May 2007 Archives

Happy Birthday to the birthday boy! At Northwind Marina, there is a lively little cafe, where we had hoped to have a birthday breakfast. We dawdled for too long though, and when we got up there, the line was out the door. Rather than wait and miss our opportunity to slip out on high water, we decided to eat aboard. I cooked a nice omelet with potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and cheddar. Norm is a good sport, and did the dishes We made tuna sandwiches to store for lunch later in the day.
Birthday boyNorm had his birthday while we were in Dennis. We couldn't get into the cafe at the Marina, the line was too long. So we made breakfast aboard. Even though it was his birthday, he still gets to clean up.

[Norm] Fueled at Sesuit and departed harbor 11:30. Channel plenty deep but we were cautious.
We took pictures of the folks on shore and the breakwater once we were clear.
We are the entertainmentFolks having breakfast at the cafe found our departure interesting enough to watch
Fuel dock and Northwind docksWe fueled up just before we left. It is deep around the fuel dock, but watch how you depart. Move right over to the middle of the channel.
Waving goodbyeTwo youngsters on the breakwater, wave goodbye as we cautiously make our way out
ReliefSafely out without running aground, you can see the relief on my face

Safely out in Mass Bay again, we set our course for Ptown. We sailed across, the first "sea"mark being Billinsgate Island. That was the first I have ever heard of Billingsgate, although I have read many histories of the area. I'm sure it is mentioned but sometimes things don't register until you see them with different eyes. We sailed past the buoy, and I was just amazed that there is a sunken island in the bay.

[Norm] Nice beat to Ptown in under 10kts East.
15:00 Sail around Ptown harbor, departed 16:00. E oogling all her old haunts "When I was here with the kids...."
17:00 G"1" off Wood End Point
17:30 kite up. Rolling along at 6kts. Rain on horizon ahead. Wind S at 10kts.
Cape scene is pretty - dunes, grass, lighthouses, frolicking folk. Tuna sandwiches, tea.

Approaching PtownHere we are approaching the wrist of Ptown. Race Point Light, the water tower, and Pilgrim Monument are all lined up
Race PointJust inside the curved fist of Ptown, there is a nice beach on Race Point. It's a long walk over the breakwater, but a quick sail across the harbor.
Ptown HarborMelina
Fisherman's Wharf in Ptown. Wait a minute, I recognize that boat!Melina from Boston Sailing Center is tied up here! Wut?

[Norm] 22:30 Off Minot's light. Heading 300° for Boston Light. 6+kts.
Kite is up, wind under 15, sometimes very shifty. Gybed twice, once off Scituate and just now.
Beautiful sailing. Visible is the offshore platform construction. Lots of lights - crane boom, all lit up - looks like a sci-fi monster eating its way into Boston.
Few vessels out here. Chilly quiet. Suspect many yachts in their vacation harbors. We are home early, instead of beating home in Monday's predicted NW.
Averisera scoots along in the gentle seas and wind nicely. Making tea water - no gimbaling required.
E has been driving most of the day. Learning to sail the boat. N learning to relax and enjoy a great sail.
Another midnight arrival in the Narrows planned. Night sailing pleases us both. Safety harness and foul weather gear, cool but not cold.

[E] 23:51 Pt. Allerton buoy. 22 hrs, 110 nautical miles. VMG 5nm/hr.
We could almost swim faster. Not really.
Norm is tired. The birthday boy has had a big weekend. Weather is starting to be visible in the west, behind the cityscape. Will we make it without getting rained on?
Stay tuned.
Motoring 5+kts. Wind had died down and come way forward, so we dropped the kite and turned on the engine.

We tucked into our slip at Constitution Marina around 2am, put the boat away, and headed home. We only saw a few raindrops here as we made our way into Boston. The rainstorm never did materialize on Monday. But we were not disappointed, that we didn't sail on Monday. We spent the day regrouping, doing laundry, and cleaning up the boat.
After anchoring in Barnstable Harbor, we took a leisurely nap, arising around 11:30am. We made some breakfast, watched the current and the marsh, the boaters, and birds. A catboat sailed in, and we watched its progress over the low water, able to sail safely with its centerboard up or down as needed. We weighed anchor and began to negotiate the channel at low water minus 1hr.

