Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whitehall Bay

Captain permitted me to sleep in today--until 6:00, in order to take advantage of the current to get near Annapolis for our repair appointment. It was somewhat comforting to know that Sojourner had lifted anchor around 5 am to get the most advantage. We did enjoy the benefit and by afternoon, passed under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (not the one with the tunnel).

My friend Vickie tells me that there are two different, distinct weather patterns, one on each side of the bridge. Heading South, if you are having nasty conditions, it will surely turn extra ugly once you pass under. Today, the wind jumped from 2 knots to 6 knots, so while her theory seems to hold, it was still like climbing Mount Everest while in an oven.

We set the anchor at Whitehall Bay, within a short distance to tomorrow's destination but behind enough trees that you can forget that the Bridge is lurking around the corner.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Arrived Chesapeake!

We lifted anchor at 0553 at Cape May and continued to suffer the consequences of stupidity, dragging half of the barnacles from the LI Sound into the Chesapeake with us. We did not run out of fuel this time, as we finally calculated we are burning around 2 gallons an hour, and are topping the tanks along the way. Mooch will be so happy when this is all over with.

Buffeted by a dinner invitation for Rick's Kick Ass Spaghetti aboard Sojourner, we had a some what easy journey (although slow) through the Delaware Bay on a favorable current, through the C&D Canal, and a decent but occasionally rocky anchorage across from the Bohemia River by Piney Creek Cove.

Linda and Rick are some of the first cruisers we met, and we have continued to see them along our travels, frequently sharing those long legs. If Rick says it is so, it is. He knows every possible way to eke out another one hundredth of a knot, riding the currents (even if a 5 am wake up is required), and exploiting the wind, what little there might be of it. And, he is indeed a Kick Ass Cook.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Heading South 2010

We have begun the journey to Winter 2011, whereever we will spend it, with a departure from City Island South. A 7:30 phone call thought to be Sojourner, our companion for the trip, turned out to be our friend Debbie from Ocklawaha, Florida, who is caring for Aunt Dar while Aunt Bev, Dar's caregiver, is caring for her husband, my uncle, during open heart surgery. (Got all that?) Dar decided she needed a trip to the ER to deal with back pain and since a few weeks ago her pain triggered a congestive heart failure attack, I encouraged her to go. It is hard dealing with family hardships from afar, and having someone like Debbie makes all the difference. Needless to say, I was not anxious to begin an offshore journey.

We had sat on a mooring at City Island Yacht Club for three weeks, and one would think that we would recall historical events where black smoke poured out of First Edition (before Mooch's arrival), with engine temperature rising, and speed declining. But NO, these two geniuses just said "let's go, the Chesapeake beckons", along with appointments at Jay Gordon's and Zahnisers. We should have hired someone to scrape off the layers of barnacles and Long Island Sound Sea Scum, or Captain could have donned his diving gear. But we didn't, instead, lost over a knot of speed due to drag. And we fought the current most of the way after leaving Sandy Hook. A 23 hour trip became 27 hours. It doesn't sound like much, but trust me, it is.

Light winds predicted, of course, were not light, and were directly on the nose, slowing us even further---being unable to sail or power sail, and the wind throwing up a chop. It was not uncomfortable. Just slow, frequently seeing less than 3 knots pop up on the speedo. The double moons predicted turned out to be malarky, but it was a nice crisp night, and long fleece pants made for a toasty cockpit. On a positive note, we only ran out of fuel once, confirming our stupidity and miscalculation of drag on the prop from the freeloaders.

We now sit at anchor at Cape May, having arrived 3 hours after Sojourner. Tomorrow, the dreaded Delaware Bay. Forecasts are encouraging and currents run in our direction.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

FADHouse Family Fun

Folks who cruise fulltime don't get to see family often, so it was with great anticipation that we planned an outing at our old Vermont skihouse with co-owners Jeff and Lee and other brothers and sisters in law, Neil and Marge and David.
FADHouse, the name an amalgamation of the last name initials of the original owners, is a wonderful destination no matter the season, and we have spent many, many good times with family and friends there over the years. Summer is one of the best times there, complete with crisp evenings, sometimes putting the fireplace to work,
locally made ice cream, spectacular golf courses, great walks, wonderful home-cooked meals
and restaurant outings, and discount shopping nearby in Manchester.

