Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 16, 2014

September 16, 2014 Where friends and are made
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> Yesterday we reached Onset, MA and walked up the hill to find a happy hour bar. We Yelped the area and found Pierview Restaurant as a possible destination. Once up the hill we saw this sign and it reminded us of the series "Cheers" so we walked in. The people at the bar noticed us right away. We took the seats at the end of the bar and started talking to the bartender. Dave told him it had taken us 8 years to get to his bar and he shared that with the others. Soon we were sharing stories, swapping jokes, answering questions, and feeling like we were in an episode of Cheers. What great people they all were. Names were exchanged, the song "Sail Away" was played on the juke box for us by Kevin, a beer appeared bought by one of the generous bar crowd, and we started handing out boat cards and shaking hands. Uncle Bobby enlightened us on the meaning of the Tesno t-shirt and told us half of the group originated from the Cape Verde Islands. We left the place with a promise to return and as our dinghy pulled away from the town dock we saw Uncle Bobby waving us a fond goodbye. There is a deep truth to the advertisement in this window.
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 13, 2014. Newport, Rhode Island

September 13, 2014. Newport, Rhode Island

What a delicious slice of Americana this harbor town offers to all who take the time to explorer.  The historical vibe, the sense of times past and present blended together, an East Coast rounding of consonants and unique vowel sounds floating in the brisk air, and a small town neighborhood feel from homes peeking around each corner,  you feel the warmth but not the cold size of a big city here.  We arrived a few days ago to attend the Boat Show, meet old boating friends, and enjoy some relaxed time.  When we arrived there were plumbing issues to deal with, a boat is rarely trouble free, a wind generator issue, that can wait, and new friends greeting us.  Ian and Fiona have shared some anchorages with us and came over to say "hi".  They were able to put us in touch with Craig and Karene, friends from the Bristol, Rhode Island reunion, and we ran into Linda and Bill with Tahja from the Salty Dawgs organization.  Social time ahead of projects kept Dave happy.  Dave walked the Boat Show while I caught up with fellow Dawgs and friends at the Salty Dawg booth.  Late afternoon we broke away and had a beer with El Sogno who then tempted us to go with them to West Marine and dinner...we are easy, what can I say! They chose an owner chef restaurant that was in an older section of town.  The lyrical piano playing, the white cloth and napkins, and the antique stain glass  displays gave the perfect backdrop to a delicious meal.  We talked about the best places in Maine and their future plans to head through the canal and off to the Pacific.  After another peaceful night of sleep Dave awoke and dove on the boat to remove barnacles from our thru holes.  We are now trouble free and draining.  The wind generator problem is still out there but it can still wait.  Today we walked the waterfront, hiked up into the town, saw the church that the Kennedy's were married in back in 1953, shot pictures of the International Tennis Museum, and took a dinghy tour of the waterfront mansions.  It is now getting chilly and blackish skies surround us.  Weather is changing and we are tucked in for the night.
There is a small canal between us and the ocean that we will use to head north and into Maine.   We will write after we finish Maine, but feel free to write us now and share with us your must see in Maine spots.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Crossed Fingers and High Hopes

Monday we board the plane to Boston, MA and by Tuesday we will be back on Jammin getting ready for another trip afloat.  We will head north to eat Maine lobsters and see the rugged coast as we dodge and weave through the pots and traps.  Then come October we will find the one week of good weather (they say that is how it works most years) and head to Bermuda.  After relaxing and waiting out the hurricane end of season storms there we will sail south to the Virgin Islands for the holidays.
Our summer was more work than play blended with quality grand parent time in Oregon and Texas.  Our daughter, Kelsey, moved to Beaverton, Or and Dave built a barn bed for Kiwi, our grand daughter.  Then it was off to Katy, Texas where our son, Mike, moved and visiting with the other two grand daughters (Layla and Stevie) and daughter-in-law, Julia.
We will be better about blogs this coming season.  Last season we had our share of trial and tribulations and never really had a sailing season to share.  Adrift and windless best describes last winter's season.  This season with fingers crossed and high hopes drifting over us we look forward to more adventures, reunions with old friends, and making new friends in foreign places.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Season 7, March 19, 2014
 Jammin is back in the chill and working on repairs.  We arrived Saturday to Norfolk and plugged in the heaters as the temps were in the 30's.  We then discovered we had an electrical problem.  Touching the boat we received a 115volt shock, it took 4 days to discover a bolt from the new stanchion had pinched a wire.

