Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July already

Wow, summer is just flying by...
It has been almost a month since my last post!!!! I will have to find some time to update this soon.
Today is Wednesday which means race night. YEAH, now say it with me: "Let there be wind for tonight's race". Thank you, we could use all the good wind karma anybody can send our way. It seems it has been either very windy or super light air. Don't get me wrong, I love the windy stuff, but I could do with less of the light air racing. Had a great race last week and yes you guessed it, it was rather windy. Managed to get the bullet, which is racing terms means we won. Many others in our fleet suffered some sail damages as well as ego bruising. Two spinnakers exploded, some of us went for wild broaches, and others simply sailed conservatively. If you don't have solid crew that are used to heavy air, better to err on the side of safety, that's for sure.
I will make a stronger effort to keep this updated, so stay tuned for many more sailing stories and adventures.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A couple of pictures from the delivery.

As I mentioned in my last post, Marsha fed us like royalty. Here is a picture of the Chicken pot pie with fresh baked topping. YUM!

Nick enjoying a sunset on the first part of our delivery. I never tire of watching the sunrises and sunsets, nature at it's best.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Catch up time

Okay, where was I...
Oh yes, the first part of our delivery the trip up the Chesapeake through the C&D canal and down the Delaware. As I mentioned, this was done under motor. Very uneventful, except for the part in the canal where we hit a submerged something!!!! Not a hard hit, but nerve racking none the less. I dislike hitting objects, especially when you have no way of knowing what you hit.So we made it to Cape May in great time, so much so in fact that we had to wait to get closer to high tide before we ventured in. I always head to South Jersey Marine for supplies, as they are great to work with, good facilities and very prompt with service. So fill the diesel tank and the plethora of jerry cans, empty the holding tank and were done. It's really nice to be able to shower during our very short stop over, which they allow us to do.
We head out at 2:30 pm into a 20 knot headwind. Off course it would be straight upwind, but we knew the winds would back so short time upwind followed by a progressively deeper and deeper reach to the point that getting into Narragansett Bay was almost too downwind. I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, let me back track a little.....
Watches were set up as Denise and Nick on watch 1, Paul and Marsha on watch 2. Marsha took over the galley duties and kept us very well fed. She prepared three meals ahead of time so all we had to do was heat them up in the oven. Awesome meals fit for royalty. I don't know how to explain it, but meals are usually so much better when consumed on board a boat. We run 24 hours with 3 hour shifts at night between 6 pm and 6 am and 4 hour shifts during daylight hours of 6 am and 6 pm. When the wind decreased to a point where our speed was below 5 knots, we turned the engine on and motor sailed. Putting reefs in and out is much easier with all hands on deck, but it is also a good thing to let the off-watch sleep so it's a juggling act to keep the boat moving.
On my off watch of 6 am to 10 am, Paul turned the engine off which I so thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. This joy was short lived as I was informed as soon as I got up that his turning the engine off was not by choice. "The engine did not sound right" was how Paul put it to me! So we decided to investigate and try starting it again this time with both of us listening. That test did not last long as the noise was quite loud and with a lack of a better way of saying it, it sounded like metal parts hitting each other and not in a good way.
Okay, on to plan B. Keep sailing all the way to Newport, and if we anchor out either by Block Island or just outside NEB, we can call for some help in the morning. Of course our arrival occurred in the dead of night in some of the worse thunderstorms I have ever encountered on the water. Horizontal rain, winds topping over 35 knots, not pleasant when you know you have limited maneuverability!!!!!
Okay, on to plan C. Now we need a tow and it can't wait until morning as we have had all hands on deck for most of the night already and people are getting very tired. Accidents have a way of happening when people are tired and wasn't going to have any of that. We were extremely lucky to be able to call Boat US's towing service who put us in touch with Safe-Sea towing and rescue. What an amazing outfit. We ended up sailing in to just north of the Jamestown bridge where we dropped our main which had been reefed down to the second reef position for it seems almost the whole trip. The only time we had it up to the first reef position was at the end of the afternoon and up until the winds reached back up to well over 25 knots. Putting the second reef back in with 10 to 15 foot following seas was quite the challenge, but the team came through fabulously. Ok, so now we have the mainsail down, winds over 30 knots, and the tow boat approached and we hook up. I must tell you at this point that Cmax is a race boat first and foremost. This means we have NO deck cleats, always a challenge to figure out new and inventive ways to tie off the boat in different situations. This time we tied off to the stem plate and kept Nick close by the bow to make sure the line stayed down at deck level and didn't work it's way up the forestay to damage the turnbuckle of carbo foil. Mission accomplished, all worked well with no damage. Now the tow boat towed us up and down the river while we waited out all the storm fronts and thundershowers. I think that might have been the longest 3-4 hours of my life. So now the winds are down to a reasonable 20 knots, so we drop the tow line and the boat approaches for a side by side hook up to get us in the harbor and over to the fuel/service dock deep inside the harbor. Not sure if any of you have ever been to New England Boatworks, but I can tell you that navigating inside the harbor is not an easy task at the best of times. Now with a side-by-side hookup, we are over 25 feet wide which gives us only a few feet on each side. I forgot to mention that even with all the horsepower of the rescue boat, I am still the one maneuvering us in as his rudder is 100th the size of my big racing blade. Captain Phil got us in without even breaking a sweat, very professional a great guy to work with. He signed off the boat back to me at 4:23 am, and I then realized that it was suddenly much easier to breathe. I guess I had been a little tense for the last 10 hours.
So original departure from Jabins at 2:20 pm on May 21st, final arrival at NEB on 4:23 am on May 24th. A very quick delivery with an overall good ending, even if it was a little hairy at times! The team was awesome helping with the prep of the boat and upon our arrival took all the time needed to put her away ship shape.
A nice meal at the Red Parrot downtown Newport followed a a good night's sleep at the Holiday in Express allowed us to get rested after an eventful delivery. We managed to get everything organized for the boat to be repaired so we can be ready for Block Island race week in a couple of weeks.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm back...

