Jun 12; Sunday; Leadenham Ck to Herring Bay
  • A quiet morning as the revelers slept in to recover. About 0900 some storing of life on the raft began. I took the opportunity to "interview" most of the owners about topics they would like to see covered in the C470 Mainsheet Tech Notes. About 1100, vessels began to break off and by 1245 Onward was left all alone.
  • Onward weighed anchor at 1300 and was settled back in Herring Bay by 1600. I took advantage of the quiet time to work on my writing assignments for the Catalina Mainsheet magazine's next issue: an article on the Rendezvous and the next Technical Note.

11 Jun 12; Monday; Herring Bay to Annapolis
  • Anchors aweigh on another beautiful sunny June morning - with no wind. At 0900 Onward put in to Herrington Harbor S where Ron Draper was at the pier to hand off a package with a new toy. Onward now has a neat 4" 110 VAC table saw to do all those little cabinetry tasks that I haven't been able to do due to the lack of a table saw.

  • The logistics job done, Onward headed N to Back Creek in Annapolis to try to meet up with the Hardy's before they drove home for a day or two. I poked about in Back Creek and attempted to anchor a couple of times down near the Hardy's slip but there wasn't sufficient room. I ended up anchoring between Annapolis Landing and Mears -- a spot that is usually chockablock with anchored vessels. I quickly launched Venture and headed over to see Skip and Harriet. We had a nice visit before they headed home and got to talk a bit about the Corinthians and cruising to New England.
  • As I Ventured back to Onward, I ran out of gas for the outboard. I was able to pump enough fuel from my Racor filter / fuel separator reservoir to run in short bursts back to Onward. It was completely dry by then! After a late lunch and a nap, I took a tour about to find friends' boats and managed to find Walkabout with no one aboard. That done, I went back to my writing assignments.

12 Jun 12; Tuesday; Annapolis

  • It poured all day. A good day for enforced desk work: writing, finances, organization.

13 Jun 12; Wednesday; Annapolis
  • More desk work in the AM. In the morning I heard someone yelling and JoAnne Norton went by with Walkabout on its way to be hauled for some yard work. Then I cleaned up and went to visit Moondance again to go out to lunch. We went off to Davis's Pub - first time this year -- an Annapolis Must! I was restrained and didn't have some of the things I love -- but I did have a crab cake. Great to be back in the Chesapeake!
  • While at the Pub, I got to see Dick Tudan and we chatted about his battle with the tropical storm last November. He's doing well and has taken delivery of a Freedom 40 that he is getting ready to cruise.
  • I was also able to get Miles Cherkasky interested in becoming a Corinthian and I got the introductory paper work worked out. When complete this will make 3 new Corinthians I've gotten to join this year.
  • On the way back we stopped at West Marine, of course. Skip regaled me with his woes about having to replace his refrigeration system. I thought, Thank God Onward's is fine. When I got back aboard Onward I found the refrigeration system dead! No quick resurrection was possible. So I called Skip and got a ride to Safeway to get dry ice because it must have been all his fault. Filled empty volume of freezer with the dry ice and then went to bed. To top it all while this was going on, the soupy bottom of Back Creek had Onward wandering at anchor more than I was comfortable with so I re-anchored. While troubleshooting the refrigeration problem, my better DVM decided to go on the fritz! Baah!

14 Jun 12; Thursday; Annapolis
  • Spent the AM doing research on the Adler-Barbour refrigeration system. Talked with a helpful guy and did some diagnostics. His advice: with nine years of continuous operation, it was best to replace the whole thing. By 1400 I bit the bullet and ordered a new unit.
  • At 1500 I got a call back from the A-B customer service rep and he suggested it was just the electronics module and it was worth trying to replace it. I tracked down a replacement module at the local Cruiseair dealer and asked them to hold one for pickup in the AM.
  • Charlie and Jenny from Lady invited me to meet them for dinner at Davis' Pub and I invited Miles and Laureen from Ariel to join us. Both boats were headed for RI on Sunday with destination of Bristol. We had a fun dinner.

