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Showing posts from 2011

Jacksonville, FL

I left Southport, NC on what appeared to be a tight weather window and headed for the St. Mary's River on the Georgia Florida border.  The forecast was for 15 to 20 knot winds from the North and 3 to 5 foot waves.  I got the waves.  It was a good thing that I had fueled Reboot before I left because the winds were from 0 to 20 knots, mostly 0 knots.  I motored about 85% of the time.

As I went into the St. Mary's River the wind had already started to shift to the East and then the South.  I stopped at Fernandina Beach for fuel.  I was greatly tempted to rent a mooring ball for the night - get a shower, do the laundry, etc.  But I decided to press on to Jacksonville.  The wind had shifted to the South so the entire trip down the ICW was with 15 to 20 knots of wind in my face.  At least I did not go outside and have to deal with the confused seas.

Once again I arrived just in time to not be able to go under the Main Street Bridge so I hung out at the dock by the football stadium u…

Southport, NC

I am currently in Southport, NC waiting for a weather window.  I took one look at the 160 mile ICW route between here and Charlestown I decided I would rather wait a day or two than do the 4 to 5 day inside route. (I can only make about 40 miles inside per day since the daylight hours are so short.)

Door into Summer (Ed and Claudia) left from Morehead City with Reboot.  We putt putted our way down the ICW to Wrightsville Beach NC. I had done this trip in the past - Morehead to Mile Hammock Bay to Wrightsville and hated it (as H2OBO and HOBO II can attest - they didn't like it very much either.)  This time we were not being run over by other cruisers and the current at the Wrightsville Bridge was only 2.5 knots instead of 4 knots.  I also knew not to try the channel where I had run aground the last time,

We collected two Canadian single handers for cocktails in Mile Hammock Bay.  Marc then caught up to us in Wrightsville.  He missed one bridge so came in a full hour behind us - just…

Mile Hammock Bay

Stopped for the night.  Cold transit today.  Hooked up with two Canadian single handers.  Great dinner thanks Claudia.

Continuning South tomorrow AM.

Looking for a weather window

With my unexpected heart surgery I am still in New Bern long after I had intended to depart.  Ed and Claudia (Door into Summer) took the run to Bock Marine to get their fuel tanks cleaned yesterday.  On the way down they discovered that their wind instrument was not longer working.  Since they had just replaced their radar they think that a wire got disconnected while pulling the new radar wire in the mast.

This brings us back to Reboot.  I would love to leave but the offshore weather has been terrible and the forecast for the next week is worse.  I hate the ICW.  It looks like hating the ICW is going to trump going offshore in 7 to 10 foot waves.  I am hoping to leave on Monday.  If all works out then I would meet up with Ed and Claudia sometime in the following couple of days.

I will keep you all informed.

Fair winds and following seas.

The Elder Scrolls - Skyrim

When I was up visiting Trevor and Spencer I got involved in the new "Elder Scrolls = Skyrim" game.  I have to admit that I have the heart of a gamer.  I find myself sitting on Reboot playing Skyrim when I probably should be getting ready to go South.  LOL

Fair winds and following seas.

West Marine Price Hike

Tis the season to be jolly and for West Marine to raise its prices before the new catalog comes out.  I expected a little bit of a price increase but $40 on a $159 tri-color (already grossly overpriced for a plastic light fixture) and $20 for a $70 starboard bow light (also grossly overpriced to start.)  I did not shop long, nor will I be fast to return without first checking out every other possible option.

By the way, the price increases have already taken place.  If you go out to the web site the new prices have been loaded even though the "2011" catalog still has several weeks to run.

Tammy Baldwin - Credit where credit is due

I rarely write anything political in my blog but as a retired member of the US Military I wanted to share this. Tammy Baldwin is the Democrat representative for the 2nd district in Wisconsin (my legal address) which includes some of the most liberal neighborhoods in Wisconsin (the Madison and University of Wisconsin area.) I wrote her to complain about proposals to increase fees for Tricare and, given that she is a Democrat expected some "we need to give more to government spread the wealth around" response. My surprise when I received the following letter ...

.........................................................

December 2,2011

Dear Mr. Jones:

Thank you for contacting me regarding TRICARE coverage and fees. It is good to hear from you and I apologize for the delay in my response.

Like you, I strongly believe that the United States government has a responsibility to provide our servicemembers, retirees, veterans, and their families with access to affordable and comprehensi…

Ed on the half dole

Ed and Claudia (Door into Summer) returned late last evening.  We adjourned to the bar at the New Bern Hilton.  George, the food and beverage manager has done a great job of cutting the prices from "Hilton Hotel" to "very competitive with the local market - in fact a great deal! - GO GEORGE!" so we hung out waiting for midnight when Ed would officially be retired from FedEx (aka Federal Express.)  Since Ed is a pilot official retirement is at age 60.  This also is when retired reserve military personnel become eligible for retirement pay (but not the semi-decent health care.  They only get the pretty awful health care until age 65, then the semi-decent care.)  So we applaud the fact that Ed is now on the half dole - military retirement and awful health care from the government!  At least until the idiots in Washington try to take away military retirement because "it costs too much."  Thanks John McCain - but then you have managed to be a millionaire so yo…

Thanksgiving and Flying

One problem with blogging is that one does not want to disclose one's location if it leaves one's property exposed.  (That sure was a lot of "one's.")  In the instant case I have been in Chicago recovering from heart surgery while Reboot is in North Carolina.  That is, I was in Chicago.  The problem of course is exposing the fact that Reboot, although locked and alarmed, does not have someone on board all of the time. It seems to me to be an invitation to theft.

