Friday, June 13, 2008

To Great Island Boat Yard (Wednesday, June 11, 2008)

[At right, Benge after the sail hoisting was done]

[Below, Bob at Half Way Rock, Casco Bay]

When you invite Bob Jones to go sailing, it turns out to be a good thing. Arriving on Tuesday night for a sleep over, Bob brought a new bottle of Jameson's which we did not open until at least 11:00 p.m. What followed was a comparison to Lou's Bushmills (sorry Lou, you lost). And this despite the fact that we had an 0630 start. Nevertheless, we were up and into the coffee by 0530. Tim arrived at 0625 and Benge (having cancelled all of his day's work) arrived at 0640. We were off to GIBY by o700.

The theory was that an early start would give us a greater opportunity to sail. And it proved correct. By 0815 the motor was off and we were doing 6 to 7 knots in an unexpected 20 knots of wind from the West. We sailed till lunch and then again (due to Benge's insistence) until we were well into Casco Bay.

Our 5:00 p.m. rendezvous with Paula (our driver) was well timed. It turned out to be a great day of sailing!

Mass Bay Whales

Surrounded by whales in Massachusetts Bay, sails drawing us forward and no sound but their breathing and our oohs and ahhs!
One of the many flukes of the day.

You could almost smell the herring breath.

New Castle, N.H (Sunday, June 08, 2008.)

Had some on-again, off-again sailing with the light air sail. We have come to use it more in these two weeks than in the past four years. It will now be standard protocol to pull it out and hoist her. Making 7 knots in 15 knots of wind is something we can get used to.

Once off Cape Ann we lost all wind, and by the time it piped up again we were too close to home to bother with sailing. Much to Roger’s dismay. Arrived at Wentworth-By-The-Sea Marina in good light with plenty of dock hands to grab lines and make us fast. Great to be home after two great weeks of sailing.

This was less of a “delivery” as we are used to. Thanks to Audrey for reminding us how beautiful it is to be out on the water. Thanks to Jeff and Noreen for a fast and pleasant offshore passage. And thanks to Roger and Anita for showing us how to slow down and enjoy the harbors and surroundings we have been offered.

From Provincetown across Massachusetts Bay (Sunday, June 08, 2008.)

[From Anita] Morning comes early when you’ve been partying it up in P Town the night before.

We got underway at 0630 after coffee and a bite of breakfast. Cape Cod Bay was like glass. No one much out on the water except us and the Coast Guard. A perfect day for whale watching and watch we did! The first sighting was shouted out by Roger at the helm and we all rushed up and over to see it. It turned out to be a large pod of very dark, almost black whales. We estimated there to be at least eight and that they were a good 12 ft. each. Over the next hour we saw many whales, some much larger of the same kind. They were feeding on large schools of minnows which were so plentiful they made a wave on the surface of the sea as they moved to get out of the way of their pursuers.

The sea is still very calm, winds picked up a small amount to about 15 and we played with several sail configs but are now motoring towards Cape Ann. Tess surpassed herself once more with a wonderful lunch. It’s going to be hard to go back to the real world after her great meals and our fabulous restaurant outings on Martha’s, Sippican Harbor, Nantucket, and Provincetown. Till next time, this is Anita, signing off. See you all soon.

Paying Passengers to Provincetown

Provincetown, Mass. (Saturday, June 07, 2008).

Next morning, a 7:30 wake-up call to Burr Bros. to remind them of our predicament was made only after making a reservation for a slip in Provincetown. The idea was to leave Marion irrespective and limp home as long as nights were spent in marinas tied to power to recharge batteries. To those who have options, luck is not by chance. By 8:45 two Burr Bros mechanics were on board. The problem alternator was swapped out for our spare. We were on our way to Provincetown by 10:30.

Luck again was in store. We hit the Cape Cod Canal at maximum flood. The result was an 11 knot sleigh ride through the Canal and into Cape Cod Bay. More tranquil than ever, the windless ride to Provincetown had the crew sunning themselves on deck like paying passengers.

Dinner in Provincetown was, by chance (since the Marina’s recommendations were fully booked), extraordinary. We demanded to see the chef, who explained his culinary philosophy and awkwardly accepted our praise. He was astounded to know that his Salt Cod Brandale was a taste of old home for Anita of Newfoundland.

Then, Bobby began to play. Piano Bar Man extraordinaire! This is real Provincetown. Show tune heaven. Too good to pass up! And Roger and Anita knew all the words. They have decided to retire to P’Town to be amongst their own. Broadway groupies!

Marion, Mass. (Friday, June 6, 2006).

