Onward’s Cruise Journal 2013
Cruise to New England and Return to the Chesapeake

Updated: 7 September 2013

September 2013

1 September 13; Sunday; Nantucket

  • Wow! Eight months of year 2013 gone! Where did it go? It's a blur….
  • Another day of rest! Great! Time to continue to recharge my personal batteries and get some chores done. There is even the potential for some sun today.
  • I spent the morning working on boat and life tasks and about 1300 I took one of the rolls I bake yesterday and made a great sandwich. I then rewarded myself for my industry by reading as I ate lunch.
  • About 1415, I was just climbing into the shower in preparation for a visit ashore when I heard a VHF call to the Coast Guard that a small sailboat had capsized in the mooring field and there were 4 people in the water and "the USCG should come rescue them". The exchange went on to say it a boat standing nearby was making the call. I thought that was weird so I looked out and could see the capsized boat about 300 - 400 m away with a couple of runabouts full of people moving around it making things worse with their wakes. I decided they needed saner help and luckily remembered to put on shorts and Tee before I jumped in Venture and headed their way. I arrived on the scene just as the USCG big RIB and an MA Environmental Police RIB got there. As it was easier for me to maneuver closer, I approached the tip of the mast of the overturned boat and asked the people in the water if any were in distress and needed PFDs -- which I had to explain meant life jackets. They were four adults who except for being unexpectedly wet and a bit embarrassed were fine. I talked with the Captain and his crew about righting strategy and held the mast up out of the water so they could get the mainsail down. Then as they climbed on the centerboard, I lifted the mast and Hola, it was floating again. I then helped them climb into the boat and gave them a pump and a bailer. Meanwhile the USCG RIB was busy asking them names, etc. It seems someone had reported children in the water and they wanted to be sure all were accounted for. The USCG RIB also provided them a small hand pump like the one I gave them. I also gave them the second larger capacity pump I carry in Venture but then found out it was not working correctly due to lack of use. I asked the Captain if he wanted a tow over to Onward where I had a portable electric pump that could do the job better as the USCG RIB only carried the small hand pump (weird in itself that it had no small portable electric pump aboard -- bad planning). Instead he asked be towed to shore.
  • By this time, we were drifting toward the mouth of the inlet. I checked with the USCG and the MA EP to see if they could tow and got the answer I'd expected: only if the vessel was in severe distress. So I ran Venture's painter back and through the clamps for the outboard and then over the stern. I asked the Captain if I could tie on and in jest promised not to claim salvage -- they thought that was funny. Soon the boat and its crew were under tow and the arrangement I came up with worked really well as it is notoriously hard to tow another boat with a RIB if the tow line is not centered. This configuration worked amazingly well and learning that was worth the whole effort itself.
  • As the tug and tow approached Brant Point, I noticed the truck ferry was getting underway and had a brief vision of being run over. But having the USCG RIB in front and the MA EP RIB behind as well as carving a course near to shore kept us out of the way and the ferry avoided us. I towed the boat to the shore just SE of the new yacht club. Along the way I had visions of the USCG or EP giving me a ticket for moving too fast through the channel -- just an example of my healthy cynicism when it comes to marine authorities. It seems our litigious society combined with conservative "fend for yourself" philosophy has render what once were really helpful folks into mere communicators, record keepers, and penalizes. Ah well...
  • I got them into the shallow beach area where their trailer was waiting ashore and bid them farewell. The Captain and I then got to introduce each other. He and his crew of his daughter who was about Laura and Joahna's age and her two male friends were very thankful. I told them my philosophy: you're not a real sailor until you have capsized and righted at least one boat and that I viewed my own nexperience as having been a very good life lesson.
  • Reed Kindermann, the Captain invited me to dinner and arranged to pick me up at the Town Dock at 1800. I returned to Onward and climbed into the shower. I went ashore around 1530 and walked around town. I was pleased to find that the local farm where we always go to get fresh grown vegetables now had a small store on the pier N of the Boat Basin. I also was pleasantly surprised to find that the old A&P supermarket near the wharf had been transformed into a Stop & Shop with a completely new interior and much better and better-presented selections. Neat.
  • Reed picked me up at the Harbormaster's office and took me to his family compound where they had three cottages. There I got to meet a dried out and more relaxed crew: Reed, Sylvia, Ben and Abe. I learned that Sylvia lives in the Hollywood area of LA not far from Laura as did Ben and Abe -- small world. We had a delightful time and Sylvia and friends whipped up an amazing clam / mussels / shrimp / sausage / corn / potato boil: A thing of beauty. Delish!
  • Funny how things worked out and I got to spend a wonderful time with some very good people -- one of the neat benefits of the "Cruising Life".
  • The wind had dropped so the harbor was calm and Onward was easy to find with its masthead light and the LED beacon I set.

