Chip Fords 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

Chip Ahoy's 2009 Abbreviated Cruise
The incomplete Cape Cod Cruise

For "The second coldest, rainiest summer in New England history," I sure got the best weather of it so far for my annual cruise.  This year the plan was to head south along the coast:  Scituate, Plymouth, Cape Cod Canal to Onset, through Woods Hole to the Outer-Cape, perhaps even across to Martha's Vineyard.  Unfortunately, this was not to be.

Upon arrival in Scituate, to my disappointment I had to agree with others that I had not fully recovered from the major surgery I underwent in March -- the only explanation for the lethargy, exhaustion, even discomfort.  I wrestled with the decision of whether to push on after a few days of R&R or head home.  The latter won in the end.

This year's plan was cut short, but at least it was a week away aboard Chip Ahoy.

Chip Ford
Monday, August 10, 2009

Links to some of the photos from the cruise album are included within the text below.

The cruise that didn't make it
The Log of Chip Ahoys 2009 abbreviated Cape Cod Cruise

Monday, August 3, 2009; 8:46 pm
Chip Ahoy's mooring, Salem Harbor

The day of departure is pretty much always the same: Early and hectic with way too many things on one's mind seems like you're always thinking "What am I forgetting?" And you keep finding it as you wander about the house. You keep coming across the little items that make a cruise comfortable until you realize enough's enough.

Michael Sullivan arrived just after three o'clock to help me and Barbara mule my cruising stuff down to the boat, again this year. I had the Blazer loaded, it was just a matter of driving down the hill, parking briefly while I went out aboard "Chip Mate," my dinghy tied up on a temporary dinghy ring, and brought Chip Ahoy in to the dock, then loading up the boat with everything I'll need or want for the next 2-3 weeks.

It's so good to get out of here this year. There's been way too much dissension over the past week on my C22 discussion group. I'm truly tired of it, baffled why I ever put so much of me into it for five years. Maybe some are right: Too much of me into administering; not enough out sailing. Time for a break from it. Too bad this break had to be so . . . discomforting.

After getting everything aboard and Chip Ahoy back out to its mooring I spent the next few hours stowing things away, making the cabin shipshape and comfortable. This is never an easy task with so small a boat. I can't image if I wasn't doing it solo. With that 'new' forward hatch open, the 80 degree temperature didn't seem as daunting below.

It seems that we New Englanders have a window of opportunity that I picked my weather well. We'll see in the days ahead, but I'm comfortable with my choice, my decision.

When everything else was done, I pulled out the laptop and set it up. No WiFi signal without hooking up the 5MileWiFi up the mast. Even with it up there, the antenna hoisted above Chip Ahoy's spreaders, I couldn't pick up my own signal from home less than a quarter mile up the hill. Thus, I couldn't log into my computer up the hill through LogMeIn. This does not bode well.

I called, asked Barbara to go over to my house, find my computer guru, Jim's phone number. I called him from the boat. "Houston, we have a problem." In the end we got a connection; he thinks I have my router at home not switched to 'broadcast,' but I'm not risking him messing with it at this point, long distance and remote with the rest of my cruise ahead. I'll be out of its unique broadcast range in the morning.

Tomorrow's weather looks good for reaching Scituate, great in fact. The forecast is for:

Tonight, Mostly Clear
Lo 63

Patchy Fog

Hi 73EF Tuesday
Night, Increasing Clouds
Lo 68

Wednesday, Chance Tstms
Hi 76
EF Wednesday
Night Chance Tstms
Lo 64

Thursday, Slight Chc Showers
Hi 71
EF Thursday
Night, Partly Cloudy
Lo 61

Friday, Mostly Sunny
Hi 70
EF Friday
Night, Partly Cloudy
Lo 61

Palmer Cove Yacht Club has a strong (five bars) signal just across the harbor, but it's secure.  I called them on the cell phone. After some coaxing I got 'Sarah' the barkeep to talk to some of the members at the bar (I've been there before with a friend, and to letter boats years back, so knew the layout). Someone there gave me the network password. It seems to be working now.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009; 6:00 am
The mooring, Salem Harbor

The "tea-bag" coffee's made, the sun's coming over the horizon and the hill up to home, on Chip Ahoy's starboard side right in my eyes. Ah, my first morning along the cruise and all feels right.

