Onward’s Cruise Journal 2012
Cruise from the Chesapeake South on the Atlantic ICW

Note to readers: The Captain has been extremely busy (and a bit tired) so he hasn't kept up with this Journal. Now, with a bit of rest, he's promised to bring it up to date!

Updated: 9 Nov 12

October 2012

1 Oct 12; Monday; Baltimore

  • Had my annual physical checkup with "Saint Debbie" my primary care provider whose caution last September resulted in the angiography and stent insertion. All is well. Don't tell my son but she wants me to exercise more. And, she cottoned to me sneaking up to high-test coffee so I'll have to cut back.
  • I picked up Jim Wohlleber at BWI and went off to Davis Pub for lunch then delivered him home. I got back to do a bit on my triage process.

2 Oct 12; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • It was such a cold and rainy morning that after being up working for awhile, I decided a nice warm bed was what I needed. I really enjoyed the early morning nap. By late morning I was up and at it and spent the day chewing through my triage of stuff. I found it getting easier to throw things away.

3 Oct 12; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • I went back to my cardiologist to have a sonogram of my carotid arteries done just to have a baseline. All was well.
  • I then drove up to APG to visit and see all the new BRAC construction. I hadn't been back there since I retired. I was astounded to see the magnitude of research offices and labs that have been built. Wow. I met John Miller and got a tour of ARL's new supercomputer facility that is being created from one of the lab buildings where I once had an office. The building had once housed the first supersonic wind tunnel in the US. The tunnel had become obsolete as computational aerodynamics made possible by the advent of supercomputers took over the job. So it was neat to see the building now becoming home to one of the world's largest supercomputing centers.

4 Oct 12; Thursday; Baltimore
  • I spent a long day on the final push to get Onward ready for my daughter and family.
  • Elena arrived about 2130 with mom & dad. I was amazed at the verbal development that occurred since I spent time with her in LA in May. Along the way from BWI they stopped to get crab cakes from G&M so we had a wonderful and tasty reunion. Some how I got Onward put back together and cleaned up so that it looked really good for their arrival. Whew!

5 Oct 12; Friday; Baltimore
  • Having exhausted myself in preparing for my guests yesterday, I gave myself the luxury of a lazy morning. It was wonderful to see how much granddaughter Elena has increased in her verbal skills. I can now have conversations with her -- neat.
  • Around 1400 Kurlen and I set off for Baltimore Galvanizing to retrieve anchor and chain. The rode looked wonderful now that it had been acid cleaned and hot-dipped galvanized. The cost to treat almost 800 lbs. of anchor and chain was $250. So then came the fun: loading from the pallet to the car trunk, from the car trunk to a dock cart, from the card to the pier where it could be marked and checked before the final movement from pier to anchor locker. Let's see that is 4 X 800 lbs - 3200 lbs of lifting with arms and upper body.
  • With the beautiful looking anchor and chain aboard, I showered and then headed off on a walk to Jack's Bistro - a local favorite of my visiting family. Elena is an amazing 2 1/2 year old as she conducts herself at a restaurant table as a little adult. She has an amazingly broad palate and knows what she likes but will readily try new things. We were joined by Armand for dinner. I drowned my sore muscles with a liberal sampling of the interesting beers they had on tap. It was a delightful evening in the companionship, good food and drink, and the beautiful "soft" evening to walk to and from the bistro. Neat.

6 Oct 12; Saturday; Baltimore
  • I was up early baking calzones for the C470 Owners party tonight. That done I headed off to Annapolis to first drop off the calzone at Bob & Pam's then walked over to the boat show. It is interesting that in the last several years I've been cruising I have lost all interest in going aboard new boats at the show -- I guess I have what I need in Onward and don't want to complicate my life. So I use the visits at the show to concentrate on the vendors' exhibits. One of the purposes of the show is so that boaters can buy all those things they didn't know that they needed before seeing them. Another prime purpose is for me to talk to the vendors about various pieces of equipment that I have aboard for technical information.
  • One of the best parts of a visit to the show is going to the Fleet Reserve Club for one of their amazing pit beef sandwiches to be helped down with a cool draft. Delish!
  • I stopped to chat with the NOAA rep and talked about the challenges of getting charts updated. I showed him the infamous shoal at Long Point Shoal at the entrance to the Alligator River from Albemarle Sound. Several years ago the channel was dredged and straightened and the marks moved however the NOAA charts still show the wrong data and if the indicated centerline is followed you will go aground! He gave me a contact and asked me to write a report of the problem.
  • Boat show business done, I stopped by the marina where a number of C470s were berthed for the show. I got to exchange alternator trauma stories with Don Andrew.
  • I headed over to Bob & Pam's to give them a hand in prepping for the C470 party. Then it was party time with enough food and drink for twice as many people. A good time was had by all.

