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Old 24-10-2007, 21:48   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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October 22 - Fan Club Hijinks

October 22 - Fan Club Hijinks

Here we are at anchor in the middle of the Chesapeake, again,
having failed to reach our objective before dark, and choosing
the best available alternative to being out truly in the middle,
where the wind and the waves would have been more upsetting to
our blissful enjoyment of this life we've chosen.

So, how did we get in this predicament (if one can call a
peaceful night at anchor following a warm and tasty
soup-and-sandwich supper a predicament)? Well.

As we left you we were very aground, and waiting for the
President to leave so we could get on with our extraction. As I
waited, I tried kedging us off, as, being on the boat, the Secret
Service guys couldn't complain about my efforts. While I was
inching the anchor chain in with the windlass, I saw the local
whose boat they commandeered motioning, explaining what I had
been doing in my attempt to get us off before I was chased back
to the boat. Despite my inching the nose around, eventually, the
anchor came up, shiny clean, indicating that I'd just been
pulling it through the sand. So, there we were, without the
anchor to restrain us, and the wind still blowing
enthusiastically, no doubt pushing us further yet into the sand

Nearly immediately after the fishing boat with W aboard roared
off, the secret service guys followed. I took that to be my cue
and I headed across the channel, nearly reaching the other side
with the several lines I'd combined to the halyard.

However, we bought a replacement 6HP engine for our Porta-Bote,
the one purchased at a Seven Seas flea market having a failed
lower end gear and other top end difficulties as well making it
not worth saving, in Annapolis. We have been using it on our RIB
dinghy nearly exclusively, being in 6MPH restricted zones, so
that we might exercise it and uncover any problems as quickly as
possible in order that we might take advantage of the 60 day
warranty. It was not up to the task of leaning the boat far
enough, so I returned to the boat to put on the 15HP engine we
usually use on that dinghy.

Unfortunately, as I start off again, here comes the Secret
Service, telling me to return to quarters, so to speak. As it's
now just past high tide, I'm in high dudgeon since the water's
receding, but there's not much I can do about it. So, we continue
to wait for the local excitement to die down. Eventually the
fishing and press boats return, and the entourage departs for
lunch at Cheney's. With that, the Secret Service motors off
without so much as a fare-thee-well, let alone a "You may
commence recovery operations, now. Thanks for waiting."

So, I go off again, with little change in the results. Of course,
by now the tide has long since turned, and it's harder than it
would have been had we been allowed to proceed earlier. By this
time we've attracted some attention, as you might imagine with a
line over 500' long pulling on a mast, and receive offers of
help. Another boater, with his 6HP dinghy, and I, operating in
tandem, with several attempts at full throttle, still don't get
us off. We are well and truly stuck.

Interestingly, I found it significant that the multitude of
amply powered local boats who passed us both before and
after Bush totally ignored us. That's counter to nearly anyplace
I've ever been, and certainly to anything I'd have done in my
lake days as a power boater. It would have been trivial for one
of the multi-hundred horse jobs to get us off at high tide. Not
one so much as gave us a second glance.

For those planning a visit to St. Michaels, be informed that in
addition to the above attitude, the inner harbor to the left,
adjacent to marker 3, is very shallow in the corner next to the
point. At low tide, it may be something on the order of 3-4 feet,
whereas the bulk of the rest of the anchorage seems to be fine
for boats up to 7 feet, and perhaps more. Certainly, as we did
our orbit at close to low tide, on our arrival, in order to
establish where there were dragons, so to speak, we only touched
once, in the far reaches of the anchorage - but on the side near
the point... We felt that anchoring close to the channel would be
sufficient - and except for the storm and the change in anchoring
direction, it would have been. I digress, however.

So, finally, we called TowBoat US. One of the boaters who'd come
by suggested we needed to call - he hesitated a moment and then
said, "Toe Jam." I thought he was being facetious, as a play on
words, or that he couldn't remember "TowBoatUS," but when the cat
with the two 150s on the stern pulled up, there on the transom
was "Tow Jamm" - the name of the contractor to TBUS. By the time
he arrived, it was well into the ebb tide, making it even more
difficult. He observed that we'd been aground for a while -
perhaps he'd been in the area for the festivities and/or
additional vessels commandeered for security, and had seen us? -
but would give it a try.

Well, he did, indeed. With various boaters, including, on a
couple of occasions, the water taxi, providing wakes to assist in
the lift (each wake provided a small jump forward), and many
changes of attachment to allow pulling starboard or port or even
straight ahead, all enthusiastically watched by numerous boat and
shore observers, about 3 hours later, we were off. There was a
great celebration by all in view, with horns blasting,
microphones clicking (applause in radioland), whistles and other
merriment as we started moving forward.

Having learned our lesson, we were towed out to the outer
anchorage, where there was ample water, and settled in for the
night after completing the paperwork for the tow driver. Dinner
and an early bedtime for me, there was a stupendous moon above
and glorious stars to cap off our latest adventure. I'd done all
the running back and forth from the cockpit and switching the
heavy lines over the bow and reattaching them in the dozen or so
changes in direction were tried, so I was a bit sore. It felt
good to sink in to our comfy berth, and immediately go off to

When I awoke, we were still in internet range, though not as
close as to be able to phone over the internet connection, so I
caught up on the correspondence and other stuff related to our
adventures as well as prepared to order some image stabilization
binoculars. Somehow, I'd gotten it into my head that the trip to
Oxford would be very (relatively) brief, so I let the ladies
sleep in. Before we left, I checked the oil, water and fan belts.
My log notes include that the alternator belt was getting worn
and likely it was good only for one more tightening. Heh. Wishful
thinking. I tightened it.

We got off, eventually, about 11:30. The area around St. Michaels
is tricky due to the channel meanderings, so we started by
motoring, the wind being exactly wrong for the initial direction
we had to go. At noon, there was another engine alarm. Dang! Not
that routine again!

Shutting it down, I quickly determined that we had a failure of
the alternator belt. Good, relatively, anyway - a change of belt,
while a nuisance in the already hot engine room, was pretty
straightforward. However, by now the wind was piping and
threatening to blow us into the shallows, so I threw out the
hook - a quick anchoring exercise allowing us to remain stable
while I went below.

Though plenty warm below, the fan belt exchange was relatively
quick and we got back underway. Sailing was glorious. Very nice
breeze, relatively in the right directions, and we pinched our
way to the turning point and headed south. Unfortunately, it
would have taken a good day's sail on this point of wind, so we
barely got back to the Chesapeake before dark, what with leaving
in the middle of the day and stopping for yet another repair.

However, as the beginning shows, our anchorage was just fine, and
we spent a comfortable night at anchor not far from Kent Island
where we were the first night out from Annapolis. Our internet
connections failed us, however, as, while we could see several,
none were strong enough to make the link. Not to worry, I took
that time to catch up on the logs, as you'll have seen in the
previous ones just put up!

So, we'll leave you here, hanging on the hook, and pick up as we
again head out to Oxford.



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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