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

Highlights of this log
Bryan and Bryan do an overnight
Doc gets out a bit
Baby's Second Cruise
July 4th Week
Rebecca picks up a line.
Susan goes sailing, too.
Fuhrmanns come visitin'
Wayne and Frank bring their wives
After six years, we meet Jack and Pat


Sunday June 4, 2000 1600 ED 3904
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Bryan Twigg, Bryan Jr. and I just returned from a glorious overnight to Leadenham Creek. Yesterday was a spectacular sailing day, temps in the mid 70s, with winds starting out about 20 kts gradually decreasing during the day to about 8-10. When the winds are over 15, I don't go out alone because it's too much work to get the boat in and out of the slip alone. Since no one could go sailing with me yesterday morning, I spent the day lazing about the boat doing chores. As the day wore on, I got more anxious to be out there, sailing. So, when I called Bryan and he said he'd be up to do an overnight with me, I was quite pleased.


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The Bryans arrived around 2000 and by 2015, we were underway. Shortly after we left the marina, we were treated to a glorious sunset. The sailing was superb. Most of our trip was on a single tack on a close reach. As we turned north up Broad Creek, we were close hauled, but still only had to do one set of tacks to stay in good water. We sailed into Leadenham Creek and dropped the hook just before midnight. Bryan and Bryan Jr. played a game of chess while we unwound a bit before bedtime. (Bryan Jr. won) Sailing at night is one of my favorite things. This trip was a perfect example of why. We only saw two or three boats during our entire night sail up to Leadenham Creek. The conditions were perfect, visibility good, with strong steady breezes and moderate temperatures. It was a completely engrossing experience, including the fairly frequent shooting stars.

By contrast the return trip had light and variable winds, heat, glaring sun and was marred by the constant thundering of high speed boats. Three of them were running up and down the Choptank at high speed the entire time we were sailing. On a couple of occasions these fire breathing monsters with their un-muffled exhaust from three V-8 engines each, passed within 50 yards of us. Weaving in and out of anchored fishing boats at full throttle, the roar of the engines enough to give one a headache at a distance, much less as they go right by. I can't believe the callous disregard these prehistoric cretins have for those around them. But I digress.


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I'm also a bit cranky with the GyPSy. While at anchor in Leadenham Creek, I noticed that the ED (elapsed distance) was 3888. When we left, it had to be over 3878, since that was the mileage I recorded on returning from last week's trip. Since then, I put on at least 8 miles during Wednesday's race. A goto on the GyPSy showed it to be 13.7 miles straight line to the piers of the marina. Doing a route on the Nobeltec software shows the trip to Leadenham was 17.2 miles. The return trip was a mile or two more thanks to a half dozen tacks to get out of Broad Creek. And yet, the ED is only showing 3904 Grrr.... We probably actually sailed well over 4,000 miles in our first three years. From this point, I will be cross checking our travels with the chart software to calculate the miles traveled.

Still, it was an outstanding trip. We had excellent sailing, good company and perfect weather. Just another shitty day in paradise.


Saturday June 10, 2000. 2100, ED 3922
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Doc Smith is feeling much better, so we got him out on his beloved Sansted. Bryan Twigg and Doc's Grandson, Stedman Wolff crewed for Doc while Dave Long crewed with me. We headed out into the river on a beautiful Saturday afternoon about 1730. The breeze was blowing 8-10 kts, just enough to go out and play, take some pictures of each other's boats and have a couple of maneuvers to pass cookies and cameras back and forth between the boats...


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Just the view, we like to have other boats see.

Tuesday 06/20/2000 14:20:21 - ED 3928

I'm waiting for Terry's arrival so we can go to Dun Cove to spend the night. Tomorrow morning we will go out to the bay to try catching some Tall Ships on their way to to Baltimore for OPSAIL2000.

Tuesday 06/20/2000 20:55:36 - ED 3945
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At anchor in Dun Cove. Just finished a superb dinner of Porterhouse steak, Potato Salad and Beans. It was a windless day of lazing about the boat, too tired to do much. Terry showed up about 1545 and we left the dock at exactly 1600. By 1945, we were at anchor in Dun Cove after a lovely sail. Not a bad sail, for 18 miles. The wind piped up to about 10 kts, moments before we pulled away from the dock and held until we anchored. It's dropped off again to about 6 kts, now. Here's hoping we get missed by the forecast thunder showers, tomorrow. It wasn't a red sky sunset, so we'll see...


