Onward’s Cruise Journal 2012
New England Cruise

Updated: 2 Oct 12

September 2012

1 Sep 12; Saturday; Greenwich Bay to Vineyard Haven

  • Onward was underway at 0630. First order of business was to calibrate the new autopilot and controller by circling to swing the compass and then calibrating the compass heading. That done, Onward was off to Martha's Vineyard. With the wind from the NNE I was able to motorsail down the East Passage. It continued to clock so that the jib was close hauled after the Buzzard's Bay tower. The wind and the seas continued to build our of the NE so I began planning to anchor at Tarpaulin Cove for the night. However once I got close the wind dropped and then shifted to the E making Tarpaulin Cove a lee shore. So I pressed on to my original goal, Vineyard Haven and its large area for anchoring. The last 5 miles were tough as the favorable current turned at 1330 and by the time I approached W Chop it was at max speed against me. The last 5 miles was slogged out at < 3 kts! There wasn't much protection to be had from the E shore because the wind had a bit too much N in it. Onward anchored just N of the entrance to Lagoon Pond. E Chop cut down the wind and seas substantially but the chop from all the large boat traffic really made it bouncy until later at night. I have always noticed the large sailboat anchored off the shore here and this time I got to take a good look as Onward was anchored just inshore of it. It is on its anchor, not a mooring. Painted all white, it has no marking of any type. I originally thought it was a J boat but not so.
  • Once anchored and settled, I took a short nap and then declared cocktail hour. This is the first time since starting on the Onward Saga that I allowed my pepper biscotti supply to go to zero. It was in a good cause as the last went at Tuesday's card party. All was not lost, however, as MaryAnn brought me a package of the Calavito's "original" pepper biscotti when I saw her at Linda's house on Wednesday. So I enjoyed pepper biscotti and a bit of Cabot's tuscan cheddar cheese. Delish. I didn't have much energy for cooking so I sautéed some chicken sausages and had it with some pesto pasta I'd frozen. Dinner done it was an early night for me as I was beat.

2 Sep 12; Sunday; Vineyard Haven to Nantucket
  • After a relatively quite night, Onward departed Vineyard Haven and as soon as she rounded East Chop there was the wind, 10 kts on the nose, to greet me. Ah well. At about 0800 the tide changed and Onward began picking up speed for a quit transit to Nantucket. I took the opportunity to make pepper biscotti dough and dough for calzones.
  • On the last leg in, I received a call from Andrew and Carolyn Fowlie -- my cruising buds from the 2007-8 season in the Bahamas. They had gone off on a trip to Croatia when I was in their area near Boston on the way to Maine and were checking in to see if I was still nearby. It was great to hear from them and it brought back a lot of great memories -- Carolyn got me to do yoga on the beach for the first time. I prodded them about flying down to visit me in the Bahamas when Carolyn has a school break early next year.
  • As Onward approached the breakwater of the Nantucket entrance channel, a 180' motor yacht, Chantel Ma Vie, that had been anchored E of the breakwater decided to enter the channel first. I called on VHF to say that I wasn't going to compete for the channel and would cut back power. An uneventful passage transpired and I got in to find out Chantel was anchoring parallel to Onward's spot out at First Point! Onward was anchored by 1115.
  • I celebrated by making chicken salad for lunch and then kicking back to relax. I just couldn't get myself motivated to work on finishing straightening up the boat or any other boat task -- I guess because I feel I had to work so hard just to get here.
  • I invited my sister-in-law, Mary Ann, to come to Nantucket by ferry for the balance of the weekend. She laughed and said I was different than the rest of the world… I guess she has a point.
  • Onward is anchored among good company. There are so many huge yachts here this year there's no room for them at Nantucket Boat Basin. Three of the spill over are anchored out by Onward: besides Chantel there are 2 > 130' sailing yachts one a sloop one a yawl. Nice. At the change of tide, it was neat to watch the boats in a ballet as they changed orientation with the current.
  • At 1530 I checked my email to find a weather forecast prompting S New England to keep an eye on Leslie as it approached Bermuda late in the week. Ah Well.
  • Laura called from Park City to check up on me. Elena got to experience her first thunderstorm and she was impressed by the light and the noise - but not too enamored of the latter. Laura is working on making it a positive experience. Neat to watch your children be parents.
  • Not much energy left so I spent the afternoon reading, doing crosswords, etc.and capped it off with cocktail hour. I was pleasantly surprised that somehow a few small pieces of Onward pepper biscotti had escaped my buddies -- so that really improved cocktail hour which was followed with a grilled steak dinner. The sun put on a spectacular purple hour show over Brant Point light to end the day.

