Showing posts from July, 2010

A bridge too far

This morning, tired of the constant rocking at the "Cable Wharf" dock I decided to set out for St. John's. The result was good news and bad news. The forecast was for 20 to 25 out of the Southwest with showers and possible thunderstorms. I figured, what the heck, I can handle that.As a proceeded out of Halifax Harbor with 20 to 30 on the nose and 2 to 4 foot swells the first rain shower hit. I was already nattily attired in my best Gloucester Fisherman outfit - West Marine (remember to buy from Trevor at the Highland Park, IL store - this message brought to you by a proud father) bright yellow foulies so the rain was more of a bother than a serious problem. But after about 3/4 of a hour banging along with several miles left to go to the sea buoy I decided to pack it in.The good news: Reboot handled the weather, wind and waves like the great lady she is.The bad news: The Captain was chicken. Well, not really. It is just that after five days of rolling back and fo…

Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron

I have shifted from downtown Halifax to the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron - one of 7 "Royal Yacht Squadrons" in the world, and the third oldest.  To be a "Royal Yacht Squadron" requires a sponsor of British royalty.  The oldest is the one in the UK, at Cowles.  The original sponsor (who was also a member at Cowles) was George IV while he was Prince Regent.  When George III died (the King at the time of the American Revolution) the club name was changed to "Royal" as the King was a member.

This is a very pretty club on the Northwest arm of Halifax harbor.  I will stay here tonight and tomorrow until the weather clears and then head on to St. John's Newfoundland.

XO -The Cats 101 Photoshoot

Today was the day for XO to be the "talent" for Animal Planet's Cats 101 show. We started at about 9 AM this morning with some background shots on Reboot and then went for a sail down Halifax Harbor to Fisherman's Cove. Halifax Traffic was kind enough to ride shotgun with us and give us a nice clean shot across the harbor for filming.We went ashore and XO got his first taste of ice cream. I expected him to lick it up but he was quite tentative. After a couple of small spoon fills he had eaten his fill and we headed back to the boat.We had a nice beam reach sail and raised the asymmetric spinnaker for a short bit. It was a real handful with the changing winds in the harbor but we did get some good video footage. We then came back to Murphy's Wharf for a brief interview. We wrapped up with a walk along the boardwalk. It was shortened by a rock band doing a sound check that just freaked XO out.We headed back to Reboot and I think both realized just how tired…

Halifax Harbor

I arrived yesterday in overcast weather to Halifax. There was a brief period of drizzle and then it cleared. XO and I needed to find "The Cable Wharf" for the Animal Planet Cats 101 filming so I proceeded to the downtown Halifax area. The downtown commercial piers have be converted with floating docks so it is very user friendly.I pulled in behind what appears to be a brand new Oyster 72. It is a very pretty boat but I realized that it was far more than I would want to have to maneuver. Plus the entire boat runs on hydraulics. It would make me uncomfortable to know that I could not trim if there was failure of the hydraulic system or I ran out of fuel to run the pump. Unfortunately the people on board are not particularly friendly, I asked them some questions about the local dock master and they were quite dismissive of me. Too bad.The two downtown events this weekend are the Nova Scotia in water boat show and the last weekend of "Pride Week." I walked down…


Nova Scotia, not England although England is on some future agenda. I had a wild trip from Yarmouth to Liverpool yesterday. I left Yarmouth. The currents were in my favor for the beginning of the trip and I was moving along at a nice 7 knots. Then I got to the turn at Cape Sable Island where the currents can run as fast as 4 knots. Cape Sable Island is the southwestern most part of Nova Scotia. Even going quite a bit offshore I was still seeing 2.5 to 3 knot adverse current. That was also about all I was seeing as once again the fog was very thick. Turning the corner and heading northeast the speed picked up to about 4.5 knots but the visibility was still nil. In the middle of the night the rains came, followed by thunderstorms. About 10 nm from Liverpool I was seeing 31 knot winds on the beam. Even though I was sailing with bare poles Reboot still healed about 10 degrees. Thank goodness for the autopilot so I didn't have to stand out in the downpour.I made Liverpool at …

