Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Some say Christmas is not the same without snow.  It's fine by me.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beach time

We've been running from the cold for what seems like forever. We finally found some warm weather near Melbourne Fl. We anchored for a few days and took the dingy ashore. Great to just stroll on the beach. Tide was out, so the hard pack sand was exposed, making for easy walking. Great day!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

St. Augustine

We took a mooring ball for a week in St. Augustine, Fl, the oldest city in America. The first few days were cold, damp and very windy. Miserable. But we got a few tasks accomplished. The sun finally broke out on Thanksgiving day! We bar hopped, looking for the Lions game on TV. They found yet another unique way to loose! Sigh.
We also got in some nice biking and walking tours of the city. These pictures are just scratching the surface of all the great sights to see there. I would recommend St. Augustine as a good vacation stp.
We celebrated Chris birthday a bit early on Friday by doing an appetizer tour around town. Yum! Also had a new tablet shipped in for her birthday. Happy birthday Chrissy!
It was a quick week stopover and we're pressing south. We dropped anchor in Daytona Beach tonight and should make Mosquito Lagoon tomorrow. It is reported to have fantastic fishing for Reds & Speckled Trout. Hope we have some luck! The weather looks good for this plan so far!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


We give up!
One of the most highly touted stops on the intracoastal waterway is Cumberland Island. Canopied trails lead to miles of beautiful sand beach. Wild ponies roam the entire island. We got there on Tuesday afternoon in calm weather expecting to spend a few days exploring. Moma nature had other ideas. The wind picked up out of the northeast and started blowing hard accompanied by rain. A dingy ride ashore would have been cold and wet. We hung on the hook for a day expecting things to get a bit better. They got worse. The wind shifted to the northwest and we lost the protection of the island. So rock n roll we did; for a whole night. The new weather reports showed the wind would keep blowing out of the north forever. Well, at least a week. We could hear the horses, we were that close.

So we threw in the towel and moved on. We just beat the coast guard blockade for a nuke sub preparing to depart Kings Bay. They shut down all traffic in the area once boomer is underway.

We're now in Florida, still a bit chilly with lows in the 50's. Seems like we're always runnin from the weather! But things could be worse, we have friends  much further north, including one still on the Erie canal.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A nice reward

We motored in calm flat seas overnight from Beaufort, NC to Charleston, SC; taking about 34 hours. We were going to fuel up and anchor for the night. But the seas on Monday were predicted to get sloppy so we decided to get moving again. This was around 4PM and it would be a 24 hour run to St. Simons Island in southern Georgia. Sometime around midnight, the seas started to get going again. Not real bad, but on our beam with no wind. When on the beam with some breeze, the sails will hold us steady, but with no wind we rolled quite a bit all night long. Yuck.
But at first light, we were rewarded very nicely by a visiting pod of dolphins. The first sighting was of the largest dolphin shooting up 5 feet into the air 3 times in succession. Very impressive. They stayed with us for almost a half hour, dancing all around the boat, mostly at the bow. I finally stopped being mesmerized long enough to grab the video camera and shoot a short clip just before they swam off. Maybe they're camera shy? This is just a very short slice of the entertainment they provided...

We made St. Simons about 1 hour before sunset to find our friends Jeff & Mary on Echo anchored here. Their plan was to go straight to central Florida, I guess they can't get enough of our company! We've been here before and will go ashore by dinghy with bikes to enjoy the place once more.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On The Move

We stayed put in a very well protected cove for the reported Nor'easter. We saw nothing more than 10 knots. It must be the tropics, right? We saw some palm trees and dolphins again. But we froze our @sses off! It got down into the low 30's. We ran the generator to power the electric heaters, but not all night.We are vowing to make sure we head south a month earlier next year.

So we hustled down to Beaufort NC today because the weather is looking good Fri/Sat/Sun. We're going to do at least one overnight to Charleston SC and hopefully the weather holds and we can do 2 nights to St. Simon's Island in southern Georgia.

We'll have the spot tracker running.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Freedom to the Rescue

Today's weather was much nicer. Sunshine makes a BIG difference. Our cockpit is fully enclosed and the sun warms it up very nicely. The last few days were cloudy & cold, no fun!
As we motored along the Alligator-Pungo Canal we came upon a sailboat that had strayed onto a sandbar in the canal. We slowed down and Chris chatted with the 2 guys aboard the sailboat. They asked if we could pull them off the bar by their stern. One guy was already in their dingy with a line so it was quick work by Chris to grab the line and tie it to our stern cleat. They came off easy, thankfully. If they were hard aground I'm not sure I could have helped. We were surprised how many other boats had passed them without an offer of help before we came along. Our good deed for the month. Sorry, no pictures, we were kind of busy.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New rag!

