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

A September Long Weekend Sail to Gloucester
September 12 - 17, 2012

Click thumbnails for a larger picture

Sunset over Salem Harbor;
the laptop and 5MileWifi
system is working
Wed., Sep. 12, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012; 7:00 pm
Chip Ahoy’s mooring
Marblehead, MA

It’s been a long wait but at last I’m aboard Chip Ahoy again for the night, ready for a few days away come morning. The forecast through at least late next week is for perfect weather, though summer has ended. The sun is setting, the temperature is about 70° and falling from near-80° this afternoon. By morning, it should have dropped into the high 50s or so.

It’s that time of year when going for a 4-5 days cruise requires packing lots of clothes, two wardrobes even if simple: Some for warm, some for cool. Shorts for the warm days, long pants and socks for the cool nights; it’s t-shirts and sweaters season; boat shoes and sandals.

I’ve been hoping to get away on something like this for over a month, but things kept coming up, getting in my way. Last week it was Tropical Storm Leslie. Though more than 200 miles offshore, it was nonetheless throwing 8-12 foot seas at the New England coast accompanied by huge breakers and riptides. Just as well, as one of the guys who works with us killed another computer, so I spent from last Thursday through Sunday around the clock resurrecting it, only brought it fully back to life on Monday.

Then I brought my Chevy Blazer to the mechanic to get the heater working – flush out the cooling system again. I figured it’d be maybe a two hour wait. Eight hours later they told me I’d need to leave it – the brake line to the rear wheels broke, twice, as they backed it out of the garage. After splicing it once, they decided it needed to be replaced in entirety from master cylinder to rear axle. I picked it up late this afternoon, drove it home, then headed down here to the boat.

While I was waiting for them to complete the job, this morning I began packing for my cruise, came out on the launch with the laptop bag and another bag with clothes. One the second trip out I brought my sea bag and the insulated cooler bag with drinks and ice. Earlier today I called ahead to Brown’s Marina to see if they had a slip. They should, but I need to call again in the morning to make a reservation. At last, I’m aboard and good to go!

To take advantage of this weekend — maybe the last of the season — I had to blow off my brother John and sister-in-law Karen’s 25th wedding anniversary. It was a tough call, but this has been the shortest sailing season I’ve experienced, despite it being an overall great summer. Too many insurmountable hurdles kept being thrown in my way — the first summer I was unable to follow through on my big annual cruise plan. Nothing was going to get in the way of this probably final getaway opportunity.

The plan is to drop the mooring tomorrow morning after a couple cups of coffee and head up the coast to Cape Ann. I expect I’ll find a slip at Brown’s Marina and Yacht Yard – but if not, likely one in Rockport Harbor further up and around. The wind should be favorable if light, from the SW to S for the next day or two at 5-10 mph; seas 2-3 feet. If everything works out as I expect, I’ll be in Gloucester sometime tomorrow afternoon and spend a few days.

I’ve still got vacation days coming and – so long as the 5MileWifi system continues working – through LogMeIn I should be able to work if necessary through my home/office workstation. I expect I’ll need to, as the death-to-computers guy I work with is getting out a fundraising letter that already is past deadline. (As I told Barbara today, when he still hadn’t gotten it to us yesterday as promised, “He can’t even be on time when he’s late.”) His rebuilt laptop still sits in my office, humming again and ready to go; he hasn’t had the time or inclination to pick it up.

I bungied the 5MileWifi antenna to a lifeline stanchion and hooked it up to the laptop. It works, at least at the moment.

— 9:12 pm — It’s of course really comfortable just being aboard for the night, but I can’t wait to awake in the morning and make ready to sail, actually drop the mooring and head out. Boy, I’ve been chewing at this bit for weeks.

