Monday, May 26, 2014

I Didn't Ding Her!

I have been so worried about damaging Breeze On every time we dock that I am always convinced I have damaged her every time she touches something. Even when I gently nudge a padded piling. After we arrived here on Saturday I looked at her transom and saw what appeared to be a black mark and horizontal dent.

If you look closely at the starboard side of the transom you can see the black smudge. The dent is not visible in this picture. I assumed the black mark came from bumping a piling and the dent came from hitting the end of the finger on the dock when I was backing in. I did hit the finger but everyone told me it was a very light bump. Also, the end of the finger is padded. I didn't think I had hit it very hard, but how else to explain the dent and black mark???

 

Then yesterday, when we were cleaning Breeze On, I noticed that there was on almost identical black mark on the other side of the transom. There were also streak marks leading from the deck. So, it was dirt that had washed down from the deck! Then I took a closer look at the dent and saw that it was a series of letters and numbers.

 

It was the hull identification number! So, I didn't ding her after all! Maybe I have been obsessing just a little bit. ;-)

Nevertheless, I have purchased on online class called Maneuvering Under Power. It provides the theory of maneuvering a boat in forward and reverse in various conditions and also provides exercisizes to practice on your own boat. I am feeling optimistic that this might be very helpful. In addition we asked our friends, Dawn and Ray, to accompany us sailing tomorrow and impart their own wisdom and assistance regarding leaving a slip and returning. I am hoping that, after that, I may feel confident enough to practice with just the two of us.

 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day Six--Annapolis to Cambridge

We made it. We are safely berthed in our slip in Cambridge.

We left the mooring in Annapolis this morning and went over to Back Creek to practice backing into a slip. Suky remembered some fairways in the area that would make good practice areas.

After the practice we left Annapolis and followed a race that we believe was headed to Saint Michaels. What a treat it was to follow all of those beautiful spinnakers.

We had a lovely day of sailing on the Chesapeake. There is something about being in these waters that feels so right.

After we turned Into to the Choptank River the winds died so we had to motor sail and then just motor. I was trying not to think about docking in our slip.

Suky was very attentive in studying the tricky depths of the Choptank and pointing out the various features we should watch.

Approaching Cambridge Marina

 

I was at the helm as we entered the Cambridge Marina and docked to get fuel and pump out again (the holding tanks on the Hanse are small!). I looked over and saw our new friends Dawn and Ray waiting for us at the end of our dock. They brought wine to celebrate our arrival! They also were a tremendous help as we pulled into our slip and attached all of the lines. If you ask me, the docking wasn't pretty but everyone else said it was fine. As we were leaving the boat I noticed a large black mark and four-inch scrape on the stern. It was disappointing to me and, of course, I feel responsible for it but can't even tell you how it got there.

All in all it has been a very positive and challenging experience. I am so looking forward to cruising on Breeze On. Still not a huge fan of docking her, though.

 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Day Five--Chesapeake City to Annapolis

This has been the best day yet. Two Navy ships escorted us all the way through the remainder of the C&D

Canal.

 

When we entered the Chesapeake we were able to raise both sails and sailed the entire way down the Chesapeake to Annapolis. The winds were 10-15 with gusts up to 20 and the sailing was just fantastic.

 

The water was quite muddy and had a lot of sticks and logs floating in it after yesterday's storms.

It was so exciting to sail under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. We have driven over it many times and watched other boats sailing in the water below. I can't tell you how many bridges we have passed under this week but this was my favorite by far.

 

We picked up a mooring ball, our first on Breeze On. I was at the helm and George was handling the mooring.

 

We also arranged to have the pump out boat to come and pump out our holding tanks. We have two heads and two nine gallon holding tanks on Breeze On. George and I were using one head and found out that a nine gallon tank was filled in two days. We used the worker's bathroom when we were staying at McMichael Yacht Yard so this was our first experience with a pump out. It wasn't as bad as we expected. George held the nozzle down as tight as he could to avoid a disaster.

 

 

We took the water taxi over to Eastport for dinner and as we were leaving we got to see a different perspective of Breeze On.

 

 

Tomorrow we head for Cambridge. It will be nice to be home but I am still a little anxious about docking in our slip. Suky has given me homework to visualize docking it without any problems. That is one more challenge in a week filled with challenges.

 

Days Three and Four--Cape May to Chesapeake City

Day three was a day of showering, eating a brunch of sloppy joes and wine at 10 am (planned dinner from the night before), napping, talking to the broker about the broken boom vang and jib block, talking to Simrad about why the AIS system doesn't work and figuring out the radar. It was good to rest and the day seemed to pass quickly.