7 Oct 12; Sunday; Baltimore
  • Our plan had been to depart the marina early this morning to sail to St. Michaels for a few days. Laura and sibs had always found our stays there each summer as part of our annual cruise around the Bay. She wanted Elena to experience it. However, a nasty wet cold front came through and dropped the temperature and rain so we decided to stay home. After a leisurely breakfast, my guests headed off to a friends home.
  • Carolyn and Andrew Fowlie, cruising buddies from my first season in the Bahamas came by and spent the afternoon with me. They have recently bought a home in Danvers MA and are no longer living aboard Pendragon. But they are making plans to go back out cruising full time in a few years. We had a grand time catching up. They have decided to take me up on an invitation and come to the Bahamas for a visit on Carolyn's school break in February. As several friends have expressed interest in visiting this year, I have created a new web page for their planning.
  • When my family returned we decided not to go out in the cold for dinner. I baked a couple of loafs of rosemary - olive oil bread and made some angel hair pasta with olive oil and shrimp. Delish.
  • Kurlen was disappointed to find out that the guitar I'd bought from Skip was back with Skip. So, he took advantage of this to buy himself a new Baby Taylor guitar made from mahogany. We had a nice evening enjoying music.

8 Oct 12; Monday;
  • Another cold wet morning. We scrubbed the idea of sailing to St. Michaels. To warm the boat and us up I baked some Scottish oat scones. Delish.
  • We headed off to St. Michaels for the afternoon. It was still overcast and cloudy when we arrived and we found the harbor and the marinas essentially empty! Very sad for the businesses. We had lunch at the Crab Claw and then took Elena to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum where we headed right for the lighthouse. This was the favorite place for Laura and sibs to hang out on our annual cruises. It was too cold for us to enjoy expiring more of the museum before we headed back. I'm glad we gave up on the idea of sailing there given the cold.

9 Oct 12; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • I ordered the missing connecting cable for my new anchor chain counter. It turns out Maxwell's US distribution point was right here in Baltimore so I would have it before the weekend. We then took a walk to Fells Point for lunch and some shopping. Elena who loves owls now has a neat sweater that makes her look like an owl when she dons it. While Elena was Shopping with mom & dad, I went to the toy store next-door and found a really neat set of plastic geometric shapes for building that have magnets along the sides and in the corners so they can be connected together to build things. When we got home and let Elena have a go, it proved to be a great toy -- easy to take home too.
  • After a short nap, I got on the stick and got the new 85-W solar panel mounted on the rack.

10 Oct 12; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • I had to chase my guests off the boat by 0830 as the diesel mechanic showed up to do major maintenance given the 4700 hours on the engine. He disassembled and cleaned the air intake, filter, and turbo housing for cleaning and he cleaned the turbo in situ. Given the engine's performance he recommended leaving the turbo itself alone -- not messing with something that is working well. He also disassembled the injectors and took them away to be checked, cleaned and replaced if needed. The old coolant was removed and then heat exchanger was removed and taken away for cleaning. In the process we found one small hose on the fresh water side that had just split -- I probably wouldn't have made it to St. Michaels if I had tried! All of the fresh water side cooling hoses and clamps will be replaced. I asked him to us the solid band "Italian" clamps when he replaces them. When it came time to adjust the valve clearances to the prescribed 0.008", we found only two valves needed to be adjusted! Good. It was a busy 3 to 3.5 hrs and I learned a lot as I watched. Hopefully all the clean parts will be back with the refurbished injectors early next week so I can get underway on the 18th.
  • After cleaning up I joined my guests for a short walk to Laura's friend Lauren's home where we enjoyed a nice dinner with her and husband Mark who is also a JHU med school grad.

