Sunday, July 31, 2011

Poughkeepsie Yacht Club - At our dock

The Poughkeepsie Yacht Club is in a beautiful setting, I think
When the weather is calm the anchorage off Hook Mountain is fine and last night was one of those calm nights, it was still as a lake. Hoolie relief is a short ride to the beach where we try to avoid other dogs at play - Hoolie loves to play to the exclusion of what he's supposed to be doing while on shore!

We had the tide with us going up the river so we were able to cruise at 9 kts but the day was hot. Coming into our slip with 1.5 kts of current behind us was exciting but we made it okay. A trip to the local diner with friends completed the day and we sure enjoyed the sunset on the way back.

This summer's cruise didn't go as well as we had hoped given the genset repairs, having to replace the outboard motor and more work to be done on the freezer but we ought to now be ready for our second cruise down the ICW in September.
This ends my blog for the summer. Be sure to join us again on 9/15 - pending the status of hurricanes it might be a few days earlier or later.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hook Mt - At anchor

Hell Gate - Still there!
We came through Hell Gate with very little traffic, a smooth ride right just before a favorable tide so when we cleared the end of Manhattan, the tide was actually in our favor for several hours. With the heat, we opted for Hook Mt which is open to the breezes (as long they are not too strong).

The wind was predicted to be out of the northwest but when we arrived at Hook Mt it was out of the northeast, not a good direction since it blew directly into the anchorage. However, we had faith in the weatherman (Ha!) that the breezes for the night would moderate and be out of the northwest as predicted... We'll see.

The Freedom Tower is now the tallest building at the end of Manhattan
Meanwhile, we still plan on being back to PYC on Sunday afternoon and will go out for dinner that night at the Eveready Diner to give the cook a break. Off-load time is Monday morning and we start preparing for our one week at Ocean City, NJ with the kids in August. Don't forget to come to our 8/27 (a Saturday night) get together at PYC starting 6:00 pm (bring a small hors d'oeuvre, we'll bring the rest) for a presentation on our trip down the ICW last year.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Manhasset - At a free mooring

Fishing from the town pier
There are 10 free moorings sponsored by the Town of West Hampton, bright yellow in color. We arrived around 5:00 pm in a round about way. In the morning it was raining hard at Port Jefferson so we lazed around waiting for the rain to quit but it took two hours off our start. Then, looking at the clouds on the way to Manhasset, we decided to duck into Northport and drop the hook.

After lunch, thing seemed to brighten up so we pulled anchored and started out once again towards Manhasset. Once safely at one of the free moorings, we quickly got Hoolie ashore at the West Hampton town dock (also free) for his relief and just as we returned to the boat, the heavens opened up and it poured for a couple of hours.

Like many of the towns in the area, West Hampton has town docks where they allow fishing from their pier, it's a nice area, well kept and there are shops in the area for ice and deli sandwiches (up the hill about 1000 ft).  There's no grocery store nearby but the deli has snacks and bread. Many of the yacht clubs are experiencing financial problems and one closed recently (Knickerbocker YC).
Our plans are to overnight in Haverstraw Bay on Saturday and arrive at PYC on Sunday afternoon unless the weather has other plans.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Port Jefferson - At anchor

Hey, there's a 5 mph speed limit here!
As it turned out, our freezer wasn't fixed after all. The technician did a recharge but it was no better than before. What's required is a pump down overnight to get rid of all residual moisture and anything else preventing good operation. We'll have that done after we return to PYC and then leave it running for several weeks to be sure it's okay before out trip south in September. Currently it's holding at only 29 F.

We were able to sail over part way to Port Jefferson but the wind was only 6 kts so we motored most of the way. There are twelve boats in the anchorage (to starboard after passing through the inlet) which is not crowded at that number, lots of room. Hoolie relief is nearby so it's a perfect anchorage for us.