Day four started with fog.

By the time we were ready to leave and weigh the anchor, the sun was out and the fog was lifting. As we headed out of the Cape May channel the fog thickened considerably so we turned around to go back to the anchorage. As we slowly motored in the channel, Suky blew the air horn to signal our presence to any boats who couldn't see us. We dropped the anchor again and waited an hour for the fog to lift. We weighed the anchor again and headed out of the Cape May channel. The fog thickened as we entered the Delaware Bay and Suky continued to blow the air horn every few minutes. We closely monitored the radar for any ships or other boats in the area.

 

After the fog lifted we were thrilled to see dolphins! Suky turned the boat around so that we could get closer to them. They were all around the boat and there were even many baby dolphins swimming. It was such a wonderful sight.

 

 

The winds picked up enough in the afternoon that we could raise the sails.

We had an excellent sail for almost two hours. The moment we turned the engine off the three of us simultaneously said, "aaah." It was nice to be sailing again. They most challenging part was dodging all of the lobster buoys. We were sailing out of the channel to avoid the ships, but had to contend with numerous strings of buoys.

We dropped the sails after two hours due to oncoming storms. We wanted to be fully prepared if the storms came over us. We put foul weather gear on and tethered ourselves to the cockpit. The weather alerts reported that the storms were producing 50 mph winds and quarter-sized hail. The winds and waves picked up and it was a challenge to keep the boat on course while surfing the waves.

 

We were very fortunate, though, that the storms went on either side of us and we barely got wet. Just as we were about to enter the C and D canal the radar indicated a storm was about to pass over the canal. We decided to delay entering the canal until the storm had passed.

We ended our day at a very peaceful anchorage in Chesapeake City, MD. All in all the day was a challenging success. I am feeling much better about the cruising life today.

 

 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day Two--Atlantic Highlands to Cape May

Another eventful day. I could do with a little boredom right now. We weighed anchor in Atlantic Highlands at 9:45 am and headed over to the fuel dock to add water to our water tank and top off the fuel. We brought up the anchor without any trouble. I was at the helm and George was operating the winch. Suky was coaching us both. George thought the entire anchoring procedure (dropping it and bringing it up) was much easier than expected. He was able to rinse the anchor and the chain with our salt water deck wash. I was at the helm when we pulled into the fuel dock and was able to do it without crashing the boat. Hooray! The young men at the fuel dock were nice enough to let us fill up the 80 gallon water tank and wash the salt water off the boat without charge.

Next, we left the harbor, raised the mainsail and practiced reefing the sail. As we began raising the sail Suki noticed that the halyard was not attached to the sail. The locking shackle did not appear to lock. George used a short piece of line to attach the halyard. At noon we left Raritan Bay and headed out into the Atlantic Ocean for the trip along the New Jersey shore. We decided to make it an overnight trip, with Cape May or Lewes, DE our destination. The winds were out of the South, instead of the predicted West, so were motored most of the day. By 7:45 pm the winds had shifted enough to the west that we were able to raise the sails and turn off the engine. We put one reef in the mainsail as a precaution in case the winds picked up during the night. My watch started at 8:00 pm and was to go until 11:00 pm. I was a bit nervous to be alone in the cockpit at night but willing to give it a try. Suky stayed with me for about a 1/2 hour and then went to bed. The winds stayed between 12 and 15 knots throughout most of my watch and I kept my eye on a few barges in the distance. I didn't bother setting the timer to remind me to get up and look 360 degrees every 10 or 15 minutes because I found myself looking around every five minutes at least. I tacked a few times to try to stay on course and follow the wind shifts. It felt a little freaky to be tacking in the dark. About 5 minutes before my watch was to end the winds built to 17 knots and then 20 knots. Suky came up to relieve me from my watch. The winds continued to build as we worked on putting another reef in the mainsail. I did not have a headlamp and found it very difficult to find anything and see what the sails were doing. At one point the jib started luffing a lot and I thought I had somehow inadvertently released the jib sheet. I winched it in. We got the reef in with some difficulty and then tried to winch the main sheet to bring the boom closer to the center line. As I was winching it in I heard a loud clunk. We noticed that the boom was pressing on the bimini and couldn't figure out why. Eventually things calmed down and I went to bed. The seas were pretty rough so I started out resting on the settee and eventually moved into the v-berth when the seas calmed a bit. I set my alarm for 5:00 am for my next watch and was able to sleep pretty well. When I came up at 5:00 to relieve George he told me that the seas had been very calm, there were no squalls, he had sailed most of the time and there were very few other boats to watch. Figures! He was concerned that the jib had felt different when he had furled it so he walked up to the bow after daylight to check on it. He found that a shackle had broken off of one of the blocks on the jib sheet. That explains the sudden luffing of the jib from the night before. Then, even worse, he found that the boom vang was bent about 70 degrees.