14 Jun 12; Friday; Annapolis
  • At mid-morning Skip schlepped me over to the Cruiseair dealer where I picked up a new electronics module. Once back aboard Onward, I swapped electronics modules -- and got the same single LED blink indicating low voltage in spite of having 13+ V at the power terminals. BAAAH! This clearly indicates it is the compressor and there is no way to verify without plugging in a new one.
  • In late afternoon JoAnne Norton called to invite me over to a party at Mears at 1830. The boaters at this marina have a very tight and social community. The dinner was pulled pork from a barbecued pig, fixings, and drinks. I got to meet a great group of people. At the end of the evening we visited with JoAnne's friends Bob and Phillis aboard their beautiful new Sabre 46 Comocean -- who of course knew Harriet & Skip.

16 Jun 12; Saturday; Annapolis
  • At 0500, my sister Kathy called to say they had just received a call from the hospital in Florida saying they had a kidney for transplant and that her husband Andy needed to fly there this morning. By 0800 he was on his way.
  • At 0530 I received a call from Laura and Kurlen who were back in the US from Spain and about to fly from Boston to LA.
  • After Harriet and Skip returned to Annapolis, I went over and Harriet drove me to get more dry ice and then we went to West Marine where I picked up the new AC evaporator and compressor.
  • I took the new compressor unit that was a one-to-one replacement for the existing one, placed it next to the problematic unit and plugged it into 12 V power. When I inserted the thermostat connector it immediately came to life. This proved beyond doubt that the compressor on the original unit was bad. Thus, there was nothing to do but to remove the old compressor and evaporator and install the new units.
  • By late afternoon I called it quits. The process of removing the old unit and installing the new one would take too long. I decided this would be a job to start early Sunday.
  • The Moondancers invited me to go to dinner with them and I accepted. Then the Ariels called and asked me to dinner so I set it up so they would go with me and the Moondancers. Then the Ladys and Silhouettes called and invited me to dinner at EYC which I had t turn down. After cleaning up, I went over to Moondance for a drink. We then went and picked up Miles and Laureen and went out to a local Italian restaurant where I got a veal parm fix.
  • At 2100 Andy went into transplant surgery and at 2330 I got a text from his son Michael who was at the hospital with him that all had gone well. Wow!

17 Jun 12; Sunday; Annapolis
  • The removal of the old compressor and evaporator units went well. Catalina did a nice construction job when the installed a 1.5" ID PVC pipe from the back of the freezer compartment to the stern locker. This allows the copper refrigerant lines to be easily taken out. I thought I was going to need help with running in the new lines but this pipe made it very quick and easy to feed the new lines through from the galley side.
  • Of course, before I could do any of that I had to unload the freezer to cold bags. The dry ice had done a good job and everything was well frozen. I had needed to defrost and clean the freezer so here was my time.
  • I improved the mounting for the evaporator so that it will be easier to defrost in the future. Once everything was in place it was time to connect the compressor and evaporator. The new quick connect fittings enable both units to be pre-charged with R134 refrigerant and they can be connected and disconnected without a leak. The only challenge was assuring proper torque during the connection.
  • The new unit installed and connected, the moment of truth came. I flipped the breaker and lo and behold, it worked! The only fly in the ointment was that I discovered the temperature readout for the cooler section was not working due to a broken wire, I decided this was a job for Monday and quit for the day.
  • Laura called because Elena wanted to say thank you for the presents Ron Draper had mailed to her from me. She loves her sunglasses and the little book about all the things in and on the ocean - which she had made Laura read many times already. They had a delightful time on their visit to Mallorca and would like to do it again.
  • Today was my son's birthday. So I called and we had a nice chat and I told him he has always been a great Father's Day present to me. He claims he is 30; I know that can't be because I am much too young!

