Sunday, October 2, 2011

Velocity made good

It rained in the early morning. We got wet. Not a problem though as Joe, Carl, Stan and I readied the boat for the 7th annual Boston Harbor Island Regatta. We were looking forward to a good race and ignoring the rain, noted a breeze on the high end of the forecast 5-10, acceptable sailing weather for a Cape Dory 28. It wasn't to be.

At start time the wind was light from the east, with the current flooding west. Oh brother! With light air and a foul tide, LIQUIDITY was attempting to beat its way to the starting line just yards away. Our start time was 1001; we crossed the line about an hour later.

No problem! We were sailing and we had the rest of the Class F fleet (non-spinnaker slow boats) more or less in sight. But an hour later, in light air and a foul current, we had made little progress. Our port tack was right into the flow and we were lucky to make one knot over ground. Our starboard tack was beam to the current and while we could make three knots, much of that was back towards the start. Class F fleet in sight, we sailed on.

There were eleven of us on the scratch sheet. At least two didn't start. One by one, others withdrew. SANDRALA, a classic Alden Yawl, withdrew. OPHELIA, a Capri 22, withdrew when they wisely turned on their motor to clear the channel for an outbound tanker. Boats in other classes were heard withdrawing on the radio. Others, in our class and others, no doubt left the course without announcement.

At about 1400, we withdrew. Three hours after crossing the starting line an hour late, we had made good about a mile and a half, just one third of the first windward leg.

Did I mention that visibility had dropped? We could no longer see Boston Light. Neither could we see, Hull, The Narrows, Georges Island or the other boats.

We arrived safely at Marina Bay. Carl and Stan needed to go and Joe and I had a beer before straightening up the boat. Then we drove to Brookline, pondered dinner and decided on sushi.

Ginza is a short walk, just around the corner. It rained in the late evening. We got wet.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The bullet dodged us

Irene headed a lot further west than early trackers might have suggested. Essentially, the bullet dodged us.

I haven't been to the boat but I suspect that all is well. I did as much prep as I could short of having LIQUIDITY hauled. Sails are off, the boom is lashed on deck, the dodger is off, dinghy's deflated, rolled and in the cockpit and fenders tripled up from the usual. I don't regret the work I did or the work I created by stripping the boat. If nothing else, it was good practice.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane prep

The latest forecast for Boston Harbor (early this morning) indicates a downgrade from possible hurricane and tropical storm conditions; 30-40 knot winds, gusting to 55. Stay tuned though and maybe it's better to prepare for the worst. With most of the weekend available for prep, consider doubling up dock lines, adding fenders, bagging the sails and stowing your dodger and dinghy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How fast is fast enough?

Patience was the watchword yesterday as we sailed from Scituate back to Boston.

We departed in light air, enough to sail off and at least keep the boat moving. But with the wind dead astern and the speed log reading just a few knots at most, ETA would be some ten hours later. I resisted the temptation of the motor, as other boats, with sails furled, left us in their wakes.

The five miles to Minot's Light took two hours. As we passed the light though, the breeze came up a bit from the southwest. With the wind on our port side, the five miles to Harding Ledge took just an hour. We were no longer being passed by those motoring north although we did see lots of boats motoring south. Motor on, sails furled, yes there's wind but keep on motoring because you don't know how long it lasts. That's been my mantra, too, but not yesterday.

With the wind cooperating, we managed the series of slight left turns into Nantasket Roads and to George's Island close hauled, then sailed reaching and close hauled to the Long Island bridge, where a big right turn had us on a broad reach until the left into Dorchester Bay had us close hauled once again. Our one tack of the day was to get just a bit of sea room before striking the sails and heading into Marina Bay.

We invested an extra hour sailing from Scituate to Minot's. Had we turned the motor on though, we'd have lost some significant dividends. (It didn't rain while we were sailing, either, which I'm sure it would have had I turned the motor on.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Two weeks never felt so good!

Laura and I are just back from our longest cruise yet in terms of both time and distance. And for LIQUIDITY, as far as I know (and for sure on my watch) the first time beyond Buzzards Bay and into Vineyard Sound.

We started with a general plan and a long list of harbors we'd hit if there were no weather days. Boston, Scituate, Onset, Hadley Harbor, Cuttyhunk, Menemsha, Tarpaulin Cove, Lake Tashmoo, Quissett, Red Brook Harbor, Provincetown, Scituate, Boston. That was the plan and with only some modification, we stuck to it. We took a weather day in Onset, skipped Tarpaulin Cove because the wind was the wrong way for the anchorage there, went to Vineyard Haven instead of Lake Tashmoo and took our last weather day in Scituate before heading home. We stayed over an extra day in Menemsha and in Vineyard Haven instead of pushing on to Provincetown.