11 Oct 12; Thursday; Baltimore
  • I was off to Annapolis for my annual eye exam. All was well but we are experimenting tweaking my contacts a bit. We'll see how that goes. I did some shopping on the way home at Sams Club. On return I used my new vacuum bagger to repackage the breaded uncooked chicken cutlets I like so much into 3 smaller packages for better preservation in the freezer.
  • After lunch and a nap, KB Divers showed up. Ken had two young women assisting him and they quickly cleaned the bottom and the waterline. Two new zincs were also installed. It looks like I'll be needing a new bottom by the time I get back from the Bahamas in the spring. They did a nice job at the waterline too. This just shows to me how much I got taken by the diver in Camden Maine who charged more for a poor job.
  • I actually got energetic enough in the afternoon to use my new 18-V Li-ion cordless drill to install the cross brace on the solar panel array.
  • At 1800 Harriet and Skip Hardy showed up with Skip bearing the guitar that is sporting a new string and Harriet hauling a big bag which turned out to be a set of beautiful throw pillows she made for Onward. Before she handed them over, I had to promise that I'd ditch the old ones!
  • Laura was visiting some of her friends from high school and college days so Kurlen and Elena joined us for a walk toward Fells Point and dinner at the Red Star where Elena again charmed the whole restaurant.

12 Oct 12; Friday; Baltimore
  • Elena took mom & grandpa for a walk to the Inner Harbor East where we had breakfast and did some shopping. Dad was over at JHU Hospital getting a tour of the new children's hospital. On return I found the connecting cable for my new Maxwell chain counter had arrived. Unfortunately it seems that of all the things I've ordered by mail / shipment, only my Florida absentee ballot has gone walkabout. Go figure…
  • While the family napped, I installed a wider cross brace on the solar panels to accommodate the new panel.

13 Oct 12; Saturday; Baltimore
  • I took advantage of sleeping guests to device the windlass: cleaning and coating the friction clutches with anti-seizing grease. I then installed the sensor for the rode counter. This is a micro switch that senses the passage of a very strong magnet on the capstan on each rotation. The new 18-V Li-ion cordless drill has proven to be a great purchase already.
  • We started the morning with a very important event: Grandpa and Elena went off to do a duck feeding. We found a big group at the E end of the marina and Elena delighted in tossing them bread. Her laughs were infectious. By the time we were done, Mom & dad had gotten cleaned up so we could be off to Mt Vernon for a photo op. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and we enjoyed walking about and capturing photos of Elena with the sculptures and fountains.
  • After a nice lunch at the Owl Bar - a place Elena loved because of all the owls standing about -- we headed off to Towson to visit a couple of friends of Laura and Kurlen. Then it was off to visit sister-in-law Sara's home for a family dinner. Elena basked in the delight of her great aunts and uncles and cousins. Good fellowship and wonderful food made it a fantastic day and a great way to wrap up Elena's 2012 visit to Baltimore.

14 Oct 12; Sunday; Baltimore
  • Another duck feeding expedition was successfully executed by Elena and Grandpa. Then it was off to brunch at the Waterfront Cafe. One of the neatest things about this venue is that it part of the Benjamin Banneker Museum on the waterfront and incorporates a very unique (due to rounded corners) old warehouse that we always saw on our annual sailing visits to Baltimore. Brunch over, we headed to see niece Kristen's new home up near the Natty Boh building -- a really neat home with a breathtaking view of the harbor from its rooftop deck.
  • Naps in the sunny cockpit ensued. These got us ready for a sushi dinner before returning home to Onward to pack.