The weather forecast looks the same as last night's: Hot and sunny (high-80s), wind (what little there is of it this morning) shifting from north to south counterclockwise, building to 10-12 mph, this morning's flat seas building to 2-3 feet later this afternoon, by the time I should reach the Scituate sea buoy and turn into the breakwater and harbor.

Looking around in here, there's still much to do aboard; many things that still need to find their place out of the way. My companionway "shin-guard" is falling off again; now obvious that needs screws I believe, to remain fastened. I'm in no rush to move out, though I'd like to get to Scituate by late afternoon. There's no wind at all (Boston Buoy is reporting south at 4 knots and calm seas under a foot); here in the harbor it's glass-flat calm. The early morning rising sun will be right in my eyes until it gets higher, in another hour or so. I'm shooting to drop the mooring at about 8 am and get underway, after finishing this second cup of coffee.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009; 6:45 pm
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #183

I departed Marblehead at 7:45 am this morning, arrived here at the Scituate town docks at 2:15 pm, mostly motoring into a headwind from the south. There was little wind this morning when I departed, but I got the sails up once clear of the mooring area, entering Salem Sound. Crossing a somewhat foggy Boston Harbor shipping channel, the genoa came down; leaving it up and flogging was a waste of time and sail life. The sea was flat most of the day, maybe one foot of slow oily rollers. It picked up a bit 2-3 feet by the time I reached the Scituate sea buoy and headed in through the breakwater.

It was sunny and hot, mid-80s I estimate. I like hot, but didn't like what looked to be storm clouds rolling out while I was 3-4 miles off the coast of Cohasset's Minot Light. Nothing on NOAA radio but then reports were "unavailable" from Boston down to Cape Cod and the Islands for some reason. I phoned Barbara to check in on the weather. While I waited for her return call, I dug out my foul-weather jacket, donned a t-shirt under my lifevest (it was cooling down under gray sky), and prepared to close-up the companionway. Everything was ready for rain when she called back reporting nothing but good weather ahead. She was right, but it was sure a strange sky up there for a while.

Approaching the sea buoy a few miles out from the entrance to Scituate Harbor I ran into a huge regatta of small sailboats. I gave them, their many committee boats, and race markers wide berth before getting back on my course. I later learned this was a multi-community (Scituate, Cohasset, Weymouth, Hingham) qualifying event for the Junior Olympics; there were reportedly over 200 contestants.

I took this slip on the town dock for two nights; tonight and tomorrow. ($3/foot with electric and WiFi; $66 for each night.) The primary reason is to securely sit out the approaching cold front, its arrival expected tomorrow early- to mid-afternoon and lasting through the night, accompanied by severe thunderstorms and downpours. "Gusty winds to 25 mph, heavy downpours, and frequent lightning strikes" is forecast. The secondary reason; I'm exhausted, need a lay-around day already and I've been out only for one. Maybe I'm getting too old for this singlehanding stuff? This slip couldn't be any more convenient directly straight down from the harbormaster's office (restrooms, showers, ice and a Dunkin Donuts across the parking lot); a short walk down the ramp to the docks and to Chip Ahoy at the outside dock, first slip.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009; 11:05 am
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #183

Hot already, 80s and supposed to reach 90 soon before the cold front moves in. As soon as I got in and tied up, I set up the pup-tent and opened the forward hatch, so I've got as much air circulating as possible, the cabin and cockpit shaded. I had a late lunch/early dinner at the nearby Mill Wharf Restaurant, a short walk up town dock and along the waterfront docks.

