LINKS FOR THE YEAR 2000
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This is the log for the week ending September 03, 2000 By PS
We saw a nice old wooden sailboat named "Mermaid" moored in Benjamin River. We rowed over and spoke to the owner, who happened to be aboard. Mr. Austin Goodyear had owned the boat for 43 years. He had it designed by Sparkman and Stevens and built by Paul Luke in East Boothbay, Maine. It's rare to see a boat owned by the same person for so many years. It was in beautiful shape and a sight for sore eyes in this day and age.
We left Benjamin River on Monday morning with a light easterly wind. Amy was still practicing her sail training and left anchor under full sail, no engine. She did well and we had a lazy sail to Rockland Harbor. It was past time to do laundry. We hadn't done any since Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
Tuesday we went ashore to find an Internet cafe' and a Laundromat. The cafe'/copy place didn't open for 15 minutes, which gave me time to row back out to the boat and get some of Amy's water color paintings. She wanted color copies to make into post cards. She had just finished her Internet work when I returned. The Internet link was interesting. It was wireless. A Company near Rockland had set up a transmission tower to send fast Internet connections to the islands in Penobscot Bay. I looked into getting wireless at our house in Georgetown and learned about the service a few years ago. It turns out that while the connection is two ways, broadband and fast, it's limited by distance. It's only works over a few miles. Never the less Amy was impressed because it was the fastest connection she ever worked on. In the afternoon we did laundry. It was a bit of a chore. We had to carry 100lbs of dirty clothes about 5 blocks. It was a hot day, which didn't help. They had large machines so the job only took a couple of hours. We decided that the clothes were lighter on the return trip. Without the dirt I guess. While at the Laundromat, Amy decided to call her fourth grade teacher Ms. Edes Gilbert. She was home, so we made arrangments to meet for dinner.
After having dinner with Edes, Amy and I went to see a movie in the Rockland downtown theater. We arrived 30 minutes early. The ticket person was an elderly lady who looked like she just arrived from the old folk's home. Dressed in a pajamas like outfit, she politely told us that she couldn't sell tickets to just two people. They needed at least four to show the movie. We left in hopes that more people would show up. We were worried and began thinking about recruiting some teenagers we saw loitering on the sidewalk. At show time four more people arrived. That made six of us. We bought our tickets, some candy and began to walk up the stairs to the movie only to be stopped by the lady in the pajamas. "I must see your tickets" she said in a dead serious voice. She came out from behind the glassed, barred window and blocked our way. After handing her our tickets she judiciously tore them in half, placing one half in the slot in the post at the end of the velvet theater roping and handed us our half. Wow, talk about taking your job seriously! Before the show started two of the patrons, foreigners, were talking among themselves. I guessed they were Russian and Amy guessed Polish. Amy finally asked them and they said "Russian of course!" One asked us "Who's the big weener?" Amy said "Wiener is a hot dog, something we eat" They seemed confused until I realized he meant "Winner". We all had a good laugh. The movie "What Lies Beneath" was the worst script Harrison Ford has stooped to. A long way from "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones."
Wednesday we sailed the dinghy to Rockport, five miles to the north, to visit Dave Dillion. I have known Dave for 15 years. We met while I was working at the Maine Maritime Museum. His specialty is taking the lines of old boats and making builders plans. Historical documentation, if you will. He is the best draftsman I know and I learned a lot from him. After tying up the dinghy at the town dock we walked to his apartment. It was a pleasant walk of about a mile. After a nice visit, we returned to the dinghy. Along the way Amy met her landlady, Sharon Jeffery, from her Vet school days. It sure is a small world sometimes! We made another dinner engagement for Thursday night. The return trip to Rockland was payback. The wind went light and we had to row the 5 miles back. Amy and I switched every 30 minutes and got in to Rockland just before dark. Good exercise for the upper body! It gave us time to think back to when rowing and sailing were the only way to get around on the water. We were entertained along the way by a playful but very large- nosed seal, (probably a descendant of Andre).
