Four boats left the mooring field early Saturday with the forecast for Hurricane Hermine hanging uncertainly. Rick and Audrey on Sugaree, Matt and Carrie on Hobo and Julie and Ike on Slainte' were off the field first. All went south working headsails in and out as conditions allowed.
Wind was averaging 20-25, all out of the North. Waves were 3-4 feet with some sections of 5-6 feet, close frequency. Getting the dinghies way close or far enough away from the stern was important, with a boat on the rise a dink in the trough acted as an anchor. Juie and Ike's dink parted ways ( and the attaching D rings) off Worton Point.
They recovered it, beat into the lee of the point to secure the lines and then blew out their headsail while trying to catch the fleet.
Jim and Donna Daniels left a few minutes after the vanguard - off the mooring ball at HPYC at 6:40 am. With headsale alone ( and a long water line) they passed the fleet and touched the mooring ball at Annapolis Harbor at 1:50 PM - 7 hours 10 minutes!
With the forecast easing and Hermine slowing and heading east off the Carolinas Brazen Article left the mooring at 10:45, motored with a bit of jib exposed to Annapolis arriving a bit after 7 PM.
Cleaning carbs on outboards is getting old by this time in the season. There is canned gas now available at the big box hardware stores - TrueFuel - but it is very expensive ( roughly $6 a quart).
Pure-gas.org has an online listing, below is a printout of the places where ethanol free gas is available in Pennsylvania. There are some stations in Maryland but it looks like it is all some distance from the club.
From Peg Feathers Long -
The black eyed susies and gallardia are finally blooming on the hill!
Julie Tipton and Cloey Devlin guided a class of 16 women on sail theory, rules of the road, some knot tying and small boat sailing off our docks.
This was an opportunity to get women of HPYC and friends together to share to their knowledge and skills, and help some novices enjoy time and gain confidence sailing on the North East River.
The class brushed up on parts of a sailboat, points of sail, and knot tying with Commodore Cloey, then small groups went for a sail with Captain Julie, putting theory into practice on "Blue Knight", Cynthia Quinn's 19' Buccaneer (which was screaming across the river, making everyone on the dock envious).
All participants found new friends and had a great time learning to sail and being able to get out on a sailboat with other women.
Our June 21st forecast was for stormy weather at dusk. THe weather passed just to the south offering an unusual and spectacular sunset from the mooring field.
Pt 2 of Julie's Bluewater experience
We left Bermuda on 5/10. We had looked long and hard at the forecast and knew that there would be one Low Pressure system we would have to go through, but we weren't too worried. On the other side it looked like it was going to be a good sail. We left with winds 10-15 from the south. We were on a beam reach doing 6-7 knots. Later in the night the winds picked up and we had sustained gale force winds for the next 30 hours. I likened it to being on a roller coaster that you couldn't get off with the G forces slamming me up against the bulkheads 24/7. After that the winds became more manageable and stayed southerly for the next few days. We were making good time for the first few days
Ahh, my worst fear, the dreaded Gulf Stream. The forecast didn't predict anything when we were supposed to cross, and Eric had received an e-mail before we left that showed the thermal image of the Gulf Stream and where our safest place would be to cross so we marked it on the char plotter and off we went. The water temperature went from 72 to 81 in a matter of 2 hours. The color of the water changed as well. Clear skies and the seas were gradual. We crossed the Gulf Stream in 12 hours without incident.
However, after leaving the Gulf Stream, the skies suddenly darkened. The wind picked up and now our winds were gale force once again (34-47) mostly in the 40+. We bounced up and down and rolled all around and "Fiona" kept us right on track. We had the self steering vane "Victor" set and Victor kept us on a steady pace, veering off ever so slightly every now and then. We were pitched left, right, up and down. Once we were side swiped by a wave that sent the boat over on her side. All I saw was a wall of water and I was slammed against the bulkhead and everything on the port side was strewn across the boat. Fiona righted herself and just kept right on going.
The winds died down once more and then picked up again. The old sayings, red at morning, sailors warning and red at night, sailors delight are absolutely true. Once again we hit gale force winds. Once we left the Gulf Stream the water temperature cooled down significantly and so did the air temperatures. I would highly recommend if you chose to do an offshore adventure to invest in some foul weather gear. I used mine and it saved me many a time from getting drenched (a sailors nightmare).
Long Island couldn't come soon enough. I was tired, dirty, hungry and ready to be in a bed that didn't bounce, sway, or move in any way whatsoever. I was also missing my man, Ike. Seeing the lighthouse and sailing to Patchogue, NY was a milestone for me. I did it. I had made the almost 1600 mile journey I had started almost a month ago. We arrived on 5/10 just before midnight.
The lessons I took from this sailing adventure are these.
1. If you think sailing is all romance and tropical islands and palm trees, you might want to take a trip with someone in the open ocean for a 10-15 day trip and see just what you're made of. Things happen, and they usually do in heavy winds and seas. I lost a jib line in heavy seas and gale force winds and of course if wraps itself around the other side so, yes I had to put my big girl panties on and go and retrieve it. Even peeing can be a chore on a 30 degree tack. Most common is seasickness. I did not get sick once, nor even feel nausea.