Current Position

At 7:17 AM on 7/22/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 44°02.87'N 064°41.88'W
heading 155T at 0.1.
In port, Liverpool, Nova Scotia

Yarmouth, NS

I departed Yarmouth, Nova Scotia after an overnight stay. Yarmouth is in the southwest part of Nova Scotia in an area known as the Acadian Shores due to its French heritage. The harbor has a long narrow approach channel. I arrived in dense fog (I could barely see the bow.) I completely missed the famous Cape Forchu Lightstation "The Beacon to Canada." It was less than one mile off my course!I called on the VHF for local knowledge and was answered by one of the local fishing vessels. They had me switch to channel 10, slowed down so I could catch up, and after we had both established both radar and AIS contact they led me up the channel into the harbor. It was pretty amazing. Then they came down to the dock to introduce themselves and say hi.The dock master at Killan Brother Wharf helped me with my lines as I nosed into the dock as minimum speed. The good news was I could now see about 100 feet, enough for a safe and gentle landing. Paul Pothier the marina manager is…

Float Plan

Departing Yarmouth this AM for Shelbourne if the fog permits. It is 80 miles so ETA is 24 hours.

Current Position

At 1:09 PM on 7/20/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 43°50.21'N 066°07.37'W
heading 071T at 0.0.
In Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the fog has lifted and I am off on a walking tour.

Current Position

At 3:18 AM on 7/20/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 43°47.08'N 066°18.53'W
heading 090T at 3.0.
O6 miles from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in pea soup fog

A day of sixes

As in, six of one, half dozen of the other. Dawn was beautiful, the wind came up nicely on the beam. Set the jib and main and was on a nice beam reach to Nova Scotia. Then the afternoon thunderstorms set in and chased me all afternoon.I am about 3o NM south of the famous Bay of Fundy with its very wild tides and currents. Not much to worry about this far South. I have less then 30 miles to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. I will be slowing down so that I don't arrive in the middle of the night.Canada, Oh Canada!

Current Position

At 1:23 AM on 7/19/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 43°42.38'N 068°39.32'W
heading 086T at 3.0.
Off the coast of Maine. The sky is beautiful tonight, the stars are out in all their glory

How do you?

I still consider myself in the learning mode when it comes to sailing, particularly open ocean sailing. A big consideration on long transits is fuel consumption. Reboot uses anywhere from 1/2 to 1 gallon of fuel per hour. That does not sound like much until you realize that she only has a 38 gallon tank - and unless you want to spend a lot of time changing fuel filters and bleeding the injectors you don't want to get down to the last couple of gallons. In addition I carry 18 gallons in jerry cans on deck.Fuel is also valuable in that the engine can charge the batteries. Battery power is essential to running the autopilot, without which single handed long distance sailing is difficult if not impossible. When I added the solar panel array it became possible to run the engine a great deal less but I still am careful. Several days of fog or rain can render the solar array less valuable. Since at the moment I am in Maine on my way to Nova Scotia where fog is commonplace I am ve…

Beautiful Sailing Days

I left Portsmouth, NH (Kittery Maine) yesterday for Portland, Maine. What a beautiful sail. The wind was just perfect, the swells pushed me forward, and the day was sunny and warm, but not hot.Today is another of those days, at least I hope it will be. I am currently on a beam reach with beam seas. The wind forecast is for it to freshen but at the moment it is light enough that every once in a while the boat takes a roll or two and the sails bang. It makes me cringe.I was reminded that sailing is something like golf. My golf instructor told me that every time I played a round I would hit a couple of good shots. As such I would believe that I could actually get better if I played a lot. Sailing can be a lot of work and very frustrating. But every once in a while it all comes together and that reminds you of why you love to sail.I am off this morning along the Maine coast. This is the true "Down East." Rocky shores and beautiful scenes. "Down East" comes …


I am underway along the Maine Coast. I will drop anchor along the way to stay within my 24 hour single handed time limit for insurance. My ultimate destination is Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in about 2 days.

Departing Portland

I am departing Portland this morning on my way up the coast. My destination for this evening is Port Clyde.

Current Position

At 10:44 AM on 7/17/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 43°05.17'N 070°38.05'W
heading 020T at 1.6.
Underway, sort of, to Portland, Maine

Delayed departure for Portland

I have decided to delay my departure for Portland MA until tomorrow for a better weather window.