Thursday we recovered from our row, and shopped for back to school stuff for Ben and Nathaniel. We ran into more of Amy's cousins and old friends.M
Friday we headed "Up West" the opposite of "Down East". "Down East" is a Maine sailor's term for the "down" wind sailing the prevailing westerlies make possible. The wind for us was from the southwest, on the nose. Typical summer wind. After motoring through the Mussel Ridge Channel, we decided to lay over in Tenants Harbor and wait for a favorable wind change due on Saturday. We went ashore and did some food shopping at the nearby store. After a great dish of chocolate ice cream, we sailed our dinghy around the harbor checking out the boats. There were a couple of wooden sailboats that caught our eye, but again they were in the minority. Upon returning to the boat we were excited to discover an e-mail from our friend Mike Rowland. E-Mail has been a rare treat for us. It seems so rare that we often joke "Sorry dear, there isn't any mail." He wanted to get together with us at his mooring in Clarks Cove. We wrote back and said we would.
Saturday we caught a favorable NorthEast wind and sailed to our rendezvous. We were able to sail the entire way, once again dropping our anchor without starting the engine. The reason I seem to be making a big deal about this is my belief that sailing skills are important. When I see "Sailors" motor out of the harbor, round up into the wind, raise their sails (if they even bother!) and then take them down well outside a harbor before anchoring, shows me that their skill in boat handling is with an engine, not with canvas. Maneuvering a vessel with sails only is a skill, which seems to be in decline. Even Amy is quite amazed when she discovers just what she can do with 44,000 lbs. of wood, concrete and Dacron. By herself no less. It's too bad others don't take the time to learn.
Sunday we visited with Mike and Connie. We had an interesting time exchanging information on sea- sickness. They are both MD's and experienced with the malady. Mike gets mild headaches at the start of a passage and Connie has almost no tolerance at all. Amy and I related our experiences and tried to see what could be done for our circumnavigation of the globe. Amy came away from the conversation still thinking she could "Beat it". I still have my doubts. I do not want to see her in the state she was off of Gulf Stream again. You just don't let that happen to someone you really care about. Taking drugs just doesn't seem like the right way to sail around the world. And while the weather wasn't great, she still hasn't seen "Heavy Weather" I think she was a little shocked when she asked Mike what were the largest waves he experienced on his trip to the Azores and he said "20 Feet". The biggest seas that she has seen were 8 feet. Anyway, she still hasn't given up, which is good I guess. PS
Log for the week Sept 10, 2000 by APW
Once again we have slipped into the somnolent marina life. We are back at Robinhood Marina, which we can unabashedly say is the best Marina in Maine, despite the mosquitoes and its reputation for being pricey, (which we think is over-exaggerated.) It has nice people working for it now, nice landscaping, courtesy cars, laundry, internet access, showers, restaurant (which we haven't eaten at), lectures during the summer, a jazz band on Friday nights- it's a hopping place!
We went for a quiet sail today with our friends Rick and Teen. Our water supply was getting low, so we needed to make water, which we will not do, in harbor. Phil started the Spectra up, only to be greeted with a disgusting smell of rotten eggs, (sulfur?) coming from the effluent tube, and the Clark pump was also whistling. We made 40 gallons anyway, but something isn't right. So we will clean the filters and call Spectra on Monday.
Before we left for the Azores on the 2nd attempt, now known as the 2nd shakedown cruise, my laptop, a Compaq Armada 7800 named Arnold, decided to quit working under battery power. We sent him off to Compaq and hoped to meet up somehow, in the Azores. Fortunately, we had him shipped to the accountant, who was going to send him off as soon as she got word from us. Now that we are back in Maine, I picked him up at the accountants. He was no better. The Compaq techs. obviously fired him up with regular power, not battery, despite my having gone over with them a bunch of times the exact nature of the problem. We shipped him off again. Hopefully he will be back tomorrow.