2. You will be tired. Someone has to be awake at night to make sure you are still on course, to tack if needed, watch out for other vessels and make sure everything is still running smooth. You are up every few hours taking readings and watching your course.
3. Bring lots of reading material. In the 3 weeks I was gone I read approximately 5 books. It would've been a good time to brush up on my Rosetta Stone had I downloaded it to my phone before I left.
4. A 42' boat really isn't that big once you've left land. Keep a good attitude. The long voyages can be hectic and lonely. There are only so many places you can go on a boat. The cockpit, table, head, galley and your bunk. A few steps to each. I did not get the 10,000 steps in each day I had been getting on land. (haha)
5. Bring food that you like. Fresh food is good, but only lasts a couple of days, depending on the heat. The hammocks are good for fruits like apples and root vegetables like carrots, turnips and potatoes. Food overseas is not like food in the US. It can also be twice as much, as we found out in Bermuda. Canned food lasts longer but after a while you really desire fresh or to have something different.
6. Don't expect to shower everyday. Most boats are limited on water so what you get is what you get. Bird baths work great to keep the essentials from smelling.
7. Keeping things dry could be a chore. Once they're wet they may not dry out. Everything is subject to getting wet, no matter where they are.
8. The sailing life is meant to be simple. Less is more. Once you get out away from everything you find that you don't need as much and it really is a simple life.
I have decided that I like our 30' Hunter and do not want a bigger boat at this time. I am satisfied with "Slainte" and all she has to offer along with the Chesapeake Bay. I've had my adventure and now I'd like to sail back on the Bay once more and see things I haven't seen in a while. I also enjoy sailing with our group and anchoring out at night and sharing food and stories. The cost of upkeep on a bigger boat, the fees, insurance, sails, and everything associated just doesn't appeal to me. I am perfectly happy for now with what I have. I wouldn't mind a little coastal cruising up and down the east coast, maybe the Bahamas, but as for transatlantic sailing, let those other adventurous souls with their wanderlust go forth and seek what they desire.
Here are some pics to add to the end of my journey. There's a picture of Neil and Eric in there. Eric owns Fiona and is 84 years old. He's got over 300,000 miles under his belt and has been sailing over 50 years. He's a crotchety old goat, but he's a good sailor and has lots to give.
We are in Bermuda. Here is pt 1 of our journey.
I arrived in Puerto Rico Apr 15 to meet up with Eric Forsythe, owner of Fiona, a 42' Westsail. We also had one more crew member, Neil, flying in from Nashville.
On the way to the car, Eric tripped over a speed bump and fell. He busted his chin open and cracked a rib, which required a trip to the ER. However once there, they wanted him to do a CAT SCAN and X-ray but he refused and we went on our way, his chin still bleeding.
Next day we went to El Yunque National Rain Forest and then went shopping for some last minute food. Eric's chin was still bleeding
Sun, with Eric's chin still bleeding, we made sail towards the north, pretty much motoring for 2 days. He finally put super glue in his chin and shut his wound. Fiona, carries something like 135 gallons of fuel and 200 gallons of water for long extended trips. We did a close haul on Day 3. It was nice not to hear the motor hum, but by day 4 we were back to motoring. Day 5 we had screaming winds blowing 20-25 pushing us right along. We had waves over the bow and the boat, and were closed hauled for 24 hours. Day 6 the winds shifted in our favor and we did a reach doing 6 knots. Day 7 we shifted to a reach and then downwind pushing along @ 6-7 knots. Day 8 we hit a Not'easrer 150 miles out of Bermuda. The best we could do would be tack back and forth and wait for the winds to die. Winds were 30 with gusts over 40 and we had the rails in the h20 all day. Day 9 the winds finally died back 10-15 and we were able to get a somewhat decent course to Bermuda.
Along our treck, we have learned to tie a few knots, use the Aeries wind vane, and plot our position using a sextant.
It's a little boring while we sail so we read or sometimes watch movies. Eric does all the cooking and the day goes like this.
Breakfast - cereal and coffee
Mid morning snack with coffee or tea
Lunch - usually a sandwich with a beer
Afternoon tea with a cookie ( I can hear his accent as I type)
Afternoon cocktail everyday which consists of rum, apple juice and lemon and crackers with various things I have never tried before but are quite tasty.
Dinner- various canned meats and potatoes or rice and beer.
Then we start 2 hour watches 8-10, 10-12, 12-2, etc until 8 am. The boat sails itself. We set "Victor" wind came and he goes at it. This boat hauls ass in 20+ knot winds.
So we're taking a few well deserved days in Bermuda before we sail the final leg of the trip home to Long Island. This trip for me will be about 1500 miles. The trip for Eric, just shy of 13,000 miles, a short one for him.
Eric is 86 years old and has been through a lot of trials throughout his long 50 years of sailing life. He's been around the world twice, and been to the Artic Circle. All in all its just another trip home for him where he'll refit and probably plan another adventure and take another crew somewhere around the world.
Sent from my iPhone