3 Sep 12; Monday; Nantucket
  • A nice quiet night and a beautiful dawn. Today was baking day and started with the pepper biscotti. With those in the oven, I wrapped up the other batch of dough in 4 bags for baking whatever later. Then I moved on to make a batch of almond biscotti because they're almost gone. Everything was going smoothly and then suddenly I found myself in the middle of a variation on the Let's Find a New Way to Frustrate Joe game -- an old favorite aboard Onward for everyone but me. Today's variation was "Where did Joe organize the spare box of baking powder to?". It seems the last time I organized all the spare spices aboard, I decided to move the spare baking powder from the location it has been in for about 7 years to some new "really good and appropriate" place -- I actually remember thinking these exact thoughts but neglected to remember where this location is. Well, after an hour of searching, that special place must be on the bottom of the keel -- and I didn't feel like diving for it. So, being a chemist, I decided to try a work around (trade secret) -- we'll see how it works. When the pepper biscotti were ready, it was almost noon so I made a try at a Margarita pizza by rolling out some of the dough batch to a thin sheet.
  • The almond biscotti came out fine. The pizza was tasty. I found I could have rolled it out further now that I've learned to use lots of flour on the surface and roll only in one direction -- making a sheet from 1/4 the dough I use to make my Sicilian style pizza.
  • In the middle of this I talked to Ed and Nancy and realized I got the date of their arrival wrong. They usually show up the day after Labor Day but this year will delay one more day to avoid traffic on the drive from DC. A look at the weather shows they will have to contend with the remnants of the rain from the hurricane as it exits the E Coast. So it looks like I'll have an extra day to work on all the boat stuff I didn't get done in the last 2 months because of working on more pressing boat issues -- and of course playing with my family and friends which takes precedence.
  • I enjoyed a late cocktail hour and got to enjoy another beautiful sunset. Then I grilled some frozen mystery fish (I'd neglected to label what the filets were). I needed to do some comfort reading and my electronic cupboard was bare so I bought a Dick Francis mystery from iBooks and had a relaxing read.

4 Sep 12; Tuesday; Nantucket
  • At 0645 my anchorage buddy, Chantal, weighed anchor and put to sea. BTW you can charter Chantal for a mere $65K / week + 25% tip and it sleeps 12 with 10 crew. The sky was overcast and promised an afternoon of rain from the remnants of Isaac. The job of the morning was to defrost the freezer. Oh joy! Only a cruiser can appreciate that a boat job like defrosting the freezer can occupy most of a day -- particularly when it is coupled with updated the freezer inventory spreadsheet. The rest of the day was spent doing various boat tasks.
  • I rewarded myself by making an eye-round roast with wild rice for dinner. The idea of buying large eye rounds then cutting them up into dinner-size servings and freezing them works well. While reorganizing the food in the freezer as I restowed it, I tried out the new vacuum bagger I'd bought at Walmart. I got the compact, no-frills model so it would be easy to stow. I tested it out and it worked well. I will use it in the future for all meat and fish portions I want to freeze. I will vacuum seal them into single serving or small portion pouches.

5 Sep 12; Wednesday; Nantucket
  • I spent the morning on continuing the cleanup and organization from the autopilot installation job. Overnight the wind had freshened from the SW so there were now gusts to 25kts. The interplay between the strong and and current had onward lined up on an azimuth the put the big steel mooring ball out by First Point only 25 yards off my stern. I kept checking the distance with my laser rangefinder and it remained constant even as the wind increased. I was uncomfortable leaving Onward with it so close but then I'd put out 100' of scope in 10' of water and the anchor had gone through 16 tide cycles so it was well dug in.
  • At 1430, I took the launch in to meet Ed and Nancy as they arrived on the ferry at 1515. Along the way I stopped and bought Nancy some roses and Ed a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate their arrival. For the first time in memory, the ferry was 15 min early but I still managed to get there as their car came down the ramp. We made the annual stop at Youngs so Ed could get his bike tuned and Nancy could buy a new bike. Then we headed out to Tom Nevers -- the best part is that I got to travel with Nancy sitting on my lap.
  • As soon as we got the car unloaded, Nancy headed off for a walk on the beach to unwind and I joined her. Once we were back in the house, the last of the 3 rain bands that had been moving E as the remnant of Isaac hit the island -- we'd been lucky to have the others pass to the N. I decided to stay at the house that night. We capped off the evening with dinner at the Siasconset Cafe. We were surprised to find that they had upped their corkage fee to $7 a person but clever Nancy found a way to buy a reasonable bottle of wine for less than the corkage fee at their next-door wine store -- and got the corkage fee for both waived. Such drama for wine.
  • Upon return home a thunderstorm cell hit the island and there was a close strike. Not much for me to do but say "Karma is Karma" and go to sleep.

