September, 2021 browsing by month


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 ( “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.


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