Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cape Point, the end of the world

Cape Point is the bend in Hatteras Island where the southerly flowing cold water Labrador Current meets the northerly flowing Gulf Stream.  The clashing currents create turbulent waters and a series of shallows known as Diamond Shoals.  Warm water, cold water and shoals on the edge of the ocean make for an interesting place.

One of the fisherman said the point was the end of the world.  I don't know.  Maybe it wasn't the end of the world, but you could see it from there.


Cape Point

Cape Point

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

shades of grey

Light, glancing off the water on a windy morning, reflected onto the hull of a Navy ship.

Monday, March 26, 2012

weather, Mosquito update

A quick looks like Alan and Dawn are in, arriving sometime after noon.  Well done, and congratulations.


I drove to the ramp yesterday morning under skies that, while overcast, looked to be clearing.  But fog on the river kept me from launching.  As I waited and watched the cool north wind seemed to be pushing more fog my way.  There is too much commercial traffic on the Elizabeth River to sail in the fog, I don't want to be a speed bump for a container ship.  

Instead I drove home and made some rigging adjustments to Spartina, taking care of things that I notice but never resolve when I'm out on the water because I'm having too much fun sailing.  Those little jobs, as a friend of mine once said, are like a hole in the roof - you can't fix it when it is raining, don't need to when it's not.  I'm glad I finally took care of those little jobs. 

Mosquito should be completing the circumnavigation of Florida in a matter or hours.  I cannot wait to hear the stories.  It is a little over three weeks, and about 1200 miles, since the adventure began at Fort DeSoto.  They started out with a two day weather hold.  And it seems they sat another day, or at least part of a day, north of Cedar Key to let some storms pass through.  Those are proving to get excellent decisions.  Alan and Dawn sailed/paddled when the weather allowed them to be out on the water, and got their rest and worked on the boat when the weather was less than cooperative.  Below is a photo of Dawn from the most recent weather hold at Spanish Bayonet Island.

I'm sure Paul, Alan and Dawn will be posting soon after they get in, pack up and catch up on their rest.  I'll put some links up when they start posting.  And for another view of the start of the most difficult Everglades Challenge take a look at Kristen's account here.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

rounding third

A little after 9:00 this morning Alan and Dawn, after a boat switch I suspect, left the Suwanee and are now back on the Gulf of Mexico.  They have rounded third base and are heading for home.  The most recent SPOT track showed them approaching Cedar Key, leaving a little over 100 miles (as the crow flies) to the finish line.  Pretty cool.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

the Chesapeake walkabout

I've got just about five weeks until the Spring walkabout around Tangier Sound.  I will be busy between now and then, the time will pass quickly.  I've started picking up food supplies.  I'm all set with breakfast bars, tuna fish lunches, tinned oysters and anchovies, cups of fruit.  We've done enough trips now that I kind of know what to get, how much will be needed.  

This will be a five day trip, a counter-clockwise sail around the edges of Tangier Sound.  I'll put in at Crisfield, make my way north past Deal Island and into the lower parts of the Honga River.  From there I'll go outside the sound and sail south on the west side of the islands - Bloodsworth, Holland, South Marsh and maybe Smith Island.  Above is Spartina at the town dock in Tylerton last Fall when I stopped by for a crab cake sandwich at the Drum Point Market.  I may stop there again this trip, or maybe visit Ewell just a little to the North.  And I'll visit Tangier too, maybe get as far south as Onancock.  We'll see what the wind is like and go with the flow.

I hope to get in at least three or four more day sails before the Walkabout.  This weekend looks good for maybe a Sunday sail.


why is Dawn doing all the work?

Excellent video below showing Dawn and Alan during their portage from St. Mary's River to the Suwannee River.  Dawn is doing peddling with the boat in tow in the video, but no doubt Alan did his share too.  It is a treat to hear Dawn on the video talk about how much fun they are having.

Paul is doing regular posting on Dawn and Alan's sites with a lot of photos.  Team B and B seems to be well in the lead (if you consider it a race) for the UFC.  At the pace they are moving I don't know how anybody could catch up.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Team B and B offshore/inshore

Check out a very nice post by Paul about Mosquito's 29 hour non-stop sail from Ponce de Leon Inlet to Ft. Clinch, with 24 hours of that being offshore.

