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Tucked “Fleetwood” away in Kinsale, Va. Wednesday, September 15th. 2021

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

It took me three hours to untangle the boat from the mooring ball in Annapolis, on Thursday. The harbormaster recommended to add extra lines to the one I usually use to a mooring, when I was preparing to leave on the 1st of September, the day that the “Ida” leftover storm was to hit Annapolis. The lines got wound around and stuck in he ball’s chain. It was a great afternoon sail. I anchored for the night on the south shore of Coaches Island on the Maryland Eastern Shore. That night the wind came in strong from the North West 20-25 knots, howling through the rigging but I was reasonably protected on the lee side from the waves. But once back on the Chesapeake Bay, on Friday, it became a wild ride, doing 5 to 6 knots on just the tiny storm jib. I pulled into the SoloMons again, where I stopped north bound, mid afternoon, because there is no place to anchor from there onward to my destination up the Potomac. I left Annapolis with a bare pantry, the stores are far from the moorage. Now I had time to row the folding bike to shore and re-provision. Saturday the wind had turned from North to South-West, I mostly motor sailed but once on the Potomac I was able to ease the sheets.

The sail into the winding Yeocomico River looked challenging, but there was Chris Johnson on his “The Twin Brothers” sailing next to me and leading the way to his dock on Long Cove. We met in Cape Charles in the Spring. He and his wife Therese, live in this beautiful cove, where he docks his two boats, “The Twin Brothers”, which he converted to electric power, and a Catalina 30 without a working engine that he and his nephew Matt sailed from Hampton, into the winding river to his dock.

At the Johnson dock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both he and his wife and nephew, I sense, are permanent friendships. We went to mass together on Sunday, in the afternoon, I brought the boat to “The Slips” a small private marina, owned and run by Annie the, at least 6th Arnest generation.

“The Slips” “Fleetwood” left background

Annie Arnest and Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kinsale is a small town where the time seems to have taken a long break. Nestled on the banks of the Yeocomico River surrounded by large fields of corn, soybeans and wheat. Right next to the marina are the silos of the granery being filled right now with the corn crop and loaded into large barges destined as feed for the poultry and cattle farms. It once was a thriving maritime-agricultural center, with a vegetable cannery, and watermen fleet.

A quote from the Kinsale historical foundation (www.KinsaleFoundation.org) “Kinsale is the oldest customs port on the south side of the Potomac. Taxes were collected here in colonial times and from the 1850’s to 1933 steamboats visited every day to ferry freight and passengers from this deepwater port that served a 125-sq. mile area. Farming, forestry and fishing all sent away their harvest chiefly by boat until the bridges were built in the 30’s and Perdue Granary still gathers the harvest of myriad area fields of beans and small grains to ship away by barge. War also came by water. The town was attacked from the river both during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.”

Annie shared with me this picture of her great grandfather and grandfather at the marina store in 1970 and her grandmother who is still living nearby in her late nineties.

1970

Grandma Arnest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt, Chris’ nephew, is a delivery skipper and is my next-door neighbor in the marina; he helped me to the top of the mast to re-install the tri-color light.

Chris drove me to Fredericksburg this morning to catch the Amtrak to the Baltimore Airport. I am writing this from the Alaska flight to Seattle. I will spend the rest of the interrupted September visit to the North-West with Lisa and then on to Las Vegas for my son John’s 50th birthday on the 30th. I should be back on the boat by the 6th of October. And the plan is to sail south with a stop on Tangier Island and on to Onancock where Susan Kovacs, one of my Cape Charles friends will come to take me to spend a few days with our CC friends. Then to Matthews YC for the October 20 Ocean Cruising Club meeting.

Back on the East Coast. September 8, 2021

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

I landed shortly after 5 a.m., local time, at Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. on the “Red Eye”. As usual I went standby on a buddy pass. I had the very end seat, the three-seat row all for my self and I must have slept some because it took me a bit by surprise when the captain announced to prepare the cabin for landing. I took the bus to downtown and then tried to find my connection to Annapolis. Somehow, I did not realize that some of the stops were in the NE section, whereas I was searching in the NW section. Fortunately, I had picked 3rd and 4th street, instead of the higher numbers. But it took me a while to realize my error and did a lot of extra walking with backpack and small suitcase. It is in the nineties now.

