Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Home again

At 23:30 May 19th, SV Madness slipped by the breakwater of Padanaram's
harbor, and came to rest at her mooring, ending a sail of over 5100 miles.

I will summarize in a few days. Right now I will go take a shower.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Big day in the Big Apple

Well, my repatriation is more or less complete. Martin and I spent yesterday
walking and eating our way through New York. The boat is anchored in a
little cove behind the statue of Liberty. The anchorage is a great find, and
we would never have heard of it except for the good crew of SV Sayonara.

The first night. Martin and I hit a Japanese restaurant that featured a lot
of rules on the menu, like "No fighting, having sex or throwing food in the
main dining room", "The restaurant cannot be held responsible for injury to
patrons due to fighting between other patrons" "Patrons that drink
excessively and vomit in the main dining room will be charged $25 for the
clean up and for the displeasure if the other patrons".

Yesterday, we had a walking and eating tour of the city, from Wall Street to
Broadway up near Lexington and back, favoring as many city parks as
possible. New York is really a pleasant place on a spring morning. We ate
Tex Mex, over the top chocolates from a specialty store, street vendor
candied nuts, and finished the evening by meeting his sister Mimi and her
friend Jackie for drinks and Tapas. We had a great time with those two. I
think that they were greatly amused by the story of the naked St Martin
giant, which I don't think I ever wrote up in the blog because it is just
too odd. Ask me about that one when we are face to face.

I made no bones about being a tourist, because that is exactly what I am. I
stopped in middle of the sidewalk to look up at the skyscrapers, took
pictures of fountains and sculptures and generally made a nuisance of myself
to those hustling to work. The New Yorkers were very friendly in spite of my
behavior. It seems to be a truism that anything you can get anywhere else,
you can get in New York (except a sweep of Baseball, Football and
Basketball get to go to Boston for that). The pastries here
are just as good as those in St Martin, except that those serving them
aren't speaking French. I am sure that if I look for reggae here, it will be
as good as what we found in the islands. It is a bittersweet realization.
Good in that any major metropolitan area in the US has so much to offer, and
bad that the work has become so small that adventure and discovery are

Today I am headed back to the city, then East to Boston in a couple of days;
home by Memorial day with luck.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

After a perfectly enjoyable visit in the DC area (highlighted by my friend
Joe finally coming out of the closet; well not overtly, but his effeminate
protestations at not having been mentioned in the blog left little doubt), I
headed off for NYC. (There, Joe, now you have been mentioned;-)

I got no further than 100 yards (100 yards!) from the dock near Ben and
Jen's house before I strayed a couple of feet (a couple of feet!) off of the
fairway and was quickly hard aground (Hard Aground!...OK, I'll stop that
now). This being the Chesapeake, that is no big deal, since the bottom is
almost all sand and mud. This spot was no different. In spite of just barely
being on time to make my appointment with a fair tide in the C&D canal, I
remained uncharacteristically cool, betraying my experience with this
condition. I would get free of the sand bar soon enough, and if not, well...

A big power boat came by and this time I hoped and asked for him to make a
big wake to dislodge me. Normally I am cursing under my breath when they are
throwing big wakes because they slowed down for the no wake area. He
obliged, to no avail. Then he volunteered to pull me off, which I had not
asked for, and was a little worried about since I did not know his level of
seamanship. In not time at all, he was aground as well through a series of
mistakes that I will spare you of. I proceeded to lower the dinghy to pull
the poserboat off, then resume my self rescue. He managed to get free before
I was launched, and went on his way with my thanks.

The dinghy got Madness off the bar in short order, and I was on my way, but
late. I did make the tide, but had to motor most of yesterday.

Today I came down the Delaware, and was spared the awful ride the forecast
promised. I did not get the 25 kt gusts that were forecast, but instead got
no wind at all until after 1400, at which time it came up light from the SE.
This is good for me, as I had made Cape May, and was headed NNE to Atlantic

Martin is on his way to join me there for the run to NYC, and Walter Sidor
is looking into joining me in NYC for the run East to Padanaram.

Right now, Madness is making 6.5 - 7 knots close reaching in light air with
all sails up. The sea is so flat in this new wind that it is relaxing to sit
and read while making better time than she can make under power. Nice. I
think the seas are under 1'.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Annapolis, New York

I have been in Annapolis for over a week, hanging out with friends Ben and
Jen and their daughter Alex on Back Creek.

We made landfall in Solomon's island on the western shore

I was also able to make it to visit with John and Sherry in DC, Tom and
Leigh, Laura Tim and Drew, and made my Niece Katie's graduation in Richmond,
where she graduated from University of Richmond with a BS in accounting and
Business Administration. Yea Katie! Katie and I have more in common now,
because my hair is as blond as hers. She tried to teach me how to get things
done by feigning helplessness, but it does not seem to work very well for

My ever reliable Canadian crew (Paul and Joanne) has headed back to the
thawing north. I will miss their company and Joanne's cooking. Martin is
planning on joining me in Atlantic City, and sailing into NYC for a day in
the city before he returns. From there, it will be just a few days sailing
to Padanaram, where I will return just in time for...vacation! We are headed
to the Cape for a weekend with Fred and Cindy at the lighthouse in Chatham.
The hell here never ends.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Comfort at sea, Culinary travels

We are about to set foot on dry land again, the first time since we left
West Palm Beach on Sunday. This time, there was no strong urge to land as
soon as possible and try our land legs. I think when we reached Bermuda
after a similar time at sea, we quite anxious to get ashore. This time, we
could just keep going; I think we have hit our stride. We have been in sight
of land and striking distance of perfectly good harbors since 0300, but not
felt compelled to rush our return.

We are hankering for some exercise, particularly a walk, but not so much as
to do something about it, like leg lifts and pushups, which work fine

I realized a few minutes ago that we have traveled quite far. This is
evidenced in part by our diet which included: Beurre and condiments from St
Martin; Turks Head beer from the Turks and Caicos; plantains, mutton snapper
and mangoes from the Bahamas; king mackerel from the gulf stream outside of
Palm Beach inlet; and tonight, with any luck, will include Maryland Crab

We are about thirty minutes from Solomon's Island, where we will dock
outside of a local restaurant, enjoy a stationary dinner, then retire to a
(nearly) still boat and return to a schedule that includes no night watches.

Then on to Annapolis tomorrow.


Word of the Day

The word of the day is: Whoaq!

Whoaq is a Canadian idiom that Paul enlightened us about last night when
playing Scrabble. It is apparently an expression of surprise and delight.
Used in a sentence: "Whoaq! I just got rid of my "Q" and "W" and went out!"

Chesapeake Bay

We just entered the Chesapeake Bay around 0500 today. The predicted wind was
slow in coming. We motored for almost 24 hours, and as constant and
comforting as the diesel can be, it was beginning to drone a little.

We had the last of the Mutton Snapper we caught on the Great Bahamas Bank
last night, in a Pesto crust, along with Brussels Sprouts, potatoes and the
last of the Turks Head beer from the Turks and Caicos. We played Scrabble
and later saw a beautiful moonset over slowly rolling swells from distant

We will probably stop at Tangier island, or Tilghman, or Solomon's, then on
to Annapolis were Paul and Joanne will fly home, and I will remain for week
or two before proceeding home.

We might have sailed down wind through a gale to get home as early as this
Sunday, but that sounded a bit uncomfortable, and way too sudden.

Once again we are cold, yet sailing North. It doesn't make any sense...