We also started working on the sail covers; an awning will come later. We bought the kit to build a bimini, last winter, which is in the lazzarrette somewhere, but I am not convinced we will use it, there is also little room for the framework, what with the boom gallows, dodger and long tiller. Anyhow, that will get constructed last. We discovered that we underestimated the amount of material needed for the sail covers. I had taken my measurements from Phil's builder's plans. The gaff, sail and boom are actually bigger in girth in real life. I ordered more Sunbrella from On-Board-Fabrics, a very good fabric store in Edgecomb, which is the same price as the discount catalogues, with more colors to chose from and much nicer people to deal with.
We also discovered that some of the E.F.T's (electronic fund transfers) that were supposed to go through, hadn't. Not because of computer errors, but errors from the humans, who didn't know about them... It had been hard for me to check on them at internet cafes, because some of the places didn't have 28Bit encryption, which I needed.
So it's probably good we came back. We have purposely avoided the places we miss the most- (the Vet. Clinic, our own home), only because it hurts too much to have to leave them all over again. My sister heard that we were back in Georgetown and thought we were nuts. This really is the best place to make sure all the loose ends are tied up before we go south.
Our short-term plans are pretty relaxed, compared to the frenzy before Shakedown2. Phil is working on the web page, updating the equipment section on what works and what doesn't. I've been vacuuming the bilge, polishing brass, clipping cat toenails- things are really pretty dull, which is good I guess.
Our long-term plans are still being debated on a daily basis. This much we can agree upon-We are leaving Maine at the end of Sept, heading directly to Massachusetts. We are going through the Cape Cod Canal as (I have never been South of Maine by water) We hope to visit family in Marion Mass, and along Long Island. The next area after will be warm... but where APW
Log for the week of Sept 17, 2000 PS
We just dropped off Ben and Nathaniel at Logan Airport. It's Sunday night and we are driving back to Robinhood in our rented car. It's been an interesting week.
Monday we spent the day trying to get "Arnold" (Amy's laptop) fixed. After his second trip to Compaq he was no better. I decided that before I called Compaq for the third time, I should get a second opinion. We stopped at Staples and had one of their staff look at him. In less than five minutes "Chris" was able to shed some light on the problem. Because the computer would run in "Safe Mode", he said there had to be a program causing "Arnold": to shut down. I'm not sure how much Staples is paying him, but it's not enough. Here was a young man who out did the vast resources of a large company like Compaq! I took Arnold back to Iwalani and began deleting programs that we didn't use. After removing about ten programs I still wasn't getting anywhere. Chris also mentioned that it could be one of the programs in the "start" folder. I used the Run command to open msconfig and started disabling things in the "start" folder. I started doing them one at a time and checking to see if I solved the problem but it was taking too long. Finally I disabled a bunch of stuff and Arnold was fixed! Someday when I am really bored I'll pin down the culprit. After getting Arnold fixed we installed Amy's digital drawing tablet. It's made by Wacom and it works great. Now we need to find a good graphics program to go along with it. We also installed Microsoft's Publisher 2000. Amy will be using it to finish her books.
Tuesday we both decided that there was some bad taste to the water. Larry, the canary had been ill for some time, but Amy couldn't seem to pin down the cause. She atrributed his lack of singing to an abscessed preen gland and moulting. We had him on board as a back -up CO detector, but we now know he's also a water quality gauge. When I started the water maker on Sunday, I noticed a foul smell, but wrote it off as some bilge water that was stirred up. That was not the case. After two months of trouble-free operation it was time for payback. While the Spectra manual mentioned that the system should be flushed with fresh water after each use, it did say that you could go for up to three days (six days in cool climates) between runs. Well, trust me, DON"T TRY IT! When I removed the 20-micron per-filter I almost passed out. The 5-micron wasn't as bad, but I still had to hold my breath as I carried it out of the engine room. Having the water-maker in the engine room was part of my problem. Because of the higher temperatures caused by running the engine I should have treated the water maker as if we were in the tropics. I decided to let things air out for the day. We drove to Boothbay to pick up the additional Sunbrella fabric for the sail covers and pay a visit to Herb Smith on "Eastwind". While at On Board Fabrics, I noticed the husbands sitting in their cars reading the paper while their wives shopped for fabric. I started to do the same thing, as we had picked up our "courtesy" paper at Robinhood Marine. I