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.
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Although the weather was better on Thursday, the rain, breeze and clouds made it hard to believe. The improvement was smaller waves and less boisterous gusts. The breeze was north and east so once we turned south it was behind the beam. We left Rockport with hopes for the forecast to improve as the day wore on.
Kip, Kelly and I were sailing in company with Windeva, a Cheoy Lee ketch with wooden masts out of Falmouth, Maine. Her skipper was sailing solo to Scituate, Massachusetts, so we departed at the same time and stayed within sight of each other for the entire day. For the first several miles it was a challenge to stay visible to each other as the visibility through the gray haze and patchy fog was a mile or less.
The waves north of Cape Ann crashed noisily past us as we forced our way through them for the first hour, but then as our course turned to the south the waves were then on our stern so we could surf them across Massachusetts Bay.
The rain was steady and heavy until the clouds thinned enough to see a lighter gray sky, but no sun, in the early afternoon. We could make out our destination, a lighthouse standing proud at the entrance to Scituate Harbor. On this day, the closer we approached, the less we could see the lighthouse! The fog was returning and threatening to make the harbor entrance a challenge to enter.
Fortunately, visibility was never less than half a mile which was plenty to make out the red and green buoys to follow them into the harbor. We topped off our diesel and water, then picked up a mooring for the night.
The next morning the fog returned with a vengence and we could see no more than a quarter mile for the entire morning. We saw a sailboat and a couple lobster boats sneak past us in the dim gray haze, but no whales despite Cape Cod Bay being known for great whale watching.
Two hours out from Sandwich, the skies cleared and the wind filled in so we sailed (no motor!) the balance of the day, jibing our way to the eastern entrance of the Cape Cod Canal. The marina was filled with commercial fishing boats and charters and only a few sailboats.
In Sandwich, our dockmate was a Frenchman from St. Pierre, the island off the coast of Newfoundland that is still part of France. The three of us joined the crew from Dragon's Wing, a steel, junk-rigged sailboat that I had moored next to in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, for a drink and lots of great conversation and camaraderie.
The next morning was a great sailing day, bursting bright and sunny over us. Kip and I waited for the tide to turn so Kelly IV could ride the favorable current through the canal. With the strong current carrying us quickly to the southwest, we were through the canal in just over an hour! We made great time seeing our speed over ground exceed 8 knots for much of the canal.
The breeze was aft of the beam so we set the main and genoa wing and wing, shut off the engine (yea!) and spent the entire run to Cuttyhunk Island under sail. We found ourselves heading southwest parallel to another sailboat just a mile away. As many of you know, when two sailboats are headed the same direction you have what we call . . . “a Race!” We had a reef in Kelly's mainsail, but only because we had seen a small tear in the sail that we did not want turning into a large tear. Our competitor had full main and jib so it seemed the other guy might win our “race”. Then we rigged the whisker pole which pumped our speed by a full knot or more and we slowly but decisively pressed our advantage and left our parallel sailboat behind us.
Cuttyhunk is a very rural island with 200 seasonal and 20 year around residents. We dinghied ashore for a brief walk, but took a detour when we were hailed by a sailing couple who had questions about our bright yellow Portland Pudgy. They invited us aboard from drinks and conversation which Kip and I enjoyed. When it was clear that twilight might keep us from our walk ashore, we climbed back into our dinghy and continued to the island. Once ashore, we walked across the island and viewed Martha's Vineyard from the eastern shore, then returned to Kelly to watch the evening's entertainment. An unattended anchored sailboat dragged and banged into an anchored cruising trawler before the harbormaster got control of her. We were on a mooring a couple hundred yards away and were too far away to help, but within view of much of the activity.
Amazingly, the next morning proved to be another terrific day of sailing. The wind had clocked to the east, but now our course took us west, so we sailed downwind jibing the mainsail from wing and wing to a port tack run. We were again using the whisker pole to keep the genny filled as Kelly bounded before the following waves towards Newport, Rhode Island.
It was clear we were headed to sailing's Mecca, as we passed more sailboats, sailboat races, and pleasure craft on the water than Kelly and I had seen all summer. While there were lots of sailboats in Maine, especially Southwest Harbor, the number of boats actually out sailing was much greater in Rhode Island.
Kip and I turned Kelly north along the west side of Conanicut Island, Jamestown, Rhode Island. Once inside Dutch Island we dropped the hook in Dutch Harbor for the week. We planned to visit Newport and the Newport International Boat Show (NIBS) and doing so from our own vessel, anchored for free, was great!
