September 2013 Archives

No wind morning at Piers Park, getting the boat ready.
Towing Vasily and Nelly out of the harbor to the starting area behind Spectacle Island.
Drifting around at the starting area. Race was delayed twice, an hour overall. Short course was chosen, in order to ensure racers would finish before the start of the party at Spectacle.
Gladie trimming the new spinnaker on the downwind leg back to the finish.
Picture of us taken by Allison McCrae. Thanks Allison!
Race committee - Wade, Wil and Kevin. Thanks for a great race!
We came in 4th out of 21 boats in Class C, so no trophy for our finish. We did get First Woman Skipper in Division 1 Racing! And Constitution Yacht Club also won the EOEA Secretary's Cup for best Yacht Club finish.

Spinnaker and Green Sauce

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Today the new spinnaker arrived from Pope Sails, Rockland Maine. We will get a chance to try it out next Saturday, at the Boston Harbor Islands Regatta. Beautiful and crinkly!
And after supper we finished off 4 quarts and 6 pints of our famous secret recipe for green tomato sauce. With another 12 pounds of green tomatoes waiting to be processed. Nice prospect for great meals this winter. Yay!

After Kennebunk, our next stop was Portsmouth New Hampshire, on the Piscataqua River, in an anchorage named Peperrell Cove. We arrived at the Red 2KR around 3pm and headed up the river to the cove, where we picked up a Portsmouth Yacht Club mooring. As we were getting settled, we heard a very unusual sound, and poked our heads out to see what was going on. About the same time, Aaron from PYC came by in the launch, and enlightened us as to what we were seeing. An experimental craft? vessel? something, which the locals call the Ghost was doing some trials, with its attendants, the Ghost Chasers. It appeared to be some sort of hovercraft, or stealth vessel, which apparently is undetectable by radar. We figured that the noise would clue anyone in to its presence, so apparently there are still some kinks to be worked out. I tried to get some pictures... you can strain to see if you can see it here. It is the frog-like profile near the center of the pic.
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It seemed to take a lot of fuel and speed to rise up on its blades. And made a lot of noise. We were amused for quite some time, watching its antics.

the dinghy dock at Pepperell Cove.

Around 6, our dear friends Tom and BJ met us at the boat ramp, and we all went to Robert's for dinner and sea stories. We returned to our snug berths and spent a fairly quiet night on the mooring. Around 5:30am we were awakened by the fishing boats heading out, so we got underway ourselves in the early morning light. Boston was our destination. via the Annisquam River, on Cape Ann. It was a beautiful day for motoring, no wind to speak of, very high tide in the Annisquam. We popped out the other side, and motor sailed the rest of the way.

Just outside Winthrop, we came across a boat very similar to ours, a Helmsman 40, and pulled abreast to chat.
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 We tucked into our little mooring field a couple of hours later and called the trip done.
Norm went ashore and bought croissants and coffee for a quick breakfast. We had to wait for the marina office to open to get our electronic devices, which were charging. Off the dock around 9:30 and heading for Kennebunk.

We had big warming bowls of oatmeal as we passed by Portland Head lighthouse -
Further down we passed Cape Elizabeth -
The weather and sailing were uneventful. We got to Kennebunk Harbor around 3:30pm, and motored up the river, to Chick's Marina.

The low tide was due about 1.5hrs after our arrival so it was with some trepidation that we entered the channel between the breakwaters, and made our way upstream. We breathed a sigh of relief when we were met by the dockhand at Chick's, and had our lines taken. Since it was still early in the day, we had a walk ashore to the town of Kennebunkport, watching the tourists mill about. A full tour bus had disgorged its passengers, and the town was quite busy.

In the morning, we walked into town and had a nice hot breakfast at H.B. Provisions. We picked up some postcards for a Norm project, found the post office where we bought stamps, and read the story of the missing mural from the Post Office wall. 
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Great Blue Heron balancing on the mooring ball behind us in the river, waiting for his breakfast. 

We waited for high tide, so we could depart with no worries about grounding. Our next destination was Portsmouth, Pepperell Cove.

A beautiful fresh morning, unfortunately with very light wind. Got some pictures of lighthouses for grandson Z.
This is Ram Island Light, in Fisherman's Island Passage. I think it was a lot to expect of a lighthouse keeper to walk that ramp multiple times a day in Maine winter weather.
A passing sailboat heading in the opposite direction, passing the Cuckolds, the lighthouse that marks the entrance to Boothbay.