6 Sep 12; Thursday; Nantucket
  • I took Ed and Nancy out for breakfast as they'd treated me to dinner we went to Mom's Breakfast Buffet at the Nantucket Inn by the airport. The brunch was wonderful and we got to eat on the sunny deck overlooking the airfield. All in all a delightful time.
  • I took the launch back to Onward and found she had weathered the night in fine shape and stayed right where I'd left her -- Wonderful! I packed some clothes and toiletries to spend another night ashore and then Ventured in. My sartorial style is to stay in shorts unless the temperature demand slacks or jeans. Ed was kidding me about this and going to dinner in shorts so, in deference to him, I took along my "big boy pants".
  • Ed is thinking of retiring for the second time. I saw this as a great opportunity to get him back into writing some of the wonderfully informative yet funny and droll commentaries he used to write as DRED (aka Dr. Ed) at ARL. DRED responded to issues brought up by the workforce in such a way he managed to poke at the staff and management so they both enjoyed themselves. He was often able to diffuse potentially explosive issues by a powerful combination of sound facts and incisive wit. So with the encouragement of Nancy, I spent the afternoon setting up the infrastructure for Ed to write a journal/blog/whatever -- under the domain: www.dredsez.com. Ed participated good-naturedly, perhaps not quite sure if he was really going to do this. However, in a few hours I began to see the creative juices stirring like they did in the old days. I will look forward to reading the future results.
  • We headed off to dinner at DeMarco -- a great Italian restaurant downtown that has been there for 33 years. It has been one of Ed and Nancy's favorite restaurants. Sadly, the owner has sold the business which will continue under a new name and this was the last weekend of operation as DeMarco. We met their friends Mark and Mary and had a delicious dinner and a lovely evening. And, as a gift from Nancy we all got to go home with Farewell DeMarco Tees.
  • Today was Elena's first day at preschool. Laura called with all the excitement and apprehension I clearly remember from when Cathy and I sent her off to preschool. Elena was supposed to start yesterday but wasn't feeling well. Today dad was taking her to school because mom had to be on a conference call for the NASA Landsat program. So Laura was a bit bummed at missing the first day delivery.

7 Sep 12; Friday; Nantucket
  • I used Nancy's bike and biked with Ed to Siasconset at the E tip of Nantucket for breakfast. Then I drove Nancy's car back while she and Ed rode home. I spent the morning finishing setting up www.dredsez.com and going over things with Ed and Nancy.
  • Before lunch, Ed took me to do some grocery shopping and dropped me off at the Harbormaster's Office while he and Nancy prepared for the arrival of her two sisters at 1500. I had the presence of mind to remember to take along laundry to do yesterday so I got to look forward to freshly laundered sheets -- one of the special events of the cruising life. Having worked so hard I rewarded myself with lunch spent finishing the Dick Francis novel I'd bought a few days ago.
  • After a shower and a change, I took Venture in to the Harbormaster's pier. Along the way a runabout had to pass me and left a substantial wake which I didn't negotiate as well as I planned and I got a face and arms full of salt spray. I walked into town and found the public restroom to wash off the salt only to discover it being closed for cleaning. So I had to use the water fountain!
  • While waiting for our table to be ready at Black Eyed Susans, I happened upon an art exhibit and enjoyed the art and a glass of Prosecco. Ed, Nancy, and her two sisters Debby and Faye soon arrived and we enjoyed a very nice dinner together.

8 Sep 12; Saturday; Nantucket
  • A beautiful morning came with the dawn! My morning review of the weather showed that Leslie was still a Tropical Storm and would pass E of Bermuda and away from the East Coast. Alllriiighht! However further look at the synoptic charts showed that an cold front would pass over Nantucket near midnight. The bad news was that winds would build all day from the S to 25+ kts and a squall line would precede the front. This meant my plan to go ashore at 1830 to participate in a clam dinner at Ed & Nancy's was not going to work; the winds and rain promised to be more than I wanted to take Venture out in. So I had to call and say that it was unlikely that I'd come ashore this evening. Sad….
  • I wanted to install the new glazing for the hatch in the forward stateroom. But then my worst enemy, me, got in the way by misplacing the installation instructions. While I searched for those I remembered that needed to find the parts for the support strut that I had disassembled in order to seal the leak. Well, I never found the instructions; I did find the strut parts, that is all except for one of the small parts that had fallen onto my tools while I was sealing the hatch. It was right over my electrical tool bag and I assumed it was in there. Wrong. I spent several hours trying to find the part without luck. As it can't be installed without this small plastic part I will just have to try to buy a replacement.
  • To rebalance my Wa, I baked a couple of calzones and cooked some chicken cutlet for dinner. Meanwhile the 15 to 25 kt winds continue to charge my batteries via the wind generator.
  • The high winds held all day. The front came through about 2200 but it had petered out and while the wind went to the N, it didn't get stronger and there were no torrential rains.
  • Some good news was that I received an email from Mike Yorke saying he would be available to make the trip from Manhasset Bay to Baltimore with me. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity of having a good friend aboard;l

9 Sep 12; Sunday; Nantucket to Block Island
  • Onward was underway at 0600 and once the shoals N of the channel had been cleared, I picked up the tide change in my favor and was able to motorsail at >7.5 kts for the balance of the day. I rocketed past Cuttyhunk and pressed on to Block Island. The tail end of the front arrived with some light rain.
  • I considered pressing on to Mantauk and put into the inlet at the NW tip. I called Mike Yorke to see if he had any local knowledge as the passage from the inlet to the pond where I would anchor looked like there were shoals. Mike wasn't aware of any boats of our size going in there so I nixed the idea. I want to visit Mauntauk in the future so I'll try to do some research.
  • I anchored about 1700 and once settled, declared cocktail hour after a pleasant transit. One fly in the ointment was that I noticed as I entered the inlet that my alternator wasn't charging the batteries and noted it to check out in the morning.