[Norm] Barnstable Harbor - spoke with the couple sailing a cruising cat - Triumph II - who commented about the current and how it renders anchorage south of Beach Point impossible/impractical. Where we anchored is not "great" but best around.
Lots of motor boats, very busy.
Shoaling all across entrance near first green can. We recorded 7ft an hour before low water.
No reply calling Harbormaster. Worth a return trip if a dinghy is available.

Our next destination was to be Sesuit Harbor in Dennis. We worked our way out of Barnstable Harbor channel, taking it slowly and watching the depth meter all the way. We had to be very careful to follow the curve of the channel, very sinuous like a snake. If you miss one of the curves of the "S" you could be in very shallow water.

We tootled out in light winds, heading east for Sesuit. It was a beautiful day for a lazy sail.

[Norm] Sesuit Harbor - 5 miles east of Barnstable.
Chart claims 6ft MLW. NO!! 4-4 1/2 ft. We used the lead line to great advantage. Averisera was aground near breakwater entrance. Got out to await tide. Drifted off Corporation Beach. Reminisced about our days as young parents with young children. Same scene being played out now. Now the adults are the ones who were our kids.

Much activity in PWCs and little speed boats, plus the usual fishermen.
Hot in the 80s. Monday may be wet and rough. Planning on dinner with Marilyn tonight, if we get into the harbor in time.

Sesuit Harbor entranceThis is the entrance to Sesuit Harbor, nestled between two breakwaters
navigating the channelOn the second try, after waiting for the tide to come in, we made it inside the harbor
Tied up safelyWe were directed to a slip, and then called Marilyn to make a dinner date
View of AveriseraA pic of Averisera tied up (you can see the red and gray stripes on the hull, center of the picture), and the opposite shore beyond. Not a very wide harbor, although it is fairly long
Family funLots of powerboats and families in Northwind Marina - good wholesome fun for the kids
Toot tootLittle Toot - just one more boat in the stream of traffic in and out of the harbor
How does 3 harbors in 2 days sound?

We thought so too. Friday night, May 25th, after work, we set out for the boat. We stowed the boat, with enough food and clothes for 3 nights, 2 days, and set out around 7:30pm for Cape Cod. Our first destination was to be Barnstable Harbor. We estimated that at 5kns, we would arrive somewhere around sunrise.

[E] May 25th 21:15 Pt. Allerton Buoy
N 42°19.189 W 070°52.284 5 kts
Main up, no jib, just secured the engine, after motoring out of the harbor.
Apparent wind speed, 10 kts.
The wind is just forward of the beam.
Doing 5 kts with main and no jib.

[Norm] 21:35 Harding's Ledge, 1HL observed on the beam.
Steering 133° for Minot light.
Ebb current less than 1/2 kt to SE.
Knotmeter 5.9kts. Damn fast ride!
P'town fast ferry - noise & has bright "headlight."

[Norm] 22:25 Minot Light abeam
Course 135° at 7kts
Steer 160°M 37nm to Barnstable Harbor.
Our plan was to arrive off Barnstable at 0800. Seems that - with this wind, 15kts SW - we will be there at 0400.
Things may change!
Delicious dinner of rice, veg and shrimp stew. E cooked, N to clean.
Plain sailing with Sobstad jib and full main.

It was a perfect night for sailing. We had Mass Bay basically to ourselves. The wind was steady and strong, and we reached along at a good clip. Norm went below for some sleep around midnight.

[E] May 26th 12:45 Farnham Rock
1:15 Gurnett Point 02:22 N41°57.708 W070°25.170
Bearing 168°m Distance 14.0nm
Speed 5.4, moving avg 5.3kts
Wind picked up between 1:30 and 2:00
Woke Norm to talk about a reef. Wind topping at 20kts. Some whitecaps.
We took a reef and the wind dropped, of course!