Back aboard, I ran the 5MileWiFi up the mast, ran the shore power extension cord and hooked up the battery charger and all the other electronics and their chargers. The laptop picked up an "excellent" signal from the harbormaster's office but that's only about 40 yards away. I think the 5MileWiFi is working at least as good as it's going to on this cruise. I'm able to connect to my home PC (through LogMeIn) and handle e-mail from it directly. 5MileWiFi tech support and I have been sending messages back and forth the guy I've been working with reported he's on his way from Boston to Block Island!

Last evening there was a big commotion here with blue police lights flashing all over, from police and harbormaster boats and a number of police cruisers up in the parking lot. On my way up to Dunkin Donuts I inquired. Seems a bunch of teens partying too much on "the spit" (apparently a notorious local partying grounds isolated and accessible by boat) started a major brawl then raced away. I spent too much time kibitzing with the locals and watching the activity. When I got to Dunkin Donuts it had closed minutes before (8 pm), so back aboard I dug out the coffee fixings and stove and brewed myself a couple of cups.

My buddy Lou Edwards called last night to make sure I was aware of the approaching cold front and its accompanying weather. I assured him I was, and was staying put until it passed.

This morning began late for me: I forced myself to sleep in until 8:30 just to rest up. Then it was a walk up to Dunkin Donuts for two large coffees to go and a couple donuts to go with them. Back aboard with one cup finished, it was time to tweak things. One of the three connecting lines holding the radar reflector up at the spreader had come free of its halyard clip, I noticed yesterday while underway. With that repaired, I played around with the pup-tent in preparation for the incoming weather. It's new, slightly larger than the old one (8'x8' instead of 6'x7'), actually deployed for use for the first time yesterday. It looks good to go now. Whatever would I do without that pup-tent and the shade it provides?

The "shin-guard" I added (twice) to the step into the cockpit has let loose again apparently a failed plan. I brought the roll of thick rubber weather-stripping along, but I think it'll be a waste of time applying a strip for the third time without screws and finish washers to hold it in place. I suspect that if I attempt to screw into that top step piece without first drilling it'll split the wood. With everything I've packed aboard for every potential cruising contingency, my kingdom for a drill!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009; 3:00 pm
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #183

The sky to the west has become an opaque gray, darkening, clouds all around are building, it's about 90 and humid with a good breeze from the SW. I'm in the cockpit under the pup-tent where I can catch a better breeze than below in the cabin. Chip Ahoy is facing due west, bow into the dock, so any air moving into the open forward hatch is oblique. My buddy Norm of Scituate will be down soon; we'll probably go out for a bite to eat. I want to be back here by 8:00 for sure if the sky clears: there's a full lunar eclipse tonight at 8:55 which I hope to photograph over Chip Ahoy at its dock. I took some photos of the rising near-full moon over Chip Ahoy last night for which I have my fingers crossed. Moving dock I was on, moving boat that I was photographing, and slow shutter speed; all bets are off over quality.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009; 7:45 pm
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #183

Norm & Joan Paley just left half an hour ago, I've just returned with a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts before it closed this evening. They didn't arrive until about 6:15, met me in front of the Mill Wharf Restaurant, where I'd just eaten dinner. We came back down to Chip Ahoy, spent an hour or so visiting. They pretty much talked me into staying here another day (though it didn't take much convincing; I'm still feeling less than inspired, tired and a bit sore); the harbormaster just told me I can keep the slip tomorrow if come morning I decide to stay another day. Barbara concurred: I'm on vacation and can do whatever I wish. I'm leaning toward staying.

The front rolled through as predicted. At 4:02 pm the National Weather Service out of Taunton broke into the regular NOAA broadcast with all kinds of bells, buzzers and whistles, issued a severe weather alert. The severe thunderstorm warning placed the storm over Brockton moving east at 20 mph, straight for the coast between Quincy (just south of Boston) and Plymouth (where my plan will take me next) to the south, even to naming Scituate as a target area where "everyone should get inside immediately." "Dangerous cloud to ground lightning strikes" were to be expected, along with heavy downpours, strong winds "gusting to 60 miles per hour" and rough seas. Mariners were advised to "immediately seek shelter."