Always a nice sunset at PJ

Coming through the inlet, we were chased down by the ferry. There's supposed to be a 5 mph speed limit that applies to ferries too - but he ignored the speed limit as he passed us to port - he's rather large! We got out of his way...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Branford Day 2 - Matthew and family arrive for a day in the pool

Not much to look at from the outside - but great fried seafood!
Bruce and Johnson's Brewers Marina has a wonderful pool so whenever we're there we try to have Matthew and family come down for a visit. Matthew continues to grow but he's still shorter than me! (so far)

We had our freezer repairman drop by today, Jerry Staunton of Thermal Dynamics, and he recharged the freezer, it had lost some refrigerant over the past four years. We'll monitor the temperatures over the next few days. Today was for a quick recharge, if that doesn't do the trick, then a longer vacuum pump down will be needed (overnight) but that can wait until we're back at PYC. The freezer is the last of the to dos to get ready for our trip down the ICW in September.
We got our Lenny's fix tonight, none better for fried seafood! On Wednesday we're headed for Port Jefferson and hopefully a sail but you never know - lots of wind today but today we're weren't sailing!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Branford - At a dock

What is that structure at the right - Long Island Sound Stonehenge? (North Dumpling Island)
We had all of 5 kts of wind today but at least the seas were calm so we motored all the way from Stonington. Of all the time we've been on the Sound this summer, we've sailed all of one day! Of course part of the reason was the time getting our genset repaired but still, one day? It's a good thing that Fleetwing motors so well.

A couple of years ago, there were two fuel stations on the Branford river. The one operated by the yacht club lost its license to sell to the general public. The other one went out of business but was later taken over by Bruce and Johnson's Brewers Marina - for which we were grateful at the time - otherwise there would have been no fuel available at all. As it turned out, the yacht club got it's license back and now sells fuel for about $0.40/gal less than the Bruce and Johnson's fuel dock about 100 yards away. Needless to say, the higher priced dock is devoid of customers! Naturally we took advantage of the yacht club prices although it's still not cheap at $4.48/gal!

It was a good weather day until around 5:30 or so when a front came through, disrupting our plans for a dinner at Lenny's! Oh well, we've made good use of flash frozen fish fillets which we use for fish sandwiches, pretty good actually. Wednesday is family day with Matthew and family, then it's off to Port Jefferson on Thursday.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stonington - At anchor

This guy was headed straight for us! (he missed...)
We didn't have far to go for Stonington from Block Island so we had a lazy morning with a full breakfast. We finally got off around 10:00 or so (being retired is fun!) and headed west. Naturally there was no wind so motoring was the order of the day. We prefer to take Lord's Passage into Fishers Island Sound  instead of the more common Watch Hill Passage since the former is much smoother and has less traffic.

Once again we dropped the hook in the designated anchorage area and aimed for western  extremity of the anchorage, furthest away from the entrance where swells come in. We still rock some but much less so than out by the green buoy where we used to anchor.

Being in Stonington, we took advantage of the wholesale fish market downtown and bought flash frozen sea scallops which were caught locally, excellent dinner! In Stonington, we never miss the fish market!

All the storms seemed to have either passed north or passed south, everything missed us - of course by me saying this, I've guaranteed a dead center hit tonight! Oh well, what comes, will come. We're aiming for Branford on Tuesday for two days. We need to have the freezer recharged for our trip south, there's always something. Meanwhile, the genset is running fine.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Block Island - A detour south

Always good sunsets at  Block Island
We had intended to sail to Stonington but there was no wind and the seas were lumpy, even more so around Point Judith. With that and the promise of better weather on Monday, we headed for Block Island, figuring the place would empty out after a July weekend. As we approached Block, we were passed by a steady stream of boats pointed for home. However, Block is Block so there were plenty of boats left but we did find a good anchoring spot within a couple hundred feet of a small, deserted  beach for Hoolie relief.

We took advantage of the Oar House and their chicken wings, a specialty of theirs. On the way in we looked for open rental mooning - not a one. The dinghy dock was as crowded as ever but we didn't have to do the usual "climb over other dinks" routine to reach the dinghy dock so I guess it wasn't quite as bad as in years past.

