Friday, December 7, 2012

Boarding Manual

A common Sea Scout practice is to provide a boarding manual before an event to share the necessary information with all the participants. In going over my log notes and emails to the crew in advance of our recent trips I came up with a sort of a standard boarding manual for weekend cruises:

This document is updated from time to time as we get smarter!

LET THE SKIPPER KNOW about any medical conditions or medications you need to take in the event of an emergency.

Packing List:

We may be offshore for up to 36 hours during a weekend passage, plan accordingly.

Sailing gear (also for day races)-
  • Foul weather gear, rain jacket, and pants
  • Deck shoes (boots optional)
  • Gloves - sailing, and/or insulated
  • Sunscreen
  • Safety whistle
  • PFD (life jacket)
  • Knife (folding or small fixed blade)
  • Harness and tether (let me know if you don't have one)
Clothing/sleeping (remember to "be prepared")  -
  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Personal hygiene equipment
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Shower shoes - for the marina shower
  • Earplugs
  • Dry change of clothes
  • Pajamas or sleep clothes
  • Watch cap or hat (warm hat)
  • Long underwear, wool or polypropylene preferred
Personal items  (* are required) -
  • Bible
  • Sea time log
  • Flashlight (or headlamp)*
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen - SPF 30
  • Notepad / pen
  • Sea scout manual
  • Camera
  • GPS (handheld)
  • Deck of cards
  • Suduko book
  • Personal Medication
Shared items:

  • Normally on offshore passages, each crew member will be responsible for some food or beverage for the crew.

Watch Schedule:

We will be using a Swedish Watch (5 per day) system for the trip, this is a self-dogging watch - meaning that the individual watch schedule shifts each day. For safety, I require two-person watches, if you are seasick you may need to drag yourself on deck to provide whatever help you can to the watch.

I normally spend the entire trip "on call" and do not stand a watch. If there are sufficient crew, the cook and navigator are also "on call"

0800-1300 (5hr) Friday
1300-1900 (6hr) Friday
1900-2400 (5hr) Friday
0001-0400 (4hr) Saturday
0400-0800 (4hr) Saturday
0800-1300 (5hr) Saturday
1300-1900 (6hr) Saturday
1900-2400 (5hr) Saturday
0001-0400 (4hr) Sunday
0400-0800 (4hr) Sunday
0800-1300 (5hr) Sunday
1300-1900 (6hr) Sunday
1900-2400 (5hr) Sunday

The "On" watch is responsible for steering the vessel on the planned course and keeping a lookout (in all directions), monitoring the radio and answering/making radio calls when needed. Radio calls will be entered in the log. The helmsman monitor depth, wind strength, and direction. When under power checking the gauges at least every quarter hour, when under sail monitoring the trim of the sails. 

Each hour the watch will update a plot on the chart and make an entry in the navigation log. Every hour the watch will inspect the boat, checking for water in the bilge, oil or fuel leakage, chafing of lines or sails, gear that is not properly secured, excessive leakage from the shaft when under power. At night verify that all the navigational lights are working and the proper lights are in use.

Rules Aboard/General Housekeeping:

Know the location and proper use of all safety equipment, seacocks, electrical and fuel shut-offs on the vessel. There is a diagram at the navigator's station if you are unsure.

PFDs are worn at all times on deck while underway. At night or during rough weather all crew on deck (including in the cockpit) will use a harness and tether. 

We have found that cell phone service is available to about 8nm offshore along most of the coast.

When going below be mindful of your wet gear and make an effort to keep dampness contained near the companionway.

Put all garbage promptly into the garbage bag under the galley sink, put all recyclables into the designated basket.

To minimize clean-up we use the starboard aft head while at sea, do not flush toilet paper, put it in the trash bag in the head. Open windows to keep the head from smelling, be considerate of the crew assigned to the aft starboard cabin.

The port head can be used to hang wet foul weather gear as long as it is kept orderly and out of the way of for the crew using the port aft cabin.