15 Oct 12; Monday; Baltimore
  • A sad day. Elena announced yesterday that she needed to go home to LA to see the new park at the end of her street. So last night her mom & dad got all packed up for an 0630 departure. Grandpa is a bit down :(

16 Oct 12; Tuesday; Baltimore

17 Oct 12; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • Today was diesel reassembly day. With the companionway stairs open so the mechanic could work, I didn't get much done on the projects I had going on deck. I learned a lot about servicing the engine. The parts and service manuals I bought for the engine came in handy when even the mechanic had a challenge figuring just how things went back together. In one area, it became near impossible to be start a screw in its hole in the turbine housing because it was so hard to reach. I then remembered a tool I had made to enable me to hold screws in hard to reach places. I got this out of my tool kit and it worked like a charm.
  • By 1700 the engine was mostly back together with all new fresh water and fuel hoses and band hose clamps. We opened the raw water intake through hull valve and heard water trickling. It turns out the cover of the raw water impeller that I'd put on was the culprit. There was nothing for it but to take it off and try to reinstall it. I'd bought hex socket 10-32 x 1/2" stainless screws to replace the hard to tighten / untighten thumb screws on the Quick Seal cover. Then came a frustrating 20 mins as I could not get the lid and new screws on while the two mechanics watched. Finally Will gave it a go and found out I'd been trying to put the cover on 90º off from the proper way. When done right there was no leak and it now has hex-socket cap screws. While checking the cover, I then discovered that the alternator had been fastened to the tension arm on the wrong side of the arm. So Will fixed that and we laughed about canceling out "my bads".
  • With the raw water system in tact, we started the engine and it purred. We ran it long enough and under load (pulling on the pier) to be sure the cooling water system was operating fine. That done, the mechanics left and I cleaned myself up and crashed.

18 Oct 12; Thursday; Baltimore
  • Today I had to complete all the projects that didn't get done while Elena was visiting. The day started off with four more loads of laundry. Of course, while bring the last load -- my comforter back down the pier I managed to let a corner fall out of my hands on the wet pier so I had another scrubbing job to do on it once aboard.
  • I completed the wiring in of the 3rd solar panel. I again used the screw holing tool I developed -- after loosing two of the screws for the terminal strip overboard. Luckliy the new Ace Hardware near the Safeway has a great selection of metric screws and nuts.
  • I made a number of shopping runs for beverages, etc. I also picked up the replacement microswitch I ordered from Grainger and soldered it in. Then the new rubber switch covers were put on and the electric winch control switches were as good as new.
  • My grand plans for getting everything stowed didn't come to fruition as an early sleep intervened.

19 Oct 12; Friday; Baltimore to Annapolis
  • I returned the rental car and did last minute food shopping. I also washed down the deck which always picks up a lot of grime when anchored in Baltimore. Onward was underway for Annapolis before 1300. The newly serviced engine ran smoothly. There was little wind and I was too exhausted to sail anyway. I anchored in Annapolis harbor and took time to work over the first 100' of chain to break apart any of the links that had gotten stuck together in the hot-dip galvanize process. That done, I simply crashed.
  • Bob Jones called and invited me over to EGYC for a burger but I didn't have the energy. I crawled into my still only partially made bed and slept the sleep of the exhausted if not the just. No organizing boat stuff tonight.

20 Oct 12; Saturday; Annapolis to St. Michaels
  • I gave myself a leisurely morning and got underway by 1030. I got some stowing of stuff done but there was a lot more to do. I spent more time on the foredeck freeing stuck links on the next 30+ feet of chain. Then I motored over to Bloody Point to start the Corinthians race up Eastern Bay. I was a bit too relaxed in my trip over so Onward was about 7 min late on its start. The wind was light from the NNW at about 10 kts so moving was "gentle" to say the least. I did manage to pass one other boat, a Catalina 38. Then the winds clocked while Onward was just short of rounding Tilghman Point making it impossible to complete the race in the allotted time.
  • I motored the rest of the way to the Miles River Yacht Club where I had asked for a slip. The one they wanted me to go into was short and narrow. I felt I could get Onward into it but when I did, the bow would stick out int the fairway so far that no other boat would be able to enter or exit the basin. So I backed out and anchored in the harbor. The chain ran smoothly now it had gotten a bit of use and the links worked against each other for awhile.
  • The Fall Out Before Haul Out dinner was great. I got to see a number of Corinthians I have come to know over the last few years. I sat with Don and Mary Kay and we got to discuss our plans for heading down the ICW in the morning. A great time!