It rolled over and around us at about 4:30 and wasn't overrated much. Though the wind didn't get close to prediction, the thunder and lightning were impressive. For an alleged cold front, it hasn't dropped the temperature and humidity much if at all, and right now the air is nearly motionless as is the harbor. I'd be sitting out in the cockpit where it's a bit cooler, were it not for the no-see-ums chowing down out there. I'd have thought they'd had their fill feasting on Norm, Joan and me.

National Weather Service
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Issued At: Wednesday, 05 Aug 2009, 4:23 PM EDT


Areas affected: Western Plymouth, Eastern Plymouth, Southern Plymouth (County)

Thursday, August 6, 2009; 7:15 am
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #183

I was awake and up just before dawn, about 5:30; took some photos of the sun peeking up over Situate Harbor and the ocean beyond. Next came the short walk across the parking lot to Dunkin Donuts for my two large coffees to go. The weather appears to be perfect today but I'm too lazy, comfortable, and settled in with the idea of staying put for another day. The forecast for tomorrow looks like more of the same, right through the weekend anyway, so my plan is to stay for today, rest up more, leave tomorrow morning.

I considered pulling out this morning anyway while up on the dock looking back down on Chip Ahoy and the sunrise beyond the clear sky, the flat water, the slight breeze so early in the day that should build to 10-15 mph by later this afternoon but the thought of breaking camp and hurrying on my way, instead of getting my coffee and resting up aboard was daunting.  I'm surprised how tired and a bit sore I still feel.

Last night my connection to my home/office computer through LogMeIn ceased to work the computer was "offline," a new one I've never seen before. I was aware this could possibly happen, the biggest weakness in my plan: Loading only the basics on the laptop, depending on my home computer for everything else. The 5MileWiFi antenna/booster along with LogMeIn would provide that connection, at least most of the time, was the plan.

No doubt the home computer has locked up after automatically downloading and installing some upgrade, then attempting to reboot itself. It's happened before, though rarely. The only solution is for the power cord be pulled for a hard shutdown, replugged and the computer restarted.

My plan was to give Barbara a call, have her go next door and pull the plug. I even labeled the power cord on the easily accessible back of the computer. But when we spoke last night, she'd hurt her back, was seeing the chiropractor today, couldn't handle the stairway up to my office. I called my buddy Vaughn McGrath ("French Curves"), who also lives in Marblehead, at 9:00 pm; asked him to take care of it. It's only a 5-10 minute job, no heavy lifting I just needed to find someone who can reach my office and pull the plug, replug it, push the start button. He'll take care of it on his way back from work this evening, if not sooner.

The sky was still too overcast last night to view the full eclipse of the rising moon by the time the cloud cover had cleared, around 9:30, the moon was full, the event was over.

Thursday, August 6, 2009; 5:55 pm
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #183

Barbara went over to my house, pulled the plug on the computer, and rebooted it this morning. LogMeIn has worked fine ever since, as I expected until the next time the computer freezes up.

Norm and Joan came down and met me for lunch. He brought along enough gas to top-off my 6 gallon gas tank, which saves me from having to stop at the marina gas dock on the way out. That was when I was planning to leave early tomorrow morning for Plymouth. I still was feeling ambivalent about going on as planned, still feeling not up to par. Continuing on had begun to seem like an unnecessary effort; even getting home if that was my alternative was seeming to be work. Something's wrong; I just have no energy, no enthusiasm, and feel more sore than I'd have expected.

Over lunch we discussed my condition; they'd been surprised to hear I was in town, that I had even attempted it so soon after surgery.  Their best advice was that if I wasn't excited to go on -- if I had any doubts -- then I should head back to Marblehead. They think that likely I haven't fully recovered, that it's too soon for me to be pushing myself on my usual singlehand adventure. I can't argue; I don't know what's different this time, what's wrong with me, why I'm feeling as I do.  But for the first time in a month or so, I am aware of the incision.