Although there was some liquid sunshine this morning, the wind was calm. So we bundled up and got to work hoisting me up the mast early before the wind picked up. The pin that worked itself out of the furler foil was easy to press back into place. I was also able to retape some rigging while up there. I decided to skip replacing our anchor light with our new LED light. Cold wet hands could have led to an expensive masthead tri-color light fixture taking a nose dive for Chris' head.
So finally, down came the old sail and up went the new, crisp Mack Sails Genoa. No drama, piece of cake. We were done early enough to still get underway back on our track south. Another storm is reportedly headed for us mid-week and we want to be inland again for better protection from wind & waves.
We were able to unfurl the new sail while motorsailing and we could definitely see a big improvement. Rasberries to Doyle in Detroit for telling me our old sail was fine and didn't need recutting. Cudos to Craig H for cluing me in on the advantages of getting a new sail.
We were motorsailing today so the engine would radiate heat this evening at anchor! So far, so good. Much warmer this evening than yesterday.
While underway today, we passed Jeff & Mary on Echo again! They are former dock neighbors from Jeff Beach Marina. I'm sure we'll be seeing them again as we move south. It's hopscotch cruising!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's Always Something

We finally made Manteo to visit friends and pick up packages. Our much anticipated new genoa (head sail) also arrived Friday! Yipeee!
Not so fast; in trying to take down the old head sail, we discovered a pin in the furling foil has worked its way out and is blocking the slider from coming down. We can't lower the old sail! That will require me to go up the mast, swing over to the headstay foil and perform some aerial surgery. We tried early this morning but the winds got going pretty early. Not too bad for going aloft except that the headsail has to be unfurled to do this repair. The winds catch the sail and flog it all around. We need calm. It did calm down a bit, right at dusk. So we'll get underway with the old sail, looking for a calm morning to finish this task.
It's always something.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Headin North

We survived hurricane Sandy just fine. So now we're underway again after loosing a week to the weather. And if you follow our track on the spot tracker, you'll see we're headed north. Yes, it's November and we're headed north!
We had a lot of mail & packages sent to Manteo, NC. But it's pretty close to the outer banks which received quite a bit of wind from Sandy. We headed inland, and south, to get away from the 'cane. So now we must backtrack northeast to Manteo to pick up all our loot. Oh well, such is the vague scheduling of a cruising boat.
Like many on the east coast, Sandy forced open our pocketbook too. Certainly not like many who got whacked hard, but we did have to spend about $500 on dockage and extra fuel. Consider it a boost to the economy!
Our bigger concern is weather, specifically temps. It's gettin chilly, nights in the low 40's will soon turn to the 30's; and we don't really have a 'heater'. We do have various ways of generating heat. The engine makes a fair bit while underway, we have a few oil lamps that do pretty well and there's always the stove. But we'd just as soon avoid all that nonsense and get the hell south!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

This is the way to do a hurricane

Friday night after arriving at the marina we chose to sit out the hurricane, we were invited to happy hour at the marina club house. Yesterday I went with some other ladies to the Food Lion to stock up on provisions. We took the courtesy car for the six mile trip. Dinner was a pot luck at the clubhouse, some really great food was prepared and eaten.

We are having a good time, we are tied up nicely and will not get a direct hit from Sandy. It is a little disconcerting to listen to the howling wind and my shoes and foul weather gear may never get dry (it is raining and raining and raining). But Seriously, it looks like we really got lucky and we are thankful for that and pray for those that will be more in the path of Sandy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ready or not comes Sandy.
We're well tied in, 3 lines at the bow & 3 lines at the stern on the windward side. This shouldn't be too much of a big deal for us. We're inland a fair distance where we should only see 30 to 40 knot winds. We've anchored out in 40 and we've seen 70 at the dock back in Michigan.
Back at our stop in Norfolk, we stumbled into some used docklines. Used, barely; they were like new. Big, fat strong 3/4" lines! One of them would sell for about $75. We got 5 for $! Perfect timing, they're all in use today.

There are at least a dozen cruising couples here, riding out Sandy. The marina has a very nice clubhouse where we're having potluck hurricane dinner parties every night. Great place to swap lies and exaggerations!

Our biggest issue will be how long this lasts. Reports are gusty winds running through Thursday. We want to get going south!

Running away

We're running from the coast as fast as we can, away from the effects of hurricane Sandy. It won't be powerful, but it will be big!
We should be fine docked in Dowry Creek marina tonight through the storm. Likely not to see more than 35 sustained.

Pictured is us running in light rain, west in the Aligator-Pungo canal.

(This was written Friday, published Saturday, we have sketchy connections)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gettin Sandy!

Hurricane Sandy is in the Bahamas now and the track north keeps changing toward our short term destination of outer banks NC. So we're making alternate plans to head inland. The outer banks will likely see 40 to 50 mph winds for over 24 hours. Where we're headed now, Dowry Creek, will get 40 for maybe 12 hours in a better protected marina. We'll be well secured for at least 70mph sustained winds.
Well, that's the plan! Stay tuned...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Picture Perfect Day

Got underway before sunrise this morning. Sunshine, light winds, following seas & a favorable current are making this a fantastic morning. Add in our first dolphin sighting since May. A nice wrapup to our season on the Chesapeake. We'll make Norfolk by mid afternoon and tie up at the free town dock in Portsmouth. This evening we'll search for a sports bar to catch the Lions on Monday Night Football.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cruisers have intentions - not plans

We spent a great night in a small anchorage off Chesapeake Bay called Mill Creek. We set our alarm for three am - not to take off to sail but to sit out on the bow of Freedom to watch the Orionids meteor shower. The Orionids are meteor showers caused by the debris field from Halley\'s Comet when it last passed close to the earth in 1986. Brrrrr, it was cold, we took our hot chocolate, our go anywhere chairs and our blankets and watched the show. The sky was totally clear and the stars were bright and shining. We saw at least a dozen "shooting stars" before we gave it up to go below into our nice warm cabin and back to sleep.

