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Old 07-07-2008, 07:38   #1
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Location: NY (me), Charleston SC (Icefire)
Boat: 1974 Sabre 28 Mk I - Icefire
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July 4th postmortem

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think this weekend was great. I'd be interested in hearing any amusing or cool stories that you might have. I know a lot of you folks aren't from the USA, but you probably have good weekend stories anyway. So, let's hear em!

Here's my July 4th story.

The last few months have been full of hatch repairs, porthole rebedding, and varnish work, but I met my goal of having Icefire ready for sail on the 4th. The plan: Head across the Bay from Annapolis to a crab shack on the eastern shore, feast, sail back and anchor in Annapolis harbor for fireworks. The crew: me, the Admiral, our 7-month old daughter, my cousin, and my in-laws (my mom joined us at the crab shack).

Underway time was a bit later than I'd planned, so by the time we got down the Severn abeam the Naval Academy, I realised that getting across the bay and back probably was a bit ambitious. So we changed crab shack destination to Cantler's off of Whitehall Bay. Mom was going to get our table, and we had some time to kill, so we spent some time just putzing around. Between crewing on OPBs for the last few months and reading on this forum and others, I have a much better understanding of mainsail trim than I did the last time I had her out. So in the nice wind we had that afternoon, we all had a great time sailing about, practicing tacking, gybing, and trimming. Great beer and margaritas helped of course.

I ended up having to backtrack a bit on the way to Cantler's because I made an error reading the chart, but we got there easily enough (although a bit later than planned). The Admiral and her parents had never been to a MD crab shack before, and they were suitably impressed. Talk about good timing: it started raining AFTER we'd been seated under cover. About an hour or so there let that small rainfall pass by, and we got back underway (with Mom joining us) to the news of a big storm down south near St Mary's on the VHF weather circuits.

Between the weather warnings and seeing the clouds down south, I opted to just motor back to Annapolis and pondered nixing the anchoring-out plan. It took about an hour to get back, during which time we heard more reports on the storm, and heard that it was heading east. It looked like we were in the clear as we approached the anchorage (filled with hundreds of boats). I saw the security boats around the Academy (where the fireworks were) and heard on the VHF that the fireworks were still on. So after a couple minutes of discussion, we went ahead and set the hook.

Now, Icefire is a Sabre 28, weighing in at about 7500 pounds, and I'd not anchored her before (though I have anchored other vessels). My only anchor is a 20 lb CQR with about 20 ft of chain and the rest rope. I wasn't entirely sure how well she'd hold, so after backing down to set the anchor, I stayed on deck for a while to see if we were dragging or not. Our position looked good compared to the other boats, but as I looked south, that storm that was supposedly heading east sure looked like it was heading right for us, as there was a clear front-line coming in and the wind was picking up. Right then we heard the USCG warning about the storm, and I think they advertised 50 kt winds. That made me think about leaving. My mom turning pale and almost begging to just go back to the slip made me think more of it. So I started the motor and tried to haul up the anchor. Well, by that time, the wind was at least 30 kts, and there was too much tension on the anchor line to get it to move at all. The only options were staying put or cutting the line. Seeing that the anchor was holding fast and that the storm was on us already, it seemed to me that the safest thing was to just wait it out and be ready to move if we dragged. So we hunkered down under the dodger and belowdecks while I monitored our position relative to the other boats closely.

It was while doing this that I noticed the boat anchored next to us was another Sabre 28! How cool is that?

Anyway, after ~30 mins the storm passed, and Mom was all smiles. "Wow, that was really neat" she said. Funny how panic changed into enjoyment so quickly. Actually, I was very pleased too: we didn't drag at all. GPS position throughout the blow was pretty much static. I guess that little 20 lb anchor was enough for the boat afterall (or I am just so good at setting anchors that my skill made up for whatever shortfalls the anchor may have......or I was just lucky). Some guys weren't so lucky though. I heard one VHF call about an unmanned vessel dragging anchor right toward the seawall. That's a bad night in the works right there.

So now every jackass with a VHF was calling and asking if the Annapolis fireworks were still on. We could tell the Coast Guard (and several other people on the net) was getting pissed about using 16 to talk fireworks instead of distress or hailing. Finallly, after it was annouced 6 times that we'd be told if it was cancelled or not, the word got out that the fireworks were still on. And sure enough, right on time at 2115, we had the best seat in the house. Great show! The other boats helped, too. A couple boats over, there were a couple ladies singing the national anthem, followed by America the Beautiful. Then they sang them again.....and again.....and again..... 'Nuff said.

Once the fireworks were over, we weighed anchor and headed back to our slip on Saltworks creek. Probably the most amusing quote from the night happened as we motored up the Severn. My mom looked at me and said "This is a great way to get around. What are we doing, about 25 or so?" I had to work hard to not laugh as I told her "No mom, we're going 5 kts by GPS".

So anyway, it was a great day out on the Bay and in the harbor, and a great return to sailing trim for Icefire.

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Old 07-07-2008, 08:35   #2
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Excellent story. A little more experience for the experience bag.

This weekend was our club's scheduled bi-weekly twilight race. I had suggested to the club that we make it a passage race to Singapore Armed Forces Yacht Club - Sembawang - or SAF Sembawang and we all agreed that would be fun.

The US navy has an MWR facility there and in conjunction with the American Association hosts a 4th of July Party. They usually move it to the nearest Saturday.

We started at 2PM and we had 9 boats in our mini regatta. I have a friend with a J24 and he has invited me to race the Western circuit race again this year (in August) so I joined him on his boat for some practice. He also had his wife and 2 small kids aboard. My son was on another boat.

The weather threatened all day and blew 8-15 knots. We were in a duel all day with another J24 and a 39 foot Dehler. We had a bad start and tried to pass the dehler to leward but quickly learned that wasn't happening, we fell back and tried to go above her but we had lost some time and she caught the wind.

It was only at the last tack that we all bunched up and we managed to pull ahead for a 45 second victory. The Dehler gave us time on handicap as well so the other J was the real concern. We did 2:30 minutes for an average speed of about 5.2 knots.

We went ashore and waited for the other boats. Once everyone had arrived and of course had our traditoinal water balloon fights, we went to the clubhouse for a great seafood dinner. Some folks then taxied over to the baseball field about 3 miles away. Some of us were going to float out and catch the fireworks from our boats. There was a debate about what time the fireworks started and of course we got it wrong.

We ended up being able to see them quite well from the dock in any case.

Most taxied home, a few of the night owls slept on boats and the next day we had a passage race back. Long story short we waxed them this time. The wind was very strong and threatened again all day. We had a couple of wet spots but didn't have to penetrate any storms. It was an endless beat to windward and we eventually beat the nearest keelboat by almost 5 minutes. We even beat a Nacra catamaran by a couple of boat lengths! Who said cats were fast - LOL.

In fact that was the cool part. We tracked with the Nacra all day passing within feet of each other opposite tacks multiple times. She was always going faster of course but we were always pointing higher.

Anyway - Just a little insight to a 4th of July in Asia...
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:14   #3
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Lovely weekend here. Sailed to the islands Friday, 20 knots, close reach, dragging the dingy, speed in the low teens.

The place was packed so we anchored out the first night, enjoyed the fire works, and cooked steaks on the grill.

Saturday we moved into the harbor and picked up a mooring ball, ate aboard but enjoyed a singing comic and dancing that evening.

Sunday ate ashore and headed home under the iron genny, breezes under 3 knots till we entered the bay, then 6 or so. Tied up, scrubber her down, and headed home.

All and all a great holiday weekend. Thank you to all the men and woman in the armed services that make this possible for the rest of us.

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