September 2008 Archives

September Rain: BHIR 2008

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COURSE 3 - Inside Course with two Clockwise Loops
From the Start heading SE through Hull Gut Leave to Starboard: Peddocks Isl and Harry’s Rock “Birdcage” FL4s “HR”, RN”6” S of West Head Long Isl near Bridge, Leave to Port: RN “4” S of Bass Point Long Isl, Leave to Starboard: GC”1” Nubble Channel E of Long Isl, R”10A” Bell S of Georges Isl; RN”2P” Quarantine Rocks, Inflated Mark just W of RN”2P” marking 2 foot spot S of Quarantine Rocks, RN”6” S of West Head near Bridge Leave to Port: RN”4” S of Bass Point Long Isl Leave to Starboard; GC”3” N of Rainsford Isl and Finish Buoy. (Note: Fleet 1 and Fleet 2 have different finish
AVERISERA sailed in the 2008 Boston Harbor Islands Regatta. It is a 14 nm race around some of the Harbor Islands. Skipper Elizabeth Lamb finished Third in Class B and tenth out of twenty nine in Fleet One. Forty seven boats registered to race in the spinnaker fleet, Fleet One. Thirty eight yachts started and nine did not finish. It is a good finish for a boat of our size and type. Good sailing Team Averisera!

The Start was just West of Georges Island, down through Hull Gut...against the strong current..., around Peddocks, across to the Long Island Bridge, up to Nubble Channel, back to the south end of Georges, around Rainsford Isl. to the Bridge again and home to the start/finish line. About 14 nautical miles of sailing and thirteen marks of the course sailed in two hours and fifty two minutes.

Crew of AVERISERA gather for a photo while at the BSC docks on the morning of Saturday, 27 September. Norm, Tom, Francois, Tara, Stacy, and Elizabeth raced in Fleet One, Class B... Spinnaker boats with PHRF ratings that fall between 135 and 108. The wind was light and the sky overcast except when raining buckets and foggy!

Elizabeth was not only skipper of record but skipper of fact. Preparations included studying the charts, course options, currents and weather. Here, the Captain, is doing a pre-departure check with Tom Brown and Norm Martin. A big tactical component in this race was visibility. There wasn't much. At times we could see no farther than 0.2 nm ahead. Preparations paid off for AVERISERA. Elizabeth kept the boat on the course and in the front of the pack. E was a busy lady for three hours!

Class winner, WILD THING, passed us near Red 10A off Georges Island after nine miles of sailing and with almost six miles to go. Rating 108, the Frers 33 started five minutes behind AVERISERA. The other Frers 33 finished four boats behind us. Congratulations WILD THING.

Team photo after the regatta awards ceremony.


Elizabeth and Francois. Four seasons ago, novice Elizabeth stepped aboard a Soling on a wild day in May and started learning to sail under the guidance of Francois. Good work, team.

Rain, fog, and light wind. Promises of strong winds proved unfounded. Lots of fun to sail with friends who sail so well.

Getting ready. The holding tank is empty, the water tank is low, cruising gear is off... now the bow numbers go on. Bank of America just bought Merrill Lynch. Does that make us a "factory team?"

Much consternation about the weather and courses. Almost one hundred boats are entered. The weather is either going to blow or be calm. Depends on what a low and a weak hurricane do: stay along shore or move off. The Regatta Directors have designed two new courses that are in the lee of the land. Seems the wave heights in Mass Bay may reach 3 to 4 feet. Too much for the cruisers to handle. If so, we race around Peddocks Island and through Hull Gut.

The Race Committee is working on producing a good event for everyone. Lots of helpful communications. Supporting details are on the web and in email. Good stuff...

No matter, AVERISERA, Bow Number 43, is ready.


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2008: A study of contrasts.

Sailing weather this year has featured feast or famine. The BHIR is in a few days. Last year, we drifted around the course to collect third in class. This year we plan to bash around the course in winds approaching 25 knots.

Good time to have our 77% "Code 4" head sail. Must remember to take some pictures of the boat sailing on a windy day, too.

Averisera appears to sit in a pool of mercury. Calm conditions following the passage of a morning rain squall. Note the huge clouds in the background.

