Monday, July 16, 2018

Home at the Poughkeepsie YC - at our dock

We were in the East River and saw this sight!
By Natalie Sherer
Today was our last day on the one and it was a long one. We went through New York City and all the way down the Hudson River. The day started with Sarah and I heading to the V-berth since the engine was turned on at 6:00 in the morning! We chilled there for a while then had breakfast, which for me was a bagel with cream cheese. We went all the way around Manhattan and it was pretty rocky with all of the waves from the ferries and water taxies. Not only was it a long day, but it was also hot! We had to either by up in the cockpit with no wind or down below with no A/C! It was hard and at one point Sarah took an ice cube and rubbed it on Finn and I. Well, it has been fun for the past two weeks sailing with Nana and Grandpa, swimming with Finn, Sarah, and Rowan, and spending time with the family. I will be sad to go (like always) but it’s time for all of us to go home. ‘Till our next adventure, Au Revoir!     

He flew right by our port side. There was a take off about every 10 minutes. A tourist flight I guess over Manhattan. 
It's 90 miles from Manhasset to the Poughkeepsie YC. That is usually too far for our 7.3 kt boat but if the tides are just right and you can catch the flood tide going up the Hudson River, then you can ride it all the way home. This technique does not work in the opposite direction since the tides move northward only. We caught the flood tide around the George Washington bridge and still had a flood tide at PYC. 

We always seem to catch the flood tide at the George Washington Bridge, it's enough to reach PYC, usually.
The big downside was the heat! We had a south wind all day, about 7 kts which was the same speed we were making northward. The net result was no wind at all in the cockpit. The sun was beating down and even though we had a bimini, it was very hot, in the 90's. Finally, I started the genset which allowed us to turn on the A/C down below. We don't usually run the genset when we're motoring but we made an exception this time. It was a good choice. Everyone but the captain disappeared down below but Ann came up every 30 minutes to give me a spell. 

It was all hands on deck as we docked at PYC all by ourselves. By now we have an experienced crew and everybody knew what to do. Ann came in perfectly and we docked without a problem. We went out to the Everyready Diner for dinner to give the cook a break and to enjoy air-conditioned comfort for the meal. Tuesday will be a very busy day to unload Fleetwing and take the crew home to Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Their parents will no longer be "kid free." 

This ends the current interlude for the blog. The adventure with four kids on board has come to an end. The blog will restart 9/15 as we start our 9th trip down the ICW to Key West, tune in then!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Manhasset Bay - at a mooring

The sunset crowd has gathered for the show
Well. It has been an exciting 2 weeks that went by like The Flash on steroids.  Anyways we had an amazing breakfast of French toast and a boatload of syrup (pun intended) so it started raining around 2:00 in the morning which instantly woke me up because I felt like someone was dripping stuff on me. Woke up 5 hours later and it is still raining. So everyone walked the dog in the rain (gloat voice) while I stayed in and enjoyed my well-deserved sleep. I then was woken up by the smell of FRENCH TOAST. I scorned down my food and helped with the lines. After we got to Manhasset bay we swam off the back of the boat. I took Hoolie to shore. Well, that’s all I did, bonsoir.      

Today was not a good day for a long run up the Hudson what with all the thunderstorms forecasted. So we had a late start from Sand City and motored over to Manhasset Bay. From here, we're about 1.5 hours from Hell Gate so by leaving at 6:00 am, we should hit Hell Gate at slack tide. If all goes according to plan, by the time we reach the Hudson River, the tide ought to be running north and we'll have tide with us all the way to PYC to arrive sometime around 6:00 pm. It will be a long day but with good weather predicted, it shouldn't be a problem. Meanwhile, the antibiotics seemed to have taken effect and my jaw no longer feels like a hot poker is nearby. Hopefully, it was stay that way. 

The main attraction tonight
The crew has been rotating all chores with a duty roster as a guide. They are learning to work together in getting the boat on and off the dock. Everybody has a job to do and they've been learning well on this trip. We were tucked in tight at the fuel dock here with a pretty good wind pushing us into the dock. So I put a fender at the bow, a line from the bow to an aft cleat on the dock and had Ann power the boat forward. That pushed the bow into the dock, protected by the fender, and the aft section swung out. When it reached about 45 degrees, Ann put the boat in reverse and we backed out without a problem. It's a handy maneuver to learn if you don't already know it. 

