Onward’s Cruise Journal 2016
New England Cruise


Updated: 24 July 2016


July 2016


1 Jul 16; Friday; Greenwich Bay

  • Dinner w Siwikis

2 Jul 16; Saturday; Greenwich Bay
  • Betelgeuse
  • quiet night

3 Jul 16; Sunday; Greenwich Bay
  • On a a beautiful morning, we moved Onward to Betelgeuse's mooring and about noon we headed in to pick up the car and then on to Linda's house to spend the afternoon.
  • AAJ to hospital

4 Jul 16; Monday; Greenwich Bay
  • Susan's 4th

5 Jul 16; Tuesday; Greenwich Bay
  • Cleaned out mess in the engine

6 Jul 16; Wednesday; Greenwich Bay
  • Today we decided to get our shopping done for the next phase of the trip. West Marine was having a sale on inflatable PFDs for women so we bought a new one to be kept in Venture for Peggy to use particularly at night — one of my abiding concerns on dark night ventures.
  • We visited Andy in the hospital and I was taken by how weak he looked for the pneumonia. It brought back forgotten memories of my hospital sojourn last Spring.
  • During the course of the morning, Peggy learned that moisture damage to the condo was more substantial that previously believed. She made

7 Jul 16; Thursday; Greenwich Bay
  • Peggy to FL
  • Cleaned out gas tanks
  • Reinstalled fuel filter
  • visit AAJ

8 Jul 16; Friday; Greenwich Bay
  • Rebuilt OB fuel pump
  • Visit AAJ

9 Jul 16; Saturday; Greenwich Bay
  • Replaced oil sender
  • AAJ from hosp
  • Dinner w WK

10 Jul 16; Sunday; Greenwich Bay
  • Engine work

11Jul 16; Monday; Greenwich Bay
  • Brewers, oil seal
  • WK & IWM
  • genset
  • compression post
  • The Ladyhawk's invited me over for cocktails and dinner. It was a very nice end to a long day.

12 Jul 16; Tuesday; Greenwich Bay

  • I woke up at 0330 after dreaming about running coax cables in the mast. So I got up and started working on running coax cabe. I was able to run the snake from the wire exit port of the mast step in the bilge to the base of the compression tube. I then snagged it and pulled a messenger line through the access port in the compression post into the bilge. I attempted to get the snake up the compression tube and into the most but repeated attempts failed. I then tried to snake from the topping lift port at the base of the mast down to the compression post and that finally worked
  • Bill Kimbell walked over to EGYC and I fetched him to help test the 2008 Yamaha's new fuel pump. Together we were able to lower it over the side and sat it next to its new brother. It started easily. It ran very smoky but that was to be expected due to the amount of fuel and oil that had been in the exhaust in the Bahamas when it was last used. It ran well at both low and high rpm so at that point I declared victory with a working second outboard.

13 Jul 16; Wednesday; Greenwich Bay
  • By 0330 I could no longer sleep so I got up to make a list of what I would need to take to the masthead to pull the coax cable up and connect to the VHF antenna.
  • Peggy flew out of FL early so that meant it was time to put Onward back together from all the maintenance projects.
  • I finally sorted out all the PFDs and inflators. Onward has 8 inflatable PFDs in 6 different types with 6 different inflators. No wonder I couldn't keep it straight. Now they are all documented and inventoried. We have back up inflators for all and two backups for the ones Peggy and I use offshore. I also serviced the pfd in the dinghy and repackaged them in individual dry bags. I can finally get over my guilt complex about not having them all ready to go with backup inflators.
  • At 1100 I headed in to trade Venture for the rental car and then Pick up Peggy at the airport. The plane and I were on time and soon Peggy ane I were reunited and off to get ready to leave for Maine tomorrow.
  • We made one last shopping foray to Dave's Market that was complicated by me missing the exit on Rt 4 and ending up having to go to the Quonsett store. That done we stopped by to see my sister and brother-in-law Andy. He was still looking a bit tired but much better that when I had first seen him. So we wished them both the best before heading on.
  • Then it was a matter of dropping off the rental car, getting a ride back to EGYC and then schlepping all the shopping stuff back to Onward. Once that was done, I immediately got ready to go up the mast to run the new RG213U coax cable to the masthead.
  • Peggy and I have gotten quite good at this and I was soon at the masthead. Good Bless the mast steps!! The boys now chant this when I am working up there. I managed to get the cover plate off the mast top plate and found it gave access to the sheaves but not very good access to the wires running up the conduits inside.
  • On the way up the mast I had passed an unused halyard exit port and realized that it was for the spinnaker pole lift. I had forgotten about that.