There are only two commuter busses per day, back to Annapolis, from this corner at 6.55 and 12.43. I hope I find someone to bring me aboard “Fleetwood” before dark. Meanwhile, I made it back on the boat before dark. Fortunately, the water taxis are running again. I had contemplated having to hide my clothes and baggage in the bushes and swim to it. Blow up the dinghy and row back to collect my belongings. When I was convinced that I had found the correct stop for the bus to Annapolis, I had a Punjabi lamb/lentils lunch right on the corner for the bus. Scheduled for 12.43 pm, I allowed for 45 minutes delay and finally dragged my self and gear up the hill to Union Station. I took the Metro to the end of the line at South Carlton and was prepared to try out my Lyft app, that Lis helped me install. But in the end I ended back up at the Baltimore airport, via Amtrak and then I retraced my inbound track, to two transfers on the commuter train from the airport to the busstop in Cromwell. This driver, an African American lady, had the same lead feet as the young man on Wednesday last week. But the near sleepless red eye flight and uncomfortable attempt to sleep, the long walks to find the p.u. points for the bus from D.C. to Annapolis, still ended up in arriving after 6 p.m. in Annapolis. I could have taken today’s morning flight to Baltimore, gotten a full night’s sleep and no dragging my self and baggage through D.C. and Metro stations. At one point the whole metro train was evacuated because of a “Medical” issue.

My last blog left off on last Thursday. On Friday evening, Lisa and a couple friend of hers and I went to the opening night of the Washington State Fair. A very typical traditional American diversion. Rides, shooting gallery, typical fair food and deserts like hot scones, Carmel apples, 4 H farm animal contests and the customary snake oil salespersons.

Lisa, Darren and Roberta in line for their hot scones

My granddaughter Corrine, her Husband Euan and my brand-new great grandson Spencer came back on Sunday from visiting her family in Centralia and friends in Portland, Oregon. He is a wonderful, happy little guy. To morrow he’ll be 2 months old.

What a delight and blessing to be able to meet him and hold him. The three Scots left yesterday morning to return to Glasgow.

4 generations

Spencer’s clan den

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wind direction and strength promise a good sail south tomorrow and Friday.

I have a few maintenance items to look after and estimate that I will return to continue the September visit to the NW and the 50th birthday party in Las Vegas on the 30th for my oldest son, John.

Back at Home Port. Wednesday September 1st, 2021

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I am writing this on an Alaska Air flight from Baltimore to Seattle. There was a quick change of plans, caused by today’s storm from the remnants of “Ida”. My chance to see my brand-new great-grandson, Spencer, before he and his parents return to Scotland on the 7th, was starting to look a bit dicey. With the Labor Day weekend my chances to fly on my standby buddy passes was a consideration. Until last night it was still the original plan to park the boat at Kinsale, on the Virginia bank of the Potomac River and take the train to the Baltimore airport on Thursday or Friday.

But with today’s weather there was no alternative but to find a hiding place. I made it yesterday from the C&D Canal to an anchor spot just north of the Memorial Bay Bridge from near Annapolis to the Eastern Maryland Shore.

As an aside: shortly after entering the Chesapeake Bay from the C&D Canal, I was hailed by the crew of “Stephanie II” who were crabbing here. Watermen from Tangier Island who were my dock neighbors in Cape Charles when they were crabbing there in the early Spring.

While I was wokking my dinner, a Coast Guard weather warning came on; a strong NE was to set in at midnight and then get to gale strength from the South later today. Where I was anchored, I’d have some protection from the East but none from the North and South. I’d be a sitting duck. I have developed some apprehension for moving in the dark. But pulled the anchor and headed for Annapolis to hide on a mooring. Fortunately, I could retrace my late July outbound track on my electronic charts. When I started the engine there was a grinding noise and a hard clank. Scared the heck out of me. What to do here, re-anchoring and trying to fix the problem while at the mercy of the forecasted perils. I realized that the transmission control cable needs adjustment, by using the clutch I was able to get it in forward gear. I tied up to a mooring ball in the Annapolis harbor at midnight and reheated the wok.