2 September 13; Monday; Nantucket
  • I spent the morning again working on boat / life chores using the 15-min timer technique. I was surprised by how far behind I had gotten in some important things.
  • I invited the Kindermanns aboard for cocktail hour so I decided to make a batch of pizza dough just in case they could hang around for dinner.
  • Before I could make the dough, I needed to wash dishes. However I was out of hot water. I could have run the Yanmar for an hour or so or run the genset. However the genset wouldn't start the last time I tried after my return from Baltimore to Belfast. In the past when this happened, I assumed it was due to air in the fuel line. But, in light of my most recent experience when Ed came over to assist, I was suspicious that it was due to the battery being weak and not being able to turn over the engine quickly enough to get ignition. So I decided to run the genset after connecting its battery up to the bow thruster battery for the start attempt. I still needed to get under the berth to access the genset battery. In preparation to do that I dug out some AWG 6 red and black battery cable in case I wanted to rig up a permanent alternative power source. Of course, I needed to dig through my MacGyver stores for that. I also searched for and found a local ground connection that didn't require me having to get into the bow thruster battery compartment. The good news was the genset started right up with the aux power boost. I will replace the battery as soon as I get to a West Marine.
  • After heating the water I did the dishes and made the pizza dough and by that time it was time for lunch and then a post-lunch nap. About 1430 I got energetic enough to try to get the chain counter for the windlass working again. All symptoms pointed to the failure of the magnetic field sensor. I had bought a new one before leaving RI but I was suspicious that the problems was due to the rare earth magnet rotting away. However I had replaced that and still no joy. As I could think of no good reason why the encapsulated magnetic field sensor should fail, I was loath to install the new (>$125) sensor without verifying it would actually solve the problem. So, today I disconnected the connector to the old sensor and connected the new sensor cable. Then I ran the cable out the forward hatch and fixed it temporarily in place the appropriate distance from the magnet in the windlass gypsy. Hola! the chain counter came back to life and worked normally! Now I will have to remove the old sensor from the windlass base and then install the new. My concern is I would still like to know why the original sensor failed so I can try to prevent failure of the new.
  • Between the genset and the windlass, keeping Onward going is much like being a detective. Perhaps that's why I like to read mystery novels now.
  • It was time to clean up Onward and the Captain before my guests were scheduled to arrive. That done, I got to relax for a few minutes before the Kindermanns arrived by water taxi. We had a good time chatting over drinks and talking about the similarities in our families: three children, two girls and a boy; all growing up in the East and now living on the West Coast; all similar ages. As Sylvia and Abe were heading back to LA they had made previous plans for a bon voyage dinner tonight. They went off to on the water taxi and I was left with the comfort of having made some new friends on Nantucket.
  • I turned half of the pizza dough into 2 lovely small loaves of bread and then warmed up some stew for a quiet dinner and evening aboard reading.

3 September 13; Tuesday; Nantucket
  • A typical gray Nantucket morning with a hint of the possibility of sun. The genset started without the aux power boost. So, the key is to start and run if for a short time each morning until I can replace the battery. I continued on with catching up on chores.
  • I got a new personal insight this morning as Ed Burke shared with me this linguistic distinction:
No dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. However, in a recent linguistic conference held in London, England, and attended by some of the best linguists in the world, Samsundar Balgobin, a Guyanese, was the clear winner. His final challenge was this: "Some say there is no difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. Please explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED in a way that is easy to understand." Here is his astute answer: "When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. When you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED. And if the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!
  • I learned: I am INcompletely UNfinished. It explains a lot.

