Archive for October, 2009

Bojangles on Google Earth

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Hey, this is a new page I’m adding. It’s still rough from a technical perspective, but it does show all the places we’ve been so far. Check it out. You’ll need to install the Google Earth Plugin, but I think it’s worth it.

Cheers,
Colin

Annapolis – pt 2.

Monday, October 12th, 2009

We ended up spending a week in Annapolis and it flew by.

After the excitement of Worthless Wench dragging and a nervous day spent on board on anchor watch, the weather calmed on Thursday and we got into boat show and social mode.

First was the Caribbean 1500 reunion dinner on Thursday. We arrived by dinghy and enjoyed barbecue, beer, and companionship with about 200 other Caribbean 1500 veterans and current participants, including folks from a few other kid boats that are doing the rally this year – Stolen Hour, Shining Time, and Chausseur. Almost immediately, all the kids had bonded and were having a ball on the lawn whilst the parents were able to socialize and get to know each other.

Around 2000, I got a call from Discovery (friends of ours from Toronto who are also Caribbean bound) that they were approaching Back Creek and would appreciate some guidance getting into the anchorage in the dark. I hopped in the dinghy, dropped Kathleen back on Bojangles, left the kids on shore with Shining Time, and then motored out to the mouth of the creek to wait for Discovery.

We hadn’t seen Discovery since they pulled out of Port Credit in early July, so this would be a good and long awaited reunion. I sat in the darkness in my dinghy until I saw a boat resembling Discovery and called them on the radio. I guided them into the harbour with my 2,000,000 candle power flash light and then led them up the creek to our boat.

Along the creek, we ran into the tenders of Shining Time (with Kilgour kids aboard) and Stolen Hour who proceeded to give a warm welcome and escort to Discovery as she rafted alongside Bojangles. Having not seen the Discovery crew for a few months, it was a late night of catching up and devouring scotch on Bojangles.

Friday was the first day of the boat show, and with temperatures in the 80’s, we hit the docks around 11:00 and simply enjoyed seeing all the latest and greatest stuff in the sailing world. Then Colin met up with a couple of his “C&C email buddies” for drinks. Bill Coleman from Erie PA and Dennis Cheuvront from New Orleans LA met for a couple of drinks and to share our sailing fraternity.

Saurday was more boat showing – this time with credit card in hand. Around 3pm, Colin ran out of money and met one of his clients from Toronto for drinks at the Pusser’s bar. Then at 5pm, he was met by Tony and Deb from Mimico who were going to come to Bojangles for a drink. (Tony also brought down a few key supplies from Toronto – A new Canadian ensign, a Sher-wood flagpole, and of course, some Kraft peanut butter. Thanks Tony!)

Sunday was our tourist day and we rented a car to drive to DC for the day. We parked at the Capitol and meandered the length of the Mall, taking in all the key sights, including the Smithsonian (Air and Space), the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and of course, The White House. We then drove out to the DC suburbs to visit with my cousin Maggie from Scotland whom I haven’t seen in 18 years. We had a great visit and dinner with her and her family. Our kids were thrilled to meet new 2nd cousins and I was happy to re-connect with Maggie. (And Kathleen was happy to take tea making lessons from Maggie). Hopefully, there won’t be as long a break until our next visit.

Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving, and while we were in the US, we continued to celebrate. Discovery, also from Toronto, was going to host and we had two additional boats participating – Bojangles of course, and Stolen Hour from Maine (not quite Canada, but pretty close). Anyway, with all boats contributing, we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner for 14 complete with chicken (turkey is too big for onboard ovens), stuffing, potatoes, gravy, etc… A good time was had by all.

By Tuesday, it was time to leave Annapolis. The boat show was over, we had done all we had hoped to do there, and it was time to move on…. So we pulled anchor around midday and headed across to St. Michael’s – on the eastern part of the Bay.

Cheers,
Colin

On to Annapolis – pt 1.

Monday, October 12th, 2009

One of our long anticipated milestones for this trip was making it, by boat, to the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis MD. For the benefit of non-sailors, Annapolis is a sailing Mecca on the US east coast and the annual sailboat show there on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend is the largest sailing exhibition in North America. It’s a big event, and to come there by boat was something we had long anticipated.

Monday morning, Oct 5, we pulled up a very muddy anchor and chain and motored down the Sassafras River back to the Chesapeake proper. After about a 7 mile motor downstream, but upwind, we turned to port and found ourselves on a lovely starboard tack reach heading toward Annapolis. The wind was only about 10-12 knots, but the tide was falling (in our favour) so we were able to make a pretty consistent 7 knots over the ground. (6.5 through the water plus 0.5 tidal current = 7 over the ground). The weather was nice – 70-ish, the water was flat due to the narrowness of the northern part of the bay, and Bojangles was sailing flat and fast. Pretty much a perfect sailing day.

Too soon, we sailed beneath the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that connects the mainland to the Delmarva Peninsula and made the starboard turn into the Severn River and Annapolis. We navigated our way to Back Creek – where we planned to anchor.

When we entered the creek, there were marinas full of sailboats lining the creek on either side and the middle of the creek was loaded with sailboats anchored much closer than I’ve ever seen boats anchor. After a few minutes of being intimidated by the tight quarters, we were able to scope out a spot where our 50’ ketch might be able to swing on an anchor chain without crashing into shore or neighbouring boats.

Once we dropped out hook, it became clear that we were quite close to our neighbour ‘Worthless Wench’. By close, we could have easily tossed a dockline from our boat to his had the occasion arose. To attempt to dissipate the inevitable tension and the discussion around whether we were anchored too close, Kathleen, upon making eye contact with our new neighbour, immediately invited him to come over for a beer. Nothing breaks the tension like a cold Heineken.

