Oct 1-14, 2010 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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Oct 2 - Quick update. Deb and I are catching up. I got back from Maine and did a bunch of work on the boat. I'll catch you up on Monday. There is a bunch of wind coming in starting Sunday night and we will be finding a place to anchor all day on Monday. gusts are supposed to be up to 35 knots. We will see what happens. I have a number of pictures and we will catch up either tomorrow after we anchor or Monday morning as we hold up in the wind.  

 Oct 4 - Time to catch you up. Let's go back to Maine and start from there.

Maine was completely different from what I've been accustomed. You woke up to cold and you had to wear long pant's, socks, actual shoes, and a jacket. Something wrong with that picture! I was used to warm, shorts, and sandals. On top of that there were rocks waiting to attack your hull in the water. This is an area of really great sailors along with some very down to earth people. Camden is a town made up of a potpourri of people from quite a few cultures, states, and countries. I was told this is very different in the interior where the people are rugged and have been living there for lifetimes. Perhaps it is a contrast in economy along with what people see as valuable.

There was a tree across from my host's house that gave me a bit of a peak at the future. It went to this beautiful color as the classes were going on and was in it's full glory as we prepared to get me out of Maine and back to Washington D.C. where Deb was awaiting my return. Deb had figured out that this was the longest I had been away from her since we were married and she was ready for me to head back. Even though I learned a ton and enjoyed Tina and Dick's hospitality, I was also ready to get back to Deb and Freedom. There's no place like home, there's no place like home..... Well, it wasn't that simple.

No, it was time for a car, bus, plane, bus, train, and a walk to get me home.

It started in Dick's car leaving Maine in the weather they are known for - fog.

 Dick and Tina dropped me off at the Portland Bus Station where I was immediately and pleasantly surprised that I could get an earlier bus and travel on to Boston. So after leaving at 6:30 by car from Camden I was now in Portland and quickly bought a bus ticket for Logan Airport in Boston to leave in five minutes or 8:30. I quickly said goodbye to Dick and Tina who were wonderful hosts during my stay. Then I loaded my stuff on-board and took a few pictures. That immediately got me in trouble. I keep forgetting that people are very sensitive about things like pictures around mass transit. I quickly explained they were from my website followers and I didn't take anything except pictures of a couple of buses. I hope you agree that a terrorist couldn't figure out much from the two pictures below. I was then warned that I really shouldn't take pictures at the airport in Boston. Ok, I guess you will miss the planes part of the trip.

 After arriving at Logan Airport in Boston, I went to the Jet Blue ticket station to get on standby for the earlier flight that left at 2:15 rather than 5:30. That was simple and they checked my bag and said it shouldn't be a problem getting on that flight. About an hour later I got a call that my flight was canceled. What was up with that? Back through the line and at a ticket counter. The flight that was canceled was the 5:30 flight! Good thing I was early! I was then re-booked on the 2:15 flight and no-longer standby. Deb was excited to hear I would be home at about 6 verses 10 p.m. Things were looking up.

To the right you can see the next bus stop where I was waiting for the bus at Baltimore to take me to the MTA train station which would carry me into the heart of Washington D.C.


 I made that bus and paid my 6 bucks for the ride to the metro station that would be my chariot to my awaiting bride.

The guy standing on the bus was a young man I met who was over with his father from South Africa. He was finishing up high school and looking at engineering schools. You know those little schools like MIT who where trying to get him to go to their schools. Since he was proudly wearing an MIT hat, they may be in the front running. What opportunities people have when they apply themselves!

I got off at the right train stop took a 10 minute walk and was looking right at the Capital Yacht Club. I'm home!


 First thing I actually did was call Deb so she could unlock the gate Hugs and kisses all around. We spent some time catching up on the boat then went up to the Yacht Club where she had made all kinds of friends.

You might remember that when I asked Deb where she wanted to be "left" while I was off in Maine, she said - "CAPTIAL YACHT CLUB!" This is one of the best places on the east coast and I want to explain why. The people here truly enjoy the transit boaters who come to Washington D.C. They open their club and facilities to the visiting boaters regardless if you are at the dock or anchored out and paying for dinghy dockage. In my opinion, which you've already figured out, this is the place to go if you are planning on visiting Washington on your boat and on top of that, I can't imagine going through the Chesapeake without going to Washington. Now with that recommendation, head over to their website and check them out. Capital Yacht Club


Jim, that's not you and Deb! No, it is some of the members putting our card into their book of boat cards. It just happens this is a new thing and our card if first! On top of that, these fine members also follow our website.  

 As you've seen, the Capital Yacht Club has historic roots and I saw this framed note and picture on the walls. It was pretty interesting to see what appeared to be the first declaration of the Club.

To the lower left you can see the docks and the Washington Monument as we pulled away on Saturday morning.