 

That explains the loud clunk from the night before. We both feel bad that we broke the boat and I feel bad that it happened on my watch. Although the jib shackle and the boom should certainly be able to handle 25 knot winds without breaking, I shouldn't have used the electric winches to tighten them so hard. I also should have been checking the radar on my watch to be better prepared for the squall. This experience has really triggered my part that feels responsible. A friend and former WindChime crew member, Julia, taught me the acronym, AFGO. For those who don't already know it, it stands for Another F#*+ing Growth Opportunity. I think I have had enough for a little while. My perspective may change as time goes on but today I am not enjoying the cruising life.

I watched the radar obsessively this morning (of course) and saw that a large group of storms were heading right down the Delaware Bay toward us and our destination. We woke Suky early to consult with her and she decided to head for Cape May where we are now anchored. Of course, the storm never arrived and it is quiet and calm here. Nevertheless, it was nice to shower, eat sloppy joes for brunch (last night's dinner) and nap for a bit. I should mention that I am grateful I did not get seasick. I had been worried about it before we left. I used Seaband acupressure bands and took over the counter Bonine as preventatives. I should also mention that I am grateful we are all still alive and on the boat, have all of our digits and limbs and that Breeze On is still floating. Tomorrow we plan to enter the Delaware Bay. Here's hoping it is an uneventful day with no AFGO's.

 

 

Monday, May 19, 2014

First Day--Mamaroneck to Atlantic Highlands

It has been quite an eventful day. We woke up to beautiful weather. The sun was shining and the winds were 10-15 out of the northwest. A great day to set sail. We left the dock at Mamaroneck at 11:00 am. We motored around outside the harbor, practicing maneuvers in prepartion for learning to dock the boat. Then we put up the sails and tacked back and forth, getting a better feel for how Breeze On handles under sail. We were also waiting to time our arrival at the Throgs Neck Bridge so the currents would be favorable as we passed through Hell Gate and the East River. We dropped the sails and motored under the Throgs Neck Bridge at 2:00 pm.

Just after we passed through Hell Gate at 10.3 kn our captain, Suky Cannon, noticed that there was 3 inches of water on the floor of the forward head. She determined that it was fresh water, not salt water and that our 80 gallon water tank was empty. We were trying not to miss the beautiful sights of Manhattan as we investigated the source of the problem and pumped the bilge.

We eventually found that the hose for the cold water going to the sink had become disconnected.

As we were getting close to our destination for the night, Atlantic Highlands, a squall rolled in and the winds picked up to 35 knots. A few large waves crashed into the cockpit and soaked Suky and then George. We turned around and headed back to New York to wait for the squall to pass. We finally arrived in Atlantic Highlands and anchored at 7:30 pm. The sunset was just beautiful and I am exhausted.

 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

T Minus One Day and Counting

Our plan is to leave Mamaroneck tomorrow and begin our trip to the Chesapeake. We have been living on Breeze On for a week, learning about her, practicing cooking, refilling the water tanks, refueling, etc. We have learned a lot but we are both disappointed that we have taken her out sailing just once this week. The weather has been perfect for sailing the past two days but we don't feel competent enough to return her to the dock without assistance. Therefore, we don't leave the dock. Our captain arrives this evening and we know we will get plenty of practice this next week. We are hoping that we will feel competent by the time we arrive in Maryland. Even so, it is difficult to watch boats leave the harbor while we just sit here.

Bye bye
Breeze On is the last boat on the dock on the right. A few days ago these two docks were filled with 25 boats. I wish I had taken a photo of the boats rafted to each other 4 deep.

In the meantime George has been busy installing the step I will use for getting on and off the boat at the side gate.

Installing the step

Breeze On has a five foot freeboard. I can't hoist myself up without a step. There has been a dock step available for me to use while we have been docked here. I can't always count on that when we are at other docks. The step should make things a lot easier.

It is five feet from the deck to the water. It is a VERY large step from the dock to the deck of the boat.
The step makes it much easier

I have been working on making checklists for myself. A checklist for what to do when preparing to leave the dock, another one for operating the engine. It is going to take quite a while for these things to become second nature for me.

One of my checklists

At the last minute we decided to buy a Spot GPS tracking device. It allows others to track where we are and allows us to send pre-recorded messages to others such as,"we are okay."

The Spot device

George is now at the local Starbucks using his laptop and their internet to get it set up.

