Sunday, May 31, 2009

planning

Spent the day washing and drying out the gear, scrubbing down the boat and sorting things out.  Also downloaded tracks from each of our gps's.  And then talked about future plans.  That's a map of Chesapeake Bay.  The calendar is opened to October.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

another quick look

Steve picked five that he liked too.  We'll start working on a daily log, but that will take a few days.








a quick edit

Just downloaded our memory cards.  After a quick look Bruce picked five photographs he liked.




Friday, May 29, 2009

a great trip

We tied up at the New Bern Sheraton Marina about 9:00 this morning, two days ahead of schedule. Wind was just great. It blew with us most days, against us one day (which made for great sailing!). People in Bath, Oriental and New Bern have been very friendly and helpful. The trip has been better than we had hoped.
John Welsford will be pleased to know that at every marina along the way people have dropped by to ask "who designed that boat." Here in New Bern an owner of a ocean cruising tahiti ketch came over to admire Spartina and comment on how seaworthy she looked. I'll send John a note.
Thank you to all who have taken the time to check the blog, follow the spot track and send notes. (Now that I look at the blog I see those "ok" msgs must have gotten a little boring.).
We'll take a break, head to Engelhard tomorrow to get my jeep and trailer and come back to haul out the boat. We'll post stories and photos about the trip once we regroup. (Last night anchored in Goose Creek just down the Neuse River we started adding up the photos on our memory cards. Total came to something over 2,500, so there ought to be a nice photo or two in there.)

steve

ps - Bivy's worked great, slept very well. Had a problem in only one spot where the mosquitoes hung around outside until morning, but that gave us inspiration to get our act together and get on the move.

In New Bern.jpg

Done deal

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.1017
Longitude:-77.04
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/29/2009 08:50:40 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.1017,-77.04&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.0381
Longitude:-76.9354
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/29/2009 07:02:23 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.0381,-76.9354&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Thursday, May 28, 2009

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.0362
Longitude:-76.9264
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/28/2009 16:35:09 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.0362,-76.9264&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:34.9629
Longitude:-76.7122
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/28/2009 12:20:49 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=34.9629,-76.7122&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.0227
Longitude:-76.6988
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/28/2009 09:08:48 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.0227,-76.6988&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Great sailing

It has been a great trip! All kinds of weather from sunny and hot to heavy rain. Wind has been with us for the most part pushing us two days ahead of schedule. Paid for that yester day with nine hours of tacking into strong wind and big waves to get from Bath to the icw. Today we sailed 27 miles with a max speed of 6.4 knots.
Enjoyed anchorages in Wyesocking Bay, Spencer Bay and tiny Dixon Creek off of Goose Creek (the icw).
Bruce has out done himself with diiners that include beef stew made with red wine and pork chops and mashed potatoes served with a white wine/garlic/shallot sauce.
Folks along the way have been friendly and interesting.
Steve

Blog photos

We are just posting a few cell phone photos now, but cell signals are hard to find. We are filling up the memory cards with photos and will be posting a lot of images whe we get back.

Steve

Oriental Already !.jpg

Well here we are in Oriental. We have had amazing wind and are two days ahead of schedule. Great sailing I'm every kind of wind and seas you can imagine. We have had amazing anchorages. Great Coronas here at the Parrot bar.
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OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.0249
Longitude:-76.6956
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/27/2009 14:16:21 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.0249,-76.6956&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.3061
Longitude:-76.6137
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/27/2009 07:28:34 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.3061,-76.6137&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.3055
Longitude:-76.611
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/26/2009 18:01:12 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.3055,-76.611&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.379
Longitude:-76.7219
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/26/2009 14:00:26 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.379,-76.7219&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.3935
Longitude:-76.7293
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/26/2009 13:34:38 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.3935,-76.7293&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.4766
Longitude:-76.8169
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/26/2009 09:21:10 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.4766,-76.8169&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Monday, May 25, 2009