In the morning our plan was to sail east to an island towards the middle of the bay. It is supposed to be a quaint little town. We encountered winds over 20 knots, waves of 3-5 feet directly on our beam ( the side if the boat). We had waves splashing over the bow of the boat and it was just plain uncomfortable. If we turned to go south instead of east it would be a great day of we did!

Now we are heading south to Deltaville, VIrginia. Remember, we have intentions, not plans.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thomas Point Lighthouse

The Thomas Point lighthouse is one of the best known landmarks on the Chesapeake. This type of lighthouse is common to the bay.

Feels good to be underway again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gettin Back on the Horse

Early Wednesday morn, we'll finally be getting back underway. We've been in Annapolis for a month and we're overdue to get moving.
We stopped here because of the biggest sailboat show in the country plus the powerboat show that follows. I picked up a fair amount of work at the sail show plus a few more gigs at the power show. Also did plenty of networking and should have more work coming this winter.
We also got many projects done. The dingy davits got some needed extra bracing. I FINALLY figured out the high wear on our alternator belt, mismatched pulleys and a resultant wrong size belt. Got some excellent service from a local alternator shop and we're good to go. We have dual refrigeration systems. One is driven by the engine, similar to an auto aircon system. It had a leak I couldn't find so we had a local expert diagnose and fix the leak...yea!
Best part of being here was seeing friends. We have a friend Rod, from Maine, we put up for 3 days of the sail show. Dana & Eric are friends from our old home port who flew in from Detroit. Mary & Jeff left the same marina this summer on their open ended cruise and have also been here a month. We all consumed mass quantities of Pussers Pain Killers and had a great time. We also had another visit with Mary & Chuck, who hosted us at their dock prior to our coming to Annapolis. Good seeing them too; and the loan of their car was extremely generous.

But it's time to head south. Nights are dipping into the 40's...too cold for us!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

US Boat Shows

We are here in Annapolis to attend the US boat shows. First the sailboat show and then the powerboat show. We have some video work for a number of different clients at each of the shows. Of course, we will take advantage of all the great things to do and see.

The Sailboat show

Ed at work
Lots of interesting characters

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Laundry Day

Laundry can be an all day event while cruising. Here in Annapolis it is not the most difficult place to do laundry but not the easiest. We are at a marina that does not have laundry facilities so we need to ride our bikes into town to the laundromat. We have a BIG, waterproof duffle bag that we fill with the dirty cloths. It is too big for me to handle on my bike, so we both have go. I bring the soap and coins in my backpack and Ed becomes the pack mule.

We usually keep our bikes in waterproof bags on the bow of the boat partially folded up. Here at the marina we have an area in the parking lot to lock them up. So instead of unpacking and setting up the bikes, it is just a matter of putting our backpacks together and jumping on the bikes for the mile and a half ride, past town, up just two steep hills to the nearest laundromat. Today was a good day, we did not have to wait for open machines. It took us about an hour and a half (actual washing/drying time). Of coarse laundromats don\'t have air conditioning so it was really nice that the weather is cooling off! So today laundry took about three hours.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Around Americas

This 27' sailboat was sailed all the way around North & South America...nonstop! Alone!
We'll soon be following his tracks; NOT!
It's docked at the Annapolis Maritime Museum next door to our new (temporary) home. Beyond comprehension for me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Up the Deleware Bay

We left Cape May NJ yesterday at 5AM, an hour and a half before sunrise. If you time it right, you can ride the incoming tide all the way up the bay. With that timing, we had a 2+ knot current push us all day. Only issue we fought was when the wind died, the swamps of southern NJ unleashed a blizzard of greenhead flies! We have screens but they still got in. We killed at least 100 flies and broke 2 fly swatters! Talked to friends who did not have an enclosure. She said she was COVERED with flies! Madness!

Near the top of the bay is the Chesapeake & Delaware canal connecting the Delaware to the Chesapeake Bay. Half way down the C & D canal is Chesapeake city with a free town dock. Pictured is Freedom at the town dock with a car carrier going by. That is one ugly ship!
We'll hang here and wait out the scattered rain & thunderstorms till tomorrow. Might visit the canal museum in the morning.
Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good Bye New York

We had a very nice morning sail west on Long Island Sound towards NYC. Once in the river, we motored, I'm not comfortable sailing with the current in a high traffic area. The first stretch was very quiet. Laguardia airport was launching planes away from us and Rykers finest are all inside behaving themselves. As we closed in on Hell Gate the current really started to pick up our speed. There is a blind turn in the river at the Tri-borough bridge and out pops a good size ship. Downbound vessels (us) are supposed to have right of way. We were on the right side of the channel but he wanted the whole thing. He gave us 5 blasts, the danger signal, and I had to turn 90 degrees toward the river bank to get out of his way. Pushy New Yorkers!

