Monthly Archives: June 2015

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.

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!