Saturday, April 30, 2011

The (British) Public Heath

Continuing my thoughts of yesterday, did you notice that the young prince is balding?  He mush use the British Public Heath - I guess Rogaine is not on the approved products list...

Friday, April 29, 2011

A beautiful morning after a very bad day

Thankfully for us they all missed - the tornadoes I mean.  The closest came about 15 to 20 miles from Reboot and Door into Summer.  We, like most of the people in the marina spent most of the day on shore as a safety measure.  Although we did get some winds in the 40+ knot range we got almost no rain.

Our hearts go out to those who were less fortunate or who lost loved ones in this terrible storm.

No Tongue?

What, no tongue?  Here is the heir to the British Empire, hereditary leader whose forebears raped, pillaged and slaughtered their way through most of the world. that sent hundreds of thousands of Brits to their death lead by incompetent Generals (Monte comes to mind, but he was nothing compared to the generals of WW I) whose only reason for appointment was that they were members of the aristocratic class.  Not only no tongue, he can't even get a commoner to pledge to obey in the wedding vows.

The sun has truly set on the British Empire.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornado Watch

With thunderstorms 70 miles away (25,000 ft tops, 57 dBZm 40% chance of hail up to 1 inch) and a tornado watch (# 252) until 4 pm it should be an interesting day at the dock.  We are all doubling up lines, tying down everything, and getting ready to repair to the bar (it is not safe to be on the boat in high winds LOL)

Lets hope it all blows out.

Key West Transit

Ed (Door into Summer) and I flew to Key West to bring back Ed and Claudia's cars to New Bern where they are keeping Door into Summer for the summer. (Does that make New Bern, NC the "official Door into Summer" of Door into Summer? )

OK, for those of you who don't know me I always get a laugh out of product endorsements - you know, Pampers, the "Official Diaper of NASCAR."  Yup, when I am going around the track at 200 mph and I just about loose it on the turn I think of Pampers, the "Official Diaper of NASCAR."  Interview guy: "Do you always get nervous when you almost crash and burn?" Driver: "Depends (the official adult incontinence pad of NASCAR.)  (I think I have milked this enough.)

We got up at o'dawn thirty for the ride to the airport.  We of course get there the requisite hour early so that we were sitting at the gate 55 minutes before departure.  Craven County Regional is not all that big don't you know.  We flew to Atlanta without incident and then switched planes for the trip to Key West.  About an hour out one of the other passengers complained about chest pains (actually he was a diabetic going into insulin shock) so we turned around and flew back to Atlanta.  About 2 hours later we took off again to Key West.

By the time we arrived our ride was long gone to other responsibilities so we took a cab to NAS Key West.  Under the current Commanding Officer cabs are no longer permitted to come onto the base so we were faced with the 2 mile walk in the hot sun to the marina.  Fortunately we were picked up by a friend who was driving by and he dropped us off at the cars.  Having lost so much time we immediately started driving north.

All went well until Ed noticed that I was throwing off pieces of something (he was trailing me.)  I noticed it too, all of a sudden I could not steer.  It turns out that the serpentine belt had self destructed.  One of its functions is to run the power steering pump.  Great fun at 70 mph.  We got over to the shoulder safely and waited for a tow.  The next day, with Ed being $700 lighter we continued on our way to New Bern, arriving yesterday without further incident (except of the dump truck that covered us with shredded tire - at least there were no big pieces.)

I was reminded of an incident in my youth.  Mom, Dad, Ace and I were heading up the just opened New York State Thruway (yes, I am that old) on a camping trip.  We blew the fan belt.  Dad took the rope that held the canvas bad for our tent closed, tied a knot, (a square knot - we were Boy Scouts of course) and put it in place of the fan belt.  We drove for a couple of days with the rope belt until Dad could find a replacement.  I realize that there has been a lot of progress since then but there was no way we could jury rig a serpentine.

Today a front is coming thru so we expect high winds and possibly some rain.  Another great excuse to procrastinate working on Reboot.

Friday, April 22, 2011

And then there were two (jibs, that is!)

Reboot and Door into Summer made it into New Bern, NC yesterday afternoon.  It was not, however, without its final piece of drama.