The moorings cost $55 per day in the main harbor but the city has several more mooring fields. I am now tied to a mooring in the Saint Mary’s field where the daily rate is $25 and weekly $150. It is much better protected from the winds than the main mooring field. But the problem was how to get off the boat since the water taxis have packed up for the season. The harbor Master patrol boat hooked me up with the only other boat that joined me in the lower rent district. Bob and his lady on the power boat “Rebecca” hailing from Beaufort, N.C., he took me to shore in his dinghy. I needed a good shower and did this at the Harbor Master’s office.

Next was the challenge to get to the Baltimore airport. I found a service called Young Transport that offered rides to the commuter rail into the airport. But they are apparently also gone for the whatever reason. The driver in the local free shuttle suggested I take the #70 bus to the commuter train near Baltimore, the bus was ninety cents and the commuter day pass for a senior is $2.20 The predicted heavy rain was coming down hard on the bus ride.  I made it to the gate when boarding had started. And I was rewarded with a Premium seat.

Thursday morning the 2nd: I am at my daughter Lisa’s home. A beautiful late summer day. A break from the heat, humidity and ankle biting flies and a good night’s sleep in a real bed.

My new great-grandson and his parents are visiting friends in Portland and family in Centralia and back here on Sunday. They are returning to Glasgow on Tuesday.

I am in the process of “making a new plan, Van”. This sudden diversion, from the storm to Annapolis instead of completing the sail to Kinsale, means that I probably will fly back again on the 7th to complete the sail to Kinsale and then fly back once more to the N.W. and then celebrate my oldest son’s 50th birthday with his brother and sisters in Las Vegas on September 30th.

“Fleetwood” ‘s early playground. Vashon Island in foreground, on landing

Good Bye Jan-Kees and 120 birthday of my mother. August 30th., 2021.

Monday, August 30th, 2021

Yesterday, at this time, the skies were black, the seas were wild and frequent heavy rain showers were pelting on “Fleetwood”. Right now, it is nearly 10.30 after leaving my anchorage in Cape May at 08.00.

A light breeze from the WSW and sunny skies. The sizzling 90-100 degrees heat made place for pleasant 70 plus. Since the wind is on the nose, the iron horse is being steered by the tiller pilot and I have a long stretch ahead here on the Delaware Bay to write this blog.

Since my previous blog, in the shade of the Statue of Liberty, where I reported the lightning storm on Friday evening, I made two attempts to get on my way for that short North Wind window to get south.

The first attempt, around noon, made me run back for the protection in the lee of the Liberated Lady.

I had one heck of a work out to hand-snap the anchor loose, because that Friday night storm had dug in my anchor down to our antipodes. Just an aside to my contemporaries: you might be surprised what those dormant muscles can do when you are desperate….worth a try to boost your sense of virility.  I exited the Verrazano bridge in the company of at least three container ships. I had my full main sail up and the tiny storm jib. But once outside, I had to put two reefs in the main and further down, I dropped the main. Just on that tiny orange colored storm jib, reaching in the N-Easterly. By nightfall I was following the lights on the New Jersey Atlantic Coast. Predict Wind had shown the wind strength at 24 knots. It had to be at least 30-35. I was showing steady speed of around 6 knots and at times, running down the wave, sevens and even eights. No way to sleep following the coast line. The Monitor was in charge of the boat to stay on the right wind angle. I was down below, mostly with the companion way shuttered in the rain storms. Noisy, with all the storage lockers banging and sliding their contents and the wind howling through the rigging. The thick dark clouds hid the moon but an occasional peek showed the white crests of the rolling waves.

The wind calmed down some on Sunday morning but the skies were still black. So, the solar panel was not charging the batteries and the laptop had to stay charged for my navigation and AIS. I kept the starter battery isolated. And when I checked if that #2 battery would start the engine, close to the entry into Cape May, it was not able to start. Fortunately, the sun had come out by then and it managed to recharge for the start while continuing under sail to the Cape May entrance.

