Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Sailing Season 10 has arrived

A Misery Island Overnighter
June 25-26, 2010

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


The weather forecast for yesterday was just too good to not take advantage of, so I was aboard Chip Ahoy at 10 am and underway soon after. I'd hoped to sail up to Gloucester for the weekend, but when I called Brown's Marina I was informed it was the city's huge St. Peter's Festival Weekend and nothing -- no slips, moorings, anything -- was available; everything was reserved much in advance.

I considered Rockport as the next-best destination, but decided instead to just get out and do some sailing, not make a big thing of trying to make last minute arrangements, end the day out at the Misery Island cove, spend the night aboard and come back on Saturday. With the deadline for my article for MainBrace magazine looming next week, I thought getting away from the office and out on the boat would help inspire. I loaded my laptop bag and was off on my getaway. Just this decision provided my topic: "Preparing for a Cruise." It's good I did, as I soon found out I still wasn't!  (Jun. 25, 2010)

It was a glorious day to be out sailing; sunny, in the high-80s, no threat of showers and thunderstorms, moderate winds out of the east and a virtually flat ocean. When you can get out sailing on a Friday, by definition it's a glorious day -- but I had comp time coming and it was a perfect time to take a day off.

In the late afternoon, after rounding the outside of Misery Island, I pulled into its sheltered cove -- already crowding for the weekend, I wasn't alone playing hooky -- and grabbed an empty private mooring alongside Fame, a replica of the 1812 privateer. Apparently it conducts a children's seafaring class and stopped over in the cove.

The Beverly harbormaster's boat passed through and I was advised to grab a city mooring instead, when one opened up. I eventually did, much more inside and close to the beach, and that's where I spent the night. I was immediately welcomed by a family of Canada geese -- as was every newcomer, I observed. Quickly the cove filled up with boats; I was lucky to have grabbed a free municipal mooring.

I unpacked and set up the laptop -- and discovered the 5-Mile-WiFi system didn't work at all. When I reinstalled Windows XP over the winter I failed to install the WiFi software, grrr. But it's good I found out now, before my upcoming extended cruise. I also discovered that -- despite having a marine electrical pro over to my house to check the mast wiring, connections, and lights while Chip Ahoy was sitting on its trailer -- the mast top anchor light and the deck light at the spreaders do not work. I'll need to get that checked out and fixed next week by the boatyard. This experience is sure giving me material to write about for my upcoming magazine article!

The moon rose full over the island while I was working on my article down in the cabin, cloistered against the mosquito swarm. I came out to the cockpit and took dozens of photos on the gently rocking boat; in every one, the motion precluded a perfect result, oh well. I expected as much.

I awoke once during the night, at about 2:30 am, to check the situation as usual. Good that I did, as the depth gauge (the red light in the moonrise photo, left) read five feet of water beneath -- and the keel was still down. I cranked it up then returned to my bunk and sleep.

In the morning I moved Chip Ahoy to a mooring further outside the cove (so I could use my "all purpose bucket" without offending any of the moored neighbors), made a couple cups of coffee before heading home, and watched two outriggers row by, the helmsmen breaking the early morning silence calling out commands to switch oaring sides.

The trip home under just the main sail was uneventful; the wind, what little there was, was coming from the southwest, pretty much from my destination. Just outside Salem Harbor two and a half hours later, I spotted Malacass and John Graichen heading out, turned Chip Ahoy about and started the outboard, and caught up with him. He and his buddy on a nearby C25 were on their way to Rockport for the night. Wouldn't it have been neat to be there to greet them -- had I chosen that option yesterday instead of Misery Island for the night!  (Jun. 26, 2010)


Photos above of Chip Ahoy and me were taken by John Graichen.


It's never-ending ... but Sailing Season '10 has arrived!