Five entries per page, scroll down (maybe a LOT) or enter a search word(s) to the right. Trip Logs are in reverse chronological order.
For the action packed Delivery of 2010 through 8 foot waves and 30 knot winds across 140 nm of Lake Erie, click here.
Sailing Again on the St. Lawrence (River and Gulf), June 20-24, 2014
When Kelly IV and I sailed south from Canada in 2011, I thought that would be the end of my sailing in those waters, especially north of Nova Scotia. And I assumed my northernmost point of sailing would remain at N49º19.265' W65º42.224', a location just a few miles offshore, north of the Gaspe' peninsula. Thankfully, I was wrong about that!
In April 2014 I got an email from a friend who sailed the St. Lawrence River on his own boat, Old Hand in 2011. Old Hand is a 1988 Beneteau First 285. Her owner, Ron, has fitted her nicely for cruising, including radar, AIS, chartplotter, ESPAR diesel heater, mainsail pack and lazy jacks. There isn't much difference in room down below between Ron's Old Hand and my Kelly IV. Both are small boats so space is at a premium.
Ron's email invited me to join him sailing on the St. Lawrence in late June 2014. It was clearly an opportunity I could not pass by. I had enjoyed myself immensely when cruising these waters in 2011 aboard Kelly IV and knew I'd have a great time sailing with Ron. We had chatted via emails before we departed for our respective trips in 2011 and even spent a day at the Toronto Boat Show in January 2011. Then enroute we kept in touch including meeting at a marina in Montreal for a night while he was returning from his trip and I was still headed downstream. We felt we knew enough about each other to be comfortable for a few days on board a small sailboat. That proved correct!
I drove from Annapolis to Matane, Quebec over the course of three days. The driving trip is over 1,000 miles, one way. Arriving in Matane on a rainy, grey afternoon, I found Ron and Old Hand in the small marina and yacht club. It was my first time at the yacht club since in 2011, I never got off Kelly IV. Already I was expanding my experience from 2011 and we hadn't left the marina! After packing my seabag with sleeping bag, clothes and my GPS, I moved aboard Old Hand,leaving my car in the yacht club parking lot under the watchful eye of the local staff, a young woman, bilingual and smart.
The next morning, Ron and I headed out of the marina into a beautiful, sunny day. No breeze to speak of, but a great day to be on a boat on the St. Lawrence River. We sailed by the same coastal towns that Kris and I had sailed by in 2011, but this time we could see the homes and churches on shore. Old Hand's destination was St. Anne des Mont, QC, a port that Kris & I missed in 2011. Ron and I sailed into the small, well-protected harbour, tying up on the long pier just aft of a boat being sailed by new friends Ron had met a few ports west/upriver. Also, there was a sistership, another Beneteau First 285 in the little marina, so Ron and the other owner swapped ideas and stories.
That evening as Ron and I were walking through the quaint hamlet, we crossed paths with 3 young people who asked us a question in French almost as weak as mine. When we asked if they spoke English, they happily acknowledged they did, but their accent told us that English was not their primary language. When Ron asked where they were from, they responded “Netherlands” and Ron immediately broke into conversation speaking Dutch! Ron's parents emigrated to Canada before he was born, yet raised him to speak Dutch, as well as English. He is quite fluent and the trio and Ron enjoyed a great time discussing the success of Dutch World Cup team up to that point.
The next day our destination was first set for Mont Louis, QC, but we had a nice lift from the current and were making excellent time. As a result, we reset our destination for Grande Vallee', a picturesque burg that I was happy to revisit. And I hoped to be helpful sharing what I recalled about the entrance and facilities. As it turns out, we found they were nearly complete in their building of a new marina (none there before) so we had a great place to dock for the night at the new floating piers. A local gent let us know that they expected to complete the marinawithin a few weeks, as it already sported a nice, modern, floating breakwater that hung perpendicular to the government wharf, providing excellent protection in any weather.
Ron and I were up at 3:30am local time as our next trip would be a long one (65nm) across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, passing Anticosti Island as we made our way to Riviere au Tonnerre, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. It was quite breezy (15k-20k) as we departed the marina, but the wind died as we moved offshore making us decide that the wind was merely a local land effect breeze. Our efforts to use the mainsail and jib were dashed and we furled the main, but got a bit of benefit from the jib as we motorsailed. A few freighters were seen using Ron's AIS as we crossed the shipping lanes south of Anticosti Island. The prevailing southwesterly breeze was enough to create some 1-2 metre waves, but these diminished gradually over the day as we distanced ourselves from the shore breeze and the calm day had its effect on the water.
The landmarks shared in the cruising guide finally came into view and Ron steered us through a narrow opening into the natural rock harbour. We were surrounded by smooth, red boulders and slabs forming a nearly perfect circle of a harbour with an L-shaped government wharf at the western side. We rafted up to one of the fishing boats as all the positions on the wharf were taken up by the local fleet. Old Hand was the only recreational boat in the harbour. At 50*16' north, they don't see many cruisers!
Yes, we attained a latitude that was 60nm further north than I had ever sailed before!