I had originally planned to visit Trevor and Spencer for Thanksgiving.  For the past three years they have prepared Thanksgiving Dinner for themselves.  Since they only cook one day per year the first two years were quite the events.  Having heard such great stories I decided that I had to attend this year's festivities.  When I made the decision to fly up at the beginning of November to have my heart checked out I expected that I would be long gone before Thanksgiving. Little did I know that I was mo…

Surprise Visit

It all started with an abnormal EKG.

How to scare the hell out of yourself. Go in to the hospital for a heart catheterization, have the cardiologist tell you that he almost called in the cardiothoraic surgeon. That is the guy (girl) that opens your chest up with a can opener to work on your heart. And yes, one of the arteries that was badly blocked is know in the trade as the "widow maker." The good news is that I don't have anyone to leave a widow (though I am shopping!) but I have two sons I don't want to stop enjoying. I guess not painting the bottom of Reboot by myself was a good move. I will stay in Chicago/Madison/Milwaukee for a couple of more weeks to heal, the down to pick up Reboot and head for Key West.

Fair winds and following seas


On the dole

Today is my 65th birthday so I am officially on the government dole - Social Security and Medicare.  Work hard all you young people to keep my life funded.  LOL

Fair winds and following seas.

Remember, remember the 5th of November

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Tonight Trevor and I will watch V for Vendetta for Guy Fawkes day.

Cruiser's Health

One unfortunate fact about many cruisers is that we are old - most of us have worked a career and raised our families and then upon retirement moved on to our boats.  This means that like many "old people" health issues tend to muck up our plans.

After returning Reboot to the New Bern Grand Marina XO and I flew up to Chicago to visit Trevor and Spencer and for me to sort out some problems I have been having, in particular a irregular EKG, a very deep cough, and minor chest pain.  The long and short of the story is that I am now on antibiotics for the chest cough, have had another irregular EKG, and am scheduled for a stress test and a follow up visit with my internist next week.  My plan is to stay here until I get this all sorted out and then return to transit Reboot to Florida - probably Key West for a while this winter.

The good news: XO is having a great time running all over Trevor's apartment.  It is a much larger space than Reboot.   He also fooled both of us in f…

Bock Marine #5

Reboot's "availability" in the yard is over.  She spent a night in the slings so that the bottom of the keel could be painted with Interlux Micron 66 and it had time to dry before launch.  We put her back in the water and I left in the mid-morning to take advantage of a favorable current up Adams Creek.  Reboot  is back at the New Bern Grand Marina in New Bern.

One of the most frequently asked questions on cruising web sites is the cost of cruising.  This "availability" cost about $4,500 US.  The breakdown was:

$500 Haul, power wash, block on jack stands, daily rent, re-launch.$2,500 Clean, and sand the bottom down to the barrier coat, apply two coats of Interlux Micron 66.  This could have been much cheaper if (a) I had used a much less expensive bottom paint and/or (b) I had done most of the work myself rather than letting the yard do it.  More on that decision below.$500 Repair several gouges in the external fiberglass.  I was going to do this work myself.  I…

Bock Marine #4

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Yesterday was repair the leaking fixed window day.  Reboot has three fixed Lewmar windows about two feet above the water line.  One of them has been leaking while underway.  The particular location of these windows means that they are frequently assaulted by passing waves.  I have not wanted to work on the window with Reboot in the water for fear of dropping parts into the drink.  I have been working on unfreezing the screws that hold the windows in place and finally got the last frozen screw to release.  As I started to take the window out I was greeted with a randy smell.  When I popped the window out from the outside I got a small cascade of very dirty and smelly water.

I let everything dry out.  The hull is sealed with epoxy so there was not water infusion into the hull   The design of the window is terrible.  The lip is only about 1/2 inch and the hole is not perfectly cut.  This makes positioning the window back into the hole critical.

I have heard from several people that butyl…

Answers 2 & 3 favorite historical events

Battle of Agincourt – 25 October 1415 – Henry V, King of England – William Shakespeare wrote “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be never so vile. This day shall gentle his condition. And gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.”





Charge of the Light Brigade - 25 October 1864– Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, Fellow of the Royal Society and Poet Laureate: “Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, And into the valley of death rode the six hundred” (a disaster by the way, lead by Lieutenant General James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, Order of the Bath, they were slaughtered by the Russians. At least we got a sweater out of it!)

Bock Marine #3

I had a frustrating day.  The weather was very nice and I decided to attack the broken hinges on the front hatch.  Ken (of Bock Marine) and I had tried to pop rivet them back together.  This had been the original fastner.  We had great difficulty getting them to hold so I decided to put in hex head cap screws.  Regular screws would not work as the heads were too big to go into the recess.  After a trip to the hardware store I got everything together and fixed the hinges.  I then tried to spread bedding compound on the hatch so that I could finish the job.  After getting everything cleaned and ready I opened the tube of bedding compound only to find that it was hardened and I could not use it.  Oh well, another day.

Answer for the first of three events

Battle of Trafalgar - 21 October 1805– Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, Order of the Bath ordered the famous flag hoist before the battle “England expects that every man to do his duty” Nelson was also famous for the Battle of the Nile where in decisive action he eliminated the French Fleet from the Mediterranean Sea. BTW neither worked out very well for Admiral Nelson – he was wounded at the Nile and killed at Trafalgar.

Bock Refit #2

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I had a very long day today.  Left is a picture of the maxiprop back on Reboot.  It has been cleaned (except for the blades, that is tomorrows task), greased, and re-installed.  It folds and unfolds a great deal easier than before.  Note too the zinc at the end of the prop.  I have been going through shaft zincs the entire time I was in New Bern, this adds at least 200% more zinc surface area than before.

