Below are details of the voyages that Captain Murph has undertaken. There are five entries per page, just scroll down (maybe a LOT) or enter a search word(s) to the right. These Trip Logs are in reverse chronological order.
Kelly IV is in her Current Location.
Click Here to follow the track of Kelly IV's 2011 cruise of 2,500 nautical miles from Erie, PA to Warwick, RI. Click each image to get the next one. For a review of various facts or notes on Kelly IV's 2011 Cruise click here.
For the action packed Delivery of 2010 through 8 foot waves and 30 knot winds across 140 nm of Lake Erie, click here.
If you would like to be notified whenever another entry has been added to these logs, just email Captain Murph and give him your email address. He'll let you know whenever new content is posted.
To see a larger version of the photos, some will open a larger version by clicking the photo. When that doesn't work, review the Photo Gallery and click the thumbnail version there.
Anywhere on the website, right click any image and select "View Image" for the larger version. Use your browser's "Back" arrow to return.
Rhode River and Thomas Point Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay w/Ollie, April 12-14, 2013
Oliver showed up in Annapolis at the marina after work early Friday evening. After provisioning we motored over to Spa Creek and picked up a mooring for the night, then dinghied up Ego Alley for a short walk through the ancient and wonderful streets of Annapolis. The evening was appropriate for my Irish friend as we enjoyed a terrific dinner at Galway Bay, the site of a great vacation with my wife in 2007, but this time the local Irish pub of note, here in Annapolis. The light rain that fell during our walk back to the dinghy foretold a great weekend of sunshine and easy breezes.
After breakfast on board we slipped the mooring and headed out into the Severn River with the wind behind us. That meant we could quickly raise sails and kill the engine. Although the breeze was light, it was still a wonderful sail until we were withing about 100 yards of Thomas Point Lighthouse. We found ourselves with a mix of nothing or extremely light airs that merely circled us, taking us nowhere. After getting the closest photos we've ever taken of the historic lighthouse, we fired up the trusty Yanmar for about ten minutes to keep from drifting into the lighthouse. Soon we reached the breeze and actually sailed the entire way southwest then west into the West River, then north up the Rhode River, turning west again into the anchorage. All under sail. We would have dropped the anchor under sail, but we had to pass close by “High Island” which is not an island any more, but merely a very shallow spot in the middle of an otherwise safe and terrific anchorage. I ran the motor just to keep very tight control of our position as we passed the shoal area. Actually I should say Ollie kept tight control as he had the helm while I prepared the anchor on the foredeck.
The CQR bit into the shallow, muddy bottom and we were set for the night. Although the breeze was a bit cool with temps in the low 60s, then 50s, we grilled steaks on the barbie and had a terrific dinner in the cockpit. The dodger kept most of the cooling breeze away so we ate in warmth and comfort. At sundown, the cooler temperatures drove us below.
During the morning we each saw an Osprey diving for its breakfast, my Osprey failed to catch any, but Ollie's caught a fish and flew off to feed it's family. If only we'd been fast enough to catch a photo or two.
We raised sails as soon as the anchor was stowed, the engine was silenced and we sailed out of the Rhode and headed for Thomas Point Light and the way home. The wind was rather flukey, starting, stopping, heading us, lifting us, leaving us with nothing. All within minutes. We would no sooner sheet the sails in tight to sail close hauled than the wind would clock around and we'd have to gybe and sail downwind, immediately followed by another gybe as the wind moved 100 degrees across our stern. We'd see fellow sailors sailing close hauled just a hundred yards away while we sat becalmed, then 5 minutes later we'd fly by them on a broad reach as they were stuck with no breeze at all. It took us 3 hours to get past Thomas Point Light, just 6 nautical miles from our anchorage.
Once past Thomas Point, the breeze steadied, but was still light from the southeast, so we sailed for another hour on a broad reach. It was nice but slow enough that we finally had to fire up the iron genny to be certain Ollie made it home in time for a good night's sleep and work in the morning.
Thanks to some great neighbors in Annapolis Landing Marina, we settled Kelly IV into her home and bid farewell to our crew for the weekend, Oliver, a great sailor, fiddler and conversationalist. Very true to the Irish breed.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 April 2013 20:52 )
Noel & I went sailing last Sunday afternoon, April 7 on a bright, sunny, beautiful yet blustery day. With winds blowing 20 knots out of the SE and gusts to 25+ knots, it was a great introduction to the sailing season. Kelly IV was often heeled to 20 degrees or more while Noel & I pressed our feet on the opposite side of the cockpit to keep upright. Noel is learning to sail and the stiff breeze made tacking and gybing an athletic event as the jib trimmer would lunge across the cockpit to haul in the sheet before the wind could yank it away.