Docked at Bath.jpg

We made it to Bath, NC and are staying at the marina. It's pretty busy as it is the holiday. Sailing has been great. All kinds of weather. Life is great.
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OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.406
Longitude:-76.7165
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/25/2009 12:19:00 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.406,-76.7165&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.4018
Longitude:-76.6888
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/25/2009 12:06:15 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.4018,-76.6888&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.3895
Longitude:-76.4679
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/25/2009 07:11:53 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.3895,-76.4679&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sunday, May 24, 2009

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.3877
Longitude:-76.4796
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/24/2009 17:05:54 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.3877,-76.4796&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.4038
Longitude:-76.0753
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/24/2009 07:01:03 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.4038,-76.0753&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Saturday, May 23, 2009

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.4038
Longitude:-76.0754
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/23/2009 16:54:38 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.4038,-76.0754&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.4836
Longitude:-75.9738
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/23/2009 12:06:49 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.4836,-75.9738&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:35.5112
Longitude:-75.9844
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/23/2009 10:22:21 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=35.5112,-75.9844&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Pre-launch.jpg

Steve has Spartina rigged and ready for launching.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

packing up

Busy day with trips to the hardware store, grocery, etc.  We spread all the gear and supplies out in the garage along the lines of the boat packing plan.    Everything we needed (and a little more) was there.  And it fits with room to spare.
Bruce has great plans for cooking that include a stew with red wine, beef and potatoes.  Even some sauces that include white wine (the kind that comes in a little box) and chicken stock.  We bought some dry ice for the soft-sided cooler that will carry pork chops and some small steaks.
Below the dog Jack gets involved as Bruce tries out his Bivy.
Beautiful weather today with clear skies, comfortable temperatures and a nice breeze.  From what I see that weather should hold for a few days.
We hope to launch tomorrow around 10 or 11 a.m. and will send a Spot "ok" message and turn on the tracking once we are on the water.

-Steve

IMG00019-20090521-2301.jpg

Bruce trying to remember his spot login…
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At Steve's.jpg

Just arriving before the cruise.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

this is only a test....

That Spot "ok" message is just a test.  I picked up Bruce at the airport and we sent the "ok" on the way home.  Working on the computers now updating Spot profiles, buying our NC saltwater fishing licenses and exporting way points.

-Steve

OK ESN:0-7404110

Steve and Bruce are having a great time on the Skeeter Beater 126. Click link to see our location.
ESN:0-7404110
Latitude:36.7453
Longitude:-76.222
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/21/2009 23:30:58 (US/Eastern)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=36.7453,-76.222&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

life is good


I just realized that I need to put in eight hours of work tomorrow and then I am off for 13 days.  Sounds good to me.  I didn't catch any fish on the afternoon above, but I'll do better on this next trip.
I emailed a friend who lives down in New Bern, a victim of last winter's lay offs.  I suggested he meet us for dinner at the Outback Steakhouse down there.  Better yet, he said, come over to the house that he and his girlfriend are renovating two blocks from the marina to grill steaks in the backyard and have a few beers.   Life can be pretty good sometimes.

Steve

it doesn't take a weatherman...

I'm a little bit surprised as I sit down to write this post.  Not six hours ago I was checking the wind forecast for Saturday at Windfinder.com and saw a forecast of 18 mph wind out of the east.  As I was about to write about tucking in a reef for a nice reach down Pamlico Sound to Wysocking Bay I checked the forecast again and it had dropped to 3 to 8 mph wind out of the (at various times) northeast, east, and southeast.  What a difference a few hours make.  I won't count on high winds or mild winds.  I'll go with the opinion of Edna Summerlin, co-owner along with her husband "Hot Dog" Summerlin (you ask him where the name came from) of the Big Trout Marina in Engelhard when she says quite simply "We always have wind down here." 
We'll be ready to deal with whatever comes our way.  I've got a fishing guide friend who told me a few years ago "If you wait until everything is perfect to go fishing then you will never go."
Bruce shot the photo of me rigging sails down at Harkers Island.  I had the sailmaker, E. S. Bohndell Co., put it two sets of reef points in the main.  That was money well spent.  I can sail under full sail, single reefed main, double reefed main, jib and mizzen only or main only.  That is a lot of options to deal with the variety of wind.
I don't understand weather as well as I would like, but I suspect the difference might be the front that a few days ago was forecast to be sitting right over Pamlico Sound this weekend.  Now they show it holding up north over Chesapeake Bay, then sliding farther to the north over the next couple of days.  
This is at the north end of Core Sound, clear skies to the north and a squall moving up from the south.  Sunshine and rain.  We'll see a little bit of it all.