My "one hour" project for today was to remove the front hatch, put in new bedding compound and replace the hatch.  Along the way I wanted to repair the hinges for the hatch.  The pop rivets that hold it together have popped out.  Of course this project took all day and it isn't finished yet.  How hard can it be?  A few simple wood screws to remove, clean the old bedding compound off the hatch, put in a couple of pop rivets and it no longer rains on one while sitting in the forward head.  One of the screw heads was smashed.  Add 4 hours to drill out the screw.  Why it t…

Google minus

Just a note in passing.  I usually join most new web endeavors because of my long history as an IT executive.  So I joined Google Plus - their effort to capitalize on the Facebook craze.  So far only Spencer (my son and an IT guy) and one other person has joined my "circle."  And Spencer has only posted once. Projecting the universe from a sample of one my expectation is that Google Plus has a long uphill climb.

You can go to https://plus.google.com/ and try it for yourselves.

Bock Marine Refit #1

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As mentioned in a previous post I am at Bock Marine for (as they say in the Navy) an "Availability."  I guess that shipyard time was so restricted in WWII that getting into a shipyard was a function of it being "available."

We had very strong winds last night.  My wind graph shows peak gusts of 38 knots.  "Cause the walls start shaking. The earth was quaking, My mind was aching... and you (the wind) shook me all night long."  [Thank you AC/DC]  It is one thing to be on a boat in the water, totally different when you are on the hard and wondering if the boat is going to tip over.

We got a lot done today.  After a long night of rain the sides of Reboot got washed for the first time in a year.  Then late this afternoon the first coat of Interlux Micron 66 went on the bottom.  I chose "66" because they don't sell it in California.  This alone was an indicator that it actually might work.  But as I said yesterday it is horrendously expensive.  I…

Rainy Days

It is a sad fact of life that when it rains one can not put on bottom paint.  So of course today it is raining. This sets the schedule back a day.  I am trying to get motivated to do some necessary work inside of Reboot.  Mostly this is screwing in hard points to tie down equipment when I am underway.  But sailboats in the rain are like living in a small efficiency apartment.  It is easy to go stir crazy.

Sorry Trevor

Reboot has voyaged from New Bern, NC to the Bock Marine on Adams Creek near Havelock, NC.  Our best speed underway under power was 3 knots.  Ed (Door into Summer) and I got the new Neil Pryde 135% jib up for about 1/2 hour before the wind died.  We got up to 6 knots under the jib.

Ken and the folks at Bock did yeoman's duty getting Reboot safely into the marine hoist and on the hard despite some significant adverse current.  Once out the of water it was obvious why we were going so slowly.  Several months on the Trent River had left the bottom badly fouled.  I had of course expected this as Kirk Hathaway, the bottom cleaner I use in New Bern had stopped cleaning as he could not get a reasonable amount of gook off for the time expended.  So we are here  for new bottom paint.

I decided to go with Interlux 66, a hard antifouling  paint that is considered the best you can purchase in the U.S.  Of course in other places they sell antifouling paint that actually works, but they don'…

Historical Events clues

Thank you those who are playing.  I realized it is not as easy as I thought.  So here are some clues:

1.  They are all battles
2.  They were all fought by the same country (Which has changed its name over the years)
3.  They were immortalized by a play, a poem, and a naval flag hoist.

Good luck

Three big historical events

In the next few weeks three of my favorite historical events are going to happen.  Do you know what they are? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Happy 236th Birthday

Happy Birthday US Navy!

Cold Deck

I have mentioned before that the inside of Reboot is usually about the same temperature as the water.  Over the past few weeks the temperature of the Trent River has been dropping.  This morning it is 66.5 F.  For the first time since I was up in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland the deck (floor) inside Reboot is cold enough that my feet get cold if I walk around barefoot.  This is quite a change from a month ago when I was trying to keep the inside below 90 F.

Cleaning up

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I have been moving around a great deal, and then of course it has been very hot, but I am finally getting some of my projects handled.  The wood floor of the dinghy has lost most of its paint which means that it is getting wet all the time.  The current project is to repaint the floor. Of course I don't want it to look too good.  I want to be the most miserable looking dinghy so that the bad people will steal someone elses!

After Hurricane Irene the lower unit of the outboard was leaking oil. I called around and found out that it was a $10 part.  I decided, what the heck, I will let someone else install it.  $200 later I got my engine back.  The good news is that the throttle linkage has rusted out.  Had I tried to use the dinghy I would most likely have been stuck.


Eastern End of Erie Canal Still Closed

As of this writing Erie Canal remains closed between Locks E8 and E17.  It appears the remainder of the canal locks have reopened.  Since these are on the east end of the canal a transit on the Erie or Oswego canal to the Hudson River is still impossible.  The Champlain Canal is open.  I have never taken this particular route and there have been shoaling problems in the past.

What happened to Fall?

I have been successfully procrastinating for several months on the grounds that it has been too hot to work on Reboot.  Of course I was also able to use Hurricane Irene as an excuse.  That was good for a week of getting ready and then a week of getting unready.   I actually started to get some stuff done a couple of days ago as it had cooled off a bit.  But now it has cooled off with a vengeance! I woke in the middle of the night to find it about 45 degrees F in Reboot.  I had previously put on long pj's and was using a light blanket.  I got up and pulled out my sleeping bag that I use when the temperature gets low.  XO of course is now safely burrowed into the sleeping bag where I expect him to remain unless he needs food or water.
The forecast for the next week is temperatures in the low 70's with night time lows in the high 40's and low 50's.  It looks like time to put the A/C unit away and recommission the propane heater.
I would love to procrastinate further but I…

Remembering the First One

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In this case my first job after college, Eastman Kodak in Rochester New York.  This week Kodak, which delivered its first consumer camera in 1888 lost 57% of its market value from $$468.2 million to close to $200 million.

