Sunday, September 23, 2018

Atlantic City - at Golden Nugget dock

We're at the Golden Nugget marina
The weather window was closing up fast. It was either Sunday down the New Jersey coast or wait for three or four more days in Atlantic Highlands at anchor. The forecast wasn't that bad with winds out of the northeast 5 to 10 in the morning, increasing to 10 to 15 in the afternoon with 2 ft swells. I had ordered a part overnight for the fuel leak but it didn't happen. I hate to think what I paid for that service. So I did a boater's patch and all was fine for the 10.5 hour trip down the coast. I'll have to make a permanent repair while in Atlantic City.

We left at 6:00 am in the dark and headed around the tip of Sandy Hook. We faced a foul tide heading out for over an hour but it gradually dissipated and we made very bouncy progress southward. Just to add to the complete experience, rain started in and didn't stop until 8:00 pm that night in Atlantic City. It was a miserable ride. It wasn't unsafe or dangerous, just not comfortable.

The casinos do believe in bright lights!
At least now we have the biggest leg of the Atlantic coast behind us. We will just wait for a perfect day to reach Cape May, however long that takes. We don't particularly enjoy this part of our trip south each year. It's basically point A to point B. We don't explore the surrounding area. We do enjoy the ICW and the folks we meet along the way. With rain in the forecast for the next several days, we'll be here for a while.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Atlantic Highlands - we leave Sunday for Atlantic City

Notice that little sign in the right-middle of the photo, that's the high water mark for Hurricane Sandy
Sad to say that the part I needed to stop the fuel leak did not arrive today even with overnight shipping. So it was on to stopgap measures. The leak was only at the nut used to bleed the fuel line so it wasn't all that critical, I just needed to stop the leak at that point. The O-ring fix I applied yesterday seemed to hold so I'll go with that to Atlantic City. If worse comes to worse, I'll put a clamp on the top of the nut to squeeze it down int he same way that screwing it in does, pressure to the O-ring.

Dawn and Paul came by to say hello, we get a lot of visitors that way - good to keep in touch
Aside from that, the Prosine decided not to work anymore. It's 15 years old so it's not worth repairing, just get a replacement. The risk of something like that always seems to be higher after a pause in cruising. Leave something unused for a while and decay sets in. The cure is simple, don't stop cruising! We cruise 9 months of the year but I suppose we need to cruise all 12 months to keep everything working, including us!

Dawn and Paul Gudelis came by to visit this afternoon. We hope to meet up with them in St Augustine. They also have a boat dog and Hoolie was very interested in the subject.

The weather looks a little ominous 
We plan on leaving at our usual 6:00 am and expect the trip to take anywhere from 10.5 to 11.0 hours depending on current. The weather is predicted to be ok, not the best but the weather window closes up tight after Sunday for at least three and maybe four days, then it's on to Cape May.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Atlantic Highlands - at anchor

The old Tappen Zee is being removed piece by piece
We awoke to an announcement that the Tappen Zee bridge just south of us was closed to marine traffic! That's rather startling to hear when you're trying to head south on the river. If listened closely after the announcement that the river was closed, you heard that you could pass under the bridge using the west side of the channel. One wonders why the Coast Guard couldn't just say that the first time? We passed on the west side with no problem. We got the tip from a tug heading north, we couldn't understand the Coast Guard, very garbled.

Always be prepared for a lot of boat
traffic when going through NY Harbor!
After passing that hurdle in our path, we went below to do a routine check on the engine. I found a fuel leak! It was dribbling into the sump under the engine (which is separated from the main boat sump). I had replaced the secondary fuel filter (the one on the engine) as part of getting ready to go south for another year. It was a bleeding tap on top of the filter that has to be loosened to let air out of the fuel lines. Well, it was leaking under the nut. No problem, thought I, just tightened the nut. After I tightening, it still leaked a little. So I tightened it some more. Still a little, More tightening and then it started to leak a lot! With further turns, it didn't seem to help.

We then anchored the boat just north of the George Washington bridge to troubleshoot. Upon inspection, I found I had stripped the threads in the female part of the connection. The fuel system was otherwise fine, I just had to find a way to stop fuel leaking out of the bleeding nut. I found a selection of  O Rings and fit one the nut that would tighten. However, it was tight enough for the O Ring to seal so we restarted our trip to Atlantic Highlands.

20 boats anchored here tonight! Everyone is backed up.
Meanwhile, I ordered the parts I needed and had them shipped overnight to the municipal dock for a Saturday delivery. If all goes according to plan (ha!), we'll go down the coast on Sunday to Atlantic City. Wish us luck, we could use it.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Shattemuc on the Hudson River - At a dock

The Hudson River is navigatable for some very large ships
The trip down the Hudson was delightful. We had an ebb tide so we were making 8.5 kts near the end of the run. I had sold my previous dinghy to Jack Mace who happened to be a member of this yacht club. He invited us for a night's stay as his guest so we took him up on the offer. It's very nice with a large clubhouse and even a swimming pool although it's closed this time of the year. They just installed a new set of docks that aren't even on the satellite photos. They are very heavy concrete docks that dampen the waves rolling in from passing boats. It seemed to help.