Last night I thought I would check the genset one last time after it had run for about an hour just to be sure all was well. I knew Hinckley had installed new copper washers in the fuel line and I wanted to check for leaks. The washers were fine but much to my surprise I found the rubber fuel line severely abraded by the pulley that turns the water pump. The mechanic had routed the fuel line over the top of the turning pulley and the fuel line was about 1/2 way worn through. I checked it carefully and only the outer rubber coating was worn, the fabric reinforcement and inner rubber coating were intact. Not having a spare set of copper washers, I left it there but put on a tie to space it away from the pulley to prevent any future wear. I would hate to think of what would have happened if I hadn't checked the genset (after all, it had just been put back on-line by a qualified mechanic and electrician). Fuel spewing into the genset case could be dangerous to say the least. However, all is well now. The genset starts right up, is at the right voltage and rpm and otherwise runs fine. It's another lesson in  boat maintenance - no matter what the reputation of the marine service area, be sure to check over things yourself - it's your --- on the line. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Newport - At anchor - We finally leave Hinckley!!

Many 12 meter yachts out today in Newport
Although the genset was installed last night, it had to be hooked up to the electrical lines this morning. That involved getting an electrician to come in on Saturday. It turned out that he had just gotten engaged the previous Wednesday and had a party go attend on Friday night so he couldn't stay late then. He appeared on the scene around 10:30 proceeded to reintegrate the genset into the electrical supply of the boat. Alas, everything went well electrically but there was a fuel leak. There are copper washers in the fuel supply that are apparently one-use items. They are designed to deform somewhat to accommodate minor mismatches between connectors and once deformed, they don't like to take a second set. The problem was finally resolved when the substitute mechanic (not Paul) came with a new set of copper washers (not previously deformed).

Nice dinghy dock - why pick up a mooring?
So here we are at Newport once again, this time at anchor since all the moorings were filled. As it turned out, it was actually a good choice. There's more room to anchor than first appears. Plus, there's a dinghy dock that's excellent for taking Hoolie ashore that's nearby. It sure beats paying $45/day for a mooring a few feet away.

We were having our wine in the cockpit when Ann spied a boat that looked familiar. She got out the binoculars and found that it was Marty Silverstein with his wife Ellen. They were anchored only a couple of boats away. We motored over and paid our respects over a glass of wine offered by Marty before taking Hoolie ashore later.  Nice to meet people from PYC on our cruise. On Sunday we're off to Stonington.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hinckley Day 8 - The genset is finally returned to the boat

Sky Hook II
The genset was worked on all day and finally made it into the starboard locker this afternoon around 3:30 or so. The mechanic connected all the plumbing together but the electrician had a wedding he had to go to. So, we won't get the electrical side hooked up until Saturday morning. That puts a damper on getting out of here in a timely fashion and I don't know what we're going to do yet, depends on just when the electrician shows up.

The temps got into the high 90's today, hot for this area but we're plugged into electricity so we're nice and cool with the A/C running. According to the forecasts, there's going to be a dramatic cool down over the next few days, sure hope so.

Here's the offending governor!

All else is fine, Hoolie is doing well - no more "rapid transits" which is great since we bought all new rugs. We still have a stop to make in Branford for attention to the freezer unit, it's not keeping the temperature as cold as I would like and we want to get everything perfect for our trip down the ICW in September;. There's always something on a boat...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hinckley Day 7 - Genset parts arrive!

Paul - our mechanic on the Panda
Going to the office this morning, I was anxiously looking for the arrival of the shipment from Panda. It was supposed to come Wednesday but was delayed for some reason. It was not here 10:30 and I found that the UPS truck sometimes does not arrive until 11:30, there was still hope. A call to the UPS tracker revealed that it was scheduled to be delivered Friday - another day! No, no said the Hinckley rep, it was rescheduled for Thursday. After checking the manifest and with UPS delivery, it was found to be scheduled for Thursday after all. Finally it did arrive around 11:45 and Paul (in the photo) started the reassembly process with the new governor.

Unfortunately, Paul did not find anything obviously wrong with the old governor. I tell myself that it may not be obvious if a weak spring is causing the problem - you would have to measure it somehow. At any rate, it's all going back together and  being returned to the  boat locker Friday afternoon where it will be hooked up again and started for the first time since the repair. They'll put various loads in the genset to test it out and if all goes well, we'll leave Saturday morning for Stonington and points west.
This repair has consumed the last two weeks counting our first visit to Hinckley and their first adjustment. If this genset ever has to be replaced, it won't be with a Panda! Meanwhile, it's been not too hot here with temps in the 70's and occasionally in the 80's. We've had lots of wind, gusts to 25 kts all day and plenty of wind is forecast for Friday too but Saturday is supposed to be calm, our day to go west.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hinckley Day 6 - Waiting for genset parts

The coast south of Newport
Today was the day that the parts for the genset were to arrive - but they didn't. The 10:30 delivery came and went with no package from Panda! With that our stay had been extended at least through Saturday. Meanwhile we are both getting restless. We have to get back to PYC to get ready for our August condo in Ocean City, NJ with the kids. Saturday is the deadline for leaving Hinckley.