On the way north, I anchored off the most common anchorage here in Cape May, in front of the enormous Coast Guard station. I could not get to shore from there. No dinghies were allowed to land there. This time I anchored further in just off the channel in front of the Cape May YC. I had enough time, from 16.30, to row to shore with my folding bike and get groceries and the ingredients for the concoction that helps me hang on. From the first visit, from the water, I had no idea of the beauty this town holds. First of all, the typical military base housing adjacent to the Coat Guard station made me realize how big this station is. Obviously, a training facility, until late in the evening I listened to their recruits’ macho cadence chants. And this morning the reveille and the playing of Stars and Stripes at 08.00, just when I raised the hook. But the old part of the residential section is one of the finest American examples. Beautiful architecture from the 19th and early 20th century. Some impressive mansions. Thick tree shaded sidewalks, well kept green lawns in the upper class and middle-class sections. Truly worth a stop when you are near Cape May. Back in 1965, when Joan, Lisa and I were living in West Chester, near Philadelphia, we took a road trip through Baltimore and up to the Hampton Roads, crossed the brand-new Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and the ferry from the Maryland Eastern Shores to Cape May. But do not recall seeing the town.

It is 11.30 in the meantime, my boat speed has jumped a knot since entering the Delaware Bay, the main is now up because the wind has gone further south and the flood is starting to push me up the river. Perfect timing because with a little luck I might be able to ride this flood to the Chesapeake Bay, through the canal. Half hour later, the wind died.

 

20.00 hour- I just put the hook in the bottom of the bay in Chesapeake City, at the S.W. end (or beginning) of the C&D (Chesapeake-Delaware) Canal. So, from 8 am to 8 pm a 12-hour ride with the current pushing me. About 60 nautical knots. Not bad averaging 5 knautical miles. Not enough wind to sail, but did some motor sailing. So, I am back in Maryland with my South Eastern friends.

The bridge from Maryland to Delaware at Chesapeake City, Md

I plan to continue further North toward Kilsale, current is good from 06.00.

 

I loved being for the month or more with the North Eastern Jan-Kees (Yan-kees). Not sure how many realize that Yankees is an aberration of the Dutch popular first names Jan and Kees.

Jan, is my twin brother’s first name and also of my Swedish American friend Jan Arthur Stroem. This picture is a selfie taken last week at the wild life refuge on Block Island at the Hotel 66 with Jan Arthur and his partner Valerie.

with Jan Arthur Stroem and Valerie on Bllock Island

 

MY MOTHER’S 120TH BIRTHDAY.

 

Rinsje (Rennie) de Vries was born on August 30, 1901 in Heeg, Friesland. Besides my father, she has had the strongest influence on my life. Her faith, defense of hers’ and others’ rights, compassion, inquisitee, lack of fear, and generosity is what I was blessed with and inspired by. She joined the women’s suffrage movement at age 18 and saw emancipation in the Netherlands come true in 1922, when she earned the right to vote at age 21.

Cover of www.TheMastmakersDaughters.us

Here is the chapter of the book, The Mastmakers’ Daughters, I wrote based on her memoires:

8     Born in Heeg

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My parents moved into the house with the mastmaker shop in Heeg right after their marriage. I was born there on August 30, 1901, a Friday evening. My maternal grandmother Gezina van Anken was with us to help her daughter and she had quietly hoped that I would be named after her. But on Monday evening, when Pa (father) returned from De Lemmer, Moe (mother) was told that I had been registered in Sneek as Rinsje, on the specific directions of Pa’s mother.

Pa’s older sister had named her second daughter Rinsje a year earlier and the first born of Pa’s brother obediently followed the strong-willed grandmother’s directions. My three aunts did not have daughters. None of her grandchildren named their daughters after Rinsje but there are lots of Siebolds and Jans, named after my father, among my siblings’ son and grandsons.

That same Monday after I was born my parents received a notice from the Reformed Church in Heeg demanding an explanation why I had not been baptized the Sunday before. Pa explained that he had promised his wife that she’d be present at the christening, whereupon he was told that Moe (mother) was not allowed to respond to the question as to the responsibilities of the parents.

My parents reluctantly went along with this. But shortly afterwards their doctor, de Wit, forced the issue before the church commission when his wife was due to have her baby. As a result, they relented this local abuse.

At the same time, when I was being baptized, there was a baby whose father was committed to a mental institution and in order to prevent the mother opening her mouth, when she might feel prompted, they rephrased the question for the parents: “And what is the answer from the one who is holding the child for baptism?” In any event, Moe has never neglected her obligations to raise us as Christians. Her way of teaching us religion was in singing her repertoire of hymns and psalms.

We did not stay in Heeg for more than a couple years. The three of us moved back to de Lemmer in 1902.