I tried on my life jacket and harness to adjust them to fit.

 

My life jacket, harness, PLB and part of the tether

We also have tethers attached to the harness that will allow us to be attached to the boat via jack lines. We will use these if we are sailing in rough conditions or during the night. The bright green "ACR" device that is attached to my life jacket is a personal locator beacon (PLB). If I fall overboard (NEVER, I hope) and the tethers and jack lines don't keep me attached to the boat I can activate the PLB to make it easier to be located.

I am both excited and nervous about our trip.

 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We Made It to the Boat!

On Friday we packed up the Prius before heading out to Syracuse, Albany, Lowell, MA and then Mamaroneck, NY where our boat is docked.

Filled to the brim with boat stuff

We first attended our daughter's graduation and then helped her move from Syracuse to Lowell, MA where she will soon start her new job. It was an exciting, but exhausting weekend. We so enjoyed spending time with our daughter.

We arrived in Mamaroneck late Monday afternoon. After unpacking the car and loading it on the boat we were too exhausted to put much away.

Yikes!

 

We spent half of the day on Tuesday putting things away and then making an inventory so we could find where we had hidden everything.

 

Thank goodness it looks better now.

In the afternoon we went over the systems on the boat with our broker. I took lots of notes. We are beginning to feel as if we know her a little bit better.

This morning we used our new label maker to label all of the through hulls and hoses. In the afternoon we were able to go for a sail.

 

Up to 8.9 knots!

I practiced driving and maneuvering the boat while we were motoring. I am going to have to get quite a bit better if there is any hope that I can dock her without crashing!

 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Provisioning

Menus we are using for provisioning

We have just a few days before we leave home to spend a week on Breeze On, then sail her from New York to the Chesapeake. We are working hard on our plans for provisioning. In theory, it shouldn't be that much different from what we do every week before we do our grocery shopping. For years wehave made a list of menus for the week. Then we develop a grocery list from the planned menus. We now use an iPad app called Paprika to hold our recipes and menus. The photo above shows the planned menus for our first week on the boat. Even though it shouldn't be that different from what I already do I am finding the idea of provisioning very stressful. I believe the difference is that I will need to bring absolutely everything I need for all the meals we are going to eat. The only food or utensils I will have on hand are the ones I brought with me. I also don't know how it will be to cook and eat on the boat. I have been using The Boat Galley Cookbook and The Boat Galley Blog as a resource. I am still finding it hard to translate the suggestions into what we will actually be eating when we are on the boat.

I have read that, when cruising, people eat in a way that is similar to the way they ate at home. If they didn't eat out much at home, they won't eat out much while cruising. If they didn't like corned beef hash at home they won't like it when they are cruising. We don't eat out much now and I assume we won't eat out much when we are cruising. We are definitely going to have to make some changes, though. We are currently very dependent on our microwave. We received one as a wedding gift 38 years ago and have used one several times a day since. My husband thaws his frozen blueberries for his cereal. I warm up steel cut oats that I prepared in advance. We both warm up leftovers for lunch. We warm homemade bread for dinner in the microwave. We do have a microwave on Breeze On but it won't be practical to use it if we are at anchor or a mooring ball. We don't eat many sandwiches at home but sandwiches are very practical when you are under way on a sailboat. I once bought a salad to eat while we were sailing and most of the lettuce blew away! We will definitely have to make changes in the way we cook and eat.

My husband made a provisioning spreadsheet using an iPad app called List Master. Once we bring all of the food and supplies onto the boat we will write where they are located on the spreadsheet.

Screenshot of the provisioning list

I have started labeling the lockers in photos to make finding items easier.

Galley lockers with measurements

 

Salon lockers with measurements

To make matters a bit more complicated we will be driving from Maryland to Syracuse to attend our daughter's graduation (a very happy occasion), then helping her pack and move to Massachusetts where she will begin her new job (hooray!). So, although we will leave home on Friday we will not get to Breeze On until Monday. Everything we are taking to the boat we be sitting in the car for three days. For that reason we are not going to try to cook and freeze any foods ahead of time. We will wait until we get to Mamaroneck (where Breeze On is located) before we buy the cold foods.

Breeze On has two refrigerators (one is a drawer for drinks) and no freezer. I am concerned that any meats we buy and plan to cook will not last for the entire week (especially chicken). We decided to try using canned chicken instead of fresh. We have one recipe that uses turkey sausage and we are going to take a chance on that.

Another issue that is a challenge for me is the need for flexibility when cooking on a boat. One needs to be very organized in the provisioning but also flexible with the meals. I imagine that cooking on Breeze On will force me to be more flexible.