New Bern is my summer repair and refit marina.  I estimate that Reboot has sailed about 10,000 NM since I left Milwaukee about two years ago.  That was the last time that she was actually on the hard except for a quick pull and scrape of the bottom at Green Cove Springs.  Add another 5,000 NM sailing and racing in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron before I moved aboard and its time to go over her from stem to stern before heading for the Eastern Caribbean and South America in the Fall.  I also have friends with boats here that can watch over her and give me some time to do a couple of land visits.  For example I am going up to Madison, Chicago and Milwaukee to attend Spencer's graduation and visit Trevor in a couple of weeks.  (Joy of joys, not only will Spencer graduate but he also has a job offer!)

After a long and tiring sail from Charleston to Morehead City and a short night tied up to a dock with No Trespassing signs which we could not see in the dark (we subsequently talked to the security guard, explained that it was the middle of the night and that we had been at sea for 3 days and he took pity on us - thank you) we headed up the ICW to the Neuse Rive and New Bern.  The forecast was for 20 knot winds gusting to 25 - not a great time to be in the river.  It can get very nasty.  All the way up the ICW we had sunny skies and no wind.  Ed, not being totally read into the sailing life asked me on the radio - "so how are you liking the 20 knot winds?"  I told him it was not a good thing to tease the weather gods, that superstitious sailors considered it bad luck.  We both had a bit of a laugh.

We exited the ICW and headed up the river toward New Bern.  For the first half of the trip there was no wind, it finally picked up just enough to put out the jib and get a little boost.  All of a sudden, and I mean within 30 seconds the wind went from nothing to 40 knots.  Reboot's 150% jib was fully out and all of a sudden I had a skysail jib and a main jib as it split in two from leech to luff!  Then the furler jammed.  All in all not much fun.  After doing a couple of pirouettes to get the sail unwrapped and the shredded jib wound around the foil we started to head back toward New Bern.  (Door into Summer had turned around, dropped its sails and was standing by in case I needed assistance.)  The wind dropped to about 20 knots and the waves kicked up giving us a lot of leeway as we negotiated the narrow channel near New Bern.  We finally arrived with but one last challenge, to get under the lift bridge into the New Bern harbor.  I called the bridge and requested an opening.  I told the bridge operator that it was very windy and that we would appreciate it if he would start his opening early so that we could maintain speed toward the bridge.  He agreed.  So of course he didn't start the opening until I was about 500 feet from the bridge.  Since I had anticipated this response I was actually about 100 feet up current from the bridge.  Ed, on Door into Summer behind me, was wondering what I was doing.  I had to slam Reboot into all back emergency which not only removed all headway but also the ability to steer.  I drifted smartly 100 feet to port, went back into forward and under the bridge.  Ed of course had to do a full emergency reverse to avoid hitting me.  As he passed under the bridge we both called the operator and thanked him for the lift.  It never pays to piss off a bridge tender!

Inside the harbor there was no wind and no waves so I figured I was home free.  The wind had been shifting all day but Reboot was rigged port side for her slip.  The dock hand answered on the radio that he would stand by to handle lines and warned me that there was a rapid current in the slipway.  As I turned down into the slipway I found out how rapid, I had to hold the bow up about 30 degrees to go in a straight line down the     way.  I got to the slip, turned hard in and realized that I was not going to make it but rather hit the boat on the starboard side of the bow.  Once again, all back emergency!  Reboot shuttered, turned elegantly to align herself perfectly in the slip, and as I dropped power blissfully drifted into the slip and the waiting hands of the line handlers.  In the computer business we call this "FM" and in the military "DFL."  Everyone watching complemented me on my extraordinary ship handling.  I excused myself and went below to change my underwear!

After tying up the next step was to get the jib down.  Of course the wind had come up by this point, it had unwrapped itself and both pieces were starting to flog.  With the help of Allan, the dock hand, and a knife we finally got it all off the forestay.

