June, 2009

...now browsing by month


Saturday Evening Post June 20, buttoning down the hatches for a gale

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

At 15.30 hrs I was at 33.17 N 72.17 W with 381 miles to go to Bermuda. It is now 17.00 hrs Eastern Summer Time and 23.00 hrs in Europe. Radio Nederland is signing on.

I just talked to Herb Hilgenberg, the weather guru. I’m in for some strong winds between here an Bermuda. I have slowed the boat down, just with the little storm jib. Tuesday/Wednesday 35/40 knot gale force southerlies are predicted for the Bermuda area. It was a fabulous sailing day to-day. The wind was most of the day from the West, about 10/15 knots. I had the new (used) Gaastra 140% Genoa sail poled out and wing on wing with the reefed main. Doing 6 plus knots. To-night the winds are supposed to increase to 20/25 knots. I am ready for it. I tried the fish line but it became all fouled up with the Saragossa seaweeds. So, it’s a can of tuna with noodles, stir fry vegetables, for dinner. Last night, I had 5 or 6 pilot whales (Potvis? in Dutch) keep me company for about 5 minutes. I first thought that this would be the usual dolphin/porpoise entertainment. But these guys were about twice the size and not prepared to frolic like the dolphins. They are all black with a large blow hole in the square heads. Never experienced this before. I have seen individual pilot whales from a distance but not a group swim up along side. I got just one picture, they were gone so fast.

Friday June 19 headed for Bermuda

Friday, June 19th, 2009

At 15.30 hrs I was at 33.47 N 74.15 W with 2228 miles to go to the Azores and 487 to Bermuda. It was better than a 100 day over the ground but because I am heading more south, away from the rhumb line to the Azores, the distance to the Azores was 83 miles. Sailing conditions were very nice all day and last night. I managed to get plenty of sleep. The Gulf Stream set me a ways north of the way point direction. Glad I am across it. You just don’t want to be caught there in changing weather conditions. Most of the morning I sailed with full main and the new (used) 140%. Then the wind strengthened and two reefs were put in then it got up to 20 plus knots and I had to drop the 140% for the 90%. That’s what I have up right now and though I could now use a little more sail area, I’ll keep it there. I need to watch for not going too fast. I need stay this side of 68 degree longitude to avoid running into the worst of an expected gale there on Monday/Tuesday. According to Herb, 15 minutes ago, on his call-in weather program. It is 300 miles from here and I would be there in less than 3 days, at the current speed. I tried fishing but the lure got all fouled again by the Saragossa seaweeds. Lots of Bosun birds here, circling the mast hoping for a temporary rest stop. They do not float on water. Got some pictures. There is thunder all around me, for the last 3 hours and that might also have been the problem not being able to hear Herb, till the very last minutes of his program. I would have been rather anxious about that system that he told me to avoid yesterday.

Since I am heading further south of the rhumb line to the Azores and also because I discovered most of my water tank contents in the bilge again, I need to make a pit stop in Bermuda. I thought I had repaired the leak, worked fine from Florida to Beaufort. Probably time to replace the rubber bladder. I do have a spare aboard. I have plenty of water to make Bermuda.

In case any one thinks that comments made on the blog can be used to communicate with me, wrong, that goes over the internet and even though I can update it by SailMail, I can not connect to the web site from the boat.

Everyone enjoy the weekend, summer barbecues, etc.

Thursday June 18, first day of the Atlantic Crossing

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

At 18.15 hr I am at 34.28 N 76.06 W I l left Beaufort at the 8 a.m. bridge opening. It took me 6 hours of motor sailing into the s.e. to round Cape Look Out and it’s shallows. It was slow going against the waves from yesterday’s 15/20 knot Easterlies. When I turned the corner the new, used, 140% Genoa went up. I like this sail. It is a heavier dacron than the wasted 1980 heavy 150%. So, I should be able to keep it up in heavier winds than the old 150%. Herb did not like my idea of staying on the 35 degree North longitude. He called it book stuff. Probably a malignement of Jimmy Cornell’s sailing directions bible. He suggested I cruise to a way point further south, south of the rhumb line to Bermuda, because of a gale developing west of Bermuda Saturday/Sunday. So, I might end up calling into Bermuda after all. Once I turned the corner on Cape Look Out, it has been a very nice sail. 12/15 knots from the S.E. in a tight reach, or a broad beat. I shall enter the Gulf Stream in another hour or so and that will shove me sideways in a more northerly direction.