21 Oct 12; Sunday; St. Michaels to Solomons
  • Beckoning had planned to leave their marina on Kent Island at 0500 because they needed the high tide. So I made plans to depart the MRYC at 0600 to meet them S of Bloody Point. The action of the newly galvanized chain doing its t thing in the water for the last two nights made the chain move fluidly. So Onward was underway in the dark at 0550. It was so nice to have good visibility through the docker windows in the dark!
  • It had been calm and quiet during the night but the wind picked up about 0400 so about Onward was greeted with 20 kts apparent on the nose once in the Miles River. By 0640 there was enough pre-dawn light to see the water clearly. What was forecast to be a cloudy day dawned as a beautifully clear one. Once Onward rounded Tilghman Point, I saw Beckoning on the AIS north of the Bay Bridge. I launched the genoa and sailed SW on Eastern Bay. It was very pleasant to be under pure sail again and I felt myself really relaxing.
  • Beckoning motorsailed up to join Onward and we sailed S on our genoas until late morning when the brisk NW wind became a gentle breeze. We motorsailed on to Solomons. Once there I put in to Spring Cove Marina to pick up diesel fuel. Topping up the tanks took 110 gal. Not for the trip from East Greenwich to Nantucket and then down the coast to Baltimore, Annapolis, St. Michaels, and Solomons.
  • The Baras (C470-159) Paula and Hugh, invited us to anchor in Mill Creek near their slip and then join them for dinner at their home. So at 1630 after a reviving shower, I Ventured over to pick up Don and Mary-Kay and we headed over to the dinghy dock. We were greeted by Paula and taken to their beautiful townhouse that looks over one of the side creeks on what had been the WW II naval amphibious training base's firing range.

22 Oct 12; Monday; Solomons to Norfolk
  • Onward and Beckoning were underway at 0700. Wow. Leaving in the pre-dawn light was so much easier with dodger windows that are clear! As we headed toward the mouth of the Pawtuxent River, we were treated to a beautiful sunrise over the point. A perfect clear sunny day followed with winds from the W that made for a nice motorsail south. It was easy to hit 7 - 8 kts SOG. When I punched up my route to Norfolk it was apparent that we might be able to make it by just after sunset. So we made that a goal with a backup in case we hit adverse currents.
  • I took one of the last opportunities for the next month of being able to let the autopilot handle the boat in safe, low-traffic water conditions. I finally got all my clothes put away from the last laundry job on Thursday and got my bed fully made. Then I reinventoried and restocked the dry food locker. By this time it was noon and I awarded myself time off for lunch.
  • Conditions in the afternoon continued to look good for the direct transit to Norfolk. I amused myself by playing with my new digital oscilloscope -- a really neat tool but a bit complex to learn to operate.
  • By the time we were at Wolftrap Light, we made the decision to press on to Norfolk and we increased rpms a bit to help. Sunset occurred just as we got to Fort Monroe. As Onward approached the tunnel, I checked the channel visually and on AIS and it was clear so I decided to cross immediately to the E side. I told Beckoning who decided to follow. Then, I look at AIS and found that a large container ship was doing > 15 kts toward us. It had apparently been hidden in a clutter of AIS signals in the harbor and visually hidden behind the curve in the channel at the S end of the naval base. I adjusted course to get out of the channel well before it got near -- but this was still too close for my comfort. It was moving so fast it threw up a wake larger than I've experienced from any other ship passing. My standard practice is to always allow a ship to pass before I attempt to cross a channel -- this incident proves that to be a good rule.
  • The last glimmer of daylight was gone by the time we approached the southern entrance channel to Willoughby Bay. On the trip south I'd done some research on possible anchorages just inside the Norfolk harbor tunnel. I called the local marina and the young woman who talked to me was very helpful. She suggested using the better marked and maintained south entrance channel and said we would have sufficient depth once inside the bar. I put waypoints at the ends of the entrance channel which has paired R & G day beacons where the R are lit. Even with this it was a bit of a challenge as the lights of the naval base complicated the visual picture. However, by navigating by the chart plotter and using the marks as visual checks Onward slowly entered the bay with depths in the channel > 10'. Once inside we headed out of the channel and Onward anchored. Beckoning came alongside to raft for what promised to be a very calm evening.
  • Bob and Pam put Silhouette into Tidewater Marina earlier in the day. We made plans to meet up for the start of the ICW in the morning.
  • Mary Kay spent a productive day making lentil soup, coleslaw, and fresh baked roles. We started the arrival celebration with some Prosecco and then enjoyed a wonderful hot meal. Delish. Mary Kay is an avid bread baker and after tasting her dinner rolls, I'm envious. Dinner done and a bit of planning for tomorrow done, I returned to Onward and crashed.

