Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sailing with Jim and some great kids

I've been looking forward to this excursion for a few weeks.  I recently started a new job and this is the first chance we had to host someone from my new workplace.  Jim works with me in the inbound marketing group, but on hardware projects (I do software).  He brought along two of his kids and three of their friends.
 Rachael, Alena, Sara, Kristin & James joined us for the day.

We motored out of the KYC mooring field and since the winds were quite light, we set up our Spinnaker.  The colorful sail proved a popular backdrop for the requisite photo op on the bow.

We then settled down for some serious sailing.  The spinnaker pulled us along at 4kts (out of a 6 kt wind).  Rachel proved to be a great help in setting up the spinnaker and also in trimming it.

Alena, Sara & Kristin attend the local creative arts high school and were the ship's entertainment... sitting on the side deck and singing out over the bay.  (I have an iPhone video clip of this that I need to get on here somehow.)

We enjoyed a nice lunch from Mike's subs, along with some extras from Vicky and Jim.

We had plenty of time to enjoy the sun and take photographs.  Jim is also an avid photographer and he got a nice one of Vicky and I on our boat.

We sailed east along the northern part of the Raritan Bay.  As we got further east, the wind picked up and we had to douse the spinnaker and take out the jib.  We sailed on to the West Bank Light (one of the "spark plug" lighthouses on the bay that we have yet to visit).  Just before arriving, the wind picked up a lot and we realized the winding line for the jib was tangled, so we had to head into the wind and figure out how to untangle that... it added a nice touch of drama.  So we brought in all the sails and motored around the lighthouse, posing for photos along the way.

We then headed back to Keyport at a nice slow pace (using the mainsail).  Jim took the helm for a while.

The entertainment committee switched sides to stay in the sun and kept up the singing for a good while.  When they started dozing, I woke them and asked them to put on their lifejackets (yes, I can be a killjoy at times).

After we passed old orchard shoals, we turned the steering over to "Otto" and I noticed people starting to conk out all over the place.  

We had to set Rachel up with something more comfortable after seeing this...

Arriving back in Keyport, Vicky picked up the mooring and we headed right in to get some drinks at KYC and then dinner at Bertucci's.  

After dinner, Jim and crew departed for DE, and we met up with the Miller's at KYC for sunset.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sailing with Hai Qing & Thomas

Last week we had Vicky's High School friend, Hai Qing (who lives in San Francisco) come join us for the day.  She brought along her husband, Thomas, and sons (Edmund and Norman).  Although we had equipped Seas The Day with all manner of anti bird items, I still went out early to ensure that Seas The Day was relatively bird evidence free.

It wasn't while they didn't directly congregate right were bird-be-gones or flags or other items were, they did manage to "thank" me for the use of the rear seats.  Some quick scrubbing and a rinse and all was relatively well right before the launch arrived with Vicky and her guests.

We had a nice evening sail getting back to the mooring ball just in time for sunset.

Blasted birds

The Raritan Bay is recovering from Sandy. 

I should be glad... I'm told the storm churned up the bottom (which is known to be somewhat "polluted") and that in turn killed off some of the more sensitive marine life.   As a result of the kill-off, the marine birds went elsewhere in looking for dining options, and (despite our one-time experience here) the KYC mooring field seems to have had a couple of years break from the "bird problem".

I can tell you that is NO LONGER the case.  The bay is recovering and the birds are back.  How do I know this?  Here's my evidence from two weeks ago...

The tern responsible for all this should be very glad that I don't like guns.

After the cleaning, we equipped Seas The Day with all manner of "bird-be-gone" paraphernalia... at least the stuff that is KYC-approved.  There's a large debate at the club over what types of bird deterrents are allowed with the "I want a quiet boat" crowd currently winning over the "I want a birdshit-free boat" bunch (supposedly, a high volume "dying bird" sound broadcast at Jet-Aircraft levels works wonders).  I'm told that if I switch to white canvas for my dodger and bimini, the birds will let me alone (evidently they like to see their designs) and I'll join the "I want a quiet boat" crowd.