4 September 13; Wednesday; Nantucket

5 September 13; Thursday; Nantucket to Block Island
  • I made breakfast omelets for myself and my friends and enjoyed our breakfast in the sunny great room on an archetypical beautiful Nantucket morning. At 0930 we headed off to town with Ed and Nancy all gussied up to attend Rosh Hashanah services and then a members-only congregation luncheon. They deposited me at the Harbormaster and I Ventured out to Onward. By 1015, Onward was underway. I really enjoyed and appreciated the flawless operation of the windlass.
  • It was so sunny and warm when I left the harbor, it wasn't long before I was sailing along in my shower-suit. The ~ 6nm trip out to the turning buoy was a slog with the wind > 10 kts out of the NNE and agains there remnants of the outgoing tide. As I approached the buoy, the current turned to a flood heading W and Onward had a sleigh ride motorsailing under the genoa at 9 to 10 kts SOG. As Cape Cod approached, the coming cold front did the same and I started adding clothes so that by the time Onward was abreast of Cuttyhunk I was in long-sleeved shirt, jeans, sox, fleece vest. By the Buzzards Bay light tower, I had added a fleece blanket. Baaah!
  • At Cuttyhunk, Onward was making such good progress I decided to press on to Block Island with an ETA of just after sunset so I would be able to see the inlet. However, about half way between Cuttyhunk and Block, the Yanmar began to sound strange as it was having problems maintaining rpm. Then it became unresponsive when I tried to throttle up to higher rpm. These are the classic symptoms of a final fuel filter that needs to be changed. I switched to the other Raycor filter and this made no difference. Again indicating it was the final fuel filter. A couple of times during the next 3 hours, the engine rpms increased to the level set by the throttle. This bothered me because it seemed in consisted with a clogged final fuel filter and I began to be concerned that it might be indicating a problem with the engine governor -- an expensive fix.
  • Onward was able to maintain ~ 7 kts SOG and at 2100 was at the entrance to Great Salt Pond. The sun had set at 1910 and there was no moon or star light -- not great conditions for entering a narrow inlet. I wasn't too concerned as I had been in and out of this inlet enough times that I knew its layout well and I had waypoints from previous visits. I was a bit concerned that while I saw the fixed red beacon at the end of the breakwater and a green and red buoy in the inlet, I could not see a light on the big bell buoy outside the entrance. I had a waypoint near this and as I always conservatively place waypoints offset from marks, I wan't too concerned about getting too close. Further, I approached this waypoint further offset to the N just to be extra careful. As I approached the radar clearly laid out the inlet and the marks along the channel -- but not the bell buoy -- strange. I used my small spotlight to look for it and didn't see it. As I approached the inlet moving slowly and came abreast of the outer waypoint, I was startled to hear the bell and then my light picked it up about 100' off the starboard beam. A bit disconcerting that I'd gotten that close without detecting it.
  • The passage of the inlet was blissfully uneventful using radar and occasionally the LED light. Once inside I headed off to the NE to anchor where I anchored back in July. This is the first time I anchored using radar. As a quiet night was forecast, I put out 100 of rode in 30' of water and used the chain hook vice the bridle because I didn't want to do gymnastics on the bow in the dark.
  • Once settled, I microwaved some angel hair pasta and had a relaxing dinner before falling blissfully asleep.

6 September 13; Friday; Block Island to Cockles Harbor, Shelter Island
  • The Yanmar mechanic was up at 0530 and by 0615 began work to change the on-engine fuel filter. He did a good job and his technique of putting a plastic sheet under the filter assembly kept what few drops of diesel that dripped from getting on the rest of the engine. It took only about 15 min to do the filter change but it is still not a job I would want to do on a hot engine at sea. When I started the engine it was beautifully responsive to the throttle -- so the filter was definitely the problem. I still don't understand why those periods of revving up occurred. A mystery...
  • Onward weighed anchor and was underway by 0715. Much nicer negotiating the inlet when I could see it. Got out to the red bell buoy and saw that there was no light at all on it. I lucked out and caught a favorable current and motorsailed at > 7 kts to the entrance to Gardiner Bay when the wind shifted and died. I arrived at the entrance to Cockles Harbor just after high tide and found the channel to carry depths > 10' all the way in except for a 9.6 - 9.9' spot just inside the outer green can. I found the Corinthian Mystic Fleet host, Tom Hughes' Oyster 49 Unconditional anchored to the W of the entrance. So I anchored nearby at ~ 1200 and enjoyed a quiet and sunny afternoon.
  • After relaxing for a while, I spent a couple of hours organizing stuff below as it was a mess from my engine service job and the bouncy sail over. Sharon Bell and two women friends entered the harbor at ~1545 and rafted up to Onward. I finished baking some dinner rolls and a pepperoni calzone. Then it was time to clean up the Captain before cutting up the calzone to take to the cocktail party aboard Unconditional. Sharon and friends, Karen and Karen, Ventured over with me to the cocktail party where we had a grand time. Tom proudly took me on a tour of his Oyster and a fine ship it is!
  • The foursome returned to Onward. Sharon had invited me to dinner and we grilled steaks and enjoyed a great evening.