I've arranged to stay another day here, rest up some more, then head back to Marblehead call this a failed and premature effort. It's just not working this time, like the magic's gone from it.

After lunch the Paleys invited me to their home for a grilled chicken dinner this evening. I declined, told them I was going back to the boat for a nap, then start getting ready to depart early tomorrow morning for home. Back aboard, I decided to see if I could squeeze another day here from the harbormaster. Besides lacking ambition, I'm here, aboard. I might as well enjoy it as long as I can. Though the docks are "booked solid and then some," he assured me they'd squeeze me in somewhere if not where Chip Ahoy is presently slipped.

It's "Heritage Weekend" here in Scituate starting tomorrow. Boats with reservations for months are coming from all over for the event and its music fest. I just paid for another day, so it's pretty certain I'll be here tomorrow night too.

A beamy 36-foot Formula powerboat "First Lady" just pulled into the slip alongside me. After I helped them tie up and rearranged my shore power extension cord (so they wouldn't trip on it stepping off their swim platform onto the dock), we introduced ourselves. He'd noticed Chip Ahoy hailed from Marblehead; Neal and Jean are from Salem, the Palmer Cove Yacht Club no less within sight of my mooring, the club I called for its WiFi password on Monday night. He told me there are about ten more boats from the club coming down for the music fest which explains why the harbormaster told me they're "booked solid and then some"!

Saturday morning I'll head back up to Marblehead. I'm not even looking forward to that one long day at sea. This is really weird. I'm relieved I made this decision getting any further south then changing my mind would mean being all that much further from home. As the Paleys said, and Barbara agreed, if I'm not excited about this trip, not feeling up to it, then I shouldn't be pushing myself to continue just because it was my plan.

A short while ago I walked up to Dunkin Donuts for a large cup of coffee to go, then went next door to the CVS. I picked up a few bottles of lemonade and a package of One-A-Day vitamins, the brand they label "Energy." Back aboard I took one. Let's see if they help.

Friday, August 7, 2009; 6:35 am
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #183

A good night's sleep; with the curtains down and the cribboards in place even the predawn didn't wake me this morning. I pulled the starboard shades too last night for privacy, since Chip Ahoy's now got neighbors docked close on each side. It became cool last evening, low-60s. The long pants and long-sleeved t-shirt came out for the first time on this cruise and were donned early. I closed the forward hatch next, and dropped in the lower two cribboard before going to sleep. Once under the down sleeping bag, it doesn't matter; it's comfortably warm.

Once my eyes were open first came the short walk to Dunkin Donuts for a large coffee to go and a breakfast sandwich to take along with it. I didn't bother with dinner last night, just finished off a couple of leftover donuts. I awoke once in the middle of the night a bit hungry, dug out a brownie to hold me over until breakfast.

LogMeIn won't connect to my home computer again this morning it's "offline" (crashed/frozen no doubt) again already. Next time, before ever depending on remote computing, I'll turn off all the "automatic updates" on the home computer before departing.

My plan for today is to just hang loose here; head home tomorrow. I'm hoping I won't have to move to another slip take down everything and set up again. If I do, I'll set up minimally; if I don't I'll begin packing up this evening for an early start tomorrow.

I've got to admit, coming back with breakfast and standing at the top of the dock in front of the harbormaster's office, looking out over the harbor with the ocean beyond sparkling beneath the low sun, I considered moving on with my plan for heading south. I could be in Plymouth in another day but then what? The long day it took to reach here wiped me out for a few days. Would I feel any better after arriving in Plymouth? If not, I'd be twice as far away from home, two days to reach back for it. I think I wasn't ready for this trip, plain and simple. At this point, getting home will be enough for this year's apparently premature adventure.

Friday, August 7, 2009; 9:15 pm
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #82

Slip number 82 is reserved for the harbormaster's work vessel, which was moved away to accommodate Chip Ahoy this morning. I'm right alongside their other two emergency response boats. I can't say enough for their patience and accommodation here, George and Bob to name but a few, and I wish I'd thought to get the names of the others who've proven to be so professional and helpful.