14 Jul 16; Thursday; Greenwich Bay to Provincetown.
  • I had a bit of a restless night with aches from the trips to the masthead. So I was up at 0430 and had Onward underway by 0530. The morning coffee was fantastic but even with its help I was moving slowly. By 0700 were passing the NE tip of Aquidneck and got to pass by the Siwicki's Sabre, Ava, in what is now an annual event as Onward heads E & N in New England. The seas were lumpy with a short period as we passed Castle Hilll Once we were able to turn E around Breton Point reef we were able to fly the genoa and soon were doing 8 kts motorsailing. It was a da of changing skies first staring with a beautiful light maroon - red sky, then turning gray and overcast, and then sunny before a front passing just a bit to the N brought more clouds.
  • We had really been looking forward to an overnight at Cuttyhunk which has become a sort of right of passage to New England each year. However the delay in departure due to boat, condo, and family challenges lead us to press on as far as we could get today.
  • We entered the Cape Cod Canal at ~1330. We soon accelerated to 10 kts. We considered both Plymouth and Provincetown as possible destinations and settled on Provincetown because of favorable winds and the hope the more southerly course would put us S of the squalls we could see ashore. I took a good nap in the afternoon to make up for the long day yesterday. Peggy beat me to it with a long nap in the morning.
  • The winds had picked dup to 20 kts from the SW when we got to the hook. Due to the narrow anchoring shelf and the sharp drop off, I had never found a place to anchor that I was comfortable with or my fellow cruisers, for that matter. This time I explored to the W of the USCG station where a the 140" sailing yacht, Juliet, was anchored. Just ahead of here we found our fellow cruisers' motor catamaran, Dyad, anchored so we felt right at home. At close to the 8' high tide, I was able to anchor in 22' on the W side of the anchorage just outside the moorings. The anchor set immediately and well. We had a quiet night even with the wind howling in the 20s for a few hours. It eventually died out and the night was quiet.

