Fall 2012 Boat Show Season Completed!

We have completed our fall 2012 boat show season, and are happy to report that it was a safe, harmonious, and productive one!  We were spared any nor’easters while aboard “JOY”, and made it through T/S Sandy during the Ft. Lauderdale show.

I left off on the blog at the end of September, having just completed the run from Cape May to Baltimore.  By the way, if your travels ever find you in that neighborhood, be sure to stop.  There are lots of great marinas in Baltimore Harbor, with most accessible to restaurants, grocery stores, and the waterfront scene.  There’s a wonderful walking/running path along the harbor which is nice way to stretch your legs and get some exercise.  (Always check for more information about marinas.  We can’t say enough about that site.  It’s our cruising Bible!)

John and I got the boat set up in our slip for TrawlerFest and Bob arrived the next day.  The dogs and I drove to Hilton Head for a few days of land/home time.  I do love being on the boat, but home time is always appreciated!  Upon my return to Maryland, John and I took the boat to the dock of some dear friends, Cathie and Pete Trogden.  They own Weems and Plath, the nautical instruments company headquartered in Eastport.  (Thanks for having us!) Being with friends along the way  makes boating such fun.

Then it was on the Annapolis boat show. Like the Newport show, most of the docks are temporary, put into place as the boats come in.  But unlike the Newport show, the ABS requires that all boats depart on Sunday night following the show.  We’ve never understood that, making it mandatory for the boats to depart into the darkness of the Chesapeake; but we don’t have much choice.  It is what it is!  So Bob and John drove the boat to Solomons Maryland where she would stay temporarily.  I met them in the car.  In the morning we unloaded everything we would need for our next gig, Ft. Lauderdale, (and then some) into our van and headed out.

Fast forward 3 days (with a quick stop at home) and we were “on the road again” to Lauderdale.  As I mentioned earlier, T/S Sandy descended on us bringing huge winds and rain.  As a result the crowds at the show the first two days were down which was disappointing, but the storm moved on and the sun returned, as did the show attendees.

We are now in recovery mode, having completed 4 shows in 6 weeks covering nearly 3000 miles in both boat and car.  We have also completed the orientation for our newest owners whose boat, “EASY WATERS” from Fairbanks, Alaska, was featured in the Ft. Lauderdale show.  Last night we had dinner with them along with other members of our Krogen Express family, Jill and Robert (you remember them, from our ads!!)

Our dogs love Robert and Jill (fortunately the feeling is mutual), so M.E. wasn’t shy about cosying up to Jill on our porch after dinner!

Here’s a picture of “EASY WATERS” the next morning, passing by our place on the Indian River in Vero Beach.  (I just have one of those “sure shot” cameras (in this case it wasn’t such a sure shot) so I apologize for the blurry pics. But you get the idea!)  They were honking their horn and everyone was waving!  Great fun.  It gives us such pleasure to have these types of experiences!


Baltimore or Bust

The alarm clock went off at 5:20 a.m. Even though darkness greeted us, it was up and at’em for us. Dogs walked and fed, coffee perking, at 5:45 we left the dock of the Great Kills Yacht Club in Staten Island, out into New York Harbor and then the Atlantic, cruising just a mile offshore of New Jersey. Finally, light began to appear and we watched a glorious sunrise. The ocean was quite nice actually.  Again, the captain called it right!  West winds at 10-15 mph, 3-1/2 footers with 11 second duration (we normally like to see 2 seconds per foot). But it was chilly, so we opted for driving in the pilothouse.
The forecast for Tuesday was less favorable, plus the Baltimore TrawlerFest was looming and we were running out of time to get there, so John and I discussed the option of continuing on to Baltimore that night. I do like sleep, don’t get me wrong; but I’m happy to forgo some in lieu of a more comfortable ride. The Delaware Bay is not only an open body of water, but it’s shallow depths can make it extremely choppy. So we decided to stop in Cape May for fuel and dog walk, and keep going. After a long day, the girls were happy to be on land! Plus they always enjoy barking at – and trying to chase – the cats that live at Utsch’s Marina. When we started down the Cape May Canal towards Delaware Bay it was dusk. The Delaware brought total darkness. Unfortunately the tide was against us, with 2-3 knots against us, seriously slowing us up and making the trip longer than necessary. John took the first watch. I awoke just after we entered the C&D canal, and he turned over the helm to me. Thanks to good ol’ Wikipedia, here is some history about the canal:

The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D Canal) is a 14 mile long, 450 foot wide and 40 foot deep ship canal that cuts across the states of Maryland and Delaware, in the United States. It connects the waters of the Delaware River with those of the Chesapeake Bay (the mouth of the Susquehanna River) and the Port of Baltimore. Construction began in the early 1820s with some 2,600 men digging and hauling dirt from the ditch. Laborers toiled with pick and shovel at the immense construction task, working for an average daily wage of 75 cents. The swampy marshlands along the canal’s planned route proved a great impediment to progress as workers continuously battled slides along the soft slopes of the “ditch” being cut. It was 1829 before the C&D Canal Company could, at last, announce the waterway “open for business”. The near-$2.5 million construction cost made it one of the most expensive canal projects of its time. 
In 1919 the canal was purchased by the federal government for $2.5 million and designated the “Intra-coastal Waterway Delaware River to Chesapeake Bay, Delaware and Maryland”. Included were six bridges plus a railroad span owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. They were replaced during the 1920s by four vertical lift spans and a new railroad bridge.
Responsibility for operating, maintaining and improving the waterway was assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District. By 1927 the eastern entrance at Delaware City had been relocated several miles south at Reedy Point, Delaware. All locks (except the one at Delaware City) were removed and the waterway was converted to a sea-level operation at 12 feet (3.7 m) deep and 90 feet (27 m) wide. These improvements cost $10 million. Two stone jetties at the new eastern entrance were completed in 1926.
The “new” canal opened in May 1927 with great celebration, yet plans already were underway for further expansion as the sizes of ships and amounts of cargo continued to increase. The Philadelphia District took over operation of the canal in 1933. Between 1935 and 1938 the channel was again improved — deepened to 27 feet (8.2 m) and widened to 250 feet (76 m) at a cost of nearly $13 million