Steve

Sunday, May 17, 2009

great quote from Peter Matthiessen

Life was great
and life was terrible
and life could not be one
without the other.




I'm not sure what the photo has to do with the quote but that is a wonderful line from Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country that has had me thinking all day on a cold, rainy, windy day.

Steve

the forecast

Less than a week before we leave so I grabbed some more food while at the grocery this morning.  Raw spanish peanuts, banana chips and dried mango spears.   Divided them up in to a dozen cups then poured each cup in to a zip lock snack bag.  This is the kind of snack I enjoy late morning or late afternoon.  Bruce likes the snack crackers and beef jerky, we'll have that on board too.
Also took a look at the seven day front forecast.  Accuracy this far out is far from certain, but I'll be watching this page as we get closer to see what we can expect.  It really doesn't matter a lot.  Being out there from seven to ten days means we will see at least one full cycle of weather - warm moist air from the south being pushed out by a (relatively) cooler mass of dry air from the northwest, the mixing of the two possibly bringing some rain and thunderstorms.  And then a couple of nice days while the humidity builds again.  We've got the gear to deal with all that and will take it as it comes.
The last time we sailed together we drove down Hwy. 17 to Harkers Island on a rainy day.  We left Chesapeake in a light mist, about sixty miles down in to North Carolina is was a heavy downpour.
I had never expected to use the bilge pump with the boat high and dry on a trailer but there I was in a gas station parking lot somewhere north of New Bern pumping out the boat.  Got some strange looks from the truck drivers.  (This was a lesson learning event on the trip, the first of several.  Since the boat wasn't going to be in the water that day I had not snugged down the waterproof ports, particularly those under the seats in the aft cockpit.  The heavy rains put a couple of inches of water in the boat, some of which got in to the storage areas.  Always snug down the hatches and to bag the gear, even if kept in a waterproof (supposedly) area.)
That next day we sailed out of Harkers Island Fishing Center in the rain, thunder rumbling in the distance.  By midafternoon is was blue skies.
What kind of weather can we expect?  Rain, sun, wind, no wind, hot, humid, cool, dry?  All of the above I suspect.

Steve

Thursday, May 14, 2009

details

Starting to get butterflies as the trip is a little over a week away.  Will there be any wind?  Will there be too much wind?  I find myself worrying about things like that.  Thought of taking a peek at the long range weather forecast, but decided not to.  The weather will be what it will be.
I've done a little maintenance on the trailer.  Added axle grease to the spring loaded reservoir on the hubs.  I try and do that a couple of times a year using the waterproof axle grease.  Also getting new tires for the trailer.  It came with "B" tires.  I'm upgrading to "C" which can handle more weight.  I'll use one of the "B" tires as a spare.

Above is one of my favorite ways to explore possible anchorages, with the main furled and sailing under jib (which you can see) and mizzen (which you can't see).  I'll stand in the aft part of the cockpit and sail along the marsh - in this case Mt. Pleasant Bay - just nudging the tiller with my knee as I follow the curve of the shore.  That grass along the shore is spartina alterniflora.  My Spartina is just right for sailing here.



