Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Visiting Trevor

I made my way down to Arlington Heights to visit Trevor.  I had forgotten what unlimited hot water, a washer dryer, and DVR TV does to your life.  We did a 24 marathon so now I have seen all 8 seasons.

Tonight back to see Spencer, then tomorrow back to Reboot.  Of course tomorrow Obama has to decided to fly into the Milwaukee airport just when I am trying to leave.  So I expect the air travel to be even more ugly than usual.  Can't this guy just leave me alone?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sailing and City Lounge

What do you do when you are "on vacation" away from your boat?  Why go sailing of course.  Ed and I took Wisk, his Catalina 27 out for a day sail in Milwaukee Harbor.  We had nice steady winds, about 1 foot of chop, and music provided by some very amplified rap group at the Milwaukee Summerfest.  FYI - the Summerfest grounds were a good two miles away and the wind was blowing from the boat toward the band.  I can not imagine what it must have been like to be in front of the stage.

We met Kirsten for sushi and then headed over to City Lounge in Cudahy to see old friends.  I was fortunate in that a couple who had met at City Lounge decided to have their wedding reception at the bar so everyone on the staff was working.  It was great fun to have everyone do a double take and ask me how life was in paradise.

 Tonight I head down to see Trevor.  Tomorrow we are going to Six Flags for the day.  It should be fun.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Visit to the Dark Side

Dan contributed some hydrocarbons last night so that we could take Why Knot out to see the Queen's Cup racers.  After a trip out into Milwaukee Bay we headed down to South Shore Yacht Club to see a very unusual ketch anchored south of the club, then up the Milwaukee River to Water Street to have some dinner.  Ed, Kristen, Tina and her girls were along for the trip.  The girls are both growing fast (I have not seen them in a year) and are quite mannerly young ladies.  Since they had both been playing in a swimming pool with their mom all day and were exhausted I was most impressed.  Tina of course is as charming and beautiful as ever.  As we came back down the river the boat in front of us had signaled the Water Street and Broadway bridges to open.  I don't remember ever being under a lift bridge before when it was closing, but both were coming down as we motored through.  Fortunately Why Knot fits under the bridges so we just got the experience of all that steel coming down slowly.  We did a quick trip across the outer harbor and then Ed, Kristen and I went back to their place for the night.  (I should mention that they have been most hospitable putting XO and I up while in town.)  Definitely a retro night - I don't know how many times we have done this trip before I left Milwaukee.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Great Visit

I had a great visit with Spencer and am now on my way (with XO) to Milwaukee and South Shore Yacht Club for the Queens Cup party

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Current Position

At 4:27 AM on 6/16/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 40°09.15'N 073°55.91'W heading 357T at 4.5.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trip Home

I am planning to fly back to Milwaukee on June 23rd and stay thru June 30th. I hope to see lots of friends.

Atlantic City

I stopped in Atlantic City for fuel and a rest. I fueled at the Trump Marina. I walked across the street to the Trump Marina (Casino) to check the place out. What a huge disappointment. First, it was almost completely empty. Second, there was nothing eloquent about it. Most of the dealers were middle aged or older and not particularly attractive. I guess I have watched too much James Bond.

The wind has been in my face for the last day, even when I change course it seems to veer to be on the nose the entire time. I considered spending a night in Atlantic City but at $3.00 per foot per night I decided to et continue on to Staten Island. I wonder why the entire transient section of the marina was empty? Buy a vowel, get a clue!

On to Staten Island.

Cold Night

I spent last night traveling down Delaware Bay to Cape May NJ. I was surprised to find that the exit from Delaware Bay is at the same Latitude as Annapolis, MD. I went all the way up the Chesapeake Bay only to backtrack almost half way back down. Of course I did the Bay to see friends so it was well worth it.

Last night was the first night since last winter when I have been cold on watch. The water temperature is much colder here in the Atlantic and it chills the night air. My priorities have shifted again, its time to get the cabin heater working!

Coming down the Delaware Bay ship channel at night was quite an event. Ocean going ships were passing me no more than 500 yards from my beam. At one point I had three ships, two inbound and one outbound all cross right next to me. Fortunately I had spoken to them on the radio and they had me duck out of the way so that I was not in the middle of the pass.

On my way to Staten Island, I should get there tomorrow. I will leave Reboot there next week and travel back to Milwaukee, Arlington Heights and Madison to see Trevor and Spencer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Offshore Alone

On the way from Key West to Fairlee Creek I have made two multi-day transits - each about 5 days long.  In both cases the weather was benign.  In fact from Key West to Fort Pierce there was little or no wind.  The bad weather that I have been hit with has all been while transiting the ICW - morning and afternoon thunderstorms.

People are always curious about the cruising life.  They are in particular surprised to find that I go offshore all by myself.  I thought it might be worthwhile to give a little insight into the emotional experience.  In addition to getting me to where I want to be I consider these experiences warm ups.  I hope to take Reboot across the Atlantic next spring.  That will be a 20 to 30 day offshore trip.  These trips are helping me understand both what I need to be (in the emotional sense) and how I need to equip and provision Reboot.