First evening in Scituate I heard MAD WAVE on the radio calling for a mooring. Nice surprise to have Tony and Angela cruising at the same time and we sailed together (or at least had the same destination) to Onset and then Hadley Harbor. We also met Skip and Deb (What's the name of their boat?) in Onset and sailed with them to Hadley Harbor and on to Cuttyhunk.


The currents basically worked for the whole two weeks.

Second night in Onset (the unplanned weather day) we got to enjoy Onset's delightful fireworks display.

Hadley Harbor was remarkably quiet on July 4th and we all managed to pick up moorings in the inner harbor.

Cuttyhunk was also quiet, with moorings available in the pond.

The day with the worst fog was also our layover day in Cuttyhunk.

We were the only boat on a mooring in Menemsha that normally holds three rafted boats.

Other than into and out of port, the was no motoring in Vineyard Sound.

We sailed dead downwind from Menemsha to Vineyard Haven.

Sailing close hauled in a 15 knot breeze, we held the perfect course from Vineyard Sound to Woods Hole and crossed the Sound in record (for a Cape Dory 28) time.

We finished the cruise on a nice East wind that had us running and broad reaching from Boston Light to Marina Bay.

My phone pretty much didn't ring for two weeks.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Be Careful Out There II

It was Andy's first day at the marina, a day for washing and cleaning and scrubbing but also a day to enjoy anew the camaraderie of perennial dock mates, slip mates and friends. I was a quite visible beneficiary of this renewed camaraderie, as I went aloft yesterday to replace a small block on the starboard spreader. While others monitored my safety line, Andy winched me up the mast, literally doing the heavy lifting.

Later in the day, the skipper of a 30' Catalina, temporarily moored next to Andy's 30' Pearson, decided to shift to his permanent slip. In a narrow fairway and with a less than favorable wind, the Catalina, having difficulty, began to drift toward a bow to bow collision. Andy leaped from dock to deck, slipped/tripped racing to his bow and did something fairly awful to his right knee. Early reports are that a bit of surgery and twelve weeks or so of recovery will make him right.

It's early in the season and if you haven't noticed, the physics of boating and sailing have, as is most often the case, changed over the winter. What worked last year doesn't seem to work this year so we should take our time and learn the new rules. (This phenomenon really should be studied; the MIT professor who takes this one on is sure to win a Nobel prize.)

I'm hoping that Andy's recovery is swift and that he can enjoy a good sailing summer. From a more personal point of view though, I need to go aloft again today, to finish (or at least advance) the project I started yesterday. Who'll winch me up this time?


Monday, May 16, 2011

"I've been wet before"

Oh man, what a miserable weather weekend. Cold, raw and rainy doesn't usually define perfect sailing weather. We didn't let that didn't stop us, though.

We got through our land based activities on Saturday morning, arrived at Marina Bay around 1300 and were underway at 1410.  Wind was ESE (or so) and about 10 knots, which made for good close hauled sailing through Dorchester Bay on a starboard tack, Western Way (under the Long Island bridge) on a port tack and finally to the anchorage (Perry's Cove at Peddocks I.) on a starboard tack once again. We furled the Genoa just outside the cove and sailed to anchor.

It was no surprise that LIQUIDITY was alone at Peddocks, as I counted no sailboats on Dorchester Bay, one near the Long Island bridge and only a handful more in the distance.

Anchored at Peddocks, I rowed ashore in the dinghy, walked the dogs, rowed back, enjoyed a quiet dinner on board and spent a warm, cozy night in the v-berth while torrents of rain gave LIQUIDITY a well deserved fresh water wash down. (The rain was a good test of the rebedding I did on the forward hatch last year.) The following morning, rain past, I rowed the dogs to the beach, rowed back, ate breakfast and with little wind, motored home.

Total count of sailboats I saw out over the weekend is less than the fingers of one hand. Total at the anchorage at Peddocks was one Cape Dory 28.

We had a great weekend, and I suspect those I saw out sailing might say the same. For the 99% though who will say, "What a miserable weekend," all I can say is, "I've been wet before (and I didn't melt then, either)."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Helping there, helping here

I'm just back from a great week on board the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, where I helped educate over 300 New York kids about the river, its history, a bit about sailing and a lot about environmental impact.