A few weeks later, the weather picture looks different. Tightly packed isobars presage heavy weather. Right on time for the Boston Harbor Islands Regatta. Good for Team Averisera and their skills sailing well in windy conditions.

image from the weather channel web site on 24 sep 2008 at midday

We had an initially uneventful sail out of Boston and toward the canal. We took our time, took some photos of different kinds of buoys, material for Norm's writing project. You can see by the glassy water that there was not much wind.

Eventually we had some "excitement" you might call it. An hour outside the canal entrance, we ran out of diesel. What?? Norm was so wound up about making the canal transit in time to transit with the current, that even though the wind picked up considerably, we still motorsailed the whole way from Boston, until, well, we ran out of fuel! Doh. We called the Sandwich Marina to find out how late they would be open. They weren't too happy about having us sail into the canal and up to their fuel dock, but left the decision up to us, after noting that it was against Coast Guard regulations to sail in the canal. Just as we reached the canal under sail, we saw this 50ft steel sailboat that had sailed down from Salem, basically with us all the way. They had just anchored outside the canal. We sailed up to RAVEN and asked if they had any diesel. Of course they did, a huge 5-gallon container. Jim lowered his dinghy from the davits and motored over to us. We put the fuel into the tank, but the engine would not start. After about 45 minutes of trying to bleed it while sailing around, we gave up. Jim volunteered to escort us into the canal. By now it was dark, and we had about 15 minutes to closing time at the fuel dock. In addition, we couldn't get the running lights to work. So sailing into the canal, no running lights, escorted by a rubber dinghy. Hmm. We dropped the main just outside the marina, and Jim nudged us into the harbor. The fuel dock attendants waved us on to the T at the end of H dock, and we tied up, while the marina staff went on home. I'm sure we gave them something to talk about that night. Jim and Lenore of RAVEN were so generous. They wouldn't take anything to pay for the fuel, although Jim did accept a bottle of wine. We chatted with Jim a bit at the dock, but let him push off for dinner back on his boat. Next morning, we bled and pumped, and finally the engine started. We also futzed with our temperamental running lights and got them working.

So that's the first 12 hours.


The next morning under solemn skies, we motored through the canal on our way to Hadley Harbor. All was well until we exited the canal into Buzzard's Bay. The same wind that had picked up Monday, had raised a considerable sea in Buzzard's Bay, and the wind was probably in the 20s. Current running out, wind blowing the opposite direction. Lots of pounding. I went below for something, and discovered AACCK that we had left the seacock under the galley sink open, and since we were now heeling quite a lot, the cabin had taken on LOTS of water. Seriously, lots. Everything was wet. I started bailing, I don't think Norm actually believed that there was much water down there. Well several bucketloads later, I moved toward the companionway to tell him we needed to turn back, at least stop the pounding. I could barely hold on to the berths, never mind manage a pail of water. That one minute of inattention while moving, a wave struck the hull and I was thrown to the opposite side of the cabin. In breaking my fall, my thumb got bent back completely, cut on the stove, and I twisted my wrist, plus whacked my head on the underside of the deck. Just missed biting my tongue. I sat down on the wet floor, and watched my hand swell up.

So, we turned downwind, and headed back to Where Else? Kingman Yacht Center. We got inside the channel heading to Red Brook Harbor, and watched as the sky turned black. Another squall was building above us. We called on the VHF, got a mooring assignment, and tied up to it. And the heavens opened. I put the instruments on for a few minutes to see what the wind speed was, and it was close to 30, and we were behind Bassett Island! Thunder and lightning, not as much as in July, and heavy rain. I was so so glad we were back there, safely moored. See Norm's blog entry for excellent pics of the sky. We made good use of the laundry facilities at Kingman's, to rinse and dry our sodden sleeping bags and clothes.

We actually had a pleasant next couple of days, aside from having to deal with my hand and head. We sailed through Woods Hole, and around into Vineyard Sound. Took a look-see at Tarpaulin Cove. One of the schooners was anchored in there. Looked like a pretty place to tuck into. We thought it would be rolly in the winds we were experiencing, so we sailed on to Menemsha.

I had tried calling twice, to see if they had room, but only got the voicemail message of the HarborMaster, which insisted that they have a reservationless system at Menemsha. Figuring that we just would take our chances, we pulled into the harbor around 5pm I guess. We tried the VHF and the harbor master seemed a little more than annoyed that we hadn't made a reservation. But, but, it's a reservationless system! There were two mooring balls in the harbor, and both had a raft-up. He told us to go to the second one and we would make the 4th boat on that mooring. We spent two nights in Menemsha, which was just a lovely place. We had some rain, and glassy no wind conditions. We went birdwatching in the dinghy in Menemsha Pond. Took the Island buses from town to town. Ate the local fish from the market. Just had fun.