Lots of  blooms
So today we signed out the Hinckley loaner van and took Ocean Drive around the tip of the peninsular south of Newport. It is convenient having the van at a moment's notice to use but I'd rather have my genset fixed. At any rate, the scenery is beautiful and Ann took lots of pictures to use for future paintings. The coast is somewhat like Maine with the rocky outcroppings.
We've given up on getting out to Cuttyhunk and probably to Block Island too. Most likely we'll head for Stonington and then points west. We want to be home before the first of August.   

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hinckley Day 5 - Everybody knows us now

Even in this economy, they are still busy building picnic boats ($715k each)
Out for our morning walk, Jim, our electrician, "Hi Bob, how are you doing?" "Fine", I say. we walk for awhile and see our mechanic, "Hi Bob", "Oh, hi Paul, how's the genset?" I go upstairs to the main office, "Hi Bob", says the secretary. Bob Hood passes by (his father started Little Harbor Maine and is famous for Little Harbor sailboats) and says, "Hi Bob". I work my way into the depths of the office complex and am greeted by the manager of my present work order, "Hi Bob", "Hi Andy", I say in return. It has come to mind that when most of the repair facility knows you by your first name, that's can't be good, especially for the pocketbook. However, Hinckley does do good work and I need the work done. So hi everybody!

A better day with a fix on order for the genset
After consultation between the Hinckley mechanic (Paul) and Panda service support after taking the genset apart - they agreed that the problem was most likely (!?) in the governor. The springs which control the weights that react to the centripetal force of the spinning governor must have weakened, allowing he motor to over rev, increasing the voltage. So a new governor is on order and will hopefully arrive Wednesday, be installed later that day and then the genset will be installed back into the boat on Thursday, tested and we could leave either late Thursday (unlikely) or sometime Friday. All this is assuming everything arrives as ordered and on time. Then there's the time needed to get a second mortgage on the house...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hinckley Day 4 - At a dock

Exhibit 1 - what have you got to say for yourself??
Today Hinckley started working on the genset. It sits forlornly in the mechanics building, feeling I suspect somewhat ostracized (for good reason!) The first step was to take all the accessories off the main engine (fresh water pump, salt water pump, heat exchanger, etc.) so the mechanic could get at the governor. The first report back was that the mechanic saw nothing obvious (broken spring, sticking pin, etc.) but it could still be a spring that "relaxed" (became weaker over time) which is much harder to find. So far we're still in the diagnostic stage to find the problem before ordering parts.

I received a call from Panda service (I'm famous down there now...) asking for the mechanic to give him a call for consultation, perhaps he could help. He offered to supply whatever spare parts we needed at a discount. Well, a discount is a relative term when talking about Panda from Germany which is based on the euro - the dollar is not so good against that currency at the moment. Hopefully I can get it fixed at less than the cost of a brand new Panda!
Common Egret - in the marina
Meanwhile we continue to do minor boat projects. It's hard concentrate on major projects with the repair of the Panda hanging over your head. So far we have no timeline on when the Panda will be fixed, it depends on what we decide Tuesday after the mechanic completes his tear down of the engine. I don't think I'll ever install another Panda, give me a good Japanese diesel any day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hinckley - At a dock, waiting for genset repairs

Volvo Ocean Racer - speed!
The weather is great but we're waiting for Monday when the repairs on the genset start. This marina is deceptively difficult to dock at in any kind of wind. Although there appears to be a seawall between the marina and Narragansett Bay, the seawall is wooden and does not go down to the seafloor so current is free to flow through the marina. The seawall does block the waves pretty well but not the current. With the wind blowing 20+ kts and the current flowing 1 to 2 kts, a 45 foot sailboat tried to dock this afternoon with disastrous results. They wound up t-boned against the end of the dock next to us but finally worked their way into the slip with much screeching of grinding of fiberglass on the wooden docks. They had just bought their boat and the skipper wasn't that familiar yet with the handling characteristics. Well, nobody was hurt and the boat didn't seem to suffer permanent damage. The skipper came over afterwards with a bottle of wine for the efforts we put in to help him into his slip.

