Spring Around the Bay Race – June 13th

We had an interesting day on the water this past Saturday – Toodle-oo!’s first race! We entered Mattapoisett Yacht Club’s ‘Spring Around the Bay’ race – a 20 mile jaunt around the top end of Buzzards Bay.

Enlisted as crew were friends Mike & Jane and Peter & Diane, along with Mike Dahill – a fortuitous addition to the crew – the only one who really knew what he was doing!

Fair to say tensions were running high leading up to the start – this was the first time we’d had so many folk on  board and trying to work out who goes where and what does what got a little crazed…

Tensions run high!

Tensions run high!

The Crew ( Laurie behind the camera)

The Crew ( Laurie behind the camera)

How did I land up on THIS boat???

How did I land up on THIS boat???

We managed a great start under Mike’s direction, hitting the line just a few seconds after the horn went – fortunately, the start was staggered according to boat handicap, so having only us approaching the line sure did help matters!

It looked like we were catching the commodore’s boat ‘In Deep’ on the first two legs, but he must have sussed us out cos I couldn’t make any inroads on the third leg and he disappeared on the fourth!

Trim looks good to me!

Trim looks good to me!

Rail Meat!

Rail Meat!

The race started with a reasonable amount of wind and we were able to make good speed, but the forecast lull certainly came into its own on the last couple of legs, wind dropping to less than 5 knots, which saw us ghosting along at 1.5knots! (And that with a knot of helpful current!) We ended up finishing more than an hour behind In Deep and apparently dead last in our class – of those that bothered to finish!

There has to be some wind out there somewhere...

There has to be some wind out there somewhere…

I see a wind line!

I see a wind line!

Needless to say, it was a great day out on the water and we really enjoyed ourselves and finished off the day with a super meal aboard with Laurie’s Lasagna, Diane’s salad, Jane’s brownies and copious amounts of alcohol!


Managed to install Pig Stick on Sunday – we’re dressed!

Dressed with a mast-top Burgee!

Dressed with a mast-top Burgee!

John Galpin

Every once in a while you meet someone that has an immediate and sudden impact on you. Who introduces you to things and concepts you’ve not thought of before. Though time spent with them can be brief, the observations made and lessons learned can be long lived. John Galpin was just such a person, who I met for but one day in October 2013. http://toodleoo.com/?p=484

In September 2013, I left Laurie aboard Toodle-oo! in Belfast while I went on a three week business trip to India. Happily, John and Val Galpin arrived shortly afterwards and moored their beautiful blue power boat ‘Grampus’ close by Toodle-oo! and they befriended Laurie – to the extent that somehow she managed to wangle an invite to visit them where they live on the Isle of Man!

We had an enthralling visit with them during which John showed us the fault line between the American tectonic plate and the European plate – by jumping across the divide identified by a line of quartz and a big crack.

P1010955  P1010954

John and Val showed us around the town of Peel, including a visit to a tiny little Nautical museum, in which was housed an old rum running sail boat – the Peggy, perfectly preserved in its basement where the boat had been walled up. (The boat recently featured in one of the popular sailing magazines.)

P1010950  The Peggy

Val and John invited us to dinner at their beautiful house where Val has discovered that she is a significantly good artist, and where John would study what appeared to be a passion, of understanding the sea life in the Irish Sea, Dolphins in particular.

He explained to me an interesting docking method that allowed one to tie securely in a dock without need for fenders – which with constant motion inevitably wear out the gelcoat of a boat’s topsides (and if you look a few posts earlier on this blog, you’ll see details of that method).

Most spectacularly of all, John  talked of the ‘Green Flash’ – a phenomenon that occurs just as the sun dips below the horizon and when the atmospherics are just so, a green flash of light shows for just a short duration. While I’d heard of the phenomenon, I admitted to being skeptical – so john brought out the documentation he had to hand to prove the physics – quite convincing… As we were sat down for dinner, just as the sun was setting, I queried if there’d be a green flash tonight – he was confident that there would be and he gave Laurie and I both a pair of binoculars with which to watch, so we interrupted our dinner to watch the sun sink below the horizon. Sure enough, as it dipped below, a clear green flash appeared. I would not have believed my own eyes if Laurie hadn’t seen it at the exact same time.


To this day, every time I watch a sunset I think of John and Val and our wonderful – though short time together. We talked of John just this weekend as we watched the sun setting from our favorite harbor, Menemsha.

Sadly, I learned just this week that John is no longer with us. He was diagnosed with Cancer at the end of July 2014, and succumbed just 10 weeks later in early October. He was just 66.

People like this don’t come around often. He will surely be missed. His sudden passing is reason enough to make sure that we make the most of every day and live life to the fullest.

Rest in Peace Mr. Galpin, we will remember you always and often.

