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Showing posts from September, 2010

Transit from Brooklyn Nova Scotia to Providencetown, MA

XO and I left the Dodgers (actually they left me and went to LA when I was still quite young) in Brooklyn in the company of three other boats: HOBO II, H2OBO (Water Hobo) and EXCALIBUR.  The plan was to go direct to Nantucket Island.  We of course knew that if the winds were unfavoable we could hit the USA anywhere from Grand Manan (an island still in Canada) all the way along the Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts coast.
Our first event was Bob on Excalibur lost his engine.  He changed the filters out and got it restarted but believed that he had water in his fuel and was concerned about continuing.  He decided to turn back to Brooklyn.  This was a particularly hard knock as Bob had been in Brooklyn for over a month trying to get things sorted out and was delighted to actually be back underway.  It reminded me of my frustration over getting my outboard motor fixed which essentially kept me in Key West for the entirety of last winter.  We have dropped him an email but have not he…

Brooklyn Yacht Club Cruisers' Dinner

Many times in my experience when stopping in a yacht club one becomes yet another boat at the dock.  After paying whatever fees and getting fuel etc. you just become another person passing thru.  This has not been my experience in Brooklyn.  This is a yacht club of the old tradition.  I (and HOBO and H2OBO have been adopted by the club.  We have been run into town for food.  Today all of us ( and EXCALIBUR) were run into town so we could use the laundromat before our planned departure tomorrow. But last night was the ultimate experience.   Wayne ("I'm just a cook - see Assault on a Queen) from the club asked us if we would like a special dinner.  We all said yes.  So last night we had steak, scallops, potatoes, and lots of wine, beer, alcohol, and great company.  What a terrific evening of cruiser comradary..  I know that if I am up this way again I will clearly stop here again.

Dodging the bullet

When I was in St. Pierre one of the other cruising boats was Veleda IV.  Judy and Aubry were great friends.  We did the trip to Longlade and Miquelon together.  We also did a lot of cruising things - like heading to the store food shopping and so forth.  Judy was the person who gave me my tutorial on using my Sailrite sewing machine.
Veleda IV left about 6 hours before me on its way across the Cabot Straight to Sydney.  You may remember that when I left St. Pierre I had to turn north to avoid heavy seas and went the entire way around Longlade and Miquelon to avoid the bad weather.  I then turned south because the forecast for the Cabot Straight and Banquereau was getting very ugly.  I then ran south for 24 hours to avoid the weather.  Even so it was not fun.  (Of course the next day I was becalmed - that's sailing!)
I received an email yesterday from Judy and Aubry.  It starts with "in our 9 years of cruising..."  I read on, expecting the worst.  Net of the story: they saw…

Waiting out Igor

What could be a better name for a Himmicane than Igor?  Once again XO and I are sitting in port hoping that we will not see any real problems as Igor passes.  Even after Igor clears out we then have to deal with another set of winter gales to get out of Nova Soctia.

Winter Gales

I am in Liverpool/Brooklyn Nova Scotia waiting out yet another forecast gale. It is really quite amazing. The wind today was almost non-existent. The forecast for tomorrow is once again light winds but the waves are kicking up from Igor - forecast to be 10 to 12 feet. Then on Monday winds building to 35 knots, Tuesday diminishing to 20 knots, and Wednesday increasing back to 25 knots from the Southwest (which is of course the exact direction that I am trying to go. When I wake up tomorrow morning the forecast could have changed completely. This is because the weather up here is very unpredictable. The combination of the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current really stirs things up.I have been joined by two other (Canadian) boats - HOBO II and H2OBO (Water Hobo.) We are all trying to get South, HOBO II to Panama, H2OBO to the Bahamas. Just at dusk another boat pulled in - 4 guys on their way to the Virgins. Have not really gotten to know them yet, we will see if they join our ha…

Current Position

At 11:58 AM on 9/14/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 44°36.91'N 062°08.50'W
heading 256T at 3.4.
Heading for Halifax for fuel and update on weather.

Departure

I am departing St. Pierre at about 1300 UTC heading back toward the East coast of the US.  Will keep you posted on my progress

Worse than Earl

Those of you who follow my blog may remember my trepidation waiting for Hurricane Earl to hit.  I, and the other cruisers here in St. Pierre nervously watched the hurricane track forecasts each day and made plans for the worst.  Well, it missed, but we still saw some strong winds.

Today however, Reboot is being hit by winds stronger than we encountered when Earl passed Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.  The highest wind gust reported so far is 46 knots.  The difference for me is that Reboot is now on the windward side of the dock, not the lee side.  I have already had two fenders blow out and the winds are predicted to continue at this level for another few hours.

I found the margarita mix and the tequila so it can't be all bad.