Around 2am, the wind increased and was pushing over 20kts. I woke Norm, and we put the first reef in the main. Then I went below for some rest. Of course, the wind abated soon thereafter, but since we had been traveling so quickly, going a little slower was now a good thing. I got up again just before sunrise, to find that we were approaching Barnstable Harbor. We had seen the lights from Provincetown across the bay for a good part of the night, but now we were looking at the big curve of the shore that extends from Plymouth on our right and sweeps past the canal, past Sandwich, to Barnstable, Dennis, Brewster and then the long arm of the Cape with Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and the backside of Ptown. It was a marvelous view, one I had never seen before, although I had spent 15 yrs living on the Cape, and another 15 before that visiting every summer. A completely different view of the place I know so well. Just stunning, in the early morning light, everything just coming into focus. I studied the chart for Barnstable Harbor, to decipher the marks for the narrow channel.

[E] 04:47 Bearing 179° N 41°47.483 W070°17.294
Speed 6.0kts Dist to next - 2.23nm

Close to Barnstable Harbor entrance.
Examining the chart, seems that its G, R to starboard, then G, R to port. 190° bearing in.

We took our positions and watched the markers, the chart and the water carefully. Even though it looked backwards on the chart, the actual positions of the markers worked to G on port, and R on starboard. So don't pay attention to the shallow area behind the first green. Look for the telltale water surface, which reveals where it is shallow and where it is deep. The channel is long and winds through the marsh, with soft sand on either side. We motored in, and went all the way into the harbor itself, which is very small and shallow. There is a whalewatch boat that runs from this harbor, and probably the channel is maintained to accommodate this vessel, but it does not draw very much, so you must be cautious not to run aground.
C5Current moves swiftly in Barnstable Harbor channel

[Norm] 06:45 Engine secured, at anchor in Barnstable Harbor
N 41°42.942 W070°17.676
Total Distance 76.2nm
High Water Boston + 10mins = 08:10HW, Low Water @ 13:56, same range
Anchored west of Fl R 12, North of C13 in 20'
Village Harbor entrance marked by PVC pipe stuck in mud on either side of the channel.
Water depth at HW -3hrs (1/2 tide) about 5-6ft at low water
Water depth at entrance is 5-6ft near outer green C"3" which is charted on wrong side of channel, as logic dictates.
Much fishing from small outboard motorboats.
Considerable current in harbor. Anchorage results in lying to wind and water. We wrapped the keel in the anchor rode.

Fishing and playing off Sandy NeckLots of outboard motorboats fishing and playing off Sandy Neck

Boat Dimensions

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Averisera is an Aphrodite 101. The design, as originally conceived was 10.1 meters long. Because of a boat tax thing in Europe, the hull was shortened to 9.95 meters. In practical terms the boat is 30 feet from the headstay to the backstay, 8 feet wide, has a draft of 5 1/2 feet and headroom of about 5 feet. Averisera is small by any measure.

Our sail area and displacement are similar to a J30 or a Tartan Ten. Our PHRF (Mass Bay) rating of 141 is also similar.

We are familiar with both types of craft and picked the Aphrodite 101 because of what we call the "pitter-pat" factor. The darn boat make us smile like no other boat. Kestrel in Bellingham, WA was the first one we saw. Love at first sight?

To date, nothing has popped up to make us wish we'd chosen otherwise.

The Aphrodite story is found at:

One Spinnaker down

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So here's my version of the lost spinnaker.

