"There is nothing more pleasant than cruising on a boat with the whole family."
Letter from Empress Catherine the Great

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Nova Scotia Summer Revisited

This posting is way late; we got home on September 12 and here is after Thanksgiving, ten weeks later. Part of the reason for this is that I have had a lot to do and the other part is that I had to recreate the manual spreadsheets which my communications officer threw out! I still love her though. The data in those spread sheet is extracted from the 61 posts in this blog covering the period of the cruise. Im a counter and find the patterns that emerge from data interesting.

We departed on June 18 and returned to our mooring at the Harlem on September 11. Elapsed time: 87 days and 86 nights.

How many of those 87 days were we underway, as compared to lay days?
We had 63 underway days (on 60 passages, because three of the passages were overnight, i.e., two day passages). So 72 percent of our days we were underway for various periods of time. And the remaining 24 days were lay days, of which 20 were planned or desired -- to enjoy the pleasures of the land -- and four were due to bad weather. That we had only four weather lay days is pretty good, I think, though there were five more when we should have stayed put or returned to port when high winds or fog confronted us.

How many ports/harbors/coves did we visit?
Forty nine, though with 60 passages, one would expect 60 ports, one at the end of each of them. The difference is that we entered several ports twice (both on the way up and back) and in the case of Baddeck NS, three times.

How many of the 49 different destinations we visited were "new" ports for us, into which we had never sailed before?
Twenty five, including all of the 20 in Nova Scotia and five in Maine that we had missed on our last three cruises to that state.

How much sailing did we enjoy during those sixty three passage days?
For this analysis I divided the underway days into three categories. We always use the engine when getting underway and when we attach the boat to the bottom or the dock so I divided the 63 days into three categories:
--Sailing days, during which the motor is off most of the time:         28, or 45%
--Days with the motor on (with sails up or not) about half the time: 13, or 21%
--Motoring days, when the engine was on 51 to 100% of the time:   21, or 34%
So a lot of sailing, with the cup half full. More sailing going out when the wind was aft the beam than on the way back when the winds were stronger and confronting us, or absent.

Total mileage: 1947 NM. Divided among the 60 passages this means we averaged  32.5 NM per passage. But this statistic is rather meaningless because it includes three overnight passages of as long as 272 NM with short passages of less than five miles. If you weigh a blueberry and a watermelon and divide by two you get an average fruit weight that doesn't mean much.

I have divided the cruise into six segments described below, in order:
                                                      Days    NM   Passages  NM/Passage
1. Home to landfall in NS                    9       464         5            93
2. In NS to the Bras D"or Lakes         14      287         7            41
3. In the Lakes                                    19      189        15           13
4. After the Lakes in NS to Maine      12     438          5           88     
5. In Maine                                          21     228        18           13
6. From Maine back to the Harlem     12     341        10           34
                                                             87   1947        60 

As you can see. the most time was spent in segments 2-5, at the destination areas of Nova Scotia and Maine, especially segments two and five, with less time and more miles getting there and back.

What about the 86 nights (the 87th was on our mooring at the Club)?
As noted, three were underway.
The remaining 83 were divided as follows:
Anchored:                 21,    25.3%
Moored:                    36,    43.4
At a Dock                 26,     31.3

In addition to the 21 anchoring nights we were provided free dockage over four nights and free moorings over five, bring the total of "no rent" nights to 30 of the 83 on which we were in port.

And we had the pleasure of dining in great places.
87 days times three squares per day means 261 meals, minus the last supper, back home, so the total was 260. All but five (6%) of our 87 breakfasts were aboard ILENE, as were all but seven (8%) of the 87 lunches. It was dinner that we most often ate out, 33 of 86 (38%). Seven of the 33 dinners "out" were on other peoples boats or in their homes.

What of course is missing from this statistical summary posting are the  memorable highlights and rough spots. I'm planning to get together a slide show including them and this framework to be delivered at the Harlem some night this winter. Even if you are not a Harlemite, I'm sure I can get you in.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

October 26 to November 15 -- ILENE Is Totally Ready for Winter

Seven Work days, including final completion of preparation for winter on November 7, just in time for the first solid frost of the winter season two nights later. A total of 28.5 hours, plus almost four hours with Lene one day and one hour with Ed Spalina on another.