just couldn't do it. I was sure that I could be of some use to Amy in the store. Call me strange if you will, but I didn't want to add a third car with newspaper opened on top of a steering wheel. "Eastwind" was still out on charter when we arrived at the wharf. We killed some time wandering the streets of Boothbay, commenting on how much it looked like Bar Harbor. It was off- season though, so the sidewalks were empty. We wandered back in time to catch "Eastwinds" dock lines. After the passengers got off we had a great "Gam" (as sailors call it) with Herb. You may recall that Herb, Doris and their two daughters left in November of 1999 on their 65-foot schooner for a fourth circumnavigation. Amy asked him why he returned. With a Mainers sense of humor he answered "My daughters said 'Dad you said there would be hardships, but you didn't say there would be torture!' " Mind you, these girls had spent their earlier years on previous circumnavigations. Mary Maynard Drake told me that it's impossible to take teenagers on a trip like this. She was right. One of the most important things we learned from Herb was that he got seasick. Once again we were buoyed by the fact that other people had this dreaded malady. As a matter of fact, he admitted that when he was only three miles into the trip he wanted to turn back! He changed his mind though and went another 30 miles to Portland. After re-grouping, they headed south, eventually reaching Trinidad. He mentioned that he got there by way of Bermuda. That got us to thinking. It's only 500 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake. He encouraged us to take the trip a little at a time. This just might be the answer to continuing on with our trip around the world. The timing would be right. We can still reach Trinidad by Christmas, and Amy can see about adapting to an ever-moving environment. I really do thing it was unrealistic of me to set out, "Cold Turkey" if you will, on a first leg of over 2,000 miles.
Wednesday I spent hooking up the auxiliary tank to flush out the water-maker. I installed the tank when the boat was launched, but never bothered to hook it up. Ha., I had real motivation now! I had to re-route some hoses and valves, but got the job done by suppertime. Now the water-maker will be flushed when it's not being used every day. And the pre- filters will be washed and drained.
Thursday we spent the day sailing in light breeze and making water. As soon as we got back I serviced the filters. Hopefully the new maintenance plan will pay off in trouble free water. We will surely be watching Larry a lot closer! When he stops singing- something is really wrong!
Friday we closed up the boat and loaded all our weekend gear, bird, cat, etc. in our 1971 MGB named Melvin. It was a tight squeeze, but everything fit. Once at the car rental place we transferred everything into a four-passenger car for the trip to Logan to pick up Ben and Nathaniel. Then it was off to the British Invasion at Stowe VT, arriving around midnight.
Saturday we got a late start to the Invasion. There were lots of great cars to see. I spent a good deal of time drooling over my favorite English car, a red Jaguar XKE V12. Someday I hope to get a "basket case" that I can afford and restore it.
Sunday we were back on the road to Logan/Robinhood. Got here around 11pm and started the engine to cool the fridge. Someone was watching over us because Amy remembered that the seacock to the engine intake had been turned off. We turned all the seacocks off before we left. No damage was done, but it brought back a memory of when I ruined an engine in a boat I owned years ago. I vowed then that I would never turn off the intake seacock. The laws of Murphy almost got us. It's after midnight so I'll say goodnight.P.S.
Log for the week of Sept 24, 2000 APW
A strange week indeed. It is very nice to have my computer, Arnold, up and running. For a person that ten years ago swore off anything hi-tech, including computers, I certainly have gotten very attached to this electronic brain. Especially as I get older and my own gray matter turns to mush. Using Phil's computer Danny, just isn't the same. Danny takes advantage of my neophyte computer skills and pops up windows and rearranges text, completely out of the blue- I am sure Bill Gates would stand in awe, were he to ignore my foul language and look over my shoulder.
We are still hanging around Robinhood, on a mooring far enough from the inner hub, that we aren't bothered much by any of the marina gossip. It allows me plenty of free time to work on my paintings and books. Phil mostly reads- technical manuals and Tom Clancy. We are killing time before we head south. Hurricanes are still sprouting off the equator like spiral shoots off a giant squash plant, circling and waiting to envelope any boats that may stray in the path. We don't mind staying North. We hope to get one last glimpse of the fall foliage before we go south. The osprey that lives on the day mark at the marina has already left. The night herons and great blues are still here. It is getting colder, but the infamous Georgetown mosquitoes are still in full force, frenzied in their attempts to get that last blood meal in before the end of the season.