On the way in Claudia had said that she wanted champagne to celebrate the end of the winter cruising season.   I had been carrying a bottle of Crystal for ages waiting for the right time to open it.  I decided this was the right time so I carried it over to Door into Summer and we had a mini-celebration and Ed offered a prayer of thanks for good friends and a successful and safe boating season.  Then we all got cleaned up after about 5 days without a shower (except of course for Claudia, but she is a girl and so into the hygiene thing.) Dave of Bomba Shack drove over, picked the three of us up and we headed over to the local Outback Steakhouse for a celebratory dinner.  Fortunately Dave works in the marine trades here so he has offered to help me out lining up some skilled craftsmen to look at Reboot and arranging for her to be put on the hard to redo the bottom and swap the current propeller back to the folding propeller.

I am looking forward to a couple of days of doing nothing and then getting on with working on Reboot while it is still cool here.  The last couple of days I have had to use a blanket in the evening, something that has not been necessary for the last 8 months!

I will keep you informed as to the state of boat projects in the coming weeks and also provide contact numbers and experiences with the local boat technicians.  Fair winds and following seas.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A "Fresh" Gale

The Beaufort wind scale runs from 0 to 12.  Each number has a corresponding range of wind speeds, a description (e.g. "moderately large waves will blow foam") and a (cute) name.  I am sitting on Reboot on a mooring ball in Fernandina Beach, Florida.  My Garmin GPSMap 5212 has a system for drawing graphs of various items, boat speed, wind speed, depth, etc.  So just for yucks I decided to see what the maximum wind speed has been in the last three hours.  The answer is 39 knots or a "fresh gale."  If the wind goes up another two knots we get to a "strong gale."

It starts to get uncomfortable at about Beaufort 7 or 28 to 33 knots.  That is when you start to bounce around.  Being on a mooring ball Reboot also veers around as the wind hits the hull at slightly different angles.  Door into Summer is still on the dock.  They left the mooring field yesterday to have a technician check out the problems with their charging system.  They found out that a fuse had blown in their charging circuit.  Now everything is working fine.  But as soon as they left the mooring ball ($18.50 per night) it was taken by another boat so they are paying ~$80;00 per night to stay on the face dock, in other words on the outside of the protective docks of the marina.  Door into Summer is bouncing around against the dock quite a bit as are all the other boats in the marina.  The good news is that they don't have to try and dinghy into the marina in a 30 knot wind and 2 knot current to walk Stormy.  It would seem they are better off where they are at the moment.

Once this cold front passes thru we will head up the coast again.  We are considering just running straight to Morehead City.  We will then travel up Adams Creek to the Neuse River and on to New Bern.

I mention Adams Creek for a couple of reasons:  The first is because it is narrow, shallow, and nasty and I hate it.  The second is because I discovered it could get nastier.  How?  Well you may remember that I almost hit the cruise ship American Glory trying to get off the fuel dock in St. Augustine. Another American Cruise Lines, Inc. ship, the Independence arrived yesterday in Fernandina Beach.  (click on the ship names to link to pictures of the ships.  I discover that they have a cruise called the Mid-Atlantic Inland Passage.  Thats right boys and girls, they take that thing down Adams Creek!  I know what you are thinking.  It must be safe.  Well, the good ship Independence just got underway in a fresh gale to keep its schedule.  I was not impressed - nor do I expect the people on board will be as they struggle with mal de mer (English -as they puke their brains out being seasick.)

(For those that wonder, a Beaufort 12 is a hurricane.  I guess Beaufort figured you were pretty much done in with a Beaufort 12 so he didn't go any further.  That task was taken up by Saffir and Simpson who created the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.  It goes from "Oh my God (1)" to "Totally Screwed (5)"  OK, I made that up.  For more on these scales, measuring Tornadoes, satellite observations and so forth see