We sailed on to Portland, where we tied up at DiMillo's Marina. Tired and cold. It felt good to use the hot showers, and then walk over to the restaurant for some warming drinks at the bar. A delicious meal topped off the evening, and we strolled back to our little vessel and tucked into our sleeping bags.

We slept well the night after the race. Thud, our heads hit our pillows. The next morning the sky was mixed, with some weather threatening. 2013-09-16 06.36.36.jpg
e heard various versions of the forecast; it would clear and be a beautiful afternoon; it would disintegrate and bring some nasty wind and weather for the afternoon. Norm believed the optimistic version, I felt we were in for some weather. We had breakfast ashore at the Brass Compass, stopped at the bookstore, the Reading Corner, where we picked up a Maine Cruising guide (Taft) that we had been looking for, as well as some sea stories and a lighthouse guide for grandson Z. We purchased some fresh baked bread and yummy sandwiches for lunch at the Atlantic Baking Company, got some tomatoes and hummus at the farm stand, coffee at the Rockland City Coffee Roaster, and declared ourselves ready to set out near midday.
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We  motorsailed around Owl's Head, and headed down Muscle Ridge Channel. After a couple of hours, looking backwards gave us the willies, as we watched the clouds gathering and darkening.
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And now ahead of us -
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Worsening behind and west -
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Ragged bottoms. Parts of the clouds looked like someone had let the cork out, rain just pouring down.
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The wind hurried us along our way, as we pulled into Tenant's Harbor, found our mooring from the trip up, and tied up. Phew!
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Time to make pressure cooker lentil soup, warm up the salon with the cooking and settle down.
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Threatening sky all aorund us, but snug as a bug in Tenant's Harbor.

The first day of the race, Averisera dueled it out with Rambling Rose, Roger and Minot the double-handed team. Everytime we spotted Rambling Rose on the course Minot was hiking out. Way to go Minot!

This was taken at the North and West side of Matinicus late in the afternoon of the first day.


We got into Rockland on Friday May 13th, and gathered at the Rockland Yacht Club for the Maine Rocks Race Skippers Meeting. It was a nice opportunity to meet the other short-handed sailors, against whom we would be competing.

We were both pretty nervous, since the weather had been so awful on the ride up, and the thought of drifting around the Gulf of Maine for 113 miles in fog, or pouring down rain, or under the threat of severe thunderstorms, did not make for a peaceful demeanor. Thank goodness the low had finally moved on through, and behind it were crisp breezes, lower humidity, and no fog. The order for good weather must have been put in early to get the conditions to align to the race dates.

Since we were pretty busy for the next 36 hours or so, there aren't an pictures. Double-handed sailing requires constant alertness, rest and sleep periods, careful set up of the boat, and a lot of patience. The race started at 10am Saturday, in very light air. It took about 1.5 hrs for the breeze to fill in, and get us moving down the track. The first leg is from Rockland to Matinicus Rock, which takes the competitors down the shipping channel, requiring vigilance and care. No rest on this leg. We got to Matinicus Rock around 4pm, and rounded without incident.

The next leg is from Matinicus to Mt Desert Island Rock, which is about 33 miles east. The breeze made this a downwind leg, so up went the spinnaker and some rest and sleep opportunities. We handled eating very simply, having easy to prepare and eat supplies. Soup, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tea (lots of tea), oatmeal, raisins, crackers, etc. Keep the energy level up but don't make things too complicated.

Since we were 25 miles offshore for this leg, the swells generated by Gabrielle made for constant attention to steering, to keep the kite full and keep the boat steady. Our vigilance paid off, as we found out later, since we were one of the early boats to round Mt. Desert Rock, at 9pm. The moon had risen, so we had some visibility, but we gave the rock and light a wide berth, as we stripped the kite, and circled the mark. The return trip to Matincus was an upwind leg, so up went the jib, and we moved into heavier breeze on the boat. Warmer clothes came out, and again we tried to catch 25 minute to one hour naps as we could, while staying hydrated and fed.