Last Updated ( Monday, 15 April 2013 08:29 )
Governor's Cup Race on “Family Knot”, August 3-4, 2012
Captain Trip welcomed Stan and Murph aboard “Family Knot,” the Gemini 105MC cruising catamaran he and his family have been cruising around the Chesapeake for 7 years. We motored out to the bay beyond the starting line to practice a few tacks. This was important as tacking a catamaran can be tricky as the widely separated hulls can easily get caught in irons if the crew is not careful. Each tack was successful and a bit faster than the tack before it. This good omen encouraged the captain and crew. Since none of us had raced together on “Family Knot” it was nice to know we were already performing as a good team.
The start was very smooth with no close encounters of the bumping kind and we were ahead of a couple boats and only a few yards behind most of our class, Multihull B. You can see some really cool tracking of the race, including “Family Knot” due to the GPS unit every boat had on board for this race. You can follow the details at this website: http://www.smcm.edu/govcup/.
With the breeze out of the south, it was a tacking adventure. Although the wind was light at about 8-10 knots at the start, it very slowly yet consistently built until we were seeing 16-18 knots of breeze by midnight. With the lighter air at the start we broke out the screecher, a very large, light wind sail flown off the roller furler forward of the genoa jib. With the screecher sheeted tight and the mainsail and boom also close hauled our boat speed through the water gradually and steadily rose from 6 knots until we were barrelling along at over 10 knots of speed through the water.
Our practice tacking before the start led Stan and Murph to a deadly sense of overconfidence as each crew suffered the heart wrenching status of stranding “Family Knot” in irons. Skipper Trip was kind while disappointed in the two tacks, but his guidance led the crew so that the dreaded event never occurred again.
With the stronger breeze the screecher had to come down, but when we discovered a knot in the furling line, the routine effort became a serious struggle for Captain Trip as he knelt at the bow getting doused by the green water as he worked through the problem. The solution was to just drop the screecher's halyard and stow the entire sail and furler in a locker until a better time came to work out the kinks.
Even with the screecher doused, the water was shooting out of the stern from under both hulls, the sound loud and exciting, especially after dark, as it reminded me of a fire hose shooting a steady stream aft. The leeward hull was pressed deeply into the bay and was shooting a boisterous wake high above the transom as we flew along our tack.
I was the first of the crew to buckle under and asked the skipper for a rest. Kindly, Captain Trip sent me to my bunk below. As I fell into a deep slumber, I could hear Stan and Trip tack the boat several more times, but the loud rushing seas gradually grew quieter.
About 3am I woke to Stan suggesting it was time he got a little shut-eye. Given that I had expected much less of a nap, I climbed out of the berth as quickly as I could and wished Stan a good night's rest. Trip was still gamely staying awake and guiding us through the moonlit night as we ducked freighters, barges, tugs and fellow racers. Aside from the excitement of a racer with no nav lights save a single all around white light (usually just an anchor light) and a tug pushing a barge with a very large, bright spotlight that obliterated the possibility of seeing his navigation lights, the crossing went smoothly. And thankfully, all were without incident.
Just before the sun began to light up the eastern horizon with its initial glow, Trip raised Stan and grabbed a little rest on the settee in the main salon. By this time the breeze had settled back down to a lighter 6-10 knots so our boat speed also dropped to 4-8 knots. Very good for a sailboat in the light air, but not nearly as exciting as the 10+ knots of the late evening before.
Stan and Murph worked “Family Knot” through a few tacks towards Point Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac River as Trip gained some well-earned rest. By the time the sun had cleared the horizon and began heating up the new day, Captain Trip was also up and ready to tackle the challenge of a light air, downwind finish.
The final tack to make the turn at Point Lookout proved successful and our skipper dragged the monstrous spinnaker from the depths of the sail locker. After a significant effort as the sheets, guys, halyard and sock were properly led and deployed, the spinnaker was set free of the enclosing sock and pulled powerfully on “Family Knot” providing a 3 knot boost to the declining speed the downwind point of sail was threatening.
The wind turned flukey as it dropped to almost nothing with the spinnaker just hanging from the pole, halyard and sheet, then would pipe up to 15 knots as we blasted underneath a full and nearly bursting spinnaker. That was the experience as “Family Knot” caught up to a struggling monohull trying to make their spinnaker fly properly. The pièce de résistance came as we caught a satisfying puff that seemed to leave the monohull grounded as “Family Knot” raced by under full spinnaker. Although the beams of the two vessels were only 75 feet abreast of each other the wind was clearly favoring Trip, Stan and Murph.
The gun sounded as “Family Knot” cleared the finish at the tall ship serving as the committee boat and the race was over. As Stan said, “We hit nothing larger than us and we finished.” In other words, it was a highly successful race. And we enjoyed the grand finish of blasting by another boat just before crossing the finish line.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:33 )
Family Sailing is Great Fun! August 2, 2012
When a great American family goes sailing, the day is going to be a great one.