18 Jun 12; Monday; Annapolis
  • The second Catalina Mainsheet C470 Technical Note of my stint as Tech Editor was due today. In between refrigeration trouble shooting sessions of the last week, I had been working on a a 2-part article describing the things I have done to Onward to better enable me to sail single-handed. So this morning I did a final review, added some photos, and sent it off to Julie, the 470 Editor.
  • Then it was time to do all the nitty gritty final installation chores. I must have been in and out of the stern locker a dozen times just today. I am badly bruised all over my mid section from all the things that grab and bite in the locker. At one time I put my hand on my head and took it away awash in blood as I'd apparently scratched by scalp badly and had blood dripping down to my eyebrows. Oh joy.
  • In the process of repairing the broken temperature indicator wires I managed to blow a fuse. It was a real concern when the unit stopped working before I found the 0.5 A fuse was blown. The slow process continued all day until 1900 when I quit to have something to eat. Onward is a mess from stem to stern from all the things that needed to be moved to do the work -- something to clean up tomorrow. I read for a bit to relax then showered, and slept the sleep of the exhausted.
  • I talked to my sister who was now in Florida to be with Andy who is still in the recovery process.

19 Jun 12; Tuesday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • Not a lot of energy today and a lot of bruises and aches. Spent time cleaning up after the repair work.
  • Met Skip for lunch and then we went to the Cruiseair dealer and returned the compressor electronics module. They said they would keep it and test it and if it still worked they would credit me. I also gave them the original unit to test at the same time. We'll see.
  • Moondance has a brand new Engles 12 V standalone freezer system now.
  • I took the afternoon off. I learned that the Harry Potter series is available for checkout through the Amazon Kindle if you have an Amazon Prime account. I remember being disappointed that these books came out well after the time I got to read neat children's books to my children. So, I tried it out and was well into the first book by the time I fell asleep.

20 Jun 12; Wednesday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • I spent the day trying to be efficient at finishing up projects but the heat made me very inefficient.
  • At 1800, I Ventured up Spa Creek and then walked to Carpaccio Tuscan Grill in the new Park Place development. Nancy & Ed and Vicki & John met me there and we had a fine time: great food, great wine, great friends!

21 Jun 12; Thursday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • Joseph flew in from San Diego and picked me up near Moondance's slip. We headed out to pick up the two new Trojan T-1275 batteries I ordered. That done we stopped by the new Whole Foods at the other huge retail/residential development. Wow. Not even in California did I come across a food store as large and exotic as this. I will have to come back when I can spend a whole afternoon!
  • Joseph and I then headed over to Cantler's where his aunts and uncles: Joan & Dave and Sara & Dan met us for a crab feast. A wonderful time was had by all. Joe delivered me back at Moondance's slip where I'd tethered Venture and we loaded the 2 new batteries aboard.

22 Jun 12; Friday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • It was so hot, humid and still last night that I had difficulty sleeping. The heat today was oppressive and I got very little done. I did manage to get the two new batteries moved from the dinghy to the cockpit safely.
  • The Moondancers arrived and were aboard friends Eva and Rick's Sabre at Mears and they invited me over. I took the iPad and gave them a run down of the trip up the coast to Long Island. They will leave a few days ahead of me and we plan to catch up along the way. I joined them in a pizza dinner where I also met some other friends often mentioned by Skip and Harriet: Julie and Mike -- who had crewed aboard a Corinthian boat that also raced on that cold October weekend in 2009!

23 Jun 12; Saturday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • I pulled out the 4 old T-1275s and put in the two new ones. Then I tested the 4 old batteries to find out which of the 4 were the best to keep. What was I thinking??? I should have done this when the problems first started. I found all 4 old batteries were in bad shape. So, I ordered 2 more and found they wouldn't be in until Thursday which will make it a challenge to be able to go to the retirement party, do a battery sway and still head up the coast on Friday.
  • John Pellegrino came to Annapolis in the afternoon and I took him on a tour by dinghy. We then went ashore for a walk around Eastport while we caught up with each other. We capped the day off with a nice dinner at the Boathouse to give John the complete flavor of nautical Annapolis.

24 Jun 12; Sunday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • Today was Nancy & Ed Day. They arrived at 1000 and picked me up at Moondance's pier. We then headed off to Sams Cafe at Chesapeake Harbor where we had a delightful brunch - made even more delightful by "bottomless bloody marys". That done, we spent a nice afternoon doing a walking tour of the Naval Academy and some of the historic homes of Annapolis. Then Nancy & Ed headed home & I went back to work on Onward things.
  • I noticed that 8D battery that sees only very light duty was behaving straggly on the charger during the short time I was using it instead of the bad batteries in the other bank. I found that it too had 6 weak cells! Of course this made sense as I'd replaced it in Bimini in December 2007. Baah! I should have tested them all at the same time!