23 Oct 12; Tuesday; Norfolk to North River
  • Onward and Beckoning were underway at 0700. Departure through the Willoughby Bay S entrance channel was completely unchallenging in the pre-dawn light. We talked to the Silhouettes and made plans for a rendezvous off Tidewater Marina.
  • We met up with Silhouette and thus formed the "Great White Fleet" at about 0815. We set off for the Gilmerton Bridge to make its 0930 opening. All was going well until we got to the NS RR bridge which closed right in front of us to let a very long and very slow unit train of coal cross with several stops on the bridge. Luckily we had some slack time and there were enough boats piled up at the bridge that we had no trouble making the opening. Everything went smoothly at the lock and the GWF was able to berth along the rubber W wall for the lift.
  • The gaggle from the lock at the next bridge delayed our start for the run to the Centerville Turnpike Bridge which is a long haul to make in 30 min. I've made it in the past when I'd gotten a fast start and the faster movers didn't move too fast so the bridge opening got delayed a few minutes. But today, a 70' power cat had to show how fast he was and ran well ahead to the bridge so we got there a few min too late and had to hang around for awhile.

24 Oct 12; Wednesday; North River to Slade Creek
  • The GWF weighed anchor at 0645 in the pre-dawn light and headed toward Albemarle Sound. A W wind of ~ 10 kts enabled motorsailing. The passages of the entrance bar to the Albemarle and that across Long Point Shoal at the entrance to the Alligator River were trouble free. I saw a minimum of 9.5' at G5. The bridge tender was courteous and efficient as always and I now tell him he should go S to train some of his brethren in SC and GA.
  • Harriet Hardy called to say they were at River Dunes and to tell me to look at Chris Parker's most recent forecast regarding TS Sandy. In the last 24 hrs, the forecasts are for it to come closer to the coast with TS level winds predicted for the coast. Based on her call, I quickly made reservations for the GWF at River Dunes. Our ETA looked to be at 1900 at the earliest -- if all went well. Well, it didn't and in the late afternoon after departing the Alligator River - Pungo River Canal, it was apparent that we would be too exhausted to safely make the final stage of the transit to River Dunes.
  • One stressful thing for me was that at the infamous Wilkerson Bridge where I was moving very slowly and staring at the masthead to be sure that I missed the *&^%$ light hanging down from the center of the span and to see how close the electronics at the top of the mast came to the structure. Having cleared the bridge without damage to the masthead, I looked down and found the wind had blown me into the bridge fenders on the starboard side. It was a light touch that was mostly absorbed by the fenders I carry over the side at the stern lifelines with no damage but it was unnerving.
  • We put into Slade Creek where I had anchored on previous passages. There were three sailboats already at anchor but there was plenty of room for us. After anchoring and getting the boat settled, I set out to get rid of the boat goat. That was accomplished with a refreshing shower. As I sat in the cockpit drying off, the Beckonings called to say they would fetch me in their dinghy and head over to Silhouette for cocktail hour. A grand time ensued. We eventually returned to our vessels very relaxed. A peacefully calm night followed.

