Monthly Archives: May 2013

Gloomy Day

Gloomy day on Wednesday – started wet, changed to gloomy with no wind so we headed up to Boston with the engine on the whole way. Gave up at Scituate, taking refuge from the noise and the sun came out!

Explored the town a little – small but nice – and then had a delicious clamboil. Nothing better!

Almost too busy to write an account!


Heading to Boston today – early start…


Messed that up!

Our plan was to go through the Cape Cod Canal today in order to go to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod. Doing so requires planning as the current in the canal runs at about 4 knots – making for a very quick – or a very slow transit. Having checked the chart and currents, I worked it out perfectly that we’d go through at noon – leaving time for various jobs on the boat…

I tweaked the Monitor Windvane (energy free self steering mechanism – called ‘Gale’) trying to get her to steer just a little better by tightening lines and so forth. We tried her out in Buzzards Bay and she did fine when close hauled (into the wind) not so well when running with the wind. More work required.

I attempted to move the blades of the wind generator in hopes of balancing them better and remove a worrying vibration – turns out the cap screws holding the blades on screw into captured locknuts – which become uncaptured when loosened! So there I am sitting up on top of the radar arch, reaching up to the generator and dropping nuts onto the deck below. How the first one didn’t fall off the boat I have no clue! The next challenge became how to handle mutiple nuts and bolts while trying to line up blades! After a struggle, I got it back together – but suspect blades went back in their original positions since the vibration still persists!

The we tried out the dingy outboard and found that a fitting on the (new) gas tank was incompatible – requiring a jaunt into town to find a replacement. What a nice place Marion is! Beautiful manicured gardens and charming little stores – and a good chandler!

With the new fitting attached, the outboard started up easily – facilitating a quick visit over to Hawk anchored just nearby. Evans Starzinger is a double circumnavigator – the last time doing it the hard way in the higher latitudes of the southern oceans… wanted to get his take on how to deply a drogue – very helpful…

Once the dingy was taken care of, we were just a little late leaving – 12:30, so would arrive at the canal about 1:30 for a fast passage.


What a dummy! – I got the whole thing absolutely arse about face and the current was against us. At least it allowed us to mess around with Gale some and we ended up motoring against the current at the entrance to the canal and took a left hand turn into Onset – where we are anchored in a very nice and sheltered harbor – and perfectly positioned for a 7:30 am transit through the canal tomorrow – with a favorable current this time!

With a lack of boats surrounding us, the SSB radio is being tested out here and I’m delighted to report that reception is good and we’ve been able to hear Herb Hilgenberg and Southbound II reasonably clearly, giving weather information to yachts transiting the Atlantic. He will be a major source of information for us as we cross next week.

Here’s a great photo from our departure dinner at Mike and Jane’s – what a splendid evening! (If you click on the photo it enlarges. In my right hand you’ll see the little Spot device that updates our location in the blog…)


toodleoo sendoff dinner 2


First Day…

Up at 5:15 on our first day of our circumnavigation!


Enclosure taken down and packed away, dingy brought over, boat made ready, we left the dock at 7:00am sharp in light breeze and bright early morning sunshine – what better start could we hope for.


We even got to sail down the normally wind devoid Sakonnet, broad reaching in light 5 – 10 knot beeze, passing by the waving Sterrets on the way, who had come out to watch us leave from the shore beside Almy Rock. As we approached the mouth of the Sakonnet, we got a little glimpse into the rest of the day as the wind built to 15kt+ and the waves were up at 3 – 4ft. We turned left and headed up Buzzards Bay with the building winds from behind us  – but made best speed towards Cuttyhunk…

We took a mooring in Cuttyhunk inner harbor at 11:30 and enjoyed a quick lunch and beer, leaving just 45 minutes later, headed for Marion. We decided to leave the main furled and use both head-sails – one on either side and made a solid 7.5kts in the 20knots of breeze.

Things got interesting as we approached Marion… dumb ass decided that we should fly main and genoa – which required furling the genoa, turning into the wind and raising the main… after furling we turned into the wind and found we were in stronger winds than we realized. It was difficult to head into the wind at all and we slowly compounded one mistake after another, finally necessitating a complete wimp out and we left the main furled and headed on towards Marion under genoa alone.

On the approach to Marion, with wind and sea being quite challenging, we decided to furl the genoa and bring out the smaller jib… but the genoa furling gear was completely and utterly knotted and impossible to clear. It took us an age of trying to untie the knots, an unsuccessful  attempt to drop the genoa halyard, another attempt at untying the know while heading in the opposite direction and finally a successful – if wet – dropping of halyard to bring things under some form of control. We limped into Marion with tails between legs wondering what the hell we were thinking about going around the world. However, after taking a mooring and cracking open a beer, all thoughts of humility dissipated and we reveled in the glory of coming to grips with yet another dire situation.