Cruise to Menemsha June 6-8th

We had a three day weekend and the wind looked favorable for Menemsha with Saturday blowing us there with a north east breeze and Monday morning a south westerly to blow us back! While we’d prefer not to sail dead down wind, we managed really nicely, sailing wing on wing, Main out to starboard, genoa to port and made good progress at 6 – 7 knots all the way, on a direct line to Quicks Hole where we picked up sufficient current to clock 10.5 knots over ground as we squeezed through the Elizabeth Islands.

We arrived in just over 3 hours to find that the New Bedford Yacht Club had a stellar turnout for their “Shakedown Cruise” so everything on the inside was booked – save one slip that would have cost us more than the embarrassment of mooring betwixt 4 pilings was worth, so we chose to anchor out instead. Since it was blowing 20+knots, we figured we’d be in for a rolly night – and noisy with a bell just upwind of the anchorage! Turns out the holding there is excellent – immediately grabbing our Manson Supreme – and that held very securely – and fortunately, the wind died in the early evening, so all was good. Actually very good!

We dinghied in for essential supplies – mussels for our appetizer! And also met with Ginny Jones who is an assistant harbormaster and is helping me with the upcoming OCC cruise.




NBYC had 18 boats on the inside – great turnout – and they all enjoyed pot luck appetizers on the beach at sunset – no doubt admiring Toodle-oo! in all her splendor! Looks like the way to enjoy Menemsha with a large party…


Certainly looks the part!

Certainly looks the part!

Larsen's The place for seafood

Larsen’s The place for seafood

Sunday we were pretty lazy, but we did relocate the boat to the inner harbor once the others had all left – but to be honest, while the harbor is empty, we somewhat regretted moving in – the anchorage was just idyllic and the inside mooring balls where they’ll raft upto 4 boats on each are always a real giggle. Lunch was a picnic in the lagoon on the beach on a beautifully sunny and warm day – truly the best weather! Another run to Larsens enabled us to pick up all the necessary (clams, littlenecks and mussels) for our first clam boil in ages – wonderful!

First Clam Boil in ages - Yummy!

First Clam Boil in ages – Yummy!

Sunset watchers - and fishermen!

Sunset watchers – and fishermen!

Monday’s winds were again behind us as we set off across Vineyard Sound and this time we flew both headsails, one on each side and made a B line for Quicks Hole. Once into Buzzards Bay we were able to head off on a run with reefed Main and small jib in the building winds, making 7 – 8 knots and gaining another 1.5 knots from the favorable current. Our only downside was having to douse the sails in 25kts! – always interesting!

The season is off to a flying start!

Sailing Season Begins!

Toodle-oo! spashed as planned on May 13th (well done Brandon and everyone at Pirate Cove Marina) having been washed waxed buffed and had her hull tidied up with bottom paint where necessary.

Bridge up a ramp
With everything fitted and installed, we took a short trip down to Newport while Abigail was visiting, where we anchored and then dinghied across to Fort Adams to watch the In-Port Race of the Volvo Open Round the World Race. It was an interesting event – though the race it’self was a bit of a procession…

Mapfre Great Start

Gusty           Mark Rounded
On the Sunday, (having listened to the foghorn all night!) we up-anchored early enough on a misty morning  to not get blocked by the exclusion zone that was due to be set up in the East Passage, and headed through that passage and out to sea for a trip up to Mattapoisett, summer home for Toodle-oo!, some 45 miles.

Misty Morning    Foggy Newport Morning

Leaving Newport

Leaving Newport

Winds were OK to start with, but turned very light so we ended up motor sailing into Mattapoisett some 8 hours later, and because our mooring was not prepared, took a guest mooring – where she still lies a couple of weeks later…

The following weekend was Labor Day weekend, and unfortunately, Laurie had to work on the Saturday, so I arranged to have our squash team join us for a trip over to Hadley Harbor. Wind was light to moderate on the way over, but came up boisterous on the way back, with Toodle-oo! having a blast crashing through waves at 9 knots! Fortunately, the team managed to keep it together – no spewing required!


Rick, Kim, Doreen and Dave…

Laurie got a reprieve for the rest of the weekend, so we had a great sail across to Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday with winds up to 28kts on the beam! We got to Vineyard Haven in record time!
Unfortunately Vineyard Haven has allowed the mooring field to encroach well out into the anchorage now, so in the windy conditions, we opted to take a mooring within the breakwater rather than have a really rolly night. That perhaps was not the best decision as our mooring put us just a few feet from the rock breakwater – blocking our view to everything.

Our return from VH was uneventful – we got through Woods Hole before the tide changed against us and then hung out in Hadley Harbor for a while while I rigged the Monitor Wind Vane (Self Steering gear). We used the Monitor to come back across Buzzards Bay, and it turns out that the complete re-build I gave it during the winter months was worthwhile, with the Monitor being able to hold a course within about +/- 10 degrees in moderate winds. Good enough, and I’m sure with practice we’ll improve.