If you are assigned a pilot berth, keep your gear at the foot/head of the berth, not on seats in the dining area. Ask the captain if you need more room

Don't waste food, be realistic about how hungry you are, you can always have seconds.

Conserve water, we have a limited amount and letting the tap run without purpose quickly uses a lot of water. That said, please use all the water you need.

Conserve electricity, particularly when under sail, turn off lights when not in use. We have a limited battery bank, we usually charge devices while the engine is running.


If you are concerned, take your medication before we leave the dock, once your are queasy it is too late.

If you feel seasick, even a little: 
  1. Get up on deck and get some fresh air.
  2. Look out at the horizon. 
  3. Stay hydrated - this means drinking WATER, not tea, coffee or soda
  4. Have a ginger ale or some dried ginger to settle your stomach
If you are being sick: 
-On deck: Aim for the downwind side of the boat or the stern, try to get past the deck.
-Down below: If you can't make it to the head, use a bag or bucket to contain the mess
-While you are suffering from seasickness, try to get as much sleep as you can and stay hydrated by sipping water even if you can't keep the fluids down.
- Finally, be considerate of the other crew, once you are able, clean up after yourself.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Afternoon Sail

David and I met Skipper THom, Jim and Sam for an afternoon sail ahead of the Parade of Boats, I arrived at the boat about 30 minutes behind schedule, the rest of the crew was waiting patiently. They had corrected a sagging bumper  that had resulted in a large blue mark on the hull where it had rubbed.

I had left the DC power on to run the various alarms and they had flattened the battery, we hooked up to shore power for about 30 minutes and recharged enough to get the engine started. While we were waiting a pair of dolpins swam by the boat. Our departure this afternoon was much smoother than our arrival in spite of the current and we were soon motoring out of the marina.

The wind was perfect and once we had the sails trimmed we were cruising at 7+ knots with about 15 knots of wind. Everyone but David took a turn at the helm as we made a quick circle of the bay. We saw a few early Christmas boat parade participants out and by the time we returned to the marina things were starting to get busy.

Our slip neighbor helped tend lines while we eased into the slip and tied in. On the way out of the marina the cars were packed in everywhere, I haven't  seen the marina this crowded since last Charleston Race Week.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Home at last

After a wonderful Thanksgiving we packed up and spent "Black Friday" driving up to Beaufort, NC to complete the last leg of our trip home to Charleston. We picked up Jim Wilson, one of the other Sea Scout ship 510 mates in Mount Pleasant. The drive up was uneventful but the driving team of Elizabeth and Alexis put in a long day on the road, about 6 hours each way to drop us off.

We arrived just in time to grab a bite to eat, link up with Zach Nelson, load up the boat, top off the fuel and get underway - all before sunset.

We made it out of the harbor and into the channel just as the sun was setting and settled into our watch routine immediately. I use a Swedish watch which started with Zach and I taking the 7 pm to midnight watch, followed by Jim and David on the midnight to 4 am watch. The weather was not quite as expected, the forecasts I'd been seeing called for light winds and relatively calm seas. Instead we were fighting 15-20 knots of wind on the nose with seas of 8-10 feet. By midnight both Zach and Jim were seasick, David was not to escape unscathed and also had a short-lived bout of seasickness during the voyage. We slowed the boat from our planned 7 knots to about 5-1/2 knots to reduce the pounding and keep the boat a little dryer.  We were taking considerable spray in the cockpit, soaking everything and even getting some green water on the bow deck. The pounding continued as we passed frying pan shoals.

The pounding continued until Saturday mid-day when the wind eased to 10 knots shifted to our aft quarter, the seas calmed a little and with that our speed picked up about a knot and we were able to speed back up to about 7 1/2 knots. We took this opportunity to transfer 10 gallons of fuel from our cans to the main tank - the drip proof nozzle made it easy to get all the fuel in the tank and David at the helm was able to keep the deck dry for the whole fueling process.

The dunkings from the previous night had done in our bow navigation lights so we proceeded with only our white steaming light and stern lights. Fortunately we saw very little traffic throughout the evening.