7 September 13; Saturday; Cockles Harbor to Deering Harbor
  • I enjoyed a completely lazy morning aboard that included a tour of Onward by the Karens. About 1100, Silver Lining cast off and Onward weighed anchor. The channel into the harbor has a narrow spot where there is a sharp turn as one negotiates around the sand spits on both sides. As I was approaching the narrowest point and began my turn to port for the straight exit channel, I was startled to see a trimaran under sail coming up to pass me on my port stern quarter. There was an older woman a the tiller and she was yelling for me to give her room! I was astonished. With her in the overtaking vessel Onward a vessel with restricted maneuverability in the shallow and narrow channel, I held my course. She squeezed between Onward and the red buoy to port. As she went by I told her passing was a bad idea at that point. She said: "Well, I'm sailing" and I returned that it was an incredibly stupid thing she had just done. I have respect for her skill in handling the boat but contempt for her judgement. AND this is not a gender thing.
  • The exit drama over, Onward motored into the wind to move to the Shelter Island Yacht Club where I picked up a mooring with the rest of the fleet. After lunch, I took the launch in with the crew of Silver Lining and we then walked to the ferry which we took to Greenport. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and we walked around town and helped the economy. At the first stop, a chandlery, I managed to get scratched on my leg by a wire fish trap as I walked by. Of course that to a lot of blood and a search for a bandaid. Sharon managed to get one from one of the subsequent stores we visited. I found a cheese store and bought a really tasty cheese and later followed it up with a locally produced bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from a wineshop.
  • After the return to Onward, I cleaned up the Captain yet again and rode the launch in to the Corinthian cocktail hour and dinner.

8 September 13; Sunday; Deering Harbor to Manhasset Bay
  • Somehow, I managed to get out of bed at 0500 and had Onward underway by 0545. For the trip E from Deering Harbor to Plum Gut, the current was favorable and the wind light. Once through the Gut and headed W down the Sound, the tide was slack and about to turn in my favor but the wind picked up to ~ 15 kts from the W. This eventually built short, steep, choppy waves with the wind against current -- infamous Sound conditions. The waves increased until Onward began to break through crests and fall into the troughs -- very unpleasant. I turned to port on 240º from the 270º thumb line to Manhasset Bay to stop the pounding. Because Long Island curves in toward the S in this section I was able run several hours on this heading and got through the worst. By the time it was time to go on the other tack, the wind and seas had decreased and the remainder of the trip was comfortable. By 1500 the wind had clocked enough that I was able to motorsail for the balance of the trip.
  • Along the way Ed Burke and I carried on a text conversation. Merlin departed Atlantic Highlands about the same time I departed Shelter Island. They were able to make good use of the W to WNW winds as they headed S to Atlantic City and anchored there about the time I did in Manhasset Bay.
  • I must have had a really good time at the Corinthian dinner last night because while I had felt tolerable at 0500, the rest of the day I felt off with a queazy stomach -- unusual for me. Needles to say had had barely enough energy to con the boat. I had some chicken soup for lunch and having food in my stomach helped -- for a while. I was very happy to get to Manhasset Bay about 1815 and anchor. I made myself a tasty hamburger for dinner and then went to bed.

9 September 13; Monday; Manhasset Bay
  • On arrival last night, I'd sent a text to Mike Yorke telling him Onward was in the harbor so at 0645 I got a text from him inviting me to meet him at MBYC and then go out for breakfast. This has become a bit of a tradition as I head S in the Fall On the way in, Venture got within 100 yes of the pier when the outboard fuel tank ran dry. I had had the good sense to put my emergency 1-gal can of fuel aboard so I transferred the fuel and added oil while Venture drifted about. Mike was there and we headed off for his favorite diner for breakfast and to catch up on things. Maureen is recovering well from a broken bone in her shoulder suffered when her treadmill threw her for a loop just after my visit in June.
  • After breakfast I helped Mike bring Certa Cito in from the mooring to the pier so he could prep it for a sailing trip to Newport and Cuttyhunk. While aboard, he got out his spare Yanmar engine fuel filter so I could photograph the part number. I then managed to find one at the local Brewers marina and Mike kindly drove me over to get a couple This was an important purchase as I would not have moved Onward down the coast without at least one spare aboard.
  • I changed out the Raycor 2-micron filter element and found it coated with slimy stuff. After cleaning up and doing a few more boat chores I Ventured in to MBYC and Mike and I went out for lunch. My stomach was still not normal but the queazy feeling goes away while and after eating. Once back aboard I spent a quiet afternoon of working, reading, napping. Stomach still didn't feel well so it was another dinner of chicken soup.