10 Sep 12; Monday; Block Island to Port Jefferson
  • Onward was again underway by 0600. With the wind in the NE to N, I hoped to make a fast trip up Long Island Sound. I started motor sailing toward the Race and soon was doing so well that I was able to sail and make hull speed. Even with the current still against me I was able to make > 6.5 kts. After passing Plum Island, I called Mike to tell him I thought I could make it to Manhasset Bay by evening.
  • While under power, I confirmed that the alternator was no longer putting out DC power. Now what? I have been carrying around a spare alternator of years so now I guess that was a good idea.
  • Of course, that phone call was the jinx. About an hour later the wind started getting fluky and backing to the NW making a nice beam to broad reach into a close reach. Then the wind and the seas picked up making it a rough close reach. I thought I could still make it to Port Washington until in mid afternoon the slogging was such boat speed fell off.
  • By 1730 I was off Port Jefferson and decided that was enough for the day and put in and anchored with the wind at > 15 kts from the NW. I enjoyed a nice cocktail hour and cooked a good dinner.
  • During the night, I awoke before midnight from a very deep sleep to hear the wind really howling and Onward bouncing around due to the swells in the protected harbor behind the breakwater. The iPhone anchor alarm showed Onward was holding steady. I was too exhausted to get up and look at conditions as long as the boat was safe -- so I fell back to sleep.

11 Sep 12; Tuesday; Port Jefferson to Port Washington / Manhaset Bay
  • After midnight the winds dropped back to ~15 kts. Onward departed for Port Washington at 0600. At first it was a slog into the wind and then I was able to turn W and conditions got better. The transit to Manhasset Bay was smooth and pleasant and I was anchored by 1100.
  • I went ashore and met Mike for lunch. He drove me to a different pub -- Port Washington seems to have several really nice ones. We enjoyed good beer and good comfort food: shepherds pie. So now Mike and I have a tradition for lunch as well as breakfast!
  • After a trip to West Marine, I headed back to Onward to look at the alternator problem. I pulled out the >100 amp alternator I'd bought from Jack Rabbit Marine some years ago. I found it was pretty close to being a 1:1 replacement. Except for one thing. The existing Hitachi LR80-03C alternator (the original that came with the Yanmar engine) had a T-shaped plastic connector that connected it to the control panel in the cockpit. The Jack Rabbit alternator had just two unlabeled spade connectors with shout pigtails that would allow it to plug into the Yanmar T-connector. The problem was which went to which part of the T? I could not find any instructions that went with the new alternator (strange as I never throw anything like that away). So I went on the internet to get them only to find that Jack Rabbit Marine had gone bankrupt in 2008. I decided to not install the new alternator. I planned to keep the batteries charged with the generator until I worked out the wiring issue. Over the last couple of days the solar panels and wind generator had done the job without the need for the generator.
  • At 1930 I went ashore to MBYC and met Mike and Maureen who then took me off for a very nice dinner and great company. They then took me to Stop & Shop and I got instructions from Maureen on what Mike should eat on our trip S. I gave Mike a quick course in provisioning -- not part of his skill set. Then it was back to Onward.
  • As I approached Onward in the dinghy, the laser light memorial to the Twin Towers clearly showed along with the partially constructed new tower. And, as I approached, they looked like they were growing from Onward's mast !

12 Sep 12; Wednesday; Manhasset Bay to Atlantic Highlands
  • I spend the morning doing research on alternators. Mike arrived in the MBYC launch at 1030 and Onward was underway toward the East River at 1100. It was a beautiful day and Mike really enjoyed the transit through Manhattan. Along the way he regaled me with the fantastic views he had in his various offices which had given him panoramic views of the river and its traffic. Tough.
  • The harbor traffic was very light and the transit to Atlantic Highlands uneventful but with a lot of great photo opportunities. We put in and anchored behind the breakwater at Atlantic Highlands by about 1630. I made sure Mike was properly introduced to a cocktail hour aboard Onward with a Dark & Stormy. A bit more relaxed and mellow, I then cooked a beef stew. Some fresh hot stew and a couple of glasses of red wine. Life was good.

13 Sep 12; Thursday; Atlantic Highlands to Atlantic City
  • I was up at 0400 and got Onward underway at 0430. What a wonderful experience it was for me to have Mike to provide visual lookout as I drove the boat by chart and radar! I made sure to follow my waypoints around Sandy Hook after last year's experience of coming close to the edge of the growing shoal at the NE tip of the hook. It was another beautiful day and we were able to motorsail for most of it. The wind backed enough in the afternoon that we furled the genoa. At Atlantic City, we decided to put in as continuing to Cape May would have take until after 2130.
  • Onward was anchored by 1730 and we had a nice relaxing cocktail hour. I then grilled steaks and we enjoyed steaks, rice and salad - with some red wine of course. That done, I got out the dice so that now, Mike is no longer a Farkle virgin. He had a slow start but managed to stay well ahead of me for most of the game; however I beat him by 100 points on my last throw. Mike got to watch some of the LED lighting magic on the Harra's Casino before turning in.