Yeah, Chip Ahoy had to be moved this morning for another boat that'd made reservations, but provisions were made for my unscheduled stayover. It took a while, one of the assistants told me I should plan to move at about 11:00 and it didn't happen until after 1:00 but that gave me plenty of time to consider and prepare. I untied Chip Mate, the dinghy, and motored it around to the dinghy dock (I've got to remember it in the morning!), so it wouldn't create an additional problem at either end of the move.

With the able assistance of two assistant harbormasters, I moved Chip Ahoy into its new berth. Once secured in its new tight space, I rigged up the pup-tent all over again, reconnected to shore power, and was home for the rest of the day and night.

The assistant in charge of reassigning me first wanted to put Chip Ahoy way in the back (closest to shore), but it looked to me to be way too shallow at high tide (about noon) to get out on low tide (when I plan to leave). His boss agreed, and offered to move their work boat temporarily. Wow.

My former slip neighbor and new buddy Neal, skipper of "First Lady," was "between a rock and a hard place" as the move occurred: He'd offered to help me with lines, but just as I moved out the boat who'd reserved my former slip arrived one of his friends from the Palmer Cove Yacht Club who needed his assist to come in. He somehow managed to cover us both. Fortunately, though around the dock I'm only about 25 yards away from my old slip as the seagull flies.

After settling in I called and spoke with Barbara. She'd rebooted my home computer and I could again connect to it, ahh. Next I went to lunch, again at the Mill Wharf Restaurant. Back aboard, I read for a short while then took a nap.

I took my second shower here then went over to Dunkin Donuts for another coffee, next door to CVS for three more bottles of lemonade for the cooler, which I'd refilled with ice (one block, one bag) this morning while waiting to move. While up at the harbormaster's office for the shower, I heard Mick Jagger belting out "Sympathy for the Devil" . . . but not quite the Rolling Stones, somehow. Sitting in the front office in the couches across from the desk, I realized the music was coming from the parking lot. It was, the harbormaster behind the counter informed me, the beginning of the Heritage Days festival though there are often weekend concerts held at the nearby town pavilion.

I took my toiletry bag, dirty clothes, and wet towel back down to the boat, impressed by the music its fidelity to the original 70s rock they were putting out. With the towel clothespinned to the lifeline across the stern pulpit to dry, I decided to investigate its source.

Up in the parking lot there was a throng in front of the pavilion. I mingled among it while looking for a good vantage to take a few photos with the docks and boats in the background. After taking a I realized that I needed elevation. I saw what I thought was a truck selling hot dogs and lemonade it was in fact a large trailer. It had a ladder at its back leading to its top. Perfect for my need, and nobody was manning it. "Better to apologize later than to ask permission," I climbed up the ladder and got my shots. This casual audacity was the door-opener to what followed.

Coming back into the audience, I couldn't help but notice a woman taking her own share of photos. I stopped and told her a great vantage was available from that ladder. "Right," she responded.

I asked if she was friends of the band. She replied that she was the mother of one of the young members. "What's the band's name?" I asked.

The band has no name, it's not a band at all. It's a couple older musicians who mentor kids in rock music! That's when I realized the lead singer and the drummer were older than the very young teenage boys who were playing rhythm and bass guitars. Wow again they were excellent!

Digging further, Matt Brown, lead singer and guitarist, and Adam Culbert, percussion, along with young Billy Russell and Tyler Lewis, were putting on this great show.

Oh the wonders and new relationships however transient one comes across while cruising if one applies himself, one of the reasons I love it. I spoke with another woman in the audience, originally from Dorchester, an urban neighborhood of Boston. She and her husband, originally from South Boston, met an old woman from Scituate at that very pavilion a dozen years ago. The old woman invited them back to her home near the Scituate Lighthouse, then offered to sell it to them for a song. The lady and her husband bought it with a $5,000 deposit and have lived happily thereafter. She heard the music there today and had to stop too.