The NIBS takes place over the weekend, September 15 – 18. Kip and I took the bus to Newport and played tourist, walking the docks as the boats were being jostled into place amongst the temporary docks set up for the show. Later in the day, the International Yacht Restoration School provoked our interest when we took advantage of their workshop, set up so visitors could take in the wonderful aroma of wood being worked and shaped as the craftsmen restored the wooden yachts.
I have decided that Narragansett Bay will be the end of our cruising for this year. I spent much of today calling boatyards and viewing websites to select a yard for Kelly IV to spend the winter. We'll schedule her haulout for next week and spend several days getting her decommissioned so she weathers the cold New England winter and is ready to continue our cruise again next summer.
Kelly IV and I have now cruised 2488 nautical miles from Erie, PA.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2012 13:01 )
After sailing Kelly IV 1135 nautical miles solo, Kelly and I have crew! Kip Martin joined Kelly's crew in Portland arriving on board Friday afternoon. Kip got a thorough walk around to get the layout and safety details, then left to do some shopping for groceries. I did our route planning for the next few legs, plotting waypoints and routes for us to safely make our way into Massachusetts.
Kip hiked the groceries to Kelly over two miles, round trip. I stowed the food while he settled his gear into the bunk and spaces allotted to him. We had dinner and chatted, then climbed into our bunks for the night.
About 5:30am, the dawn light woke me so we got ready for an early departure. The forecast was calling for wind and waves to be directly on our nose and that they would build through the day. Our plan was to sail early while things were more calm and beat the rougher afternoon weather to port. We only had about 9 hours at cruising speed to travel, and the plan has worked in the past, so we dropped the mooring and were off.
Our departure was noteworthy as we passed a large cruise ship and her accompanying two 50 caliber machine gun Coast Guard escorts as they were entering Portland Harbor. Kip also sighted a seal and commented on the large number of lobster pots. As we gained the open sea, we found the breeze was already 10 knots or more and the waves were consistently 4 feet or more. With these two forces pressing us in the face, Kelly was making about 3 knots velocity made good. Then the wind and waves began to increase which knocked our speed to around 2 – 2.5 knots. At that point, I decided to turn around and return to Portland. If the forecast was correct about the weather getting windier and wavier (is that a word?) directly in our face, then we'd never make our next harbor by nightfall.
After we turned around and had the wind and waves at our back and quarter, the ride was smoother and we raised our sails and killed the engine. It was a fine day for sailing, just not the direction we needed to sail. Then I noticed that in our earlier bouncing around, we knocked loose another solar panel support, just as it happened in the storm sailing out of St. Peters, Nova Scotia. Apparently, I did not fix all the weak points and the last one failed in the rocking seas.
We dodged unforecasted rain as we picked up our mooring, then repaired the loose support. Of course, the repair involved hanging out over the stern of the boat, so if any parts were dropped they'd immediately be lost to Neptune. Thankfully Neptune didn't take anything from us that day.
As the morning wore on, we saw the day unfold with light winds in the harbor, finally building to about 10 knots in the afternoon. Since it was too late to restart and make our destination, we decided to enjoy a daysail in Portland Harbor, just sailing Kelly IV back and forth with the other weekend sailors and wooden charter boats. It proved to be a wonderful time just relaxing and literally showing Kip the ropes. As a former dinghy sailor, he picked up the nuances of sailing Kelly IV quickly and was tacking smoothly as we dodged the harbor traffic and lobster pots.
On Sunday morning, we dropped our Portland mooring making our second departure, and this time we really made the trip! It was clear as we exited the harbor, but then the fog rolled in and our view dropped to less than 1/4 mile. For several hours we motored through calm but patchy fog, occasionally seeing a freighter or lobster boats a mile or so away, then entering another patch of fog and passing a buoy by only a couple hundred yards and never seeing it, except on radar.
As noon approached, the fog cleared and the sun ruled the rest of the day. The breeze also gradually filled in, first from the southwest (directly on Kelly's bow), then sliding off to the south. We were able to gain a few tenths of a knot in speed by motorsailing with our mainsail up and we gained a few more tenths of a knot as the wind strengthened and became more southerly.
Kip sighted a fin whale just a hundred feet off our starboard bow and again only 50 feet off our port beam. The thrill was terrific as we smiled and laughed about the very cool experience of seeing the whale up close and personal.