The sad part is that Kodak has been losing market share for years having completely missed the digital revolution.  The company has not made a profit in several years and the rumor is that they are going to file for bankruptcy.

Kodak was perhaps at its peak when I went to work in the ECM&U (engineering, construction, maintenance and utilities) division in Kodak Park as a maintenance engineer.  Kodak was justifiably proud of its history.  They were heavily involved in the US Space Program and provided the film that was used in the Apollo missions to the moon.  I left to join the Navy in late 1969.

Companies come and go, rise and fall, but for me hearing this news was sad.

Sailing and Camping

The weather for the past few days has been quite rainy.  So is the forecast for the next 5 days.  I am reminded how similar full time live aboard cruising is to camping.  Although I am not getting much water inside Reboot the humidity has made everything inside damp.  Just as when it was so hot this summer there is no social life, everyone is hunkered down inside their boats rather than sitting in the cockpit.  Like camping, whatever the weather is outside it reflects itself inside (unless you are in a R/V and run the A/C full time.)

Since I am trying to get Reboot ready to leave New Bern this is a major glitch.  I have put my (new) jib up. I still have canvas to put back up, taken down for Hurricane Irene.  My new mainsail is still in the bag.  All of my tarps that shield the sun are sopping wet.  I don't want to fold them up and put them away in this state.  I have finally come to realize that I am just going to have to do a bunch of the on deck work between the daily frequent s…

Full Circle

As I was returning from the shower I chanced upon a group waiting for one of their members to figure out how to take a picture of the sunset with his droid.  It took him a good two minutes.  I started to laugh when I realized we are back at the begining when people did not know how to set the clocks on the VCR's.

LOL

New Bern, NC WWII Vet "Honor Flight"

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A private group of citizens here in New Bern has organized and funded "Honor Flights" for WWII veterans.  The Vets are taken at no cost on an escorted tour of Washington DC with particular emphasis on visiting the various military monuments.  Last night Jim (Gail Force) and I headed over to Coastal Carolina Regional Airport to welcome the Honor Flight home.

I didn't expect much, I presumed that Jim and I would be a couple of 50 or so people who showed up for the welcome home.  I was blown away when we arrived at the airport to join (my estimate) 1000 people who had showed up to welcome the Vets home.  It was a heart warming experience.  I should also point out that Pepsi came out with free Pepsi for everyone.  (New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi.)

Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.  After waiting about two hours we were informed that the flight was being diverted to Wilmington, NC and the Vets would be bused back to New Bern.  I think that the flight was goin…

Charlotte USO

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When I fly from New Bern on US Airways I change flights at Charlotte.  In my last couple of trips I have taken advantage of the USO at the Charlotte airport.  North Carolina hosts many military bases and Charlotte is a hub for military travelers.  It is, as you can see from the picture, a beautiful facility.  The USO  was founded in 1941 as an "umbrella" organization to provide services to the military in WWII.  From the USO web site:

"Supporting America’s troops was the first mission of the USO. In 1941, as it became clear that the nation was heading into World War II, several organizations mobilized to support the growing U.S. military: the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board."
People "my age" remember the USO for the Bob Hope Christmas Shows in Vietnam.
I enjoy my visits.  The staff is except…

Forever Young - Erie Canal Closed

I have just returned from a trip to Wisconsin and Illinois.  Trevor and I stopped by the store at Southwind Marine to see Tom Young (Forever Young.)  It turns out that Tom had departed about two weeks before to take Forever Young down to the Annapolis Boat Show.  Since he was headed in my general direction I gave him a phone call to find out his float plan.  To my surprise he told me that he was headed back to southern Lake Michigan because the Erie Canal was closed due to damage from Hurricane Irene.  If you are planning on heading that way here is the link to the Erie Canal status.  Tom is now going to head down the Mississippi River to bring the boat south.  I look forward to hearing his experience as I have never made that particular trip.  Most likely we will join up in the Florida Keys.

Great Dismal Swamp Fire Wrap Up

I took a few minutes to follow up on the current state of the fire.  It is controlled and they are currently working to cool the final hot spots

Major Fail

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Too late!

New Bern NC 9/11 Remberance

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Photos from the New Bern NC 9/11 Remeberance:




Tryon Palace, New Bern, NC

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This lady is inviting us into the main building at Tryon Palace in New Bern, NC.  Their Web Site is http://www.tryonpalace.org/  Jim (Gail Force) and I took the morning to walk over from the marina and tour both the North Carolina History Center and the Palace.

The Palace was built in 1770 as the residence of the British Colonial Governor of North Carolina.  At the time New Bern was the center of the Naval Stores industry.  Alas, the Governor's didn't get to enjoy the Palace very long, the locals didn't get along with him and he had to flee for his life.

The most interesting part of the history, IMHO, is that the Palace was destroyed in a fire in 1798.  The site was also compromised in that a major New Bern road and bridge across the Trent River ran directly over the foundation of the old palace.  Starting in the late 1920's a group of very determined women decided to rebuild the site.  They found the original architectural plans.  After 30 years of effor they rebuil…

Pitching Deck

Those of us who sail are very familiar with a pitching deck.  We usually strap ourselves to the boat so that we can't be lost overboard.  Sometimes, as happened to me once in my early racing days, we can be tossed overboard and dragged but being attached to the boat makes recovery a lot easier.  The following two part videos give a whole new perspective to "Pitching Deck."  It makes you understand why Navy pilots are the best in the world - and I thank them all for their service.
Part 1
Part 2
Spoiler - have you ever seen 15 "bolters" and "wave-offs" in a row?