The tuna that Jeff made on the grill was the very best I ever had, and the 94 Silver Oak was perfect. The maple walnut, ginger, and yes, Chunky Joe Stein ice creams were close runners up. Great weekend.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Virginia is For Lovers?

Peter and I are in the preliminary phase of the design of our home and it is crazy awful! During a recent "discussion" following revisions to the plans, I informed Peter that I am so sick of him. He of course did not hesitate in returning some equally awful statement of eternal love and marital bliss. Now that we have pinned down the footprint we think we can tolerate each other for another few years.

We stayed with Vickie and Len, conveniently located halfway from First Edition to our property on the way to meet with Bill Prillaman, our architect. (The Tillmans' solution for the stress of building a new home is alcoholic consumption, so they seem to be doing fine. With my latest blood work in, I am off alcohol until my liver rebounds from the ravishes of methotrexate. My girlfriend has decided to go dry in solidarity. I don't recommend this, even if you count me as a close friend. (As a side note, Vickie sponsored me years ago on Smoke Out day, sending encouragement and floral arrangements while I sneaked Newports behind everybody's back. No worries. I am smoke free now.)

While in Virginia we resolved our open design issues, visited the property to see it for the first time after it had been cleared of underbrush, spent the evening at Beausimone Farm with Bill and Catherine, and discovered chiggers. How in the hell do they get into your underwear?

Monday, August 16, 2010


If you knew my nephew Bill and his now wife Desi, you would understand why they wanted to get married on 8-9-10. They met online as gamers, you know the type, free spirits. Back in the day, they would have been bohemians, or in my era, hippies. Anyway, I love them and they love each other. Desi's son Harry rounds out the family in progress. Welcome Desiree to the Nichols family.

The Inn at Heather Lane

We have been land bound visiting doctors, visiting kitchen showrooms, attending a family wedding, and visiting more doctors, and except for a short trip to Florida to deal with more doctors, nurses, and aides for my Aunt, we have stayed at our friend Elizabeth's home. Betty is a long time, great friend, who has like so many of my gang, shared her hearth, home and family with us over the years.

Yet another great part of cruising: mooching off of your friends.

Thanks Bet.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Visit from Beth

Beth joined us at the Stamford Yacht Club for her first homegrown serious sailing lesson. A father wants nothing more than for his daughter to follow in his footsteps and Peter has been counting the days and discussing sailing techniques with me for weeks. Beth had already taken to the cruising lifestyle like, well, a duck to water but the real test now would be how she would take to the wheel.

It was only about 7 knots for Day One when we sailed from Stamford to Oyster Bay.

But it turned out the conditions were good for  learning, and Beth got the feel for the wheel and the wind in her face. 
We also got the opportunity to get in a good walk, and ran into the procession for the Feast of St. Rocco whom we are sure has blessed Beth with fair winds and good seas.

Sure enough, the next day for our return to Stamford winds were over 15 knots, making for a little more excitement and a real test of yesterday's lessons. Beth did great. Really.

We had a buffet dinner at the yacht club and returned Beth by cab to the train station for her 45 minute ride back to Penn Station NY. It is always great to have her here---good company, great breakfasts, and magazines chock full of Angelina's latest exploits. And now, we have another sailor in the family. Next...Willow?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Setauket at Port Jefferson

We arrived at the Port Jefferson entrance at slack, which is always fortunate at this location given the current created by the 7'+ tide, and hung a right into the anchorage across from Setauket. You need to pick you places carefully and honor the channel markers, which will not align with your Navionics chartplotter. It is a lovely "marsh" anchorage and although we did not land on the beach this trip, there are fabulous "river" rocks for the taking. We dinked into Setauket and after a 20 minute walk reached three grocery stores, a laundromat, and passed a Starbucks, a pizza place, a produce market and a seafood market.

We are now making our way to Stamford to pick up daughter Beth who has professed an interest in learning how to sail. Then we are off the following weekend to City Island to leave First Edition while attending the wedding of my nephew, who it seems was born yesterday and mushroomed into a grownup.