We got back to Matinicus with the moon ever nearing its setting, at 3:30am. As we approached Matinicus and after rounding, the breeze died off to barely anything. We had no idea at this time if we were ahead, behind, or somewhere in the middle. We saw one other boat round Matinicus just ahead of us, but could not identify which competitor it was. The next hour or two saw us making little progress up the west side of Matinicus. Lots of tacking back and forth but little forward motion. Finally we cleared the island and the breeze began to build again, as we settled into the last leg of the race. We saw the J34C, Astrea as the daylight began to increase just before sunrise. Our last 5 hours or so, we raced against Astrea, which kept our interest up. We got into Rockland Harbor and over the finish line at 10:15am.

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Drying the spinnaker, back at the dock.

Oh - and we came in first place in the Double-handed Division! Thanks Doug Pope and Rockland Yacht Club for hosting this event!

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2013 Maine Cruise - Sept 11-13

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This is the short entry for Wed through Friday last week. The weather pattern that stuck with us these days brought severe thunderstorms, tornado like winds and torrential rains. We witnessed this safely tucked in at Carousel overnight. No damage to boats in Boothbay, but heard that Camden and Rockport had major power outages and trees downed that blocked roads. I have never seen a lightning storm as severe as the one that rolled through that Wednesday night. Pretty scary.

On Thursday morning we headed out, with the weather prediction a duplicate of Wednesday's. We wanted to get safely into a harbor before the storm clouds piled up on us again. Again no wind and thick fog, so motor-sailing was the plan for the day. We left Boothbay, destination Tenant's Harbor. Arrived just in time for the rain to begin again in earnest, late afternoon. Tenant's is a nice hurricane hole, pretty quiet at this time of the sailing season. We chatted with a couple of other folks who were also tucked in, ready for the storm to hit.

Friday, the 13th, we needed to be in Rockland for the Skippers Meeting for the Maine Rocks Race. Again a morning of no wind, and thick fog. We motorsailed through Muscle Ridge Channel, using GPS and charts, since we couldn't see more than 1/3 to 1/5 mile. It was a  fun mental exercise, but I would have liked to have seen the islands that create the channel against the mainland. Oh well.

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Leaving Tenant's Harbor Friday morning, heading out into thick fog.
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I can see Norm a few feet away from me, but nothing else. Just white pillowy fog everywhere.

2013 Maine Cruise - Sept 8 - 10

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Sept 8th - Sunday after the Great Chase, Norman and I spent the whole day getting Averisera ready for our trip to Maine. We stowed all the gear, like the Man Overboard Pole, and the strobe. Installed the jacklines that we tether ourselves to while underway. Added the big anchor for safety (2 different anchors and rodes for different bottom conditions). Brought saucepans and pots aboard, silverware, glasses and plates, and on and on.

Sept 9th - Monday morning we brought down the food and our personal stuff, like clothing, sleeping bags. We replaced some hose on the water pump, bought hose for the hand bilge pump, inflated the dinghy a bit. We were finished just before noon. Norm took the truck back home, and I distributed all the stuff into the nooks and crannies that we have become used to.
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Averisera waiting at Piers Park, East Boston, for her next adventure.
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Gear ready to put aboard.

We were off the dock at 12:30pm. 
Winds were from the W/SW in the harbor. Once we passed Deer Island Light, we had another wind direction in Broad Sound, SE, at 10-15kts. We motorsailed 1) to get there without having to tack back and forth, and 2) to test the engine (so previous blog post on Thumper). One glitch manifested itself, a throttle race sort of condition. We're not sure what triggers it, or how to fix it. Happened once on the 6 hr trip to Rockport.

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We arrived in Rockport, and tied up to the floating dock, per instructions from the harbormaster. We settled down for some wine with our cheese and crackers. 
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While we were thus engaged, a Freedom 28 came in, looking for a place to stop. They were on their way from Maine to South Dartmouth, since the boat is going up for sale, and that is where the broker wants it. We lent them our dinghy so they could go ashore, get something to eat, and clean up at the Sandy Bay Yacht club shower.
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Waiting for supper! Tortellini and red sauce for dinner, and early to bed.
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Tuesday morning in Rockport. The red building on the granite pier is named Motif #1. It is famous for its picturesqueness and has been included in art-work by many artists. Lobster boat in foreground.
Notice the different sky. Those low cold clouds had appeared, bringing with them much wind.
Sept 10th - Norm's entry in the log:
Up at 06:30, coffee aboard. Ashore for breakfast at Flav's Red Skiff. Met Rosemary's grand-daughter, Maggie Rose. A two-year old and cute as a button.