Portsmouth, NH

I had dinner last night with Rex and his wife in downtown Portsmouth, NH. At first I was struck by the fact that the women outnumber the men both on the street and in the restaurants about 5 to 1. After a bit it dawned on me that downtown is a shopper's heaven. The entire downtown is composed of very nice upscale shops. I understand that on the Kittery Maine side of the river there are also a large number of outlet stores.We had a nice dinner in a local brew pub. It took me back to Milwaukee and Louie's Demise Beer and the Louie's Last Regatta.This morning I turned on the sideband radio and heard a Japanese Ham Radio station in Tokyo. Even though sunspots have not been cooperating it seems that the 20 meter band is having some very nice openings.Off in about an hour to Portland, Maine.


Departing Portsmouth/Kittery for Portland, MA. Should be a day trip - in port tomorrow night.

Current Position

At 9:31 PM on 7/12/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 43°04.67'N 070°43.54'W
heading 082T at 0.1.
At Portsmouth Navy Base in Portsmouth NH

Underway this afternoon

I will be transiting from Rockport MA to Portsmouth NH this afternoon. The currents require a sunset arrival.

Rockport, MA

I spent the day walking around Rockport, MA on the Cape Ann peninsula northeast of Boston. This town is well know as a major art center on the East Coast, in fact at least half of the businesses in town are art galleries. Even the T-shirt shops seem more upscale than the normal tourist town.Like many of the coastal New England towns Rockport has a long heritage of its inhabitants going down to the sea in ships. It was quite a surprise to find the harbor is very small and so crowded that every boat is both attached to a mooring ball and also has a stern anchor to prevent swinging. Lobstering is still a major local industry, when I first came in to the back beach area I had difficulty setting the anchor where I would not swing into one or more pots.In an unusual tip to its Puritan heritage Rockport has no bars. Apparently about three years ago the town went grudging when from totally dry to permitting the local restaurants to serve alcohol but only to those who purchase food. Not o…

Current Position

At 6:28 AM on 7/9/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 42°39.65'N 070°37.11'W heading 032T at 0.0.
Anchored in Sandy Bay Ledge near Rockport, MA

Current Position

At 1:27 AM on 7/6/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 41°18.39'N 072°05.23'W heading 328T at 0.0.

Hell Gate

I did mention Hell Gate yesterday. I forgot that if you are not from NY City you most likely don't know about it. Hell Gate is the confluence of the Harlem and East Rivers. They are both tidal, in fact the East River is not considered a river at all, it is the tidal rip between Long Island Sound and the upper harbor of New York City. Hell Gate has currents to 5 knots and all sorts of whirlpools and other nasty things. In addition, going North (East)one exits Hell Gate thru a very narrow channel under the Triboro and Hell Gate (railroad) bridges. Of course the current is terrible under the bridges also. So one has to time ones transit so that you go thru when the current is in your favor, but not too much in your favor or you lose control. Of course just as I was making the turn from Hell Gate proper to get under the bridge I was met by a Southbound (Westbound) tanker. Fortunately since he was going into the current and we had chatted on the radio (thank you AIS!) the pass went wit…


Obsessing is a fine art. I don't know if this problem is particular to me, is shared by other cruisers, or just shared by boaters in general.Today I left Great Kills in Staten Island and transited the East River to Long Island Sound then on to Hempstead Harbor on Long Island. I am anchored with 150 feet of chain in 15 feet of water off the Hempstead Harbor Club where my parents were members when I was a child. I spent the entire 10 hour transit obsessing. Will the engine fail? Does that big ship see me behind the other big ship? Can I make it to Hell Gate before the tide turns? Why am I using so many RPM's and not getting the expected boat speed? Am I dragging something? Why does the fish finder not work? Where will I get water since when I fueled this morning the marina did not have drinking water at the fuel dock. (They were, however, more then willing to take my garbage for an additional charge - I love New York.) Then of course will the anchor drag tonight? Wh…

Home again

I am currently at anchor in Hempstead Harbor, LI, NY in front of the boat club my parents belonged to when I was a child. Home again!