Twice a day I taught a little bit of traditional navigation, a bit of history, a bit about life in the river, a bit about life on the river, a little about climate change and more. (As I said to the kids, "I'm a not a teacher pretending to be a sailor; I'm a sailor pretending to be a teacher.") I learned a lot, too, about sailing a 105' gaff rigged sloop, about life on board and about how few of the 300 it might take to make a difference.

The impact of ships (and other programs) like Clearwater isn't felt just along the Hudson. Let's listen to Clearwater's message here in Boston, where we have a harbor that's gone from gross to great just like the Hudson River has. Let's be sure we teach the next generation (and remind ourselves) to "do the right thing."

Fair winds.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

It takes how long to paint a 28' boot stripe?

Repainting LIQUIDITY's boot stripe should have taken an hour or so but that wouldn't have been doing it well. The better experience went something like this...

I had already waxed the hull, over the course of several days. Not full days, of course, but a number of shorter sessions spread out over a week or more. Compounding one day, waxing one side, waxing the other side, waxing the transom. As a diversion from waxing, I'd sand and scrape the boot stripe, maybe five minutes at a time. It's like a coffee break or sorts and by the time the hull was compounded and waxed, the boot stripe was almost ready for its new coat of red paint.

Yesterday was not only opening day for the Red Sox. It was also LIQUIDITY's "Official Paint the Boot Stripe Day." Not a day, exactly, as I might have called it "Paint the Boot Stripe Hour." How long could it take, anyway, to mask a 28' stripe, wipe the old paint (already well sanded, remember) with acetone and apply a coat of red paint? An hour? No way.

Naturally, I arrived at the marina late for lunch, so I stopped into the new Marina Bay Marketplace. Ordering an eggplant sub took about a minute. Chatting with Larry added about half an hour. Driving to the yard and eating the sub added just another five minutes.

Having consumed not only the sub but more than half my allotted boot stripe time, I got to work with the masking tape. I don't remember if I masked the top of the stripe first or the bottom. I do know that right about where I had taped much of the starboard side, I was distracted by CJ.

I hadn't met CJ before, of course. He drove into the yard and stopped not quite across from me. I waved, he waved, his dog wagged its tail, his girlfriend waved.

Their story is that they're the new owners of a 1979 Pearson 28 that will be spending the season at Marina Bay. We'll almost be neighbors. Protocol being what it is, they invited me to climb the ladder to board their vessel. Later (I didn't note the elapsed time, exactly), I of course invited them to visit LIQUIDITY.

Socializing over, I finished taping the starboard side, taped the port side, painted the new boot stripe and removed the tape. Total elapsed time I would guess to be about 3 1/2 hours. Total time spent on the boot stripe (excluding the earlier prep time) I would guess to be about 45 minutes. Add to that about half an hour stimulating Larry's economy (which two Presidents in a row have said is a good thing). The rest of the time I chatted about the Boston Harbor islands, overnights to Scituate and cruising to P-town. I'd call that a productive afternoon.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In like a lamb

Welcome to April. Yes, we did the silly April 1 snow and slush thing but we seem to be on track now, with temperatures this weekend in the 50s and the forecast for the week no worse than high 40s. Yes, there are a couple of rainy days coming, but it still feels like spring! Let's take advantage of it while we can; this being Boston, we never know.

I spent a nice afternoon in the yard at Marina Bay yesterday. I waxed the starboard side and hope to get the port side and transom finished today. That leaves painting a new boot stripe, bottom paint and sea cock maintenance as all I need to do before launch. Dare I target April 11th?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Be Careful Out There

As the season in the Northeast is just thinking about starting up, we're reading about a tragic accident in San Diego harbor. Reports are that some but not all were wearing life jackets. Two are dead and a number of others were hospitalized with hypothermia.

That was the effect of being in the water in San Diego harbor. Think how long any of us would last under similar circumstances in Boston harbor.

Please be careful out there.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

And the Winter Cover is OFF!

My apologies to those who thought they might get an early start on the 2011 sailing season. On a warm Thursday afternoon just over a week ago, I went to the yard at Marina Bay, climbed the ladder and snipped off the winter cover. It's been cold with scattered snow showers ever since. I take full responsibility. The upcoming forecast this week isn't looking much better, with daytime temps only in the 40s and overnights in the 30s or less. Will we be in the water before mid-April?