Two of the days were not at the boat. One of them was at the Club, getting the outboard off of the dink, cleaned up and transported to Al and John's Marine in New Rochelle for service and storage. I could have saved $100 (the storage part after it was winterized) by storing it in my crowded locker. But that would have required lugging it up a nasty flight of stairs, and back down in the spring. I'm getting too old for such heavy stuff. Getting the dinghy itself up there (it is lighter than the motor but very bulky and need to go through a small space) after washing, deflating. and trussing it up like a Thanksgiving turkey took the help of Sheige and Pat. Thanks guys.

The other non-boat Work day was at home with computer, phone and credit card. 1. I created the winter project work list; now lets see it I can get it all done.
2. I contacted Mars Metals in Canada and Great Island Boatyard in Maine to organize the ordering, paying for, delivery and installation of the new lead "sole" to be fastened under the flat bottom of her keel to add weight at the lowest point which should reduce heeling and let ILENE fly a bit faster when close to the wind. The upshot of all this is that I have to wait until May to get this started; the good news is that the price of lead should be lower by then.
3. Tried to fix my DeWalt cordless electric drill and failing that, found a newer and better one at Home Depot for $99. More powerful (20V vs. 14.4V), with a light that shines on the bit, lighter weight with Lion instead of Nicad batteries that do not discharge as fast in storage and recharge faster, and in a bag that will fit more easily in its space on the boat.
4. Ordered a replacement impeller, from Bridge Marine on City Island. The business is run by a man and his twin adult sons. For years I thought that they were a power-boat store and did not use them. But over the last ten tears I have come to admire their friendly and knowledgeable service and decent prices.
5. After much time reading, and subject to answers from the manufacturer and Raymarine (to which this is supposed to hook up), I tentativelyselected Standard Horizon's Matrix AIS GX2200 (less than $350 at Defender in next spring's warehouse sale). This will make it easy to identify other ships by name and give me their size, course and speed, from the display of a VHF radio unit to replace the existing one at the helm.

The other five Work days were spent at the boat.
+Tied off all the running rigging lines so they would not interfere with the installation of the winter cover nor slap against the mast all winter.
+Cleaned out the raw water strainer and attached three funnels through which to pour antifreeze to all systems needing it -- the fourth one, for air conditioner, was not needed because that device was not used this year.
+Drained the hot water tank, bypassed it and pumped out all of the water it discharged.
+Lowered the two cockpit antennae so the winter cover would fit.
+Winterized the fresh water system, with Lene controlling the electric pump switch and the 12 faucets while I poured in the pink stuff.
+Another of Lene's tasks was to help me put on the winter cover, which also involves "trussing" -- at the bow -- though I have finally learned that the zipper at the stern has to be done before the trussing at the bow.
+The engine and salt water deck wash pump could not be winterized the day Lene was there to help me because problems prevented these machines from pushing the pink fluid through themselves. I took off the cover for the engine's water pump's impeller but could not get the impeller out. The special "impeller puller tool" did not work. My great mechanic, Ed Spalina, came a few days later and charged me only one of his under-priced hours to pull it, install the new impeller that I had on hand, and replace the cover. Note to self: though the location is damned near impossible to reach, use needle nose pliers and brute strength to out the old -- and dish soap to slide the new one in -- and don't forget the O-ring. With regard to the salt water washdown, the problem was that I forgot to remind Lene to de-kink the hose; once de-kinked the pump pushed the pink stuff straight through the hose.
+Poured the two gallons of gas from the dink's tank, via a boat funnel, into the car's tank.
+Put half a gallon of distilled water into the 24 cells of the seven lead acid batteries.
+Put padding between all the chafe points on the boat and the winter cover.

And it wasn't all work either. We had two Other days, theater and dinner parties with Bennett and Harriet of "Ohana".

