Thursday, July 24, 2008

EPA Discharge Permit Requirement for Recreational Boats



ALEXANDRIA, VA, July 22, 2008 - In a remarkable display of bipartisan support for recreational boating, both the House and Senate today passed S. 2766, "The Clean Boating Act of 2008" which will permanently restore a long-standing exemption for recreational boats from permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act. The legislation now goes to the White House for the President's signature.

Go to Boat U.S. for the full story by clicking this line.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Did I Say Rain?

The daily forecast calls for rain. I am beginning to trust the weatherman now since it does rain every day. We must be stuck in some significant weather pattern.

We arrived at Bluffers Park Yacht Club yesterday after an uneventful motoring trip. The only reason I raised my main was to dry it out from the day before.

Not too long after we arrived, we heard the thunder and watched as a storm rolled in (images above). Last night around 11 PM there was a another terrific thunder storm. The bluffs must amplify the thunder because it was really loud.

There is the usual wildlife here like geese, swans, etc. but we thought we spotted a couple minks yesterday across the water behind our boat. I was so interested in watching that I forgot to get the camera out. Darn!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yesterday's perfect storm

We left Cobourg around 9 AM. The winds were too light to sail, so we started motoring. The morning was partly cloudy with no indication of rain. Ahead of us were a couple other sailboats motoring west, and we finally caught up to the Catalina. We ran a parallel course when the wind came up a bit. I looked over to to Catalina, and he was raising the main and unfurling the jib.

He started sailing, slower than motoring, but sailing. We unfurled our jib to test the wind, and started motor-sailing over 6 knots. Not to be out done, we raised our main also and shut the engine down. Ah, the sound of quiet.

We sailed for about 10 minutes, then I looked at the sky over the shore. It was an ugly gray and black, and you could see the rain falling on shore. Ruth then heard some thunder, so we decided to stat the engine (sails still up) and motor-sail south, away from the storm. We left the Catalina, and when the clouds stated heading south also, I saw that the Catalina also turned south.

Then the wind and rain hit the Catalina, and another boat that had been sailing east. Their sails started flogging as they tried to recover. It took only a few minutes before the storm hit us. I managed to furl in the jib, but the main was still up and it is a pain to take down. It had to be done though, so with PFD on, I climbed onto the deck holding on for dear life as Ruth continued motoring south, away from shore. I got the sail down, lashing it to the boom with a couple straps.
Poor Ernie was just shaking, so Ruth took him below to get him settled and get my rain jacket. I was soaked head to foot with the rain coming horizontally into the covered cockpit. The winds were gusting way over 20 knots, but I couldn't really see the gauge because my glasses were all wet. I had to turn to the north-west into the rain and waves to keep the rain out of my face. Visibility was very limited and I had to keep a sharp lookout because I knew there were two other boats out there somewhere.

Finally, the storm blasted though and I could see a sliver of light on the western horizon. Just after it stopped raining, the Coast Guard announced the storm. Too little too late for us, but perhaps helping the poor soles racing the Lake Ontario 300. They have had rain every day I'm sure. I never did catch sight of the two sailboats that were there when we entered this storm. We motor-sailed to Whitby Yacht Club, arriving wet and cold.

The folks at Whitby are great. They found us a nice slip for the night next to a Hunter 410. Our Hunter 33.5 looks like a toy boat next to theirs. The owners arrived later and we had a very nice chat. Ernie even met another snoodle from down the dock. This was a 6-year old female that didn't join in with Ernie's barking. I think she took on more of the poodle mix where Ernie has more schnauzer in him.

No picture today. I'm really falling behind on my picture taking. Just a couple days to the Hunter Rendezvous at Port Credit Yacht Club. It will be nice seeing our old friends there.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mixed bag of weather

Sailing is not all about wind and waves. All of that water has to come from somewhere... the past few days have been from the sky. Rain, rain, and more rain. The weathermen are still predicting rain every day this week.

We sailed and/or motored from the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club in Belleville to the CFB Trenton Yacht Club in Trenton. The next morning we headed out towards Lake Ontario through the Murray Canal. It was a nice trip, but the bridge-master wanted boats bunched up as much as possible which delayed us about half an hour waited for two other sailboats behind us to catch up.

There was a sailboat in front of us that said things on the radio like "Tell me when you are opening and I am coming through without stopping". Yikes! The bridge-master told him "If the bridge doesn't open, you WILL stop... Bud". This is the same sail-boater motoring towards the bridge at a reported 9 knots. My boat was going 5.5 knots. I guess he had a super-charged engine in that blue boat.