15 Jul 16; Friday; Provincetown to Isle of Shoals
  • I was up at 0530. The really good news is I finally got my weight down below where I had dieted it to just before we headed off to Venice last October. There had been a whole lot of good eating (too many carbs in bread and french fries) in the interim till our return from CA in May
  • and we dropped the mooring at 0630. Fog was so dense, I could not see the vessels I'd anchored near about 70 m away. Without being comfortable with radar navigation we would have been captured in the harbor. I was banking on there being very few boats willing to venture forth in the soup. We crept out of the anchorage at < 2 kts with Peggy on the side deck as lookout for moorings and lobster floats as well as wiping down the dodger windows. Once clear of the mooring area, the radar clutter disappeared and navigation became much easier.
  • As we traveled around the hook, we encountered 3 different radar targets, apparently fishing boats, we had to watch closely. The first was on a course to cross the bow port to starboard and I made a sharp turn away just in case. The second was pesky as it was going at about the same speed inshore but with an erratic course. The third was well behaved and passed down our starboard side. We were not able to get any visual sighting of these. Once we were about 5 nm W of the hook, radar targets went away and we traveled in our 100 m diameter bowl of visibility until about 0900 when it suddenly burned off.
  • There were some lessons learned from this episode.
    • First, DO NOT GO TO AUTOPILOT STANDBY IN THE FOG!!!! The Catalina 470 is extremely sensitive to the helm — I often spin it about in virtually its own length. The problem is that in a situation without visual references, even what I think are small steering maneuvers are much more aggressive than I intend. Then using the chartplotter for steering correction does not work as the boat changes heading much faster than the electronics can accurately display due to latency and dampening effects. So from now on, in fog, I will only due emergency course corrections though the autopilot so that I know how much to correct to go back on course.
    • Second, time to go back to the Onward Radio On Deck Rule: When I first started sailing Onward and often had people aboard who would venture out on deck while underway, I instituted the rule that they must take a hand-held FRS radio (walkie-talkie) on deck so that I could communicate with them and they with me. Once I started full time wandering, i forgot this rule as I was mostly single-handed sailing and the Onward Offshore Rule kicked in: Do not leave the cockpit for any reason offshore unless it is a vessel or life-threatening situation and you are wearing a pfd and harness and clipped on to jacklines. Once Peggy came aboard we still observed the Offshore Rule. However, today with the need for her to play side-deck lookout, the need resurfaced. Luckily when I was buying a new floating handheld VHF for trips in Venture, I saw a bargain on new FRS walkie-talkies and I bought a set just in case. Well today they have become part of the gear in Onward's Nav Box.
  • Peggy took the con for most of the day to enable me to work below on boat tasks. About 1100 as we were crossing the Stalweggin Bank, we encountered several whale watching boats. As I came on deck, we began to see whales surfacing. Now when a dolphin comes up to the surface for a breath of air and then immediately dives (often in a continuing pattern) it is called dolphining. The whales were doing a single rep so I guess I will call it uniwhaling. I saw about 5 uniwhalings and peggy saw several more. They were quite short in duration and randomly distributed so we were not able to get photos or videos. Well, Onward has sailed > 50,000 nm and this is the first time I've seen large whales along the way! I am no longer a uniwhaling virgin!
  • The wind died at noon and we motored on in calm seas arriving at Isle of Shoals at ~1600. I was concerned wth arriving so late on a Friday because this is a favorite weekending spot for folks from Portsmouth / Kittery. We were in such with one large blue can mooring from PYC open. After a flawless pickup by Peggy, we sat back and enjoyed the beauty, peacefulness of the area and low-level theater of the anchorage.
  • Peggy cooked some spaghetti squash and used the remainder of the gumbo sauce from last night with it along with some of our rotisserie chicken store and snow peas. Delish! I've really been impressed with Peggy's inventiveness as she now freely experiments with new things.
  • After she baked the squash, I took the remnants of the pepper biscotti store, placed them on a baking sheet, brushed them with egg whites, and then sprinkled sea salt on them. This was to correct for my error in not adding salt to the original batter. After a few minutes baking, the result was very delicious — a pepper biscotti pretzel.
  • As we ate dinner we watched the forecast cold front with squalls pass ashore N of us.  Bill Kimbell later informed us that the storms had been severe in RI with a tornado ripping the roof off a building at Quonsett.

16 Jul 16; Saturday; Isle of Shoals to Casco Bay
  • We spent a very quiet and peaceful night and got to be serenaded by the bell of the sea buoy. We awoke to a sunny day without the dense for the UISCG had warned was possible last night. We quietly slipped out of the harbor and set course for Cape Elizabeth and Casco Bay.
  • Due to issues with boat, condo, and family health, our scheduling was a bit in disarray. Last night I realized we had not made mooring reservations — not good on a summer weekend. We had originally planned to go to Peaks Island and then visit Portland by ferry. However having "lost" 3 days, Peggy decided she would rather go directly to South Freeport to shop! I called Brewers in South Freeport and was told they had no moorings available. They suggested I call the marina next to them which I had never really paid attention to in my many other visits. I called Stroughts Point Marina and they were able to make a mooring available. Lucky!
  • We has a nice motorsail up the coast with a N wind of 7-9 kts. We arrived at Cape Elizabeth at about 1300 and continued up the W side of Casco Bay to the Harrisecut River and South Freeport Harbor. It took just a bit of searching but we found mooring #109. A good passage: East Greenwich to South Freeport in 3 days. Lobsta tonight!


17 Jul 16; Sunday;
  • An overcast day greeted us and as I looked SE
  • Just at sunset Peggy looked off to the S and thought she saw smoke. It looked like dense black smoke to me… then I realized that a fog bank was approaching and the appearance of smoke was really the pine trees on one of the small islands at the entrance of the harbor as they were being consumed by the fog bank. We watched the creeping in on little cat feet until it was just Onward at the center of a ~100 m dial bubble of visibility. Peggy had the good sense to take some photos which were eerily beautiful and I followed her lead.