14 Sep 12; Friday; Atlantic City to Bohemia River
  • I was up before 0500 because I though I heard someone call Onward on the VHF. We weighed anchor at 0530 and made an easy transit out of the harbor. My morning weather check indicated a cold front would be coming through late tonight and while it was weak and wouldn't have squalls associated with it, the winds on the Delaware tomorrow would be 15 to 25 kts from the N -- not a good combination there. So we made the decision to press on by Cape May and get as far up the Delaware as we could by the end of the day.
  • It was an easy, if long, trip with the current with us most of the way. Onward entered the E end of the C&D Canal at just sunset. I've seldom had company while making this transit but tonight there were 2 >100' yachts, a cable ship, and a tug and barge. In spite of the traffic, the passage was easy and Onward pulled up to its anchor spot in the Bohemia at about 2230. Mike and I enjoyed a small libation to help us kick back after the long day. Then, we were both soon asleep.

15 Sep 12; Saturday; Bohemia River to Annapolis
  • Onward was underway at the leisurely hour of 0700. Once we had passed Elk Neck, the wind piped up from the NW and we sailed for the rest of the trip to Annapolis. There, I couldn't anchor in my favorite spot because they were holding small boat races in the area. I had to hunt a bit but I finally found a good spot off the Naval Academy.
  • We cleaned up and took the water taxi ashore where we met Jim Wohlleber who was driving his fancy new Jeep. We ended up going to Ruths Chris Steakhouse where we enjoyed delicious steaks and good fellowship. As Mike and I headed back to Onward, Annapolis was still jumping. The water taxi drivers said that the heat and rain had really kept things quiet during the summer and this was the best weekend yet. Jumping or not -- I was soon fast asleep.

16 Sep 12; Sunday; Annapolis
  • I slept a bit later than usual -- a luxury after the dash down the coast. Mike and I enjoyed Onward Omelets for breakfast while we talked. Then, it was time to tackle the installation of the new alternator.
  • Working on the Onward's engine is a challenge. While they did a good design at providing access to the important bits yet hiding it all in functional cabinetry -- that access is not straightforward. Seldom can anything be seen and handled with two hands in a direct way. Replacing the alternator was made challenging by the need to see and disconnect / connect wires on the back of the unit. This can only be done by being in an uncomfortable position on the floor of the galley and working through the access panel at the back of what is normally the liquor cabinet.
  • I got the old alternator off which took a bit of percussive persuasion. The new unit proved to be a 1:1 physical replacement -- but while trying to install it on the engine I found that it needed its two bolts to be about 1 mm smaller in diameter than the those on the original unit. Luckily, I had alternative bolts in the MacGuyver stores so I was able to use these to mount the unit until I get the proper size bolts. When it came time to connect the two mysterious red wires to the new unit's internal regulator, i just plugged them into the Yanmar female plastic plug in an arbitrary way. While I was at it I replaced the engine fan belt. The whole process which was like a yoga / gymnastics workout for me was made even more challenging by the only work light I have -- and LED unit that will only shed its light where I don't want it and need it. Lots of cursing helped a bit. I made a vow that Onward will not depart Baltimore without a much better work light aboard.
  • In the end, the new unit got installed. Mike watched and took mental notes so he can call a serviceman should he need to replace Certa Cito's alternator. It was really nice to have Mike to look over the installation with a fresh pair of eyes and then to go out to the cockpit to run the engine controls while I watched the DC power controls and meters.
  • Well, it worked! It put out a much higher voltage ~ 15V and higher current , ~ 100+ A, than I had ever seen out of the former unit. I have the feeling that the performance of the original had been going slowly down hill for a long time and this was masked by the long trips I make. Before leaving Baltimore, I plan to reroute the alternator power output cable (and replace it with a larger diameter one so it feeds the battery combiner directly and not through the starter power cable.
  • I declared at least temporary victory, cleaned up all the tools used, and showered. Mike and I then headed ashore in Venture to Davis Pub where we met up with Skip and Harriet. We had a nice lunch together and I got to have a great Maryland crab cake. After lunch I took Mike on a tour of Back Creek to see Onward's old slip at Jabin's. On the way out I stopped by Walkabout and got to say hello to JoAnne Norton. She told me she will not be going back to the Bahamas this winter. :<(
  • I was headed back to Onward in the anchorage and when I looked away to manage some wakes and then looked back, I was puzzled to see that the logo on the side of the boat had changed. It took a bit for me to hear Mike tell me I was headed for the wrong boat -- but it was a C470! It turned out to me Mike Davis and Ayewash who had popped over from Mill Creek with friends aboard, a vintner and a wrier, just for the afternoon. Well, a social visit ensued and Mike and I had a great time aboard.
  • After a bit of rest aboard Onward where Mike managed to beat me well in Farkle, we headed back ashore by water taxi to meet Ron Draper. We ended up at Magarity's Pub (going to a pub with Ron, imagine that) where we enjoyed beers and a light repast while we enjoyed each others company.