Fair winds and following seas

Great Dismal Swamp Fire 90% Contained

WVEC.com
Posted on August 30, 2011 at 1:28 PM

SEE ALL 2 PHOTOS »



SUFFOLK -- Hurricane Irene may not have put out the Great Dismal fire, but it did a lot to contain it.


“The world has changed since we last saw it,” said Incident Commander Mike Dueitt Tuesday.


Thanks to Irene, the fire is now 90% contained, but there are still nearly two dozen smoldering spots in the refuge.


Getting to them is challenging because of flooded roads and newly-fallen trees.


Tuesday was the first full day back on the job for firefighters. Two 20-person hand crews are cooling remaining burning areas with small pumps in the south end of the fire.


“We’ll be winding things down over the next few days,” Dueitt noted.

Mobile Template

As many of you know I spent my career in the IT industry.  Every time we wanted to do something new we needed to define, design, code and test it.  How different today.  I just clicked enable mobile template and now you can read Rebootracing from your smart phone.  How I love being a "user!"

Getting Back to Normal - sort of

Although we continue to watch Katia with concern things are slowly getting back to normal here at the New Bern Grand Marina.  There was only minor damage to the docks and with the exception of one ramp it has been repaired.  The Hilton Hotel has had a large crew working on the water damage.  The carpets in several areas have been removed.  A large quantity of fans continues to try to reduce the humidity in the hotel.

The New Bern area is also getting back to normal but the damage is still quite evident.  Almost everyone has power back and the roads have been cleared.  I went food shopping yesterday with Gail and Jim (Gail Force.)  The stock in the food stores appears back to normal.  I understand from the local news that some of the areas close by are still in a bit of a pickle.  Apparently the road between New Bern and Oriental is still closed.  I presume it is either flooding or there is a bridge out.

The weather has finally turned cool - in the 60's at night which makes for gre…

Hurricane Irene - The Aftermath

I spent some time today traveling on various errands around the New Bern area.  It brought to light just how lucky XO, Reboot and I have been.  We knew that one boat had sunk at Bridgepoint Marina across the way.  They have closed Bridgepoint due to damage to the docks.  Ed (Door into Summer) and I went over to Leigh and David's (Bamba Shack and Woodstock) home in Fairfield Harbor.  On the way we saw numerous downed trees including at least a dozen leaning on the 11,000 volt transmission lines.  But even that did not prepare us for Fairfield Harbor.  We were told 16 boats from Blackbeard Yacht Club had been driven ashore.  We saw several boats including a big power boat on the lawns in Fairfield. While returning an anchor we saw at least one truck destroyed when a tree had fallen on top of it.  At least a dozen homes had trees that had fallen on the houses.  And a number of the homes are low enough that they flooded in the storm surge.

It is instructive to realize that the actual …

Great Dismal Swamp #4 - Even Irene did not put it out!

By Veronica Gonzalez
The Virginian-Pilot
© August 29, 2011 SUFFOLK
Hurricane Irene dumped plenty of rain on the Dismal Swamp wildfire - but not enough to put it out.
Fire officials took to the air Sunday afternoon to assess conditions. They spotted at least 30 areas where smoke was still billowing from the 6,000-plus-acre fire, which is not unusual, said John Bearer, a spokesman for the Southern Area Type 2 Incident Team, in charge of the fire.
But there was good news to come out of Irene, too.
No visible flames were spotted, and the fire - which was considered 35 percent contained on Friday before the storm - did not appear to have spread, Bearer said.
Also, between 10 and 15 inches of rain from the hurricane were recorded at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, he said.
"We have puddles all over the place," Bearer said. "There's time to get water into that soil."
He likened it to water hitting a sponge. For the rain to help, it n…

Reboot OK

I finally got access to Reboot. She leaked in all the usual places, other than that she seems OK.  Now to restore some order and air her out.

Later

After Hurricane Irene 7:42 AM Sunday New Bern NC

The sun is shining and the water levels in the Trent River have reached normal.  We can see one boat that sank and a shredded jib in the marina across the Trent.  The ramp to "D" dock sheered off during the storm.  I can't get down to Door into Summer at the moment but I know it will be high on the list of things to fix so that people can get to their boats.

The Hilton Hotel continues to do a wonderful job trying to make us comfortable.  We still don't have all the power back so much of the hotel is running on generators.  Apparently the land line phone service is still not working - not a big deal in this age of cell phones.  But we are supplied with coffee and a breakfast buffet for those who choose to eat it.

XO slept well last night - mostly cuddled up against me.  The floor of the room is sopping wet from the ingress through the balcony doors.  The air conditioning doesn't work.  I am thinking of opening the windows to help it dry out.

There is not much evid…

Hurricane Irene 8:39 PM EDT New Bern NC

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The eye has passed (far too closely) to New Bern.  All reports are that Reboot has made it through OK.  I have not walked out on the dock as the winds are still gusting to 50 mph.  It is now dark so there is not a lot of reason to go out in the rain and wind.  Tomorrow will be soon enough.