Cargo ships of all sizes, tankers, container-carrying vessels, barges accompanied by tugboats, and countless recreational boats create a steady flow of traffic. 
Now it was John’s turn to rest. Despite our state-of-the-art radar, I sat upright in the chair my entire watch, completely focused on what was going on. We have seen many barges and container ships go down this canal and I did not want to encounter one. About half way – with 7 miles to go – fog set in. Oh great! Fortunately it wasn’t so heavy that I couldn’t see the dimly lighted banks of the canal. I gave thanks for electronic navigation and stayed focused on that as my guide. Then, as the canal widened into Chesapeake Bay, the lighted markers increased, and navigating became a little more challenging. I decided it was time to wake John for some assistance, although I hated to do it. He got us through that area, went back to sleep, and I took the helm again. The Bay was choppy but not too bad. The wind was from the south at 15 mph which made for a bit of a sloppy ride. We arrived in Baltimore Harbor shortly after sunrise, then dropped the anchor, lowered the dinghy, took the dogs ashore, and hit the hay. It had been a long 27 hours. We were tired.

East River Daughter Siting

We cast off our lines from Essex Island Marina at exactly 9 am to hit the current/tides just right.  Down the Connecticut River and out in to the (Long Island) Sound.  It was still breezy but out of the east, 5-10 with 1 footers, and chilly so we stayed in our cosy pilothouse.  The captain of this boat is amazing.  He knows exactly when and what, in order to make the ride the most comfortable for his crew!  And every captain knows how important it is to keep the crew happy!

Bound again for Port Washington on the north shore of Long Island, we picked up our mooring there around 5.  With the dinghy all cleaned up for the Newport show, and Baltimore TrawlerFest coming up, we didn’t want to mess it up again, so we called the launch to take first mate and pups ashore for a long walk. (But having provisioned in Essex, it killed me not to need to go to that fantastic grocery store there!)

The next morning A&R (that we met at the Newport boat show) flew down from Boston for a sea-trial.  It was a nice opportunity to get to know them better, and we appreciated the effort they made to meet up with us.  They were impressed with the boat and the ride, and why not?  What’s not to like?

Upon their departure a few hours later, we left Port Washington for a short ride to World’s Fair Marina.  I wrote something in our 2010 blog about this marina which is right next to Laguardia Airport.  We also stayed there last year during Hurricane Irene.  It’s a very protected spot, with floating docks, and high pilings.  Plus it’s easy to get into the City from there (#7 train takes 45 minutes).  The docks and power are not in the best shape, but the staff is amazing, and are even getting to know us (the dockhand commented that we had a different color boat this year!)  Joy came out from the City that afternoon, and we walked to a fabulous – and authentic! – Mexican restaurant for a late lunch.  John had seen it featured on Guy Fieri’s tv show, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”.

Joy left at 11 the next morning so that she could get back into the City for her 1:00 tennis practice.  She plays on a couple of teams and they practice at several different locations around the City and it’s boroughs.  That day she was to practice at some courts on the East River.  What a coincidence!  We would be going right by them during her practice time.  We made an arrangement with her to toot our horn as we passed.  She told us the courts were under the Williamsburg Bridge and that it could be noisy, but John reassured her that she would hear the horns!

As we left the marina, the planes were flying right over us.  And I mean, right over us!  Meantime, we were against the current as we headed down the East River, sometimes as much as 5 knots!!  So much for that nice push we had going up the River a few weeks ago.  These pictures below don’t really capture the turbulent water at Hell’s Gate, but I do believe you get the idea of the force of the current passing by these buoys which are just off the East River Drive.


The Coast Guard was broadcasting a “security zone” outside the United Nations as it prepares for the UN General Assembly (when 120 world leaders and their entourages gather) this week.Between them and the NYPD, they were all doing a good job of keeping pleasure craft away.

Approaching the Williamsburg Bridge we got our binoculars out and searched for tennis courts.  We were probably 100 feet offshore when we spotted them.  John tooted the horn a couple of times.  Suddenly we saw a couple of tennis racquets waving through the air!!  Another toot!!  Mission accomplished, thanks to the Kahlenberg airhorns!!  I have to say, it was pretty cool to be passing by on the boat and waving to her onshore.  And in her phone call to us later in the day, she said she and her friends thought it was pretty cool too!  (It’s always nice when your kids think stuff you do is “cool”!)

Leaving Manhattan (and the new Freedom Tower) behind us, we ended the day at a small yacht club marina in Great Kills on Staten Island.