We had enjoyed three beautiful, sun-drenched days and now the forecast called for weather much less enjoyable. Ron was at his turnaround point and expected to stay put a few days waiting for the weather to clear, so the next morning I took my leave, boarding a bus to return to my car in Matane.
Spending three days sailing with Ron was terrific. He is a first class gent and sailor, as well as a superb cook! It was definitely a worthwhile trip to sail with Ron and I'd do it again, anytime.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 July 2014 13:06 )
Mid-Bay Living Aboard, June 4 – 9, 2014
Having heard, per local knowledge, that there were free moorings available in Weems Creek and elsewhere around Annapolis, I decided to check it out. Previously, I had driven my car to one of the streets that ends on Weems Creek.
By Annapolis City Statue, all streets that end at the water are declared free dinghy docks. And one exists on Weems Creek, just a hundred yards from the nearest free mooring.
It was a short trip with no breeze, so Kelly IV motored the entire trip as we passed the main campus of the U.S. Naval Academy and one of their sail training vessels, a “Navy 44.” I went slowly by one of the USNA moorings and read that it was the “Property of the USNA, No Trespassing.” Even so, several local sailors had told me the same info, independently, that these moorings were free with the understanding that they must be vacated if required by a USNA vessel, usually only for a hurricane. A few hours later, the Annapolis Harbormaster motored by. Since Kelly IV is already registered with Annapolis, I assume she confirmed my information then moved on. I take that as confirmation of the local knowledge.
For an early weekend, Kelly IV sailed Friday morning to Harness Creek, off the South River, just upstream from our anchorage in Duvall Creek. The sail began with a fun wing-and-wing (Click for Video), using Kelly IV's whisker pole to keep the genoa full. The breeze began to dwindle until we were motoring for the final leg of the trip. Although there were a handful of other boats getting an early start on the weekend, we had the evening to ourselves as the sun set and a cool, calm evening settled over the anchorage. It is a beautiful place with a few waterfront homes on the western shore and Quiet Waters Park on the entire eastern shore. The park has numerous hiking trails with lots of wildlife. I saw a snake and some deer while exploring.
On Saturday I joined a few friends, after a short walk through the park, at a local restaurant to celebrate Chuck's birthday. Chuck has been installing and repairing boat systems, including refrigeration and air conditioning for some decades. He was one of my first friends at Annapolis Landing Marina two years ago when he taught me how to repair Kelly IV's A/C (instead of doing it himself and charging me). Truly a great guy.
The return trip to Annapolis was without wind and we dropped anchor in Back Creek for the night. Next day I sailed a return trip to the Wye River to try out a different anchorage in my quest to take Kelly IV to gunkholes we've never visited. It proved to be a great little spot tucked behind a small peninsula with fish jumping all around Kelly IV (Click for Video). As Wye Island is a park, it is entirely rural, the closest homes are almost 1/2 mile away on the other side of the river making the anchorage feel extremely private and secluded.
Given the protection and security of the USNA moorings, Kelly IV and I returned to Weems Creek on the 9th. The forecast was for 10-15 knots (gusts to 20k) from the south with 3 foot waves, so I had high hopes for a blustery sail, especially as we'd be running and reaching to the north on the Miles River and the open Chesapeake Bay. The reality was barely 10 knots from the South which petered out to about 5 knots, still from the south. This meant a calm sail (Click for Video) north up the Miles River but then we had to motor the entire length of Eastern Bay and Chesapeake Bay.
A couple dolphins played nearby Kelly IV, as we motored up the Severn River toward Weems Creek. Although the breeze began to build a bit, it wasn't worth raising sail for the last minutes into Weems Creek. Of course, as I went to pick up my USNA mooring the wind became blustery and I had to drop my boat hook into the creek as I didn't have enough way on to hold the mooring and slip my line through it. Kelly IV and I came back for a second try after retrieving the first boat hook using my other boat hook. This time all looked good until Kelly IV kept pushing past the mooring until I finally had to drop the second boat hook into the drink. It turns out I forgot to place the transmission in neutral so she kept motoring past the mooring. I soon recovered the second boat hook and made a last effort to pick up the mooring. This time I had enough way to reach the mooring and also left the tranny in neutral so the boat stopped once I got the line strung through the mooring.
Kelly IV and I have now visited 6 new anchorages this past month and are currently settled into Weems Creek. Enough sun peeks between the raindrops so the batteries remain full, I've been doing small projects aboard, watching some DVDs, reading “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court,” by Mark Twain, and all is well.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 June 2014 17:30 )
'Bash Bunks Aboard Kelly IV, May 27 – June 1, 2014
Colin is a Wabash College student who is spending the summer in Annapolis as an intern for the professional lacrosse club Chesapeake Bayhawks. Wabash began a program a few years ago that enabled students and recent grads who needed a place to stay for a few days to find alumni who had space available.
Despite the significant detail I provided so prospective “bunkers” would understand what they are getting into, Colin chose to stay with me aboard Kelly IV for a few days while he made his living arrangements for the summer. As a result, I got to know a modern day Wabash student and Colin learned about living aboard a small sailboat.