25 Jun 12; Monday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • I added another set of batteries to my order due in Saturday. I spent most of the day working on organizing my C470 Tech Notes files.
  • I talked with Jim Wohlleber and he agreed to join me for the cruise up the coast to RI. Great! I had a lot of good times cruising with Jim on Beckoning while I was preparing to purchase Onward. I had done this trip with him in 2003 as he took Beckoning to Maine.

26 Jun 12; Tuesday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • I called JoAnne Norton and was invited over for a drink in the evening. I finally got to meet her good friend Dave who was up visiting from his boat in Panama. After a glass or two of wine aboard Walkabout, we decided to walk over and try a wine bar that has opened in Eastport: Bin 909. We had a delightful time sampling their wide variety of wines available by the glass and enjoying their light fare for dinner.

27 Jun 12; Wednesday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • Don Andrews met me for lunch at Davis' Pub where a number of the local Corinthians meet for lunch on Wednesdays. There were nine of us from the Annapolis fleet and I was pleased to realize that I knew all but one from previous get togethers. Don then ran me around to do some errands with him which of course included a visit to West Marine. I got a new bridle to replace the one I damaged at Cocoa and I also got a new helm seat - one of the nice folding seats with arm rests and a high back. I will need to do a bit of engineering before I can put this in place of the original.
  • Ed Burke called and he met me at Davis's where we had an ice tea (he was driving and I'd had my 2-pints for the day) and then we went on a walk around Eastport while we caught up with each other. I would really like to take Ed up on his offer to visit him in London before he and Tina return to the US. I'll have to see if we can find a mutually acceptable window later this summer.
  • Jim Wohlleber called to relate that he seemed to be having an adverse reaction to a new drug and it was a good possibility he wouldn't be able to do the trip.

28 Jun 12; Thursday; Back Creek, Annapolis
  • I got all gussied up -- it felt really strange to where sox, shoes, and a tie and blazer! With the tie and blazer in a dry bag, I Ventured in to Moondance's slip where Tanya and John picked me up and we were off to ARL for John Miller's retirement.
  • At ARL, I finally got to get my Retired Army Civilian CAC ID card which will make it easier to visit facilities in the future. \
  • It was good to see many friends and colleagues many of whom I hadn't seen in five years. I was pleasantly surprised and very touched to be approached by a number of former colleagues who thanked me for some advice or assistance I had provided that helped them get on better in their careers.
  • I talked to Jim Wohlleber who'd seen his doctor and the adverse reaction was confirmed so he was heading home to bed. I was disappointed to lose this opportunity to hang out together but I was glad he caught the problem before we were afloat. Jim had been going to pick up my 4 new batteries but could not do it. I started scrambling for an alternative plan. Then I got a message from Bob Jones that he'd picked up the batteries! AND he did it before I could call he store to pay for them myself -- so he paid for them. Such a mensch!
  • John Miller's retirement went very nicely. I had a deja vu experience watching John and listening to his farewell speech. It brought back the retrospective of my career that I had found myself doing in the last couple of weeks before I retired.
  • I rode over to the retirement ceremony with John and Vicki. Once there, I worked had to help John meet the "bar minimum" for the party!. I got to see many more former colleagues and enjoyed myself immensely. Tanya and John got me back to Annapolis and I managed to get back to Onward safely -- although it might have looked strange to see someone dressed in a blazer tooling around Back Creek in a dinghy at 2200 hrs.