The New Bern Hilton is trashed.  We had major water ingress.  XO and I were moved from the first floor to the second floor because they expected my first floor room to flood.  The maximum storm surge was most likely 12 feet, about 4 feet short of the tops of the posts in the marina but enough to breach the seawall and fill the parking lot of the hotel up to the bumpers of the parked cars.  Ceiling tiles are down, paint is pealing off the walls and ceilings, in general the hotel is a mess.  The staff on the other hand has been outstanding.  They have been mopping, cleaning, smiling, serving food and trying to keep us all intact. BZ to the Hilton staff.  There are only two computers in the hotel with …

Hurricane Irene 7:11 AM EDT New Bern NC

The sun has risen and we can now see better.  At the moment the wind and rain has moderated.  Looking out to the Marina the boats seem to be in good shape.  The storm surge has raised the water level over the breakwall and is now flooding the parking lots of the hotel.  We are on emergency power so the TV sets in the rooms are not working but we have gotten the Internet back after about a 2 hour outage.

People are starting to come out of their rooms.  I am off to coffee and more waiting.

Stay safe.

Hurricane Irene 4:30 AM EDT New Bern, NC

Woke up so I decided to take a walk.  We still have TV, power,cell phone and Internet.  Winds now are around 50 mph with the center of the storm still about 2 hours to the south.  We have about 10 feet of storm surge but the floating docks still have about 6 feet of pole left.  I walked out to the shore end of "A" dock with Marsha and Alan.  They were equipped with life jackets and flashlights and walked out to check both of our boats.  They are, at least at the moment, OK.  Current guidance is that we may see 80 mph before we are done. It would appear that the worst of the tornado hazard has passed as that is normally at the north end of the storm.

XO has been quiet.  He is staying very close to me, cuddled up last night as we slept As those of you who have been through this know the wind and rain comes in bands.  At the moment we are in a period of heavy rain and wind.

I will post again after the eye passes if we still have internet at that point.

Irene Update

XO and I have moved into the New Bern Hilton Hotel.  This is the hotel next to the marina.  I can tell that he is unhappy.  He is nipping at me but does not want to be far away from me.  When I hold him he just cries.  I have seen this behavior before when the weather is turning bad.  Fortunately I have my neosporin to put on my new cat scratches.

I spent a couple of hours on Reboot this morning finalizing everything.  All of the things in the cockpit are either tied down or moved to the cabin.  Everything in the cabin is wedged on the floor or in a cabinet.  The forecast is for wind gusts up to 85 mph with the rain starting this afternoon.  Pretty much all of us are about as ready as we are going to be.  So once again we wait.

Stay safe.

Lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down, fight fight fight!

I have spent the last day taking more stuff off the outer hull of Reboot.  Since it is midday it is still hot and muggy so this evening when it cools a bit I will finalize the deck area by removing the remaining items such as the grill.  I have spidered the boat.  Our biggest concern is that the floating finger docks will break loose.  We have them secured to the pilings and boats so hopefully they will not be able to work back and forth.

The forecast track took a nasty turn to the west (lean to the left) in the last 12 hours and the forecast has gotten worse accordingly.  We were forecast for gale force winds last evening, as I write this the forecast is for hurricane force winds.  We have a couple of bridges and the hotel buildings that will do something to the wind force, that is still to be determined.  I still have one big trawler next to me that has not taken down his canvas, has his stern pointed in the direction of the expected winds and has not put out any extra lines.  I hav…

Tracking Hurricanes - Spaghettimodels

Here is a great link to Mikes Spaghettimodels tracking page.  He has stitched together hurricane model graphics from a bunch of different sources and presented them on one page with click through.  Give it a try at http://spaghettimodels.com/  Very neat.  Note that he also has a Facebook page.  You can find the link on the web page.

Tracking Irene

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I have spent the morning helping shift boats around the marina.  We are spacing out the sailboats so that when they roll the masts will not become entangled.  Of course there is always the one guy who doesn't get the memo and parked his boat in a slip between two other boats.  We were not able to convince him to move so we moved the other boats.  Great.

The good news is that the predicted track continues to move toward the east.  We will most likley still get strong winds and a lot of storm surge but it doesn't look quite as bad as it did yesterday.  Knock on wood.

The big conversation is about staying in the marina or anchoring out.  I have decided to stay here unless they kick me out.  I have good ground tackle but looking at the ground tackle of some of the other boats gives me pause.  It doesn't help if Reboot doesn't move only to be creamed by someone with a 20 ton boat, 5 feet of chain, and a 20 pound anchor.  And believe me I have seen some of that.

So we watch …

Waiting for Irene

The worst part of course is the waiting.  With Ed's help I took down the main this afternoon so I now have bare poles.  The jib you may remember was torn on my approach to New Bern so the forestay has been empty for a while.  It is kind of funny that my new jib and main will arrive in the next day or two.  As David said, just in time to have them blown out by Irene.

I had planned to go to Chicago and Milwaukee to visit my sons and have some oral sugery done this Friday.  I decided to cancel the trip.  It turned out to be quite the joke.  I suggested to US Airways that they cut me a break since I was not able to travel due to the weather.  The nice lady talked to her supervisor but no such luck.  Then I rescheded the flight.  It turned out that with all the the service fees and penalities it was cheaper to walk away from the ticket then to pay the fees to rebook the flight.  Nice.  The airlines have really gotten to be a royal pain in the neck.  The nice part is that the reservatio…

Goodnight Irene, Goodnight

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Here we go again.  I spent a month in St Pierre and Miquelon off the Southwest coast of Newfoundland last year waiting out four hurricanes.  Of course hurricanes never come to Newfoundland.  Only North Atlantic gales.  Except when Reboot is visiting.  Then you get both, back to back.  It was a long month and a departure into the highest winds and waves I have ever chosen to experience.  It was not much of a weather window but at least it did work out much better than my dockmates who chose a different route and lost their dinghy and almost their boat.