Yesterday we drove through snow coated land to get a mattress and the anchor repaired.  Today we wore out one of our heaters but we had a back up ready to plug in. The next cold/snow storm is predicted for mid next week...UUUGH   We still need the yard to put in the wind generator, the boat heating system, and then put us in the water for a rigging inspection.  We also need to pick up the repaired sails, put everything away, and celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary on March 30th.

All in all, LIFE IS GOOD.  We are cold but can wear layers, we can see water and smell salt air, and we are closer to being at sea than not

Thursday, January 2, 2014

One, two, three, you are out!

Season 7,  Day 2,
Light winds and calm seas yesterday, November 6, made the passage enjoyable.  Tonight the stars are bright, three and sometimes four fellow Salty Dawgs are visibly nearby, and the seas make the ride a rocking chair experience.  All is good and in about 3 hours the sun will be shining upon us.  The boat is doing great, everything is working, and we be Jammin'…
Season 7, Day 3...

Thursday, November 7th arrived and was one of the foulest days we have ever encounter. As the sun was setting we came out of the Gulf Stream, things were calm enough to think about cooking. Dave was having trouble with the auto pilot–it kept beeping off so he had to reset it–that lasted about 20 minutes. Then we heard two noises, one off the stern and one above our head. The latter was the traveler and boom swinging to port, and the former was the buzzer for the auto pilot. Dave went first to the wheel and found it unresponsive, next he inspected the connection between the wheel and auto pilot and it was not the problem. Which meant…that's when the boom took off and the connection between the traveler and the main sheet pulley system broke. He went forward and with rope was able to connect the two parts. Now back to figuring out why we have no steerage, it seemed obvious that we were rudderless. To confirm that would mean putting Dave in the water and night had fallen as well. We called into the DoDah net and let them know we had some damage. That's when we heard other boats were in trouble and in worse shape than us. So we waited.



We were never in danger of sinking but we lacked the ability to set a course and get anywhere. We also lacked the conditions to build a rudder out of cabin doors and get the whisker pole due to the state of the seas. The seas were 2 to 6 feet for an hour or less, and as much as 10 to 20 feet the rest of the time. The winds were an issue as well. But it was the confused waves breaking over all sides of the boat, tossing us back and forth, pitching us forward and backwards, and swaying us on a diagonal every now and then. Water, water, everywhere. I counted how often they were occurring and occasionally I reached 55 seconds but most of the time it was every 5 to 12 seconds.
Friday morning we tried the bucket and anchor method but the confused seas would send the bucket airborne and it would entangle itself to the anchor rode. That is when we contacted Dick and together decided a call to the towing company should be made. They declined to come out that far even though we had bought their "unlimited" 200 mile plan. That left the Coast Guard. We were told we were third or fourth in line for assistance.
For two days my husband and I drifted further south and east out to sea. Help was coming but we had to wait our turn, many boats were caught by the weather stalling and developing into something nasty. On November 9th the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Forward arrived mid afternoon. They first established that we were not injured and not taking on water, then they wanted to know if our engine was in good working condition and it was, next they had to check if we had two points to tow from and that they were reinforced metal plates with strong bolts. After assessing us and our equipment, they were able to install a tow line. That began a 44 hour tow job with quite a few more exciting moments. Jib unfurled and Dave retrieved it, tow line chaffed, inverter stopped working, boarding a zodiac rescue boat and climbing up the side of a 200+ cutter…but we made it back bruised but not broken to Cobb's Marina, Little Creek, Virginia.
About 2 hours after the marina hauled us, Zulu was pulled out at Cobb's Marina. We talked to him the next day and guess what? He had the same auto pilot experience as us before his rudder broke off (in a similar place--clear break straight across).

