Spring Time is near

Today is March 3  (3/3), we are getting close. I asked for early March splash, however temps could impact that due to bottom painting.

We put her to bed in late Dec and have checked on her often (only problem we ran into was Ice in bilge, which we solved by adding anti-freeze).

The Genny got a major overhead by Quantum, the said the main was getting close to EOL but not dead yet (cue spamalot Not Dead yet).

Over the winter been updating and expanding the electronics’ software. Key component is the expansion of the SignalK data collection and distribution environment on the RaspberryPI 4.

For the uninformed SignialK is an Enterprise data buss for boats. It is capable of ingesting almost any kind  of electronic data and making it available in just about any other via TCP or UDP (wired or wireless)

For Exp:

               My Ray Marine based ST60 system speaks SeaTalk, the wind instrument is a Tack-Tick that has its own wireless network, the Garmin GPS speaks N-183, and AIS is USB. My Chart plotter is OpenCpn which can speak N183 and SignalK.

               With my system I can build a route on the OpenCpn, view the wind from TackTic, read the Autopilot compass and steer the boat via the autopilot. And make lunch down below with AIS and software radar alerting me to dangers.

3 Ladies, Me, and Dolphins

June 25th, bright sun low 80’s and 9 -12 knots of wind.

We started out with Terry helming us out under power, as we brought up the sails beating into the wind we keep the motor on just for security. At one point a dolphin jumped just off our port side and we all went crazy looking for them. I cut the motor and we looked up to the bow, soon there were maybe one or two of them playing with the bow wake. Before we could get our phones to film them they went off to find bigger boats to play with but it was a good luck omen. The rest of the day we worked our way south tacking across the bay all to put ourselves in position to spinnaker back. All was looking good till I hung the sail wrong, I really need to work on getting the lines right. Bottom line I got the chute all tangled up so we gave up and flew back under Genny and finished a great day.

June 4th – To Annapolis for start of Race

Laura and I started out for nice sail up the Bay moving along at 4-5 knots became even more fun when radio traffic talked about a boat parade, which we wondered what that was about.

Then as we started getting closer we saw all the Black sails (Kevlar) and the great looking boats with crew on the rail and big number on the sides of the lifelines. The came the big clipper Pride of Baltimore they were all just hanging out then the started going south little by little. We assumed that the day was done and they were heading home, and we joined them to head back, all of them were way faster than we were.

Pride of Balt
Start of Race to Bemuda

Along the way we heard them calling out to each other with a few saying see you in Bermuda. It did not dawn on us till I checked where the Pride of Baltimore was sailing to and up came the Annapolis to Bermuda race (called the Mustang Survival Race)https://www.bermudaoceanrace.com/

The rest of the sail home was fun until we ran aground for a few mins (the tack was so nice and fast we overshot the channel), after we rounded up Thomas Point heading back in we found a line to sail under spinnaker most of the way back in (in the 5++ knots SOG)!

Under Spinnaker
Flying the wind


Early May storm hit the dock hard, we had 30kt sustained winds all weekend May 7&8, from what I was told there were whitecaps in the Marina. Couple of boats broke lines, including Full Sail. Our 1/2″ port bow line snapped! causing the boat to up against the catwalk post. Luckily  John was sleeping on his boat and had his line break also and woke up, after he fixed his he tied a new line on for mine. The damage was just superficial and way above water line but will require repair work (but I will delay till we have time to haul out), but will not our use of the boat.

To prevent any occurrence I got new dock lines and doubled up most of them just to avoid any future problems.

Funny thing is I have been in that slip for 5 years, replacing the lines ever other year and never had a problem. But then we have not had weather like this in years.

The Season gets off to a fast start

After some minor work getting water out of the fuel tank, we are off and running.

Our first sails were with fairly high wind (mid 20’s) and having new sailors aboard we stayed in the river, but boy did we fly!

Found a great spinnaker launch bag at Bacon Sails that should make using the spinnaker easier, and it was brand new and only $20!  https://baconsails.com/

Bunch of minor changes in cabin (still a mess with tools everywhere), but getting organized. Last week re-bedded the front starboard hatch to clear up a leak, added a topping lift, stove top cutting board and more or less just did a bunch of boat projects (wind was very light).

Splash Day

March 15th – The Splash Day

Thank you to Ron and his team! I came down to find Keith packing up after de-winterizing the motor as she set in her slip happy as a clam.

So I started dressing her for the season, first the mainsail (fresh from Quantum), then the sail bag, then the reefing lines and all she needs there is her battens in. Lifesling up (Safety 1st), then the beverage holders! Bit to much wind for a one-man fuller loading the Genny.

