Sunday, August 13, 2017

An evening single handing across the bay

This weekend was kind of weird, with a couple of rainstorms predicted and so I decided to hold back on Friday and Saturday morning.  But around lunchtime on Saturday I found myself watching sailing videos on Youtube (I'm a fan of Delos and her crew) and realizing that with the weather clearing, I could be doing some sailing instead of watching it.

So I headed up the turnpike and caught the launch out to Seas The Day.

It turned out to be a beautiful evening.  Flat calm waters and a consistent 10 kt breeze was just perfect for a relaxed 3 kt cruise across the bay.

Although I really miss my First Mate (she returns from China in a week), there's an aspect of single handing that I really enjoy.  You can really "live in the moment" ignoring all that is going on in the rest of the world and focus truly at the task at hand.  It seems like that's harder and harder to do, these days.

This weekend, i decided to just do a relaxing sail... I left the jib in, set the mainsail for a close reach across the bay (a broad reach to return) and did a nice 3 knots or so out to the channel and back.

There wasn't a lot of traffic (just a few fishermen around the Keyport #1 buoy) and I just enjoyed the ride.



Eventually, the sun started to set, I saw some clouds in the distance and I returned to my mooring ball in the Keyport Harbor.  I called for the launch right as the sun passed behind some clouds (it creates a very unique quality of light (see the 3rd photo below)

From the top of the dock near the launch shack, it was clear a front was coming through.  So I found some dinner and decided it was best to head back down to DE.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Two Trips in One Weekend!

I invited some work friends as guests to go sailing on Saturday because the weather looked so great as the weekend approached.  Unfortunately, they couldn't come.  So I headed up by myself for some single handing.

But... weather had other plans.

It was great as I started out, but crossing the Driscol Bridge I noticed the sky was darker than I expected.   When I got out on the launch, I turned around and saw this...

Most of you know that I'm a fair weather sailor... I chatted with Bill the head of launch operations and after observing for a bit, I decided that despite the two-hour drive, it was more prudent to pack it in.

So I hailed the launch and headed back in.  Win some, lose some... some days you have a great day of sailing, others, you find black clouds and decide lunch is a better option.

I did manage to squeeze a photo op... Junior sailing was running the weekend program and I saw Brandon in his Opti.

After that, I had lunch with John and headed back down to Delaware.  That evening, looking at the weather, I regretted not taking my bag and staying the night (though the weather wasn't conducive to staying over), so I wanted to make sure I got out on Sunday because the weather forecast looked nice.

The best way to do that was to get some friends to come along, so I called my neighbors and they jumped at the chance to join me.

We sailed out to Old Orchard and back, but one thing different today was the amount of large boat traffic, I saw 5 large vessels (4 barges and a tanker) on the bay at the same time!

Finally, after heading around the shoal, we headed back.  Once the sails were rolled up, we settled in for the ride back to Keyport 1 and I offered the helm to Ilene.  She did a great job - much better at helming than at cooperating with the boat photographer.

We passed some friends heading out and after tying up, we headed in and met John at the Junior Sailing Bar (I expect the lower bar in the junior sailing room has a different - perhaps more official and maybe more appropriate name... I just don't remember it.)  Following a drink, we went into town and had a nice dinner at the Old Glory Kitchen & Spirits.  I can give an unqualified recommendation for the meatloaf!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sailing with Deb & Nathan (& family)

My cousin Deb and her husband, Nathan, were bringing their family up to Keyport again for a day of sailing.  Our last excursion with their family was on one of the hottest days of last year, and I was glad that the weather was going to be much cooler this time.

I arrived in Keyport a bit earlier than the others and noticed that Jr. Sailing was taking place.  The oldest of the Miller kids was taking his first lesson so I grabbed some shots and chatted with Brandon while I waited.

Once Deb & Nathan and family showed up, we went out to Seas The Day, got her ready and headed out.  Once again, there was no wind to speak of, but that made for a smoother ride.  The children were nicely inquisitive about the boat and I answered questions as we motored out into the bay.

There was one point where a breeze picked up and we pulled out the mainsail for a maybe 15 minutes of sailing before the wind died.  So seeing a barge out in the channel, we headed over there to check it out.

As we rounded the barge, we noticed another tug coming up, so I guess it was time for the shift change.  We cleared away to give them room.

As we progressed it was neat to see the kids warm up to the boat.  Eventually they wanted to sit on the "best seats" on the pushpit rails and we grabbed some photos as we headed back to Keyport.

On the launch ride back to KYC we noticed a tidal wave was crashing over the parking lot!  This was the day of KYC's Children's Party, so Deb and Nathan's children joined in the fun on the water slide and spray yard.

Eventually, everyone tired out and we each headed home.  It was a great day!