I just pulled out the Origo stove, filled it with fresh alcohol, put it out in the cockpit and made a cup of coffee – so good I made another, as the evening chills. I’ve put on a long-sleeve jersey, socks and jeans. Layers are everything and having them along and available as necessary is all. I’ve brought along all sorts of combinations that’ll work. That and the L.L. Bean goose-down sleeping bag that Barbara gave me long ago (which I’m looking forward to crawling into soon) will make this as usual quite comfortable.

Sunrise tomorrow is 6:20 am (sunset is at 6:58 pm – we’re almost at the autumnal equinox, but it’s still summer, light still overpowers darkness, yahoo!). That’s late for me, but it’s going to be really cool at sunrise (forecast: 59°). I may not want to budge out of that sleeping bag for a while until it rises a bit higher and begins doing its job of warming! We’ll see.


Massachusetts Bay and Ipswich Bay (ANZ251)
NWS Taunton, MA
Massachusetts Bay and Ipswich Bay

Last Update: 715 PM EDT WED SEP 12 2012




Tonight: S winds 10 to 15 kt...becoming SW 5 to 10 kt after midnight. Seas 2 to 3 ft.


Thu: S winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.


Thu Night: S winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.


Fri: S winds 5 to 10 kt...increasing to 10 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Seas 2 to 3 ft.


Fri Night: S winds 10 to 15 kt...becoming SW after midnight. Seas 2 to 3 ft. A chance of showers.


Sat: NW winds 10 to 15 kt. Gusts up to 20 kt in the afternoon. Seas 2 to 3 ft. A chance of showers.


Sat Night: NW winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft.


Sun: NW winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft.


Sun Night: SW winds around 5 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft.


Mon: SW winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.


Mon Night: S winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.



Gloucester MA


Fair - 63° F

Humidity 73%

Wind Speed E 3 mph

Barometer 30.32 in (1026.2 mb)

Dewpoint 54°F (12°C)

Visibility 10.00 mi

Last Update on 12 Sep 7:53 pm EDT


Current conditions at Beverly Municipal Airport (KBVY)

Lat: 42.59 Lon: -70.92 Elev: 112ft.




Tonight Clear, with a low around 56. Southwest wind 3 to 6 mph.


Thursday Sunny, with a high near 78. Light southwest wind becoming south 5 to 10 mph in the morning.


Thursday Night Clear, with a low around 58. South wind 5 to 7 mph.


Friday Sunny, with a high near 75. South wind 5 to 13 mph.


Friday Night A chance of showers, mainly after 4am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 59. South wind 11 to 14 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


Saturday A chance of showers, mainly before 7am. Sunny, with a high near 70. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


Saturday Night Clear, with a low around 54.Sunday Sunny, with a high near 69.


Sunday Night Clear, with a low around 54.


Monday Sunny, with a high near 70.


Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 56.


Thursday, September 13, 2012; 6:45 am
Chip Ahoy’s mooring
Marblehead, MA

Nature called early, awoke and dragged me out reluctantly from beneath the warm comfort of the sleeping bag. It’s a cool 58° under a perfectly clear false dawn sky; dead calm. The sun’s just rising over the Marblehead peninsula and I’m on my first cup of Folgers “Singles” teabag coffee.

Today’s weather is unchanged, still looking great for the sail up to Cape Ann. It’s nice to be in no rush. I just dropped a couple shades in the cabin to block the blinding, low, and rising sun. The sky is cloudless and it feels like the temperature is rising.

The cockpit has become rather disgusting; dirty, graying with dirt or mold. It’s hard to believe that I had it immaculate, waxed and shining before launching in the spring, and I’ve hardly used Chip Ahoy this season. I’m tempted to consider trying to clean it up at least a bit in my free time over the next few days after reaching my destination, but common sense says why bother at this point in the season. I suppose it’d look a lot worse if I hadn’t put in the effort last spring washing and waxing. It’s just kind of annoying.