I got back to the dock and mentioned these stories to another couple I'd never met, and the lady told me the drummer's first name was Adam, but she could come up with his last name from George, the harbormaster assistant. Her husband, Dan I believe he said, used to own a Catalina 34, admired mine from above, then said goodbye. I never learned the drummer's last name from them so when I later bumped into George I asked.

He knew an Adam who was a drummer, Adam Culbert, but not as I described him the Adam he knew had very dark hair.

I just came back from his office (and restroom facilities), and he was happy to see me coming by, confirmed that yes, it was Adam Culbert; head now shaved bald. He'd hoped to see me, confirm before I took off in the morning.

Ah geez, for me these little events meeting strangers, asking and listening, the personal interaction this is what real cruising's all about.

The moon is still near full, peeking through the clouds.  I just strolled up to the walkway above the harbor where I took a few photos of it, hopefully to capture at least one good shot. Situations like this really require a tripod, but at least steady ground beneath me is better than a moving dock, and I had the guardrail up there on which to rest the Nikon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009; 6:00 am
Scituate Harbor, Town Dock, Slip #82

I was so early over to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast that the donuts hadn't even arrived yet, so I idled until they (and the croissants for my sandwich) did with a small cup of coffee. The sun came over the horizon in the meantime. With the sandwich done and a large coffee still to finish, I'm planning my day's sail home to Marblehead. The weather looks like it couldn't be more perfect:

359 AM EDT SAT AUG 8 2009

359 AM EDT SAT AUG 8 2009




Accuweather reports the same, in more detail. The temperature will reach the high-70s, maybe 80 during mid-day and sunny all day. The NW wind will begin shifting from the S about 11:00 am remaining at 10-12 mph. Tomorrow brings in chances for showers and thunderstorms, so today's the best of the two.

I plan to be out of here and on my way by 9:00 am. When done here, I'll begin breaking camp got to remember to retrieve the dinghy, bring it over!

It's near low tide with a light NW wind, maybe 6 mph. If I can depart on schedule I shouldn't have any difficulties getting out of this spot, though it's pretty tight in at the end of the docks. Getting the dinghy over, tied up, and keeping it out of the way as I back out will be a challenge.

A young woman in her bathrobe carrying a very young child just walked down the narrow finger slip admiring Chip Ahoy, quietly telling the youngster "Mommy used to have a boat just like this." I stuck my head out the companionway and startled her, she stammered an apology. I told her I was already awake, up writing. We had a short discussion about Catalina 22s. She wants to get another when her son is old enough to sail, she promised him.

It's been a good stay among very hospital folks, but it'll be great to be underway again even if it's regrettably back toward home already. Nonetheless, it'll be good to arrive back at my mooring again this afternoon. I'm looking forward to the day ahead, the last of this abbreviated cruise.

Okay, time to break camp.

Saturday, August 8, 2009; 5:15 pm
Home on Chip Ahoy's mooring

I couldn't have asked for nicer weather, except for perhaps steadier and a bit stronger winds.

I left the Scituate town dock this morning at 8:30, with a hand from Neal of "First Lady." The toughest part was getting the dinghy around (I didn't forget it) at dead low tide. I can't believe one of the assistant harbormasters even considered sticking Chip Ahoy there for last night!

I didn't dare think about tilting its little 3 hp outboard, never mind starting it. I had an extremely hard time even rowing the dinghy out mostly poled using an oar until I found deep enough water to row, didn't bother wrestling to pull-start the old Johnson.

Once motoring outside Scituate's breakwater I had some wind and met the reported seas of 2-3 feet; good three footers. As forecast, the wind was out of the northwest. I hoisted sails while dodging lobster pot buoys but it didn't do much good; I was sailing directly into the wind, a few degrees this way or that. After about an hour of that nonsense, I furled the genoa and motored on under just main sail luffing, waiting for the forecasted wind shift from the south.