I've taken care of a few things on my list....
  • called the hotel in Bath to make sure they had room (yes)
  • emailed Matthews Pt Marina to see if they had a restaurant nearby (no)
  • repainted the motor well
  • got a lock for the outboard (When we stay at a hotel we take the valuables - gps, radio, binoculars - off the boat.  It occurred to me that we left the most valuable item - the outboard - behind with no protection.  So I bought a lock.)
  • bought some toilet chemicals for the porta pottie (In this case is was a dry chemical added to water.  I prefer that to carrying bottles of liquid that might leak.)
  • made my last info sheet with marina/hotel phone numbers, ferry information for the ride back in case we have time to take the free Bayview-Aurora ferry
  • talked with my brother about the Spot beacon as he is the main point of contact if we need help

Above is evening on Mt. Pleasant Bay with my department store anchor light.  Very peaceful place where I saw a school of tailing puppy drum swim by the boat.  A tiny beach on the shore was shared by snowy egrets and ibis (both the white and glossy).   Black skimmers ghosted over the smooth surface with their lower bills just touching the water.  Beautiful spot.  Our anchorage the first night of the Skeeter Beater should be somewhere close to here.

-Steve

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

anchors aweigh

Went over to a friend's house this evening to borrow his grinder and cut the old shackles off of my anchor chain.  Bruce has made a new anchor line and the shackles on my old line/chain had frozen, so I had to use a cutting blade to remove them.  
Below is my current anchoring system (with the shackles cut open).  I use a 10 lb. navy style anchor, five feet of chain and an 8 or 10 lb (it is not marked and I can't remember which) mushroom anchor as a sentinel clipped by a carabiner to the top of the anchor chain.  This is an idea I read about in the late, great magazine Small Boat Journal back in the 80's.  The idea is that the added weight at the top of the anchor chain makes the anchor itself more effective as the flukes are held in a more vertical position and dig deeper in to the bottom.  I typically anchor in mud and/or sand and this system has never failed me.  I use less chain which makes it easier to handle as I deploy and recover it.  Great for single-handed sailing.
The anchor, chain and line sit in a bucket under the foredeck.  The chain is clipped to a line that goes around the mast.  If I turn the boat over the chain and anchor will stay with the boat and not become an anchor on the bottom (possibly adding to my problems).  The mushroom anchor is clipped to the same line that goes around the mast.
The only negative is a worn spot on the starboard foredeck where I set down the mushroom anchor while unclipping it from the chain.  This winter I might put a thin hardwood chafe pad on that spot to minimize wear and tear.
If I'm just making a short stop - for lunch, fishing or a nap - I'll just use just the main anchor.  Overnight I always used both the main and the mushroom anchor.  I've ridden about a couple of good storms, one at Tangier Island on Chesapeake Bay and one in Mouse Harbor on Pamlico Sound, and never had a problem with dragging.
I encountered the highest winds at Mouse Harbor.  It was a line of thunderstorms that swept across eastern North Carolina over a four hour period.  I can't say what the winds were at my anchorage, but the line of storms had winds over 50 mph, hail and a couple of funnel clouds.  I moved out to the center of a small cove so the boat could swing 360 degrees, raised the cb and rudder, left the mizzen raised to act as a wind vane and point me in to the wind, and set the boom tent in place.  I spent the evening reading comfortably at anchor.  ( Next to me I had my watertight hypothermia kit, Spot beacon, strobe/flashlight and vhf radio all tied together - just in case.)
I carry a backup Navy style anchor, chain and line in case I lose the main set.  The anchor comes apart and tucks neatly away with the ballast below the bunk flat.  The extra line is stored on a hook up under the foredeck.


A quick note on yesterday's post about gear on the boat.  That list and chart is not complete.  It is more of a guide for packing the boat.  If you want a complete list go to the Watertribe site and check out their required gear.  This is what Bruce and I will use as our checklist for packing.  I WOULD NOT GO OUT ON A CRUISE WITHOUT THE GEAR LISTED THERE (I think anybody who does is making a mistake).  Part of the gear is a hypothermia kit.  I THINK THIS IS A MUST, REGARDLESS OF AIR AND WATER TEMPERATURE.  Just my opinion (but on my boat my opinion counts).