Liberated once again August 27, 2021

Saturday, August 28th, 2021

I am once again anchored behind the statue of liberty, on the way “home”. Retracing to my previous blog: I managed to solve the impeller problem. When all else fails you need go back to “A”. It turned out to be the last action I had done on Blok Island when I cleaned the intake raw water filter to the cooling pump. The lid on the top had not been properly seated and needed a new gasket. I had checked this a couple of times. This time it worked and a good flow of water spit out from the exhaust.

So, now the only other item was to re-install the replacement of the Tri-Color. I found a good strong young man, a sailor, working at the Mystic Seaport. But when I got to the top of the mast it turned out that the replacement is a newer model that does not fit. I took the remnants of the old Tri-Color down and managed to combine the the two to a working unit. But on Wednesday morning I could not get the help to assist the second time. I decided to take off, since I want to try and catch that Northwind window on Saturday until Sunday morning. It has been southwinds for the last two weeks and coming back on Sunday. I went as far as the daylight allowed and dropped the hook on the Long Island West Coast near the Oregon Hills on Wednesday night. Then yesterday I had one of my longest day sail, near 60 knotical miles (5 miles average) to the Manhasset Bay, near Port Washington on Long Island. If I had been able to be there an hour earlier, I would have ben able to catch the current in the East River and be on my way in the Atlantic at this time. I had to wait until the midday current turned. I had not been able to access the internet since Wednesday morning. My new cell phone would not work to use as a hotspot for my laptop. I went from the anchorage to the fuel dock and used their wi-fi to resolve this and check the weather forecast.

While coming up the East River, the storm clouds stacked up. I had hoped to try and get further south. But it looked(van)ommennous, so, I went for the anchorage behind the statue of Liberty.

Saturday Morning: could not get this out last night. Had a good night at anchor in the shade of the statue. The wind direction is perfect but the weather is miserable, heavy rain and winds over 25 at times. I am sitting it out for the time being, still looks like I’ll be able to get to Cape May by Monday/Tuesday.

Pineapple. The sign that wife swapping is solicited

Horizontal rain. “henry” in Mystic Seaport Aug 22

 

 

 

Mystic Seaport, Ct., August 19th, 2021

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

Mystic, Ct., August 19th, 2021

 

It is 8 o’clock in the morning. I am anchored at the entrance to the channel into Mystic Seaport. The remnants of tropical storm “Freddie” are playing out here today in 25 knot winds, showers and some thunder activity. I had planned to make the 23-mile voyage today from Block Island but to avoid today’s conditions opted to leave yesterday. Once outside the Block Island entrance, I noticed steam from the exhaust. I raised the sails and figured it was due to me cleaning out the cooling water intake filter, a couple days ago. Sometimes the filter does not drop in the right spot. That was not the problem. Next a check on the pump impellor. Looked fine. But by hand cranking the engine while loosening the pump output tube, it did not show much output. Checked the impellor again it had one partially torn blade. So, tried to replace it with the spare that I had purchased at the recommendation of the Chinese pump maker.  It did not fit. It was a slow sail and fortunately I had the current with me on the last part close to the entrance to the Mystic channel. I got a hold of the Tow Boat US station here, yesterday evening, the operator is supposed to come between 9 and 10 to take me to my reserved berth at the Mystic Seaport Museum marina.

This adds one more chore to the program, finding the right impellor, re-installing the tri-color, Windex and checking the VHF antenna, I seem to have very poor reception from my VHF, though the incoming calls appear fine. I am told that I am breaking up on relatively close distance. My handheld works better. It might be the microphone.

Thursday evening 18.30. Moored at the Mystic Seaport Museum.

The wind came up strong in the early morning. The US Boat tow came alongside at 10. 45 Great job. He took me alongside, went through three bridges and chatted about our live experiences up the Mystic River.

This place is absolutely awesome. I had always hoped to be able to visit here. A true wooden boat Mecca.

To my Mechanically Gifted friends for Help on the water pump:

See also above.

I managed to find an impellor at West Marine that fits the ½” shaft and is the right dimension but the spline that goes in the slit on the pump shaft was too large. I recovered the one from the original impellor and it seems to work on the new replacement. Full of positive expectations. But no water from the pump. I hand cranked the engine, with the plate off the water pump, no water. I can suck the inbound hose to the pump and easily suck water. And when I take the outbound hose off the pump, with the engine running, it feels like it is puffing air out instead of sucking it from the pump. What is going on? I tightened the drive belt last week.