The Bear Mountain bridge held the title of the longest suspension bridge in the world for 18 months!
On the way down, we heard a call on the VHF that the Tappen Zee was closed to marine traffic!
Well, that was a wake-up call. It seems they are still in the process of removing the old bridge and they periodically close the river. You have to request a passage from the Coast Guard and you'll eventually get through. At least, that was working today, we'll find out Friday for sure.

Shattemuc YC is very nice, we're out on the end towards the river
We will leave early Friday to reach the Atlantic Highlands in the afternoon. The Atlantic seems to be settling down and we intend to take advantage of it for a quick trip down the coast. I refuse to look at weather forecasts until Friday afternoon, we're committed anyway. What the weather Gods allow, we'll take, what else to do?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

PYC - Last Day

PocketGrib, nice and calm
 Fleetwing sunk another few inches after we loaded the last of our supplies aboard. We planned to have enough supplies to last until we reach Hampton. I took one last look at weather apps and then swore them off until Friday night when we reach Atlantic Highlands, our staging area for Atlantic City. They are just crazy.

Looks like the opposite! 
A boat ahead of us kept in communication with us as they went down the coast today. They had a forecast of 10 kts or so out of the north. That contrasted with 20 kts out of the same direction from PredictWind. The 10 kt forecast from PocketGrib was right as was the same prediction from SwellInfo. For trips down the coast, I'm going to place more faith in the latter two.

Windy looks better
We will leave Thursday morning for Haverstraw Bay to overnight and move on the next morning. When we were getting ready to leave the house this morning, Hoolie was glued to one or the other of us. If we walked towards the front door, he placed himself between us and the door. If we changed direction towards the door to the garage, he scampered right over between us and that door. Likewise, if we headed towards the back door. There was no way we were getting out of that house without Hoolie. He's sound asleep in his bunk now. Tomorrow our 9th adventure down the ICW starts. No more weather apps until Friday night!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

PYC - On to our boat on Wednesday, down the coast Saturday?

SwellInfo says go
Saturday is still looking like a possible window for going down the New Jersey coast although all the weather apps still contradict each other. SwellInfo is shown above. With that, we'll go on Fleetwing tomorrow afternoon so we can leave Thursday morning for Haverstraw.

Windy is not as wonderful on a prediction but still doable
That will stage us for a trip down the Hudson River to anchor out at Atlantic Highlands on Friday. I expect a crowd since we've all been waiting for the same weather window. Hopefully, there will be room to anchor somewhere. The weather for the trip down the Hudson is supposed to be nice, at least. We have a ton of stuff to do before leaving the house for a couple of months and that will take up most of the morning. Then it's off to PYC and onto Fleetwing for the night.

I like this picture!
It seems that every year there's something different to worry us about for the trip south. I do have to say that the Atlantic has calmed down for the last couple of weeks. Everybody needs the time to recover from Florence. Now, if only we can find a window down the coast, then we can start to make progress and relax.

Monday, September 17, 2018

PYC - Planning to leave Thursday - Oh those forecasts

Well, what forecast would you like?  How about light winds out of the north for the trip south to Atlantic City? No problem. Just look at the PredictWind forecast using the US model (GFS)

Looks pretty good does it? Nice ride down the coast with light winds out of the north. Would you rather have more of a push southward with stronger north winds? We can do that too! Just look at the Euro forecast from Windy.

Well, not as nice but kinda okay. Would you rather have some wind in your face to cool the temperature, no problem. Look at the PredictWind tweak on the Euro model.

Perhaps that's not enough wind to cool your face, how about a little more? Here's the PredictWind tweak on the GFS model.

Confused? How about SwellInfo?

No surprise here since it's based on the GFS (US) model without any tweaks. Lastly, let's look at the NOAA coastal forecast.

It's based on the GFS model so it follows the forecasts based on that model. So take your pick, light winds out of the north, a little heavier winds out of the north, light winds out of the southwest, or heavier winds out of the southwest. All bases are covered! Something is going to be right. It reminds me of the stock trader that claims to have predicted every downturn in the market - which sounds impressive until you learn that he predicted a downturn on every single day!  Can't miss with that strategy. No matter what happens Saturday, one forecast or the other has it right! 

Regardless, we're leaving PYC on Thursday to make Atlantic Highlands on Friday. We are hoping that our version of the forecast (light north winds) turns out to be the one the Gods favor. Let's roll the dice and find out!