Stan and Adrian and their children Leah and AJ are the friendliest folks and truly enjoy their time on the water. They met Kelly IV and Captain Murph, clambered aboard, picked out their life jackets and we were off to find the breeze.
Although there was not much wind in Back Creek, Stan soon found it at the mouth of the Severn River. Stan's steering proved his sailing classes were time well spent as he nosed Kelly just off the wind enough to enjoy a bit of heel and kick up a light spray in the blazing sunshine and light air.
AJ took over the wheel and did as well as his Dad keeping the speed up and the apparent wind at its best. There may have been some coaching by Dad but AJ's guidance led Kelly across the bay until we had cleared the breadth of the main shipping channel and were nearing the western shore of Kent Island, several miles east of Annapolis.
Leah's turn at the helm indicated a trend was in the making. This was a family made for sailing! She had a light touch on the wheel and a grin on her face as she drove Kelly IV towards Tolly Point and Bay Ridge back on the Annapolis side of the Bay.
Adrian really excited her clan when she applied the magic touch to take Kelly IV to her maximum speed of the day spraying the sparkling bay water over the bow and getting the entire boat to display toothy grins.
Stan enjoyed getting back at the controls, but had the less exciting duty of leading the crew off the wind. In the light air, this meant the apparent wind was minimal and the cooling nature of the breeze disappeared. We fired up the iron genny and motored into Back Creek.
It turns out that when docking the boat this wonderful team followed Captain Murph's guidance perfectly, but still experienced multiple unsuccessful efforts to get Kelly into her slip. Finally a friend on the dock asked, “Is your mainsail raised for a reason?” The extremely red-faced (nothing to do with the sun) Captain Murph merely replied that Kelly would be back to the slip after a short jaunt for some sea room to drop the sail that he should have lowered before nearing the marina.
Once the mainsail was lowered, the great family crew docked as expected and all was well.
Last Updated ( Monday, 06 August 2012 18:38 )
Liquid Sunshine and the New Cat, July 20-22, 2012
New crew and renewing crew visited “Kelly IV” and CaptMurph last weekend. Unlike the many hot, humid days experienced much of the previous summer days, this weekend was just plain wet. Experienced crew Guy Stewart, Bill & Sarah Paviol introduced new crew Ed and Meredith Stewart to “Kelly IV” and Capt Murph. Due to the long drive from Pittsburgh and St. Mary's, PA, the weekend crew didn't arrive until after 11pm, but that was just in time to fire up the galley stove for some late night burgers and munchies. Once hunger was sated, the crew, new and old, toured the new catamaran that is a major yacht in the Moorings fleet in Annapolis. Once the appropriate oohs and aahs were expressed, it was finally late enough for everyone to return to “Kelly” and crash in their bunks for the night.
The next day continued with unceasing liquid sunshine, so the sea trial of the new powercat was cancelled. Breakfast was still a grand success which is always the case when this crew is running the show on board “Kelly.” Bill was the primary chef, but had significant assists from Guy and Ed. Murph, Sarah and Meredith merely enjoyed the fruits of their labors.
Murph had to attend to his broker's duties, so the crew hit the town of Annapolis for a day of touring enjoyment, visiting the shops, walking the thoroughfares, and ducking between the raindrops.
That evening, the crew put together another grand meal, proving that we never starve and usually eat much too well on board “Kelly IV.” The evening downpours maintained the damp atmosphere, so “Kelly's” crew shrugged it off and played 500 through the evening until sack time. One of the best results of the weekend is that Guy didn't have to perform his MacGyver impersonation by repairing something required to go sailing! Guy was actually able to relax and enjoy himself!
The next day was still cloudy, but the indomitable crew sallied forth on board the new catamaran, “Sylvester.” The slick new yacht was soon operated by Meredith and Sarah (under CaptMurph's watchful eye) and they did a great job steering “Sylvester” towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, northeast of Annapolis. A mild breeze filled in for a time so the boat drifted under sail for about an hour and a half, covering about about a mile and a half. Not fast, but it was a lazy, comfortable day to be out on the water.
Crossing under the bridge was both the turning point to head south for Thomas Point Lighthouse as well as breaking out the fixins for a terrific lunch. The little breeze we had was now nearly nonexistent, so the engines were fired up for a motorsail south. As we passed one yacht after another, at least one crew member was heard to be asking those on a nearby yacht, “might you have any Grey Poupon?”
Thomas Point Lighthouse is the only screw-pile lighthouse in the bay which stands at its original site. Others exist at museums and are great to visit, but sailing past the light at Thomas Point always seems special. “Sylvester” took the “Kelly” crew nearby for photos, then returned everyone safely to the docks at Annapolis Landing Marina in time for the long trip home.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 July 2012 18:40 )