Our little boat is the one with the short mast
Meanwhile, I worked some on cleaning out the siphon that puts the A/C cooling water overboard so that works again (there is always something to do on a boat!) After wine on the back of the boat, we once again took advantage of the nearby Melville Grill for dinner (if you're ever in the area, be sure and drop by).

We found that Hinckley is not the only yard with expensive ocean racers in the area. Next door there was a Volvo ocean racer cooling its heels ( see photo). To a sailor, these boats are beautiful but they sure spend a lot of time on the hard. The dollars spent per racing hour must be astronomical.  You can see from the photo of the marina how small our little boat is amongst the giants, quite modest but it's home for us.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hinckley - We explore the coast

It looked eerie bobbing about in the wind, like it was alive
Saturday and Sunday are non-work days at Hinckley unless you want to pay for emergency overtime. We weren't in that much of a hurry so today we checked out the complimentary minivan again and went for a tour of the coast south of Newport. The weather was absolutely perfect with temps in the low 80's with low humidity in full sun. We discovered the many parks on the peninsula with stunning views and on today a very steady wind. Kites abounded of all sizes and shapes. There were even acrobatic kites where three fliers were weaving and bobbing around each other, fascinating to watch - as if they were birds with their own volition.

Three more sea creatures

None of the parks had an entrance fee and people were out in abundance, kids everywhere. On the way we passed through downtown Newport and it was packed also, no evidence of any recession here as far as I could see.

I won't know anything more about our genset until sometime Monday, for now we wait.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hinckley - Back to Hinckley at a dock - the genset goes airborne!

Up, up and away!
Why are we back at Hinckley? Well, it turned out that the genset once again began to increase in rpms and produce an over voltage condition at start up. Looking ahead to our planned trip down the ICW over the winter, we decided to get all potential problems fixed now rather than later. After the last adjustment, they decided in no more half measures and recommended a complete removal of the genset from the boat which would allow work to be done on a governor replacement.

With that we returned and witnessed the genset go airborne via a lifting crane, quite a sight. So we're here until it gets fixed. They'll start on Monday by putting the genset on a test bed and running tests before and after replacement of the governor components. It makes one less enthusiastic concerning German engineering.

Jim and Paul guiding the genset airborne out of the locker

Hoolie has survived last night and today without incident and he seems perky enough, hopefully the siege is over with him. Meanwhile, we'll bide our time until the repairs on the genset starts Monday. With all that's going on, we won't be going to Cuttyhunk this summer, we need to return to PYC by the first of August to prepare for our week in Ocean City, NJ with the kids.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Newport - At a mooring, last day

Main street in Newport
The wind blew like stink all day long but has finally calmed down this evening. However, we did have some excitement. It seems that Hoolie made a dietary indiscretion which resulted in a rapid transit. All these were terms we learned off the internet - after the fact. The "dietary indiscretion" as far as we can figure out was partaking of what was left over by the seagulls on the docks at Hinckley, both what they left and what went through them...  The "rapid transit" describes the speed at which his "dietary indiscretions" passed through him! We had a mess to clean up in the morning, no fun! So now he's to have no food for 24 hours, some water and some water with chicken bouillon (salt free), nothing else. He seems to be better now, we'll see how the night passes.

Nice dinghy dock - right downtown

Otherwise, it was a fun day exploring Newport which is as busy as ever. We had pulled-pork BBQ for lunch and just enjoyed the summer day - windy on the water but calm in town. If you're on a mooring, there's an excellent dinghy dock for your use. It only has room for 10 or so dinghies but surprisingly, it was never full - we could always find room.