So only nine boat related days in the 21 days of this period. Thus boating related activity has slowed down a lot. But we are not in hibernation because there will be some work and other days throughout the winter.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 6 to 25 -- Hauling on October 10

Yes, the season has come to its end. The blue object just below ILENE's deck line and just aft of her mast is a fender being used to protect the boat from the two roller furler drums at the foot of their fore stays. The stays are hanging off the port side so that the boat could fit, lengthwise, into the travel lift.

We did get in one last Old Salts sail, aboard ILENE with eight others plus me. All are regulars except Frank, our new Rear Commodore, an amazingly able engineer, who we enticed to join us. Everyone who wanted to had a hand at the helm. We motored at both ends within the mooring field but sailed all the rest of the way --  into Little Neck Bay, out to near under the Throggs Neck Bridge, back to Kings Point and then a beat home. Using main and only the small jib, and with her bottom very dirty, she achieved 6.5 knots.

We spent a day having a delicious lunch that Jim and Cate served to us in Chatham NJ. Jim has retired from sailing. I miss him as a sailing companion aboard ILENE and his Aria.

The fall work party was well attended with a good breakfast and lunch. Does the phrase: "I work for food" apply? I "policed the yard" picking up bits and butts, and then helped drag a lot of junk to a large dumpster and joined the crew cutting the expensive new wood that is being formed into a strong and decorative railing for the sides of the elevated dock and fastening the pieces to each other and to the posts. a whole lot of power tools were in use. I was Third Assistant to the Helper but contributed. I helped strip Jazz Sail's sails and showed Lloyd and Rhoda how to fold them on the ballroom floor -- so tiny. At the membership meeting that night the issues were rainwater drainage from the new gargantuan catering hall being erected six inches from the back of our locker house and storage of masts of J-24s, which, when laid fore and aft atop the boats, make them a lot longer than 24 feet.

And the annual Going Out of Commission was the next week. during that day I stripped off the two head sails so that their stays would be more manageable, folded the small jib on the boat, took both sails ashore and put the small one in the locker and stuffed the genoa in the trunk of our mini-SUV because the ballroom folding floor was set for the night's party, precluding proper folding. Then showered and changed into party clothes, met up with Lene and attended the affair. I was honored to have been selected by the adult children of Josh and Leticia (they had scattered their parents ashes from ILENE in the fall of 2015) to place the paving brick commemorating their parents' names in the patio surrounding the flagpole during the ceremony. The food was unusually good and typically plentiful during the cocktail hour, the dinner and the desert hour. This was the 134th such annual party and they are all the same but this one seemed better. The weather cooperated.

Aong and following the one Sail date and the three Other dates during the time period of this post were four Work days (23.5 hours). I set up the license plate number stencils and those for the dink's name ,"ROJAY", and bought a very cheap tiny artists paint brush. But the instructions said that I should use the stencils only to trace the pattern and then paint them in freestyle, to prevent the paint running under the stencil and making a mess. Well from less than a yard  away the lettering looks rough, but further away it looks quite acceptably neat. Now the test of time will be how well this expensive specialized paint adheres to the hypalon surface. The back door to the swim platform is finally secure again and the job looks good. I want to remove the hex nuts, fill them with blue Locktite and reattach. One minor problem is that the latch at the starboard side of the door no longer is well aligned now that the hinges at its port side are tight. So the plan is to close this latch before the final reattachment and tightening of the hinge bolts.
I managed to get the genoa up to the empty ballroom, and properly folded and carried to the upstairs locker.   Less success with the mainsail once it was removed. I needed help navigating the locker house stairs and Harry was there to help me out. Thanks, Harry!

Hauling day was a long one, leaving the house at 6:45, taking the dink to ILENE (it was before launch service started)  attaching the dink to the mooring bridle and motoring the five miles to the Huguenot YC. There the crew detached  the headstays, hauled the boat. power washed it (pretty good condition though in need of a slight abrasive scrub and two coats of ablative bottom paint) and set it down on a large piece of paper so I could trace the bottom of the keel as a template to be sent to Mars Metals in Canada for its new lead "sole". Then two buses back to City Island  to get the car and drive home. A long hard day.