Steve 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

stow it!

I know I used this photo before (we've got to get out sailing so we can get some new photos to put on the blog!!!) but I wanted to show it here so you can visual what Spartina looks like fully loaded with gear and supplies.  That is Bruce at the tiller, we were headed out for six days on the water but had supplies to last 9 or 10 days.

It was too cold and rainy to sail yesterday, so I spent the afternoon sorting food, putting it in bags and storage bins.  Then I started sorting through the clothes, hypothermia kit, sleeping bag, etc.  And then I started wondering where all this stuff would go.  That pile of stuff didn't even include Bruce's gear.  I know it will all fit since we have done it before, but to put my mind at ease I drew up a packing layout.  Here it is (excuse the handwriting please).

Basically I keep my personal gear on the starboard side of the boat and Bruce will keep his on the port side.  The rest of the gear, food, supplies is spread about the boat, neatly tucked away.  Here is a rundown.....
  • Bungeed up under the foredeck will be the polytarp boom tent, two self-inflating sleeping pads, two Bivy's and maybe two camp pillows.
  • On the starboard side up under the foredeck will be a hammock style net that holds onions, peppers and other veggies.
  • On the port side up under the foredeck will be a hammock with bilge pump, sponges and cleaning supplies.
  • On the bunk flat beneath the foredeck will be the porta pottie, anchor and rode (all in bucket tied to the mast), 2 and 1/2 gallon fuel tank.
  • My duffel, with clothes, sleeping bag and hypothermia kit will be tuck under the coaming on the starboard side at the aft end of the foredeck.
  • Camp stove, wrapped in a polytarp bag, is bungeed along the starboard side up against the hull planks and under the coaming.
  • Aft of the stove is the cook kit with pots, utensils, olive oil and seasonings, tucked up against the hull under the coaming.
  • Underneath the the bunk flat on the starboard side in the watertight storage area are 4+ gallons of water and the tool kit.
  • Beneath the starboard coaming on top of the thwart will be my foul weather gear and a propane tank.
  • In the starboard thwart watertight storage area will be three gallon jars of food, a few two gallon freezer bags of food and some extra clothes. 
  • The forward storage area under the starboard cockpit seat will hold AA batteries, extra line and first aid kits.
  • The aft storage area under the starboard cockpit seat will hold flares and other emergency gear.
  • A 6 foot oar will be bungeed beneath the starboard coaming.  Tucked behind the oar will be an plastic envelope containing our charts and notebook.
  • The day storage area at the aft end of the cockpit will hold the vhf radio, sunblock, knife, binoculars and rigging tools.
  • Underneath the day storage area will be spare parts and tools for the outboard.
  • Bruce's duffel will be tuck up under the coaming forward on the port side.
  • Bungeed aft of that up against the hull and under the coaming port side will be a boat fender.
  • Aft of that on the port side will be a box with candles, lights, notebooks and matches.
  • Underneath the port side of the bunk flat will be 4+ gallons of water.
  • Underneath the coaming and on top of the thwart on port side will be Bruce's foul weather gear and some extra bits and pieces of line.
  • In the watertight storage under the thwart on the port side will be food, in jars and bags, and camera gear (in watertight bags).
  • In the forward storage beneath the cockpit seat port side will be cleaning gear and toilet articles.
  • In the aft area beneath the cockpit seat port side will be fishing tackle.
  • Underneath the coaming aft on the port side will be the boat hook.
  • On the transom will be two fishing poles.
Wow.  That seems like a lot of gear.  I still can't get over how much stuff fits just under the foredeck.  But I consider all of it necessary.  My feeling is that any piece of equipment must "earn" its way on to the boat.  Our one luxury is food - we could do more backpacking style food and save some space and weight.  But the Pathfinder can carry all this and more.  So why skimp?  The funny thing is that with all this gear, there is still room for more.  Lots of space in the Pathfinder (my thanks to John Welsford for that).
I'll laminate this drawing back to back with a sheet of info about marinas, hotels and some other material and tuck it in with our charts.