The sunset was nearly exactly on our heading towards Charleston and left a beautiful red sky. A little later we were joined by a pod of dolphins which spent about 10 minutes playing alongside the boat. This was one of the high points of the trip, they were so much fun to watch that I found myself off course several times before they left us.

As the evening wore on the waves increased and we were rolling again, the approach from up the coast is deceptive, the first lights you see as you approach Charleston are the radio and television towers on the Isle of Palms. At about 2 am we sighted the channel markers and began our entrance. As we passed buoy 13 we were contacted by vessel traffic control and informed that a container ship would be entering in about 30 minutes - just when we were expecting to be in the narrowest part of the channel and passing the now submerged jettys at the harbor entrance. I had Zach keep an eye astern as I picked our way through the channel. Once inside the harbor we called the marina and they were waiting to help us dock just before 5 am.

After we were securely tied to the dock, the inbound container ship passed the marina, another prayer answered. As sea sickness subsided, hunger arrived and we all had some soup and hot chocolate to warm up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Around Cape Hatteras

This past weekend we made our first coastal passage; traveling from Norfolk, VA to Beaufort, NC. This was a big step and the first time any of the other crew had been on the open ocean.

Elizabeth and  David along with Kim and Caleb Yecke met up with me in Norfolk Friday night after spending a few days visiting historic Jamestown and Yorktown. Elizabeth had already shopped for the trip and had settled up with the Marina so we were ready to go! Little Creek Marina was a great place to stop and particularly sit out Sandy.

Unfortunately Zach Nelson, who had accompanied us on the previous leg was ill and unable to join us for this leg of the trip. He and his mother Susan did come by to see us off and present us with a beautifully engraved helmsman's knife which straps on nicely next to the wheel.

We cast off at 0805 on Saturday morning, only 5 minutes later than planned, leaving the Chesapeake Bay with an ebbing current. As we moved offshore we made several radio checks with the Sea Tow service at Little Creek Marina reaching them easily at over 20 nm. Cell service was also available from time to time as we moved down the coast, averaging 6-7 miles offshore throughout the day Saturday and into the evening.

As we passed Virginia Beach and picked up a 3 foot swell, Kim fell victim to Mal de Mare (sea sickness), and spent the first half of the voyage in misery. She was a trooper and rallied for her midnight to 0400 watch with David for the rounding of Cape Hatteras. By the morning she was feeling much better and was actually able to enjoy the rest of the trip.
The weather was cool and the wind about 10 kts on our nose most of the day Saturday, by about 10 pm the wind had dropped off but the cool temperatures remained. It wasn't until Elizabeth and Caleb took the 0400 watch that the temperature improved. The sky was clear and moonless (until just before morning) so the stars were incredible all night.

After rounding Cape Hatteras we took a relatively straight course from Diamond shoals to Cape Lookout Shoals which put us about about 14 miles out and beyond cell phone range of shore. This vexed the shore crew, Thomas and Alexis who were in the process of bringing the van back from Norfolk to Beaufort.

Sunday morning brought a beautiful sunrise and short sleeve weather, along with a wind shift that allowed us to run or broad reach most of the way to Beaufort. Along with the improved weather came an increase in sea life. During the last several hours of the trip we saw several pods of 10+ dolphin, a shark finishing off a meal of some sort and a leaping marlin. We also spent some time being shadowed by the Privateer Lynx which was enroute to Georgetown before heading on to Charleston next weekend.

During the trip, the ship's systems didn't miss a beat and we were able to average 7.1 knots during the 223 nautical miles trip over the course of about 32 hours. Before the trip we'd taken on 4 - 5 gallon cans of fuel, we added 10 gallons Sunday morning as the fuel gauge approached 1/4 full which saw us comfortably into Beaufort.

Everyone took a turn at the helm and did a great job keeping us on course. Alexis and Thomas pulled off a marathon road trip from Charleston to Norfolk to bring the van down to Beaufort and stage it for our return trip home, Thank you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

After all the preparation there was not much to do but wait, so I took that as an opportunity to knock out a bunch of (inside the boat)  projects.