Further downstream we had several encounters with ferry boats. But both times I hailed them, they were polite and offered to go around me. New Yorkers are so nice!

It was chilly this morning. First time Chris has worn long pants since November. Fear not, it's supposed to reach 90 tomorrow. But the sea breeze will keep that manageable.

We've been in touch with friends Donna & Dave who are on summer vacation aboard their sailboat. Dave knows Barnegat inlet in NJ and agreed to show us the way in there. We also met some new cruisers Elaine & Lawrence on the Northport town dock on Monday. They were spending the summer in Northport before heading south. And good friend Craig lives in Northport. So we put them all together for cocktails and dinner at a local pub. Great times will be had when sailors gather! We'd also been out sailing the evening prior with Craig & his significant other Jenn. Craig gave me some good pointers on sailing and Jenn is always fun. Lots of good times in Northport!
We made plans for all three boats to cruise together at least to Barnegat. Before leaving, a grocery run in necessary to stock up. The store is up a pretty steep hill and I mentioned I was going to bike up there. Elaine quickly offered the keys to their car! We were able to make 3 stops to stock up well for the next week or two. Thank you Elaine. 
So us three boats made it through NYC and south to Atlantic Highlands to anchor for the night, ready for the open ocean trip to the infamous Barnegat inlet. We temporarily rafted together for cocktails, appetisers and some last minute planning.
Underway at 0600 tomorrow morn.

On the move again

Just a brief update, we'll be getting underway around 0600 headed west & south through NYC. The trip north through the city was done on a quiet Sunday morning. This time through will be a weekday late morning. Should be fun! Spot tracker will be on.

Friday, August 24, 2012


I was overdue for a haircut. This home, converted to offices, has a one chair barber shop. "Oscar" has been cutting hair in Northport for 50 years. Cost for a cut...$3.50! Down the street at the jewelers, I stopped in twice for a new pin for my broken watch band and adding an additional link I found on the boat. Both times, no charge. We can stay all day at the town dock, run to the store, wash the boat & fill the water tanks; no charge. We like Northport!

Even without the extra cost savings, it's a nice town. We also have friends here who buy us dinner! We'll be here till mid week when some friends arrive. We'll buddy boat with them down through NJ. He knows some of the less than perfect inlets that require local knowledge. Meantime, we're getting some maintenance chores done. And the weather is perfect!

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cuttyhunk redux

We left Martha's Vineyard Tuesday, cutting through Woods Hole again with the tide. Another scary ride as the swirling currents don't always go in the direction you need to go...and the channel has rocks on the edges! But I'm getting used to this stuff, sort of.

Anchored in the outer harbor of Cuttyhunk around 3pm, an easy day. This place is well positioned for a crossing of Buzzards Bay towards Long Island Sound.

Our friend Dan came to visit us from across Buzzards Bay where he keeps his boat in New Bedford. He sails a trimaran, pictured here. They are very fast, he can go 15 knots fairly easy. We struggle to go 7k in similar conditions. But, we have much more space plus our weight makes a much smoother ride in rough seas. Our friend Chuck rode with us from Norfolk north in June with 30k wind & 8' seas. He has a catamaran, and after riding with us in the rough stuff is considering a switch to our type of boat. All boats are tradeoffs.

Dan rafted with us for the night, we had dinner and plenty of discussion topics till midnight. In the morning, we cut him loose as a storm front was approaching. Turned out to be minor wind but a lot of rain.

After the storm, we bid Dan farewell over the VHF and got underway across Buzzards Bay. No wind, so we motored. Shortly after getting underway, I went to check on things below. Smoke coming from the engine room is generally not a good thing! I hollered up to Chris to cut the engine. The alternator was smoking. I've been fighting various issues with the alternator/charging system for a while. While we drifted in sloppy rolling seas, I swapped out for the spare alternator. Other than some mild queeziness, no issues. Fired up the engine and continued on. We'll be buying a new alternator soon!

Arrived in Point Judith in the PM and anchored in the "harbor of refuge", a big area protected by a stone breakwall. Bought some 'cheap' diesel & gas at a marina Thursday morning before heading west to Stonington, Ct. We've been to all three of these places on the way up. It's nice to know the surroundings and what to expect.

We had good sailing conditions heading east in this area but now it's been pretty calm and back to motoring.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weathering the weather, by Chris

Not complaining, I understand that a large portion of the US is experiencing drought conditions, but we have had lots of storms. Everyone up here is telling us that this is quite abnormal. This is a good news/bad news scenario. The bad news is the storms and trying to schedule our movements and arrange anchoring in protected areas. The good news, we are learning a lot about what we and Freedom can handle. The rain is a great way to wash all the salt off the boat and I am becoming more comfortable in a thunderstorm and am getting better at reading the radar. Here is a picture that our friend, Dan Kim, took after the storm passed in Cuttyhunk harbor.