ILENE is blocked in almost the same spot as last winter, her headstays reattached and tightened up, her wheel and removable side stanchions and lifelines removed and stowed, twelve gallons of diesel poured into the fuel tank we had been using since Clinton, CT. The only things needed to be done before it gets very cold is the winter cover installed and the water systems winterized. I have an appointment with Lene to come up and help me with this next week after we spend a weekend with Lianne in the Berkshires.

And oh yes, I had the pleasure of spending a week with my granddaughter, left, and daughter, right, in Portland Oregon. Nothing watery about that trip except for the frequent rain, but they are great kids, if I do say so myself.

Friday, October 6, 2017

September 28 to October 5 -- Three Sails on Three Different Boats

The season is drawing to a close and after the 87 day cruise, my craving for sailing has waned with my energy so that I have not been aggressive in filling up my calendar with sailing dates.
Then there were some recovery from stomach flu days, days for doctors appointments, for Yom Kippur, for the funeral mass of the Commodore's wife's mom, a movie, cleaning, and an unsuccessful attempt (so far) at the repair of the swim platform door (I need longer bolts). Our last night aboard for 2017 was Tuesday, October 3.

But three lovely sailing days with just the right winds. First was aboard ILENE, with Sid and Jan. He worked with me, practicing a more commercial and less litigious type of law and has just retired; so now they both are available for weekday sails. We were underway for five hours and went out almost to Peningo Neck at Rye. On the way out I changed course by up to 30 degrees, about five times to keep the wind away from our stern. Lots of conversation about the bad old days and our other colleagues before some wine followed by dinner at Artie's, what with the Club restaurant being closed on Tuesday, and just in time to get the last launch ride back to the boat.
Next day being Wednesday, I returned to the boat to pack up more things and for the Old Salts.

Nine of us, including Erwin, a founding member of the Salts, visiting from Florida, sailed on Bennett's Ohana which handled the winds gracefully. About two hours of zigging and zagging in the Sound between Eastchester and Littleneck Bays, before the libation hour. Mike and Sandy gave me a ride home .
The next day Rhoda invited me to sail with her on Jazz Sail. I was going to the Club anyway to pack up almost a;ll of the rest of our things and we had a great two hours under genoa alone, into Littleneck Bay and back.
These autumn sails were so pleasant. We did not have the storms of autumn and it got Indian summer warm. The kind of weather which makes a person try to keep going later into the season. The only problem is the knowledge that the bitter cold grey days of winter are breathing down our necks and hauling and doing the other work needed to prepare for winter when it is ugly and cold is not pleasant. So my target hauling date is Monday October 16, giving me two more days after before I'm flying to Oregon to visit family and friends there. Another plan, waiting to be upset by events.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

September 20 to 27 -- NO SAILING and Five Nights In Our Apartment.

Yes, the last night of the prior post and five more during this one were spent ashore. My plan to sail after services during the afternoon of the second day of Rosh Hashona fell through due to lack of interest. Two folks nibbled but no one bit the hook. A wider cast net will be deployed nest year. But on that day I returned to ILENE, to pick up a few things we had forgotten to take with us, and to pick up Mark and Liz of s/v Saving Grace, who took a mooring in the Harlem field. They spent three nights in our den and are what I call good travelers. It was their first visit to New York and they filled each day at hour home and later from their mooring with seeing the sights; Highline (shown here at 30th street amidst a whole new city that is under construction over the old railroad yards at the extreme west side of Manhattan),
Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty,
9-11 Memorial, Empire State Building, Met Museum of Art, and a ball game at Yankee Stadium. Whew! They are high energy folks!