I’ve still got to call Brown’s Marina when they open and assure that I have a slip there later today for the weekend, or make other arrangements. It’s going to be a slow morning aboard, no rush to move. I’m simply appreciating ‘living aboard,” having a second cup of coffee, waiting for the wet condensation in the cockpit and on the deck to evaporate before I think about moving. It’s nice to be not in any hurry: If I drop the mooring by 9:00 it’ll be good; a little later won’t matter either.

I’ve got to check the gas tank, maybe swap them over. The primary tank was pretty low the last time I checked. I’ll refill it when/if I get to Brown’s Marina, but the 6-gallon backup tank is reassuring, enough to comfortably make it through what remains of the season.

Friday, September 14, 2012; 7:30 am
Brown’s Yacht Yard & Marina

So far it’s been a very enjoyable and relaxing getaway – no rush, just leisurely taking my time. What’s perhaps the best is, everything seems to be working well, all at the same time for once – if just in time for the end of the sailing season.

Yesterday on Chip Ahoy’s mooring I decided to have a third cup of coffee; no rush and I wanted to wait until I contacted Brown’s Marina. When I reached Val, she assured me they had a slip waiting for me.

I dropped the mooring at 10:20 am and motored out to Salem Sound. There was still no wind, so I didn’t even bother to hoist sails – another sailboat coming out didn’t either. It wasn’t until almost reaching the Misery-Bakers Islands channel that some breeze showed up. Outside the channel and into Massachusetts Bay the wind finally arrived, generally as forecasted, WSW to SW at about 7-10 mph; the sea was running at a comfortable 2-3 feet, gentle.

The main sail went right up to the top; recently lowering the boom cured the sail-bagging problem at the boom. The genoa too is now shaped as good as it’s likely going to get. Unfurling it fully then tightening the halyard, while Caleb Jacoby was aboard a couple of weeks ago at the tiller, made a slight difference, but the shorter cable I made at West Marine this spring for its tack to furler-drum is still maybe three-eighths, half an inch too long; the head of the genoa is all the way to the top of the mast/furler swivel.

I found myself sailing quite a bit off course along the way, just taking advantage of the wind, in no hurry to reach Gloucester, just enjoying the experience. Once inside the breakwater at Eastern Point I dropped sails and motored, after checking the gas tank yet again. It was getting seriously light, but I didn’t think I needed to swap tanks, thanks to not needing the motor since Salem Sound, but it was getting close.

I called ahead, let Val know I was approaching. Tom was waiting at the slip to direct me in and give me a hand with the dock lines. After settling up my bill and grabbing a block and bag of ice, I ran the 5MileWifi antenna up the mast then hooked up to shore power. My 30-amp plug wouldn’t fit the 50-amp plug on the dock electrical box, but Val loaned me an adapter.

After connecting, I hooked up the battery charger then the laptop. Wow, even the 5MileWifi system was working, though I’m still not clear how the TP Link software installed by Digital Docs works – I got a great signal, automatically! Enosmarine network to which it defaulted is working just fine, and I’ve used it before while here. I’m not about to mess with success, risk losing it.

I stopped short of rigging the “pup tent” over the boom, will do that this morning as showers are in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow morning. Yesterday there was no reason to have it up, and I just wanted to relax and otherwise get settled in check things out.

I was able to connect to my home/office workstation computer – expecting I’d need to catch up with our organization’s belated fundraising letter, format the PAC mailing – but Barbara and Chipster, the third staffer, had dealt with it more or less; were going with what they have. It’s nice to be not needed while off on vacation!

Early last evening I walked up to “Expresso’s” restaurant for my traditional New York steak dinner. It didn’t reach my expectations, for the first time, but was a decent meal and I was hungry. I planned to pick up a cup of coffee next door at the Tally’s convenience store on the walk back to the dock but was disappointed; they shut off the coffee machines at about 3 pm. I thought about making a cup back on the boat but that would mean pulling out the stove and fixings; decided to instead take a nap. I awoke early this morning.