25 Oct 12; Thursday; Slade Creek to River Dunes
  • The Great White Fleet weighed anchor at 0645 and headed off to River Dunes. There was extensive ground fog hanging in the pine forests and billowing out onto the water. A eerily beautiful sight that was followed with a spectacular sunrise. This was an example of the vast reservoir of physical beauty that the cruising lifestyle spreads before one.
  • The trip to River Dunes was uneventful until Onward was in the entrance channel for the marina where a shoal near the first red buoy made itself apparent. I easily backed off and probed around until I found the deep water was well over on the green side. As Onward was being made fast in its slip, Skip Hardy walked over and gave me a hand. He and Harriet had come in on Tuesday for a couple of days and then with the rising threat of Hurricane Sandy, they decided to stay. In a short time all three C470s were nestled in their slips and we all breathed a sigh of relief. It was a picture perfect sunny day to boot to make it better. The marina planed a number of dinners and entertainment nights to help the storm fugitives keep themselves busy. The marina promises to be full as more boats look for a place to hide over the Friday to Monday period.
  • At dinner time, we all went up to the Club House for their family style buffet dinner. We got to make acquaintance with a number of other boaters who are hunkering down with us.

26 Oct 12; Friday;
  • In the morning I decided to spin Onward around so the bow would be oriented toward the N into the expected wind field. I also added a number of additional dock lines. Beckoning and Silhouette did the same. When I got the shore power connected, I found that the inverter/charger that had started acting fluky in the invert mode over the last few days would not now work in either the charge mode or the invert mode. Ah well, yet another challenge…
  • After spending the morning preparing for the coming storm, we took the courtesy car into Oriental to visit the West Marine and the grocery next-door. While the others finished up shopping I walked across the street and put in order for pizzas at the Silos - a restaurant build from two large metal farm silos. The pizzas were great.
  • On return to the marina, I decided a nap was in order and climbed into bed. Tom from Polar Pacer came over for a visit and we chatted for a while before I went on to continue my nap. I stirred myself enough to shower and go ashore with the others to the Club House were we had a delicious dinner. They really do things well here. The night was fairly warm with the moon showing through scudding clouds.

27 Oct 12; Saturday; River Dunes
  • The morning revealed an overcast sky with the promise of rain on the way. I took the opportunity of daylight and the dry spell to clean the hatch seals for all the deck hatches and side opening ports. I clean the acrylic to make sure there is no grit to get onto the gasket and I clean and treat the rubber gasket with ArmorAll. I then put chaffing gear on all the lines. I also put in the 5 stern panels of the enclosure to completely close up the cockpit.
  • At 1000 Don and Mary Kay had the courtesy car for another 2-hr slot and we headed off to Oriental with Bob and Pam to take a tour. We found that the street by the dragon pond next to the coffee house was already flooded. We stopped for coffee and then went into the art gallery next door. It is a cooperative gallery and has a very nice selection of pottery, sculpture, carvings, and paintings. I saw a neat small watercolor there and I decided that it would be the start of an art collection for my granddaughter Elena. Now, all I have to do is get it shipped.
  • The rain picked up while we were in town. Once back aboard, I worked on my laptop long enough to get chilled from the cold deck under the nab station desk. I remedied this by wrapping myself up in a blanket and having a long nap. It was long enough that I was awakened by Don & Mary Kay telling me to get ready for our 1930 buffet dinner at the clubhouse. The others had bailed out due to the rain and wind but we hardy (foolhardy??) few pressed on and were rewarded by a delightful buffet dinner which included alligator chili -- delish. Once back aboard, I found my long nap had upset my sleep schedule so I was up late reading. It was perhaps appropriate that I was reading a history of the Patapsco River in Baltimore with it recurring tales of how the mills along the river were periodically wiped out by huge floods cased by storms like Sandy.