By Monday night, we should be at the Poughkeepsie YC in Hyde Park, NY. We'll spend the night on the boat and head home the next day. It's been an adventure. 

TIP: If you think having 12 USB outlets is enough to recharge the electronics for four kids, think again...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Northport at Sand City - at anchor

We weren't the only ones out enjoying the day
Hi, it's Sarah again reporting from Northport also known as Sand City.  This morning I woke up to the smell of delicious bacon and pancakes. Shortly after our rather big breakfast, we left Port Jeff. The water had a pleasant calmness to it even though it was a beautiful day with everybody out on the water. I sat on the rim of the boat as we passed by countless numbers of land formations and different kinds of boats. There was one section of water where it seemed like every single fishing boat was in the area was fishing. There was one big fishing boat that had about forty people that were fishing on it.

As we passed by various things I slowly daydreamed into sleep, taking a short little nap until we got to Northport. We didn’t have much trouble anchoring and found the perfect spot. There were so many small boats near the shore. So once in a while, the boat has gotten rocked pretty well and let me tell you it’s surprising. I then made lunch for all the kids and we continued are so-called ongoing chess championship. First, it was Finn and Natalie, I helped by literally moving the pieces for Natalie. In the end, I had Finn trapped (After I took over the side of the board Natalie had) and he then lost. For the last couple of days, I have been unbeatable, unlike my last Blog where I kept on losing. Later we put on our bathing suits and rode the dink into shore to go swimming. The water was cold, but it was that good kind of cold where it was surprising and pleasant at the same time. I walked Hoolie up the shore before going into the water and I saw a bunch of horseshoe crab shells all surrounded each other. My first thought was that somebody found a bunch along the shore then put them near each other, but thinking now what if it was a whole group that just shredded their shell.

The great chess tournament resumes. That's Finn opposite Natalie. Rowan is in the background.
In the water, it was the Sherers against the Mcnaughton’s in a splashing water war. It was unclear who the winner was, but it was still a great time. After a good hour and a half Finn, Natalie, Grandpa, and I lifted up the dink to bring it back into the water. That was no problem, the problem was Natalie and Finn weren’t in the boat for our descent. They had to flop over barely making it on and as someone who was already on the boat, it was hilarious to watch. On the boat, we rinsed off and I went on deck to read my book until I  remembered I had to do the Blog. I don’t know why I always forget and it springs up on me. For dinner, we're having sweet and sour chicken and tonight were finishing a beloved movie here on the Fleetwing that is “Captain Ron”. Bye

Well, I guess Sarah had a lot to write about today. We are on our way back to PYC and stopped over at Sand City near Northport. Sunday is predicted to be a day of thunderstorms so we thought we would layover at Manhasset and leave for PYC on Monday morning. The tides are right for a ride up the Hudson with the current in our favor all the way home. The only hitch is that we have to leave Manhasset at 6:00 am or earlier to make slack tide at Hell Gate.

Sand City on a Saturday in July
Meanwhile, we still have no wind. We haven't been able to sail the entire trip! Sunday and Monday are predicted to be no better, light winds. My toothache seems to have settled down with the antibiotic treatments.

Even without the wind, the kids have been in the water every day and that's a big plus. At Sand City, there were almost a hundred boats enjoying the hot weather. It was a little rocky with all the boats going by but not too bad. On to Manhasset Sunday.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Port Jefferson - at anchor with toothache


A classic boat in front of Hoolie's beach
Hi! It's Rowan reporting from port Jeff .Today we got a new alternator. That’s the good news. The bad news is grandpa got a toothache. Good news again! He got better. While walking over to the park, we saw the Samuel lake explorer. A sub designed to go on the bottom of the lake and retrieve items there. That’s all.Bye.   
More boats here than last time
Rowan was rather brief but he spent the better part of an hour on that short piece, pretty good for an 8-year-old. I think he said he had "writer's block." The excitement today was that I came down with a toothache this morning. Ann got hold of Monique who was only an hour away and she came and got me for a visit to her dentist. They closed today at noon but we just made it in time at 11:30. Yep, it was related to where an incomplete root canal was done years ago. Therefore, I need a new one, oh joy. 