One of the highlights of being in Menemsha was that I got to buy a new sweatshirt from Menemsha Fish Market. I had my original from the Coastal PassageMaking Course in 2005. (Pretty much the start for me and Norm!). Gladie had negotiated a good price for the student/crew, since it was October, and she had convinced the owner that he could unload some of his stock on us. I should have bought several at that time! 3 years later, my sweatshirt was showing some wear. I had tried contacting the fish market last winter, and found that they have an online store! Yay! But wait, there were no sweatshirts with the BIG logo. Just a small logo on the upper left chest. Rats. Imagine my delight when we walked in to the shop to buy our dinner, and there, in the window with the T-shirts, were BIG LOBSTER hooded sweatshirts! YAY! So now I have a nice new sweatshirt, in black.
This picture was taken in Chatham and is the original navy blue sweatshirt.

As noted, the Whaler's Race was a no wind race. We sailed to New Bedford in plenty of wind on Friday evening, for the skippers meeting. Friday on the mooring they gave us, was pretty rolly all night. Saturday morning we woke to fog and stillness. Very light breeze. We got a good start, and sailed well for the first few hours. We were ahead of one boat, the other beat us out by hugging the shore for a bit, but when we crossed tacks, we were ahead again. We started seeing the bigger boats ahead of us appearing out of the fog, and we realized we were sailing into the no wind zone. Well, after several more hours of slatting sails, and basically just bobbing about, we retired, as did everyone else. We headed straight off for the canal, after calling the NBYC to make sure we could leave the dinghy behind. We hadn't planned on towing it during the race, so it was still on the dinghy dock in Padanaram. They were very gracious and told us we could pick it up the following week. The timing was then perfect for reaching the canal in time for a transit, and stopping for dinner at the Aqua Grille!

September Squall

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Here it comes!

There it goes!

Summer squall. Winds clocked at 20 to 30 knots.
Note the flags in the distance. When the flag "lifts," the wind is strong.

Fall Cruise, 2008

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September 2008

Hurricane Hannah delayed our start a few days. Monday, the 8th, we head out for New Bedford Yacht Club and the Whaler's Race via whatever adventures we find along the way. Averisera motor-sailed in a slowly building breeze toward the Cape Cod Canal. The Whaler's Race turned out to be a bust, no wind. It was good to be in the friendly waters of Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound again.

Adventures along the way: Motor-sailing turned out to be a poor idea. An hour shy of the Canal... and during a nice sailing breeze... we ran out of fuel. Come on, Norm, you are supposed to be better than that!

To the rescue: RAVEN of San Francisco with Jim and Lenore aboard. They were at anchor off the Canal's East Entrance. They provided five gallons of fuel. Norm could not bleed the engine and get it started at that time. With no engine, we faced the prospect of sailing into the marina. Jim provided a dinghy-push into the Sandwich Marina. We visited for a few minutes and thanked him for the help. Cruising adventures.

We have no photo of RAVEN. She is a fine looking steel fifty foot sloop, five years out of California. Jim had much sound advice about cruising. It would have been nice to have a picture of Jim and Lenore aboard their yacht. Nicer still to have spent more time sharing stories.

Highlight of the trip was a couple of days in Menemsha. Averisera rafted alongside a trio of similar sized sailboats. Nice memories of good company. Fun bus rides around Martha's Vineyard. Bird watching in the Pond. Oystercatchers and herons.

Menemsha piers in the evening. Mornings are busy as the boats are all getting under way at the crack of dawn.

Elizabeth at the helm motoring out of Red Brook Harbor. A gentle run followed. Averisera sailed through Wood's Hole and up Vineyard Sound to Menemsha Harbor. A beautiful day after a stormy day. Cruising adventures continued.

A quiet night begins after a beautiful sailing day ends. A beautiful, remote harbor with a friendly village.

Pouring wine to go with take out appetizers from the Menemsha Fish Market. Delicious dinner of flounder was prepared aboard. The raft up was quiet at dinner as each yacht quietly cooked and dined. Cocktail hour was quit lively as four couples tried to have conversations across boats. It is always interesting to see the respect cruising women have for Elizabeth and her accomplishments with sailing, navigation, and racing. Norm is a lucky guy. Cruising adventures.