At 5:30 I walked up to the convenience store and made two large cups of “dark espresso,” brought them back to the boat. “Convenience” is accurate: I didn’t need to pull out the Origo stove and fixings and make coffee this morning.

Today I plan to deploy the “pup tent” and fill the primary gas tank, as soon as the dew covering the cockpit evaporates. Beyond that, I’m on vacation. Tonight I’ll return to “Expresso’s” for a pasta dinner (Italian is their specialty). Beyond that, I’m on vacation until Monday and life is good, along with the weather! I’m appreciating having a working Wifi system and laptop access – with all that’s going on in the nation and the world, especially now in the Middle East. Even when I get away like this it’s not total, if I can help it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012; 8:35 am
Brown’s Yacht Yard & Marina

While I’m steaming mad, first I’ll jump into my review of The Digital Docs, the small computer repair business in Marblehead run by Stephen Bach. I keep going back to him with this same problem, between the 5MileWifi system and my laptop. He’s got them working together twice now – but only tentatively and temporarily – merely long enough for me to reach a new cruise destination where it again craps out. This happened in Provincetown in July, and just happened again here in Gloucester. His response – when I can reach him – is “bring it into the shop when you get back.”

Back in July while stuck in Provincetown, using a very weak Wifi signal and the laptop’s onboard card, I e-mailed him: 

The entire reason I brought this problem to you after the last cruise is that I've spent a whole lot of money on boat and systems -- just so I can take a couple cruises like this a year. The two I've managed (and this one has now morphed from "long weekend" to my annual vacation at my job) I spent working on this laptop and 5MileWifi problem(s).


I continue to think the problem, like the solution, is small and with a modicum of help I can fix it.


Apparently -- like 5MileWifi -- I'm not going to get any help here either. . . 

I brought the laptop back to him again when I got back home. He got it working, again (another $90). I didn’t bring the laptop aboard until Wednesday evening for the Gloucester getaway cruise. The laptop/5MileWifi system worked perfectly on Chip Ahoy’s mooring, it worked the first night and morning here. It stopped working again yesterday afternoon – precisely the very same situation that confounded me for over a week in Provincetown, that Stephen supposedly fixed again upon my return.

I e-mailed him yesterday: 

Strangely this is also exactly what happened when I arrive in Provincetown last month. It worked initially a few times, then this same problem appeared and remained – until you did whatever you did when I got home and brought it to you.


I'd really appreciate if you can tell me what you did, so I can do it and get to use the laptop/Wifi at least once this summer before hauling out Chip Ahoy for the winter. This is the last cruise where I'll have the laptop aboard. I only bring it along when I'm going off for a few days, like this. It has yet to work consistently if at all this summer. 

After again wrestling with the problem for a couple hours and giving up, I called his shop yesterday at about 4:00 pm, left a message. I called again forty-five minutes later, left another message.

Meanwhile, I kept plugging away (took a few screen shots of the situation and sent then on to him – but using the weak and intermittent local wifi signal and the laptop’s internal card, they took about 20 minutes to send): The 5MileWifi is picking up dozens of strong signals; I’m connecting to Enosmarine, signal strength “excellent,” 54 Mbps and a full five green bars. When I try to get online – by various browsers or to send/receive e-mail – the result is the same:  “No Internet Connection.”

I called the shop again and got what Stephen calls his “emergency after hours” phone number. I waited until after 6:00 pm for a callback before calling it. He was “just sitting down for dinner with the family,” would call me back in the morning.

In an e-mail I sent him at 7:08 pm, in part I wrote: 

I can bring it back to you – when I get home – but this is the end of my need for it until next spring. This is that iconic definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I expect it'll be the same dog chasing its tail next summer.


If I'm not going to have 5MileWifi the only limited times I need or want it, why do I want to pay you to have it working when I don't? And if you can't help me when I need it, well, we're back to the definition of insanity. 

I wrestled with it a while longer then gave up.