-Steve

Sunday, May 10, 2009

a well-fed crew is a happy crew

Less than two weeks until the trip so it is time to start thinking seriously about food. Above is a photograph Bruce shot of me fixing dinner on Core Sound. Meals, particularly after a long day on the water, can be a highlight of the day. For dinner I had always used a combination of boiling bag rice (cooked in the pot on the right side of the stove) and onions, peppers and fish (salmon or tuna in a foil packet) grilled on a griddle. Bruce, when he joined me in the fall of '07, saw some room for improvement. He hasn't done much sailing, but he has done a lot of camping and has experience with camp meals. He'll be taking charge in that area.
All spring I've been tossing an extra item of two into the grocery cart for the trip. This past weekend I did a little census to see what we've got. Here's the count (this is for a trip that will probably take, depending on wind and whimsy, 7 to 10 days).

  • 24 breakfast bars (a variety of granola and other high fiber bars)
  • 32 fruit cups - mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, tropical fruit mixture
  • 14 tuna fish and cracker lunch packs
  • 3 asian dinners in boxes that include noodles, sauces and chopped peanuts or something along those lines
  • two boxes of cous cous
  • 4 packs of instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 pack of spaghetti
  • 1 pouch of pasta sauce
  • 4 foil packs of salmon/tuna
  • 1 boil in bag rice
  • 2 heater meals (self heating meals that come in handy when I'm too tired and/or wet to mess with cooking.
  • two cans mixed nuts that will be divided up in to zip lock snack bags
  • big box of raisins that will be divided in to snack bags
  • bottle of olive oil
  • bottle of Cajun Sunshine hot sauce
  • bottle of blackened redfish spice
  • bottle of olive oil
  • 20 packs of those little peanut butter snack crackers
That will be the basis for our food. It may seem like a lot, but it doesn't take up much space and there is plenty of room in the watertight storage areas under the thwart on Spartina. Items above that are in boxes will be taken out of the boxes and put in zip lock bags. Different groups of food - main courses, side dishes, snacks - will be grouped together in two-gallon zip lock bags or one of the one gallon plastic jars. Each evening we'll do a mix and match to see what looks good for dinner that night. As we get out the food for dinner each night we'll also pull out food for breakfast/lunch/snacks the following day. We'll have plenty of onions and peppers on board, they reside in a net hammock up under the foredeck on the starboard side.
Our biggest change this cruise will be the addition of meats and sauces - that's what Bruce will be taking care of once he is in town. We'll use a soft cooler and dry ice to keep things fresh (don't know how well this will work, but we'll find out). Bruce says he has a camp stew he wants to do the first night. It involves beef, several veggies and wine (normally there is no alcohol on the boat, but we'll take a small box of wine along for cooking purposes). It takes some time to cook, he says, and that is fine as the first day is a short sail from Engelhard to Wysocking Bay. Plenty of time to relax, get organized and enjoy the smell of a nice stew cooking away.
The other fresh food we hope to have available is fish caught along the marshes. Those are filets from a nice speckled trout that I caught on Caffee Bay near Swan Quarter. Grilled with onions and peppers and served on top of the rice with juice from a fresh lime, it was a great meal. I have fished off of beaches and power boats for years, but I'm still learning how to fish off of a sailboat. It takes a little practice to get the boat in the right spot, and it takes some experience to recognize the right spot. Speckled trout and puppy drum (called redfish on the gulf coast) will be the fish we are after.