10 September 13; Tuesday; Manhasset Bay
  • Not good to find two tropical storms in the Atlantic with me still having the New Jersey coast to transit. Weather forecasts still show ~15 kts from SW and 4' seas until Friday after a cold front passes. So my plan now is to ready Onward now, head down the E river on Thursday to Atlantic Highlands and then head out to Atlantic City on Friday. Hopefully the big High over the US will keep the two TS well out to sea a currently predicted.
  • I spent about an hour on the phone with Verizon Wireless getting issues with my service plan and fees corrected. If Verizon network service in Maine had been as good as the person on the phone who helped me, it would have been great.
  • Mike Yorke brought Certa Cito by as he started his cruise E to Newport and Cuttyhunk. I got to say hello to Maureen, the intrepid admiral, sporting the sling for her arm and son Richard who is accompanying them on the cruise.
  • I spent the rest of the day hanging out aboard and catching up.

11 September 13; Wednesday; Manhasset Bay
  • A beautiful day but the temperature began to climb as a warm front came in. I spent the morning catching up and then went into town about noon. I walked to the Post Office to mail Elena the four small rubber duckies I bought her in Greenport. In the process of getting them together to send this morning, I got the idea of shooting a short video story about them to send along. I walked by a toy store and found another, larger rubber duckie that I bought to add to the cast. I decided to name this one JJ Duck the Sailor and take him along with me in my travels to take photos and videos of to send to my grandchildren. As I continued the long walk to the post office, I shot a couple of segments for the video story that began to gel in my head. I sent a couple of clips to Laura to show Elena and Laura called back and we had a good laugh about her crazy dad and his ducks.
  • With the ducks safely on the way by priority mail to LA, I left the post office to find a place for lunch. Both David and Leslie Wollin were working today so we could not get together. I had been having a craving for a good veal parmigiana dinner so I decided to find a place to have one as a late lunch. I stopped at a restaurant / pizzeria that smelled good and talked to one of the cooks about their veal and as a result decided to eat there. It was so hot outside, I was completely soaked in sweat when I got to the restaurant so it was great to sit in the air-conditioning and drink a cold Peroni while I ate the veal parm. Delish. I was not disappointed.
  • I moved Venture from the city pier to the new pier by the shopping center and then walked over to West Marine. It had gotten hotter and I was again soaked by the walk to West. That done I braved the heat to walk to Stop & Shop where I dawdled over a few purchases to cool down. As I walked out the door, a woman looked at me and did a double-take. It was Peggy D'Allesandro whom I had visited at Greenport a couple of years ago. She was visiting her daughter who lived nearby and planned to see Leslie tomorrow. Unfortunately, i was beat from the heat of the day, the long walk, and the early dinner so I wasn't able to follow up on Peggy's invitation to get together later. It was good stumbling on a friend like that but difficult not to be able to follow up on the serendipity.
  • I managed to get back aboard Onward and in a few minutes was stretched out in the cockpit taking a nap and trying to cool down. At least there was a breeze. In spite of the nap, I was beat by the heat and went to bed early without anything else to eat.

12 September 13; Thursday; Manhasset Bay to Atlantic Higlands
  • I was up at 0500 and Onward was underway by 0600 to take advantage of the current on the trip down the East River. Hell Gate was passed at 0800 and I got to watch New York come alive as I passed S. I was anchored at Atlantic Highlands by 1330 and settled in to get Onward ready for the trip down the coast.
  • In the evening two lines of squalls from two passing fronts went by with lots of lightning. There ended up being 12 sailboats and 2 powerboats in the anchorage awaiting good passage weather.