This morning I walked up to the convenience store for coffee at about 6:00, took the cell phone with me so I didn’t miss his call, though didn’t expect it that early. Back aboard, I wrestled with the problem again with the same results – nothing new or improved. The laptop is still picking up an excellent signal using the 5MileWifi connection – but nothing on the laptop works with it.

I walked up to use the men’s room; when I returned aboard I discovered a text message on my cell phone: 

Sent from:  781-632-3319

Sep 15, 6:43 am


"Sorry. Off the clock this weekend with family. Can't solve problem remotely. When the laptop leaves the shop the wireless is functional, so i have no answers. Follow the protocols I wrote down last time. Other than that, I am stumped. Recommend switching to a wireless modem with data plan. Back on Monday morning at 8am." 

Thanks so very much for your interest and empathy, Stephen. A text message response? I guess you didn’t want to talk with me.

I’ll find a more responsible, “customer-centered” computer repair service for the organization and myself when I get home.

“Other than the assassination, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” Yesterday otherwise (was there an “otherwise”?) was a settling-in sort of morning. I pulled the gas tank out and refilled it ($4.53/gallon, Gulf premium unleaded). Again I was surprised by how much remained while I thought the tank was going to fumes: There was still over a gallon.

I filled the gallon jug of convenient water for coffee, stowed beneath the bunk, and then deployed the “pup tent” in advance of this morning’s showers. I appreciated having it up under yesterday afternoon’s sun, and it’s nice for a bit more privacy at the dock as well.

I read for a while (“The Confessor,” another novel by Daniel Silva), had a light lunch (the other half of my ham and swiss cheese sandwich and a small bag of Cheese-Its), then took a nap. When I awoke and fired up the laptop the headache appeared. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening wrestling with it. At about 8:00 pm when all else failed, I walked up to Expresso’s across the street and had a great meal of penne and meatballs, salad, and fresh-baked bread with an olive oil dip; all for $15. On the walk back to the marina, this time the convenience store still had coffee available, so I grabbed a cup and brought it back aboard.

Yeah, back aboard I had to take another shot at the laptop – but didn’t waste much more time bashing my head against the bulkhead. It was just not going to work – I had to be patient, wait for Stephen’s call in the morning. I surrendered and pulled out the sleeping bag, read for a while then called it a night.

– 10:00 am – it’s mostly cloudy, the showers have passed. Just light showers it was, though the sky became dark, almost ominous as the front moved in and over. The sun has begun to again peek out. It’s supposed to make a full return soon and last through Tuesday afternoon, when the next front brings heavy rain. I’ll be home on Monday so that won’t affect me.

Greg, down from his Vermont mountains, is on duty today, “in charge” as he calls it, since he’s the primary if not sole marina guy here over weekends. As I walked up the gangway to the men’s room early this morning he was standing at the top grinning, shook my hand and welcomed me back. He’d spotted Chip Ahoy down on its slip, looked it up on the marina register. We talked for a while – he was impressed by my 5MileWifi potential but baffled by the problem. He’s got his laptop in the office but isn’t a ‘techie.’ We had another good ‘reunion’ but I had to cut it short and get back aboard in case Digital Doc Stephen calls.

I’ve got no plans for today. I’ll likely waste more time on the laptop doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result – but maybe I’ll get lucky, uncover the solution: Hope springs eternal. Stephen left me with nothing, so now it’s me or nobody – until I can find someone better than him or me. It’ll have to be me now or someone else later.

– 6:10 pm – It’s been an interesting afternoon while relaxing. When I walked back up for another cup of coffee I offered to pick one up for Greg, who accepted. We got talking further about my Wifi situation, then computers in general, then politics, then the late Jerry Williams of WRKO fame. He was stunned to learn of my long relationship with Jerry and so it went. When I told him about rebuilding Chip Faulkner’s laptop from scratch last week he was equally stunned that I knew how.