10 miles from our destination, York Harbor, I saw what appeared to be a city skyline many miles away off our starboard bow. A mile later, I realized it was the dramatic outline of the Cape Neddick Nubble. This is a small rocky outcrop of an island with a lighthouse and keeper's house, just off Cape Neddick. With the rocks, lighthouse, and keeper's house all scratching distinct lines against the afternoon sky, the outline of their features appeared to me as a distant city skyline.
As we approached York River, the harbor entrance, we found ourselves amongst several other sailboats enjoying the southwest breeze for a boisterous sail in the 3 – 5 feet waves, including a small laser, just like the ones Kip used to sail.
Monday, September 5 was sunny and beautiful, but the forecast called for southwesterlies up to 20+ knots and waves 3-5 feet all of which would make for an uncomfortable bash motoring south. Instead we relaxed in port, doing some minor boat work, laundry and route planning. Our entertainment for the day was to rig the sailing gear on the Portland Pudgy and we sailed up the York River, with the flood tide until we had to drop the mast at a low bridge. We continued our exploration of the river, as massive summer homes peered at us over the evergreen treetops. When the tide turned, we rode the ebb back down to Kelly.
Our trip to Rockport, Massachusetts began in the morning as we dropped the mooring and motored out of the harbor on the first of the ebb current. Although the day was a little rainy and gray, the wind was a favorable northerly with the 2 – 4 feet waves rolling us gently on our way.
We passed east of the Isles of Shoals, a group of islands about 6 nautical miles southeast of Portsmouth, NH. The waves crashed ashore only a half mile from us and that was our closest approach to the state of New Hampshire.
Although the lobster pots were less evident on this leg they were still a nautical hazard to be dealt with so Kip & I took turns as lookout or helmsman, working to avoid them successfully. We also steered clear of a fishing trawler with outriggers and nets working her gear, but she was much easier to see than the brightly colored, but frequently obscured lobster pots.
We tied up at a 2-boat floating dock, moored just off the wharf in Rockport Harbor, and met our neighbors on the dock. Steve and his daughter had sailed to Rockport from Newburyport the day before against the wind and waves that Kip and I avoided. They said it was a rough, uncomfortable sail.
The rain forecasted for Wednesday convinced us to stay in port, especially as Hurricane Katia is now predicted to turn sharply northeast and far away from us in Massachusetts. This means the weather will improve over the next few days. We are using the engine to recharge the batteries, as the gray, rainy, shorter day is limiting the power from the solar panels. I'll use the power to update the website, as we have good internet access from the boat.
Kelly IV and I have now travelled over 2349 nautical miles from Erie, PA.
Last Updated ( Monday, 14 November 2011 16:55 )
The family operated marina in Rockland works hard and does a great job. They splashed Kelly on Tuesday so as soon as I awoke on Wednesday, we dropped our mooring and motored across the sunrise out of Penobscot Bay. It was a beautiful day with a cool beginning so I was wearing my sweater as I have most of this trip.
The day went by quickly as I dodged the uncountable lobster pot buoys. As the day warmed up, I basked in the sunshine, enjoying views of the working lobster boats, a few large yachts and even a few dolphins and a seal. We passed by Allen Island and a Black and Gold lobster pot, I've dubbed the “Pittsburgh Pot”.
Kelly and I steered northwest sailing past two lighthouses to Boothbay Harbor. The slight southwest breeze gave us a lift into the harbor as we sailed past two Maine schooners. Boothbay harbor was chock full of moorings. With no space to anchor, we picked up a mooring and dinghied in to do a little laundry and meet the locals.
Portland was only 32 miles away, so we didn't leave until after 7am and raised the sails as we were leaving Boothbay Harbor. The easterly breeze was from a favorable direction, given our southwesterly course, but only blowing about 6 knots. With full genny and mainsail Kelly could only make about 2 – 3 knots, so we motor sailed to Portland, the breeze adding a little help.
We passed by a number of working lobster boats again, just as we have all along the Maine coast. The lobster boats haul the traps up on their starboard side, but I have seen two (out of several hundred) that were rigged to haul their pots on the port side.
For several hours a large freighter sat on the distant horizon, slowly and gradually getting larger, but never changing its bearing from Kelly. The sailors among you will recognize the classic notice for a potential collision. As Kelly and I steered into the harbor at Portland, so did our freighter, an extremely large blue tanker. We let her pass in front of us as three tugs maneuvered the humongous vessel through a 90 degree turn and slipped her into the dock a smooth as you like.