I had an order from Tactical and  Marine Wholesalers shipped to the marina so my project list included installing all of the alarms recommended by my surveyor and in some cases required by my insurance company. The hardest part was figuring out where to put them, near the ceiling, near the floor away from corners, not near hatches. . . First was the battery powered smoke alarm, since there was no wiring to run this was going to be the easiest of the bunch. Next up was the CO detector, this required a power feed so was a little more complicated. These two ended up on a bulkhead between the navigators station and the starboard pilot berth. The last alarm was the propane detector. Nobody required this one but I'd just read about a fellow who blew himself and his boat up as a result of a propane leak so I added that one for good measure.

This was the hardest one to place, try to find a spot 20" from the floor in the confines of a sailboat that won't get kicked, mashed, or soaked repeatedly. I settled for a tucked in spot under the navigators seat, which is just across from the propane stove in the galley.

 To finish the wiring required a quick trip to West Marine and Radio Shack. By this time the rain was pouring down and wind was in the 30+ knot range so I made a foray out into the storm to check all the lines for chafing and relocate some particularly noisy halyards.

I also made a stop at Walmart to pick up a blanket, I just about froze Saturday night. I know the weather service calls these tropical storms but there is nothing tropical about the temperatures that it brought to Norfolk!

Before moving on to the next project required some major leak remediation, it turns out that my mast boot wasn't as well sealed as I had thought and I had what were starting to look like rivers feeding lakes flowing down the mast and dripping from the adjacent headliner panels. To control the flow I removed one of the panels and the board behind it, this kept the flow concentrated around the mast where I placed a series of bowls and plates to catch the water. The plates were needed because as the boat rocked over 5 degrees in either direction the impact zone kept shifting.

The wind and rain were annoying but, for me and the others in the marina I spoke with, the storm surge was the biggest concern. At the peak high tide we were within three feet of the docks floating off of the pilings, at which point things would get very bad very quickly.

Monday evenings project was the installation of a new Standard Horizon Matrix AIS+ GX2150 VHF radio. I picked this radio because of the integrated AIS function, for those unfamiliar with AIS it provides position and course information for all commercial vessels in the vicinity, particularly useful in low visibility situations. (Like we experienced going into Baltimore Harbor). From an electronic perspective the installation went great,  including setting up the NMEA 0183 connection to the GPS. This part was interesting enough to merit a post of its own later. The appearance side of the project didn't go as we'll. the new VHF was smaller than the one it replaced so I will need to fabricate a bezel to fill the gaps.

Late Monday afternoon the wind switched and it turned even colder, that night I ended up dragging a spinnaker bag into my bunk for added insulation! The wind switch also brought significantly lower water, the levels dropping several feet in just a few hours.

With the latest additions the boat is ready for the next leg of its journey!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting Ready for Sandy

Friday night I drove down to Norfolk to make sure we were ready for Hurricane Sandy. Because the apparent track of the storm had it missing Norfolk by several hundred miles I elected to keep the boat in the marina and prepare it to weather the storm there.

On the way down I picked up 150 feet of 3/4" nylon/polyester blend rope to upsize the dock lines. The current lines are 5/8" and some of the spring lines are 1/2". Friday night the wind was relatively mild so I dropped and stowed the roller furling headsail. Angela from the marina and Mike helped me get the sail put away, it would have been a much less pleasant job without them.

First thing Saturday morning - before the rain started I installed the two stern chocks that I'd purchased at my last visit to Bacon Sails in Annapolis. This let me properly cross tie the stern lines which really improved the angles to the dock cleats. It also allowed me to better control the boats position in the slip. I was also able to duct tape the forward vents, they are old and stiff and I wasn't ready to fight with them to put the caps on the vents.

At this point the rain started to fall, lightly. The next step was adjusting the existing dock lines and rigging the new larger lines. I made two 30' and one 50' line to supplement the existing lines. After cutting, splicing and whipping the lines I added them as bow and spring lines. Also added chafe gear to the lines using sections of hose zip tied to over the line.