Friday, it's off to Cuttyhunk. Hope Hoolie's better in the morning...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Newport - At a mooring

Ann took this picture of the bridge to Newport - nice clouds
The last of the work was completed at Hinckley on Wednesday morning and after we did three loads of wash and I paid the bill (!), we set out for Newport. There was no wind at all, just 5 kts for awhile so we motored the 7 miles to the mooring field. There were lots of empty moorings (at $45/day!) so we had no trouble finding one. I wonder if any of these guys have ever taken a course in economics supply and demand? Let's see, we charged $30/day several years ago but needed more profit as demanded by the city council. So we needed 1/3 more revenue so we raised the fee to $40/day. However, the revenue actually fell! So we needed even more revenue so we'll raise the fee another $5 to $45/day. I'll bet the total revenue goes down again - they'll never understand why. So it goes, they all read out of the same book (higher fees = more revenue...) Somewhere reality rears its ugly head. Reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Calvin charged $100 for a glass of lemonade. "That's way too much", says Hobbes - but Calvin replies, "But if I sell just one glass, I'll make my profit for the entire summer!"

Storm coming!
At the moment, a series of storms are rolling through ahead of the front due later tonight. The air has turned decidedly cooler, a welcomed relief from the heat. The new dinghy motor performed well, a 6 hp Mercury 4 cycle. Hinckley found a loose pin in the governor assembly on the genset. They made adjustments and so far the genset is performing great. The real test will be the next five days when we'll use the genset twice a day. Hinckley wanted me to take measurements of the voltage and cycle readings so we can track whether it's really fixed or not.

Newport looks full of people, there's just plenty of moorings available. We're hoping for better weather tomorrow so we can break in the dinghy motor with some sustained run times. The weather forecast looks good for a run to Cuttyhunk on Friday, hopefully.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hinckley - Last day at a dock (we hope)

Pretty to look at - impossible to afford
Today was genset day and reprovisioning day. It turns out that Hinckley has a courtesy car, actually a minivan for use by customers. So we restocked for the rest of the trip out until our return in August to PYC. Sadly, our 2 cycle Nissan outboard of 17 years finally bit the dust and we bought a new 6 hp Mercury outboard, 4 cycle. It's heavier than the 2 cycle by 9 lbs but it's still manageable given our use of the motor lift on the back of the boat. The dealer ran it for us in his tank so we know it works okay but we haven't tried it our ourselves yet.

Too tall?
The saga of the genset continues. Hinckley technicians appeared every hour or so with a new test agreed upon between them and Panda technical support. Each one was aimed at finding something wrong with some component other than the speed governor, they all proved negative. Finally there was nothing left to do other than start digging into the innards of the genset looking for a mechanical reason for the increased rpms.. They did find a loose pin associated with the governor mechanism and upon tightening that, the genset behaved as spec'ed. However, the confidence is not high with that fix and so we will be taking rpm and voltage measurements whenever we run the genset to see if the rpm starts to creep up again - as it has done in the past after other adjustments. Hopefully, it's fixed.

What is this?
We've run the A/C all day today, very hot! We plan on leaving Wednesday for Newport and a mooring for a couple of days provided Hinckley completes one more task with the genset seacock in the morning. We actually got a lot done while here and we like the area but it's time to leave.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hinckley in Melville, RI - At a dock for service

Spectular, but not for the ICW!
Another glorious day with light winds so we motored north to get our genset serviced. Whenever we have a choice, we always go with Hinckley. We've found them to be top notch and they back up their repairs. Any Hinckley shop along the coast will right whatever is wrong at no additional cost.

In our case we noted that the genset was gradually speeding up with time and to the point that the Prosine charger wouldn't even come on because the voltage generated by the Panda was too high. So we thought to get it repaired before we went down the ICW another time.

Hinckley here is busier than I thought it would be. The yachts, as usual, as among the most beautiful I've ever seen. The varnishing is fantastic, the curves are sensual... We are the ugly duckling among the beauties - but don't care, we like our boat better than any here since it's fixed up for long term cruising. Many here are day sailors or else very large for ocean crossings. We're sort of in the middle in boat size.

The boat at right had 14 dorades!

Hinckley was busy on the genset but with no resolution yet, they want to double check with Panda central before taking things apart. We also need the outboard looked at and a few other minor things so we expect to be here a few days before heading out to Cuttyhunk. Meanwhile, we ate out at the Melville Diner which I highly recommend, excellent sandwiches! It's nice here in the marina, calm.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Block Island - Last day at anchor

Block always has nice sunsets!
It's been very pleasant, the weather has been great. I can't say the same thing about the outboard motor! It's sitting up on the engine mount off the back rail while I row Hoolie in for his three times a day relief. I cleaned the various filters in the fuel supply lines (I found three so far!) The motor does not have a paper, replaceable filter - everything is built in as a series of fine mesh screens. However, even with the cleaning - no joy.