On Monday we went to town and Phil bumped into Larry Cilley, an interesting fellow, married to a very nice younger woman named Poe. This chance encounter brought us out from the periphery to the very center of marina life. Larry has always lived his life like he was the object of interest, squashed under a coverslip, mounted on a glass microscope slide. They live with their two children ages two and four, at the very heart of the Robinhood Marina- on board "Elf", a very pretty forty two foot Alden sloop that they have poured a lot of time, money and love into. I won't say how much dinero, exactly, but I nearly fainted, as it was the sum total of Phil and my savings account. (Roughly equal to two Iwalani's.) We had first heard about Larry from a newspaper article embellishing their hope of sailing around the world. It peaked our interest, because the time frame was nearly the same as ours. The article also mentioned that Larry had had a triple by-pass and was recovering from cancer. After reading some of the things in print about Phil and myself, you never know how much to believe from newspapers and such. So we took the state of Larry's health with a grain of salt.
Larry told Phil that they were getting ready to leave the following day. Remembering the state we were in a few months ago, Phil and I decided to take them over some of Phil's calzones. We arrived with supper in hand, to be greeted with a site similar to the state of Iwalani prior to our first crossing attempt, now known as the first shake down cruise. Bags, boxes and tools everywhere. While we were there, many people dropped by offering them pieces of advice and pearls of wisdom. "Better to leave now and get it over with" was the most common remark.
We found out while there, that they hadn't done any offshore sailing, never sailed at night, didn't know how to run the weather fax, and were spending way too much time listening to the circle of well wishers, that surrounded their boat. Phil and I both learned it is far more important to leave when you are ready and the weather is right. We ended up staying way too long, but did manage to talk them out of departing the next day. Besides, the remains of hurricane Florence was due to arrive within 48 hours. Phil offered to come back the next day to help them set up the weather fax and to show them how to use the radar.
The next day Phil spent the morning getting their fax system up and running. Poe and Larry were most appreciative and kept asking if they could pay us. We told them that somewhere down the line it was their responsibility to help someone else. They were in disbelief. Last year they had other sailors teach them some of the rudiments of sailing. While on one of these excursions, the turnbuckle on Elf gave way and she was dis-masted. Discouraged, they had looked at buying a fiberglass boat, but eventually returned to Elf and had a new mast built. Their pocketbooks were drained, but not their spirits.
That afternoon we had to change the zincs, once again on Iwalani. They seem to go about six weeks and that's it. The prop shaft zinc was completely gone. We spent an hour figuring out who would be the one to go overboard into the freezing, cold water. I have more body fat and can tolerate colder water much better than Phil, but I am lousy at the mechanics of doing the zinc. I practiced using bubble gum to keep the washers and screws in place and with my eyes closed, tried to put the zinc on a broom handle out of the water. I just couldn't do it. Lefty loosy, righty tighty, got all twisted around in my brain. I would have dropped one of the zinc halves for sure. So Phil volunteered for the job. He jumped into the freezing water without a wet suit and had a hard time himself getting the prop to spin around. He used a mask, which kept filling with water because of his mustache. He had the job done in thirty seconds after I tightened the mask to a skull crushing setting. Next it was my turn to change the engine zincs. There are two, one on the heat exchanger and another on the cooling side of the sea-frost system. The one on the Westerbeke heat exchanger was almost gone. I nearly did the engine in myself, this week, as I forgot to open the water intake seacock when I was done. Luckily, Phil remembered before he started the engine.