Martha's Vineyard

We sailed south from Cotuit last Friday to Vineyard Haven harbor on Martha's Vineyard. Spent Sat/Sun riding out rain & high winds. Monday we hopped the bus to Edgartown to do a bit of sightseeing. Lots of 17th & 18th century ship captains houses. Of course we had to go down to the harbor & check out the boats and accommodations. We may come here next year. We also stopped for lunch...Mad Martha's hand made ice cream!

After countless trinket shops, we hopped the bus for Oak Bluffs. Took a walk on the beach there and then into town. Different sort of architecture on all the cottages from Edgartown. Had dinner at a small open air cafe Coup deville. Lobster rolls, yum. Hopped the bus back to Vineyard Haven, which is actually the town of Tisbury. Hit the Stop n Shop for a few groceries and dingied back to Freedom.

Tuesday we sailed up through Woods Hole and west to Cuttyhunk. Woods Hole has the most wicked currents we've seen so far. Swirling eddys that run perpendicular to our route, trying to push you into the rocks!  Keeps me awake.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cape Cod visit

We cruised into Cotuit Bay on Cape Cod last Wednesday. Chris sister Ellen and family have a time share house there and we planned on visiting with them for several days.
The channel into the bay is very shallow so we had to time our entrance for high tide. We got good assistance from the local county harbormaster. Plenty of places to anchor and a town dock to gain shore access via the dingy. We can even tie up temporarily, space available, to pick up and drop off passengers.

Family arrived Saturday and we had a short visit and dinner. Sunday night was reported to be stormy/windy so we stayed on the boat. This storm was less than predicted but we've learned to play it safe!

Tuesday I took bro-in-law Pat & son Pat jr out fishing. I managed to find a decent spot & we kept a dozen decent fish. Enough scup, seabass & bluefish to feed all 8 of us! A good day fishing.

Wednesday was sailing day. Took Pat, Rebecca and their children Nellie & Nat out for a daysail. They seemed to like it very much. So we're happy too, you never know with kids! That was a fast 4 days of visiting with the Owens family. We're happy our scheduling worked out. That's not easy with a slow moving boat.

This makes our farthest north & east of the year. We left Cotuit to sail south to Martha's Vineyard. We're now in Vineyard Haven for the night. If the weather cooperates, we'll do some exploring tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wild night

We were anchored in the outer harbor of Hadleys Harbor, the inner harbor was packed. The prediction was winds of 15 to 20 from the north and rain. Our spot was exposed to the north. 2 boats came in after us and anchored upwind of our position. A little after dark, it started blowing hard, well over 20 and up to 30 with plenty of rain. As the wind continued to blow hard, we all seemed to be holding well. For the moment.

Around 10pm I looked up through the driving rain to see one of the boats moving rather quickly towards us. They were dragging, and fast! Luckily, the wind swung us to starboard and they flew by to port by about 20'. I couldn't see anyone on deck either, so I grabbed our horn and sounded a very long blast. They scrambled up on deck and managed to stop the drag just in time. They told us later they read 7' on the depthsounder. The shoreline had to be within 50'...all rocks! They spent at least 30 minutes trying to gain control of the situation and get re-anchored. 

Lots of good luck at play here. If I hadn't seen them in time, they would have surely smashed into the rocks. If the wind had pushed us to port, they would have hit us for sure. And, they could have snagged our anchor and dragged us with them on to the rocks. A lot of things could have gone much worse.

My knuckles are getting sore from knocking on wood!

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Keeping dry

We sailed about 18 miles from Cuttyhunk to Hadley Harbor this morning. There is a very nice inner harbor with free mooring balls courtesy of the Forbes family who have a home here. It was full so we anchored in the outer harbor. Not as protected, but we should be fine anyway, we have a great anchor and we've anchored in much worse spots.

A few hours after arrival it started to rain. And rain. And rain. One of those days you just hang out and get a few things done.

We're headed to Cotuit Bay tomorrow. Chris sister will be arriving in the area on Saturday for a week long vacation. Should be fun!

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Monday, July 30, 2012

Special delivery

We're anchored off Cuttyhunk harbor and the Raw Bar comes by. They deliver oysters, clams, shrimp cocktail direct to your boat. They shuck them right there for you. A great way to suck down a few cold, slimey ones! Mmmmm oysters!

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom


Our boat is anchored in the outer harbor here at Cuttyhunk. Quirky little island town.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Buzzards Bay

I tried to post with a short cell phone video a few days ago. That failed! So I'll encompass that up till now.

We had a beautiful downwind sail from Northport, LI NE to an open bay east of Saybrook, Ct. It was open to the sound so we did roll a little at anchor. Good enough for a quick overnight stop. Next day was a short hop to Stonington, Ct. A nice anchorage behind their breakwater. We launched the dink and rode into town. I'd read reports of a great little fish market with the sweatest scallops around. They have a special flash freeze process. Bought scallops, shrimp & haddock. Haddock was excellent.

Next stop Pt. Judith harbor of refuge. It's a big breakwater sticking out into Block Isl Sound. All day was very dark but no rain till dinner time. "Grillin in the rain, just grillin in the rain" .

