Plans subject to reality

Plans were subject to reality. And the reality was that the ocean forecast was not conducive for this trip. At times, winds were forecast up to 35 knots (I think…I’ve read so many forecasts they are beginning to blend together), and seas as high as 10 feet. I don’t think survival of the boat was really in question here, as the boat is pretty seaworthy. These conditions, though, are more than I’ve personally taken her out in; and my enthusiasm for getting beat up was limited. Just sailing two long days up to the C&D and back really wore me out. Three (or more) days in junk would be, uh, not fun. And fun is the point, after all. Besides, Godot doesn’t go to weather in 30 knots of wind (and to weather I would have had to go). I’ve tried, and it was unsuccessful. She doesn’t do that great in 25 either. I suppose I could have just heaved to, but that is hardly helping me get to Martha’s Vineyard in time. Schedules and sailboats don’t mix.

Regarding the heavier wind, after having trouble the first time in 30 knots (could only tack 90 degrees to the wind), I did have a second reef put in my mains’l. With my existing 100% (or so) jib the boat just didn’t balance right and I actually had a worse tacking angle. This surprised and distressed me. So I bought a new reefable “storm” jib. The quotations are because I am not sure if this really qualifies from a sail maker’s point of view as a storm jib do to material weight and size; but it is smaller and of heavier sail material, and it is essentially two jibs as it has a reefing point. I have not tested this sail and it is possible that I can handle stronger wind to weather now; but I figure an ocean passage (even a relatively short coastal passage like this one) is not the place to be experimenting. Hopefully I’ll have a chance this summer to get out in some local junk and try it out.

Regarding the waves, I’m just not sure what to expect with ten footers. If they were long rollers it would hardly matter, as it is little different from driving up and down hills. If they are short period it would be washing machine rough and perhaps damaging to the boat (and skipper). What do I get 20-30 miles offshore? I’m not quite sure, and running outside to find out seems less than ideal. I was really looking for under six foot waves (they can be unpleasant enough). 8-10? No. At least, not yet.

So, reality says no. I’ll drive up instead, and hope to catch a ride on a buddies power boat. With luck the low pressure system will have cleared out by then and we will be OK for our shorter trip.

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Maybe some other time

Somethings just aren’t meant to be. Like a lovely little sail to Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve been facing challenges the past couple weeks just getting the boat ready, which delayed departure by several days, and has left me in a rather sleep deprived state (if I were to depart this morning, I would have had to do it by three AM in order to count on making it to Cape May by midnight…Sandman says “no”). And now with a deep low pressure system moving down from New England, the weather forecast just doesn’t look good (15-25 knots, seas building to 6-9 feet by Thursday). It’s nothing the boat shouldn’t be able to safely handle. But it would be brutally uncomfortable, would likely over exhaust me to a point which exceeds my safe operating threshold, may stress the capabilities of the autopilot, is opening up the possibility of boat damage, and is causing me great concern that I never found the time to install jack lines (although I did happily install some hard points). With competent crew I might make the attempt. Single handed, however, it just isn’t prudent.

I may give back a couple weeks of vacation and just plan on taking it in September for my normal sailing trip. Given how much work I’ve feverishly put into the boat of late, though, I think I’m going to take a few days to sail around locally. I mean, she is as ready as she has ever been.

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As near as I can tell, the weather will actually be pretty good. I want to get through Delaware Bay tomorrow, though, as the wind turns Easterly (the wrong direction for an easy sail) on Monday with waves increasing to 2-3 feet. Delaware Bay is rather shallow and is home of the famous Square Wave formed when tide and wind are opposite. Three feet waves would likely be uncomfortable.

Happily the Atlantic GRIBs look pretty much ideal. There are a couple pockets of 25-30 knots wind forecast late in the week; but they seem pretty small, so are hopefully avoided. I can handle 30 knots. It isn’t very comfortable, and Godot doesn’t do well to weather in that strength; but it looks like I’ll be on a broad reach even if the pattern shifts a bit and I end up hitting it. I have two reef points in my main and a reef-able “storm” jib (maybe a little bigger than a proper storm jib; but I’m not really expecting to hit a proper storm) so I should be fine. Twenty knots wind looks not unlikely, so I’ll probably have at least one reef in for a big portion of the trip anyhow.

Too much to do prior to departure…Gotta run. Most updates will likely come from the SPOT page, although I may get a short post or two up from the cell-phone. I’ll try and do a recap at some point.