 But here is more of the story of what happened when I got back. Remember Gale and Maureen? They called while I was on the airplane and were heading up to Washington. They anchored out and were visiting the city too. The dinghy dock just happens to be right across from where our boat was docked so we saw them a number of times while I was getting our boat back into shape. You know, things like oil changes and a good boat wash.

One of the evenings we got together and they were up for my crab cakes. We enjoyed a little wine, good food, and of course great conversation.

Gale and Maureen left on Friday so they are ahead of us and anchored down on the Chesapeake but also tucked away hiding from the wind.

So, now we are almost caught up to our current status. We've been listening to the forecast and the wind forecast was increasing. It was supposed to be 25 knots gusting to 30 and then it changed and was supposed to be 25-30 knots gusting to 35. I decided that the best thing for us was to find a place before we got to the bottom of the Potomac and get a good anchorage to just hang out for a day while this all simply passes. Wind with waves forecast at 5 feet for today (Monday) and rain too. Sounds like a good day to just hang out and catch up on the website. I might even bake some bread today because it is cold in the boat.

You can see below what I feel is a great hole for winds that were forecast to be gale conditions down on the Chesapeake and perhaps extending up the Potomac. We turned to the north side of the Potomac and headed up St. Clement Bay to Canoe Seek Creek. Then I turned into a small bay that gave me protection from the East to the West. As it turned out, there were trees surrounding this cove and we are nestled in just like a baby in a crib. You can see below right the trees that are surrounding us giving us more than 180 degrees protection with enough room for my 10 to 1 scope in 8 feet of water to allow the boat to swing nicely. As we sit here, we are getting very little effect from the winds but down on the Chesapeake they are getting 22 knots of wind gusting above 25 knots and the seas are at 5 feet.

It is all supposed to slow before tomorrow morning and we should be moving again. The latest wind forecast is for winds to be out of the west so that may mean we will actually be sailing. Fun fun fun.

For now, I think we will help out the economy and put more gas in the generator so we can warm up the boat a bit. Highs today remind me of being back in Maine.

  Oct 6 - Yesterday wasn't just another day. I listened to the weather forecast and even checked it on-line before leaving. Winds were forecast for 15-20 knots with gusts up to 25 and waves were supposed to be 2 foot. On top of that, they were supposed to be out of the northwest going to the west in the afternoon. Perfect for us since we were heading southeast down the Potomac. It all started out just fine at 7 when we pulled the anchor and even was good until about 8 am when it became clear that the autohelm wasn't going to keep up with steering. Waves were at 2 feet or more and winds were now about 15-20 knots on my wind instrument but then again I'm going with the wind averaging almost 7 knots at this time. Lets see, last time I checked you add the two numbers so that means we had 22-27 knots at 8 in the morning and that wasn't with gusts. Looks like an interesting day.

I'll just cut to the chase because I don't have pictures from the fun. I ended up hand steering until almost 1 pm and the wind got stronger and the waves got bigger. At one point we were surfing down waves at almost 12 knots and the wind was reading 31.9 knots. On average at this point we were doing 7.5-8 knots so when you add that all up you get almost 40 knots of wind. Just a little over the prediction don't you think. Here was the real issue. In the ocean, the waves get bigger but they are further apart. I find that when they get bigger it is much better and I would personally rather be in 6-8 foot following seas than 3 footers because the ride is better. In the Potomac or any other smaller body of water the waves get bigger but they don't get further apart. Instead, they get bigger and more vertical. In this case I could sit at my helm seat and look off the stern of our boat and not see over the wave coming at me. That made it a 5 footer or higher. Even the buoy that reads waves said it was about 5 feet waves and the buoy is on the other side of the Potomac where the waves were smaller. Again, the issue is they were close together. At first the surfing was fun as long as the wind was below 25 knots but when it went higher then things got interesting. I was coming down the face of the wave and I had to turn off to the side so the bow of the boat didn't plow into the wave in front of us which would have slowed or stopped the boat allowing the wave under us to have it's way with us trying to push us up and over. That happens to be called pitchpole and the sailors know what it is but my non-sailor readers wouldn't. (This is what it looks like - click here) The answer for me was to reduce sail some more and get the boat traveling at just slightly less than the speed of the waves. It worked just fine and we slowed up and all was well although I still had to hand steer until we rounded the corner and were in the lee of the land. Then everything was just fine. I didn't have time to take pictures while steering and didn't want to when we rounded the corner.

So much fun this cruising. By the way, Jimmy Buffett was trying to sleep through the whole thing.

We are still enjoying living the dream on sailing vessel Freedom.

Right now we are at our friends Bernie and Pat's house and it turns out we have a couple of projects so we will be sticking around today. Besides the company and food is always so good. We will check out the weather and probably be underway tomorrow if we don't get our arm's twisted too much.