Left Edgartown for Onset Harbor at the top of Buzzards Bay, via the notorious Woods Hole Passage. A flat sea was in stark contrast to Thursday’s ordeal. We waited outside of Woods Hole to allow a passing ferry to make Great Harbor before we took our pass at the transit. A well marked channel at slack tide was what we encountered. Thanks to Tess’ insistence that we get a pump out at Edgartown; the delay put us right on schedule for the slack tide.

While we had hoped to see Hadley Harbor at the end of the Woods Hole Passage, we realized we were not charging batteries with the motor running. We detoured to Marion based upon the fact that I had been there before for the 2005 Marion to Bermuda Race and knew that competent mechanics would be available. We took a Burrs Bros. mooring and were assured that if a mechanic did not see us Friday afternoon, he would be there late Saturday morning; Monday at the latest. Roger and I attempted to tighten the alternator belt (which was not loose to begin with), but that provided no fix.

After a long walk around town (thanks to the complimentary launch ride by a SNHU junior on Summer break), we dined at Sippican Café (named for the harbor at which Marion stands) and were rewarded with a great meal. A great local recommendation. Evening aboard reading in the cockpit until sunset.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


The good ship ENDURANCE had a great day after all; we have no idea in fact how Endeavor faired nor who or where the good ship Endeavor may be!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Edgartown, Massachusetts (Thursday, June 05, 2008).

[RA] Woke this morning to the sound of a Nantucket symphony. During the night, the wind swung around to the northeast and moaned as it swept through the Rigging, accompanied by the twirl of ripples running along the hull. A distant foghorn and the slapping of a halyard against the mast, like an insistent metronome. Get up, get up, get up, get up. The fog crept back slowly as Endurance came alive with padding feet, quiet voices and coffee cups. A quiet start to what became something else altogether.

Coming out of the harbor, we find 4 to 6 foot seas building behind a north wind with temps around 55 degrees. The plan is to sail almost directly north on our first leg to avoid the shoals that dot the Nantucket Chanel. Rog is at the helm, drifting off our line to the southwest, which requires a course correction to N- NE. to get to our next leg towards Woods Hole. That was the last fun part of the day for Rog as we rode up and over some great waves under the iron jib.

When we made our mark, we rolled out the main and the head sail, a process that took most of the starch out of Roger. From then on Tony had to take the helm as Rog contemplated the horizon and the nearest exit. Not long afterward, with his head over the portside and his breakfast with the fish, the rest of the crew were entertained by a wave washing over his head. Thereafter, his story has little to do with what the rest of the
Crew and the ship experienced.

Above written by a well recovered Roger.

[AA] It was one of those days when you wish you were there before you started. We are there now and none the worse for wear. The wind is still howling but we are in a good harbor at Edgartown. The swells and waves today were a challenge but the good ship Endeavor was more than up to it. Hoping for better weather tomorrow. Anita

Our planned transit of the Wood's Hole Cut, put off till another day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Nantucket Harbor (Wednesday, June 4, 2008). Woke to rain and overcast skies in Nantucket Harbor. Good day to catch up on work, reading and friends. Had all three on board so it was a great day. Pete (aka Roger), Anita and Tess watched pre-season maintenance on mooring field and boat loads of elderly tourists being shipped to shore in dinghies with umbrella covers like a bouquet of pansies. A good day to catch up on old stories. Scrabble has become a bit of a problem. Roger’s got his groove on, Anita has read the rules, and Tony will have a real contest on his hands if he has the courage to another game. Today’s game was called about the 7th inning for a ride to town during the respite from the drizzle.

Took the dinghy down and impressed Rog with the motor lift procedure. More impressed with the Town of Nantucket. Roger and Anita (Nantucket first timers) are coming back in late October for golf. Roger’s dream museum (Nantucket Whaling) closes down on October 13. Since its 6:30 when we get into town, the 5:00 closing time provides immediate distress. Until Anita points out that they are open until 8:00 on the first Wednesday of the month. Guess what. We skip a quick drink before dinner (and maybe dinner itself) to take a half hour tour followed by the first of the season “Gam”. Storytelling a la old Nantucket Whaling Tradition. We hear of the ESSEX (rammed by a whale and entailing crew cannibalism prior to rescue – though the speaker assures us that its not really cannibalism since it was quite common in the jungles and deserts of the time; and the Nantucket Quakers never asked probing questions), and the GLOBE (mutiny and king making by crazy local boys in the Pacific). Followed by one of those expensive Nantucket dining experiences (is that obvious?). In short, a perfect rainy day as a cruiser. We ate at Lola’s 41º and had a lovely meal. There were no natives served in the entrees, and we asked no questions. It’s open year round, and is clearly a beautiful person’s local spot. In short, all our kids would look so good there. We were considered somewhat quaint to be out to dinner so late for people our age!