It was a terrific experience for me and, apparently, was a good deal for Colin, as well. Colin is a terrific young man who is intelligent company, works hard, learns quickly and is open to new and different ways of getting things done. As Kelly IV was anchored in Whitehall Creek and Don and Donna Hekler's seawall was our dinghy dock, Colin met and impressed the Hekler's with his manners and intelligence, as well.
Tom Lynch joined us for a sail and some fishing on Saturday, May 31. It was race day for the Leukemia Cup, so Kelly IV had a terrific view of the bay filled with racing sailboats battling for prestige and working hard to raise funds for a good cause. The breeze was wonderful, blowing about 12-15 knots so the sailing was great as Tom and I literally showed Colin “the ropes.” OK, for you sailors, we showed Colin “how to work the lines.” (Sailors know that rope is merely a commodity. Once in use on a boat, it becomes a “line.”)
Sunday was my last day hosting Colin aboard Kelly IV so we made the most of it sailing in the light breeze out in the Chesapeake Bay, then visiting the Saga 48, Altair, that ocean cruiser, Joe Reed, just bought for his planned cruise around the world.
It was great fun to have Colin aboard. Assuming he is representative of the current crop of Wabash men, the college has nothing to worry about and can be proud of this generation of students.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 June 2014 14:52 )
Old Friends and Blue Angels, May 19-20, 2014
Whitehall Creek feeds south into Whitehall Bay and is the home of good friends, Don and Donna Hekler.
And best of all, I get to visit with Don and Donna!
There was little wind as Kelly IV and I motored out of Marshy Creek which was fine with me as it made it easy to closely follow the track we made the night before. It was the only way I could be certain of keeping Kelly IV off the bottom in the shallow Marshy Creek. Given the light air, we motor-sailed out of Prospect Bay, but had enough breeze from the north to shut down the engine when Kelly IV turned southwest into Eastern Bay. You can watch the view from Kelly IV's cockpit here. Although much quieter than the boisterous sail of the previous day, we still enjoyed a magnificent morning sluicing through the flat waters towards Bloody Point (see video).
As the minimal breeze remained north and tapered to almost nothing, the trusty Yanmar was called back on duty for the balance of the trip north into Whitehall Creek.
On the 20th, Noel Gasparin joined me for a terrific experience witnessing the Navy's Blue Angels as they practiced for the Naval Academy's Commencement Program the following day. As the chartlet shows, Kelly IV merely trekked back and forth across the Severn River as we ogled the roaring jets. The mainsail remained furled and the genoa was sheeted tightly, as if close-hauled. In the light 5-8 knot wafts, this permitted easy control as Kelly IV sailed a leisurely 2-3 knots, pinching up and falling off as needed to avoid the other boats that filled the river, rubbernecking the blue and gold aircraft roaring overhead.
It was a grand spectacle to enjoy as the fighters thundered only a couple hundred feet above us, appearing to be close enough for the pilots to reach out and touch Kelly IV's masthead. Noel captured a number of superb photographs, including this one.
Last Updated ( Monday, 02 June 2014 15:49 )
Close-Hauled Thrill Day, May 18, 2014
Woke up to a golden, gorgeous day with a 15 knot breeze out of the north. I attempted to sail off the anchor, but the cove was so tiny, there just wasn't room to turn downwind without going aground, so Kelly IV's Yanmar backed her up enough to make room. Sailing out of the Wye River included a fun dogleg, and was a quiet, dreamy run, reach, run and reach into the Miles River. As we were sailing with the wind, there was no sound save the soft gurgle of water flowing past Kelly IV's hull. This was pristine sailing at its best, just beautiful! Check this video.
As Kelly IV faced north into the breeze, she heeled sharply, then quickly found her feet and cut through the waves, flying along, throwing spray into the sparkling sunlight. Our destination was Marshy Creek just east of Kent Narrows, so the balance of the trip was a close-hauled sail, pinching into the perfect breeze. Kelly IV bounded along, crashing from one wave to the next, a rush of thrills with the wind singing in the rig and the surf slapping down the hull.
There was plenty of breeze and all day to sail so tacking out of the Miles River, across Eastern Bay and into Prospect Bay was not only no bother, it was a tremendous day of wonderful sailing.
Marshy Creek proved to be even more shallow than indicated on the charts. This meant Kelly IV and I just crept gingerly into the anchorage. The next morning we followed our track back out, fearful of drifting even a few feet off our track coming in. We never did touch the bottom, or the mud was so soft we didn't notice it. Regardless, at low tide the depth sounder kept blinking between 5 and 6 feet, so drawing 5 feet, we were only inches off the bottom.
It proved to be an interesting anchorage with Route 50's buzzing traffic, larger boats traversing the Kent Narrows and nearby marinas to the north, while numerous small boats and kayakers explored the marshes to the south. Although I didn't venture ashore, it would have been a short dinghy ride into one of the marinas where a guidebook showed a launch ramp. Even so, given the shallow depths, I won't be bringing Kelly IV back here.
Last Updated ( Monday, 02 June 2014 15:26 )