A few minutes later I picked up the mooring at Portland Yacht Services, across the harbor from the blue behemoth. I changed the engine oil and filter, but had a mechanic check my work and walk me through a number of questions I had about the Yanmar motor. I learned a number of things about maintenance that should keep the new engine running smoothly.
Kelly IV and I have now travelled over 2254 nautical miles from Erie, PA.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 October 2011 00:05 )
Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm before it got to Maine. Saturday began as the calm before the storm with temperatures in the high 70s and very little breeze. I got another load of laundry done, and completed my preparations for the incoming storm.
The most important element of storm preparation was securing Kelly IV safely. Having the boatyard haul her out and set her up safely on shore accomplished that. Also, there must be no opportunities for the storm winds to damage Kelly's canvas or equipment. Even before hauling Kelly, I had removed the sails and stowed them below decks. In addition, I rigged a crane using the whisker pole and some block and tackle to hoist the dinghy onto Kelly's foredeck. Once lashed into place, the dinghy was not only secured, but also covered the hatch in the foredeck and the starboard side portlight insuring no leaks in those places.
Once on shore, I took off the bimini and the dodger and lashed down the solar panels so they wouldn't move in the high winds. I wrapped the loose cockpit cushions into a single bundle wrapped in canvas and stuffed them under shock cords so they couldn't be blown away. I also stowed the fenders into the small space between the aft seat and the steering wheel so they wouldn't catch the wind either.
I took the four halyards and ran them so they were additional supports for the mast. One along the forestay, another by the backstay and one port, the other starboard, each along the shrouds. Other gear, like the anchors and diesel jerry cans were already lashed down. The docklines and anchor lines were checked and confirmed secure.
Saturday evening brought rising winds as Irene bullied into town. The storm center was many miles inland by this time, enough so that the winds in Rockland stayed out of the south and southwest. This meant the harbor was much better protected than if the storm winds had come from the east, straight into the mouth of the harbor. Although it was noisy and windy through the night, I slept fine only waking twice, enough to confirm there were no problems and fell back to sleep without even climbing out of my bunk.
Dawn was barely discernible as Sunday's gray morning was nearly as dark as Saturday's night. Periods of rain punctuated the hard driven winds, now blowing gale force or stronger. Kelly IV stood firm with minimal vibrations of her mast when bludgeoned by the strongest gusts. I walked around the boatyard between rainfalls and saw that all was well, despite the roaring wind and whistling lines of the sailboats.
I spent midday Sunday using the internet in the marina office and reading my book. Early afternoon found me pushed down the street to a local pub where I found the Steelers playing the Falcons. For about an hour the sun peeked from behind the clouds and the winds quieted. I suspect that was the storm's eye as the gray clouds and blustery breeze soon came back to storm strength.
The storm winds buffeted my stroll into an uphill hike as I returned to Kelly IV. All was well on board, the lashings securing the gear in the face of the 40 knot bully. High tide came about 11pm, and it was a very high tide. The marina staff had earlier expressed concern about the floating docks floating free of their pilings in an extremely high tide. The piers and piles were bouncing at the top of their reach in the washing machine waves, but none were high enough to be damaged.
Once again, I slept well through the night and by morning all was normal. The breeze still persisted, but was down to about 20 knots, a normal wind for these coastal waters. The brilliant sunshine brightened the outlook for continuing our journey along the coast of Maine.
Kelly IV and I have now travelled over 2177 nautical miles from Erie, PA and weathered a major storm without incident.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 October 2011 00:05 )
The guidebook suggests departing Westport, Nova Scotia about 1 hour before low tide to minimize the strong currents rushing against you as you head north, then northwest for Maine. Since Kelly IV and I only average about 5 knots, this was both good and bad advice. Good for the above reason, but the weather forecast strong winds building in the early evening and waiting for the tide would have us arriving with the strong winds blowing what would then be against the current as we sailed the last 15 miles into Maine.
I double checked the tide tables and confirmed that the tides were at their monthly minimum so the strongest current would be slower than at most other times of the month. I decided it was best to leave early, fight the ebb tide for the first 3 hours, then ride the flood tide the rest of the trip and miss the wind versus tide altogether.
The morning sun burnished everything in gold and made for a terrific sight departing Westport and Canada. We did have to fight the current, seeing our speed over ground drop to under 3 knots as we were running the engine to make 6+ knots. That event extinguished itself as we exited the tight channel in the Grand passage and entered the open waters of the Bay of Fundy.