We're currently underway for Cuttyhunk Isl at the southwest end of the Cape Cod area. We're looking forward to exploring an old Cape Cod sea town. Reports to follow, stay tuned!

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Liberty welcomes Freedom, part 2

We cruised right up to the lower tip of Manhattan, The Battery, and around the bend past the quiet ferry terminal into the East River. First bridge, the Brooklyn bridge, is undergoing a facelift. There are many more fantastic old bridges with beautiful iron work all the way up the East River.

This is where the tidal flow begins to pick up. We throttled back to high idle to save fuel and enjoy the ride and still did 6 knots. We passed the UN and the upper east side with lots of great old buildings. The Empire State & Chrysler buildings looked fantastic.

Half way up Manhattan, the East River turns 90 degrees right toward Long Island Sound. This is the infamous Hell Gate. The current is very fast here and there are huge rock outcroppings deep below that cause numerous whirlpools. We were doing 10 knots through here without much effort. It's a blind corner so I called ahead on the bridge to bridge VHF channel 13 that the large commercial ships use announcing our position & course. As expected, no response. "As expected"? I have a great ap on my Droid called Marine Traffic. It gives me real time AIS reporting that all commercial ships are required to use. It shows position, speed, direction, size and pictures of the ship. A fantastic tool!

So our trip through NY harbor, with proper planning (back slap), was uneventful. I spent most of my time shooting video (to be released soon on youtube) while Chris did most of the piloting. Maybe next time through we'll stop for a brief visit. But viewing from the water was pretty satisfying.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Liberty welcomes Freedom! Part 1

I missed a post! I forgot to write about our NY cruise!

A few posts back I noted that we anchored behind Coney Island, staged for a run through NY harbor. The tidal flow is strong, so timing is important. The currents were in our favor for Sunday morning as was the weather. We got underway around 8am, first landmark is the Verazanno Narrows bridge. It acts like a giant gateway to NYC. We rounded the point and made the approach to the city.

The Staten Isl ferries are notorious for being fast & numerous. But there were only 2 of them running this Sunday morning, making this a piece of cake. We crossed the main ship channel to run up close to the Statue of Liberty and then directly toward lower Manhattan. The new World Trade Center was topped off a few months ago but its upper floors are still getting their glass skin.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Now that's low!

Our stop after running through NY harbor was Northport on Long Island. A good stop on two counts. One, good friends Craig & Jen are in the area. Two, the town dock is free to tie up to during the day. That means we don't need to load laundry or groceries in the dink for a mile long ride.

We tied to the dock around 1pm. The dockmaster asked our specs and then had us come around the back side of the dock out of the wind. We made a trip up to town to the laundromat on our bikes. 2 hours later we went back up to the grocery store. Well we tried. It was a STEEP hill. Only one of us made it! Got the groceries put away and took quick showers just in time to join Craig & Jen for dinner.

We were supposed to be off the dock by around 8pm. We came back to the boat around 8:30 to get underway. Not so fast! We were sitting on the bottom. Not a lot but definitely aground. We draw about 5'6" and that's what the depthsounder was reading. The tide range here is over 7'! Our boat was even with the dock when we left but now it was a very long climb down to the deck. This was after dark, sorry no picture. The pic here is in the morning. I talked to the evening dockmaster, she said no problem. Stick around till morning to get underway. So we had a few beers and spent the night.

Low tide is every 12 hours, so around 9am would be the same condition. We got up early and cast off by 6am with several feet to spare. This was our first encounter with big tides. Florida & the Chesapeake are only 1 or 2 feet. Up in Maine they have 20' tides! We'll save that for next year.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Sunday, July 22, 2012

North to New York

We rode out rain & hi winds off Sandy Hook for 2 days. Today we stopped at Atlantic Highlands for fuel before heading to NY harbor. They had the cheapest fuel we'll see in New England. They also had crappy NJ attitudes!

We sailed across choppy waters to outer NY harbor, anchoring behind Coney Island in the shadow of the Verazanno Narrows bridge. We stopped here to time the tides right Sunday morning. We'll be going up the inner harbor, past Liberty & Manhattan into the East River. Half way up the East River is the aptly named Hell Gate. The current runs 4 knots there. You must not hit the ebb when running to Long Island Sound. Lots of whirlpools and other nasty stuff that can ruin your day!

Should be a fantastic morning, can't wait. A good day to follow our spot track, departing around 9am...

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sumpin Fishy Here

We left Atlantic City before dawn to make Sandy Hook before dark. The plan had one little hang up...severe thunderstorms. We chickened out and ducked in at Manasquan. I did a quick on line check and found dock space; cheap. Shoulda known there;d be a reason it was cheap. We could smell it from a 1/4 mile away. We tied up right next to some sort of fish processing shack. Some sort of loud grinder was wailing away inside the shack. Guys were shovelling 'something' into large vats and the water under the shack was full of foam.

But it was better than the alternative. Weather radar showed plenty of purple over the place we would have been. Likely 40 to 50 mph winds, driving rain and plenty of lightening. We were safely tied up when the front hit us and we only got 35mph winds. Unfortunately, not much rain to give the boat a good rinse. We'll be off very early to continue on to Sandy Hook. Hopefully we'll leave the smell behind!