The whole day Saturday at the Marina reminded me of Minnesota before a big snow storm, everyone was out getting ready sharing supplies and advice on how to best prepare.

By the end of the day it was raining pretty hard and blowing 25 knots, everything appeared in order on the boat so I met up with Zach and Susan Nelson for dinner to discuss the next leg of the trip back to Charleston.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I "discovered" Bacon Sails

This past weekend on my way to work on the boat I stopped in at Bacon Sails hoping to find a decent used spinnaker. Dimi II is is rigged for a a spinnaker but Herb had just been borrowing one when he raced and recommended I add one to the sail inventory.

What a great place, it's like a "Habitat for Humanity" store for boaters. The showroom was full of used gear at good prices. The team there was very helpful and knowledgable and helped me to find a sail that would meet my needs. The prize was a consignment from Navy Sailing in need of a few patches, I can hardly wait to get it down to the boat.

I also checked an item off of my shopping list, two chocks that will allow me to cross tie the stern lines. I was sure I was going to spend over $100 each for the size I wanted, but found a set for $39.99 each that will work perfectly.

I did finally make it down to the boat and finished putting in the DC electrical panel, it's nice to finally be able to plug in to some power while underway.

I also took some rig measurements and am rethinking taking the Inter-coastal waterway at least part of the way to Charleston. I'm torn between wanting to take the offshore passage and the idea of breaking the trip into a couple of more manageable pieces.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sailing for fun?

Thursday afternoon I was called by the marina to let me know that I'd left my boat in a slip that belonged to a year lease holder and would need to move it by next Wednesday, fortunately I was already in the area for work so I just extended my trip a day to take care of it.

On the upside a couple of the Sea Scout families from Ship 747 were available for a sail so we went out for an evening sail Friday night. The weather was great, light winds and comfortable evening temperatures. The sun was setting as we left the marina and we were treated to an incredibly beautiful sunset. We were able to put the sails up and ghost silently along at about 4 knots. The trip lasted about 3 hours and several times we were visited by dolphins crossing our path or shadowing us. There were some clouds but many stars were visible.

I was also able to cross a couple of things off of my to-do list, the outlet in the forward head is now GFI and I fixed the reversed hot in the system wiring for the boat. I also cleaned up an annoying leak in the freshwater  pump hose fitting.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Parade of boats photo

Photo taken during the Parade of Boats as we passed the reviewing ship off Ft. McHenry.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


The next morning we departed Calvert Marina, they were efficient and had left an envelope with maps and a Wifi code for me so we were able to do a quick weather and email check before heading out. We topped off at the fuel dock at 0905, we were the second boat in line when they opened. There were a number of boats headed South as well and we spent the morning following the Mystic Star until they turned off to the West, while we proceeded South towards Norfolk.

By this point we were getting proficient at staying out of shallow water and we spent most of the day in the middle of the bay, away from both shallow water and commercial traffic. We did pass several barges, headed North. Early on I mistook one for a lighthouse - telling Zach to use it as a course reference point; it became a standing joke to point out my "lighthouse" every time a barge passed us.

In the mid afternoon a front passed by and we had light rain for about an hour. Throughout the day Zach and I took turns at the helm. There was some ominous clouds to the West and occasional lightning flashes, but they stayed away and we enjoyed good weather for the rest of the afternoon. As sunset approached we got a call from Zach's mom warning of storms in the Hampton Roads area. We considered our options and decided that most likely they would be past Norfolk by the time we arrived at 2230 that evening. I took some time to straighten the anchor locker, laying out the lines on the deck for inspection and then re-stowing them in case it was too rough or windy to safely dock the boat and we were forced to anchor. I also rigged the radar reflector as we would be crossing several shipping channels and were unsure what the visibility would be.

An hour or so after sunset (2030) we started to feel the effects of the storm, the wind shifted out of the West and started to build. Our instruments reported winds of 26 kts and the waves were about 4 feet on our beam and it was raining fairly hard. I was considering taking down the bimini top and then the wind speed started to drop. By the time we made the Norfolk channel markers it was blowing a gentle 10 knots with a little drizzle. Zach was at the helm through most of the bad weather and did a great job keeping a steady course.