The next day we went for a sail and made water. Phil had us sail off the mooring and we practiced sailing around the moored boats like it was an obstacle course. Believe it or not, I actually had fun. Before, when we have done this game of Phil's, I usually scream, because Iwalani isn't insured. I don't care too much about any damage she might get, because we can fix things ourselves, but I do worry about the damage we can do to other boats if we can't make a tack and take out the rig on some yacht. Forty four thousand pounds and two inch planks can do a lot of damage to a lesser boat. Iwalani has gotten into the game too, because she carried herself much further into the wind than any boat I have ever been on, in order to dodge a shiny black scared looking Hinkley just to leeward of us, as we tacked very close to the dock. Next we sailed out of Goose Rocks passage going against the four-knot current, like it didn't even exist. Once we got into the Sheepscot the wind pooped out and we turned on the engine. The needle on the oil pressure gauge looked like it was having some type of seizure. Phil went down to investigate. He had me shut off the engine. We were just drifting around not really in any danger... He asked me to turn on the engine. Nothing. Not even a beep from the pre-heat button. It was the exact same problem that the marina guys had a few months ago when they were supposed to take Iwalani in to be hauled out for us to do the bottom paint. A tiny little spade connector, which supplies the electricity to the starter solenoid, had fallen off. This little electrical wire is tucked into a very hard to reach place on the engine, presumably, so it isn't accidentally knocked off. The only tool that would get it back on was one of my hemostats. A few seconds later and we were back in business. The oil pressure gauge was fine.
While we were out making water we decided to offer ourselves as crew, to Poe and Larry, to help them get Elf down to Gloucester. After Larry asked Phil, "How exactly do you anchor?" Phil and I both decided, it was the right thing to do. I felt a certain obligation to my clients, who knew of the Cilley's plans and were scared for them, as well as to their boat Elf, which reminds me of my grandfather's boat Leander (the subject of an article I am working on, with a very tragic ending). Their two kids were staying with Poe's dad, so there was room for two more bodies. To our amazement Poe and Larry unhesitatingly accepted our offer. The departure date was set for Friday, which totally amazed me, since Phil is ordinarily superstitious, about Friday departures. But Phil felt the weather window would be right.
We arrived at their boat at 8:30 Friday morning, after Phil was told by "Lord Jim", one of the dockside well wishers, that Phil must have a direct line to god, as the weather was very nice. Phil and I are both scared to death of "Lord Jim", he alone could have a five hundred page biography- with some of his life experiences, but he carries a rocket launcher onboard his boat, or so the rumors go, so we shall leave Lord Jim's biography to someone with thicker skin to write.
We spent the better part of the morning going over Elf, having Larry explain eveything on the boat from bow to stern. This is something that we feel is not done often enough for new crew members. Phil and I split a Scopolamine patch and we were underway a little after eleven. Poe and Larry were almost effervescent over their first passage. But where was the fog and where was the cold? These seas were almost flat, no chop. We could have had fine wine in delicate crystal to go along with our delicious soup, made by Poe. I actually slept. There was no rolling, no pounding, no rigging screaming. No one was sea sick. You couldn't have been; it was like sitting in a boat at its mooring. I believe that inanimate objects have souls. Elf made the passage to Gloucester averaging six knots, mostly motor sailing, but she did everything possible to make their first passage a pleasant one. Elf will continue to look after them, so I really don't think people should worry. We arrived in Gloucester around four thirty Saturday morning. I ripped off my scopolamine patch, annoyed that it was wasted- and then got a fierce headache from the sudden withdrawal. Next time I am using 1/4 patch.
Phil and I were going to skip Gloucester on our trip south because we went there in Elf. I would like to go back. There were a lot of neat things to explore. One of the sadder sites, was seeing my favorite schooner "Adventure" laid out like an aged night club dancer, who in order to hide the wrinkles of age, hid behind extra make-up and false eyelashes. Adventure, her hull no longer bright white, but dulled black, was covered with tiny white Christmas lights and dining tables- she was a floating breakfast eatery. Her masts and rigging were nothing more than background props, no longer used for sailing. Maybe when we get back, in two years I can talk Phil into restoring her...
We arrived back to Iwalani twenty-eight hours later. Stewart had been staying on the boat with Larry the canary. It was the first time Stewart had slept on the boat by himself. Judging from the rumpled appearance on our bed, it looked like he may have had a slight case of insomnia. He was very happy to see us. AW