Monday we're head into Hinckley, not so much for the outboard as for a fine tuning of the genset. It runs and charges the batteries okay but it's running too fast (too high an rpm) at startup and seems to be creeping upward in rpm. Rather than wait for a problem, I'll take it into Hinckley in Rhode Island for a tune up. At the same time, I'll either get the 17 year old outboard fixed or buy a new one. Last year we used it everyday, usually three times a day at least, lots of use and it must be dependable. You don't want to be caught on the wrong side of a 3 kt current in a deserted anchorage trying to get back to the boat!

Well, we weren't able to have our standard Buffalo wings at the Oar House, too far to row - especially in a dinghy that has the rowing characteristics of a bathtub. Perhaps on our way back.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Block Island - At anchor

The dinghy dock at the Oar House
It seems that there are still a few places that appear to be immune to the economic downturn. You wouldn't know there was any concern with the economy after a visit to Block Island. We dinked in this afternoon after anchoring at our usual spot (turn to port after the first green buoy) and there wasn't a single rental buoy free. Plus, there were at least as many boats anchored out as on moorings. The dinghy dock was packed as was the Oar House - no room!

Sunsets are always nice at Block Island
All was going well today until the outboard motor quit about 1/2 mile from out boat! Try as I may, I couldn't get it restarted and I paddled back (slowly!) to the boat. Luckily, I had headed into the wind to take the small waves head on to avoid splashes into the dink so at least we had the wind at our backs. It seems to be some type of fuel blockage (it ran fine for several minutes) so I cleaned the fuel filter which is part of the tank and put everything back together. Then we headed to the Oar House and reach the dinghy dock without incident. On the way back, the outboard died once again! This time we were able to get a tow so it wasn't such a long paddle. We have a 2 cycle Nissan 5 hp outboard that weighs only 45 lbs. A replacement 4 cycle weighs in at least 60 lbs for the same hp. On our trip down the ICW we will be out in the boonies for real and need a motor with absolute reliability (you can't paddle against a 3 kt current in a dink!) So we'll probably get a new outboard, we'll see.

Block is very calm tonight, like a lake and we plan on staying over on Sunday before heading out on Monday, hopefully to Cuttyhunk but that depends on repairing the outboard which I'll attempt again Sunday. Never a dull moment...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stonington - At anchor

Our morning greeting
We awoke to a dense fog and not much wind. The fog lasted all day so we just stayed put in Stonington and perhaps we'll try for Block Island on Saturday. So Ann read on her Kindle and I loaded more programs on my iPad2. In the afternoon we took the dinghy to the local public dock and went for a walk downtown, such as it is. It's a small town but does have some interesting stores, mostly gift type shops.

A typical store in downtown Stonington
Taking Hoolie to his evening relief, we ran the outboard dry of gas. I refilled the tank but couldn't get the motor restarted (flooded?) I finally wound up rowing back to the boat, a real challenge in a rubber dink. Once back, the motor started without a problem (of course!!) I also worked on the genset. Somewhere on the boat I have a fitting that attaches a 3/4 inch hose to a 1/2 inch hose but it was nowhere to be found (after a two hour search!) Presently the 3/4 inch hose goes to a 5/8 inch adapter and then to a 1/2 inch adapter, two fittings - that may impede the flow of cooling water, at least that's one of the working theories. More tests will follow whenever we finally get to Block Island and we have a few layover days. My next thought is just to put a bucket of water directly on the input to the impeller pump and measure the output about 1 foot down the line, without going through the engine. That should tell me whether the pump itself is okay or not at 10 to 12 liters/minute. The test will bypass all other components of the cooling system.

Weekend races - for grade schoolers
Presently we're due for thunderstorms, they have missed us so far to the north but the radar shows they're headed directly for us now. We're snug and well anchored so we should be fine.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stonington - At anchor

There are fishing fleets at Stonington - And an excellent fish market!
We were trying to chose between going to Block Island or Stonington and eventually decided on Stonington, hoping for more wind on Friday for a sail to Block. We had to motor all the way, winds were only around 5 kts but we did have 2 to 3 kts of current most of the way, our GPS showed 9 to 10 kts of forward speed!