Trossen Los, Ich haue ab, leaving the USA

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

I could not hear Herb, the weather Guru, at all, this afternoon. But he Grib files and local NOAA weather report promise decent conditions for the next 4 days. So, I will be pulling the anchor at daybreak.

I rode the klap(vouw)fiets into Morehead City for some marine hardware and an antenna for the stereo. I managed to saw the 5″ diameter holes through the 2″ thick bulkheads for the speakers, yesterday, in the marina. Then I treated myself to dinner at the Sanitary Fish Market and Restaurant. You may remember the stop I made at their dock in January 2008 on my way South to Florida. The place was closed and I had two days free moorage instead of their flat $ 15.00 per night rate. I wanted to talk to an old timer at the restaurant to ask if they remembered Jan de Hartog stopping at their dock in 1959, with his Sea Tjalk “Rival”. No such luck. But John Tunnell, the current manager shared another story with me about the restaurant and another Dutch connection. Back to Jan de Hartog, first. Jan de Hartog was our hero when we were in our early teens. We read many of his books, all about the sea. He went to sea when he was 15 years old, fled to England during the German occupation in the second world war and emigrated to the USA about the same time as I did. In the late fifties. He sailed “Rival” from Texas through the Intra Coastal Waterway to New England and I have his book about the trip on board. “Waters of the New World”. I quote from this book about his visit to Morehead City: “We tied up to a jetty outside a restaurant on pilings called “The Sanitary Fish Market”, the diners shook as we landed in a strong easterly wind. Th restaurant had a big notice board at the entrance, admonishing those about to enter that drunks would be thrown out. It seemed a sensible statement-Let’s keep the fish market sanitary…”

John Tunnell showed me a picture taken at around the same period of the founder of the restaurant, Tony (captain) Seamon visiting the “Fife Flies” restaurant in Amsterdam. It shows him shaking hands with the owner, Nicolaas Kroese, a big heavy set man in a velvet jacket. The Fish Market was established in 1938 and the “Fife Flies” ( Vijf Vlieghen) in 1939. Both are still going strong.

I rode into Beaufort and had a beer at the Back Street Tavern, where I had been with Lynne in late November, last year. At that time, in November, the town was dead but this tavern was filled shoulder to shoulder. This time the town was alive but there were just a few souls in the tavern.

The next posting shall be from the Atlantic.

Tuesday June 16th in Beaufort, N.C.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I just got to talking to Herb Hilgenberg, the weather Guru. As I had expected , from the Grib files,  I have to stay put and not leave on Wednesday. Maybe Thursday. And then I have to haul ass because another low is moving in here on Saturday. Stay tuned.

I turned the rental car in yesterday evening. The boat is stocked with all the finest to keep the captain from starving to the Azores. But I might still end up as a Biafra image. I searched all over the area for Asian and Mexican food. Beaufort is not the place. No dry chorizo, no dry salami, no good noodles, no Vietnnamese Pho base. California and Vietnam are my favorite provisioning stops.

It has been raining/drizzling all day, like a N.W. Summer day.

June 14 Back in Beaufort, N.C.

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Yesterday, Saturday, I spent most of the day getting the dry provisions for the Trans Atlantic crossing. In the evening I had dinner with Bobbe and Ron Voelker. On the way back to Beaufort, I stopped for lunch in New Bern, N.C., another old historical quaint river front town.  I bade farewel to my friends at the St. Therese parish and father Robert Cummins, this morning. I will miss these friends.

My brand new great granddaughter, Madison, came to sleepover at her grandmother’s. Her crib is in the guest room where I sleep, so, I offered to feed her during her “Reveillion”. She awoke at 2.30 a.m. The last time I fed and changed a diaper was with Seth, my youngest son, in 1980. I had not lost my touch and I thoroughly treasure this opportunity. She is the best baby and a doll. She’ll be walking and talking next time I’ll be back this way. When she graduates from High School I’ll be 90. And Jeannine, her grandma will be 58.

I will be ready to take off this Tuesday morning but a nasty gale force storm is visiting this part of the Atlantic on Wednesday and then on Thursday the wind is dead East, the direction I’m heading, so, I may not get a decent window to cross the Gulfstream till Friday. Stay tuned…

June 11 and 12 in St.Michael’s, Md.

