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.

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 


Sent from my iPad

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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Salty Dawg Rally Completed

We made it! The morning of May 17th we left St John, U.S. Virgin Islands and in the afternoon of May 29th we dropped our anchor in Mobjack Bay on Chesapeake Bay. After 7 years of being away we had Jammin' in the continental states at last--with credit cards and the check book out ready to start refitting the old girl (Jammin' not Helen). The boat will rest in Deltaville and hit the water again the first of September.
What a great time it has been. Thanks to Bill and Linda on Sapphire, who organized this event, we met the other participants at numerous gatherings which fostered friendship and the exchange of information. Being from the Northwest we are newbies entering the waters of the North Atlantic. Over the past 7 years our boat/home has traveled from Oregon, up to Alaska, down the West Coast, passed through the Panama Canal, stopped in the Western Caribbean, summered in Panama, crossed the waters to Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean islands, and summered in Trinidad twice. Even though we are seasoned travelers, we felt new and uneducated about the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic East Coast ports and anchorages. Our reason for joining this rally was to get first hand accounts of the Gulf Stream and information on where a deep draft boat can anchor safely. The ICW is famous for its skinny waters and we are what you would call a beefy bottom boat at 7 1/2 feet.

We can HIGHLY recommend the Salty Dawg rally to anyone heading north (in May) from the Virgins, or south (in November) from the East Coast. With the help of Linda from Sapphire, Steve on Celebration, relays from Matt on Troupadore, and Dick from the DoDah net we were able to check in 3 times daily via SSB radio and hear the progress being made by all the boats participating in the Salty Dawg Rally. It surprised us that during the 13 days we never saw another boat after the first day, each of us took a slightly different course towards the U.S. The daily radio contact helped us feel we were not alone at sea despite the fact no one was ever in our sight. We owe Chris Parker a big thank you for giving us the data we needed to make informed decisions on our course as the weather conditions contorted into 3 different weather systems and us sailing at the edge of it all. And we owe a special thank you to the person(s) who posted our blogs--our son, daughter, relatives and friends followed our progress on the spot and read the daily logs we and others posted. It calmed their worries to hear our words, it entertained them to hear what was happening to us and others, and it brought back memories of time on our boat as a family.
This fall, when we plan our return to the Caribbean, we hope to join the rally for the Fall migration to the Virgin Islands. Safe travels and full sails until our paths cross again, Helen and Dave on Jammin'

P.S. We will be checking out the Salty Dawg Rally website and reading about the Spring 2013 Hotdawg Rally. Now that we finally have internet we can read what others wrote and how their trip went. Our kids tell us it was great hearing all the joyful experiences others were having, and they could commiserate with the dreadful conditions some of the participants overcame. Boating is rarely dull,but the good times are sooooo good that one quickly forget the hard times. My husband is already talking about crossing the Atlantic and how it would only be 6 days longer than the trip we just completed...a man of the seas can never be far away from planning the next adventure.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunshine Sunday

Jammin' is enjoying good sea conditions, clear skies, and motoring around 3.4 knt towards Cape Hatteras. Life is good!
The Salty Dawg Rally has been great and the support superb. The daily nets and the encouragement from other participants have made this long journey a wonderful event. We would like to also send out a great big thank you to Chris Parker and his weather report service. Chris's report have been right on and accurate in every case. We used what he gave us and ended up avoiding the worse of the two weather problems and ugly conditions at sea. His thorough explanations of what we would be facing supported by position recommendations gave us a path to follow that kept us and the boat relatively safe. His services are well worth the investment. For all you in Bermuda, hope your time there is sweet and restful, and that your seas and weather are perfect when you once more head out to sea. Looking forward to meeting up with you Salty Dawgs through the summer/fall or finding you back in the Carib next winter. Until then, we be Jammin' Helen and Dave Peoples

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 9 Hour After the Storm

Saturday May 25
We made it through the ugly trough with squalls and 40+winds, the chilly cold front with winds 20-25 knts. out of the north, and threats from the low in Chesapeake of gale force winds above us. The convergence of all three made us question sitting out here. Most of the Salty Dawgs chose to sit it out in Bermuda sipping dark and stormy rum drinks.
For three days we have zigged and zagged in the safe latitudes, and hove to for about 3 hours before Dave started zig zagging again. Hooray! The worse is over. No damage, no problems. Currently we are traveling west and all is good.
After clearing the messy weather this morning the steering wheel threw its nut overboard and fell off. Auto pilot does not require a steering wheel, thank goodness. The wheel is now back on--held fast by wire twisted around the exposed threads.
Our gear arm is also broken, and a pair of vice grips allow us to shift. A few days ago our out-haul blew apart on the boom and strong line is still holding it in place. The pictures of all these at sea repairs will make a great article.
Now as we wait for the beer to chill and the nacho to bubble,we are experiencing burst of wind that take us screaming at 7knts. and then suddenly die off and leave us making 2 knts. on our western heading towards the Gulf Stream and the states.
Earlier we tried motoring north a we were maing 1.7 knts and using up valuable fuel. Hard to say how many days it will take us to make the last 400 miles of this 1,600+ mile trip--an extra 200 due to zig zagging. We will be motoring for some of it, and sailing as well. So, I guess we will see you when we see you. Don't bother to set up a betting pool for our arrive day (forget hour of arrival)it is so unpredictable. The good news is we bought BoatUS towing insurance the day we started and paid for the Deluxe plan--the one where they will come out 150 miles and deliver fuel...Hopefully we won't need to make that call.

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