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

Gloucester Harbor Overnighter 2010
September 18-20, 2010

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


Early on Saturday morning I headed down to the boat with a plan to sail up to Gloucester Harbor for the weekend, overnight or maybe two. Sailing season is running out, so it was time to get in more sailing while I could.

While setting up the boat on its mooring, I noticed the stern pulpit-mounted backup antenna (left) covered with corrosion. This no doubt was a result of the large waves and heavy salt spray coming over the cockpit during my recent Buzzard's Bay ordeal -- the same condition that did in the battery cable connector (right).  (Sep. 18, 2010)

As the Garmin GPSMap 478 had crapped out (maybe another victim of that Buzzard's Bay salt spray), was shipped back a few days ago to Garmin for repair, I had to fall back on the backup handheld, the Garmin GPSMap 76CS. Fortunately the cockpit cigarette lighter plug and power cable still worked, so I didn't need to depend on its internal AA batteries.

The year-old 478 wasn't working right even before the Cape Cod cruise (I couldn't upload data from a computer to the unit without first wiping out everything on the unit), but last week it became inoperable -- finally telling me the "antenna is shorting out," failing to pick up satellites or provide a position. Oh well, the handheld worked well for many extended cruises in the past and would get me through the remainder of the season or until the 478 is repaired and returned, whichever comes first.

I was off the mooring and underway at 10 am in near perfect weather:  Sunny, in the high 60s, but with a light NW breeze coming directly from Gloucester, my destination. The puffy clouds made for a pleasantly dramatic sky as I sailed under main alone through the mooring area and out into Salem Sound.

I headed outside Bowditch Ledge (left) and departed the Sound between Misery and Bakers Islands, out into Massachusetts Bay heading still into the wind, slightly stronger breeze and seas.

The trip up the coast was uneventful, sailing just off the wind under only the main sail. I tried hoisting the genoa, but had to fall off the wind too much to make it up the coast so furled it. While the sea was running only about two feet, maybe three from time to time, the surf crashing ashore on Kettle Island (right) was pretty impressive.

I arrived at the prearranged slip with Brown's Yacht Yard at about 2 pm. Chip Ahoy and I were soon settled in (the 5-Mile-Wifi antenna, hoisted up the mast to the spreaders, on the left), hooked up to shore power and all for $49.50/night.

Right across East Main Street from the boatyard's entrance is a convenient store/gas station and a restaurant. I walked across and had dinner, their seafood plate. Back aboard Chip Ahoy I hooked up the laptop, connected to a good Wifi signal, and was soon online for the evening.

By late evening I was still comfortable in the cabin, not too cool. I began thinking of staying another night, heading home Monday morning instead.   (Sep. 18, 2010)


Sunday morning I booted up the laptop and checked the weather forecast, over a few cups of "teabag" coffee. Today's weather looked good -- sunny, mid-70s, seas about two feet, but the wind had shifted to the SE. A cold front was moving in, would arrive later today. Tomorrow's forecast called for building seas and wind; mid- to upper-20s gusting to over 30 mph.

Prudence led me to decide today was the better day to reach for home, shoot for arrival before the front arrived. This was after all a planned overnighter; I didn't want to risk being stuck in Gloucester over Monday too. I wonder why the wind's seemingly always blowing from the direction I want to head?

After watching one of Gloucester's famed fishing fleet boats pull out, I broke camp and cast off, departing the boatyard just before noon. Passing through the harbor, a classic Gloucester schooner (the Thomas E. Lannon?) was anchored to my starboard.

With Bakers and Misery Islands a mile or two ahead, John Graichen ("Malacass") reached me on my cell phone. He knew I would likely be coming home today, was out sailing, thought maybe we could get together out here. I spotted him just outside Misery Island, headed toward him.

We coasted around each other in a very light breeze taking photos.  (Sep. 19, 2010)


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


Noting the approaching front, we parted; John headed off toward Eagle Island, I pointed toward the Beverly coast and Salem Harbor beyond, hoping to beat the incoming weather. The front brought clouds but no rain. I reached Chip Ahoy's mooring by about 4 pm, decided to spend the night aboard; take the launch in come morning. (Sep. 19, 2010)

Getting out of the sleeping bag on Monday morning was a bit tough; the temperature had dropped overnight, was in the low-50s and the wind was blowing a good 20 mph. I got the coffee going, wrestled with a weak Wifi signal, spent time with's tech support and gave up, before the launch service started up at 9 am.

Back on land by 9:45 and up to the parking lot, a flock of five grazing wild turkeys greeted me.

Sailing Season 2010 is here, but fading fast!