We pulled into a slip in the Little Creek Marina at about 2230 and with the help of one of our new neighbor we were quickly tied up at a T-head. We linked up with Susan Nelson and then went to town for a quick dinner.The next morning, Angie in the office (also a former Sea Scout) went out of her way to make sure we were well taken care of.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Solomon's Maryland and beyond

Over the Labor Day weekend we completed our most ambitious leg so far. Friday after work, one of my co-workers, David Hansen, was kind enough to drop me off at the boat before heading to the airport to fly home. Elizabeth drove up to Norfolk, VA where she connected with the Nelson family who we met through Sea Scouts. Zach is the boatswain for ship 747 and had agreed to join us for this leg of the trip. Zach's mom, Susan shuttled Elizabeth and Zach up to Galesville where we linked up. As soon as they arrived we shoved off bound for Solomon's, MD. We managed to find a shallow spot just outside of Galesville but were able to back off and continue our journey.

Saturday's journey was uneventful as we proceeded South. That changed once we turned West on the entrance to Solomon's. We were arriving after dark, so were relying heavily on our GPS as we approached the unfamiliar harbor. Before we made the final turn into the marina the course to steer pointer on the GPS became disoriented and pointed us towards shore, as the water got shallower, we figured out something was amiss. As we felt our way back out to the channel and bumped the bottom several times but eventually made it to the correct side of the channel marker. A quick look at the GPS led me to question the GPS, it was showing the direction of travel was oriented 90 degrees to port, so it kept telling us to turn to starboard and into the houses along the shore. While I was trying to reorient to the  landmarks Elizabeth prayed for guidance. A few moments later we heard  a VHF call to the boat trying to enter the harbor.  This helpful call from a local boat "Key West" offering to help guide us into the marina. After a brief conversation it turns out they were offering to help another boat but we took them up on their offer and once they described what the general approach to the marina looked like from a "shore lights" perspective we were back on track and following the channel markers into our dock. We found our parking spot just as described and were quickly tied up and then walked up to the "The Back Creek Bistro" for dinner, we were seated even though we were a little under dressed, and put our order in minutes before the kitchen closed. The meal and service was excellent and we look forward to our next visit.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Baby Steps

The past few weeks have been particularly challenging, we've not been able to do any work or move the boat closer to home; however, that doesn't mean that nothing has been done.

Last week Atlantic Spar and Rigging came down and completed a rig inspection as was required by the insurance company to cover the rig and gave us a clean bill of health with the exception of a few minor items. They also tuned up the rig, I'm looking forward to the next sail.

Hartge Yacht Harbor also did some work on the anchor locker, reglassing the compartment and then painting both the anchor locker and sail locker.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Something different - manipulating IP address strings in Excel

This is not normally the sort of thing I post on this blog but a quick search didn't find anything quite like it and it may be useful to someone else.

The following are a series of excel formulas that break down an IP address and allow you to manipulate the octets within the formula. The other examples I found all use vba, etc. These formula, although not terribly elegant, should be reasonably easy to deal with.

In these examples the field D6 is the target IP address:

# The length of the IP string and the first octet delineator

#Octet 1

#Octets 2-4

#Octet 2

# Location of the second "."

#Length of last three octets

#Lenght of the last two octets

#Octets 3-4

#Location of the third "."

#Octet 3

#Octet 4

#Last Octet with incremented (by 1) host IP

#Reassembly of the new IP address, the number +2, near the end of the string is the amount the host address will be incremented by

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Last weekend's route

Last weekend's route down the Chesapeake Bay. Went back and looked at some of the details of the route we took down the Chesapeake Bay, first into Baltimore and then down to Galesville, in total we moved the boat about 100 miles down the bay.