Calm winds are forecast for later tonight. Plenty of room.
Monique's dentist prescribed antibiotics and a painkiller to tied me over until the root canal could be done, about 1.5 weeks away. I don't know if I can last that long but we'll see. We're back at Port Jefferson for the night and then we're headed back home so I can be close to my dentist. Manhasset is on the itinerary for Saturday and then it's up the Hudson River. If it wasn't for my problems, we would have turned around at Block Island. This trip has been without wind the entire way, we mostly motored. 

However, the new alternator arrived today at 10:00 am from Amp Tech in Texas and it fit perfectly and fixed the charging problem off the engine. We now have a fully functioning boat now, minus the capain - who marking time until he's fixed up too. Wish me luck. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Milford - Still here with an alternator problem

What is this thing?
We are in Milford
Yes, I know what your thinking, but I’ve decided to tell you the ending at the beginning. This morning we all woke up and fought over who got the cocoa crispy cereal (it was Sarah and me) but before that Rowan, Grandpa, and I went out to walk Hoolie. We went pretty far around the dock, over the bridge, through the city,  past some stores, by the train station, and back to the Milford Landing. Everything was normal, us kids played on our devices for a while then, “Alright kids put your shoes on, all hands on deck!” said Nana. We untied the lines and the nice man helps us with that, then we were off! Sarah and I sat on the edge of the boat talking as we passed the other marinas. We get out past the rocks and everything was fine until I said, “I smell a campfire.” You're not supposed to smell a campfire on a boat. Grandpa was checking the engine when it started sparking! So Nana slowed down and turned around the boat. Nana called into the docks again and got permission to come in, “#8 port side”. I heard the man over the radio say. Finn, Sarah, and I moved all the fenders on to port side and got ready with the lines. We threw the nice man the lines (again) and nearly had our bow completely over the dock! But we actually weren’t as close as earlier assumed so everything was fine. Sarah and I tightened the lines then coiled them up. We had some lunch then went on a dink adventure and played on the playground! No sooner then we came back did Grandpa and all of us kids head out to get Subway sandwiches for dinner, yum! We have finished dinner and are heading off the boat to get Scooby Doo’s ice cream so I really must go. But wait, I almost forgot…. We are in Milford!
                                             By the way, it’s Natalie and so long!   

The middle of July and the place is empty!
I had installed the new brushes in the alternator last night and everything appeared in order so we started out in good cheer this morning for Port Jefferson. The first thing I noticed was a burning smell coming from the engine, that couldn't be good! When I rev'ed the engine to cruising rpm, I actually saw sparks come out from the alternator. That was pretty exciting. I told Ann to turn around and head back to Milford at idle speed. When I measured the temperature of the alternator with my Fluke IR meter, it was 240F and the armature was actually running about 400F! We made it back to the dock at Milford with the crew up on deck and me down below monitoring the engine while running a chat session with Matt in Texas where AmpTech was located. The company is very responsive, especially Matt. It's nice to get a human on the other end. I sent photos of the problem and finally wound up ordered an exact replacement to be shipped overnight to my marina. Once you figure in the cost of daily dockage, the charge for overnight vs several days later is clearly the best deal.

If I believe the tracking information, the new alternator is due to arrive by 10:30 am on Friday (it was shipped 3:00 pm Thursday from Texas). If so, I just have one additional day of dockage instead of two.