We motored and sailed a bit for Cobourg, arriving before the rain. Here we met some friends from the Point Breeze Yacht Club. Bob, one of the two skippers used to work at Harris RF Communications with me before I retired. Really nice folks from PBYC.

We decided to take a rain day yesterday, and rain it did... all day. Yesterday I finally was able to get the Internet again to catch up on e-mail from the gang back at GYC. All are back from the 2-week cruise to Kingston, where we met with them for three days. Most of the boats had mechanical problems, up to and including having to lay-over at Cape Vincent and replace his Atomic 4 block. Paul and Sue went on home, and Paul drove back to help Burt with his engine. All is reported to be fixed now, and I expect that Burt and Elaine aboard Orion are back in Rochester by now.

We will head for Whitby this morning. So far no rain but light winds. We are heading west to meet with the Lake Ontario Hunter Sailing Association (LOHSA) Thursday for the annual Rendezvous.

I will try to keep posting as long as we have Internet. Keep dry!

Ken & Ruth & Ernie the dog

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Please, please, please teach your spouse to sail

We heard the Coast Guard VHF announcements about a man spotted in the water wearing a blue life jacket, and be on the look-out at the coordinates given. This announcement was given often and understood by this writer only sometimes. That is a subject for a later blog on how poorly the equipment and or personnel in the USCG are understood by you and me, the boating community.

Today we heard channel 16 chatter from a search and rescue helicopter following smoke on the water. Now that I have Internet, I have the rest of the story. Please click HERE to read this story.

If you fell off the boat, would your spouse know how to rescue you? I know mine would...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New race record

I picked up this news on the Internet yesterday. Ray Howe, a GYC member and builder/owner of Earth Voyager picked up another first. Click HERE for a link to the Detroit Free Press article.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wet & Windy

We are at Kingston's Confederation Basin as I write this. Lack of Iternet access has kept me from writing more. From the image above you can see the rain on our dock. It rained all night with high winds. Thank goodness we weren't out on the lake in that mess.

We met up with the rest of the GYC fleet this weekend. The town of Kingston is very busy with the Busker's Festival and many visitors. We had reservations for slips, but we heard the marina turning others away. Last night was a loud skipper's meeting aboard Harry's boat Gnadige Frau.
Bob and Joyce Peters joined the group Friday night. Bob wasn't feeling good Saturday, and they took him to the emergency department for tests. After several hours they released him, and Bob and Joyce decided to drive back home to check with their dosctor. Bob looked great this morning after a morning swim, so I don't think we should worry too much.

Today we are trying to make plans for a rainy day. Perhaps dominos at the new office/lounge. I'll try to write more as time goes on.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Another day in paradise

We are at the Henderson Bay Yacht Club today. We left Fair Haven Yacht Club at 9 AM and made the decision to sail here rather than Oswego because of the weather forecast. Of course, the weatherman was wrong again, and we didn't get any storm yesterday afternoon. The bad weather is now predicted to be late today or overnight. That means we have to decide to go on to Chaumont or spend a great day here at this nice club.

The winds are very favorable for sailing today, 5 to 10 knots from the south. A 14 mile sail north would be a piece of cake. We did get surprising weather yesterday and was able to sail nicely for half the trip. We were on a broad reach going up to 6.8 knots! That is fast for us, and what made it even better was there were no waves.

Tom McEwen sailed out of Fair Haven with us and headed further north to Cape Vincent. He is still in some pain from his accident, but puts on a strong face. They experienced an accidental jibe a week ago and he fell onto a winch taking the full blow to his chest. He went to the hospital and had x-rays and scans looking for damage, and found nothing unusual (just a heart of gold). He hardly had any bruising.

The picture above is Tom coming from the FHYC.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We try again

I wrote quite a lengthy blog posting only to lose it when my fat finger hit two keys at the same time. Here is a picture I took at the Pultneyville Yacht Club this morning.

Tonight we are at the Fair Haven Yacht Club where we met up with Merrymac. I am going to make this short to see if I can get through.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cruising Lake Ontario

Only a few days left and we should be on our way. Lists are being made and items being gathered to move to the boat. It is quite a serious adventure for us since the longest cruise we have taken was short of three weeks. A sailboat is small quarters for two adults and one dog.

Ernie, our dog gets super excited when we go to the boat. He is a good sailor, but doesn't take too well in high winds and excessive heeling. Ruth had the vet prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to calm him down. The last time we crossed the lake in bad weather, he panted for almost two hours. Maybe we should have tried a brown bag to prevent hyperventilation.