13 September 13; Friday; Atlantic Highlands to Atlantic City
  • I was up at 0430 and had Onward underway by 0515. I reached the N end of the Hook at 0600 and in the pre-dawn light could see the sandbar that encroaches the W side if the entrance just at the SW tip of the hook. This had really scared me a couple of years ago. Now they have a new 11A light buoy to mark it. The wind clocked to the NW as forecast and the swells were long-period of 2-4 feet. Really ideal conditions for a fast motorsail on a broad reach down the coast. It was worth the wait.
  • Along the way, I rigged up an ac power extension so I could use my MacBook in the cockpit. Its battery has reached the end of its life and I can't use it very long without a charge. Worse, it sometimes just dies when bellow 50% charge so I'm loath to use it away from the nav table where it can stay on the charger. Now, with it on its charger, I was able to spend a good deal of the trip learning how to use iMovie. I had used it in its previous version but the newer version is so different I had never went through the effort to learn how to use it. Now I was motivated by the thought of making the videos for Elena and Kian.
  • I checked the weather as I approached Atlantic City at 1500 to see if it was worth pressing on to Cape May today so I could do the Delaware tomorrow. But the forecast called for continued NW winds tomorrow so I decided to make it an easy day today.
  • Once anchored, I relaxed, read, had cocktail hour before baking fresh rolls and then grilling an Onward Burger. Delish. I capped off a nice day with a hot shower before turning in.

14 September 13; Saturday; Atlantic City to Cape May
  • I checked the weather again to see if a transit directly from Atlantic City through the C&D would be possible if I departed early and found the forecasts were holding for the NW winds to continue through tonight. Having done the N trip up the Delaware into a NW wind agains the tide once, it has been checked off my list and moved to the "Do Not Do Again" file. So, I had a leisurely morning and Onward weighed anchor at 0815 and headed out. Once out of the inlet and on course for Cape May, the NW wind built to > 15 kts and I was able to sail under genoa alone. This made for a nice peaceful day.
  • I continued to have fun learning how to use iMovie to make a couple of videos for Eleana.
  • At 1400, I ran into another case where NOAA forgot to give Mother Nature a copy of the printout from the GFS model. The NW winds which had been dying out for the last couple of hours to the point where I was about to start motorsailing, suddenly came back to ~ 20+ kts and backed to the W. To further make a peaceful day have more excitement, as Onward approached the Cape May Inlet, I had been favoring the windward, green side, figuring the wind would set me toward red. However, as I got within 3 boat lengths of the green outer buoy, I realized there was a strange current in the area thaw was sweeping me windward into the buoy. I always run inlets with 1000 rpms of "spare" engine power and now I put this to use to turn and power away from the buoy. Wow! In all the inlets I have transited,, I have never encountered conditions like that sideways sweeping current and, it was under otherwise benign conditions. My guess is that the inward rushing tidal current had a lot of S component in it as it rushed around the longer N rock jetty. Brrr, What a nightmare.
  • There were 8 boats in the anchorage and I managed to find a slot at the W end. The wind died and the night was quiet. I baked a pizza and had an early night.

15 September 13; Sunday; Cape May to Bohemia River
  • Another moving day! The Captain was up at 0500 and had Onward underway at 0600 when there was enough pre-dawn light to see the breakwaters. The wind and the cross-current that had made yesterday's inlet passage "interesting" were both gone -- the sea being like a mill pond due to the center of the High being over the area. I again took the inshore route around Cape May in to the placid waters of Delaware Bay. Unfortunately, the ebb current was in force and this knocked > 1 knot off SOG. But a placid slow passage up the Delaware is a good one vice in the teeth of 15 kts on the nose.
  • I spent some time thinking about all the friends and family I want to see in Baltimore and starting to contact them. In the past, I've been so focused on other issues like preparation for the coming winer cruise that I haven't worked on social activities early enough. This year I will miss having a visit from Laura, Kurlen and Elena who have spent time abroad in Baltimore visiting me and friends the last several years.
  • Onward anchored just before sunset off of Ford Point which is as beautiful as ever. It was a quiet night which was just what I needed after a long dash S from Maine.