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Last August, cruising on the Chesapeake, I took the below picture of “Selina II” leaving the St.Michael’s harbor. Through her web page I found the address and mailed the picture to Captain Iris Clarke. We became pen pals. Yesterday we met and I had a wonderful visit with her and her friends. This afternoon I sailed on “Selina II” . A busman’s holiday. I took the scenic route up the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, crossed the York River at Yorktown and stopped in Urbanna on the Rapahannock to drop off the things that Lynne had left on “Fleetwood”. Then crossed the Chesapeake east of Annapolis. I returned to Chesapeake, this evening following the Eastern Shore and crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. Two fun filled days and America at it’s best. Lush green in early summer splendor after the recent rains.

"Selina II" picture that started the friendship

"Selina II" picture that started the friendship

Cap'n Iris Clarke

Cap'n Iris Clarke








Cap'n Jack on his busman's holiday

Cap'n Jack on his busman's holiday

If you get to St. Michael’s go for a sail with Cap’n Iris. see full details of this unique heirloom Cat Boat at www.sailselina.com

June 10 in Chesapeake, Va.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

It was a wonderful 200 mile drive from Beaufort through rural N.E. North Carolina. Tobacco, Peanut and Soya Bean fields. Winter wheat, or was it rye, was being harvested and fields burnt. The road crossed the Pamlico River at the historic and quaint town of Washington, N.C. and close to the Virginia border highway 17 crossed the Roanoke where it flows into Roanoke Sound. The last 30 miles followed the Dismal Swamp Canal, where Lynne and I spent the first night on our way south to Beaufort, last November. To-morrow I’ll be making another road trip, further north yet, to St.Michaels, Md. to meet Iris Clark. We became acquainted when I cruised the Chesapeake Bay, last August. We yelled at each other when her historic gaff rigged “Selina II” pulled from the dock with her guests. I took a picture of her gorgeous transom and mailed a picture to Iris. For those who read the Chesapeak Log and saw the slide show you might remember “Selina II”. Iris invited me for a sail. A busman’s holiday.

So here are the promised pictures of Madison, my first great granddaughter. Her mom, Katie, was working this evening. I shall see her later this week. I had mentioned that David’s dad and step mom were also going to be here this week, but their visit has been postponed.

June 7th in Beaufort, N.C.

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I just discovered that only the May 3rd Blog posted from SailMail made it onto the web site. So, I have just added the rest. Great feeling that no one apparently missed me or sent the coast guard out looking for me, without any news since May 4…… You are all scratched from the will. “Fleetwood” will be given to the poor with the left over King Mackerel.

I will check and see what went wrong.

The North Easterly stayed in the 20 plus knot range all night. I made my tack away again from the N.C. coast at the edge of the Camp Le Jeune bombing range. This added a lot of miles tacking into the wind. The afternoon cleared up and I did get a lift from the east and arrived in Beaufort late afternoon. Turned out to be a very nice sailing day. I did manage to hear Garrison Keiler last night and again this morning. My Sunday radio service was a Spanish mass from Wilmington N.C.   So, my plan is to drive to Chesapeake, Va. on Tuesday and be back here on Monday the 15th and then depart on the 16th for the Azores. It will be a family reunion in Chesapeake, I get to see Madison my 1st great granddaughter and her nephew Mark who was born last year. And their parents and grandparents.

Here are a few pictures of the sail here:

The paintjob afloat

The paintjob afloat

June 6 Saturday Evening Post

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Most of you will have never read a Saturday Evening Post. It was for many Europeans their first look at life in America. Norman Rockwell illustrations.

At 14.30 hr I was at 33.37 N 77.25 W with 73 miles to go to Beaufort.

This was another day with big contrast. Wind from every which direction and from none at all to, right now, 15/20 knots on the nose from the N.E. I am so glad I chose to stay out of the Gulfstream. That would have been pure masochism with the 15/20 knot winds building against the N.E. flow the waves would have been high and hard.

It is supposed to lighten up later to-night and turn more northerly, still will have to tack to get to Beaufort. This means I should get their later in the afternoon.

I motored for about two hours and while I was contemplating lunch I saw a commotion in my wake. Another fish. Same one as on Thursday. And now I believe we are talking King Mackerel rather than Wahoo, from the chart I found. I had my fill of sashimi and will broil some for dinner. I am keeping 3/4 of it in a bucket of cold water, might still be o.k. to-morrow to give to the poor people in Beaufort. I also was entertained by a pod of Bottle Nose Dolphins, got a few god pictures. What a show they put on. I plan to go into the Town Creek Marina and anchor the boat off the marina while visiting the McDonnells.

I am getting close enough to shore now to hear the Irreverent Reverend on Prairie Home Companion, at 18.00 hrs.