Go DEFIANCE!

Brad is racing with his midshipmen for the Marion to Bermuda 2015 race.  The race started Friday for Class B at 1315 and this is where they are as of today - DEFIANCE is the light cream color boat that looks like it's in the lead a bit to the west of the rhumb line.  The pink boat with the crown (leader status per the race tracker) is SWIFT, another Navy VOST (Varsity Offshore Sailing Team) boat and a perpetually fast one, so Brad and the mids have their work cut out for them considering DEFIANCE owes time to SWIFT.  They should be in the Gulfstream today and with the wind in the 20s from the SE, it's got to be a heck of a ride, but hopefully the remnants of former Hurricane Bill, that went through home here in Annapolis last night and are now off the coast, are sufficiently diminished and well north of their position.  Stay tuned for the report once Brad lands in Bermuda.  Go DEFIANCE!!!  Here's the link to the race tracker - follow along!

A taste of things to come...

Brad and I helped a friend delivery their boat (you've seen her before in my posts: "TONIC") back to Annapolis from St. Martin (French side).  We had an awesome passage, but perhaps this video can do the work of me trying to explain it:

This was toward the end, Friday morning about 1100 as we started to near the Bay entrance.  It was nice to be sailing after a night of driving into the wind as we finished passing through the Gulf Stream and out of it as we approached Hatteras light.   There are a ton of pictures we all took as we covered 1450 nautical miles.  I guess you could say what could they possibly be of but ocean and more ocean.  Well, yes, there's that, obviously, but there's also a lot of camaraderie and food and wine and fun and some seriousiness too, like the one cold front we passed through.  So, anyway, this is a taste of log entries to come while I share our adventure.  Stay tuned for more - it gets better.  Unless you like watching me groove in my own private Idaho... 

Dramatic Schematic?

Schematic was dipped into the water yesterday in anticipation of yet another fun and fast sailing kind of year.  The weather, as you can see, was not so fun and did not lend to one bit of sailing although we tried mightily for about 30 minutes.  Dramatic, it was not!  The wind was forecasted 15-20 with gusts to 25 - of course that is happening today...

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The only reason there's a curve to the sail at all is the battens.

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Peter helps the roller furling around.  Without any wind, it was being fussy.  Look at that beautiful, glassy water!

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Discussing the weather report (all wrong), why we bothered put out the sails (unneeded effort), where the lines were for docking (annual delivery across the creek), who wanted another beer (of course), and what we should do after (go to AYC for happy hour).

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Welcome to the 2015 sailing season!

Remembering Haydn

It's just about a year since Haydn's been gone.  I miss him so much, some days more than others for no reason at all or just because he made certain things that much better.  Sailing?  CALIX wouldn't have been the same without him, so maybe it's best both are now just happy memories.

 Walking or running?  I feel naked without him by my side, as we shared sidewalks or the great outdoors every day.

Driving?  He was the best, hunker-down and let's go, kind of passenger ever.

Sleeping?  He was a my snuggle-bunny and nice to have around when it was cold; he liked my warmth too - he was always on the bed in the winter.  

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Food?  He loved an infrequent human food opportunity like pizza crust, his favorite, or duh, bacon, and of course steak and lamb bones.

 Toys?  He didn't destroy his toys in his older years, he would carry them around and bark hello with them in his mouth when people visited CALIX.  No one could resist.

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Snow?  Originally from Georgia, Haydn LOVED snow.  He knew the word, could tell when it was happening, and couldn't wait to go play.

 His cousin?  He and my nephew, Aidan, were buddies from the first introduction, no question that Aidan would be protected and allowed anything, always.

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Swimming?  Nah, not so much.

Being on a boat?  Not just CALIX, any boat, any time, and you better not get on a boat unless he's included, heck he's fine all by himself being lookout or just chillin'.  This is how I will always remember him.

Remembering how March used to be...

 It's Spring cleaning time.  When CALIX was around, it meant not only cleaning, but preparing for the sailing season.  March was all about making sure everything worked, everything got serviced, and mostly excitingly, the sails went back on.  It was a labor of love, unlike raking gumballs off the lawn, which is true madness.  (Go Terps!)

