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Old 23-09-2007, 16:54   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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September 23 – Pretty Sassy, and Well Grounded…

September 23 – Pretty Sassy, and Well Grounded…
We pulled into the Sassafras River a couple of days ago, to do some fall cleaning, as it were. Fresh water there allowed us to clean all the salt off our boat, and do some minor maintenance.
As we were leaving you the last time we were contemplating running south from Barnegat Light, having lost our GPS which gave us a graphical review of where we were on our chart (akin to the GPS which are becoming popular in cars these days, allowing you to get turn-by-turn directions to where you’re going, as well as snide comments from the system when it has to recalculate after you’ve missed a turn :{)) – but no such luck aboard).
We did, in fact, go out, but not for another day as we sat out a strong system which our friends took advantage of to blast south with a poled-out genoa (keeping the foresail from flopping as they wallowed in the following seas) and preventer’d main (keeping the boom from crashing back to the other side). In the end, it would have been a great ride; the next day was nearly dead calm, and we had to motor our way south with the sails up. On the other hand, they averaged close to 10 knots, a good half again the "hull speed" of the boat, and enjoyed surfing the waves as they overcame them, sometimes…
Anyway, we left at 5 or so, having fueled and watered. However, as I took the dawn patrol at 2AM following my nap while Lydia was at the helm, I set the speed such that we’d arrive at Cape May just before dawn, and avoiding the shoals in that area, go north to reach the Delaware and the canal to the Chesapeake. I held Cape May in reserve in the event we needed to dive in for some reason, but the weather was clement and I kept on going, passing the entrance just as the sun rose.
Along the way, I got a chance to chat up a few boats which were going to the show as well, including some which were Seven Seas Cruising Association members who’d be at the meeting at the end of the show. Nice diversions for the middle of the night!
After we turned the corner, it was still a motorsail, but we’d timed the tide perfectly, hitting it at slack water before the ebb, and as we went up the Delaware Bay, our speed continued to rise as the tide pushed us along. As we were going in the same direction as the tide, we stayed in the "hump" all the way to the canal, and, in fact, because of the narrow size, still got the lift all the way to Chesapeake City.
Chesapeake City, as those of you who are on Lydia’s log list know, is a great little town. It’s the transfer point for pilots for the commercial traffic which goes between the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, and has many marinas and an anchoring basin. Our cruising guide indicates that there is some challenge about depths there, so we called several of the marinas, inquiring about access depths. No problem, they said, including in the town’s free anchorage, having been recently dredged, again, to 9 feet. We also called the town number, as they have (limited) free dockage for a night. They agreed there was no problem, and that we’d like it best on the angled front tie-up.
As we approached, the tide was still running, so I turned into the way we’d come, approaching the pilings at the pier. I’d expected the tidal current to push us into the pilings, but found it didn’t, at all. Presuming that to be an eddy current situation, I drove it in, instead. And people say I’m not very well grounded in reality!
However, as we attempted, after initial tie-up, to move the boat, which was still a good couple of feet away from the pier, it wouldn’t move. Great… I’d driven it firmly aground! Ah, well, no big deal; the tide was slightly falling, and we’d come loose in the morning, or we’d hook a few lines to the top of the mast, use the dinghy to tilt, and off we’d go.
A nice local cautioned us very strongly about all the fenders we could muster being necessary to avoid damage from not only the commercial traffic (usually very considerate, but also very large) but in particular the large sportfishermen who’d just continue to blast on through the no-wake zone, waking us thoroughly, despite much signage cautioning that they were responsible for their wake. However, I noted that we were well aground, and the tide was going out, so it was unlikely we’d move much, if at all, let alone bang the piers. That proved to be true, and at 5:30 the next morning, we were floating and set off on the falling tide, letting it suck us into the Chesapeake.
Once out of the canal, we set our course for the Sassafras River and its lovely Georgetown, site of many marinas and bucolic countryside in between. The main reason for going there was to catch up with our friends from New Zealand, but also to do some cleaning and minor chores.
I sent off the inoperative GPS for evaluation, with several options being open in the event it wasn’t worth saving – we should know sometime next week. I also took the opportunity to reverse our depth finders’ leads, thinking that we’d only have a single one which worked, but at least that would be the one in the cockpit. Sure enough, when I swapped over the end before taking it out and rerunning it in the confined spaces needed to get it to the display without wires hanging out everywhere, it worked properly.
The big deal, though, is that, just for kicks, once I’d un-fed the old lead enough to make it reach, I connected it to the other display. Hm. It works! Hallelujah! Murphy must be trying to make amends.
No such luck. Less than 24 hours later, the one at the nav station is not reading, just as it was in the cockpit. Murphy couldn’t just leave well enough alone… That it worked once but not again suggests it can be made to work – however that might be – so I’ll try a few tricks to see what I can do, later.
I also took out all the speed impellers, causing a bit of a gusher in each case, to clean them so we’d know how fast we were going through the water. Two of the three worked – or we have another problem with one of the other instruments, as its speed shows as zero.
Other minor maintenance remains, but we’ll have ample opportunity to address those in our times on the hook (we hope – we’re on the way there as I type) in the couple of weeks before the show. New instruments await installation, including an upgrade to the wifi unit which is sending this out, and various other either replacement or upgrade items. However, the most annoying factor of new gear has been the sails.
I’d initially thought we’d have them ordered and ready for installation by the time of the show. Unfortunately, from a time perspective, but very fortunately from a monetary perspective, my recommended source in Hong Kong, Lee Sails, when I queried them yet again, sent back a copy of a mail which had gone originally 10 days earlier, but somehow had gone missing. That reopened our conversations, and the pricing is fully half of the others, so we’re headed that way.
However, for whatever reason, their mails go astray as often as not, though they always seem to get mine. Assuming we find a sufficiently strong wifi point, I’ll call them tonight to see where we are in the process. At this point, we’ll have to take delivery someplace other than Annapolis, though that’s not entirely impossible, as our friend Captain Joe, in Bath, has kindly offered to accept them there if needed. As we’ll be going back that way in any event, albeit much later, that can work. And, of course, I’ve developed a huge group of folks who’d like to meet us, or see the boat, or both, who perhaps also could take delivery, along the way, as we inch our way south.
And, finally, we still have some alternator issues to work out, but have worked around the current challenge by, if we have to run the engine for long periods, turning on every incandescent light aboard, as well as our computers and any other high-draw items we can find. That keeps our voltage in the range where the battery will remain healthy.
So, all is well aboard. We’re anchored in Spa Creek, not too far from the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, with a great connection which not only allows sending this but a good Vonage connection – which will allow me to call Hong Kong. We’ll be here through the show, where I hope to get better educated by attending many seminars, and perhaps save some money on some of the new gear we need to buy. However, absent any big excitements, this will be the last posting for a while…
Stay tuned :{))



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