Since XO and I (and Reboot) are in New Bern, NC you might wonder why I am posting about Hurricane Irene at this point.  The sailor's creedo is "reef early, reef often."  With a number of my cruising friends not being around later in the week - including myself - it is time to get the boats ready for whatever happens.  In general this means removing anything that can catch wind - sails, dodger, etc. and storing them below.  …

Great Dismal Swamp Fire #3

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The fire burns on.  Here is an update from the LA Times. Click here.

Great Dismal Swamp Fire #2

The fire continues to burn.  It is in the peat, some reports suggest 4 feet of peat has burned.  An update from the Newport News Virginia Daily Press is here.

Chinese Swan Lake

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When I lived in NYC I took advantage of the ability to attend the New York City Ballet on a regular basis. This was the golden age of the New York City Ballet. George Balanchine at the height of his art. The Ballet hadJerome Robbins as a second choreographer It was a time of great creativity. Children and job relocation eliminated the ability to go to the ballet on a regular basis.  A couple of years ago I was fortunate to see the American Ballet Theatre performance of Swan Lake with Gillian Murphy.  I was impressed and amazed at Ms. Murphy's technical skill in comparison to my memory of the skills of the top dancers of the 1976 - 1980 time period.  I have blogged about the recent Swan Lake movie and my low (and fulfilled) expectations for the dancing.  When I saw this clip of the Chinese Acrobatic Ballet I was just blow away.  Enjoy the clip,

Safe in any weather

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XO has found the perfect place to chill in any weather, the front head sink.  I am not sure what the appeal is at this point since we have not been underway in a couple of months.  Maybe he is telling me I need to go to the store and purchase one of those pet beds.

Speaking of not being underway the local diver/bottom cleaner has told me there is no point in trying to clean Reboot's bottom.  Apparently all of the copper has leached out of the ablative bottom paint.  I will be pulling Reboot in early September to paint the bottom.  My research into bottom paints is interesting.  Apparently the ~$125 West Marine paint has the same copper content as the ~$300 high end paint.  What is worth the extra $175?  Another insight is into "multi-season" paint.  I realized that most boaters don't travel very far each "season."  With about 15,000 nm since my last bottom paint job I think I have used up a lot of seasons.

I am also going to use this "availability"…

Great Dismal Swamp Fire

In an attempt to beat some of the heat in New Bern I headed up to New Jersey to visit my brother and sister in law Al and Sally for a couple of days. It was a nice break and I enjoyed seeing the renovations they have done to their home of 30+ years.

I flew commerical to New Jersey but my return was by "Air Al", my brother's turbo Mooney aircraft. We flew from Caldwell NJ to New Bern down the Delmarva peninsula. It was perhaps the most idyllic small aircraft trip I have ever taken. We flew at 6,000 and 8,000 feet for about 3 hours without a single bump or shiver. The sky was clear and Al and I had fun finding all my sailing transit landmarks.

As we approached Norfolk VA we noted what appeared to be a large cumulus cloud. Our first reaction was that our flight was going to be affected by thunderstorms. They are common in the afternoons. However it turned out that the cloud was smoke from a fire that has been burning in the Dismal Swamp for the better part of a month. The t…

Cowes Crash #2

From my friend Nigel

Hi Roger,

I thought you'd like the Cowes week clip.
The local "Southampton Water" harbour rules are that large vessels have ONE MILE ahead of them as a no entry zone for any other yacht or vessel.
The yacht owner will be wasting his time making any insurance claim AND will be receiving a court hearing with MCA receiving a hefty fine for the cillision AND for putting his crew at risk.
Could cost him up to £10,000 in fines AND the total uninsured loss of his boat !!
I'll send you the details in due course.

Meanwhile, herer are a few wheezes that can save you money................

Cheers,
Nigel
PS: Have a cool beer for me.

I'm Racing - I don't reef, I don't change course, I don't have a boat anymore

Like those who didn't reef during the recent Chicago - Mac race because they were "racing" here is another example of racer arrogance:



Its the anchor that gets you every time!

Back to the 50's

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Yes, I really am that old.  I don't think that we had air conditioning in my family home until after I had moved out to go to college in the mid 60's.  About the only place that did have air conditioning was the local movie theater.  I grew up in very modest circumstances but every once in a while my parents could afford to let us go to the movies.  This was both a good and bad thing - I still have fond memories of This Island Earth and bad vibes from Them.  Even as a teenager the sound of crickets gave me shivers.

This summer has been brutal with heat.  The water temperature is up to 85+ degrees.  Even when the air temperature drops to the low 80's at night Reboot never gets really cool.  In the middle of the day even with the a/c running full blast it is still unpleasant inside.  But this is not a unique problem to Reboot.  I have discovered that even the public spaces - restaurants, the hotel lobby, and local stores don't have enough tons of a/c to keep up.

I decide…

Hamburger or Hot Dog?

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Last night I went to the Walmart Superstore here in New Bern to pick up some groceries.  One of my classic hot weather items while in port on shore power is brats.  They are really easy to put in the microwave without having to heat up Reboot further.

The package on the left contains hot dog rolls.  Note that the label says they are hamburger buns.  Since both were at the same price I said what the heck and bought them anyway.

On the way home I started thinking.  Well, the quality control was pretty bad if they put the buns in the wrong bag.  Should I worry?  I finally said just eat the rolls.

What is interesting from the perspective of an old computer guy is what this did to the Walmart supply chain system.  They sold a lot of hamburger buns and no hot dog rolls.  I predict a clearance sale on hamburger buns in the next couple of weeks.

