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The Write Byte's Log. September 1 - September 5, 2000

Friday September 1, 2000 1300 ED 4168

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Bryan, Bryan and I are finally underway. Five or six days of sailing, cruising and just messing about with boats. Nothing could be finer. We are getting a late start, thanks to spending too much time and too much money in the grocery store. But, everything is stowed, the dinghy is trailing nicely and we have a few firsts for this cruise. First cruise with Bryan Jr. (except that one overnight.) First Cruise with the new wheel brake. First cruise with a dinghy motor. We shall see how the venerable old (1971) Seagull I bought from my neighbor John holds up. Had a bit of fun buying that. John is always finding some poor old beat up piece of equipment and making it right. And he does make it right. The Seagull looks almost new as it hangs on the stern. But, when he was trying to sell it to me, Three times he'd say, "come on over and take a look. I've got it running great." When I'd get over there, it wouldn't start. Rather embarrassing for poor John, but we'd laugh it off and he'd finally say, "come back another time." So, next time the same thing would happen.

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Finally, he said, "you know the book says if it doesn't start in 3 pulls, fix it. Let's see if we can fix it right here and now." So we did. We checked the spark and checked the fuel. Both were good. Then, in about 20 minutes, we tore down the carburetor and rebuilt it. The only thing we found was a little grain of sand. But that must have been it because the engine started first pull. So off we were to try it out on a local pond. But, that's another story.

Another first on this trip is the bimini. After a long and involved process attempting to fabricate my own frame, I finally broke down and ordered a bimini from Boat US. It isn't what I was trying to achieve by fabricating my own, but it was cheaper and easier and it does provide much needed shade. What a joy it is to sail in the shade! As we motor sail toward Solomon's Island, on this bright, hot, nearly windless day, it has been said more than once, "Thank God for the bimini."

Saturday, September 2, 0700 ED 4211

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We arrived in Solomon's about 10:00 last night. Anchored in Mill Creek at the mouth of Bow Cove. We had great steaks and a quiet night. Lots of boats in the creek anchored when we arrived. Keith Henry and Lee Beauchamp in Sea Fever followed us in and anchored across the creek. The Picture shows Riley Williamson in Derfla coming down the creek from his anchorage.

Sunday September 3, 1400 ED 4239

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It has been a hectic day and night. We are sitting here at anchor. I just finished putting in a new battery bank while all around me people partied, sailed the dinghy and came a visitn' We didn't race today. I had to get that bank installed. And, TWB just gained another 200 lbs., thanks to adding an even bigger battery bank. With regret, I think TWB is done racing. Unless of course, the wind is over 20 kts, in which case no one seems to want to come out and play. Bruce Franz, Dave Long, Steddie Wolf and Doc arrived early this morning, just in time for breakfast. Last night while traversing Hooper's Straight, they got caught in a storm and could no longer see the next mark. Hooper's strait is nothing to be trifled with, so they dropped anchor. All day, I'd been tracking their progress on the computer and talking to them on the radio. We had a nice gentle sail over from Solomon's. Sea Fever couldn't keep up when the wind was up, so they motored halfway across the bay to catch up. When they finally hoisted sail, the wind was dying, so they pulled away from us in their 8,000 lb boat. Sansted however, wasn't so lucky. What little wind they had was on the nose, and as they turned the corner, the wind came around and the storm came up.

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So, my computer was on all day tracking Sansted's progress and by 2300 when we lost contact, the house bank was so low it couldn't power the computer. That's all right, because I lost touch with Sansted when they got a power surge from a nearby lightning strike. Eventually, I figured for one reason or another they had stayed put and went to bed. So, I put in a new battery bank, this morning. Dave Taylor arrived to crew for the race and we sent him off shopping. Dave Long had a parts list of things needed for Sansted, too.

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Meanwhile, all around me, Chance harbor is hectic. Bryan Jr. is getting in lots of sailing and only occasionally and reluctantly surrenders the tiller so someone else can sail. Here, ESSA's Vice Commodore Mary K. Noren takes Post Script for a run in between duties as the race Committee for the Captain's Cup. Yes, we finally named the dinghy. Post Script. P.S.

Monday, September 4 2200 ED 4265

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After motor sailing up the bay with Sansted in light and variable excuse for a breeze, we split off to spend the night at Hudson Creek. 8 hrs. of motoring is quite enough, thank you. Sansted, worried about tomorrow's predicted Nor' Easter kept pressing on toward home. Bryan and I (Bryan Jr. left the boat, Saturday night.) have been looking forward to a quiet evening on the hook. Things have been so hectic during the trip, we're both very tired. Bryan hasn't cruised much and wasn't sure how he would spend the long evening without his wife and kids. As we prepare to turn in, Bryan said, "This place is beautiful. I can't believe how quickly the evening went. Three hours ago, I didn't know what I'd do with myself all evening. But the beauty of this place just sort of soaks in. Now, I can't believe it's time to go to bed already."

Bryan and I are looking forward to tomorrow's predicted winds. It was supposed to build this evening, but didn't. I hope it doesn't let us down. After a long weekend of light and no air, we need some good wind to go play in.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2230 ED 4299

What an adventure! Unfortunately no pics, but what a day we had! As predicted (for once) this morning's winds were 20+ and gusty out of the NE. We did the run out of Hudson Creek and the little Choptank under just a reefed main in about 20 minutes. Then, hard on the wind, we started beating to the Choptank with just a hanky sized portion of the jib rolled out to balance the main. If I had been thinking, I would have pulled the jib down last night in the calm and been ready to hoist the working jib this morning. Didn't think of it, though. I'd like to have tried that in today's wind. But, with just the hanky out, I was surprised by how well it pointed. You're not supposed to get good shape when severely furled, but it wasn't too bad. We rode comfortably and did well, making about 4 kts sog. Seas in close to land were 4-6 feet while they were 8-10 out further away from land. The boat seemed to be going up and down more than forward, but the GPS kept telling us we were making 3-4 kts sog and our tacks were showing us we were making progress to windward. So, we just enjoyed the ride. What a time we had and what a boat she is!! Once we finally got in the lee of Black Walnut Point, we had calmer waters with just a moderate chop. We unfurled the jib and flew toward home. Against the wind and against the tide, we went from G7 to inside Chlora Point in 1:35, over 6.9 kts sog. Once inside Chlora Point, we dropped the hook and changed the fuel filter. We started out motor sailing into the swells, but the engine died thanks to stirring up gunk and plugging the Racor. After changing the fuel filter, we couldn't figure out how to bleed the engine properly and sailed her home. As it happened, Dave Long and Bruce Franz were working on Sansted and helped us get TWB into the slip and then Dave stuck around to help us bleed the engine. Now that I've seen it done properly, (we hadn't found the priming pump and were doing the gravity feed method.) I'm confident I'll be able to do it again, should the need arise. And Bryan, having faced the dragon and persevered is ready to take on the ocean in our upcoming trip around the peninsula. Hours after pounding into the chop, he was still thrilling at the adventure and marveling at how well the boat road and handled. With a balanced rig and comfortable ride, Bryan steered with a fingertip light touch all day. What a joy! She's a good old boat. Yes she is. More Labor Day Weekend pics on the Labor Day 2000web page.

Unskilled and Unaware

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