We went out Sunday evening. The sun had just peeked out, it had been pouring all afternoon. We were working on the boat, were cold and soaked, and had just made our plans to head home, light a fire, and open a bottle of wine. Then, the sun, ahhh, promise of warmth, good times, umbrella drinks. Well not umbrella drinks. So we rigged the boat, headed out, set the spinnaker and had a nice ride down the inner harbor. Turned the bend after Lower Middle into President's Roads, and bam, big puff. She heeled, tried to round up, spinnaker pulling like a wild thing, almost out of control. Before we could figure out what was going on (blue sky ahead, white puffy clouds, low sun sparkling on the water) bam another one, and there goes the spinnaker into about a million miles of nylon thread hanging from the halyard. We looked back and there was this squall system squatting over the city. Big Black Ugly Clouds, marching south. Hmm, do we head for Gloucester? or put on foul weather gear and head back. Well, we headed back, put two reefs in the main, took down the jib, and hunkered down for a wild ride.
Norm of course made tea.
Lucky for us, the squally system stayed just to our west. We only got a little bit of rain, but lots of wind. We made it safely back to the slip, and headed for home and that bottle of wine. An expensive sunset sail, I think.
Sunday, May 20th.
We blew up the half ounce kite.

Elizabeth and I worked on the boat for a while in the driving rain. The rain stopped and we went for a sail. Looking East, the direction we were heading, we failed to look West at the growing black clouds. Poof-the-Puff came along and no kite. Turned Averisera around and sailed home towards the threatening dark sky. The day ended well in that there was no more rain.

A $3,000 sailboat ride.
Current temp: 51°F
Feels Like: 51°F
Light Rain, Severe Thunderstorms late afternoon
UV Index: 1 Low
Wind: From the Northeast at 18 gusting to 28 mph
Dew Point: 47°F
Humidity: 88%
Visibility: 4.0 miles
Pressure: 29.71 inches and falling

I guess we'll get started next week.

A co-worker and I went downstairs to look at the weather, as the sky blackened, and the wind increased, around 3:15pm. It got as dark out as midnight, and then the rain fell, drenching walkers (runners) in a few seconds. Pretty dramatic! For safety reasons, racing was cancelled. These thunderstorms pack a lot of punch, and carry the danger of lightning as well.

After watching for a while, we went back up to work.
Well, it is now 6 weeks later. We've transported the boat from Stratford to Boston, which is a whole story by itself. So what's going on now? Racing...

Boston Harbor is the site of the Constitution Yacht Club Wednesday night racing series. We'll be out on the water, with potentially 20 other boats, to race from 18:30 until about 21:00. Our crew is shaping up, with me and Norm as the skippers, Gladie and John as crew, with possibly a fifth, Pamela. I guess we have to get organized, huh?

I'm kind of nervous about the prospect. I've raced on other skipper's boats, in Frostbite racing, and Thursday night racing at Boston Sailing Center. I've skippered I think once during their Island races, maybe twice. So I'm pretty much a newbie at this. I'm glad Norm is not, although that makes me nervous too. Such imbalance.

Here's a picture of me on Averisera.

Here's Averisera with the spinnaker up, taken in Boston Harbor on May 5, by Bob Garber.

The little brown dot in the cockpit is me steering, the white blur is Norm, trimming.

Thanks Bob!
Quote from the log:
[Norm] Weather - 50 degrees, East wind at 15-20kts, rollers in the outer harbor, partly sunny sky.
Tidy up a bit and underway around noonish.
Today was Elizabeth as deck-monkey, Norm as steering-monkey. Role reversal! E set up sails, trimmed, as Norm drove out of the inner harbor.
Saw Grant aboard BSC Blue Jay. Doing backwards sailing drill. We exchanged some laughs. His students seemed bewildered.
Impressive sailing conditions, Beautiful beat up to green blinker off Graves Light. Reach to Pt. Allerton and run - mostly with kite, down Narrows. E set up kite and executed five gybes by the time we got to BSC. Role reversal worked OK. E gybed the pole perfectly because Norm kept the bow under the kite. Harder to say than do. Each gybe was unique with gusts/lulls or wind shifts. E & N teamed to make it all work out.
Averisera is a marvelous boat to sail. Dry upwind and down. Sails herself. Tells the crew when she's trimmed wrong. Grins and leaps forward when trimmed right.
Came home and went to bed - smiling!

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