The northwest wind finally slackened and for all intent died, became flukey at best. I motored on, now in an almost flat sea, waves about a foot. The ocean's surface started showing ripples in wide swaths -- change was coming. I expected the NW wind to back eventually, west to south. It didn't. It went from NW to nothing to east, flukey for about an hour. At about 1:30 pm it became steadily east the rest of the way home at least according to Chip Ahoy's compass, GPS, and the sun.  I have no idea where NOAA came up with that "from the south" forecast.

Closing in on Marblehead Rock and Marblehead Channel I was greeted by another regatta racing at me with spinnakers ballooning.  Rounding Marblehead Rock the Salem power plant and its twin stacks -- visible from Cohasset on the South Shore -- welcomed me back to Salem Sound.

I arrived back here, home on the mooring, at 3:25 pm.

Sunday, August 9, 2009; 7:45 am
On Chip Ahoy's mooring

I spent the night aboard to begin getting things organized that are going ashore and home. This is always a bit of a project disconnecting all the electronics cables, connectors, and chargers, coiling and wrapping them, sorting which stay aboard and which come home, and where they get stored. The laptop and its accessories remain to be done when I'm finished here, which will be when I finish my second cup of "tea-bag" coffee.

Last evening I heated up a can of beef stew for dinner, began organizing, went to bed early around 9:00 pm feeling pretty exhausted but not as bad as when I arrived in Scituate.. This morning I awoke with the false dawn as usual, fired up the Origo stove and heated water for the coffee. I'm tired but again, not as bad as the day after I arrived in Scituate, still a bit sore. I wish I didn't have all the off-loading ahead, could just go home and relax, but it's got to be done.

It's dead low tide, so even getting the dinghy to its temporary ring now would be difficult if possible. My plan is to take as much ashore to the dock using the dinghy; stuff that's not overly valuable such as my canvas bag of clothes, now both clean and dirty, and my seabag. Barbara will meet me with her Honda CRV and take me and stuff up to get my Blazer. We'll return in that for the rest of the stuff. The question now is, will I take the launch to bring Chip Ahoy to the dock, or will I be able to load the remaining equipment aboard the launch and bring it into the dock without moving Chip Ahoy from its mooring? Taking the launch in will be easier until I get to the dock and have to mule everything its entire length; if I bring Chip Ahoy in around noon for high tide, I'll have less a distance to hump the stuff up to the street. Throw in the approaching showers and thunderstorms and they might make my decision for me.

Monday, August 10, 2009; 6:30 am
Home again, Marblehead, Mass.

Yesterday at 11:30 am I took the first dinghy load of stuff ashore, tying up at the dock as close to the ramp as I could, finding a ring pretty far in. Barbara was waiting, I loaded her CRV, and we took it home. There, we switched to my Blazer and returned for the next load.

Id decided to risk bringing everything in by dinghy, even the expensive and vulnerable things like the Nikon camera equipment (in its Pelican case) and laptop. I thought itd be easier than moving Chip Ahoy into the dock (hoping I could find room to tie up), off-loading, then taking it back out to its mooring. It worked out pretty well, especially when John Graichen appeared at the dock on his way out to "Malacass" and gave me a hand muling the second load up to the Blazer. Thank you, my friend though determined, I was exhausted by that point.


Had anyone told me I wasnt in good enough shape for this trip, hadnt fully recovered from the surgery back in March, I wouldnt have listened, have thought them daft. I felt well and considered myself back to normal. Im still surprised how so little took so much out of me, eroded my stamina so quickly and easily. This morning Im still worn out, and the area around the incision is sore. Id pretty much forgotten about it before my departure.

Im glad I went, regardless. Id have always regretted not trying if I hadnt. Now I know and though I didnt complete my plans made it back just fine if a little worn around the edges.

Im also glad that I didnt decide to continue on, came home from Scituate instead of trying to tough it out. It just wasnt fun at that point, though I did enjoy the trip back on Saturday.

As so many kept telling me, theres always next year. The rest of this season remains, and Ive still got another week of vacation time coming.



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