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Back in 2011, there was an issue with the diesel heater.  One early March day, Webasto NA came out with their lead install/training guy, the one in dark blue jacket with the shades on talking up to the guys on deck, and lead an hands-on seminar/refit of my entire system.  

The original install wasn't horrible,  but Webasto got it right.  The people who came to the boat were from around the Bay with different boat service operations and learned about the Webasto system better and fixed  my heater issues.  Very cool.  Webasto earned it!

Getting things back together usually took taking things apart first.  The head usually needed something cleaned up or replaced/fixed - macerator pumps, shower pumps, water pumps, you name it, they don't last forever, so I had the fiberglass access panel out.  I've also got the linens stored in clear flexible plastic zip containers so nothing gets moldy (the Container Store is a sailors best friend).  And of course, the freezer needs a spring cleaning before stowing icee for Dark n' Stormys!

Saving the best part for last!  Bad, and our friend Dan, put the sails back on.  It was a crisp, end of March day, with almost no breeze, perfect.

Lubing up the sail track makes everything go smoothly.  Well, that's it for today.  I'd rather be lubing sail tracks right now, but I'm pretty partial to my daffodils too that are busting out of the ground.  Either way, March, thank goodness you've finally come and that Spring has arrived.

Pre-CALIX, a day aboard AMICI

There was a time before CALIX.  Those were dark days, void of sun, fun, and camaraderie.  Nah, that's not true.  There was sailing to be had, but it was just infrequent.  In order to fix the bleak landscape of boatlessness, a couple friends and I chartered AMICI, a Cal 22, and took her out for a day in late March 2007.  Don't worry, Haydn was there, he wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Powering out of Little Greenwood Creek.  Caine brought the boat around from the Kent Narrows to my parent's dock and picked up me, Haydn, and Gerrit for our day of adventure.

Gerrit looking pretty serious with a beer... 

One of the sunnier moments. 

Docked in St. Michael's near the Crab Claw, our destination for lunch!

Haydn was having a good time.  I miss that pup...

I know exactly where we are of course, Haydn has no question.

It wasn't the most perfect of days, as you can see from the overcast skies, but we enjoyed a few beers, Haydn got to walk around a place he would go to many, many more times via boat, and the seed was planted for CALIX.  

I liked seeing my parent's dock with a sailboat, that's how it was when they bought the house, but after that, it was all Dad's power boats.  Mind you, I used those power boats many a time, and well, yes, they are a lot quicker for getting to lunch by water.  

The clocks have sprung forward and the vernal equinox is next week, so here's to the weather warming up and sailing season beginning!

Finally, Numbers 8 and 9

Here's the last entry in the 9 things that sailors do better (go back and read  1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5, 6 and 7 if you missed them).  Here's the original great article in Getaway on January 28 by Tyson Jopson.

8. LETTING THINGS GO

When something falls in the ocean it’s gone forever (unless you’re James Cameron). The only thing to do is forget about it and move on while muttering something profound like ‘It belongs to the ocean now, man.’  At sea if you don’t learn to let things go, you drown. Sailors would make great psychologists.

During a passage, I always find myself shaking my head at the things people get so worked up about.  There's no point to gossip, there's no time for superfluousness, and in the end, it doesn't matter anyway.  Being on a boat clears the mind of everything.  You get centered, or nautically , even-keeled (see #3).

A version of landlubber advice, I'm reminded of a Chris Rock skit where he says, "If you go to a movie theater and someone steps on your foot, let it slide. Why spend the next 20 years in jail because someone smudged your Puma?"

Of course no sail outing goes by before someone aboard says, "You know what's bothering me?" (obligatory "what?")  "Nothing." 

9. DEMOCRACY

Jokes. Sailors don’t know what that is. On a boat the captain is always right. Even when he’s not.

Yup, you might be asked your thoughts on something, but don't for a second think that means the captain is actually going to listen to you.  At sea, the command hierarchy keeps things in order and everyone alive.  Getting ready for a passage back to Annapolis from Newport, I listen to the owner/captain instruct me about the navigation out of the harbor.