We were back on our borrowed mooring by lunchtime and had a lazy afternoon!

Sure feels good to get back on the water!

2015 Sailing Season Schedule

Here’s Toodle-oo!’s plans for the summer:

  • June 13thMYC Spring Round the Bay race
  • June 19th – July 4thOCC Southern New England Cruise
    Mattapoisett, Cuttyhunk, Block Island, Shelter Island, Block Island, Menemsha, Edgartown, Hadley Harbor, Marion, Cuttyhunk, Newport, Bristol, Mattapoisett. (Phew!)
  • July 18th & 19th:  Padanaram?
  • July 31st –August 9th:   Around the Cape Summer Cruise
    Mattapoisett, Provincetown, Nantucket, Hyannis, Hadley, Mattapoisett.
  • September 3rd – 7th: Labor Day Weekend – Cruise to Gloucester
    Possible stop in Scituate?
  • Sept 12th: MYC Fall Round the Bay Race
  • October 10th – 12th: End of Season Cruise
    Mattapoisett, Menemsha, Portsmouth
  • October 17th: Decommission at NEB, Portsmouth.

There are loads of weekends in between in which we’ll be sailing too…


Lying to a Slip Without Fenders?

Here’s something I learned while visiting the Isle of Man – John Galpin showed me this method of tying up to a slip without fenders – so as to save the look of the gel coat… Trust me, John’s blue gel coat on his Whale and Dolphin survey boat looks immaculate!




Line A holds the rear of the boat away from the starboard dock and prevents the boat from moving forward.

Line C prevents the boat from moving back into the rear dock

Line B prevents the bow from moving towards the starboard dock

Line D prevents the bow from moving away from the starboard dock.

It takes some practice to set up – but it’s a neat way of holding the boat stationary and away from the dock. When leaving our boat for a while however, we lay out a few precautionary fenders… :-) (we also add a few lines for good measure!)



Cold and Snowy Winter!

It’s been a lousy winter in New England – with very cold weather and loads of snow. Not easy to even get on the boat – since the ice on the ground prevents a safe platform for a ladder! Once on, it’s impossible to get it warm!

Consequently we’re way behind with winter maintenance – though I have succeeded in rebuilding the Monitor Windvane – lots and lots of little bits!!! Not sure if we’ll mount it this year or not – it certainly is nicer to sail around with an unobstructed clean swim platform!

I hope I have a fix in place for the two Genoa cars – they were making really nasty noises at the end of last year when the sheets were heavily loaded… I’m hoping this was caused due to some wear in the large diameter sheaves – which we’ve had remade… If not, it looks like we’ll be buying two new units at aver $700 a piece! L

The Anchor Windlass motors are out and disassembled. Unfortunately, one was beyond repair, so I now have on order spare parts for one, along with a brand new one. We definitely want a spare for this most important system!

I’ve also managed to pry off the cover to the companionway – it was loaded up with caulk – and found that it was a job worth doing as a part was broken off.

Meanwhile, the batteries seem to be coping adequately, though it looks like the starting battery may need replacement. We’re also planning to replace the Inverter’s remote panel – which will allow us to finally understand how the batteries are behaving – to a degree at least!


2015 will see us remaining very local to this area – we’re organizing a 2 week cruise (details here) for the OCC from Long Island to Martha’s Vineyard and then back to Bristol – so there goes most of our vacation. OCC dignitaries Tony and Rachelle are going to be joining us for the cruise which will greatly enhance the enjoyment – and probably the booze intake too! The rest of the year we plan to get out on extended weekends to visit the islands close about.

This year it looks like we’re going to opt for a mooring at Mattapoisett – where we kept our old boat. It’s a cute little village with not a lot going on, but a very active sailing fraternity – and home to Mattapoisett Yacht Club. The only trouble with this place is that there is no protection in storms coming from the south – so if there’s a big storm or hurricane, we’ll be forced to flee or get hauled. Our other option is New Bedford, behind the hurricane barrier – but it’s hardly a charming place to sit in the cockpit sipping G&T’s or Caipirinhas!

I’m hoping that by the time I get back from India in the middle of March, the weather will have improved some and we’ll be able to get on with some of the work load. The summer will be here before we know it!

Photo Album

I’ve started participating in a photographic challenge – submitting 7 photos each week (have to be taken that week)… I cheated the first week with some ‘recent’ photos – but now in week 2, I’m conforming! You can find them here

Father Christmas brought me a new toy – an Olympus E-M1 camera – a ‘Micro Four Thirds’ format – a nice small package with some great capability…