18 Jul 16; Monday; South Freeport to Boothbay Harbor
  • We awoke to find that the dense fog was still with us so we waited a bit until 0700 before dropping the mooring and heading slowly out of the anchorage and harbor using radar. Peggy again took the FRS radio and manned the side deck where she had better visibility and gave guidance to me as I navigated from the radar - chartplotter overlay.
  • Once out of the harbor, I gave Peggy the wired remote to dodge lobster floats. She sat forward where she could better look out the dodger windows or poke her head out the starboard enclosure door as needed for better visibility. She dodged floats while I navigated and watched for radar targets. It was very intense work with a high level of concentration needed by both of us. The technique worked amazingly well and we decided to use it from now on when navigating in fog.
  • By about 0930 the sun burned off the fog and we had clear sailing. About 1030 we heard an emergency call by a 65' SeaRay, Fiji IV, that was taking on water under its port engine, enough to activate its emergency pump system. The USCG vectored a boat from Boothbay Harbor and I changed our course to the location of the vessel just in case since Onward was close by. The vessel was able to make idle speed toward a rendezvous with the USCG cutter. We got there just before the cutter and once they were on station we again set course for Boothbay Harbor. The cutter escorted the vessel and followed us in.
  • About 1330, we picked up a mooring at Carousel Marina. It was a case of the third one being the charm as the first assignment had a boat on it. The second one had its pennant float so fouled on the anchor chain we could not bring the pennant loop aboard. As I dropped the dinghy, I noticed Fiji IV being escorted into a slip at the Carousel.
  • Peggy and I had planned to go ashore for a tour of the town and a lobstah dinner but the expected cold front arrived early and soon it was wet and howling so we decided to stay on board. All of a sudden I got very chilled and became exhausted. I lay down wrapped in a fleece and fell asleep. There I remained until midnight having awoken several times but feeling too exhausted to move. After midnight, I had enough energy to heat a can of chicken soup. Then I crawled into bed and fell soundly asleep until morning.
  • I found this episode reminiscent of last year's bout with the mysterious infection and pneumonia — and thus very scary. Before crawling into bed I did check my temperature but found it normal. Strange.

19 Jul 16; Tuesday; Boothbay Harbor
  • I awoke at 0600 and felt normal — no longer exhausted after some 16 hours sleep. Hmmm.
  • I spent the morning doing boat chores and thankfully still feeling "normal". We went ashore at 1100 to check in with the Marina. Fiji IV was still there but there was no one aboard. I learned that the raw water intake hose had apparently come off the port engine due to a loose / broken hose clamp. A mechanic had come out to repair it but went away very pissed because the captain left the vessel locked up with no one aboard.
  • We spent a very nice day shopping and walking about. As I expected I was able to find nice children's captain hats for Laura and Kian to wear. At the gourmet store, it was frustrating to see great breads that were not on our diet at present. I did buy some yummy City of Ships cheese. We had a light lunch before returning to the boat. On the way, I Ventured into the cove on the backside of the town to get a look at the hulks of several wooden ships scuttled in the center of the cove that I had seen from land on previous visits. Once aboard, I needed a nap.
  • We decided out lunch would suffice for dinner and we spent a quiet evening aboard reading and with me writing emails in answer to my son.

20 Jul 16; Wednesday; Boothbay Harbor to Maple Juice Cove
  • At 0530 it was already a beautiful sunny day. We headed out of the harbor at 0615 following the huge motor yacht RH 3 and its >40' tender RH 4 out. We set curse for Maple Juice Cove with Peggy with the con handling pot-dodging duties in a very admirable fashion. As usual, the approaches to St. George River proved to have one of the highest concentrations of lobster pots along the whole coast. This also seems to be a transition zone between float only and float plus toggle. I have still found no easy and obvious way to differentiate between them so as to avoid being caught between the toggle and its float.