Tomorrow, Woods Hole and Buzzards Bay are likely. See you then?

Martha’s Vineyard (Tuesday, June 3, 2008). [AA] Can’t believe we woke up to an incredible warm morning on Martha’s Vineyard on this early June morning. Vineyard Haven is so special. The Black Dog Marina and surrounds are much more quaint than we had been led to believe existed on the Island. Last night. We hired a taxi and drove the three miles to Oak Bluffs where we were stunned to find a picturesque village and lovely park land on the ocean facing north. We were stymied at first as it was eight and the many restaurants on the dock were closing early but in true First Timer style we happened on Nancy’s Sports Bar, don’t let the name scare you off. It was fantastic, the food to die for and yes, you could buy a glass of the fruit of this Vineyard! Now why would I say that, well, to our great surprise, most of the towns on this island are dry. As the French say, Tant Pis!!! Must tell you that we are Roger and Anita and Tony and Tess. Jeff and Noreen really must be applauded for their passage from New Jersey’s turbulent shores to Vineyard Haven. We felt so bad that they got the Dog’s end of the trip because today was so wonderful and we wished they were here. Hopefully, they could find our car which we unfortunately did not remember the plate number of! Anyway, here we are in the most wonderful harbor in Nantucket. The bay is mostly empty, this is the best possible collision of weather and lack of activity.
Tonight we wish you smooth sailing and a quiet mooring. Love from Nantucket,Tony, Tess, Roger and Anita.

Wow!! Today’s plan changed from an exploration of Vineyard Haven ashore to a quick 90 minute sail to Edgartown to see the other end of the island. Off the dock at 11:00 and the sailing across Nantucket Sound toward Falmouth was tremendous! So good, we decided to bag Edgartown and head 30 miles east to Nantucket. On a broad reach all day with the light air sail up in 12 to 20 mile an hour winds. Doing a good 5 to 7 knots the whole way. Just a perfect sail. On a Nantucket mooring at 6:30 in time for a great dinner aboard and a sound nights sleep in a cozy and picturesque anchorage.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Offshore Southern New England (Monday, June 2, 2008). Offshore passage from New Jersey had Tony and Jeff splitting watches (9-12; 12-3; and 3-6). Fairly quiet. After a good day of sailing, mostly wing-on-wing with a following breeze and following seas, we decided to motor through the night in order to avoid sail changes and accommodate the expected wind shift from SW to NW and N. On the 9-12 Tony & Tess met up with a “tug and barge” which did not respond to hailing. Moments later the tug and barge added a green light to its stern thus appearing to move in opposite directions. On closer (and slower) inspection, it turned out to be two freighters passing each other. The green turned toward us and passed starboard to starboard. The red was our stand on vessel and we veered 90º and ran a good half mile astern of her. It was fairly pleasant in the cockpit – comfortable temperature with a light fleece blanket. Phosphorescence sparkled in the bow wake…a lovely time on the water.

Jeff and Noreen came up just as the rain started. We had been watching lightening over NYC. My first thought was of my good luck in sleeping through the rain. It was brief. Noreen got even by waking me within 30 minutes of my slumber to view a real tug and barge and discuss appropriate maneuvers. It is great when the crew actually wakes you per standing orders. I don’t know whether I was called again, but the next thing I remember was looking at a clock saying 3:00. I spoke with Noreen in the morning…yes, the thunderstorm came through on their watch, which meant the interface with the cold front. She sat above and shivered as if in the Arctic for her watch with Jeff. Cape is still on, but she’s rethinking which fun trips she wants to take with Jeff in the future!

Tess again joined me for most of this watch. At 4:00 I spent a lonely hour though hunting the hibernating flies that followed us from New Jersey. Thousands died. We walked on carcasses like butchers through a slaughter house. Okay, so I came up at 3:15, cat napped for about 45 minutes in the cockpit “helping Tony”, then went back to bed where I belonged. At 5:30 I put breakfast in the oven and we had hot food ready for 6:30 am celebration that the ordeal has ended.