 Oct 11 - While we were anchored up the Potomac, we pulled the enclosure out of the 8 different bags and put it up. This enclosure is one of the best things for our boat. Like I've said before, I think it is the first totally water tight enclosures for a Gemini and I'm happy that I dreamed it up and sewed it myself. If I was doing it over, I really think I would still do it the same way.

It has warmed up about 5 days later so we are putting parts on top but still it is working just fine.

We headed down the Chesapeake under sail after leaving Bernie and Pat's house. We were having to point at 50-52 degrees but still made pretty good time given the wind speed. We ended up anchoring in Deltaville for the evening with a promise of a change in wind direction for the next day.

Below right you can see an exercise between a helicopter and a boat that was pretty entertaining for about an hour.


We left on Friday for Norfolk and were pleasantly surprised as we were entering the channel. A submarine was heading for sea. We had heard them on the radio announcing a security zone and saw the escort ships before we picked out the sub. Not hard here to pick it out in the pictures below.

I just thought this was cool.

Then just when we thought all was good a warship was heading for sea too. They talked about their 500 yard security zone and we just stayed out of the channel and waved. There were sailors on the decks on all sides watching traffic. I think they wouldn't have had a problem putting a hole in your boat if you decided that you wanted to get a closer look. That hole would have probably occurred with a bright flash, smoke and a big boom.

I've shown you a number of pictures of Norfolk in the past but I still love passing through this area. Norfolk, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and Mobile are all areas that allow you to interact with the large commercial vessels. It makes you feel like a real boater when you are out here.

It is also fun to me to look at the aircraft carriers and picture in my mind landing on that little deck in a pitching sea. I think they call it SKILL.

We anchored off of hospital point for the evening after filling up with fuel. I felt bad all day from something and no Forest, it wasn't cough due to cold. Don't know what it was but I just ate a little something and went to sleep. That fixes most bad feelings and we were up and ready to go on Saturday heading again for the Dismal Swamp.

I've been through the Virginia Cut and the Dismal Swamp and since we will be going through many marshes south it is a no decision decision which way to go an that is the Dismal Swamp. This rivals a couple of other places south of here which are also beautiful with the tree lined passage. For me, I'll give the fishing boats and the rest of the yachts who want to speed the Virginia Cut and I'll head through the Dismal Swamp remembering that we went cruising to enjoy the slow life. By the way, we slowed down to 4 knots just for the ride.

The first lock takes you up and then we were off for the Visitor's Center.

When we arrived at the visitor's center, there were two other boats already tied off to the dock. That meant there was still room for us without rafting off. The question was if others would come by later and raft up to us. As it turned out, they didn't and it was a nice quiet evening. I took off and walked through the swamp on the board walk they are finishing up. It is a wonderful way to see a swamp without bringing your own waders. They are almost finished with the complete circle so in the future you won't have to backtrack when you reach the end.

The picture below left is what much of the swamp looks like. A great place for mosquitoes and fly's plus I'll bet there are a few snakes in there too.

You can see our boats to the lower right along with the nature center they've finished.

We were up early on Sunday and misty fog was wondering about on top of the water. After checking in with the other boaters, two of us were off for the first opening at the end of the Dismal Swamp. It was only 4 miles to the bridge and the only question in our minds was if we would have to wait for them to lock some other boaters up. As it turned out, we didn't so we got an early bridge opening and then lock. It didn't matter since we weren't in a hurry anyway.

We did see some trees changing but I think we are about a week or two early for the best colors.

We headed towards Elizabeth City which was about 18 miles away. We reached a straight away and in the distance I could see fog. As a pilot and a captain, I know what causes fog but you still wonder at times why it starts and stops in one particular place. In this case I was wanting to get up to that line and put my and in just to see it disappear. Wouldn't that be cool? Wondering where you hand went and hoping that when you pulled your hand back it would still be attached.

Imagination is great. As it turned out, the sun was coming up over the trees and within 5 minutes of us getting to that line and my new experiment the temperature warmed a couple of degrees and the fog was gone.

We then reached the section of the river that is a bunch of twists and turns. With the surface of the water just like a glass mirror, we enjoyed being solo on this section of water. It was our wake that was disturbing the scenery but that was behind rather than in front. We kept looking forward and enjoying the scenery as we whittled off the miles heading for Elizabeth City.

After the bridge opened and allowed us through, we headed over to the docks and picked out the slip we have used twice before. It was donated by the Committee of 100 but I kind of feel like it belongs to Freedom when we are here.

As it turned out, they were having a really great event which was the food walk today. this was for the Albemarle Food Bank.

We were able to get our bikes out for a tour before all the walkers took off at 2 p.m.

Some of them were outfitted in their own manner of expression.