I have my presentation tomorrow at 10 am. I received my cellphone replacement and that will be next importing the contacts, etc. And I have my new old model Aqua Signal Tricolor-Anchor lite; wish me luck finding an abled body to crank me up the mast. The weather forecast is not too favorable, with the remnants of the tropical storm still to blast through here.

I love my new D3300 Nikon it is in great shape, practically new. But, alas, the smaller 18-55 lens does not like the D3300. But it does give great shots with my old 70-300 zoom lens and the 55-200 lens which was gifted to me by my granddaughter’s friend, Jess Seebo, a couple years ago. So, if I manage to sell a load of books here, I’ll compliment the Nikon options.

The weather looks good on Saturday with a Northerly but from Sunday onward all southerlies. It may take me while to get back to the Chesapeake.

Picture with the new Nikon D-3300:

At the Wooden Boat Show in Mystic Seaport, Ct

Chip off the Old Block Island.  Sunday August 15, 2021

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

This is as far, a little above Latitude 41, I made it from Cape Charles, Latitude 37 plus. I set off from Greenport, Long Island, N.Y. on August 12th. I set my course for Newport R.I., the North American Sailing Capital. But the winds changed and I diverted to Block Island R.I. This is my third day on the island. I am anchored in the Salt Pond. A busy place, hundreds of yachts, most are on mooring buoys. Water taxis take me to and from shore for $4 and the same for the bike. There are similarities with Port Jefferson with day-trippers coming by ferries from the mainland. The countryside reminds me of the South of England and also the San Juan Islands; stone hedges mark the property lines, white shingle sidings. The only place for me to connect on the internet is the library in Shoreham, the nearest and main town on the island. None of the restaurants and bars provide wi-fi.

My apologies for the quality of the pictures. Since the drowning of my Nikon D-3200 and my cellphone, I am using the Go-Pro and a dated I-phone. I just got onto the internet and discovered that my previous blog is from Port Jefferson. I sailed from Port Jefferson on Tuesday to Greenport. A very fast sail with wind and current. Arthur Stroem let me use his mooring in the harbor while they are still out cruising further north. A delightful spot. The town has a very laid-back atmosphere. But the bumbling sailor had another mishap. While bringing my folding bike to shore, I lifted it from the dinghy onto the dock and lost my balance, both bike and I went overboard. I had my Nikon and cell phone in the backpack. Both are toast. I should have (familiar?) lifted it from the dock out of the dinghy. I was totally soaked. The couple on the closest boat, Chris and Judy, helped me onto the dock and had me put the phone in a bag of rice.

The replacement cell-phone is already waiting for me in Mystic Seaport and a used D-3300 will arrive the same day I shall be pulling in, on the 19th. The 3300 is the same model as the one I left on the Pierce Transit bus in 2017. Now I will be able to use the 70-300-zoom lens again, which was not compatible with the drowned -3200.

I will attend the 10 a.m. service in town. Later this afternoon, my friends from Greenport will join me here. We will either leave tomorrow or Tuesday and I’ll follow them back to Greenport from where I plan to sail on Thursday the 19th to Mystic Seaport. My presentation is on Friday morning at 10 a.m. I managed to find an exact used replacement for my Aqua Signal 40 Series Tri Color, from the well-known Sailors Exchange in Saint Augustine. It is also waiting for me at the Wooden Boat Show. I need to find a muscled helper to crank me to the mast head. The last time I had the help of my Gig Harbor friends, at anchor for the Heineken Regatta on Sint Maarten, in March last year.

Yesterday I heard from Lisa that the Scots are already arriving on August 24 and flying back to Glasgow on September 7th. Wish me luck with the weather conditions to get to Kinsale, off the Potomac, in better time than the way north.

I’m just reading a comment on my previous blog from my new friend Russ Grimm. He tells me that Block Island is named after the Dutch discoverer Adriaen Block. So, that makes me currently a “Chip off the Old Block”. I am in the gestation process of an article for “Zeilen” the Dutch sailing monthly that has published a few of my articles of the world voyage and I mentioned this to Russ that I like to reference the places I visit on this trip with the first Dutchmen who discovered these places. New York is, of course, a well-known. But I had never heard of Block Island connection. I was very fortunate to meet Russ and his wife Doreen in Hampton at the start of this trip. He is a, Military (by trade) and other by hobby, history expert and he has already coached me with great sources.