He had his laptop here, showed me to it. One thing led to another and soon I was fixing minor annoyances on it he’s been living with. It’s so nice be able to do such (to me) little things that makes life so much better for others. Besides, I didn’t have anything more pressing to do anyway; it was a fun way to spend my time away.

Greg Porter owns 405 acres of Vermont mountain paradise up in “The Kingdom,” will show it to me tomorrow by satellite on Google Earth. I showed him aerial photos of my new property back at home.

At about 4:00 I decided it was time to get on with my chores for today. I’ve been intending to use the dock hose to wash Chip Ahoy – especially the tern guano on the roller-furler drum and anchor beneath the bow pulpit. Then there was the now-necessary shower. This didn’t take long, though after undressed and ready to step into the main shower stall I discovered it didn’t work, had to move to the second shower room. As I keep learning, roll with the punches.

It’s been pretty windy here today; the latest weather report is calling it NW at about 10, but it sure seems higher in the harbor here. I watched a sailboat going out earlier, about the size of Chip Ahoy, with a reefed main and no jib. This seemed about right for the conditions. It was being pushed along energetically with a decent heel.

It’s supposed to become very cool tonight, high-40s is forecast. I’ve been comfortable overnight so far within the cabin and beneath my down sleeping bag; expect to fare quite well. It’ll soon be time for dinner (the sun’s going down fast now), so it’s back to Expresso’s; tonight I think I’ll try its pub side, instead of the restaurant – if I recall, they offer a good bowl of chili there.

Sunday, September 16, 2012; 9:10 am
Brown’s Yacht Yard & Marina

It was an unusually late start this morning. I awoke as usual just before dawn, took care of nature’s call then closed up the cabin again and crawled back under the sleeping bag – whoa, it was cold – at 47° I guess we’ve gone from “chilly” to legitimately cold. I napped for a couple more hours, quite warm beneath the down bag; decided I could wait for my first cup of coffee until the sun came up and it warmed a little.

Fall/autumn (the autumnal equinox) doesn’t officially arrive until next weekend, I just heard – but as usual hereabouts, the feel of it is in the air soon after Labor Day Weekend goes by.

It’s reached 60° heading for just maybe 70° later this afternoon, so I walked up to the convenience story and picked up a couple cups of coffee, one for Greg already atop the dock in the office.

Last night, when coffee was again unavailable at the convenience store on my walk back from Expresso’s, I broke down and pulled out the Origo stove and coffee fixings, made a cup aboard. It was getting cool even then, mid-low 50s. I could imagine that I may not want to hike up to the coffee in the morning anyway, might rather just boil some up from here to start the morning. Instead, I did without, choosing the warmth of the sleeping bag over coffee and an early start.

“Mr. Bullfrog,” the large sailboat that tied up alongside at the next slip (no homeport displayed), just pulled out. The woman aboard told Greg and me earlier that their terrier climbed into their bunk last night – Greg noted that it must have been “a one-dog night.” Funny; when I spoke with her by cell phone earlier this morning, Barbara told me Gilly the Cat did the same with her this morning. Does this make it also “a one-cat morning”?

Last night at about 7:30 pm I headed up to Expresso’s for dinner, sat on the pub side this time and – sure enough – found chili on the pub menu, ordered a crock with cheese and bread. I was in the mood for a simple meal and it was perfect.

The plan is to depart here tomorrow morning, probably between 9:00-10:00. The NOAA/NWS weather forecast looks good: 

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 72. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southeast in the afternoon. 

Tuesday looks miserable, but I’ll be home by then: 

Tuesday: A chance of showers, mainly after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 73. Southeast wind 8 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. 

I’ve got an extremely weak, intermittent, wifi signal using the laptop’s internal card. I think I’ll bang my head against the bulkhead one more time, see if hooking up the 5MileWifi system has fixed itself since I disconnected its USB cables from the laptop yesterday.