An hour later the sun hid beyond the fog and I couldn't see more than 1/4 mile for the rest of the 47 mile trip. This area in the Bay of Fundy is well known for whale watching, but unless a whale bumped against Kelly IV, we were not going to see any. Given the results of a whale bumping, it was a good thing to not see whales that day.
The fog was brought into the bay on a light southwesterly breeze, so we took advantage of what little breeze there was and motor sailed, saving some fuel. Kelly's course took us less than a mile south of Grand Manan Island, the last part of Canada that we might have seen, but we passed by without seeing anything.
Approaching the entrance to Cutler Harbor, Maine, I could hear the fog signal but saw nothing until we almost ran into the entrance buoy. We literally didn't see it until Kelly was only a hundred feet away, heading directly for the buoy. Soon after, the shoreline shyly presented itself as a shadow only slightly darker than the gray sky and fog. This was the first harbor we had entered in fog. We've departed several harbors in fog, but that means we had already seen them before we made our way through in the poor visibility. The challenge was exciting and my heart rate confirmed it.
Suddenly the radar showed 30 or more boats ahead of us and gradually they peeked from the murk to let us know they were all on moorings. Since there was no room to anchor, I rafted along one of the larger fishing boats. After checking in with Customs (its own little adventure!) without any great strife Kelly IV was legally back in the United States for the first time since May 27th.
Rough weather kept us in port on the 22nd, so Kelly and I departed about 5am on the 23rd. It was a gorgeous day with the sun and empty blue sky dominating the water and rocky Maine shoreline. Clouds didn't join the scene until late in the afternoon.
The trip was another motor sail in the morning as the light west wind gave us a little extra push to the southwest. The wind shifted to the southwest putting the breeze on our nose and down came the sails. We did enjoy seeing dolphins and a seal as we dodged the lobster pots. There was no point where I could let down my guard as the ubiquitous lobster pots were in both Cutler Harbor and Southwest Harbor (our destination for the day) and everywhere in between. There were periods of up to 10 minutes where we might not see a lobster pot, but they were few and far between. Since I'm hand steering the boat (no autopilot), the constant need to focus on the steering shortened the apparent time underway.
In Southwest Harbor, the home of Hinkley Yachts, we passed more yachts over 50 feet long than I've ever seen in one place before. In addition, there were several very large and luxurious motor yachts, a few well over 100 feet in length. Since the marina was $2.95 per foot, I joined the several hundred other boats that were on moorings. There didn't seem to be anywhere in the harbor to anchor, just moorings or the marina.
The next morning the sun peered like a sleepy eye between the horizon and the clouds, then closed its eye behind the clouds for a gray start. A couple dolphins jumped beside us, then disappeared.
Fortunately, it was a quiet, clear day and within a couple hours the sun was back for a beautiful day to motor into the southwest breeze. Since our course took us into the eye of the wind, there was no benefit to raising a sail. Thankfully, the breeze was light and we were sailing in the protected waters behind the islands between Southwest Harbor and Rockland.
Maine has left me thinking that an autopilot would be useless here. There are so many lobster pots that I'm sure everyone must be hand steering, just as I have this entire trip. Elsewhere, I've wished for an autopilot, but not here.
As we motored past the small town of North Haven along the passage north of Vinylhaven Island, a beautiful 2 masted gaff-rigged ketch, Angelique, raised her sails and slipped through the harbor. She was barely making way and had to tack to move into the open waters of Penobscot Bay. If Kelly and I had tried that we might still be tacking amongst the islands! Kelly doesn't point into the wind very well, so we use the iron genny to do our close hauled sailing. :-)
In Rockland, I picked up a mooring at Beggar's Wharf and used their internet to catch up on email, my website, and plan for Irene, the hurricane that will be down to a tropical storm when it gets to Rockland. On Thursday, August 25, I took the sails down and prepared the boat to be hauled out for the storm. If the storm throws wind and waves into the harbor, especially at high tide, then docks and moorings could have trouble keeping their boats safe.
By 11am on Friday morning, Kelly IV was hauled out and safe on land almost ready for Irene. While on shore, I did some maintenance work, cleaning and applying teak oil to the exterior wood, then did my laundry and shopping.
The next log will let you know how Kelly IV and I managed through the storm.
Kelly IV and I have now travelled over 2177 nautical miles from Erie, PA.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2012 12:58 )