Here the few pictures :

Some Hotels grow their own produce and flowers.

 

The beach and Ferry dock

Another Garden view

The cat out of the bag/ de Aap uit de mouw. Sunday August 8th 2021

Sunday, August 8th, 2021

You all have failed the test to find the answer to my mishap underway yesterday. So, I am in good company to confess my fallibility.

Here is what happened: At maximum current, a good two knots, I approached the railroad lift bridge at 36th Street that connects Roosevelt Island to the eastern shore of the East River. From a distance it just did not look right. All the East River bridges are supposed to clear over a 100 ft. My mast height is 43 feet from the water surface. But I have under estimated the clearance before and passed with many feet to spare. And this had to be another Fata Morgana. But the closer I got the more I saw an accident in the making. And once I was 50 feet away, I threw the transmission in reverse but at full throttle I was not going to avoid a disaster. The current was too strong. A crushing sound at the top of the mast and the boat kept moving through the bridge.

I had checked my charts, read up on the Pilot Chart for the East River and could not figure out what had just happened.

It turns out that it is mentioned in the pilot chart. I was supposed to have taken the West Side of the East River to clear Roosevelt Island. But I never saw the option from where I was following the starboard side of the river. This railroad bridge lifts from 40 feet over the water to 90 feet. But is seldom lifted any longer. The west side channel with the higher 36th Street bridge is invisible from the starboard side of the river.

So, just to prove again that I have that guardian angel perched on my shoulder, if the water level had been 3 to 6 inches higher, the bridge would have hit the mast and forestay and spun me around or pinned me against/under the bridge.  Now, it broke the lenses of the green/red navigation light and the white anchor light. I checked the lights after dark last night and the tri color (the top part) bulb is still working. The lower anchor light is gone. It is difficult to assess the repair from the deck. I believe that just replacing the lenses for $100 would do the job, but then I need  the sealing rim that does not come with the lenses. So, I ordered the entire tri color unit for $280.

I have it sent to Mystic Seaport where I expect to install when I am there for the Wooden Boat Show. I’ll be able to use the two-color lamp as an anchor light, for the time being and I am not planning to need the masthead navigation lights for night sailing until after I return to the Chesapeake, after August 24.

I had hoped to refill my 12 gallon tank, since my last fill in the Solomons, but the fuel-dock here was not pumping because of the rain. It finally stopped raining after a steady drizzle and occasional pour from 11 am. The fuel dock opens at 9 am.

I attended the 7.30 mass at the church of the Infant Jesus here in Port Jefferson. East Indian-American Reverend Francis Lasrado gave an inspiring sermon on our calling as Christians.

Mass at church of The Infant Jesus in Port Jefferson, N.Y.

Saturday Evening Post August 7, 2021

Saturday, August 7th, 2021

The wind finally filled in at 2.30 pm and it is a wonderful 5 plus knots reach from the East. I motored since I left my anchorage near the statute of Liberty, just before 6 am. This was a photographers wish come true. The sun was just rising over the Brooklynn Bridge and was reflecting in the Manhattan skyscrapers.

The Staten Island Ferry docking at Manhattan

The Brooklynn Bridge 

The current in the East River was as strong as I can remember, compared to places like Deception pass, trough Whidbey Island in the North West San Juan Islands. I had never experienced what was happening here. There was so little flow onto the rudder, that it felt like I had no control. Once outside into the Long Island Sound, the water was like a mill pond. No sailing. Once out of the Big City I had expected to see some individual homes again. Not so; just apartment buildings.

 

6.30 pm I am sitting behind a Corona draft on the pier in Port Jefferson on Long Island. A busy seaside town. A ferry brings day trippers from the main land. I needed to get a shower and I have to declare general average to s/v “Fleetwood”’s cargo. I did an auwee in the East River. I escaped by inches from major damage. I will give more details in the next blog. But just to check my readers’ attention to the details of my sometimes-questionable navigation skills, I am offering a prize to the first blog and Garmin in Reach tracker follower to come up with the cause of what caused the damage today. The prize a signed special edition of “SoloMan” or “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”.