The next leg is planned to take us down to the Norfolk area.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sea Scouts in Baltimore

Once we arrived in Baltimore we connected with the other members of Sea Scout Ship 510, which hails from Patriot's Point in Mount Pleasant, SC. Unfortunately it was a rainy weekend and although the forecast kept calling for better weather it was damp through the weekend. On the positive side, all the storms passed Thursday evening so all we had to contend with was light rain. We spent the first two days of our visit on the sea wall with no shore power.  The boys did a great job dressing the ship and the flags really made her stand out. About halfway through the exercise I had the boys double check their flag sequence to make sure we weren't signalling an unkind message.

On Saturday Dimi II participated in a parade of boats from the Baltimore Inner Harbor out to Fort McHenry, we were joined by several other Sea Scouts and leaders including the NE Region Vice Commodore for the short trip. The rain briefly left us as we passed the reviewing boat anchored off of Fort McHenry. Upon our return we were moved from the sea wall to one of the slips with access to both water and shore power! The dinner at the Rusty Scupper was filled with Scout fun including two cakes each with 100 candles - fortunately there was a fireman's convention in town for the weekend as well. 

Sunday morning the weather continued to be overcast but we were starting to dry out. One of the highlights of the weekend was the blessing of the fleet and we are ever thankful for the Lord's protection and provision. The high tide was at 9:36 and we left shortly after that. We saw several other SSS's as we motored South and enjoyed improving weather as we went. The light wind was on our nose so it was a day of motoring and watching traffic and depth as we traveled. On two occasions I tried to shortcut between bends the marked channel but each time the rapidly shallowing water chased me back near the channel.

We arrived in Galesville early in the afternoon, nearly an hour ahead of our planned arrival time. Unfortunately we are still working on our boat putting away routine and it took us nearly two hours to get on the road. The drive home was uneventful but long, on the way I had the opportunity to work on my post sail checklist, hopefully we can cut our put away time in half for our next voyage.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sea Scout Centennial at Baltimore

On July 19th, we took our maiden voyage aboard Dimi II. That morning my brother Nick and I re-installed the starboard side fixed window. Things went very smoothly and the installation only took about a half hour. Cleaning up the residue where the neoprene gasket was trimmed away will take a little longer. At the time we didn't know it but the quality of our work would be well tested by the time we docked in Baltimore.

After loading gear aboard I along with Debbie and Pamed, the previous owner's daughters, brother Nick and son David motored out into Chesapeake Bay leaving the dock at North East for the last time. Just before we reached the channel markers we found the bottom, gently. After backing off we were able to work our way over to the channel, from then on we were able to avoid the bottom.

We motored nearly the whole way to Baltimore only to have the wind pick up as the Francis Scott Key Bridge came into view. Not to let good wind go to waste we cut the motor and enjoyed a perfect breeze of 15-20 knots. After we passed under the bridge ominous clouds and lightning began to bear down on us from the North and we began to shorten sail - but not fast enough. About that time we lost the bimini to the wind. Rolling up the head sail went smoothly but by the time we started to drop the main the rain had started, the wind was howling and the lightning flashing. We continued on through the squall, sometimes only able to see a boat length ahead from the rain. The Lord watched over us as we made our way blindly into the harbor.

The winds calmed as we motored past Fort McHenry and we were left with a heavy rain and a the waterway covered with a layer of trash washed from shore by the rain. The rain ended as we entered the Baltimore Inner Harbor. We approached the trident dock looking like drowned rats but grinning ear to ear at having come through the storm.
We were directed by the Scoutfleet dock master to tie up to the sea wall where we were met by a crew of helpful Sea Scouts and so the first leg of our trip came to an end.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A New Chapter

This month we're opening a new chapter in our Charleston Bound saga and the phrase "Charleston Bound" takes on new meaning. On July 2nd we closed on the purchase of a sailboat, two days before our 25th anniversary!

We've been boatless since we sold our faithful Catalina 27 - Mental Patience and moved from California. I'll be chronicling the process of putting our new boat in order and then bringing from its current home, North East, MD to Charleston, SC.

We're excited for our new adventure and looking forward to sharing our discoveries while we are Charleston  Bound!