21 Jul 16; Thursday; Maple Juice Cove
  • A gorgeous Maine Morning! I spent the morning struggling to organize the forward section of Onward so I could get all the stuff off the forward berth and stowed away.
  • Around 1100 we Ventured ashore. I took hammer and pry bar in to install a new section of rubber rub rail along Wally's pier for him. That done, Wally whisked us off in his BMW 765, the Behemoth, to Rockland to visit the yacht yard where his newest nautical acquisitions were being spiffed up. He told me he wanted to simplify and downsize his life so he plans to sell his Dickerson and move to a smaller 32' sloop he got a bargain on and is having refinished. So Peggy and I walked into the yard building expecting to see a couple of smaller boats only to find two substantial vessels. A new powerboat based on a lobster boat hull will provide a larger interior and associated creature comforts to be a new mobile beverage station in lieu of the small open launch he sold. The sloop may give up a few feet on the Dickerson but not by much. So goes Wally's idea of simplification and downsizing.
  • We returned to Maple Juice Cove and left Wally to take some neighbors for an afternoon sail while I went back to tackle the forward berth until I was exhausted and crashed for the night but I managed to complete the job of reorganizing and stowing stuff in the forward locker and shower-become-storage locker. Final cleaning was left for tomorrow.

22 Jul 16; Friday; Maple Juice Cove to Camden
  • I was up at 0530 and we got Onward underway at 0615. The wind was ~ 15 kts from the SW prior to an approaching front. The route S on the St. George River was very challenging as always with lobster floats positioned everywhere only a boat-length apart. Once we were out of the river and heading E offshore, Peggy took over the dodging efforts while I started the task of scrubbing all surfaces in the forward stateroom in preparation for our three weeks of guests. We rocketed up the W side of Penobscot Bay at >8 kts motorsailing with the genoa. At Camden we picked up our mooring from Wayfarer Marine at ~1030 and the cleaning got going in ernest.
  • We headed ashore about 1500 on the launch with several bags of Christmas presents that Santa Peggy had wrapped to go home in Valerie's sleigh. Valerie was there as soon as we landed AND she came bearing a blueberry pie! We loaded the sleigh and parked it before walking off for a tour of the town. We walked and shopped the town before settling down for dinner at waterside table on the wharf. A lovely dinner was wrapped up by getting ice cream cones for Frankie and Vivian then heading back to the sleigh. We sleighed (Suburban model) to Hannafords for fresh foods then returned to Wayfarer. Our dock cart was overflowing. My left knee, injured somehow mysteriously several days ago was now aching too much for me to safely take the cart down the ramp. That's what God created youth for so the dockhand took care of it for me.
  • Everything and everyone got settled aboard amazingly quickly. Frankie and Vivian got clued in on the safety rules for them aboard Onward and adapted very quickly. It was a delightful night with Peggy basking in the sunshine of her daughter and grandchildren. The wind from the SW continued through the night making for a rolly anchorage. A cold front came through in the wee hours with rain and lightning. Somehow Peggy and I slept through it soundly.

23 Jul 16; Saturday; Camden to Winter Harbor
  • A gorgeous Maine Morning! Frankie had a restless night as he was unused to boat motion, otherwise all our guests did well. After breakfast, I dropped the mooring and we headed E passing one of the big schooners on our way out. We were able to sail for a bit until the midpoint of the Fox Island Thoroughfare. As we passed North Haven, I dingy hailed us and it turned out to be the Exuberants, Pru and Bert who were anchored nearby. We chatted for a while and hoped to reconnect later in a couple of weeks.
  • We anchored in Winter Haven where Peg and i had anchored on our last visit. Once settled the children were in the water having great fun swinging from the arch. Then came fishing and I discovered that Peggy liked to fish as much as her grandchildren.
  • After the first part of front went through, we had enough time to Venture up to the W limits of the harbor. We found two other boats anchored in separate pools along the way. We encountered a bunch of seals basking in the sun too.
  • The evening was capped off with Grandma's meatballs and spaghetti followed by a game of Quirkle that the children loved and managed to trounce me in.