Underway at harbor entrance 0900. Two reefs, and the number 4 jib. 6kts. Weatherbug shows big low over Burlington VT. We expect a wind shift NW -> SW and some rain. Sea gentle, wind a 15-20kts and 25kt gusts.

Sept 10th - E's notes in the log:
eft Rockport Harbor after breakfast ashore. 2 reefs and #4 moved us along pretty speedily. Wind changed to SE most of the day, and began to die. Around 10kts, we put up the spinnaker, Summer Squash, which gave us a boost. Wind continued to fall off and eventually Thumper was called into play.

Eerie sky all day. Cold low clouds covered the sky. We had intermittent rain and could see rain bands in the distance. As night fell, we were closing in on land again. Looking straight up you could see the stars, but on the horizon there were big gray clouds or fog banks.

Straining to see Sequin Light, which has a characteristic that it can be seen at 18nautical miles. But not tonight. Less than 5 miles away we were finally able to make her out. We reached Seguin around 11:30pm.

I went down for a nap, and Norm continued on to the Cuckolds, which is at the entrance to Boothbay Harbor. I watched for pots as we slid between Squirrel Island and Burnt Island in the fog.

At 1:45am we pulled alongside a floating dock at Carousel Marina. After cleaning up the boat a bit, we relaxed and tried to still the adrenaline rush that comes with navigating to your destination safely in adverse conditions, whatever they may be.

Thank goodness for Thumper, who toiled away for a great part of this journey's leg. We tumbled into our berths around 3am.

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Drying the spinnaker in Boothbay.
What a great day! Conditions were perfect for a Great Chase Race. Wind was WSW 10-15 all day, skies were blue, 107 boats came out to race, what a great time! We finished 23rd in the overall Fleet, 7th in our Class B.

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Looking back as we headed for the leeward mark on the second time around.

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Crew work at the finish.
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Thanks to Tom, Gray and Julie for joining us!
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Sun setting as we sail back from Hull to Boston.. What a wonderful day :)
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Thumper thumps

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A tip of the hat to Tim on Slick regarding his blog entry title alliteration.  Follow Tim and his cruise around the world at   Tim is a good guy.  Amusing alliteration skills, too!

Anyway, back to Averisera.  The diesel, Thumper, has been suffering from fuel supply issues.  Actually, we have been suffering from Thumper's intermittent shut-downs due to fuel suply failure. To resolve the matter, we spent probably three years and enough money to buy two new spinnakers.  Vapor leaks are elusive.

I removed the fuel tank, cut a 4 1/2 inch hole in the top, installed an inspection port, cleaned a golf ball sized clump of crud from the tank.  Blah blah.  The problem persisted.  In doing the work, I got around to bleeding the fuel lines by blowing into the fuel tank vent tube, pressurizing the tank.  I noticed fuel weeping at the rubber fuel line hose clamp at the lift pump.  Damn, I thought.  I cut the hose off and reinstalled same.  Thumper thumped!  Off to West Marine for a new and slightly longer fuel hose, clamps, etc.  Stress tested the system and things seem OK.  I will know if, in ten years, we don't need to bleed the engine again.

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The other thing I noticed is that the exhaust is the right color, light grey.  For the past few years, it has been more black.  Our transome looks cleaner than before.

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I tested the system under load at the dock.  Here, at full throttle, the thrust is good and the exhaust color correct.

As we head off for a cruise, we'll test the system some more.  Maybe, just maybe, I will get two 12 foot sweeps and row the boat... engine-less... as my dad did with his first boat.  Mom had a great picture of dad rowing the old 26 foot navy lifeboat, Vega, on their honeymoon.  Will Elizabeth see the romance or not?

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Clump of crud.  Or, as our helmsman, Tom, said... a hairball.

Tomorrow is the Great Chase Race, hosted by Hull Yacht Club. This is always a fun race, with ~100 participating. The Hull area of Boston Harbor is notable for its shallowness and shoals near the many islands. Navigating is most important. We have seen our fellow sailors run aground during the racing. Seeking clear air is the other challenge. With 100 boats making the same turns and heading to the same marks, clear air can be hard to find. Trying to duel with another yacht is self-defeating, as both boats will slow down, impeding each other. The rest catch up and pass.

The distinguishing feature of the Great Chase Race is the finish mark, which is a great Rubber Ducky anchored across from the Race Committee boat. You can see the ducky in this picture from a past race.

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