Dodger went on, replaced a few snaps that looked poor.

The cabin still looks like a tornado hit it, but that is just cleaning and putting things back where they belong.

Real Soon Now !

End of the Season 2021

Well we ran it down to the last days, Laura and I were out after Thanksgiving with a great sail on the Bay. We had almost all of the bay to ourselves. Wind was in the teens and we flew out past Thomas Point and then played a bit dancing here and there.

As that day can to an end we thought maybe we would get another, but it turned out to be the last trip out for the year.

Dec 11th we went down to try one one more time but the wind was howling so we just took the day to get her ready to pull, including pulling the sails (which was a interesting event given the wind). All done we went to the Boatyard Grill for a mini wake.

Next year can not come to soon, we will be back in early March!

Fall on the Bay @ 30 kts

Sunday on the bay, with lots of wind and waves!

Josh and I headed out with winds looking to be in the mid teens coming out of the west. So we just put out the Genny and soon found ourselves out on the bay in 20-25kts and flying. Full Sail had no problems and often got into the 7’s. Couple hours later found us down below bloody point light. We zigzagged across the bay looking for an easy way back against 30kts in our face and 4′ seas but there was none to be found so we just made do and sailed our way back the hard way.  Josh said it reminded him of sailing on lake Michigan in his youth.

Full Sail, was fine with the sea state and occasionally would spray us just to let us know we were in real water. We took a close hull run and added in the motor to work our way to the western shore coming in below the West River and the letting out a handkerchief size jib sheet we flew @ 5 kts up the line. 

Every once in a while it is good to do something that makes you push yourself, and this was one of those times, and to be honest it built confidence and both myself and the boat. Other than cleaning up things that had not been put away good that ended up on the cabin floor it was outstanding!

Sadly as we approached the South River, our home river, the wind was right in our face so with bare poles we motored back it.


Single Handed made so easy

Wow, moving all the lines to the cockpit made sailing so easy!

Heading out, I let Capt. Ron put us into the wind, then using the stack pack zipper pull I open the pack and grab the main line and pull the mainsail up.

If needed I lock the reefing line clutch at on one my reef points and crank till I am set.

I can feed out as much of the jib as I want and lock it down. A quick turn to grab the wind and I am off!

Coming back it’s even easier, as I get close to last turn to the dock, just wind up the jib, pop the main clutch and sails are down and ready to be neatened in the pack and zipping the pack closed ready for the next sail.

Winch in

Wow, that was a hunk of work.

1st I found a nice #30 two speed winch in the used section at Bacon Sails, it was sticky and I got it for $75. It took a couple of hours and 3 cans of Brakclean but I cleaned it up and got it smooth as silk.

Now with section of .25″ steel plate, I made a nice backing plate and mounted it on the cabin roof. Yes that required trimming the wood work and making a rather mess of the floor with saw dust.

But all in all it is in, might be overkill but job is  done.

Now I need to run the reefing lines ( next Job)

Getting lines organized

Being a lazy sailor (also Safe Sailor), I have always worried about going to the mast to raise, reef or lower the main. Well now I fixed that!

Pat and I installed a deck plate at the base of the mast and then added blocks and a deck organizer to bring the lines back to the cockpit with clutches to make them easy to handle.

I still think I will take one of the wenches off the mast (I have 2), and locate it next to the cockpit clutches. But all in all it so nice and easy to manage the main now, I don’t know why it took me so long to do it..

BTW: When working with 5200 sealant wear gloves, it takes days to wear it off your fingers.

The 2021 Season Opens

April 24th – Our 1st sail of the year and what a great day it was! Melissa and Leo drove up from Delaware, Jacob drove down from Baltimore and Laura and I took them all out.

Leo was a great 1st time sailor and with Capt. Ron (our Autopilot), in control Leo took a hand at sailing by push button.

The winds were light and the bay was also, in fact at one point when the boat was rocking it turned out to be Leo dancing back and forth to make it rock.

We finished up the day as it started to get cool and a front started coming in. So we did what any sailor in the Annapolis area does, we went to the Boatyard Grill for an early dinner.

Happy Sailors

Christmas Week 2020

With Covid keeping us locked down, I took a chance and chartered a 52′ Lagoon out of St Thomas for the week after Christmas and invited family to come along.

We were joined by the Lee’s and Lance for an exciting week on the water. Honestly the boat could have been better prepared and lacked some of things I had come to expect from basic sailing but we did ok with what we had.

