Andante's Sailing Blog

October 2013

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Unlike the vast majority of blogs which post entries in reverse chronology,
I prefer to have time to run in the correct direction and to read a page from top to bottom continuously.
  That is, to see the most recent entry you will have to scroll to the bottom of the page.

Go Ahead to November 2013

October 22 - 23 A visit to St. Michaels
I left Rock Hall on Monday October 21 and headed south through Kent Narrows to Eastern Bay to visit Phil and Sara Sayre.  I met the Sayre's in the Bahamas last season. With them (Spartina), Indian Summer, Meltemi and Andante we made up Ducks in a Row.  It was fun to see Phil and Sara.  From the creek behind their house I made the long trip over to St. Michaels to visit the Maritime Museum.  In 2000 I hade been there when we took Adagio south.

Photos from this visit follow:

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stm24.jpg (33156 bytes) At the right is a log canoe under full canvas sailing to windward.  The sailors hiked out to windward risk getting a dunking.   In the Bahamas the racing sloops also rely on hiking boards.  The rule is that the boat has to finish with all its sailors on board.
Among the many changes at the Museum is material on Frederick Douglas and his family, natives of St Michaels. 
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This house belonged to Douglas' sister.  She had been a slave but her freedom was purchased by her emancipated husband.  He was owned by a progressive family that freed its slaves long before the Civil War.

stm30.jpg (99029 bytes) At left is a visiting coastal cruise ship with a traditional work boat in the foreground.
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stm06.jpg (112873 bytes) The three adjoining pictures to the left and above are some street scenes from St Michaels.
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The Hooper Straights screw pile lighthouse with a couple of the Museum's restored Bay work boats.At right is a canoe being made from a single log.  Hand tools shaped the outside.  The interior is alternately burned and scraped with oyster shells.

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Below the lighthouse is a bugeye that is being restored by Museum staff. The four photos below show some of the detail on the bugeye's rig.   Lots of tar on the shrouds.  The hoops for the mainsail have been replaced in modern times by slick slides riding on ballbearings.  The watermen of old must have been some strong ornery dudes to get their sails up. In the pictures in the second row below are shaots of the mast and boom,  They are of about equal length, over 45 feet.   By comparison my aluminum mast is 55' but the boom is only 13 feet.

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October 24-25, Thursday and
St Michael's to Solomon's
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solomon07.JPG (207152 bytes) A driftwood sculpture on the main street of Solomons.  This is reminiscent of the driftwood sculpture garden in Black Point Setlement, Bahamas.
October 26, Saturday Solomon's Island, MD to St George's Creek on the Potomac
A beat to windward down the Bay in apparent winds of 16 knots to 24 knots, with much of it at the high end of the interval.   Along the way I picked up a follow along boat.  Mick and Rick on BSB, a 30 feet C&C, out of Ontario.  They were a little overwhelmed by the winds and followed me across the Bay to a quiet anchorage.
October 27, Sunday St George's Creek on the Potomac to Fishing Bay at Deltaville, VA
A day of motor sailing,  Quite a change from the earlier trips down Eastern Bay and over to Solomon's and the day before that from Solomons down to the Potomac..
October 28, Monday Fishing Bay to Norfolk (well that was the plan anyway)
The best plans are just that, a plan.  I got as far as the Wolftrap Lighthouse south of the Rappahonock River (6 or 8 miles) under power when the engine died after alternately sputtering and racing. For the third time in 13 months the engine stalled for lack of fuel. The first 2 times were within a month of each other in December 2012. This time was only 40 hours after changing primary and secondary fuel filters. There are many places along the way where I simply cannot risk the engine dying, so I'm having the fuel tank drained and cleaned. You don't hear about this problem in cars and trucks because they run so much fuel thru their system that it never spoils. 2nd the fuel in the US is much cleaner than in the Bahamas. Finally, Andante is 24 yrs young, so that is a long time to accumulate dirt and biological growth in the tank.   After changing the primary filter and getting some fuel to top off the filter cannister from Tow BoatUS I motored back to Deltaville.  On arriving at Deltaville Boatyard I was greeted by Mick and Rick!
DV_sludge.jpg (54707 bytes) While stalled off of Wolf Trap Light I changed the primary filter.  The photo at left is what was in the bottom of the filter bowl.   It is no wonder my poor little engine was having trouble.
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Andante in the slings.  As part of the haul they power washed the bottom.  She should sail faster now that her bottom is slick.   The bottom had been power washed when she was hauled in early August and I swam underneath with mask and fins twice in September and October to brush the bottom.   Nevertheless this was such a bumper summer for bottom growth that today's wash was needed.

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One of the scores of other boats in the yard waiting for work.  Some ambitious soul is trying to restore this wooden sloop.  If they are able to do it then it will be a gourgeous boat.  But I am glad it isn't my checkbook or elbow grease that is taking this on.

October 30, Wednesday Deltaville, VA to Norfolk, VA - Hospital Point
While I was up on the hard Mick and Rick on the 'little red boat' headed south.  My departure from Deltaville Boatyard was delayed as the threw their personnel into getting Soujourner into the water so they could get off today as well.  Andante wasn't in the water, fueled and the bill paid until 1140 hours; several hours later than I had hoped.  My goal for the day remained the Hampton Roads -- Norfolk area.  Lucky for me I rode the south flowing tidal current most of the day.  When I wasn't far off Thimble Shoals Light I was hailed by Adirondack.   Who woulda thunk it.  We agreed to tie up together at Hospital Point.   Turned out I got there well after dark.  Sally had flown back to MN to be with her boys and to work.  But, as all plans a re just that, Jeff had had a little medical emergency so son number 1 had flown out to help him take the boat south to Charleston.
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One of the many warships being rehabbed in the Navy Yard.

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Sunrise peeking through the 'crane' on the deck of Adirondack.

October 31, Thursday Hospital Pint to the North Carolina Visitors Center on the Dismal Swamp Canal
Leavin Norfolk there is a bascule bridge that opens at 0630 and not again until 0930 in order to accommodate the rush hour traffic.   All the crusing boats opted for the later opening.  When we got to the Gilmerton bridge I counted more than a dozen waiting boats.  After the bridge some of them peeled off to the Virginia Cut and the rest headed for the Dismal Swamp Canal.   At the Deep Creek Lock we had 13 boats in the lock! Upon getting to the NCVC a couple of boats headed on, but there were a couple tied up already.  The net total tied to the bulkhead and to each other was thirteen: three rows of four stretching out into the canal with the 'little red boat' tied up across the sterns of the last four in the flotilla.NCVC01.jpg (126733 bytes) You can just see Andante's turquoise canvas at the back of the fleet.  The 'little red boat' is tucked in behind me.
November 1, 2013 Friday NCVC to Elizabeth City, NC
Elizabeth City has a public dock and bulkhead for transiting boats to tie up for free; no amenties.  There is a tradition that the Visitors Bureau hosts a little winde and cheese gathering in the evening if there are five or more new boats arriving that day.  We certainly met that litmus test.
November 2 - 3, 2013 Elizabeth City, NC
Of course, Adirondack was here until Saturday when Jeff and David took off for points south.  The 'little red boat' is tied up over at Pelican Marina.  On Saturday Tagwatty II with Jim and Martha arrived. I know them through Phil and Sara 'Spartina.'  Sunday I went up to the most disgusting laundromat on the east coast to do laundry since I won't have anouther opportunity for several weeks.   That laundromat has going for the fact that it is cheap and only a short walk from the water front.  The shots below give some idea of the state of affairs at the laundry.
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