Alan and Dawn have now switched from the Mosquito trimaran to a kruger canoe, above.  I'm used to seeing their SPOT tracks surrounded by blue water.  But now they are surrounded by land as they paddle the canoe on the St. Mary's River, which is the border between Georgia and Florida.

They are a little over two weeks into their adventure.  From Paul's photos it looks like the crew is in good shape.  I wonder how much the change from sailing to paddling will affect them.  And somewhere along the way there is a lengthy portage.  I can't wait to hear all the details.

Thanks for posting, Paul.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

the first sail, the first guest

Yesterday's forecast called for 100% overcast skies, 20% chance of rain and winds out of the NNE.  I figured I could live with that; clouds are no big deal and I took the 20% chance of rain as meaning 80% chance of no rain.

It turned out to be a beautiful day.  The wind was out of the south, stronger than I expected so I sailed downriver under mizzen and jib.  Rounding up to raise the main the sun broke through and blue skies soon follow.  It felt good to be on the water again.

Everything on Spartina worked just fine.  I had tweaked the outhaul on the main and got a little bit smoother set on the gaff-rigged sail.  Though I did not need to remove the new deck slot cap to step the main, I was glad to see it "looked" good on the foredeck, fitting in with the hardware and mahogany coaming. (I forgot to take a photograph - you'll have to trust me on this.)

I set the new gps, above, to tracking and then followed my course on both the "map" page and trip computer that has speed/distance/time sailed.  Below you see my track exported to google earth.  It is a very typical track for my day sails on the Elizabeth River - just relaxing and catching the breeze, watching other boats (of which there were few) and tacking up and down the river.  I did about 14 miles - up and down, back and forth - on a river that I have sailed for years.  It never gets old to me.

Adding to the pleasant day on the water was my youngest daughter who joined me for the last couple of hours.  She, along with her older sister, had a hand in building Spartina.  Grace was there the very first afternoon when we used a batten to trace out the curve of the bow stem on a sheet of marine ply.  Both girls sailed with me quite a bit after we launched Spartina.  Now it is something that we don't get to do nearly as often.  With both off at college, having them on board is a special treat.

It was a nice day on the water, a perfect way to start the sailing year.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

on the water

A beautiful day.  A cell phone photograph from the youngest daughter who joined me on the first sail of the year.  It doesn't get better than that.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Fort Clinch

Mosquito entered Fort Clinch just after noon today.  This is ends stage 3 of the circumnavigation of Florida.  At this point, and I'm not sure of the mechanics on this, they will switch to a smaller boat for for the rivers and portages to get across Florida to Cedar Key.  At Cedar Key Alan and Dawn will switch back to Mosquito.  I hope Paul will have an update on Dawn's blog soon.

This weekend I hope to get Spartina out for the first sail of the year.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

the last day, the nicest day

Today was the last day of my short Carolina trip, brief visits to Beaufort, Morehead City, New Bern and Hatteras over four days.  The weather was beautiful this morning, perfect time to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

This trip was for work though some colleagues have suggested it was a boondoggle.  I will not argue the case either way,  I will say I have another boondoggle, I mean work-related trip, back down there in a month or so.

Why is it that the last day of the trip is almost always the nicest?

It is appropriate that Mosquito is entering Mosquito Lagoon - just north of Kennedy Space center - today, the first day of the year that I have been bitten by a mosquito.

I'm not sure if the Ultimate Florida Challenge is at this point considered a race or simply a personal challenge.  If it is a race it appears that Mosquito is in the lead.  Alan and Dawn reached Stage 2 of the challenge yesterday.  When they reach stage 3 they will switch to a smaller canoe-style boat and begin the trek across Florida which includes a very shallow river and a long portage.  For up-to date information you can check Paul's posts here.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Cool and grey, very quiet.  Forecast looks good for sailing this weekend.  I hope it holds.


Monday, March 12, 2012


In Hatteras for a day or two.  Nice to be here out of season.....out of season for both tourists and hurricanes.