The sails were really not rigged but she did have two nice motors and we were only bay hopping around St John and we were in 70-80 degree weather with beautiful waters so we made due.

The BVI’s were locked down with a $ 100,000 fine for coming in so we made sure not to wander into their waters (one night trip brought up fears of fines more than rocks!).

New Years Eve brought a floating concert to our Caneel Bay anchorage  while most of the crew was in St John Town, Pat and I just hung out and enjoyed the music.

All in all it was a fun trip and we learned a lot about close quarters with family, so good some not. But that is what life is like, and I am sure the grand kids who went will not forget it.

Winter in the BVI – Jan 2020

January 2020 had Patricia and I down in the BVI’s on someone’s  boat, not as real sailors but rather that as guest for a week. The Arabella, a 157 foot triple mast sail boat.  The trip was an ASA charter and we had a great time.

I have never been on a ship like this one, With it’s full set of sails flying we skimmed past Whites Bay before dropping anchors off Soggy Dollar Bar.

Our trip was great although we came home to join our family in Delaware where my son Jon was attempting to recover from a heart event. Sadly I need to report that my First Mate, Jonathan Freedman, passed in February. Jonathan will be forever missed.


Jumping the electrons

Wow, before this effort we had three unattached networks on the boat:

  1. Raymarine Seatalk – A proprietary RS485 based one for theirs systems
  2. NMEA 183 – A standard network also serial based
  3. The Full Sail Net – An Ethernet/ WIFI system for chart plotter and such 

Now we have tied it all together, it required some new boxes and the use of off the shelf components with new software but now everybody talks to everybody. The AIS radio talks to chart plotter, the Wind gauge talks to the auto pilot, the VHF knows where it is sitting at any given time and reports our location to Coast Guard and everything is reachable via mobile devices (phones, old Ipad etc.).

I am passing data around using a broker (KPLEX) and collecting it from the various components via USB based serial interfaces which can support RS485 and RS422 which is then posted to the broker and is available via TCP connections. Lots of fun. Who said embedded systems can not be made to jump, and proprietary networks can not be hacked and decoded, not me.

Back on the Bay

With Maryland sailing released from lock down it has been a great couple of weeks. Also it was a bit of a rushed trip out.

Laura and I went out the Sat. it opened and I had been doing all sorts of project and the cabin was full of tools and such, but we just went out anyway and had a great time.

This Friday, Patricia came down with me a cleaned up the cabin and organized it and Sunday Laura and I went out for a long sail. down to Bloody Point and then tacking up the bay. We went out at 10:30 and got back at 6pm. Laura sailed us all the way with her finger on the remote while we talked.

The Season just Blew By

Wow, today is December 13th (Friday) and Full Sail is heading up to the hard to spend the winter, napping.

This was a great season, we went out almost every weekend, many time with ASA crew joining us from the GoSailing app. We had wind and sometimes not so much. We sailed up the Annapolis to spend the 4th of July week on a ball and watch the fireworks. We added more toys, got an electric outboard to push the dingy around the make easy runs off the boat.

Must say the sails will need some TLC over the winter but all in all she is holding up well. I am looking at putting a set of davits on the back to hold the Dingy and move the solar panels to a better location, that will be the big winter project.

The plan is to go back in the water the first week of March, till then it will be work and couple of weeks in the BVI to keep my sailing addiction feed.

The Dingy Project

Docks are nice but traveling off them into anchorages or mooring balls requires an easy path to shore (not swimming). So last year on black friday I bought a West Marine PRU-3.

The PRU-3 in a two chamber inflatable that will hold 3 people (900#’s) and will fit in the boat without being tight. It came with a pump to blow it up and a pair of oars. Being the lazy old man I am I went looking for a small outboard and there I learned a lot.

Bottom line I ended up with an electric one (Torqeedo 1103C), which I got from Fawwcett in Annapolis with a small discount. It is light, total weight 38# or 29# without battery, has long run time (6 hrs at 1/2 speed, 20 at slow speed) and is equal to a 3hp gas motor. Not cheap but 2 year warranty and 1st service is at 5 years. No gas, no oil and can charge from either boat’s batteries, solar or dock AC. And waterproof to IP67 standard (it can fall overboard and still work). Even is so smart it will tell you how far you can go (GPS built in). Plus it is a classic case German over engineering!

So all I have to do is put in on dingy (it breaks down to 3 parts to make it light), press the on button and turn the handle and off we go.

BTW: the 12V charger option was $50 but I found the connector in my pile of old wall chargers and a 12V to 24V up-converter on amazon for $13 so I am good for anyplace.