I e-mailed Digital Doc Stephen Bach pertinent excerpts from this log/journal last night, prefacing it with: 

“Please feel no need to respond. I don't suspect you would anyway, especially now.” 

He burned his bridges and now so too have I. His was through apathy and inconsideration: My bridge-burning was intentional, so that I don’t forget and return to him ever again.

Monday, September 17, 2012; 8:30 am
Brown’s Yacht Yard & Marina

Another chilly night aboard, the temperature dropping to 44° at about 2:00 am, only 51° at dawn. Another morning when the right thing to do felt like staying beneath the sleeping bag until things warmed up a bit. It’s now 57° on its way to the mid-70s this afternoon. I walked up to the convenience store half an hour ago, brought back a large cup of coffee, and am slowly breaking inertia, starting to reorganize the cabin.

Yesterday, while Greg and I were working with his laptop up in the marina office again, he showed me his 405 acres way up in Vermont via Google Earth. (I had to reinstall it for him – he once had it, he said, but it was no longer there.) While talking he mentioned my old friend, Gene Burns – WRKO talk-radio host back in the late-80s and early-90s when I was just starting in my new vocation. I told Greg he could listen to Gene at his present location, KFO in San Francisco, over his laptop with streaming audio. When I tried to find the link to it, Gene was no longer there. We did further research and discovered he’d had a stroke back in April and was no longer on-the-air! At least he’s still writing a blog; his mind is functioning, just no longer his voice.

Last night I walked up to Expresso’s for dinner, ordered the crock of chili again, but this time it came with Nacho chips – even better.

Once it warms up a little more it’ll be time to get serious and prepare for departure. I expect that’ll happen sometime soon after 10:00 am. I’ve learned that, once I get started readying the boat, it usually takes only half and hour, 45 minutes – but this is one of those rare occasions where everything including the dock power cord and battery charger have been deployed over the weekend. 


Gloucester/Marblehead:  NW -> NE @ Noon -> 1:00 pm SSE

Wind speed:  3-8 mph, gusts 4-10 mph.


NWS/NOAA - Gloucester:

Today Sunny, with a high near 71. Light and variable wind becoming south 5 to 8 mph in the morning.


NWS/NOAA - Massachusetts and Ipswich Bays


Massachusetts Bay and Ipswich Bay (ANZ251)

Last Update: 715 AM EDT MON SEP 17 2012




Today: W winds around 5 kt...becoming SE this afternoon. Seas 2 to 3 ft.


Tonight: S winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.


Monday, September 17, 2012; 8:00 pm
Marblehead, MA

I didn’t depart Brown’s Marina this morning until 11:00 am. It was so calm that I was able to cast off unassisted, though Tom had offered to lend a hand if I needed him. After motoring out into the harbor I hoisted the main sail, but it wasn’t doing very much. As I was heading for the mouth of Gloucester Harbor, the 131-foot schooner “Harvey Gamage” of Bath, Maine, came sailing in.

It was soon followed by the 90-foot schooner “Thomas E. Lannon,” berthed in Gloucester.

The temperature had climbed with the sun. Before reaching the breakwater at Eastern Point a NE breeze had picked up so I changed over to shorts, t-shirt and sandals then unfurled the genoa. Once outside the breakwater the breeze became steady at about 8 mph, gradually drifting from the NE to SE by around noon, where it stayed.

The sail back to Salem Harbor was very pleasurable with the steady breeze and temperature in the low- to mid-70s under a cloudless, sunny sky. I had Chip Ahoy tied up to its mooring by about 3:15 pm then set about reorganizing the boat and packing up. When I had everything ready to, I decided to take a nap aboard, called and told Barbara I’d call when I was ready to come home. At 6:30 I closed up the boat for departure, called Barbara then the launch.