We are now making up for lost sleep and working with our insurance company on repairing Jammin', our home away from home of 7 years. We are the fortunate ones, but the USCG crews are the true heroes. They managed to get all sailors to shore and out of the danger that unpredictable weather can create. They are truly our Coast Guardian Angels.
The crew of USCGC Forward were amazing. Their story is much more interesting than ours. Here is a link to the article and photos of the rescue they performed. www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/1956938/

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Season 7 day one

November 6 2013
When we wake up we will set a course for the British Virgin Islands and arrive some 9 to 11 days later.  The weather report shows winds for most of the days and no tropical storms are currently forming.  We are at anchor in front of Fort Monroe, in sight of where the USS Monitor and the CSS Virgina fought a battle at sea.  Norfolk and Hampton have been our home for the  past week as we met fellow Salty Dawg participants and old cruising friends.  After a week of social events, seminars, and informational meetings we are ready to relax and enjoy the E ticket ride through the Gulf Stream.  Keep us in your thoughts and prayers and we will be posting blogs on the 2013 Salty Dawg Fall Rally site.
What keeps us doing this?  Right now it is the promise of a second summer.  Warm nights, idyllic days, hiking, swimming, snorkeling and diving, 5 o'clock gatherings or6 o'clock red wine and chocolate, reading, napping in a hammock, just lim in' the time away...did I mention the work or the repairs, the hunting far and wide for parts and tools?   How fast we forget the downside of the cruising life!  Ohooooo, something just snapped up above and Dave is opening the tool box.  Guess we will need to snap back into reality a bit sooner than later. P.S. It is almost 5 o'clock 



 

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Chesapeake, Day Two

May 30, 2013
We just passed the New Point Comfort Spit Light off Mobjack Bay in Chesapeake Bay and are heading north to Deltaville, Virgina. The water depth is a mere 14 feet in the deep part of this channel. The majority of the Chesapeake is 25 feet or less--with anchorage sites bragging about 7-8 feet of depth. Our boat draws 7 1/2 feet so we are limited on where we will find places to anchor. Up in Deltaville we will anchor in 8-10 feet, and tomorrow check out their marina for boat storage. Hmm, wonder what the tide depth is here?
Last night was our first full night of sleep since May 16--we slept till 9 (me) and 10 (Dave)this morning. The boat sat as still as as house, and only the rub of a halyard on the mast could be heard. With the first light of the day, we heard the birds calling to each other, another sign we were near land again. After day 2 out at sea there were no birds, and no flies. The smell of land was replaced with the smells of the sea and our ever present boat smells. Yesterday I realized there was no welcoming smell of land greeting us as we approached Norfolk, Virginia--perhaps because the wind came from the east. However, there were flies, a horde swarm our boat and filled our salon. We eliminated over 30 and broke one fly swatter during the assault. So our shopping list now includes fly paper, eggs, more fly paper, potatoes, and spare fly swatters.
After 13 days at sea, Dave is more excited than ever for the passage to Europe he will make in the next few years. Nothing has daunted his spirit of adventure. I am wondering if after 13 days at sea I will be able to walk without the Earth feeling like it is pitching me to starboard and port. The trip was fairly smooth and normal for us--a few exciting hours while we jerry rigged a fix for an important part breaking, and then rearranged our sleeping and watch duties around what time we finished the repair. There were many days where we were the only boat on the water and 2-3 days between any sighting of another vessel under way. I gained a new appreciation for how vast the ocean is and how small and insignificant one boat can be upon its surface.
Dave said this trip across the open water makes him confident about crossing the Atlantic when he takes the boat to Europe. He was able to fix what broke, kept his mind clear to solve whatever was thrown his way, and he enjoyed the adventure and time at sea. The crossing of the Atlantic has been a long time dream for him and accomplishing it will be one of his lifetime highlights. But for now we are going to cruise the East coast, return to the Caribbean next winter, come back next spring to Maine and points south, and do another season in the Caribbean before he heads over the next horizon.
This summer we will be in Oregon in June, Texas for July and part of August--grandbaby #3 arrival, back to Oregon in mid-late August, then back on the boat to cruise the East coast from September through late November--avoiding thunderstorms and named storms if our luck holds up.
Life is good and we are looking forward to getting back together with friends and family. Time to quit writing, the flies have returned, are attacking me from all sides, and so I will take up the mighty surviving fly swatter and fight against their attempt to overtake our home on the water. It's clearly time to pull out of storage the bug screens!

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