29 Jun 12; Friday; Annapolis to Reedy I, DE
  • I had a number of mini-dreams during the night about the upcoming battery switching process and the trip N up the coast. This process of dreams and restlessness I have come to expect as just the normal prelude to me starting on any major leg of my sailing adventure. So, I just accept it and get what sleep I can.
  • When I raised Venture onto the davits I discovered that in 2 weeks it had developed a fuzzy bottom. Looks like a haul on a beach with a heavy scrubbing will have to be arranged when I get to New England. The very high water temperature, warmer than in the Bahamas, is causing marine growth to be very heavy this year.
  • Anchor aweigh at 0715 and then off to Annapolis Harbor Boat Yard. Bill, the yard manager, was waiting on the T-head. Once Onward was along side, we off loaded the 4 old T-1275s. While Bill took them on the cart to their recycle depot, I struggled to get the hold-down strut for the 8D off so I could get the dead battery out. I was actually able to get the 8D out of the bilge compartment by myself. Then I unzipped the connector and rigged the topping lift so I could use the electric winch to bring it out into the cockpit.
  • Bob Jones arrived with 4 new T-1275s in his car's trunk. I got these on the cart, down the dock and onto Onward. Bill arrived to help us get the 8D on deck and then off the boat. I bid farewell to Bob Jones who did duty above and beyond. Then I finished filling Onward's water tanks and was underway up the bay by 1000.
  • The day was sunny, hot, humid and airless. The bay was as smooth as glass and cockpit temperatures were ~90+ ºF. Luck was with me as Onward maintained > 7 kts SOG and usually > 8 all the way to the C&D where I had the current with me for most of the trip through. I put into the anchorage behind Reedy I. Going through the narrow break in the stone breakwater in the strong cross current is always a bit tense as Onward was oriented about 45º to the channel of the cut as it traveled the channel.
  • Onward was anchored for the night by 1930. There had been warnings of severe thunderstorms for the Washington DC area and when I checked the radar, it looked like there was a good chance of it coming my way so I put out extra anchor chain. Then done, cocktail hour was declare and I relaxed and played with my iPad. I then cooked a nice meal of lean pork chops sautéed with garlic and rosemary. Together with brown rice it made for a great dinner at the end of a long day.

30 Jun 12; Saturday; Reedy I to Atlantic City
  • Just after midnight, I awoke to the sound of thunder so I got up to check weather radar. The storm from the midwest, as I feared, had arrived and had not lost any intensity. I closed the deck hatches and the cores of the enclosure. As it turns out, I screwed up and didn't dog down 2 of the hatches and these later leaked in the heavy wind-blown rain. The storm hit with a vengeance laying Onward over ~ 20º and spinning her 180º on the anchor. I saw wind gusts to ~ 36 kts -- but this was after the first wind shear when the storm arrived. I used the anchor alarm app on my iPhone to monitor my status and it proved to be a wonderful tool. The storm had several large cells and lasted for more than 1.5 hrs. During this time, I heard a vessel put out a Pan Pan distress call. It was a sailing vessel that was blown ashore and ground and was taking on water. The amount of lightning made it very difficult to follow the drama. At about 0200, I went back to sleep.
  • The storm and front passage dropped the temperature and humidity nicely. Onward was underway at 0515 and the reduce current made returning through the narrow cut in the breakwater less anxiety provoking. By 0800 some wind filed in from the N and I was able to motorsail. With at least 5.8 kts SOG, it looked like it should be possible to bypass Cape May for Atlantic City. I texted Moondance and found they had left Atlantic City this morning for Atlantic Highlands. It looked like we should be able to meet up Sunday night.
  • The wind picked up from the N and Onward had a nice motorsail down the Delaware picking up a favorable current about 0900. About 1100 the wind backed to the S as Onward approached Cape May. The lighthouse was rounded at 1200 and it was a pleasant motorsail up the coast at >8 kts. About 1500 a high altitude overcast set in turning it into a dim day. Onward entered Atlantic City inlet at 1700 and was pleased to find that the dredge was gone from the inlet. The new huge casino on the waterfront near the inlet is now open and they are rebuilding the beach in front of it.
  • Onward anchored in the "usual place" off the USCG station. The winds had picked up to 18 kts and it looked threatening in the SW. But in an hour the skies cleared and the wind dropped. I did some window cleaning then declared cocktail hour. That was followed by cooking a steak dinner. My personal batteries were low so it was an early night.