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Wednesday 06/21/2000 08:16:38 -

Preparing to Depart Dun cove. Winds are up, sky mostly cloudy, Barometric Pressure, 1030


Wednesday 06/21/2000 13:59:07 - ED 3969

Back in slip, too rough on bay, worried about Rebecca. The new dodger worked wonderfully. My workmanship is still a bit crude, but the design works and it looks great. Assuming you don't get too close... Great sail home once we got back in the river. 20+ kt winds from the SE, no fetch made for a rollicking close reach / close hauled romp home, with no roughness.

Thursday 06/29/2000

We went out to see the Tall Ships come down the bay.

Wednesday 7/5/2000 11:00:00 - ED 4030
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Well, we finally made the illusive 4000 nm mark on the GyPSy. And we did it on a spectacular trip last Thursday, the 29th of June. Dave Taylor, Bryan Twigg, Bryan Twigg Jr., Terry, Rebecca and I went out to see the OpSail 2000 coming down the bay. That trip is documented at the link, so I'll skip through the rest of the weekend. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I worked on a Bimini Frame experiment. I'm playing with some things to see if I can make a stiff enough bimini frame out of PVC water pipe, reinforced with FRP. I've made a great looking frame, but haven't gotten the FRP on, yet. Things are not looking good, so far. the PVC alone is way too flexible.

Monday night, Terry, Rebecca, the dogs and I all went to Oxford to see the fireworks, there. The trip to Oxford was fast and gentle, thanks to a beam to broad reach and 10 kts wind. The fireworks were average, followed immediately by the storm that had been predicted all day. So, instead of moving anchorage to La Trappe as planned, we stayed hunkered down by Bachelor Point Marina. Watching the parade of boats heading home. Not much sleep, thanks to two dogs fretting about storm. Camille hyperventilated all night. I finally got some sleep by shutting her in the head and turning on the stereo so I didn't have to hear only her. (Could still hear her above the stereo, bitch.) 4 hrs sleep. Terry and I decided in Am to take the dogs home and we ended up motoring back to Cambridge to get them off the bloody boat. Ten min after she left, the wind piped up and stayed at 10-12 kts all day. Grrr.

Then, last night, we had the Bruce and Tucky Franz duo over for steaks and fireworks in Cambridge. It was Good Eats, the Good Company of Good Friends and a perfect night for fireworks. About 78 degrees with 8-10 kts of wind across the water to keep it cool and once again, a storm threatening in the distance.

Cambridge, especially considering the nature of its piss poor economy, has always had a decent fireworks display. (I guess they have to do something with the quarter million dollars of slip fees they take in annually, they certainly aren't spending it on marina improvements.) Last night, however it was I think, half again as good as last year. Last year's was good, but I think they skimped a little over previous years. This year, I suspect they had some extra bribe money laying around from the Hyatt people's efforts at getting their resort approved, so it was an extra special display. Damn fine fireworks, this year.

Sunday 7/10/2000 - 12:00:00 - ED 4060
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Yesterday was a good day on the water. I left the dock about noon. Had an excellent sail to Oxford, got there in about 2.5 hrs despite it being a beat and doing several tacks. Of course, the wind died and it took me 5.5 hrs to get back, but I was in no hurry. It was a beautiful day on the water.

On the way to Oxford, I caught a boat I was chasing the whole way. It was a 40 center cockpit of some sort, Home port Cambridge, but couldn't make out the name. I'll have to watch for it, again. I think I had a small edge in speed, but made up a lot of time in point and tactics. (It had a 1.5 mile head start, but I caught it at Choptank Light.) Today, Terry joined me to try to solve our refrigerator odor problem. While she's working on that, I'm whipping lines, straightening out the forepeak and messing with the air conditioner. Rebecca is helping.