Morning light and calm wind. Averisera is the "odd" boat with her narrow beam and low freeboard. She goes places and turns heads! We love her.

More to follow...

30 Aug 2008 Great Misery -> Manchester -> Salem -> Manchester -> Gloucester

Well - this was a busy day!

We slipped the mooring ball at Great Misery, and headed across to Manchester Marine, to pick up ice and water. Upon arrival the throttle kicked down and the engine stopped. After determining that it wasn't going to start or keep running, we ferried the boat to a mooring to troubleshoot for an hour or so. The folks at Manchester Marine were very cooperative about helping us out. A diesel mechanic was on call, if we could not rectify the situation. After our shopping spree in Cataumet last month though, we were not ready to throw in the towel so quickly.

Norm opened up the engine compartment and we tested the throttle linkage. All seemed fine mechanically. Next was to see if the fuel line was airbound. Turn the bleed screw, and yes, there were some bubbles. How or why? we don't know.

We bled and ran the engine for almost an hour. E took the dinghy and had a shower! Then we took Averisera on a trial drive across Salem Sound, to Salem Harbor. E noticed a strong diesel smell, partway through the hour ride. On arrival in Salem, N discovered that the bleed screw was not tightened down enough, and about 4 gals of fuel was now in the bottom of the engine compartment.

Back to Manchester, E driving, while Norm bailed, to see if we could get clean engine diapers, dispose of the fuel, and maybe tie up for the night. We got there safely, got the diapers, but no room at the inn! And no way to dispose of fuel. Norm tied up the kitty-litter bucket with the fuel in it as tight as he could, and we stowed it carefully.

During this whole operation, the wind in Salem Sound was mighty. Whitecaps and choppy sea state. Norm estimated the wind at 25 kts. Later we heard there were gusts recorded nearby in the 40 kt range.

We headed out of Salem Sound, raising the main behind House Island, two reefs of course, and made our way toward Gloucester, via the scenic route. Schooners were now racing outside Salem Sound. We saw Alabama, Appledore III, Roseway, and about 5 others plying their way around the course. Beautiful boats. I'm sure they were thrilled with the wind.

We stuck close to shore and wove our way behind Little Egg and Great Egg, and Kettle Island, having a peek at Smith Point, Pickwick Point, Goldsmith Point, Graves Island, Kettle Cove and Magnolia Harbor. When we emerged from our inshore route at Norman's Woe, the wind was stronger in the open. We sailed around the Gr Bell "3", and into Gloucester Harbor. We sailed around, looking for a place to anchor or pick up a free mooring ball. The schooners were beginning to return to the harbor after their day of racing, so we had to accommodate these big vessels as they maneuvered around to lower their sails. The wind was W, NW, so one would think that the NW corner would be less windy and rolly, but it turned out not to be so. We anchored in Southeast Harbor, east of Ten Pound Island, next to Rocky Neck, amidst a flotilla of the Seven Seas club. We saw Eagle, from Boston and Constitution Yacht Club, anchored here. Once the anchor was down, and holding, we were able to relax.

Gloucester is a busy port, with commercial and recreational boating happening. This weekend was the Schooner Races, so along with the schooners, there were lots of boats coming in to sight-see. We heard many boats calling the Harbor Master, asking for moorings. Alas, Gloucester was full up. We were glad we had our anchor down early.

A dinghy ride then into town, around Smith Cove, to the Madfish Grille for dinner. We walked around Rocky Neck after dinner, taking in the galleries and the general ambiance of the art colony. We found an interesting yacht club, called something like the Low Tide Yacht Club. We'll have to go back and get a picture. All the boats were flat on the mud, since it was low tide. Gave us quite a chuckle.

Several schooners rafted up inside Gloucester Inner Harbor

Labor Day Weekend Cruise

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Labor Day Weekend 2008
Over the years, we have said many times to our sailing friends: "We live and sail in one of the most beautiful cruising areas of the world." Implying, of course, that there is no good reason to go anywhere else. We put it to the test over the three-day weekend.

Turns out to be a valid point of view. We had a fine time.

Friday evening we sailed up to Great Misery Island in Manchester Bay and picked up a mooring. The North Cove was half full of moored boats. Since we actually arrived at 0300 on Saturday... we slept in. Later that day Elizabeth and I inflated the dinghy, motored ashore and explored. A beautiful place to walk, lounge, bird watch, etc.