We came to Marion to meet a fellow OCC member who will be travelling to the Azores. Gianluca Fiori will be travelling a couple of weeks after us in his Hinkley 51, but we coordinated a meet on Toodle-oo! to compare notes…

“I’ve got to put things away, and go to the Yacht club – I’ll be over in 15 minutes..” Great – an opportunity to have a quick shower… 2 minutes later, the launch drops Gian off on Toodle-oo! and I’m starkers in the shower! After the embarrassing first meeting (don’t normally greet people by showing them my butt!) we settled into a really fun conversation and I look forward to seeing him and his crew in the Azores in a month’s time…

Also looking forward to the possibility of meeting and chatting with Evans Starzinger in the morning – who is anchored in Hawk just a 100yards away…

Still Here…

We are a couple of days late. The weather has not been kind – with erratic winds and cold temperatures, so we wimped out and continued to ready ourselves. Tomorrow’s forecast is much more benign with temperatures reaching the 70’s perhaps and winds starting at 5 – 10, building to 10 – 20.

ready to go

First destination is Marion – meeting up with someone else that’s headed to the Azores this summer, but leaving a couple of weeks after us.

I’ve had butterflies in my stomach the last couple of days – don’t think it was alcohol related! – and so it’s probably a good thing we have the delay – feeling now like it’s time to get out of Dodge. Laurie has also been tense – and saying goodbye is not her strongest suit. But goodbyes are said, we’re ready to go.

New batteries were installed – with great thanks to Brian Gardener for heaving the 175lb monsters out and replacing them with 4 new monsters. The voltage readings are now much more stable and it feels like we have solved that problem…

We now have a spot tracker. It allows me to send a position update regularly via satellite and a link is posted under the menu heading ‘1st: Where are we’   I was hoping to be able to accomplish the same feat through the SSB radio, but have not had a chance to get the thing working right – or at least tested (hopefully it’s working fine). Over the course of our sail up to Boston we’ll attempt to get the SSB going properly – but even so, it’s nice to have the Spot as a backup.

Food and clothing are all aboard – everything is aboard and packed away. You’d never know that we have all our belongings in the boat – it still looks nice and neat – at least on the surface!

The monitor windvane is back aboard with new control lines – and we hope to use it most of the way and avoid use of the autopilot which is a bit of an energy hog.

We will be using a weather router – Commander’s Weather – who we are to contact on May 30th to see if a June 2nd departure makes sense. They will provide us with their advice on which direction to head and where to avoid. In addition we hope to pull on the resources of Herb Hilgenberg for daily log-in and updates to the weather forecast – and his advice on which way to turn.

So, early morning start tomorrow – will check in when we get to our first port of call!


Last Minute Tasks Take Over

We’ve been feverishly working on getting the boat ready for the off on Saturday, but things are conspiring against us and now Mother Nature has played her hand and dealt us a really crappy weekend of weather. Who wants to set off on a world journey in crappy weather?

So we’ll take advantage and get some of those last minute things taken care of in a more orderly fashion and leave in a day or two when the weather has moderated.

Last night Jim Thompson came aboard to look at our electrical system and cleared up a few questions I had – not the least of which was confirming that our battery bank is as dead as a door nail. New batteries are available at a local chandler – all I have to do now is remove the four 175lb batteries and drop in the new ones… easy peezy!

Jim also helped me to understand my overall charging system better – something you’d have thunk I’d have full control of by now – and then he told me that the whole navigation system needed major calibration – so I’ve got some work to do there too! Thanks Jim!

We’ve been unable to sell our cars – so will be parking them at friends houses. I guess that means we’ll have them available when we get back – but we’d much rather have gotten rid of the bloody things! Anyone want a pristine Toyota Matrix? Careful lady driver and dealer maintained…

In spite of the delay, life feels good – we’re going to be more organized by the time we leave and perhaps just a little better prepared…

More later…

So, how goes it?

Preparations have been hectic – hence the lack of information recently… Sorry…

Planned departure is on Saturday, destination Cuttyhunk for the weekend – but the weather looks lousy – wet and windy. (You’d have thought we want wind – but honestly, it’d be really nice to have just a little wind to see us off, not a bloody gale!)

With only a couple of days left, we’re down to last minute stuff – like do we need new batteries (and will the electrical expert actually arrive here)? Will the new cockpit enclosure get here before we leave? Where does the tandem fit? Do we have enough food? Money? etc. Oh yes – shall we put the Monitor wind-vane self steering gear back on?

Sorry, but I have to cut this short – the list isn’t getting shorter as I type… (!)


Open Boat!

If you’re reading this, then perhaps you have an interest (or perhaps you fumbled your keyboard) – so if you’re in the area, please stop by for drinks aboard Toodle-oo! on Saturday May 18th any time after 3:00pm.  Look forward to seeing you!

Pirate Cove Marina, 109 Point Rd  Portsmouth, RI 02871 – End of C/D Dock…


It’s Real

Well it’s certainly feeling real now that I’m on to vastly reduced hours at work (I go in one day a week and I manage emails for the rest of the week – so working 2+ days per week it looks like). The list of things to get done before we head off to Europe is now being tackled – up until now it was just a list that seemed to grow but never diminish… It’s not a daunting list fortunately – so should allow us to ease into the cruising lifestyle easily. Laurie has 1 1/2 more days to go before she’s unemployed – I think Friday might be a challenge!

This morning I was sitting planning what to do when a Snowy Egret showed up outside to fish and I was able to watch him fish – rather than hurry off to work. For the rest of the morning, after answering a few emails, I set to on replacing the toilet and all the hoses leading to the holding tank. All done with minimal comedic interludes and so hopefully now we have a discernibly less ‘heady’ smell to the place.

Next job is to head off and get some wood for a fender board – or perhaps I’ll tackle the Preventer set-up – or maybe I’ll service the outboard. The beauty of cruising – put it in whatever order you like – it’ll all get done sometime…