I loaded all four bags onto the launch to bring ashore in one trip. Barbara was waiting at the top of the dock. I lugged the two heavier bags – the laptop and seabag – up first and loaded them into her CRV then went back to the end of the dock and brought up the other two. She drove them up the hill to our lot while I picked up the Blazer in the town parking lot and drove it home. Another enjoyable and reasonably successful getaway cruise was done, likely the last of Sailing Season 2012.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Home — Marblehead, MA

5MileWifi System Problem — Postscript

Last night I e-mailed Digital Doc Stephen Bach, in part: 

I’m home again after a great sail down from Gloucester today.


I left shortly after responding to your message this morning; thought of a better analogy on the way home that perhaps you can relate to. . . .


Can you identify at all?  How would you feel? That’s what I go through each time your fix isn’t and I try to reach you.


Frustration in the extreme, buddy.  I hope you and your family had a better weekend than I did.


Again, all I need to know is what you learned in order to fix my problem long enough to get it out of your shop. Once I know what you did/do, I’ll never need to bother you again. This seems so simple.


How much will that cost? 

He replied this morning: 

"I am having Rhonda (my assistant) open a support ticket with your vendor to see if we can get to the bottom of this. The problem is that THERE IS NO SIMPLE FIX; I cannot tell you what I did, other than the protocols that I wrote down for you the last time you were here. I spent several hours trying to get it to work, so there is not a one or two sentence explanation of what I "did/do" to get it to work!" . . .


". . . We should not be penalized because the vendor is unwilling or unable to help. Their own drivers on their web site do not work!!!


"We are now trying, at our own expense, to see if we can get a more satisfactory result for you. If we are unsuccessful in getting a response from the vendor, I'm afraid there may be nothing more that we can assist you with. We've got 4-5 hours into your problem now over several months, and all we have is an unhappy customer and frustration on our part also. We did not go into business to disappoint customers." 

I appreciate his response and offer, if after-the-fact again, but don’t know if he’ll have any success with 5MileWifi. I never have, which is why I brought it to him initially. I also don’t know if I want to risk going through this all over again – have a system that works out of the shop again only until I reach my next destination where it craps out again.

My options are: 1) Find another computer repair service and give the laptop, antenna, and system to them — hope for the best but risk the same frustrating result, or; 2) Buy another laptop over the winter and hope for better luck with it come next summer.

Pre-sunrise over Salem Harbor;
the coffee's on
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

Pre-sunrise over Salem Harbor
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

Sunrise over Marblehead and Salem Harbor
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

A calm morning heading out through Salem Sound
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

No wind, so this other boat and Chip Ahoy motor on through Salem Sound
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

The Hood blimp passes over Beverly Farms
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

Finally the sails hoisted before heading through the Misery/Bakers Islands channel
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

Both the main and genoa are looking good
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

The best shape they've had all season
Thurs., Sep. 13, 2012

Chip Ahoy docked at Brown's Marina in Gloucester
Fri., Sep. 14, 2012

Chip Ahoy docked at Brown's Marina in Gloucester
Fri., Sep. 14, 2012

Rain clouds roll over Chip Ahoy and Gloucester Harbor
Sat., Sep. 15, 2012


My buddy weekend dockmaster Greg Porter of Vermont
Sat., Sep. 15, 2012

Yours truly in front of the marina office at the top of the dock
Sat., Sep. 15, 2012

With the sun climbing, it's time to begin departure preparations
Mon., Sep. 17, 2012

The 131-foot schooner Harvey Gamage, entering as I'm leaving Gloucester Harbor
Mon., Sep. 17, 2012

The 90-foot schooner Thomas E. Lannon, motor-sailing into Gloucester Harbor as I'm departing
Mon., Sep. 17, 2012

The sail home from Gloucester with fine conditions
Mon., Sep. 17, 2012

The sail home from Gloucester with fine conditions;
the distant Boston skyline is dead ahead on the horizon
Mon., Sep. 17, 2012

Another small sailboat off Manchester-By-The-Sea
Mon., Sep. 17, 2012

Sailing Season 2012 is coming to a close . . .