Sunday we motored into Manchester Marine for water and a pumpout. The engine quit just as we got to the dock. Engine drama! Sailed up to Gloucester for Sunday night ashore at the Mad Fish Grill. Home on Monday.

Verdict... this is a pretty darn nice place to be a sailboat owner.

Elizabeth overlooking North Cove with a view of Manchester-by-the-Sea in the background.
A quiet looking scene. One must stand in just the right spot to not see the 35 other boats in the Cove.  We walked along paths by ourselves.  In several places open fields featured spreading oak trees.  All this invited picnicking, tree climbing, and napping.  Where are the grandchildren?  They'd love it here!
A conservancy group cares for the islands by maintaining paths and mowing lawns.  In past years the island has been the site of various summer resort attempts.  The place features many old stone foundations, steps, garden planters, and overgrown plantings.  

The harbors have some private and public moorings.  The public moorings are large orange balls.  The not-orange balls are private.  We picked up a private mooring.  Later on Saturday, we were chased off, very politely, by the owner of our mooring.  No problem, we moved over and picked up the next open mooring.  No one seemed to care much.  North Cove was very placid.  Many (I counted 35) boats moored, rafted, and anchored.

 Parties on boats were fun to watch.  Fathers instructed children in dinghy operations, moms relaxed with other moms and supervised dads from afar.  Later... dads (alone) with beers motored around the mooring area and socialized.

Diesel Drama: Red fuel oil fills the sump beneath the Yanmar 1GM, "Thumper."
For some reason, the engine became air-bound and stopped during a docking event.  No damage but lots of running around to fend off and get lines ashore.

Slow is Pro!

The guys at Manchester Marine let us undertake the repair at an open mooring.  Elizabeth used the inflatable to "barge" Averisera out to the mooring.  First time for her to do such a thing.  Of course, a perfect operation!  We bled the air, retightened the bleed screw, tested the engine at the mooring and went off for a long test run.  During that test run we discovered the bleed-screw gasket leaked.  Thumper the Diesel pumped a few gallons of diesel oil into the bilge.  It was bailed into a covered bucket, the bilge mopped up and made clean, we sailed to Gloucester.  No oil was spilled over the side.
8/31/2008 -
So here's my version of our weekend, or the first installment anyway.

We left Boston Friday night, around 8:30pm, destination, Great Misery Island. The main was up at Rowes Wharf, engine off. Wind variable, but greater than the 8kts showing on the NOAA site. Sky was partly cloudy, overhead looked like a circular pattern, like a tiny hurricane, with the clear eye in the center. Neat. I made lentil stew in the pressure cooker for supper. Ymmm.

As we made our way out the North Channel the wind settled down to be, of course, right down our back, so we had to jibe back and forth to stay in the channel. Norm settled in for a nap around 11:15pm. 2 tugs to thread between near MoA buoy. Jibe jibe past the Nahant red 2, jibe before the BIG LIGHTS on the LNG station worksite.

So, 12:40am, we're once again into Nahant Bay. Wait, we've seen this movie before! E sailed in not as deep as last year but... both GPS decided to conk out at the same time. And... I couldn't place the red 4sec on Outer Breakers. Too dark to read the chart in the cockpit. So when the depth went below 100ft I woke up Norm for help.

Oops - Red Fl 4sec is on starboard. Jibe!

I was actually prepared to jibe there, so no harm, no foul. But what is it about Outer Breakers? I am pulled to that hazard like iron to a magnet.

Cups of tea all around, while preparing for navigating into Salem Sound.
Head for Fl(2+1)R 6sec, Fifteen Foot Rock, in front of Children's Island, after passing Tinkers Rock Gong.
Then head for Hospital Island Light, until you see the R & G 4sec channel markers. Hang a right in front of them toward Eagle Island Channel. Brimbles on our right. Baker Isl Light and Marblehead light define our transit now until we pass the 2 R nuns on port and the green "5" on starboard. Change course to point to the QG "9" at the end of Baker's Island. We missed seeing Whaleback, but did keep Sauli's rock beacon to port and rounded the bend into the lone tree cove on the NW side of Great Misery Island. We picked up an unused mooring ball, celebrated with wine and cheese, and tumbled into our berths at 4:00am.

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