16 September 13; Monday; Bohemia R to Baltimore
  • I departed the Bohemia at a leisurely 0700 and headed to Baltimore where my "regular" slip at the Anchorage Marina awaited me. Each year they seem to put me in C11 and I began kidding Amy the office manager that I was now going to put a name plate on it.
  • Onward pulled into the slip at about 1300 -- not pretty. There was a 10 to 15 kt gusting crosswind from the port side and I was so focused on it, I overcompensated and when the expected gusts on the port side didn't materialize, Onward's alignment was, let's say, "less than optimum" -- like my flight instructor said after my first attempt to land a Cessna 150: "Son, that wasn't a landing; that was an arrival."
  • Well it was good to be in Baltimore and I realized how much I've come to enjoy these visits each Fall. The only sad part is that this is the first time since I've started the cruising life that I won't be visiting or be visited by Laura and family. A bit of an empty spot in my heart. Hopefully Joseph will be able to visit when he comes back to MD to attend a buddy's wedding in a couple of weeks.
  • I enjoyed my favorite sirloin steak at Outback for dinner-- also one of the traditions.

17 September 13; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • One of the most important goals I have set for the beginning of sojourn here is to upgrade all my computer electronics: cellular modem and laptop. I have been using a Verizon Novatel MiFi 2200 3G cellular modem since May 2009. It has worked great. However, this year as I went up the East Coast, its performance seemed to be off. Hard to qualify but just not as good as I recalled. I had put off switching to a newer cellular modem that operates on the 4G LTE network because the latter was still being built out by Verizon and there were a lot of holes along my travels. Well, this Spring, that network got built out and in talking to a Verizon techie I learned that as towers added 4G LTE, they devoted less resources to the 3G network. So the first order of business was to upgrade my cellular modem.
  • It was a beautiful morning so I decided to walk toward the Inner Harbor East and go to the Verizon Wireless store there. The young woman who helped me was knowledgeable and great help. I became the first person at that store to switch over to a new Verizon 4G LTE MHS291L cellular modem by Pantech.
  • New modem in hand, I walked over to Enterprise and picked up my rental car. They were out of the size range I'd reserved so I got upgraded to a new Taurus with all the bells and whistles - a very nice car. I then headed N up 83 to Towson to keep an appointment at the Apple Store. There I had them run diagnostics on my laptop which was found to be doing fine except for the battery. This had reached the end of its lifecycle and would no long hold a charge. Worse, it turned out, it had swelled to the point where it was pressing up on the track pad so that the latter would not work and click properly. So, a new battery fixed both problems. I also got to chat with the Wizard about how to upgrade memory and hard drive on this MacBook so I could put off buying a new one until next Spring.
  • While in Towson, I gave sister-in-law Joan a call and arranged to meet for dinner. We met and went to a local Sushi / Thai restaurant before heading over to Magooby's Comic Club housed in the old John Deere building. We had an enjoyable evening of catching up with each other as well as enjoying the series of 7 standup comics. Great fun.

18 September 13; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • I installed the new cellular modem and it worked perfectly. As it operates in a different frequency band than 3G, it does seem to give stronger service here in the marina in spited of the surrounding buildings and powerboats.
  • One of the electronic toys I ordered today arrived from Amazon. I decided to buy two miniature auto backup cameras, a wireless transmitter and receiver set, and a small backup display. The profusion of cars with backup cameras and displays has caused the price of these units to plummet. The backup cameras offer a waterproof unit with a wide (170º) field of view -- expensive to find in other waterproof video cameras. I bought these to play around with. I want to investigate using one camera as a rear-view mirror for Onward to help me avoid being overtaken and surprised by a fast-moving vessel from astern. I plan to try out the camera and transmitter on the foredeck to be able to see the trim of the genoa and mainsail. Years ago I bough a waterproof miniature camera for this job but its field of view was too narrow for me to find a good mounting spot. Jim Wholleber put a video camera at the top of Beckoning's mast but that required the mast to be unstepped and new cables run -- something I definitely don't want to do. So I've now got some new potential alternatives to play with. A boy and his toys...
  • This afternoon, I worked on one of my albatrosses. When I installed the new all electric head in the rear head compartment, I was reluctant to cut back the exposed length of was hose in case I didn't like the way the new head worked and wanted to move back to the manual head. Well, I don't want to move back to a manual head. However the extra length of hose had resulted in a sub-optimum connection between the waste out port of the new head and the waste line. The flexible connector hose was getting a bit pinched due to the poor lead angle. As a result, the electric macerator pump used for flush would sometimes become too exuberant and fling the flush water at the end of the cycle about. The head is well designed to capture this but I still didn't like it happening. So today I took about an hour to cut the hose and reattach the waste connection line so there are no kinks. It worked well. This is another place where I used the 18V portable cutoff saw -- fast becoming my favorite tool.