I left first thing in the morning last Thursday for a boat delivery. Got back Wednesday, just in time to jump on Convictus our Laser 28, for our regular Evening Series race.
Moved a Farr 42 race boat from Annapolis MD to Newport RI. This is a trip I have done numerous times, and it usually is quite uneventful. Not withstanding the logistics to get this accomplished, the trip was successful, event though we had a few speed bumps along the way.
Depart 7am, drive to Burlington, rent a large capacity vehicle, drive to Newark Int'l airport, return rental, get picked up with truck and driven to Cmax central for final packing of trailer, hook up truck and trailer, leave for Annapolis, stop at Jabin's Yacht Yard to unhook trailer, head to David and Marsha's. Our final arrival on Thursday night was 11 pm. Long, very long day. Heck of a way to start the trip.
Friday was boat prep and provisioning day. The boat has been on the hard since last October, so lots of little jobs needed doing to get us all ready. Little jobs more often than not turn into much bigger jobs when boats are involved, not to mention all the other minor things that went against us. Trailer jack broke when we disconnected the trailer the night before, starting battery on the boat had to be changed, shifter was seized and had to be completely dismantled lubed and re-assembled, propane needed re-filling, new sail had to be installed, provisioning for trip, organization and sorting of provisions, etc, etc, etc The list seemed never ending. Good thing our departure was pushed back until 2pm Saturday to coincide with the high tide in Cape May where we had to re-fuel. The first part of the trip, up the Chesapeake through the C&D canal and then down the Delaware was done under motor. Once out into the Atlantic, we would raise the sails and set a course for Newport. Not too bad, our actual departure was 2:20pm, which was fine as I had factored in a 2 hour buffer anyways.
Here is the sunset on our first evening out, which was taken in the upper Chesapeake.
Much much more to tell, but that will be for tomorrow or the next day. Stay tuned......

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Great race night

Wow, what awesome weather for a race night. Terrible start put us behind before the start gun!!!!! Crew was not impressed with me, I can tell you! Faired a little better once we got off the line, but it would be better if I could get my act together....
Off bright and early tomorrow to deliver the Farr 42, Annapolis MD to Newport RI. With all the logistics involved I will be away up to 7 days, but hope to make it back by early Wednesday. The weather is looking much better than what the forecast indicated just a few days ago, so it's all good.
See you all next week.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Very wet weather....

It seems we are blessed with lots of rain this spring. We should have some amazing flowers come the sunny weather, right? The tulips are closed today, they are waiting for the sun to come out and play!!!!!!
It was quite cold on Sunday, and getting progressively warmer Monday then again today. We should see a break in the wet weather come Thursday, but I am hoping it arrives a little earlier. Say, in time for our Wednesday evening race......
I am off on Thursday to move the Farr 42 from Annapolis MD to Newport RI. Weather is looking good for our delivery. I will try to check in, but with limited internet access it might be only upon my return.
Stay safe and dry until then.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thursday, Friday and Saturday happenings.....

Busy time of year, but still managed to pull off a busy and entertaining end of the week. Thursday headed out to Ormstown for a beer chicken BBQ dinner at the Magnussens, an overnight stay at my sister's, back to the office for noon and dealing with customer sail pick ups. Friday evening brought the 2011 Inauguration ceremonies at the club followed by an amazing lobster dinner. Got in just before midnight and had to be up and ready to go by 7:15 am the next day. Off to the Sheraton for a 1 day motivation Rock Thomas seminar. Thanks go out to Ute and Lisa for organizing my participation in this great event. Back home now getting ready for another lobster dinner. How blessed am I.....
Have a great rest of the weekend folks, and stay dry for the next 5-9 days of expected rain showers.