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We hit 4000 miles since departing last September! What a trip, and we're just getting started.

We left the Chesapeake by way of the C & D canal into Delaware Bay. Many reports warned of a hostile body of water. But the only issue was the continued heat. We installed a new A/C unit when the first of the 90's hit but our little generator can't handle the load, it's only good dockside. Oh well. As we headed down the bay we finally got some ocean breezes. We finsihed the day at Cape May.

Today was a brisk downwind sail with plans on overnighting all the way to Sandy Hook, near NY harbor. But things got a bit sporty; 20+ winds, 6' seas, no moon, unlit fish traps. So we went into Absecon Inlet Atlantic City for the night. No gamblin for us! Up early for the long 14 hour day to Sandy Hook.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fourth of July Raft Up

Our friends/hosts invited us to their yacht club raft up for the Fourth of July. Here's a short video of the afternoon...

Saturday, June 30, 2012


We are moving north, in part, to stay away from hurricanes. Nice try! We left the boat in North Carolina in May, well before the official start of hurricane season and not one but two tropical storms came though the area. The boat did fine in our absence, I tied it down very well to allow for high winds.
Now we're tied to a pier at a friends house near Annapolis and we get hit with a Derecho, often called a 'land hurricane'. Winds were around 60 MPH at the boat and we were fairly exposed to the west, the direction of the storm. Rocked and rolled quite heavily and bumped against the pilings a lot. Did get one very minor dent in the stainless steel rub rail.
OK, none of these were real hurricanes, two tropical storms and a derecho. But still, it's early in the season. Predictions are for a lower than normal hurricane season based on cooler than normal sea water temps in the Atlantic, so lets hope no whoppers are in our future!!

We were going to join 4 other boats for a mini cruise of the Chesapeake Bay today. We've postponed one day. One boat can't get off their hoist because of a power outage, one boat had a power spike take out their electronics and we're concerned about having the same weather conditions as yesterday. So I have time to write blog posts.

Stay cool and keep an eye on the western sky.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hangin out

Hellow followers, we're still here!

It took us 5 days to move up the Chesapeake Bay from Norfolk to Annapolis. You saw the first day in the video I posted recently. That was fun to sail/surf downwind. But the next day the wind switched hard around to the north. It's no fun to slog upwind into 4 to 5 foot seas. So we sat at anchor for a few days waiting out the winds. Finally got underway and still had a half day of fairly choppy seas.
Our destination was our friends Chuck & Mary's house just north of Annapolis. They have some spare dock space to generously share. We'll stay here a few weeks and spend time visiting with them as well as getting some of the endless projects done. The heat jumped off the scale last week so I added yet another project to the list, replacing the air conditioner. Installing the new unit was pretty easy but ripping out the old one was quite a chore. The unit is under the forward V berth. Gravity worked with me dropping the new 65 lb. unit in. But first gravity had to be overcome in lifting out the old, heavy, rusted unit. I got in some good practice at cursing.

Our friends here belong to a small yacht club and a week long cruise is planned for the Fourth of July week. We're looking forward to having a group to sail with and getting in some Chesapeake touring. This is a BIG bay!
Tentatively, we'll head further north sometime around the middle of July.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Time out

We're back! On the boat that is. I picked up a 6 day job in Detroit while we were in Florida. We scooted north as fast as we could and made it to Oriental NC where we tied up the boat at River Dunes marina. It is a very secure place and as it turns out that was a good thing! We rented a car and drove to Detroit. Got to visit many family and friends. Thank you all for seeing us, hosting us, visiting us. Apologies to those we missed. I posted on facebook that we were arriving in Detroit. Another client of mine saw that and contacted me for a second job. Thanks facebook!! Always good to make a few extra bucks doing something I love. While away, not one but two tropical storms hit the marina. No problem! Boat is just fine. Glad I tied Freedom up extra well and secured everything. We got back after almost 3 weeks away. Took us a few days to get back into the swing of things. Tackled a few projects and now we're ready to get underway again. We'll cast off Thursday early morning heading north. Hope to get to Norfolk on Monday. A large group of tall ships will be sailing from Norfolk to Baltimore on Tuesday. We'll try to keep up with them as long as possible. Spot tracker will be on in the morning...

Thursday, May 24, 2012


We are temporarily living on land. We have docked the boat in North Carolina, rented a car and made our way back to Michigan. Ed has some work and we had some business to attend. It has been fabulous to visit with friends and family but I do miss Freedom! We have had a busy schedule and are having a great time!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Good call!

What a display by mother nature.

We dropped anchor north of Georgetown, SC around 7pm. Grilled some chicken and showered. Just after dark, the super moon rose in the east very brightly while lightning lit the sky to the west. We spent 5 minutes watching the show and then it was time to prepare for the onslaught as it was becoming obvious the storm was heading right for us.