Sep 12; Monday; Annapolis to Baltimore
  • Well, I got my foot caught in the sheets again this morning and didn't get up until 0700! The Steward did nothing without me being there to keep him on task.
  • I loaded Mike and his stuff aboard Venture and we headed in to Ego Alley where we were met by Jim Wohlleber. Then it was off to Chick & Ruth's deli for a great breakfast. I wished Jim good luck as he embarks on his new adventure as a charter airline captain. Jim then took Mike off to get his rental car for the return home. What great fun it was for me to have a good friend for company on the transit from New England!
  • I walked back to the dinghy landing and on the way stopped at the corner hardware store to see if I could get an improved work light. I didn't find one but I did find a couple of bottles of the Bartenders Friend gel cleaner that Harriet had let me use.
  • By 1045, Onward was on the way N to Baltimore and a slip at the Anchorage Marina. The beautiful sunny morning was soon gone and an overcast day accompanied me to Baltimore -- a promise of the rain to come over the next 36 hrs. There wasn't much traffic about on the Bay and by 1445 Onward was in slip C19 at the Anchorage. I've done this so much now it is really like coming home. Amy had my check-in stuff already and soon I was settled for the next month. I managed to get the first of several medical appointments set up and worked on organizing the long To Do list for preparing to go down the ICW and the Bahamas for the 6th time! I also contacted JSI in Tampa the original maker of the dodger about a replacement. Then I discovered a new canvas operation at the Anchorage so I had the young owner, Marvin Imhoff, over to take a look and prepare an estimate. That done, I enjoyed a nice cocktail hour and a delicious beef stew dinner.

Sep 12; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • Lots of rain last night. The good news: I remembered to pull the drain plug on the dinghy! I did manage to get some planning done and I located a place to get the alternator repaired in Annapolis. I also found a company nearby in Baltimore that will re-galvanize my anchor and chain.
  • It was a dreary, cold, overcast, rainy day. I couldn't get much motivation going in the afternoon and whet into hibernation mode. So I curled up with a good book to read on the iPad and recharged my personal batteries.

Sep 12; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • I got the estimate for replacing the dodger. It looked reasonable so I decided to check out their work before making the final decision. I then headed off to pick up my rental car and drove to Annapolis. There I met Don Andrew who invited me to be his guest at the luncheon with other Corinthians at Davis Pub. I enjoyed good fellowship and a good lunch. Dick Tudan bought a memorial round of drinks to celebrate the life of his dog Millie who had just died. Millie had hosted many sailing parties.
  • I took my alternator over to M Electric to have it looked at for a rebuild. Then Don and I met Mary Kay who had just bought herself a new iPad. After Mary Kay had some lunch, we headed back to East Port where we sat down with Bob Jones and Pam to discuss heading down the ICW together next month. We had a good talk and agreed to head off together after the Corinthians Fallout before Haulout party on 20 October.
  • After a full day of socializing and planning, I headed home for a quite dinner aboard and some rest.

Sep 12; Thursday; Baltimore
  • I went over and inspected some canvas work done by Charm City Marine Canvas who gave me an estimate for replacing Onward's dodger. After looking at a similar dodger I gave them the job. Getting it done by Onward's departure date will be a slight challenge.
  • The round of medical work started today. Got blood tests done. Then had my annual checkover by my dermatologist. I also managed to get my hair styled by Luc at Hudson and Foquet in Annapolis. Luc is engaged! Neat. I keep prodding him to fly to the Bahamas to cut my hair on a "business" trip and then stay for a week.

Sep 12; Friday; Baltimore
  • A beautiful, sunny day; great day to be afloat! I spent the morning engaged in the never-ending (for me) task of organizing, planning, and catching up on routine tasks. In my previous stays here at this time of year, it seems the time has slipped away from me and I didn't get done a lot of things that have longer lead times (e.g., buying and installing things that take a couple of weeks to get here. I had intended to plan this all out on the trip down the coast -- but this year I had too much of a good time having Mike aboard so this didn't happen. Now, I'm trying to catch up.
  • Things in the works: I'm thinking of having my anchor and chain re-galvanized. I'm also going to add a 3rd solar panel if I can - the power from the first two has been a great addition.