Ospreys love the nests prepared for them
 Stonington has expanded the area reserved for anchoring, marked out by buoys on the corners and we worked our way in much more than in the past - much better protected from swells. We read on Active Captain of a self-serve fish market and decided to try the place out. It seems that it's a wholesale store but they allow retain sales on an honor system with payment by cash or credit card. When I was there a person was in the area to help out (and probably to ensure honesty) and the prices were outstanding. They had 8oz steaks of tuna for $5! They had local cod, scallops, crab cakes and flounder - all priced much lower than in a supermarket and they looked much better. Plus, they were all frozen and sealed, ideal for storage in a boat's freezer. I bought a bunch!

Tonight we will enjoy the anchorage and see what tomorrow brings. We'd like to sail to Block and not have to motor, we'll see.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mattituck - At anchor

Gardens around the dinghy dock
We could have left today but we just decided to hang out and take it easy for a day. The anchorage is completely protected and the town nearby has everything we need within easy walking distance. Mattituck is a miniature version of a complete town. It has a post office, a pharmacy, a hardware store, a grocery store, a cheese shop, a chocolate shop, a deli, several restaurants, a pizza place, a bank, a Laundromat, wine shop and probably a few other things I forgot to mention. All this is within 5 minutes of walking from the dinghy dock at the anchorage. So one could comfortably spend an extended stay here at no cost since the anchorage is free.

A rather large boat used for working on a launch ramp - guarded by a seagull

So we just took it easy today but we're probably going to move on Thursday towards Stonington if the weather holds. Meanwhile I continue to explore the iPad 2 that Ann bought me for Father's Day. Even as a Microsoft bigot, I've come to admire what it can do, mainly from the thousands of applications (apps) that have been written for the tablet. It excels at web surfing and the marine navigation apps are outstanding. I'll publish a summary in the future.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mattituck - At anchor

Mattituck has a great dinghy dock!
We tackled our chores that had piled up on us in the morning: laundry, took on water, bought boat supplies, washed down the boat, added 4 cycle oil to the outboard fuel tank and did a few other things; typical cruising chores. I missed my crew, Matthew. He was a big help on the boat.

Leaving our slip was not planned very well. I let the aft line go and went forward to loosen the bow line and noticed the aft of the boat drifting towards the piling. Not wanting a scrape, I pulled on the bow line to bend the boat around the piling - which was successful. However, as I pulled on the bow, the aft, naturally, moved further away from the dock and the only place I could board the boat was at the bow. Unfortunately, the bow pulpit is slanted outward and as I hung on the bow, I wasn't able to get any footing. Just short of giving up (or going in the water) I was able to grab hold of the jib roller and pulled myself aboard, whew!

Beautiful weather - beautiful sunsets
As we headed towards the Connecticut River and North Cove, we found the wind to be directly behind us, ugh. One very good thing about Long Island Sound is that you can alter course and still have a good harbor for the night. Looking at the charts and the direction of the wind, we chose Mattituck to be ideal. We had a 15 mile sail with the wind off the beam, we averaged 6 kts all across the sound.

After a year of sailing the ICW, Mattituck no longer seems so shallow. The lowest water we saw was 5 ft (corrected for low tide) and we only draw 4' 9". However, we still like to traverse Mattituck with a little tide under the keel, today we had 5' of tide. The anchorage was not crowded and we may stay here a few days to just chill out. Nice to be retired.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Branford - Last day at a dock

The water gets shallow at low tide
At least we got rid of the cloudy day and raining weather. It's sunny and warm, perfect for the excellent pool at Bruce and Johnson (for three grandkids). When cruising, you just have to do laundry once a week, even on the 4th of July - dull I know but a fact of life on the water.

Still pretty here
Matthew decided to leave Fleetwing with his parents so we're alone for the first time on our cruise this summer. We're heading east and will see what the weather brings. Tuesday will be a stopover at North Cove on the Connecticut River on the way to Block Island and perhaps to Cuttyhunk. Meanwhile, I bought a 6 foot length of 3/4 inch hose for further battle with my genset on increased cooling water flow - the battle continues....