Monday, June 26, 2017

An Incredible Photo of Keyport Harbor at Sunset

I've been interacting from time to time with Stan, another photographer from the Keyport area.  I know him mostly from the drone videos he posts on the Keyport Facebook page, but he was also working on the parade of yachts I photographed a few years back.

He's also a pilot and today he posted this incredible photo of last evening's sunset over Keyport harbor.  Seas The Day in in there somewhere... I think it's the line of yachts just below the channel and probably just at the right edge of the sunlight reflection. I can't see the maroon covers from Sugah, so I'm not certain.

Anyway, I contacted Stan and he was nice enough to give me permission to include this shot on the blog, so please check out his page!

The photo is obviously looking west from probably above Union Beach somewhere.  The shore just below the sun is South Amboy, just to the right of that in the far distance is the NJ Transit bridge and the Driscol/Route 9 bridges behind that and you can even just make out the Great Beds Light in the upper right.

It's an incredible photo, Stan.  Thanks!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sailing with Michelle, Eric & Evan

I've been talking with my colleagues Michelle and Eric about having them come sailing with me on Seas The Day.  Like previous weeks this year, the weather report coming up to the weekend was all over the place, but when I checked it on Friday, it looked good.  So I said there will be a touch of rain in the morning and after that it should clear up.  Winds looked like they would be right were we wanted them (12 to 15 knots) with occasional higher gusts.

Yea, right... touch of rain, huh?

As I departed, I headed into this...

As I'm snapping this photo, I'm listening to NJ101.5 announce that there is no longer a TORNADO WARNING over NJ.  (At this point I'm just slightly questioning my sanity.)  Are we really going to get to go sailing?  Approaching the Delaware Memorial Bridge, it actually looked like a dementor attack (a la Harry Potter) was taking place over NJ.

But I continued and once I got to the club, things didn't look too bad.  So I boarded the launch and headed out...

To find that my new mooring is still getting tangled.  I noticed that Dan had added an extra heavy rope since one of mine was fraying from rubbing the chain under the ball.  I expect we'll get this sorted out soon.

After puttering around for an hour or so, I looked up to see the launch delivering my guests (after a quick tour of the mooring field).  About this time, I noticed that the seas were a bit rough... there were lots of whitecaps, and the wind speed indicator was reading above 20.  It was a bit of a struggle to get everyone aboard and I was just listening to the KYC race committee tell the launches that today's races would be postponed due to too much wind (they were eventually cancelled - though we didn't know that fact).  It was more sustained wind in the 20 kt range, with occasional lulls down to 15 or so.  

Yea well... weather reports... gotta luv 'em.

So we had lunch in the Salon, I took them through all the safety briefings, and I finally decided that we could just motor around, but there would be no sailing unless things calmed down a bit.

I don't have many photos from the first part of the trip... approaching 2ft waves in some places, and while we weren't in any danger, it was rough enough to make aspects of the trip unpleasant.

We headed to the Great Beds Light.  Since the wind was coming from the WNW, once we got over there it calmed down a bit and we could do the standard photo shoot I do around there, but you can clearly see that it is still quite windy.

(photo credit: Michelle)

From there, we slowly motored east, staying relatively close to Staten Island.  Evan was interested in taking the helm, so I guided him on what to do.  He did really well for a kid his age taking his first turn on this type of boat.  I guess it's the Boy Scout in him (he's headed for Philmont later this summer and he easily has the best sense of direction of any of our guests).

(photo credit: Michelle)

We made our way as far as Old Orchard Shoal.  Eric took the helm and rounded the shoal and got us started back (for some reason I don't have a photo of Eric).  

As it continued to calm, eventually we were confident enough to pull out the mainsail and make it back and forth across the bay twice on wind power.

At last, it was time to head west and get back to the mooring.  Michelle took the helm for a while.

(photo credit: Michelle)

Finally it was time to pick up the ball.  My friend Mike caught us on our final approach.

(photo credit: Mike)

We headed upstairs to the clubhouse and found a table available on the deck.  We had our customary beverages and then decided to order Sushi so we could enjoy the view a bit longer.

These guys are serious about their sushi!

Once full, I saw them off for their trip back down to Delaware and hung around the bar to enjoy the view a bit more before catching a ride to my home for the night.

This morning I woke up to clear skies and smooth (almost lake-like) water.  Despite applying sunscreen several times yesterday, I had some sunburn on my arms and the top of my head (either my hair is thinning, or my had band absorbed the sunscreen - I'll go with the latter).  

So I decided to leave the Open House in good hands (once I burn a little, its a down-hill battle) and head home and free up a parking space. 

Sugah and Seas The Day

Seas The Day all battened down for a week
(Except for the fact that I forgot to take in the flag)

As we approached the dock there was a traffic jam (3 sailboats boats at the dock)!  A group of several boats were heading out on a 2 week cruise of Long Island Sound.  I saw the notice of this excursion and if Vicky were in town, we'd be heading there.  Maybe next time...