We had dinner on their boat,
one at a restaurant in our neighborhood and one in our apartment. Lene taught them her favorite easy card game, "Oh Heck," but it seems that it is almost the same as their game of Wizard except that Wizard has a few extras including four wizard cards which trump any trump card. Mark has very good card sense.
I read their blog: www.svsavinggrace.com
They have lived aboard for six years but until 2016, remained in the Great Lakes, where it is very cold in the winters. Last year they sailed to the Bahamas via Bermuda. They like longer passages such as North Carolina direct to Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia direct to Boston, so Maine and the rest of New England except Boston is a virgin cruising ground for them. I read the part of their blog that dealt with their arrival in Nova Scotia to Baddeck and thence to New York. We were on the same journey but in Nova Scotia they went to many places that we jumped across and we likewise visited many that they missed out on; reason for a return trip.
I took in a very inexpensive short one woman musical off Broadway. There were one evening and two days of religious services and I got a gastrointestinal problem which slowed me down quite a bit.
We did a lot of chores in getting our house ready for the painters who are at work in it now, the car inspection, laundry, groceries, etc.
I checked out buying a new section of elkhide to recover the portion of the steering wheel at the top where my hands have worn through it during the last twelve years, and figured out what is wrong with and cleaned up the Magma kettle grill.
But the biggest deal is the addition of a 1250 pound slab of lead to the bottom of ILENE's keel, where it will do the most good in correcting her "tenderness" problem -- her bad habit of heeling over too much when the winds are strong. Making the pendulum (which is the keel) longer and heavier will diminish this bad habit but will also increase her draft by less than two inches, so we will have to see that our mooring is moved further from the Clubhouse into slightly deeper water. The slab of metal will be shipped from Mars Metals in Ontario, Canada to Harpswell, Maine, where it will be installed at the Great Island Boat Yard in Casco Bay during a week to be determined next July or August. So having decided to do the work in Maine we thereby decided which direction to sail to next summer and are now booking a winter storage spot at the Huguenot YC in New Rochelle for this coming winter.
We had lunch with the old salts on Wednesday, but decided that I was not up to the sailing part. I did not even do any of the boat chores that require effort, but just lolled about trying to get my strength back. This too shall pass.
We discovered another thing during our time in the City and then returning to the boat: out cats like the boat better. Smart cats. Sunset over The Bronx: lovely.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 13-19 -- The First Week Back

Only one sail and that on Bennett's Ohana with the Old salts the day after we got back. The meeting was very well attended and we packed some fifteen folks onto Ohana and Deuce of Hearts. I sailed on the former for about two hours with Bennett's new sail, a "code zero" -- a sort of light weight spinnaker that furls upon itself and is tacked to the anchor roller and hauled up by the spinnaker halyard. The furler is operated by a continuous loop line led from the bow, next to mast and back to the cockpit. It is going to take a bit more time for us to learn how to use the new sail effectively, and then it will provide more speed. Lene joined the luncheon and the sailing but went back to ILENE during the libations section of the afternoon.
We took the subway to Manhattan with a family whose boat was on a guest mooring at the Harlem. They had sailed here from Copenhagen and planned to go on the Nova Scotia. I put them onto this blog as a reference work. We went into the city to get our car and mail and as to the latter, it was a good thing because a check we had mailed out in June had come back as "undeliverable" so I got to pay the vendor by hand delivery.
Our apartment was in great condition and we had planned to live on ILENE for the first three weeks while the apartment is painted, but the forecast proximity of Hurricane Jose caused us to move ourselves, our stuff and the cats back to the apartment for a few days during the encounter. The strongest winds predicted are only gusts of 40 knots and we have ridden out stronger winds on our anchor but a course change for Jose of just two degrees to the left would mean much stronger winds. Fortunately the hurricane seems to be northbound, passing east of us, giving us the gentler winds of its western half and from the north, without a long way to work up huge waves in Eastchester Bay. But hurricanes are large, powerful, dangerous, full of hot air and capable of moving in any direction at any time (sort of like the incumbent in the White House) so it pays to take precautions.
We had an unhappy experience at the Club's dining room: The food was great but service was so slow that our alfresco dinner turned out to be eaten in darkness. This is a problem that will have to be fixed. I can't invite guests there, who have schedules to meet, if they may have to wait 90 minutes for their food.
We met up with PC Mark and Marsha of Leeds the Way, for a beer on their return to City Island, met them for breakfast the next day, and helped them haul out, deflate, roll up and store their dinghy.
We attended a party given by our financial adviser, Tom Mingone in his lovely home in Rockland County, NJ. Tom has sailed with us but has a power yacht. At the party we unexpectedly met Seth and Sue, who belong to our congregation and have sailed with us aboard ILENE. We ddi not know that t hey were clients of Tom.
Sunday we drove up to Kent CT with our friend Sheila to visit Fran. Both Fran and Sheila have sailed with us.
At Torah study class I invited the whole group to sail with me after services on the second day of Rosh Hashona. But the hurricane may mess that up this year. The holidays are about repentance and the Rabbi said that repentance for our failings is analogous to tying back together the two pieces of a rope that connect us with God which get severed by our sins and failures. His point was that the resulting rope is shorter, bringing us closer to God. But I later pointed out that the rope is also weaker because a knot reduces the strength of a rope. Only sailors will see the negative corollary in the metaphor he described,
We met up with Christine and Heather who have sailed with us in New York and Miami. Christine who has a way with birds, is a volunteer at the Greenville Animal Shelter in Westchester which we visited with them. This huge American bald eagle is injured and cannot fly -- but he has a home here.
And my book group met at the home of Lee and patty (who met us in Red Brook Harbor on the Cape a couple of weeks ago) to discuss Robert Massie's Catherine the Great, which is a land book except for voyages on the river and the Baltic and battles at sea with the Turks. (Did you know that American naval hero, John Paul Jones, had a brief and unhappy professional relationship with Catherine? She imported his talent but her Russian naval brass made his life miserable.)
Leaving the boat on Monday was after pickeling/winterizing the water maker and turning it off electrically for the season and securing everything above decks below, tying extra lines around the sails, pumping the bilge, carrying off eleven bags of stuff including food, and taking the dink to the dock, hauling it up, removing its water retaining plug and securing it firmly to the dock. A lot of work to prepare for the worst.
Still, an easy first week back.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Days 86 and 87, September 11-12 -- Clinton CT to the Black Rock YC, CT to HOME at the Harlem Yacht Club --35 and 37 NM