As it turned out, Bill from Worthless Wench was a nice guy and had no issues with our close proximity. We would have to keep vigilant however, because we were really close and if the wind shifted, it was by no means clear that we wouldn’t collide.

A couple of days later, the wind was really honking – about 20-25 knots in the anchorage itself. Our anchor chain was stretched bar tight and I’d be lying if I said I was 100% confident that our anchor wouldn’t drag. Because of the crowded anchorage, I didn’t have as much chain out as I would have liked. I did though, have a 66lb Bruce anchor that had been on the bottom for 48 hours, so it should have been well set by this point.

Around midday, a boat close to us, Sapphire, was resetting its anchor and I was watching his progress as anchoring a 50+ foot boat in a crowded anchorage in 20 knot winds is not the simplest exercise. Whilst Sapphire was re-anchoring, I popped below for a moment. When I came back up a minute later, I didn’t see Worthless Wench, which had been right off our transom. My first thought was that we had started dragging.

I looked around and confirmed that we hadn’t dragged – but where was Worthless Wench? He couldn’t have pulled his anchor and left that quickly. Then I saw the boat. Down to leeward, Worthless Wench was drifting amongst boats in the anchorage heading for the docked boats at the marina about 100 yards downwind – and there was no one aboard!

I jumped in the dinghy and, with the help of a couple other alert folks in the anchorage, we were able to use our dinghies to direct this 30,000 lb boat onto the end of a dock and tie her up with fenders and lines borrowed from neighbouring boats. Amazingly, this boat had drifted through the anchorage without hitting any other boat or suffering damage itself… Sometimes, you get lucky.

(And now that I had more swing room around Bojangles, I let out some more chain!)

Cheers,
Colin

Into the Chesapeake Bay

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

The Saturday morning after the trip up the Delaware Bay was spent putting the boat back together as it had become a bit of a shambles the action of the previous day. By about 1100 though, the boat was back together and, more significantly, the tide was high and about to start falling.

We slipped our lines from the Delaware City Marina and got ourselves into the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D) for a nice 14 mile, downstream ride into the Chesapeake Bay. The winds were calm and the sun was out, almost making us forget about the nastiness of the previous day.

By early afternoon, we were in the Chesapeake, and almost immediately, we were confronted once again by an overheating engine. We rolled out the headsail, then sailed close to shore and dropped anchor so we could try to figure out the problem. After clearing the strainer again, the water flow from the engine was not optimal, but it was likely good enough to get us the 5 more miles to Georgetown, MD – our destination for the day.

We motored up the Sassafras River to Georgetown, dropped our hook around 1600, and then thought that we could finally relax. Up until now, all of our overnight moorings, while pleasant enough, were principally places to ‘park’ while we transited each area. This anchorage in the Sassafras River was actually the first place on our journey that we travelled to simply to visit.

And it was a really nice spot. The river was beautiful and the trees were starting to turn. The water though, was still warm so we all took a swim the next day along with our friends from Ohana, whose 4 kids invaded us on Sunday morning. Once the Ohana kids arrived, we pumped up our tube and took all 7 kids tubing – one at a time – behind our dinghy. Then the older Ohana kids offered to babysit so that Kathleen and I could have a night out – which we thoroughly enjoyed.

What a nice day. Almost makes you forget about that bit of nastiness at Cape May.

New video available!

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

We’ve created a video collage of our trip from Toronto to NYC. You can see it on You Tube or right here on SailBojangles.ca. Once this post ‘scrolls’ away, you’ll be able to see all our videos by clicking on the Videos link on the right side of the home page.

Cheers,
Colin

South from NYC

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

After 5 days on the hook at Atlantic Highlands, we finally pulled the hook at 1930 on September 29 and hit the water for our first dose of ocean sailing, a 118 mile (all ‘miles’ are nautical in this blog) reach down to Cape May, New Jersey.

We had a nice time in Atlantic Highlands, got some schooling and working done, and also a few boat projects, but as nice as the town is – it was time to move on and it finally looked like the wind was going to shift to the west so that we could have a nice sail down the coast in calm seas.

So, on the 29th, Colin completed a client conference call at 1900 and we had the anchor back on deck by 1930 as we motored out into the darkness of Sandy Hook.  As we rounded Sandy Hook and hoisted sail, it became apparent that the wind hadn’t fully swung to the west yet.  We were going to be looking at a 100 mile beat along the Jersey shore.

Fortunately, the wind shifted a few degrees and we were able to sail a fairly close reach that would keep us within a couple miles of shore so the waves would not be a factor.

The kids crashed around 10:00 after enjoying the moonlight sail and Kathleen and I stayed on deck together until about 2:00.  We then each took a solo watch which took us through to morning and gave us each a couple hours of sleep.

When day broke, we were approaching Atlantic City.   Kathleen went down for a morning nap while Colin and the kids enjoyed peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast.   After breakie, Mitchell and Clare did some PSPing and DSing, whilst Colin and Gillian kept watch.

When Kathleen arose from her slumber, she made us a tasty lunch of ‘Smiley Fries’ (french fries shaped like happy faces), apple slices, and carrots while we rollicked along at 8.8 knots through the water! (for non-sailors, that’s fast)

We arrived in Cape May around 1430, 19 hours after leaving Atlantic Highlands and had a lovely happy hour on Bojangles followed by dinner ashore with the Jacob-Dolans family from Boston who are also headed to the Caribbean with their 4 children.   You should have seen the maitre d’s look when we walked into the restaurant and asked for a table for 11!

Then we went back to the boat, exhausted, and slept… soundly.

Cheers,
Colin