Mosquito is working her way up the high walled canyons of the intracoastal waterway, somewhere near Boynton Beach right now.  A great report from Dawn here (that is her paddling in the photo below).  With rough rowing in the icw they hope to get outside, assuming favorable conditions, and sail off the beach tomorrow.


Sunday, March 11, 2012


Dinner at The Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery, Beaufort, NC.

Crab cake appetizer, dinner salad and fried oysters with black-eyed pea salad served on a bed of fresh greens.

Life is good.


rigged, ready

It felt good to rig Spartina this morning.  Winter has been mild, but I've missed sailing her for four months now.  I was surprised to find that both reefs were tied into the mainsail.  Just now checking my entries from the November I see that I did if fact go from full main to a single reef and then a double reef on my last sail of the year.

There is the new deck slot cap in place.  Doesn't look too bad, does it?  There was no wind this morning, I could have easily lifted the mast vertically to set it in place.  Instead I pulled off the deck cap and put the mast in place (as my friend Shawn at Pate Boatyard says) Iwo Jima-style, putting the foot of the mast into the slot then walking the mast forward to the vertical position.  I was pleased to find that it was a simple task easily done.

I rigged the entire boat today - masts, sails, rudder, tiller - as if to go sailing.  Taking my time I found a few things I could do to make rigging a little easier.  For example I can, with a slightly longer piece of line and two knots on the mizzen lazy jack, make the mizzen easier and quicker to raise.  And I also came up with a plan to fasten the new anchor bucket in place alongside the foot of the main mast, I just need to buy a bit of line and a few bronze clips.

I'll try to make those small improvements this week and hope for sailing weather next weekend.

I see that Mosquito has tucked into a canal in a very nice looking neighborhood in Pompano Beach, Florida.  I expect they are tying up for the night.  Pretty classy looking campground if you ask me.  Enjoy it guys!

For more on the trip take a look here.


raising sail

I raised sails on Spartina for the first time this year.  You can see in this photo my daughter took out of her bedroom window (which needs some cleaning) that I was a trailer sailor today.  I've got to get on the road for work, not enough time to sail and probably not enough wind either.  But it was good to get her rigged. 
I'll post some detail photos when I get settled in Morehead City this evening. 

Mosquito is approaching Fort Lauderdale.  For photos and details about the adventure take a look at Paul's post on Dawn's blog.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

'nuff said

Those Taylor Bay Scallops were great.  Easily steamed (four minutes) in a butter/garlic/wine sauce, they were surprisingly meaty and sweet. Ocean scallops were excellent too, but these Bay Scallops have got my attention.  BayDog, where were you?



Scallops for dinner tonight.  Mostly we'll have the big dry ocean scallops (dry meaning that the metallic chemical used to make scallops absorb water had not been added).  We'll sear those Bay Dog style and served with lime cilantro butter, an Ocracoke Island Back Porch recipe.

Above are Taylor Bay Scallops, farm raised scallops from Cape Cod.  They looked so good I bought a handful to steam up.  Hopefully they will taste good; at the very least they will help with presentation.

Dinner's at 6:00.


Mosquito back on the water, me back on the road

Part of a note posted by Dawn to the watertribe forum....
We are hanging tough, in Watertribe mode. Our hands are swollen and ache, the cold at night a real problem, the winds have us so wet all the time. We will rest and work on boat today. Plan to leave early Sat morning. It's been so freaking scary but also fun and exciting in that Tribe way.
Hard and sad to have heard of the mishaps and rescues needed thus far, so glad no one hurt. Alan tells me its been the hardest sailing he's ever done. There has been a lot of cross your fingers moments, well only have one chance at this as we try to make it through narrow channels against the wind. Mosquito is amazing.g, Alan very impressed with her performance.

I checked Mosquito's tracking page to see that Alan and Dawn left Key Largo not too long ago.  Here is Paul's note from last night.....

SB and SOS have rested and finished the repairs, resupplying, and improvements needed. They reported this evening that they are aiming to cross Biscayne Bay tomorrow and then stop to sleep. They're aiming to wake up at 5am tomorrow (Saturday) morning and then be ready to sail away at about 7am. --Paul

Lots of good information, photos and even video posted by Paul on Dawn's blog.