I've sorted through my fishing kit to get ready for the trip. I don't take too much gear, maybe a couple of dozen soft lures that are slid on to hooks with 1/8 oz. lead heads. I'm trying out the Storm lure on the left for the first time this trip. It is a larger soft lure (as opposed to the hard bodied mirrorlures and such) with two treble hooks. If you look close you can see that I have pinched down on the barbs on the hooks. With a fish flopping on the line I want to avoid getting myself snagged. Last time I did that it took a doctor and two nurses to get the hook out of my hand.
Air and water temperatures on the rise the fishing is certainly picking up. I keep an eye on the fishing reports at Cape Lookout Charters to see what is happening down there. Fishing looks good, so maybe there will be trout or blackened redfish on the menu.
-Steve

Saturday, May 9, 2009

odds and ends

Here are a couple of photos showing the gear I mentioned in my last post in use on Spartina. Bruce shot the photo at the top of me wearing my pfd/harness with polypropolene tether. This was crossing the Neuse River on a nice reach. The wind and waves felt stronger than what it looks like in the photo. You can see I've loosened the mizzen sheet a little. Normally I keep it sheeted in tight for a nice balance in winds up to 12 or 15 mph. It was blowing more than that on this sail so I've put a little slack in there to keep the sails balanced (the ability to balance the sail plan is one of the things I really love about the Pathfinder and yawls in general). You can also see our two fishing poles mounted on the port side of the transom. I've got a stainless steel permanent tube mount for one fishing pole, and I just used electrical cable ties to add a second pvc tube along side the permanent one for the second rod.
And there is the anchor light below on a breezy evening at Great Fox Island on Tangier Sound. I used to clip it to the lazy jacks at night when I slept every night under a boom tent. On nights now without a forecast of rain we'll sleep in the bivy sacs and not use the boom tent. So I've moved the anchor light forward to the bow stay where it doesn't interfere with the view of the night skies that we'll get looking up through the bivy's bug screen.
When anchoring in a place, near Wainwright Island on Core Sound for example, where there might be some waterman zipping around the corner late evening I hang a second anchor light to the boomkin. Just want to make sure everybody sees us.
Back up to the top photo you can see Bruce's gps sitting on top of the chart book. One of our first jobs when he gets back here will be to import my waypoints in to his gps. We've both got Garmin gps's and I think they use the same MapSource software, so that should be easy. We'll spend some time on the computer the first night he is in town working on waypoints, buying our NC salt water fishing licenses and also updating our Spot profiles online. The next day will be food shopping, junk on the bunk (Bruce's army term for laying all our gear out on the floor and marking it off on a check list) and then packing the boat and jeep. We should be headed south by sunrise the next morning!
Just noticed Bruce posted a test photo from his cell phone. That's pretty cool to be able to do that.
Steve

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It Works

Well I must say I am impressed with what technology can do today. I took the picture of my car at the car wash. We are getting ready for a trip to Canada tomorrow. Steve had asked me to see if I could take a picture with my phone camera and post it to the blog. Well, I can. We are going to do a little of that kind of photo posting on our trip. Simply amazing, who'd a figured?

Bruce

preparing for a road trip.jpg

Testing the post of phone Photos.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the dollar store and other expedition outfitters

Days are flying by and the trip is not that far away. Time to start pulling out some of the gear to check it over. As I sort through the bin of equipment I'm pleasantly surprised by how much of it came - at a very reasonable price - from such places as the Dollar Store, WalMart, hardware store or grocery store. These tall, wide mouth storage jars are a good example. I carry six of them on Spartina. They stand vertically in the storage area underneath the thwart, three on each side of the centerboard trunk. A lot of the food goes in there, I marked the contents on top of the lids so I can open the watertight port and quickly locate what I need. You see fruit cups on the left, breakfast bars on the right. These jars cost $1.00 each at the Dollar Store. While building the boat I had sketched out a list of supplies and made note of Nalgene storage jars. But those jars - colorful and made of high impact materials - run $17.00 EACH. These $1.00 jars do the job I need.