Deb and I didn't walk, instead we took a tour of the town and ultimately found a CVS store. Deb picked up her flu shot about a week ago while I was helping Bernie with some projects. She decided it was time for me to get my arm stuck. It was then and there I figured out yesterday was 10-10-10. An event that only happens once every 100 years. We have two more such events in the next two years. I wonder what I'll be doing on 11-11-11 and 12-12-12.

We arrived back just in time to see the walkers heading back from there 3.2 mile walk. They all received a sandwich from the food bank along with a Pepsi which of course was donated by Pepsi. More importantly, I think they probably felt pretty good for helping out a good cause.

As we were sitting on the back of the boat, this seagull just happened to stop by and "coped a squat" on the pole next to the back of our boat. He was pretty good posing for the camera.

Today, Monday, we are going to be heading off to pick up some groceries and also a package that was sent to me. I am writing another course as we move down the waterway for True Course. We will check the weather but I think we will also be here Tuesday waiting for the wind to head back with some north in it before crossing the Albemarle Sound.

We'll let you know what's up tomorrow.

Oct 12 - I don't think I have ever redone a post on the website. There is always a first and this is it. Here is the scoop. We came through Elizabeth city in June of 2007 and as you will see, again, met Fred Fearing. You will read the story in a minute. What we now know is that Fred passed away on October 17, 2007. It wasn't our fault! Now there is David, Gus, Elizabeth, Steve (past mayor) and a bunch of other people keeping the tradition alive. However, I'll get to that part of the story later. For those readers who aren't as diligent in going through the volumous postings since we started cruising, this is one you really need to read just to get the flavor of this wonderful town.

All I can say is this is a must stop if you are cruising the east coast!

 Meet Fred Fearing. Fred along with Joe Kramer started a tradition in Elizabeth City back in 1983. It was one afternoon that they decided to host an impromptu wine and cheese party for visiting boaters. They assembled the necessary wine and cheese along with roses, Joe raised in his yard, for the women on board for the party. With this simple gesture, they started a tradition and in the process earned Elizabeth City the title - The Harbor of Hospitality. They have been visited by Willard Scott, NBC Weatherman, who also provided a golf cart for their use. Since then a golf cart company has provided another golf cart which has been used for a wonderful cause. They have also been visited by other notables such as Walter Cronkite. Of course, on this day, we were among the cruisers who were the recipients of the hospitality of a wine and cheese reception. Fred is now 93 and has many others helping in this tradition as noted previously when several were on hand to help us with our docking. Together, they are all known as the Rose Buddies and there are now roses growing at the city park where the free dockage is located.

Below you can see some pictures of Fred and Deb along with a wooden bowl he acquired a number of years ago. Deb is "stirring the pot" and providing Fred some good laughs. He had many antiques that he and his wife acquired over the years along with many more stories. Fred's wife passed away a number of years ago but he talks of her lovingly and takes flowers to her grave every Sunday.

 Since there weren't as many cruisers in Elizabeth City, we were hosted at Fred's house along with the other two boats who were already there waiting on the weather to pass. To the left you can see Dave and Laurie from s/v R. J. Greenstone, Karen and Al from s/v Friendship, Fred, Deb and of course me.

We had a great visit and also enjoyed the tour of Fred's home which he made from a 3 car garage. He spoke again of his wife and how visionary she was when they were given the garage and property. She came up with the plan and he implemented her vision of what the property could become. If Fred said it once he said it 20 times "my wife was so smart and she was so pretty, I really miss her."

It is always fun to meet a legend and I also know he enjoys the interaction with the cruisers. It is also tough to follow in the footsteps of a legend and we appreciated all of the help from the new Rose Buddies too.

 So back to present day. Deb and I had a great day shopping for food for the next week and riding around town. On top of that we went out to lunch too. Overall, doing exactly what you are supposed to do in the town which is the Harbor of Hospitality. Spending some money to thank them. Plus it's easy to get stuff here.

At four p.m. we had a bunch of boats so that meant a wine and cheese party for the cruisers! Cool. We were in and got to meet David in the white shirt and past Mayor Steve in the background. This wasn't one of those boring sit and listen things. It was succinct with the first speaker talking about some navigational sites then quickly passing it off to Elizabeth to talk a little about the town and it's history then on to past Mayor Steve to talk about places to eat and more things about the town. All were quick and then time to talk to cruisers. Great event and just the right amount of talking.

 You can see some roses above and that is what the Rose Buddies were all about. A simple tradition that has become a wonderful thing for cruisers. You can see that this time there were quite a few more boaters in town as compared to when we came through in 2007. I won't say this was better because how can it be better than meeting a legend in the flesh. However, it was very good and again, very worthwhile.

 You can see some of the boats that are headed south and as of dark, almost every one of the slips were full. It isn't hard to wonder why with the price of the slips and the hospitality. All free and priceless.

Once again, I'll be redundant. This is the route to take - forget the Virginia Cut. You will see marshes and way to many of them in Georgia and South Carolina.

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