19 September 13; Thursday; Baltimore
  • The first order of the day was to install new memory in my MacBook. Last year, I bought a kit to upgrade from 2 to 8 GB of memory but had never installed it while in the Bahamas because I was concerned that if I screwed it up I had nowhere to go to get it fixed. After talking the process over with the Apple Store Wizard yesterday, I made the swap and it was so embarrassingly easy that I felt a bit dumb for not taking the chance earlier.
  • Based on my visit to the Apple Store, I ordered a new hard drive with 320 GB to replace the existing 160 GB drive on my MacBook. Amazon Prime is great because it arrived today. Before installing it, I decided to upgrade the operating system to OSX Mountain Lion. To do that I had to switch to the marina's wifi which is slower than the new 4G LTE cellular modem but avoids pushing my data usage over the monthly limit. It took a long time but I got it downloaded.
  • Performance on my MacBook had really fallen off over the last year or so. I think this was do to 2 GB being a really minimal amount of memory for today's less-efficient software combined for my proclivity to have several different major software packages running at the same time. Also the laptop's hard drive has much less than the 20 GB of free space they recommend to allow for facile memory swapping to go on. So I decided to try memory and hard drive fixes before I invest > $1000 on a new laptop with increased memory and storage.

20 September 13; Friday; Baltimore
  • Oh the delight of fasting before having blood test samples taken. That chore done I stopped at the new Panera on Boston Street -- but somehow it didn't seem right because my sister and brother-in-law weren't there. I guess I have been well trained by them on my RI visits.
  • Before heading off to get the samples taken, I managed to install the new Mountain Lion version of OSX on my new 320 GB hard drive. I set up this up in the 2.5" SATA hard drive enclosure and plugged it in to the USB port. It worked well. After returning from breakfast, I then used the OSX migration assistant to move all my files off the old hard drive and onto the new one. Once that was done and I could restart the MacBook and have it boot from the new hard disc with the new version of OSX, I felt it was almost safe enough to pat myself on the back -- but I decided to wait. I then powered down the MacBook, removed the battery and then swapped hard drives: moving the new 320 GB drive to become the laptop's hard drive and taking the old hard drive and installing it in the USB enclosure. That done, I restarted the computer and hola! it all worked. It was now safe to pat myself on the back.
  • With a new battery, upgrade in memory from 2 GB to 8 GB, upgrade in hard drive from 160 GB to 320 GB, and upgrade of OSX from Lion to Mountain Lion -- I have essentially a new computer for < $150. Neat. What makes it all more amazing is that I can remember back to 1973 when I then had one of the worlds most powerful laboratory computers in the lab that I was adapting to run experiments. It had an amazing 16 KB of core memory and a wowing 256 KB hard drive -- yes, I mean KB. All this in the volume of what about a1000 of my current MacBooks would occupy. Amazing what that Moore's Law has done.
  • I met my friend Arman for lunch and got to catch up. I first met Arman, a psychiatrist, when he lived across the street from Laura and Kurlen near Patterson Park and had been Kurlen's colleague at Hopkins Hospital. I have met a number of great people through my children and have been fortunate to have them become my friends as well. One of the joys of life.

21 September 13; Saturday; Baltimore

22 September 13; Sunday; Baltimore

23 September 13; Monday; Baltimore

24 September 13; Tuesday; Baltimore

25 September 13; Wednesday; Baltimore

26 September 13; Thursday; Baltimore

27 September 13; Friday; Baltimore

28 September 13; Saturday; Baltimore
  • I spent the morning prepping for my guests. Since Joseph, the former "Outback Steakhouse Steakman", has become a vegetarian, shopping for lunch was a bit of a challenge. Joseph and Erin arrived about 1100. We decided to do a cruise around the harbor while we had lunch. It was a beautiful day as we slowly glided around the Inner Harbor. Erin diid well at her first exposure as Onward's helmsperson. However we soon turned operation over to Auto while Joe gave Erin a waterfront tour of Baltimore. I continue to be struck by how beautiful a city Baltimore has become. And, I remember back to the early days when the Inner Harbor revitalization was just getting underway guided by William Donald Shafer the Mayor back in the early 70's. Wow, where did the time go?

29 September 13; Sunday; Baltimore

30 September 13; Monday; Baltimore
  • Joseph & Erin
  • Dinner w family