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Sunday 7/24/2000 19:00:00 - ED 4095
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Oops, getting a bit lazy again. Skipped a log for last week's outings. Probably had something to do with the inherently boring sail mandated by light and variable breezes that could hardly be called wind. Also, didn't bother to take the camera. Today however, we set sail for La Trappe Creek with the idea of a barbecue in mind. Dave Long joined us, sans Theresa, who shall be berated at a later time. Bryan, Susan, Bryan Jr. and Carl Twigg joined us, as did Pat Woodie who is a new member of our extended crew list. The winds were a lovely 8-10 kts as we reached to La Trappe, where we were almost able to sail into the anchorage. However, the requested wind shift didn't come, so we ended up starting the motor momentarily.


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As usual, an absolutely spectacular lunch, swim and dinghy sail were the order of the day at the anchorage. Our beat home, also in 8-10 kt winds provided just enough wind to move the boat well, almost without heeling. Another specacularly beautiful day on the water in what is turning out to be the best summer since I moved to Maryland. The hottest day so far was in the mid 90s and that was early June. Since then, we've had week after week of partly cloudy days with 85-88 degree weather and night temps dipping into the low 70s and even high 60s sometimes. Just like home and I'm loving it while the locals are complaining about this "cold" summer. It's Perfect!


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Tuesday 8/8/2000 20:00:00 - ED 4128
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Just returned from a trip to Oxford and La Trappe Creek with visiting family. Here are a few shots. Good sailing this morning. Afternoon still and heat forced us to motor home and finish with the evening with an outstanding meal in AIR CONDITIONED comfort. It was good to have family aboard. Mom has visited here four times in the 7 yrs I've lived here and this is the first time we've managed to actually get her aboard The Write Byte for a sail. Weather conditions and being on the hard prevented sailing during the other visits. Ken, Debbie, Jennifer, Kenny and Mikayla all had a good time, too. Unfortunately we were out on what has been the hottest, calmest day of the summer so far and our bimini was on order, but hadn't arrived yet.


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Sunday 8/13/2000 17:00 ED 4140
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Frank Schmidt and his wife Ada joined us, along with Wayne Bromwell and his wife Colleen. Frank is a friend that I used to work with and has sailed with me several times before. I always enjoy getting together with Frank but we hadn't met Ada, whom Frank married this spring. Ada is delightful and we enjoyed getting to know her. I've known Wayne for about a year but hadn't met Colleen yet, either.


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Wayne is a Sgt with the Cambridge Police force and NO I didn't meet him because he arrested me! Colleen too, is a delight. So, the seven of us (Terry and Rebecca were along, too) ventured off for a luncheon sail. We sailed to LaTrappe Creek, had a lovely repast and sailed back. The weather couldn't have been finer. This summer has been filled with perfect days and the excellent company and meal made it yet another perfect day on the water. Good fun for all.


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As often happens, the ladies were reluctant to take the wheel until encouraged and cajoled. Both Colleen and Ada were outstanding at the helm and actually ended up enjoying it just a bit...


Sunday, 8/20/2000 18:00 ED 4152
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This weekend, I had the spectacular treat of meeting Jack and Pat Tyler. I have corresponded with Jack for over six years via email. We "met" on the Compuserve sailing forum in 1993/4 and have stayed in touch all this time. Jack and Pat recently moved aboard their lovely Pearson 424 and are now cruising full time. They were in the neighorhood this week and we rendezvoused with them at LaTrappe Creek for the weekend. What a delight it was to meet these "old" friends. Terry and I had a terrific time and it went way too fast. We shall treasure our weekend together and look forward to MORE FREQUENT updates on their travels...


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Rebecca, now an old hand at cruising, (was it her fifth or sixth weekend outing?) was wonderful as usual. She took particular interest in Jack and Pat's Whoosh. Perhaps she felt it was lacking a general aura of spit up aboard. She cruises well and we look forward to each new stage. She crawled for the first time ever aboard this weekend and that was pretty exciting since she doesn't turn 4.5 months until the 22nd.