We were anchored in a good spot but pretty exposed to winds. I let out an extra 50' of chain to improve our scope. Also made sure everything was tied down, took down the flag, closed up the bimini enclosure, etc. Soon, the first wind gust hit at 30 knots. We saw a lot of 30+ and a few 40 knot gusts. The boat was pitching back and forth and heeling over quite a bit. The lightning surrounded us. Many of the flashes were long and blindingly bright. The light show lasted at least an hour. Of course there was rain, heavy at times but thankfully, no hail.

We saw the radar picture of what the storm looked like over the ocean where we would have been if we sailed overnight. It grew much bigger! That would have been 'interesting'.

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bok Bok Bok

We chickened out!

We were going to sail overnight to Southport NC. Reports yesterday were a slight chance of showers. Overnight they raised it to 50% chance of showers & THUNDERSTORMS overnight. We passed.

We took the ICW instead and anchored north of Georgetown SC. But you knew that because you're following our spot tracker, right?

This should only add one day to the trip. But we will use more fuel. That's progress for ya

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Fern to Charles

As in Fernandina Beach, Fl to Charleston, SC. Fernandina Beach looked like a great little town. A good place to come back to in the future.

We headed out of the St. Mary's river inlet around 8am Wednesday. Now we have some idea of wind against tide. The wind was blowing in around 15 knots and the current was flowing out of the inlet at around 2 knots. That built up some good steep waves. We were stuffing the bow regularly. But no big deal for our 30,000 lb boat, unless you get seasick easily.

The plan was to day sail to St. Simons Island; but once we got out into the open ocean, we decided to go all the way to Charleston. This is about 160 miles, a basic 30 hour run, give or take. The seas were a bit lumpy but nothing serious. We've done much worse on Lake Huron.

We spotted at least a half dozen pods of Manta Rays swimming just below the surface, very close to the boat. We're seeing far fewer dolfins now. Still no sharks; that we can see anyway!

We always fret about overnight passages but this was pretty tame. We made it to Charleston Maritime Center around noon, just in time for slack tide. Reports are that it has a strong, difficult current running so our timing was great. We refueled and tied up by around 2pm and spent the afternoon relaxing and getting a bit of laundry done.

Saturday we rode the bikes into Charleston. What a beautiful city, so well preserved. Such a stark contrast to Detroit where by comparison, there is almost no preservation.

Our stay this time will be quick as we need to take advantage of good weather and get moving again north. But we'll be back.

Saturday morning, the tide is favorable for a run out of Charleston harbor, past Fort Sumpter, and north to Southport, SC. This will be another overnight run of about 130 miles. We figure on arriving around early to mid morning. We have anchoring options moving up the ICW depending on how tired we are. We're in travelling mode now and hope to keep up the pace into Oriental, NC.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Making tracks

We left Fernandina Beach this morning for St. Simons, Ga. But conditions are good to keep going to Charleston SC overnight. We'll just stay a day or two and then get going again. We want to be in Oriental NC Monday to park the boat while we drive to Detroit.

We'll loose internet soon off coastal Ga.

Spot tracker is on.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Tales and Cocktails

We have met some great people on our cruise. We have learned a lot and had some fun. We ran into a great couple in South Beach. Jane and Ben taught us a new tradition. We managed to finish off a bottle of Sailor Jerrys while aboard their motor sailing vessel, Old Rosie ( we did not drink the whole thing in one night). The tradition on Old Rosie is to have the couple you finished the bottle with sign the label. They have a special place to hang these labels.

We ran into Old Rosie again in Fort Lauderdale and wanted to return the favor. They showed up, wearing their Margarita hats!
Yes, we did enjoy the margaritas AND finished a bottle!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

No more lollygaggin

I picked up a very nice gig in Detroit the last week of May. So we're going to get as far north as reasonably possible and rent a car to drive to Detroit. Looking forward to the visit.

We left Ft. Lauderdale Monday for Palm Beach. Palm Beach to Ft. Pierce Tuesday, south of Cape Canaveral Wednesday, Canaveral Thursday, New Smyrna Friday, into Daytona Beach Saturday and north of St. Augustine Sunday nite.

We're passing through a lot of interesting places. St. Augustine looked especially interesting. We'll stop in some other time. The plan is to get at least to S Carolina by mid May and hopefully further north. I'm looking for a good place to park the boat for 2 weeks.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pavlovs Manatee

There is nothing tastier to a Manatee than fresh salt-free water. I have watched them push and shove to get a few precious drops. We have a saltwater anchor wash down hose. Yesterday morning as Ed was hosing the anchor and chain a big Manatee came swimming by. He was very unhappy that we had saltwater spraying through the hose. The big lug could not help himself, he kept coming back to verify that it had not changed to fresh water each time we turned the hose on. Pavlov would have been so proud.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


We rented a car for a day to buy the solar panels and do some shopping. Got almost everything done in 22 hours then back to enterprise. We were concerned about overheating so we arranged for a mechanic to do some work on the cooling system too. I figured 4 maybe 5 days to complete the install and a few more things. We finished almost everything in 10 days, just in time for severe storms to come through, so we stayed 2 more days.

But now we have 240 watts of solar. We were running our generator almost 3 hours every day when we sat at anchor. This should cut that back to 1 hour every few days! Yea!

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom