Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    The sail to Atlantic City took about six hours. The weather is nice, clear skies. The only problem is that the winds have been blowing from the South and South West for a few days now and the resulting fetch is making the trip a little uncomfortable. By the time I got to Ocean City, NJ, I was wishing that the sail was over all ready. It was starting to get pretty rough.
    I got to the AC buoy and decided to roll in my sta-sail. It jammed. So I continued to sail on with it. As I got to that buoy, so did another sail boat coming from the ocean, It looked to be about 35 feet in lenght or so. He got a head of me as I watched him being knocked all over the place from the waves. As I thought about it I wondered if that guy looked back and saw me doing the same thing. Although it seemed to me that that guy was getting a much rougher ride. As I am passing by the inlet buoys I see a pretty big sail boat way back in the harbor looking as though it wanted to go out the inlet. At the same time it looked very tentative as to whether he was going to do it or not. It was moving very slowly. As I am coming in we pass. This boat was about 45 feet in lenght with a crew of about eight . A little later I look back to see what it is going to do. What he does is he noses just past the South jetty, which now leaves him open to the South West waves, then he quickly turns back. I could of told him so. It did not look good out there. When I got in past the inlet I just dropped my sta-sail on the deck and tied it up. I pulled into this little bay called the Black Hole. It is on the Brigantine side of the inlet.
    That night I was treated to another fireworks show. this one lasted for a long time and was fantastic. Of course what would you expect with the Casinos financing it.
   Tomorrow I do a two hour sail up to Great Bay, and then to my dock.
End of Trip

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

   The Sail to Cape May was peaceful and uneventful. In Cape May I anchored next to two huge Coast Guard Cutters. On shore is the  Coast Guard Academy. You could hear the new recruits yelling  "Yes Sir", "No Sir", and then singing out their corps hymns.  This went on for a good hour or so.
     I was in the company of four other sailboats. Around 7 PM a tug pushing a barge full of fire works passed by on their way to the Delaware River. That evening I was treated to a great Fire Works show.
   Tomorrow I sail to to Atlantic City.
Video is storm brewing over the Delaware River as I was crossing it. Although while I was there all was calm.

Monday, July 2, 2012

    Today I decided that I was just going to hang out, visit the Fisherman's pier and pick up some fuel, and have lunch. Also I planned to dinghy over to the beach to get a good look at the Asseateague ponies. First I wanted to run my generator for a bit in order to top off the  batteries. So I start the generator. I go down below and notice that there is no AC voltage. I go back to the generator with a volt meter and take a measurement. No output. The generator starts with one pull, but no output. My last defense against dead batteries, the Bull of my backup charging system has just become impudent.
    I did dinghy over to the beach and was able to walk to about a hundred feet of the ponies. I didn't want to disturb them, so I stopped there.
   The bay is full of activity. There is a Jet Ski rental place which sends out about ten new jet skiers each hour. Needless to say it is continually bumpy at my anchorage. There is also this Pirate ship which takes out a group of ten to twenty people. They come out to the bay and slowly wander around. Eventually an inflatable boat with another unfriendly pirate tries to board it. The people on board have these water canons which they use to try to foil the assault.The assaulting pirate always leaves, very wet, and swearing that he is not finished with them and that he will be back. Then you have the Sight Seeing boats which try to get a glimpse of the Asseateague ponies for their customers.
    After that I go over to the Fisherman's pier and catch lunch. While there I get into a pretty good conversation with some local Charter Fisherman. They seem to be pretty familiar with this Cape May to Cape Charles coast so I am interested in any potential good inlets along this coast. What they had to say was not very promising, The best that they could say about the better inlets, was that maybe I won't have any problems getting into them. I told them that maybe was not good enough.
   So now I head back to the boat and get ready for my to  Cape May tomorrow.
Sunday, July 1, 2012

    I decided to just get a lot of rest today, being that I just arrived this morning after a long 24 hour sail. In the afternoon I decided to set up my Honda generator and start charging my batteries. BTW earlier today I did start my engine and found my alternator to be working. What was going on last night, I am not sure.
   At this point I want to say that I really like and depend on my Honda generator and I consider it my last defense if for some reason I lose my batteries and cannot start my engine.
   So I run the generator for about two hour. As the generator is running it continually changes it's tune, as maybe when the refrigerator or other equipment turn on and off. After a while the generator settled into a nice hum. I smiled and said to myself  " I guess that the carburetor cleaner that I had added a few days before is finally having an effect". Anyway, I shut the generator off and start to think about dinner and what's on store for tomorrow.
Saturday, June 30, 2012

     When that storm hit me the other day, in Norfolk Harbor, some rain got onto my navigation table, and also onto my iGO DC to DC converter and wiped it out. This is what I use to power up my Navigation Laptop. I like it because it is a very efficient and as a result takes minimal power from my house battery. Now in place of it I have to use an inverter, which is plugged into a 12 VDC outlet, and then my laptops charger is plugged into that. The problem with this setup is, if you are concerned with battery usage, is that both of these devices, the inverter and the charger, become heater blocks and therefore rob your house battery of lots of amp hours. You can see that by just picking these items up. They get very hot. I think that the reason that these two devices get so hot is that first: The inverter, which is not that expensive,  puts out a crummy sine wave, and in the process heats itself up, and second: the laptops charger now has to work with this crummy pseudo sine wave in order to  get it's regulated 12 VDC out of it. Now you might ask "why don't you just plug the laptop directly into the boat's 12 VDC supply?". It would be great if you could do that, but the problem is that the boat's DC supply is not regulated, and as a result when the engine is running, the voltages can get pretty high and as a result damage electronic equipment.
    So now I am on my way to Ocean City, MD. The Chesapeake Bay is very calm, almost motionless except for the passing power boats, and some swells coming in from the South. No ships today because of the weekend. It takes about 6 to 7 hours to get around Cape Charles. That's what you get when you are only moving around 5 knots. Going up the coast, it was again very calm. Now as I am going along I notice  a big storm cloud over the mainland. The cloud was pretty thick so that as the Sun was beginning to set I noticed that at first I lost sight of it at about 30 degrees above the horizon, and then saw it again about 5 degrees  In time as it started to get darker I could see lightening from the cloud to the mainland. As I am moving along all of a sudden I get a weather alert ( I finally figured how to set up my radio), and I say to myself  "Isn't this great, the radio is going to warn me about the storm cloud over the mainland". Instead it starts broadcasting about a tornado on the ground in Virginia.  I am in Maryland, but the first thing that comes to my mind is that I wonder if the storm that I am looking at could also spawn a tornado? And,  if it did, what would I do. Go below and duck under a table?

   So anyway I continued on watching the storm and listening to the weather. In time I notice a light on my instrument panel indicating an electrical problem. It seemed that maybe the alternator stopped working. I go down below and open the engine compartment to see if the alternator belt was still intact. It was. Right now it's dark, and I am getting tired. So I decide that I will wait and  troubleshoot this problem in the morning. Meanwhile I realize that I could lose my battery power during the night. So I decide to start shutting down some electronics, and some lights. I shut off my steaming light. I shut down my Navigation laptop, and BTW the inverter and charger are extremely hot. I shut off the refrigerator. The only things that I leave on are my running lights, my small Garmin GPS, my radar, and my autopilot. Now the autopilot uses a lot of power, so I only kept it in standby, and will only use it if I have to leave the helm. Now I also start recording my GPS positions every hour, so in case my instruments shut down completely I can dead reckon from my last position.
   So I go through the night like this doing the steering, and just hoping that daylight comes quickly. I arrive at Ocean City, MD around 9 AM. I go through the inlet. I make a quick left and follow the buoys a short distance and drop the anchor. I have to say that by this time I could not just go to sleep. I am so over tired, and I just can't. It took me about a half day to straighten myself out.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2912

    For the last few days I have been anchored, and relaxing on the Lafayette River in Norfolk, Va..  I have also been doing errands, like laundry, groceries, filling water tanks, etc. I have also been watching the weather, and feel that tomorrow will be a good day to head up to Ocean City, MD.  This is a long sail, and will take about 24 hours. The weather says to expect SW winds most of the way, so this should be a nice ride. Also Slack tide on the Chesapeake is around 9 AM so, since it will take about 7 hours to get down and across the Chesapeake, at least the beginning of the trip ( the first hour or two) should be without much chop.
  Once I get to Ocean City I plan again to anchor behind Assateague Island, and since I am not in that much of a hurry to get home I plan on going over and visiting the inhabitants of that  island ie; 'The Wild Ponies of Assateague'.
   After that the next stop will probably be Lewes, DE, or Cape May, and then after that Atlantic City. Picture of Sunset on the Lafayette River.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26. 2012

    After yesterday excitement I keep turning over in my head: what did I do right, what did I do wrong, or how did I get myself into that predictment. When I am in my boat, moving it along, I always listen to channel 16, or maybe because I was going through a lot of bridges, and a lock, channel 13. but after the bridges I turn back to 16. I heard the Coast Guard continuely asking boaters near the Chesepeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to keep a look out for a person in the water. but never heard anything about an approaching storm till after it was over. In the marina I wondered if the guy knew about the storm. So the following day I decided to give him a call. I described myself to him and he remembered me. I asked him if he knew that the storm was comimg. He said that he had heard about it in the morning, didn't say how, but said that he was keeping an eye on the doppler images on his smart phone all day. I didn't ask him why he did not mention it to me, but I did tell him about the experience that I had with it. Maybe after the call he asked himself why he didn't say anything to me.
    So I remember that there is this thing called weather alert. I was not sure if my radio had it. In fact I felt  that if it had it that it would of been working. Last night I decided to look into the operators manual and yes my radio has it. To me it seems a little clumsy the way it is set up. There are 10 Wx weather channels. The weather for your area is on one of them. So in order to get a weather alert for your area you have to be on the correct channel. On my radio I have this feature which is called duo-watch or tri-watch. What this does is let the radio scan each of two or three channels, and if a message is coming in on any one of them you will hear it. So you must include the correct Wx channel in the scan. I somehow  remember seeing an FRS- 2 way radio that had this weather alert feature. I know that when I get home that I will be purchasing one.
     When I saw the storm coming I was already about a mile from where I raised my anchor. I would not of made it back to there to set my anchor again. And if I tried I might of got myself into even more trouble. There was no place to run to over there.