Breaking 100

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No, unfortunately, this is not a post about finally breaking that magic number in golf.  My Garmin wind speed and direction sensor also measures barometric pressure and air temperature.  After a low last night of 73 degrees I have now seen a high of 106 degrees,  The temperature, not the heat index.

In my first winter of full time cruising I spent most of January and February in Key West.  We had unusually low temperatures - daytime temperatures in the 40's and occasionally in the 30's.  At the time I realized that full time cruising is something like camping - you are exposed to the weather 24/7.  Yes you can huddle inside the boat in the rain.  When you do it is almost always hot and very sticky.  You can put up window screens to try and keep the bugs out.  They work pretty much but not perfectly.  But the reality is that you are always not far from the weather.

XO seems to be enjoying the heat.  Of course the Tonkinese breed is from Southeast Asia where it does get quite war…

Another Capsize

By Cindy Clayton
The Virginian-Pilot
© July 26, 2011

PLYMOUTH, N.C.

A man and woman were rescued Tuesday night by the Coast Guard after their sailboat capsized in Albemarle Sound.

The couple’s neighbor called emergency dispatchers shortly after 8 p.m. to report the couple had left about 4 p.m. and had not returned before storms moved through the region, a Coast Guard news release says.

Dispatchers notified the Coast Guard and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Elizabeth City found the couple shortly before 2 a.m.

The woman was hoisted from the water and a Coast Guard rescue boat crew helped the man get the sailboat upright so that it could be towed to the Midway Boat Ramp.

No injuries were reported.

Auxiliary members of the Coast Guard and North Carolina wildlife officials also helped with the search.
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We have been routinely having afternoon thunderstorms.   Albemarle and Plamico Sounds have very bad reputations for being dangerous in bad weather.  It appears they are well deser…

Good article on Chicago-Mac tragic race conditions

Good article on observed weather conditions in the tragic Chicago- Mac race at http://www.sail-world.com/USA/Chicago-Mackinac-Race-100-Knots-and-Off-the-Clock/86145

What is most interesting to me is that the boats decided to "run off" rather than reef in hopes that the storm would be over quickly.  As a cruiser who has been caught in thunderstorms that last 30 minutes or more I honestly don't understand this as a strategy.  It would appear that guessing wrong can kill you.

Topsail Beach, New Bern and Heat

I took Trevor down to Topsail Beach where his mom had rented a place for the week.  I got to see Rick and Anita for the first time in 15 or 20 years.  Rick and I used to work together at Bunge Corporation.  Rick had been quite sick for a while and I was delighted how well he has recovered.

We spent quite a bit of time sitting on the porch watching the ocean. It was quite cool and breezy.  We commented on how just a mile or two inshore it must have been quite a bit hotter.  Topsail is a typical beach community - I think more high end - and quite pretty.

I drove back to New Bern to the heat.  It just broke 100 degrees and I can hear thunder so I presume we are about to get hit again.  There has been quite a bit of damage from lightening in the past couple of weeks so I hope we will not have any more this time.

I have been thinking about moving North for a while. But when I look at the weather map it is as bad or worse there.  I will stay here and wait for my sails to be delivered.

Questions, questions - The Chicago Mac tragedy

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With the announcement of two deaths in the Chicago-Mac race many are asking questions about what happened.  We know that there were eight persons on WingNuts.  Five were rescued immediately a sixth a little bit later, and the two died.

I approach this story from two dimensions:  as a former Chicago-Mac racer I know that there was a great deal of safety equipment on WingNuts.  What happened that the safety equipment was insufficient?  As a single handed cruiser I also have questions about how WingNuts got caught in the thunderstorm and capsized.  IMHO thunderstorms are the most frightening events at sea.  Yes, high winds and high waves are very scary but they usually build over time giving one the opportunity to "batten the hatches" and get ready for the blow.  Thunderstorms can rise up quickly, can have very strong winds, and can chop up the wave train in ways that are very uncomfortable not to mention dangerous.

These sailors had decades of experience.  They were in their h…

Two bodies found after capsize in Chicago Mac Race

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The bodies of two sailors who disappeared when their boat capsized in a storm during the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac were recovered by Coast Guard divers Monday morning and identified as the skipper of the boat and a crew member, both from Saginaw, Mich.

The yacht club said they were the first sailors to drown in the history of the well-known race, which dates to 1898 and has been run annually since 1921.

Mark Money, the 51-year-old skipper of the 35-foot yacht Wingnuts, and crew member Suzanne Bickel, 41, were both experienced sailors, according to the Chicago Yacht Club. Morley had 44 years of sailing experience, including six Chicago-to-Mackinac races and 85 qualifying races, and Bickel, his girlfriend, had sailed in two previous Chicago-to-Mackinac Races, with 16 qualifying races.

Their bodies were discovered around 7:45 a.m. Monday in northern Lake Michigan off the Michigan coastline southeast of North Fox Island, according to the Coast guard. They drowned when their b…

Finally - Free International Charts

From the SSCA Web Forums. The original post is http://forum.ssca.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=12581d. This is great news - a start in the right direction.  I am going to do some more research and get back to you later.
Recently NGA has release a lot of charts worldwide through this site:http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/OnLineViewer.html
These charts are the old DMA charts, quite a few are updated though.
The website displays these charts through a software called "Zoomify", and each chart is made up of thousands of small picture tiles.
The pictures behind the website can however be De-Zoomified, and converted to a full chart picture, through freely available scripts.
We are a few members of the OpenCPN community, who has started a project to do just that, and save the full pictures for later conversion to BSB/kap electronic chart files. Compare to what happened to NZ LINZ chart picture files.
Read more about the project here:http://opencpn.info/en/ and here