And the winds came

The problem with weather forecasts is that they can be right.  Last night I was sitting on the dock in dead calm with gale warnings forecast.  Today the winds hit.  Unlike Earl when I was on the lee of the dock I am now on the windward side.  It is also a spring tide so the water level is almost at the top of the dock.  Reboot is being pushed hard against the fenders.  One of the now lee side cruisers lent me two big ball fenders and that is helping a lot.  A wind shift is predicted that will put the wind more on the bow but it is still several hours away.
In the meantime I am just sitting out the discomfort.

Dead calm

I am sitting on the doc\k at St. Pierre and it is dead calm.  The water is like glass and the wind is non-existent. The forecast is still for gales tomorrow morning and in fact the clouds are coming in but it seems so unlikely at the moment..

My neighbor Judy taught me how to use my sewing machine.  I have now started to repair the various panels of the dodger where the stitching has worn out.  It lacks that totally professional look but it is not longer falling apart.  I did not take the big center section down.  It needs both zippers repaired and a lot of other stitching.  I will do that when I get to a warmer place.  It requires disconnecting all of the sheets and halyards that run back to the cockpit and I decided to work on other projects.

I got the water maker reinstalled today but can't test it as this harbor is full of crud.  So when I get offshore I will start running it on a daily basis again.

This afternoon I took everything out of the back stateroom for the first time …

Up East

The title is a play on the expression "Down East" for the New Hampshire and Maine coastline.  They are "down east" because the prevailing winds making sailing these coastlines down wind.  Down wind, the wind coming from the stern of the boat, is the most comfortable way to sail, particularly if the waves are running in the same direction.  Since we are talking prevailing winds the waves do in fact usually also come from behind.

The unfortunate part of going "Down East" is that sooner or later most of us have to go back "up east."  We describe this as a "slog."  I am still in St. Pierre waiting to start my slog back up east.  The problem is that the weather is not cooperating.  There are two problems:  The winds are quite strong, and (you guessed it) they are pretty much from the wrong direction.  I can't do much about the second problem - hence the slog, but the first is keeping me in port.  It helps to understand relative wind.  N…

Earl peaked at 41.7 knots

All of us in St. Pierre are glad last night is over.  Earl tracked north of us but we still got a bit of a blow.  Winds were continuous in the 35 knot range all night.  The peak reading recorded was 41.7 knots or about 48 mph.  I was fortunate in two ways:  the boat was on the lee side of a large dock that broke a lot of the wind and chop and the tide went down as the evening progressed so that at peak wind the deck of Reboot was actually below the level of the dock.  That did not prevent the wind on the mast and boom and jib from bouncing me around a lot.  About 2AM I set the anchor drag alarm and went to bed.  (The theory behind the anchor drag alarms was that if I broke free of the dock my position would change and the alarm would go off.)

This morning it is clear - except for the fog at the harbor entrance.  I never realized you could have fog in 25 knot winds but as the locals say "welcome to the Maritimes." Wave reports are still pretty ugly but I had already expected …

Waiting for Earl

Doubled up - extra dock lines
Battened down
Main off
Extra lines over solar panel array
Cat in Lap
Waiting for Earl

AIS Live Tracking

I have mentioned the automatic information system (AIS) before.  A fairly new innovation in shipping AIS consists of a transmitter and receiver that sends digital data via short range (VHF) radio.  Each equipped ship (like Reboot) broadcasts an identification number (Reboot's maritime mobile service identity {MMSI}is 366958630), course, speed, heading, and type of boat.  Class "A" - commercial - ships also broadcast additional information.such as their next destination.  The receiver decodes the digital data and places icons on the chart plotter showing where the other ships are in real time.  This is very handy, particularly when it is raining hard as radar becomes quite useless.

Watching "live" ship tracks has become for some a hobby like watching flight data from airplanes. Clicking on this posts link will take you to Marine Traffic (Live AIS), a site that displays live AIS data from ships all over the world.  I have added a box to my blog so that you can se…

Small (cruising) world

Today a new Canadian boat came into St. Pierre.  Originally out of Toronto, Aubrey & Judy have been cruising for 11 years.  I went over for the requisite "sundowner" and we talked about future plans.  Well, first we talked about Earl, but everyone here talks first about Earl.  Imagine my surprise to find that Veleda IV is planning the same trip as Reboot, that is down the East coast of the US, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.  In fact their plan is to leave the boat in the Rio Dulce in Guatemala for the summer.

Tomorrow I plan on visiting the other two French islands the archipelago:  Miquelon and Langlade.  These islands are connect by an isthmus.  I am taking a tour boat/bus so I will not have to worry about getting around.  I will get some pictures and post them tomorrow night.

Tracking Earl - Worrying about friends

It is both interesting and frightening to track the course of hurricane Earl.  The marine forecasts still say "the track is too uncertain to predict marine weather."  As I watch three or four times per day I continue to find pre-hurricane tasks to add to my list:  take down the jib, take down the dodger, reinforce the brackets for the solar panels (or do I take them down.)  Today I realized that the track is very close to New Bern, NC where several of my friends have elected to live on their boat for the summer.  All indications are that they will be hit far harder than St.Pierre so my thoughts and prayers go out to them.