Cool, breezy and sunny here.  Too cool and breezy for sailing, perfect for touch up painting on Spartina.  I had hoped for a shake down "drift" (winds are forecast at 2 mph) tomorrow, but work gets in the way and I need to be on the road by midday.  Instead I might roll Spartina out of the garage in the morning and rig her sails just to make sure everything is ready to go.


Friday, March 9, 2012

r and r for Team B and B

In my ever lasting effort to find new snack food for cruising I paid a fairly dear price for a box of dried Goji Berries.  I liked the color, shape and name.  On first taste I found them to be halfway between raisins and cough syrup.  We'll see, maybe I will come to like them.  I've added some to a box of wasabi peas to see if the mixture has an appealing texture and taste.  I googled the berries to learn something about them only to find that Goji is really a marketing name, there true name is the less-than-appetizing "wolfberry."

Alan and Dawn, also known as Team B and B, are getting some rest in Key Largo.  I had wondered if they would get to the EC finish line, check in and keep on going.   But it appears that they will relax, probably work on Mosquito and sailing gear, and enjoy the EC banquet/party on Saturday (I think).

Paul tells me that reaching Key Largo means the race is over.  It is now a "cruise" as they complete the circumnavigation of Florida.  Racing or cruising, I suspect they will do some hard sailing with Alan at the helm.

For better information about the trip so far take a look at this post on Dawn's blog.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Key Largo

Just after 8 p.m. Alan and Dawn arrived in Key Largo.  Congratulations!  I hope we get an update this evening on their trip.  I believe reaching the finish line for the Everglades Challenge means that Mosquito has covered 1/3 of the distance for the Ultimate Florida Challenge.  There is still a long ways to go.

Checking the Watertribe forum I found this comment posted by Paul three hours ago.



At 9:30am today they sailed away from CP3 toward a southbound route down to Long Key to pick up the ICW bearing 060 up toward Key Largo / Fiesta Key.  Not wanting to give back any eastward progress, they first tried the route down Murray Key canal.  The water must have been too thin, due to all that strong east wind that's been emptying the bay,  because they abandoned that and headed west to pick up the other southbound route that begins at red marker "2" (about 3 miles south of East Cape).  Looks like they sailed at 6-10 kts SE and reached the Long Key / Fiesta Key area at about 2:00pm.
By 3:30pm the "Mosquito" was passing Lower Matecumbe Key on its way up the ICW. They have about 23nm to go and seem to be moving at about 7kts.  On their heading (about 060) up the ICW,  they may not have to tack if the east wind is a bit ESE or SE.  Looks like they will arrive in Key Largo tonight.

weekend forecast, Mosquito update

The forecast for this Sunday looks good for getting out on the water.  Not a lot of wind, but lots of sunshine and comfortable temperatures.  A good day to launch, raise the sails and get the boat squared away.  I'll take it.

Forecasts are not always accurate and sometimes that's a good thing.  High winds forecast for Florida Bay have not arrived.  Instead of blowing 19 mph out of the east it is blowing 9 mph out of the NNE.

It looks to me like Mosquito left Flamingo about 9:30 this morning, heading back west and then southeast to avoid the shallow waters of Florida Bay.  At some point they will have to turn NE to reach Key Largo.

Below is a photo from Dawn Patrol from last year's EC.  It was the final day, light winds and some rowing.  That was the end of the race for Alan and Paul.

For Mosquito, Key Largo will just be another waypoint in the journey as they turn north to head up the east coast of Florida.



Mosquito clung to the coast, sailed into the night and reached Flamingo sometime between 3:30 this morning.  I suspect they are catching up on rest and waiting to see what the winds are like.  Right now Key Largo is showing a breeze at 7 mph, by late morning it should be blowing about 20 mph out of the east.

Alan is having problems with his dry suit.  This message below showed up on the watertribe discussion site.  A dry suit is critical, particularly as they leave the warmer waters of the gulf and head up the east coast of Florida.


Does anyone in the Key Largo area have a dry suit SOS could borrow / buy ?
The dry suit he has is new, but the rubber gaskets are glued to the body of the suit with a glue that seems to be failing.   This is the first time he has used this dry suit.   It had been in storage for a while,   so about two months ago he had a professional dry suit repair place check it over and get it ready.   Perhaps they used faulty glue?