24 Jul 16; Sunday; Winter Harbor to Pulpit Harbor
  • A gorgeous Maine Morning! The Steward was up at 0530 and after making coffee, did a bang up job of washing the dishes before I awoke. When the crew awoke, I made some Onward stovetop muffins and Peggy prepared scrambled eggs for her crew. We Ventured off to look again at the W end of the anchorage to show Frankie the difference when 8' of tide was out. We then Ventured to the SE to show them that harbor and we encountered more sun-basking seals along the way.
  • At ~1000 we weighed anchor and headed N to go around Little Deer Island counter clockwise to Pulpit Harbor. Our timing was good and we were the first of a gaggle of boats that came in to anchor. By the time they arrived, we were nicely settled.
  • After lunch, the children fished and swam. I decided to check out the new RG213 coax to the masthead again. I used the backup R215 radio to test both antenna and it was clear the reception from the masthead was better — using the NOAA weather channels as an indicator. So, I decided to reconnect the RG213 to the RG8 cable that leads from the bilge at the base of the mast to the R218 VHF. This time, unlike my test in Greenwich Cove, the R218 worked amazingly well. When this test failed in Greenwich Cove, I bought a new antenna, assuming the one at the masthead was bad. Now it appeared to be working fine. I also noticed that the R218 had very noisy reception requiring us to use very high squelch levels. Now, using the masthead antenna this problem disappeared. I guess the noise is coming from the ship's electronics: the battery monitor, solar panels, and wind generator. So the backup VHF antenna has gone back to just that. I will see how it goes before replacing the masthead antenna with the new one that Valerie brought along.

25 Jul 16; Monday; Pulpit Harbor to Camden
  • After breakfast, we Ventured on a circumnavigation of Pulpit Harbor at close to low tide. While we were out showing the children the "Pulpit", we came upon a wooden dory with three people in it. They were checking some private lobster traps the old fashioned way: pulling them up by hand. We chatted with them for a while as the children got a good idea of how lobstering worked. I took a video of the process to show Elena and Kian when they read the lobstering story book we have for them.
  • We weighed anchor about 1000 and made the short trip across W Penobscot Bay and picked up our mooring in Camden about noon. Peggy and Valerie had everything ready to go ashore so we quickly hailed the launch and headed in. Peggy found there was a laundromat near the harbor so we decided to get it done today. We loaded all of us and our laundry into Val's SUV and she dropped us off as she started her journey home.
  • We had found David and Leslie aboard Summersault on the next mooring. They got use of the Wayfarer courtesy car and picked us and our laundry up before we all went off to shop at Hannifords.
  • The Wollens had us over for dinner and we had a lovely relaxed time catching up. We also celebrated their becoming grandparents in the near future.

26 Jul 16; Tuesday; Camden to Bucks Harbor
  • Peggy and I Ventured into town to do some food and gift shopping while David was off looking for refrigerant to recharge their problematic refrigeration system that has been plaguing them for the last year. We returned in time to drop the mooring and head out at 1100.

27 Jul 16; Wednesday; Bucks Harbor to Mackarel Cove, Swans I
  • My knee was painful most of the night as it was almost impossible to find a position where the pain wasn't intense.
  • I decided to get up before five and get underway early to position Onward some in an anchorage close to Southwest Harbor where I was to move on Friday morning. Winds were essentially non-existent as we motored E down Eggemogin Reach. As we entered one of the narrow channels to cross the NW corner of Swans Island, we snagged a lobster float and may have cut off the buoy. In this area of Penobscot Bay, they insist on using the boat + toggle technique even in shallow waters. This makes navigating in a cross-current a real challenge.
  • The Summersaults were more clever and took the wider channel so they caught up to us even though we had departed 15 min before they did. They headed to Southwest Harbor to have Hinkley replace their refrigeration system.
  • We headed into Mackarel cove and anchored in the SW corner. My knee was still aching so I took an early morning nap to give some ibuprofen the time to work. After lunch, it was time to service the generator.
  • While I worked on the genset, Peggy washed the windows of the dodger and enclosure and polished stainless steel. I worked unto 2000 before giving up. Peggy warmed up the leftover lemon chicken she made last night and it was just as delicious. A bit of reading and then we both crashed.

28 Jul 16; Thursday; Mackerel Cove, Swans I
  • My knee let me sleep last night as long as I lay on my back with the leg straight and didn't move. At 0430 I decided it was time to stir and found a fog bank building in the pre-dawn light.
  • Genset leak. Hull

29 Jul 16; Friday; Mackerel Cove to Southwest Harbor
  • Up at 0500 and the fog had us socked in. My left knee let me sleep easily last night but still doesn't like any forces to the sides.

30 Jul 16; Saturday;

31 Jul 16; Sunday;