The two terms and come to mind are boring and tiring.  Even if you are your own best friend your company pales after a few days.  Some things are difficult to do because of the motion of the boat and/or other concerns.  For example, I have a PS3 and games and a library of video on board.  They use a ton of power and I have to make sure that I have enough to run the autopilot all night.  In addition sometimes the motion of Reboot just makes it uncomfortable to be down below.  There are no easy chairs as Reboot's chairs are designed for sitting upright around the salon table or sleeping in a bunk.  I find myself sitting in the cockpit most of the time with my back toward the direction of travel.  In that seat I can't see any of the numerous instruments.  Fortunately I have numerous proximity alarms to warn me if another ship is coming close.  For example:
Of course this was in the daytime.  At night it is even more fun!  There is no doubt if I could only afford one piece of electronics for Reboot it would be my AIS.  Offshore knowing that they can see me no matter what my radar signature is a great relief.  It also makes it possible to call ships by name.  My normal patter is "Hi, this is the sailboat on your (whatever) do you see me?  Are we OK or do you need me to do something?"  My best answer to date was from a large cargo ship while heading up the Gulf Stream from Key West.  In a fine Texas drawl he said: "Well, you are a sailboat and I have read COLREGS so I guess I better turn and miss you."  The two biggest fears at sea are getting run down and thunderstorms.

Back to boring.  I consume books offshore.  Thank goodness that many marinas have free book exchanges.  You drop off your current crop and pick up another pile for the next trip.

Second is fatigue.  I tend to take lots of cat naps offshore.  Things can go from boring to very intense in a short period of time.  Even so it takes a toll on your energy.  Without anyone else on board I have to keep track of my food consumption.  Sometimes I just fail to eat and then find myself very tired.  Other times I get the muches and want to eat all night and day.

For me the choice of offshore vs. the ICW is a non-starter.  The ICW requires full time attention - think about driving down a superhighway all day alone with no rest stops.  It is difficult to get to the bathroom or to prepare anything like a decent meal.

Finally, I think I get a little crazy offshore.  Having no one to talk to I find myself questioning my progress.  Should I go into port for a break?  Should I continue on.  The saving grace is that I am usually so far offshore that going into port and coming back out would add a day or two to the trip.  So I just hunker down and keep going.  This is clearly something I have to get my arms around before crossing the Atlantic.

Do I enjoy the life.  The answer is yes.  But like any lifestyle there are positives and negatives.  Visiting new places and making new friends is great.  Transits not so much.  But the transits are the price you pay for the new experiences.

Off tomorrow morning for NYC to see my brother and visit my childhood home.

Current Position

At 6:36 PM on 6/13/2010 Reboot (and I) were at 39°15.80'N 076°12.39'W heading 324T at 0.0.

Fairlee Creek

Still the best place to be on the North Eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. I have not been here in 15 years but all it has become is better. A great day trip from Baltimore, a narrow entrance into a shallow wide bay. The marina, which was bankrupt when I was last here has been rebuilt with lots of slips, a restaurant, two tiki bars, etc. The place is so big that there is a golf cart shuttle bus!

Dinner last night with Ron and Teresa from Last Dance. They drove up from Kent Narrows. Tomorrow the C&D canal and up to Staten Island. I am going to borrow Ron's mooring ball for a couple of days then thru the East River and into Long Island Sound. I hope to anchor out from the boat club where I sailed as a teenager. It should be fun.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Midnight Swim

I woke up at 4 AM to find no kitten.  XO had climbed up on the boom, twisted his leash around the Dutchman a couple of times, and then either jumped or fallen off.  The result was that he slipped his collar.  A search of the boat yielded no kitty.  I went on shore in hopes that he had jumped down on the dock and was near.  No luck.  I knew that there were places he could hide on Reboot where I would not find him, so I decided that I would just have to wait to see if he came out for food in the morning.


As I went out on deck once more I heard his cry.  I thought it was from inside the back cabin, but soon realized that it was too loud and not coming from quite the correct direction.  I looked over the side of Reboot and to my dismay there was XO, clinging to one of the mooring posts for dear life and crying.  I got out a bucket on a rope and tried to scoop him up.  The result was that he let go of the post and swam around the stern to another post.  I was of course not fast enough to grab him as he went by.  So fully dressed into the water I went, swam over to the other post and grabbed a very wet and scarred kitty.  I swam back with him to the boat and plopped him up on the swim platform.


Net, I dried him off as best I could – thank goodness that the water in the Elizabeth River is fresh so I did not have to deal with salt – and then put him in kitty jail to dry off.  I rinsed myself off with boat water and put on fresh clothing.


I had planned an early start to buddy boat up the dismal swamp route with a couple of other boats but I admit that I didn’t intend to get up this early!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Elizabeth City, NC

In Elizabeth City, NC.  Going to take a day and watch the hydroplane races.