One thing is for sure I am certain I am not the first sailor to have experienced this. It could have been a whole lot more damage but for that Angel sitting on my shoulder, like a couple more inches.

Here is another photo of a historical light house. No over the water potty, but there had to be a need for a mother in law lean to.

Another light house in the Long Island Sound

I am on a mooring ball moorage of the Port Jefferson YC, a launch comes to get me to shore. I plan attend mass here tomorrow morning and then will hope for some wind tomorrow to sail to Mystic Seaport, assess the repairs and order any parts, if necessary, and get them installed when I get back there for the wooden boat show on the 19th.

In the Big Apple

Friday, August 6th, 2021

 

It is Thursday morning.

I had a good night sleep at the anchorage and since the wind was not due to change from yesterday’s North-Easterly until noon, I rowed to shore to make a run to get my much-needed supplies. It was a good 4-mile upwind bike ride to the ACME super market. On the way back I had a (also much needed) haircut.

But when I got back to the boat, the seas had become nasty, the boat was doing a rodeo hobby horse ride and I did not see much of a chance to get my groceries and backpack back to the boat and mount this wild steed.

But, with my usual luck, rescue was at hand. A couple watched me fold the bike and started a conversation. They were on a bike ride from Ocean City, they are sailors Mark and Judy Slichter, they saw my predicament and offered to take me to an inexpensive motel in Somerspoint. They drove by the boat in the evening and reported, with a photograph, that “Fleetwood” was still hanging in there. So, I had a good night’s sleep.

They will come and get me at 9 am to bring me back to the boat.

Thursday 2 pm. This is sailing at its very best. About 10 knots of wind just between hard to the wind and a tight reach to the course I want to follow. Smooth seas, just the usual swell, speed just under 4 knots.

The classic FM station is playing. I had my liverwurst s/w lunch, with my favorite beverage. I am passing Atlantic City. “Happy Place” a catamaran just passed me going south at 8 k under power. He could be sailing downwind at at least that speed and save a few bucks on fuel. But that is just too much work to hoist sails. Most of the Chesapeake and inshore catamarans have sails that have cobwebs on them.

But getting back to 9 am this morning, Mark and his son in law came to fetch me at the motel; they helped me shove off in the dinghy, with my backpack, groceries and folding bike. That turned into a hairy exercise. The ebb was getting ever stronger, the closer I got to the boat; it felt like I was unable to row those last few strokes to grab the boat. But finally, I did. Thank God for Todd Dhabolt’s modification to the original design, he added the sugar scoop which is low enough to get my knee on it and twist through the windvane frame to get aboard over the transom.

Back to enjoying the ride, the gentle slapping of the waves on the half inch thick mahogany plywood hull try to rock me to sleep.

Thursday evening. The wind strengthened in the late afternoon. I was hitting sixes and an occasional seven knots. Reef early. I put a reef in the main and by morning I was down to two reefs and my hand towel size storm jib. I managed to lay down with the alarm set but never slept. I intend to make up for it tonight. I had planned to sail through the night to the north end of Long Island. But after checking the time and distance, I realized that I would end up there in the middle of Friday night. Instead, I chose to go through New York, East River and the West shore of Long Island. The wind evaporated, I motored the last 30 miles, from the left turn until my anchorage behind the Statute of Liberty. The Ferries, commercial and pleasure boat traffic had turned the surface of the bay into a witches’ brew. But now the traffic has gone home. I have a magnificent view of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, Bronx and over my shoulder Hoboken and Staten Island.

Going through the Verrazano Bridge

The north flowing current in the East River starts at 03.47 tomorrow and I can ride it to the end before it turns there at 9 am.

 

 

New York is a true melting pot. I am listening to Latin and a Greek station. I only know small parts of NY. In January 2015 I had the privilege of having my friend Christine give me a private tour of the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she had worked for many years. New York was my very first foot on American soil in January 1957. In 1967 my wife and three-year-old Lisa sailed from Le Havre to NY on the trans-Atlantic cruise vessel lighthouse for the Statue of Liberty: “Look, dad, there is America!”. Five days later, we got to see the statue for the first time.

Manhattan Skyline

The back side of Liberty