We have stopped several times at the Fayerweather YC in Blackrock CT, but whenever we tried to visit the Black Rock YC,

about half a mile less far up the creek, they were too busy, having a regatta, sold out, etc. This time they were open and a very nice club it is, founded in 1928, with a large modern club house with a swimming pool and tennis courts. But the restaurant is closed on Mondays so we cannot report on the cuisine. Like the Harlem it an all-moorings yacht club served by a launch, but unlike the Harlem is has no dock that sailboats can use, even to tie up temporarily near high tide to wash or take on water!
The passage here held promise, but the winds got light, with periods of sailing interspersed with periods of motoring.  Elapsed time of 6.25 hours.  We had two miles getting out into the sound, a straight shot of due west for 28 miles and then a bit more northerly and going in at the end around this damaged daymarker.
Tide was with us almost the whole way.

Our final day was likewise almost uneventful with the primary waypoint, Good old Execution Rocks,  a straight shot after clearing
black Rock and the Penfield reef behind it.

Such a windless day that we did not even put up even a single sail. We had tide almost the entire 5.25 hours underway. We gave the diesel its annual workout, intended to burn off carbon deposits that will accumulate if it is not worked hard occasionally. We ran for half an hour at 2500 rpms. Maybe that is not fast enough?
The passage was not totally eventless however, including a first in my life of sail. We were motoring along off Huntington Harbor with auto pilot steering when this craft came up rapidly behind us and close to us.
I slowed to three knots and the voice came over "Have you had a safety inspection in the last year?" "No, not in the last 28 years!" They closed to two feet from our port side, I opened the gate and two of the four Coasties aboard jumped onto ILENE and politely asked for my driver's license and the boat's registration papers. I showed them our life raft and EPIRB, not required on their check list, and the fire extinguishers and life preservers. They did not check whether we had flares or whether they were up to date. They noted that the manufacturer's inside label in our life preservers was worn and gave us a clean bill of health. I believe that cruisers like us (evident by our dinghy hanging from its davit) tend to have the required safety features and more. It is the casual day sailor who is likely to not be so well equipped.
Dave, our senior launch operator, told me that the Club had rented our mooring from almost the entire time we were away to the owners of a boat that did not sail much. That is why our new bridles, installed this spring, were so clean.

As you know, this blog will continue, but the summer cruise of 2017 is now concluded. I enjoy being away but there is no place like home.Thanks for reading.