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fernandina Beach FL

We made it into Fernandina Beach last night just as the tide changed.  Both Door Into Summer and I picked up a mooring ball for the night.  I of course dropped my $110 special mooring ball picker upper hook in the water.  It was the end of that kind of day.
We started out from St. Augustine early in the AM.  I tried to free Reboot from the mooring ball only to find that the lines were wrapped several times around the ball.  It took Ed and I about 20 minutes to get them unwrapped.  Then, over to the fuel dock  By now the current was ripping and after a whole bunch of warping Reboot around I finally got clear of the dock missing the cruise ship American Glory by about 10 feet. I had chosen to make a quick trip to the bathroom since I didn't think that Door into Summer would make the 7:30 Bridge of Lyons opening.  Of course they did.  I didn't.  Then I found out that the next opening was at 8:30 vice 8:00 so I had 55 minutes to putz around waiting for the bridge. At this point Ed called and said that they were having alternator problems and were planning on returning to the dock.  I decided that I would just head on up to Fernandina Beach and meet them there.  However they got things sorted out enough so that we both came up here.  There was absolutely no wind so we motored the entire way - well, almost.  In the last 5 miles the wind came up to about 20 knots to make sure our entrance into the channel was a challenge.
We got both boats tied up on balls and then I took XO over to play with Stormy while we had dinner.  After dinner we decided to bar hop downtown including going to the oldest bar in Florida.  Feel free to skip it.
This morning Door into Summer's charing problem came back.  In addition, the leech of my jib has several small rips.  With the forecast for the next couple of days including thunderstorms I expect we will be staying here for the weekend.
As we passed the St. John's river we did get to see two US Navy ships coming out of the Mayport Navy Station.  I always enjoy "haze grey and underway."  We of course thanked them both for their service on the VHF radio.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In St. Augustine

Had a very interesting transit from Miami to St. Augustine.  The first part of the trip was so benign that I had to run the engine at idle to keep Reboot pointed in the right direction.  Then, just about 5 miles from St. Augustine  I got one of those Florida/Georgia thunderboomers.  Of course the jib jammed and the main sail didn't come down right so it was one of those days.  Then the thunderstorm passed and I got into St. Augusitine.  I am now sitting on a mooring ball.  I am going down to see Bill (KI4MMZ) and then out to dinner with Ed and Claudia.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Free Single Handed Sailing Tips Book

Andrew Evans (nice name, works in my family, in fact it is Spencer's middle name) of the San Fransisco Single Handed Sailing Society has put together a very nice tips book for single handed sailors.  You can download it from

Saturday, April 9, 2011

XO The Wonder Cat

I just got an email from Linda, XO's breeder that the XO episode on Cats 101 is airing on the Animal Planet cable channel as we speak.  It will be on several times in the next week, so give it a view.  I have seen the final video, and XO goes first, so make sure you tune in at the beginning of the episode.  His "15 minutes of fame" actually only lasts about 5 minutes.

I hope that they will post the episode on their web site for the future.  I don't know their criterion but not all episodes are posted.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of my little star!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Another beautiful day

We left Garden Key this morning on the way to Miami.  It was just another beautiful day.  We had about one point free all the way up the Hawk Channel and arrived in Miami in early afternoon.  We are now anchored on the bay side of South Beach with the barbaque cooking Pork Chops while we sip good rum.  Another day in paradise.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sail, repair, dinghy, drink, swim, play dominoes

We left this morning heading up the Hawk Channel.  I repaired the main slides and we pulled into Garden Key to walk Stormy, the Door into Summer mascot.  So we drank a couple of pitchers of Harp, ate pulled pork sandwitches, when back out to the boats, snorkeled, swam, napped, and now we are playing dominoes.  Life is tough.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How embarrassing

For the second night in a row I was invited to dinner on Door Into Summer.  They are in the slip next to mine.  I should also point out that I have been invited to breakfast both days too!  I have been bringing XO over with me and he and Stormy (Ed and Claudia's Westie) seem to be doing OK with each other.

We were sitting in the cockpit after dinner and the conversation came around to boat canvas, in particular dodgers and cockpit enclosures.  Claudia mentioned that they needed to replace their dodger as it would not take waterproofing and it had been patched several times.  XO at this point has decided to hang out in his favorite place on deck - the top of the dodger.  We see the impact of his paws on the underside of the dodger and every once in a while he walks across the window.  (Dodgers have windows in the roof so you can see the sail trim.)

Sure enough - rrrriiiiiiippppppppp and down comes XO into the cockpit.  Claudia and Ed have assured me that it is OK and not to be concerned.  I understand it was the luck of the moment but I am still embarrassed as heck.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Try Views

Google has added a new way of looking at blogs.  Try to get into view mode.  There are several different views to select.  Give it a shot and let me know if you like it.