Making Vineyard Sound was like being home already. We arrived at Vineyard Haven at Martha’s Vineyard at 3:30 in the afternoon. That makes (from 5:30 a.m. on Saturday) a good 34 hour passage. Other items we’ve neglected to mention: Don’t eat clams, ever again. Tony and CGA had clams with their meal in Cape May and after docking in AC both were attacked with food poisoning symptoms. Friday night was a rough one for both of them, and the lingering effects are still present at this writing (Wednesday, June 4). Although Tony is in much better shape than CGA, the distress creeps into his system once or twice daily and is pretty difficult to watch and even more difficult to imagine how he maintains a calm reserve and relative proficiency with this damn vessel. Docking in the Vineyard was the exact opposite of docking in Cape May. Although there was no music playing, there was a little ‘dazed and confused’ approach to the slip big enough for the Woods Hole ferry….but with cool-as-a-cuke and willing-to-do-absolutely-anything- that-needed-to-be-done Jeff and Noreen, and the nimble next crew on dockside, we parked this puppy, shook off the fly wings from our socks, and opened a few cans of beer and toasted the safe arrival and beautiful harbor of Vineyard Sound.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Off the New Jersey Coast (Sunday, June 1, 2008). Our 5:00 wake up call came too soon. By 5;30 all hands were on deck, and though coffee was made, none was poured. New Rule: Never leave the dock without coffee. Corollary: When you do, pandemonium ensues. Proof: (a) dropped a fender while backing out of the slip, (b) heated discussion of whether it was worth retrieving in light of wind and current, (c) coming along fuel dock to allow Jeff to jump off extended anxiety, (d) realization of utter stupidity of Captain and his inability to communicate without coffee left captain morose and dejected.

Oh no, Capt it wasn’t like that….it was WORSE, Way Worse. Noreen proves her Superwoman cape is well deserved as she jumps below to swab up the dumped over pot of full coffee while XO closes thru hulls ; Jeff is cool as a cucumber talking through the ease of retrieval of fender and trying to execute both the commands of Capt Tony and orders of XO Tess then doing all deck hand jobs single-handed and in a chop that Cirque de Soleil would find challenging…not an easy position. We leave AC looking like first day plebes in Annapolis!

The angry glare of the crew was thankfully short lived. Not because they had the goodness of heart to forgive, but because, without coffee or any real chance to wake up, (or breakfast, or shore time to shower or poop, or any other moment of easing into a day) they were tumbled by the Atlantic City Inlet swells and within a mile of reaching the ocean, all retuned to their bunks to recover. Not quite Cappy…we weren’t given orders to remain on deck –and at least one of us was quite busy relinquishing all of the previous night’s dinner thanks to those swells. Stugeron really needs to work faster sometimes! Captain left to contemplate his own inadequacies for the next three hours is an unpleasant sight. Worse, he didn’t have the fortitude to wake anyone to request assistance in raising sail. Motor on with Endurance. Or face mutiny.

As lunchtime approached, Saltines, pretzels, Stugeron, ginger ale and a brave but futile attempt at breakfast, we were finally in near stable health. We had some great sailing and no great worries but for the infestation of ankle-biting flies…Job had no such day as the intrepid four upon Endurance had to suffer. By 3:00 we were de-sensitized to the anomaly of the flies and back again in the groove of good sailing, with flyswatters in hand and socks covering ankles!

CGA off Atlantic City

Atlantic City, NJ Saturday (May 31, 2008). Quick hour’s ride to Philadelphia Airport with CGA for her 11:45 flight to Buffalo. Challenged by Toll Booth Attendant to give up my tan (and then accosted in Airport by Hispanic couple with “Hable espanlo?”), so clearly, we’ve been outside a lot. Walked CGA to the gate with an Escort Pass from US Air. Not easy to get (should reserve in advance). The “walk” actually included a bus ride from Terminal C to Terminal F. Jeff and Noreen Burd’s 12:40 arrival was at the next Gate, so I was in a good spot to find them on arrival (and prevent escape of this critical Offshore Crew). Thunderstorms blew in at 12:00 and they closed the airport for awhile, delaying the Burds until about 1:30.

While Capt was ashore with crew change, XO stayed back doing laundry and freshening up for our next trip. There are no words for how excited I was to have Jeff and Noreen running the overnight stretch with us. Nerves of Steel Noreen gave me confidence that the trip was as natural as a daysail to the Isles of Shoals. For the first time since my first time, I was not dreading the New Jersey portion of this trip.

On arrival in Atlantic City, we had a change of plans. Since we saved 40 potential miles by heading north from Cape May, and the Saturday weather was bad (including tornado warnings in Atlantic City that afternoon), we decided to leave Sunday morning (at O’Dark Thirty), rather than Saturday evening. The result was a leisurely afternoon of cocktails followed by a great dinner at Angelo’s on Adriatic Avenue.