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Almost ready to go

A hugely productive day, yet there always seems to be more to do.

New head (porta-potty style toilet) installed. That was a pain. It’s an MSD version so it is plumbed for deck pump out. Not as easy as it looks.

Water fill moved far away from the head waste deck fitting. Way more time consuming than expected because the old water fill was one inch while the new one is inch and a half. Sounds easy; but I spent too much time running around looking for parts. I do feel better now that the opportunity for contamination has been eliminated.

Mainsail bent on. Storm jib set up and tested. Broken cleat replaced. New deck cleat installed.

Jeez, it seemed like I did so much more. But this is enough. The major projects are all done. I need to install the new cockpit locker seat tops (the epoxy hadn’t cured when I left for the marina this morning), which hopefully won’t take much more than an hour or two. And the boat needs to be cleaned and organized. And provisioned. And I need to finish getting the dinghy put back together (shouldn’t take too long) and somehow find a way to get it to the boat (I miss my truck).

Mow the lawn. Grab the cat. And away I go.

I hope to leave by 1600 or so, and make it to Veazey Cove. The weather report suggests that Monday is not a particularly great day to head down the Delaware Bay (contrary wind), so I’m going to try and make it all the way to Cape May on Sunday. That will be something like a 16 hour day. Long, but nothing I haven’t done before. It looks like the wind is really going to pick up (as in 40 knots up) late next week, so I don’t want to dally. If I can leave Cape May on Monday, I hope to be able to get to Martha’s Vineyard as early as late Wednesday, or maybe sometime Thursday (even averaging 3 knots I should be there by early Friday). This should keep me ahead of the junk. I think.

Plans are subject to reality. We’ll see how it all works out.

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A quick note on the SPOT…I am providing public tracking through the share service on findmespot and through Spot Adventures. I really don’t know how well they work, so it should be interesting to see how this all works out.

The links…

It will doubtless be a learning experience.

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The motor Lives!

Preps continue. The big news…the motor runs!

But, of course, I underestimated how long the remaining projects will take. It looks like a Friday departure is unlikely as I need one more day to get things well enough in order (and Friday just happens to be my next day off). Oh, well. There should be enough time built into the plan to still get me to Martha’s Vineyard on time.

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Sailing to Martha’s Vineyard: Float Plan

I have been planning a trip for about a year now. I’m going to sail my little Seafarer (departing, hopefully, this Friday) to Martha’s Vineyard for a shindig over Father’s Day Weekend. I may have hinted at it in some previous posts; but now it looks like I’m actually going to get everything (or at least the important things) done. I need to run to the marina; but in the meantime, in order to keep those in the know, in the know, here is the planning I have done. Bear in mind that a wide range of events could cause an alteration to these plans. I have a new SPOT Connect by Spot that I will hopefully be able to use to send tracking information and float plan information to those who want to know. I’m going to try and link it to this blog, as well.

In any case, here is the float plan. I’ve got a pdf file as well.

Gotta run. Still lots of work to do…

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Chesapeake Sailing, Sept 2011

I just made it back from a nice little hike out on a nice little trail in Atlanta. Gotta get my training in where I can, after all. In any case, I was on the trail so naturally I was thinking about…sailing. Funny the way the mind works. It did occur to me that I never wrote up my two week little cruise from last September. Well, it’s too late now for any hope of an accurate write up; but I can throw some pictures up from the trip. The whole album is here, including a lot of so so photos, a bunch of which are geotagged if you are interested in checking them out on a map. The chronological order seemed to get screwed up. Below is a nice little selection…

My homebuilt Apple Pie Dinghy tows well

Penny The Cat Enjoying the evening after a long day’s sail

Tied up in Annapolis

Penny The Cat trying to find anyplace she can to grab a nap

The dinghy tows well

Debris from Hurricane Irene

Sailing Wing and Wing with my boat hook rigged up as a

poor man’s whisker pole

The Oxford Inn’s Pope’s Mobile

Anchored in Spa Creek Annapolis

Nicole keeping fit by hula hooping on a Bristol 27. Travis

and Nicole were on their way to the Dominican Republic.

Ego Alley early morning

The bridge I had to negotiate to get to my anchorage on

Spa Creek

You try telling a cat to not be wandering the deck while

under sail. Good luck.

There was a fair amount of shipping

Ashley aboard the Flicka “Sweet Pea”

Flicka “Sweet Pea”

At anchor in Dunn Cove


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