Sep 12; Saturday; Baltimore
  • A beautiful day. The weather on the E coast has been amazing since mid August. I'll take it. I'm into the "Grind" -- that period of time when I'm in one place without major problems to deal with when I strive to get done all those round-to-its I've accumulated since the last Grind. The work is not hard it just is miscellaneous organizing, administrative, and boat keeping tasks that do not bring me joy while doing them and don't provide a feeling of accomplishment when they are done. The there are the infamous "Triage Boxes" -- these are the boxes that I use to get papers and boat stuff out of the way for me to do triage on and sort out "later". Of course, when I'm moving Onward and having fun playing with my friends, there never seems to be time to get this triage done. This kind of stuff has always been my bete noir. But today I finally had the discipline to start working on both forks of the problem: papers and boat stuff.
  • Laura called today and we chatted about her coming visit. She told me she got to watch as the Endeavor on its 747 flew around her neighborhood -- by the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory. She said there were people out everywhere to view it. Last year I gave Laura and Kurlen my stateroom during their visit so Elena could sleep next to them. This year Laura wants to use the forward stateroom. I may need to install lee cloths as Elena is a very mobile sleeper. I'm looking forward to the adventure of having a talking toddler aboard.
  • When I was in Camden ME, I had a diver clean the bottom of Onward. Only when I had gotten him back to shore in the dinghy did he inform me he hadn't quite done the waterline area and that both zincs were missing from the prop shaft! I was pissed and felt robbed after what he had charged me. Since I've not had Onward in a marina or connected to shore power, so while the lack of zincs was a problem, it wasn't a huge problem. I contacted a diver here to install new zincs while Onward is in the marina.
  • I fabricated and clipped on a sacrificial zinc to serve until the diver does his thing. Then I got to wonder how well the stern rail where I'd clipped it on was connected to the ground system on Onward. So, I connected a long probe wire to a good ground source (the negative terminal of the charger / inverter) and then went about the boat checking continuity. The new sacrificial zinc was well connected. I then went on to make a map of what pieces of metal are connected to ground. Interesting.
  • I got a call from Andrew Fowlie, one of my cruising buddies from the first Bahamas cruise. He and Carolyn are planning to fly down from Boston to visit while Onward is in Baltimore. Great! A cold front went through in early evening bringing only a short burst of wind and a few raindrops.

Sep 12; Sunday; Baltimore
  • Another beautiful day. It was back to the triage mines. I selected six tasks and then cycled through them in 15-min sessions. I stayed on task all day except for a well-earned time out for lunch. Every time I do this I am amazed at how effective the process is. Tasks that I hate to start get started because of this discipline; then I find that after I've worked on them for the allotted 15 min, I'm ready for a break -- but then as I'm into the next task in the cycle, I find I'm looking forward to get back to the one I just left. Amazing -- converting something I hate to do and can't start into something I look forward to doing! I guess that the 15-min period is enough to actually accomplish something and then just having completed the 15-min period is in of itself an accomplishment that makes me feel better. Neat!
  • One of the things on my task list was converting the electric head in the rear head to use raw water for flush. I originally installed this head last year at this time as I recovered from my angiography/stent operation. Needless to say, I didn't have a lot of excess energy but I needed to get the old head off the boat and the new one flushing before I departed the marina. I wasn't sure how or if I was going to connect the raw water flush so I put in a temporary fresh water flush which used a gallon jug that I periodically filled (usually with the water that goes down the drain in the shower while I wait for the hot water to arrive at the sprayer). This worked OK for the last year but I decided to just use raw water since I can control the flush cycle and use it regularly as it is the head that goes to the holding tank. So over the last year, I've never had the patience to attack this task because of the difficulty of rerouting the raw water line from where it had fed the old head pump. By breaking the ugly task up into 15-min segments -- I was able to get it done.
  • Another task completed today was using my DVM to check the grounding system aboard Onward. I started it yesterday but today I completed a full survey and verified just what elements of the boat are tied to the grounding system.
  • I had another long phone talk with Joahna today. This is the third this week. We had some good talks about her PhD. thesis work and about a new man in her life. It was wonderful to have some good talks with her.

24 Sep 12; Monday; Baltimore
  • Today I was off to visit my cardiologist and we were both pleased to see that all looked well!
  • When I returned from the medical visit, I found that the digital oscilloscope I was expecting had arrived. I decided it would be good to have one of these toys around to evaluate the existence of electrical power anomalies -- given the $ I've recently invested in replacing electronics.
  • I also decided I was tired of the poor performance of my existing cordless drill so I ordered a new Li-ion 18-V drill and a 5.25" circular saw combo kit. The old units will have to go!
  • I also received a replacement battery for my backup Verizon flip phone. The old one failed and swelled so much the back of the phone popped off. A new battery from Verizon was $39 - but out of stock. I got this one from an internet source for $12! Amazing.
  • I spent the balance of the day working the task triage process. It still amazes me how doing this enables me to get things done that I simply don't seem to be able to to otherwise.

25 Sep 12; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • I spent the morning working my triage task process. Having stayed on task, I rewarded myself with an hour off for lunch.
  • I made an agreement with Charm City Canvas located in the marina to build Onward a new dodger that would be ready in time for me to head S. This was a must as the center and starboard forward windows had deteriorated so much it was becoming a safety hazard due to the reduced visibility.
  • I decided to tackle the job of dealing with my anchor and chain which have been used so much that they've lost their galvanizing. I had heard there were places that would re-galvanize anchors and chain but had never located one. I did some hunting on the internet and found a local company, Baltimore Galvanizing, that did hot dip galvanizing. A minimum charge of $250; cost ~$30 / 100 lbs. After looking at how the Manson had lost most of its galvanizing, I decided it was worth getting it redone. So, I offloaded the anchor and 300' of the main rode off the boat. This chain was purchased in June 2010. The first 100' had lost its galvanize coating and had begun to rust. If I had noticed this when I was here in June, I probably could have gotten it replaced under its 2-year warrantee. Ah well. Given the amount of use I give the chain, it looks like it needs to be reversed after 2 years as the other 200' looked brand new.
  • Then I offloaded 200' of the backup rode (the original chain I purchased in 2003) which was very badly rusted. I loaded all this in a dock cart then hauled it to the rental car and loaded it in the trunk. About 700 lbs. Whoosh, I was beat. I've got to rethink doing things like this in the future -- I'm not 25 any longer. I will need to start thinking about arranging for younger studs to do such tasks in the future. This will be a challenge for me as the do-it-myself approach is hard ingrained. The hardest part is that I will need to plan such tasks farther in advance due to the need to find and schedule the help.
  • I had just enough energy to get back aboard to take a nap. When I woke up I hauled myself to the shower which revived me enough to eat dinner. Then I read a new Dona Leon novel until I fell asleep.