28 Oct 12; Sunday; River Dunes
  • The morning dawned with rain and winds 19 to 37 kts as Sandy makes a slow arc around us heading for the coast near Atlantic City. As the boat closest to the T-head on the W side of the dock, Onward gets a bit more of the wind on the port bow as there is no other boat out there to screen her.
  • I worked on the inverter/charger and found that the large 12-V power switch that can isolate it from the 12-V power system had failed in the open mode so no 12-V power could get in or out of it. I temporarily took the switch out of the system until I can get a replacement. The charger started working normally. Nice.
  • With that major accomplishment out of the way, I went out and added 3 additional dock lines to the port / windward side of the boat. This noticeably cut down the amount of motion when big gusts came through.
  • I worked on updating this journal and then found that I could not upload it to the server when using the marina's wifi. Others had found email problems also. This sometime happens -- but I've not been able to figure out exactly why. The support folks at my site support company mumbled that the attempted upload "looks foreign" to their server which causes it to be rejected. ??? However, switching back to my Verizon mifi to do the upload worked.
  • About 1600, it had gotten much calmer outside so I raised the fleet members via VHF using our "private channel". Everyone was feeling frisky so I invited all over for dinner at 1800 to be followed by an introduction of the Beckonings and Silhouettes to Farkle. With this social commitment, I was able to rouse the Steward to get cracking and do all the cleaning and straightening I'd not been able to get him to do earlier. I decided to make angel hair pasta with homemade sauce. I sautéed onions peppers, garlic, italian sausage slices, and fresh tomatoes. This made Onward all nice and warm and cozy when guests arrived. The pasta went quickly and the chef was pleased. In the introductory game of Farkle that followed, newbie Mary Kay was the winner -- quietly sneaking up and taking an unsurpassable lead.

29 Oct 12; Monday; River Dunes
  • Morning came overcast and cold with winds down to <=10 kts then came the 35 kt gusts -- so while Sandy may have now passed us by latitude-wise she is still with us.
  • Mary Kay sent me the bread recipe she used to make those dinner rolls I'm still dreaming of. This morning I spent time reviewing it and found it to be very similar to the no-knead recipe I use -- but using more yeast, warm water, and more rapid rise of the dough. It also boosts the humidity of the oven but by putting water in a pan in the bottom below the lowest baking shelf.
  • I gave the new bread recipe a go. It is quite similar to the no-knead bread recipe I have been using for the last several years. The principal differences are that it calls for using a whole packet of yeast and it should be prepared by whisking it into warm, ~100º, water before adding it to the flour. Another difference is in the guidances it gives for forming sections of the risen dough into dinner-roll size segments. It recommends baking at 450º and achieves a high-humidity environment in the oven by placing a pan at the bottom with a cup of water in it. So I mixed up a batch and let it sit.

30 Oct 12; Tuesday; River Dunes
  • I got busy today with this and thats and a trip into town so I didn't do any baking

31 Oct 12; Wednesday; Beaufort NC
  • This morning I got up early and started baking. I divided the dough into two pieces and formed 4 large dinner rolls from one half; from the other half I formed two more rolls with half and put the rest of the dough in a container in the cooler.
  • I followed the directions and the results were wonderful. After only about a half-hour of baking these wonderfully crispy, chewy, light and tasty rolls came out. I had breakfast on one hot role with olive-oil butter. DELISH!
  • The transit to Beaufort got interesting as we exited into the river and found a tug and barge coming up the channel. I negotiated a port-to-port passage. But, as the barge got to within ~200 yds of Onward, the diesel conked out. I immediately alerted the tug that I was dead in the water and then I steered to starboard to use Onward's momentum to keep out of the way. In spite of that, the wind from the starboard bow was pushing Onward toward the tug and barge. There was enough momentum to keep us apart until the bow wave and then wake of the tug and barge pushed me aside.
  • Once the tug was passed, I was able to go below and find out that the fuel tank had run dry with no prior warning like I usually get. I quickly switched tanks and then got the engine to start again. To further complicate things, the fluxgate compass developed a >30º error and started driving Onward out of the channel.
  • I calmed down and we pressed on and made the 1500 Beaufort Bridge opening. I went in and anchored in the "usual place" while Beckoning and Silhouette took slips at Beaufort docks. Once getting settled I quickly launched Venture and headed in to town to visit some of the establishments before they closed for the day. We walked about and were able to visit several of the neat shops. The "best restaurant in town" that had been recommended to us was closed for the day so we went next-door to the Beaufort Grocery Company where we had a delightful dinner.
  • Once back aboard I was rewarded with a quiet night.