I always have a Rite in the Rain all weather notebook nearby when I'm sailing. I use it to jot down quick notes throughout the day that will be the source for my log book in the evening. If you can make out my handwriting (the nuns would cringe at how the Palmer Method failed me) I was approaching the inelegantly named Clump Island and Great Fox Island on Tangier Sound, trying to locate the channel that separated the two. I find these books here and there, sometimes at hardware stores, sometimes in little shops. They do cost a couple of more bucks than a regular pocket note book, but the writing and pages hold up very well even when soaked by rain or salt spray.



My anchor light came from WalMart for less than $10. It is a simple LED lamp that uses three AA batteries. It is not designed to be waterproof, but this lamp had been out in heavy rains with 30 mph winds and keeps on glowing. I keep two on board, one to hang up in the rigging, typically on the forestay, at night. The other I use as a reading lamp. I've looked at other waterproof, multiple LED lights at camping stores but can't see a reason to spend $25 for them.




I made my tethers based on a description in a John Welsford sailing story. I think it is 1 inch diameter polypropolene line with a carabiner at one end and a quick release clip (that came from a boat shop) at the other end. The line is easy to find because of the bright color and it floats too. I did some eye splices on each end. My splicing skills are not as good as Bruce's so I wrapped read electrical tape around the splices to clean it up a little. Bruce and I each have a tether of the same design and clip them on to some very nice, safe self-inflating pfd's with built in harness that Bruce was kind enough to donate to the boat. We'll skimp on a lot of gear, but we won't skimp on safety gear.



I made my boarding ladder out of an old piece of nylon line using a design from Hervey Garrett Smith's The Marlinspike Sailor. I leave it hooked on the deck cleat on the starboard quarter with the ladder itself inside the boat tucked behind the forward end of the boomkin. It sits there out of the way ready for a swim or an emergency. From outside the boat, and I've tried this out, I can reach up and pull the ladder over the side for use in boarding. I've used it a couple of times while swimming. I have never used it in case of a knockdown or man over board, but I'm glad to know it is there.




Bruce just called from the west coast to go over some equipment details. He is gearing up too.




-Steve






Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tangier Island

I was thinking about Tangier Island today as I had to go over to the Eastern Shore of Virginia (hey, I get paid to do this sometimes!). I was surprised by the amount of development along Highway 13, the main route up the shore. Shopping centers and hotels. Even a new bridge under construction out to Chincoteague Island. I got to wondering about Tangier Island. I haven't been there since the cruise I mentioned in yesterday's post. While making the 100 mile drive I remembered that I had been there earlier and took some photographs on the island, thought I might post them here. I wonder how it has changed since then. Is the old skiff still there in the marsh, or has it been carried away by the tides? Crabbing is the main industry and crab pot markers decorate a sandwich shop at the ferry dock. You'll see the markers spread out all over Tangier Sound, the hum of diesels of deadrise crab boats is a constant during daylight hours. Fog surrounded me early on the second day of my Tangier Sound cruise. It was only by following a line of crab pots (this was in my pre-gps days) that I could find a course from Great Fox Island to Watts Island.
This is the beach on the southwest shore of the island. Beautiful white sand looking out on Chesapeake Bay. The fence in the dune is to help minimize the erosion. But with an island that is just a foot or two above sea level erosion is hard to stop.
The main gut (I would have called it a channel or a creek, locals call it a gut) runs through the island as lights glow on the homes on the west ridge. The road on the west side of the island has homes, a couple of bed and breakfasts (well worth a weekend vist ) and the small air strip.

And this is part of the marsh at Port Isobel, a small island just east of Tangier. The buildings in the distance are part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's center.
I didn't take these pictures on my cruise - I had my hands full on that trip. I took them a couple of months earlier when I visited the island. I rode out on the mail boat Courtney Thomas out of Crisfield. But this is the kind of place that you can see on a cruise, places on the edge, places that are seldom visited, places that don't change quickly. But they do change. I'm glad I get to see these places before they change too much.
-Steve