26 Sep 12; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • I took the chain and anchor to the galvanizer and there unloaded it all onto a pallet. They told me they will first do an acid etch to get to a clean surface and then will do the hot dip galvanizing.
  • I returned to work the triage task process for the rest of the day. One of the tasks was cleaning out and re-inventorying my canned goods locker under the forward dinette settee. When getting something out the other night, I noticed that several of the cans were discolored. So, I took them all out, discarded some old cans, and cleaned them all up. I didn't find any can that was a source of the discoloration -- so none had leaked. Then I remembered having failed to lock down the hatch over this locker on one offshore passage and salt water had come aboard (a very rare event), of course, and dripped on the locker. I guess I didn't clean it up well enough and the salt water had caused advanced corrosion of the outside of the cans. Interesting -- a lesson there.
  • I decided to cook some pasta for dinner and make some "Kathy Sauce". While cooking, I suddenly thought it would be nice to share it with someone. So, I called Armand, friend of Laura and Kurlen who lives nearby. He was free and came over for dinner. To make it interesting, the 10-lb propane tank went empty when the dinner was half cooked!. As I had used up the 5-lb backup tank earlier, I had to go to Plan C. I always keep one spare 1-lb bottle and using an adapter I connected this up to the stove supply. It worked. A very nice dinner ensued and Armand and I enjoyed a nice pasta dinner and good conversation.

27 Sep 12; Thursday; Baltimore
  • Some light rain during the night gave way to a very nice day. I spent most of it working the triage task process. I took time off to get the propane tanks refilled. I found that the 5-lb tank which was made of steel had rusted to the point where it was not refillable. Ah well.
  • One of the things I did last Tuesday was to track down sources for the push button switch covers on the Yanmar control panel. The red cover had disintegrated. I've looked everywhere to get a replacement and I finally found one via google. The new units arrived today. Another round-to-it I handled on Tuesday was to locate a source for replacement rubber covers for the electric winch switches. They should be here next Wednesday.
  • I found an unexpected package addressed to Captain Joe waiting for me in the marina office. It turned out to be from Mike Yorke and it was a corded inspection light! Mike had to put up with my cursing as the LED task light I was using to work on the alternator would always arrange itself so as not to shine its light where I needed it to be. So, Mike fixed the problem!

28 Sep 12; Friday; Baltimore
  • It rained during the night but by 0800 it looked like it had blown by. I ordered a new copy of the Managing the Waterways guide, the best one I've found for the ICW. I've used my original so much it has fallen apart.. I also ordered a new Novatel MiFi 2372 GSM cellular modem to use while in the Bahamas. Now I need to figure out how to get a Batelco mini SIM for it and get it activated without having to go to Nassau.
  • At midday I headed off to Annapolis to get my annual dental check up. A;ll was well!
  • I stopped by to visit the Ariels who were at their friend Don's pier in Spa Creek. Don's new home is nearing completion and it is beautiful! Seeing Ariel and Silver Girl both at the pier is quite a sight. Miles has decided to have a friend join him for a sprint down the coast to Miami where Laureen will rejoin him. So I may have to wait until the Bahamas to seed the Ariels after I leave Annapolis.
  • I picked up the Hitachi LR180-03C alternator that I had rebuilt at Mamock's. It had a blown diode and worn brushes. It is now set up for external excitation so I will have to select and purchase a smart controller.

29 Sep 12; Saturday; Baltimore
  • Only 5 days until Elena brings mom & dad to visit. I've got to get on task to get my boat chores done and Onward cleaned up enough for the Princess to live aboard. I worked at it until ~ 1600 when I took a shower and a nap.
  • John Miller came by and we enjoyed catching up on things over scotch in the cockpit. We then walked over to Odonnel Square where we had dinner at the bar of Mama's on the Halfshell. It turns out John has the condo next to the late owner of Mama's. He was in Ocean City this summer when Scunny, the "Mayor of Canton" was tragically killed by a bus while riding his bike.

30 Sep 12; Sunday; Baltimore
  • I stayed on task working on boat tasks until mid afternoon when I cleaned up and headed off to Potomac to have drinks and dinner with Ed and Nancy. We had a great time, as usual.