Several times this weekend, I meant to ask if they wanted to watch the Log Canoe races in Cambridge Saturday and Sunday. We could just as easily have yakked the day away while watching those races of living history. (some of the canoes were built at the turn of the century, all the others before 1950, I think.) Anyway, as good as the wind was when leaving LaTrappe Creek, I just kept heading for home instead of going sailing like I wanted to. I thought it odd, but kept going anyway.

As I pulled into the marina, the log canoes were preparing to go out and race. That got me all excited, because I haven't missed a log canoe race since I've been here. I was thankful for my unexplainable behavior. And then, even better, a lady I'd met at the Stedman Smith Cup from a visiting boat saw me and came running over to say hi. I was pleased to see her again and even more pleased when she invited me to crew on one of the log canoes. It seems they were short of rail meat, the guys who go up and down those little boards to keep it heeled properly.

(Log Canoes are literally living history. Originally used by dirt farmers and slaves to navigate the estuary, they are now raced with huge sail rigs all balanced with crew skittering up and down balance boards.)


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So, I had the spectacular treat of going sailing on a log canoe. For a little while anyway. As rail meat, I didn't have much time to marvel at the grace of the boats nor to watch the rest of the players and their jobs. Mostly, I scittered up and down the little board as we tried to keep her flying with just enough heel. And fly she did, we had a 10-15 kt puffy breeze and the roar of the water past the hull was wonderful as we jockeyed for position before the start and did battle on our way to the windward mark. The job of rail meat gave me some time, and I wondered whether I would have preferred to be the jib trimmer. For a few moments, I watched her and decided I didn't want that job as she seemed to be holding the jib sheets without the advantage of a winch and was straining, pressing her feet against the foremast as she tried desperately to hold the jib in trim, the sheet wrapping around her back so she could hold it with both hands. I decided rail meat was a good job and concentrated on doing it well.


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Tacks were fun. My job as "2nd man on 2nd board" was to slowly slide off the board and they began the tack. But, I had to get off the board just before she came into the wind. This is was so I had time to scamper forward, duck and get out of the way of the boom and the three # 1 guys who were responsible for changing the boards to the other side so we could all scamper back up as she began to heel. It was all very hectic and I imagine that in a tacking duel, I certainly wouldn't want to be #1 on those boards. They weigh about 50-60 lbs each and you have to slide them across the canoe and slip it into its slot as the boat basically roll tacks. Not something this guy wants to do more than once or twice a year.

A half mile before the windward mark, a wind puff wasn't answered with enough rail meat (we only had 6 instead of the usual 9 guys) or a quick enough sheet ease and we tipped over. It was one of those slow motion disaster moments. We climbed the rails and someone was shouting ease, ease, ease the sheets and when we were all as high as we could go, the boat just kept heeling more and more until Nancy beside me shouted, "She's going over." I'm sort of glad we did, because I will never forget the adrenaline rush as that board catapulted me into the drink 25 feet below my spot. Watching the sails get dunked and wondering sort of separately if the masts were in danger and all the sensations hitting at once. I saw Nancy next to me fall in and I thought to myself, "I'll just hang out up here, as long as I can." Then, when the board was nearly vertical, I couldn't hang on anymore and fell in. One of the fellows said later he was really worried about me coming up because the board came down right on top of me. I thought I'd gotten bumped by the boom that was already in the water, but it was the board hitting my back. Could have been bad, could have broken my back, so I"m pretty lucky, I guess.

But, back to the story. I grabbed the three boards so they didn't float away in the tide and held onto the boat. (these boards are 4x16 by 15 feet or so.) At some point somebody took one of them from me and then the skipper asked me to swim the others to the chase boat and get aboard to help get stuff aboard. I started swimming them around the mast and when I cleared the mast, the tide caught me and swept me downriver. Everybody started waving good bye and telling me it was nice meeting me.


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Ten or 15 min later a yacht club chase boat spotted me halfway to Hambrook light and plucked me out of the drink. I was no worse for wear other than two hits from jellyfish. The one on my leg didn't bother but a couple of times, but the one on my belly is still nagging. We went back and offered assistance but they waved us away. By then the hour long race was almost over and after picking up the race buoys, we headed in, me still jazzed from the experience.

Anyway, that was my day. How was yours?


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