Ice cream is always a hit
With that bit of excitement over, we took the kids on a dinghy ride to see the waterfall in town and out towards the entrance to see all the boats. Everyone likes to drive the dinghy so they all had to take turns. We took them out to Subway for sandwiches and the ice cream shop again for dessert which is always a big hit. Hopefully, the alternator will arrive on time and we'll be able to leave Friday morning for the Port Jefferson anchorage. Boating is never dull.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Milford - at Milford Landing Marina

Milford is empty! There are usually a dozen boats here, we are one of only two tonight
Hi, it is Finn again with another Blog entry. Today was amazing mostly because we took an actual shower which felt amazing. We also played monopoly together there was no winner because nana needed the table for dinner. Tonight for dinner we are having pork stir fry and tonight we are having ice cream from Scooby does ice cream shop. Tomorrow we are going back to port Jeff. I don’t know why but I do know we can swim there. Speaking of swimming I just noted that we haven’t swum today. We have swum everywhere but here. Well that just about wraps it up in a gourmet bun today Byyyyyy           
Oh what choices at Scoopy Doo's
Once again the winds were less than 10 kts and even then they were directly on the nose. So we motored north from Port Jefferson to Milford. It was mostly smooth but it got choppy at one point and one by one the occupants down below started to pop up out of the hatchway for a seat in the cockpit. Everyone, that is, except "Iron Stomach" Rowan, our youngest member at 8 years old. He stayed below playing a video game while everyone else was on top. 

Note that Hoolie is hoping for a treat - please, please.....
There was no swimming today but there are compensations. The main attraction is one of the best ice cream stores on the east coast, Scoopy Doo's Ice Cream, It's worth a side trip if you're in the area just to experience the largest ice cream selection anywhere - and good too. 

My brushes for the alternator arrived today and I spent most of the afternoon installing them. I haven't tested yet whether they fixed the problem, I'll find out Thursday when we head south for PJ again. I bought the brushes from a company in Texas, Amp Tech, which I highly recommend. They make a wide range of products, one being a high output alternator which is entirely made in the US and at half the price of a Bosch alternator and it has better specs too. My last one from Amp Tech lasted 15 years and hopefully only needs new brushes. I'll find out tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Port Jefferson - at anchor

Hoolie tracked the swan like it was on radar. He kept it off the boat!
Hi, guys, it is Sarah here with another Blog. It was a short ride from Mattituck to Port Jeff. I finished two books already, and I’m starting Catcher in the Rye. After we arrived, a swan greeted us. In real life, they aren’t that nice and hiss. We were trying to get in the water to swim ashore, but the swan was harassing us. So Grandpa took the hose on board and sprayed him with the water. He did it and then stopped, but the swan was drifting back towards the boat, so grandpa sprayed him a second time and by then he got the message. So we were able to jump in the water to shore, last time we left Nana realized we could go a bit closer to shore since there was a lower depth than expected. I got to shore first and I have to say it felt good to swim really fast for a long distance. It reminded me of when I use to swim in our local YMCA. After we enjoyed some time near the beach we went back to the boat. I arrived first again but then realized that I had left my shoes back on the shore. This meant I had to swim all the way back then to the boat again. Let me tell you, I was out of breath. I wobbled back onto the boat and took a relaxing shower after. Then I sunbathed on deck for a while and nearly fell asleep until I was reminded it was my turn for the Blog tonight. Tomorrow we are headed to Milford and I am excited for their famous (well to us not really the rest of the world) ice cream. Also I will finally take a real shower #BoatLife. We'll talk to you guys to whenever it is my turn next. Byeeeeeeeee!

The great swim race! Rowan, in yellow, finished second. Sarah, also in yellow, won. 
It was an easy day from Mattituck to Port Jefferson. There was no wind (again) so we just motored in flat seas. The sun was out all day and the temperatures hovered around 90F. There was no breeze at first but then one finally kicked up out of the south later in the day. Eventually, we gave up and ran the genset with AC to cool down the boat.

Port Jefferson is one of our favorite anchorages in Long Island Sound. 
The kids had no trouble cooling off by going in the water (again!) and even had a contest for swimming to shore from the boat (with life vests). Naturally, Sarah came in first with her training at the YMCA swim club but the surprise was Rowan, the youngest at 8 who finished second both times. His windmill stroke really makes progress going forward.

So it was another day on the Sound and on Wednesday, we're headed to Milford. The brushes I need to repair the alternator is on their way from Texas, due to arrive at Milford also on Wednesday. Now I just hope that the new brushes fix the problem!