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

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 Sept 1 - Earl, Oh Earl - turn right and don't mess everything up!

We arrived at Oxford yesterday, Tuesday, and saw our friends Tim and Jill anchored nearby. I put on the breeze boosters in the hatches only to find out Deb was feeling bad. After filling the generator with gas, I started it up and turned on the A/C taking out the breeze boosters and closing up the boat. The only thing that fixes Deb is A/C and fortunately, I fixed it a few days ago. Before I could head over to Tim and Jill's boat to explain, they were heading for our boat. Deb was a trooper and invited them in. They were hot too since it was well above 90 degrees. We had a great conversation and they headed back to their boat with our plan for them to return and the three of us (Deb staying on our boat) to head into town so I could see Oxford. And that is what happened.

They came back, picked me up and off to the town dock at the end of Market Street. This is where they provide free dinghy dockage for visitors and it appears dockage for residence too.

We walked into town and found the museum although it wasn't open. The instruments you see to the lower left measure oxygen in the water and to the right are telegraph sets from the time when the trains were running.


Also was a fresnel lens made in France from a light house that must have been here "in the day."

We continued our walk only to find the four pickets from a picket fence and as it turns out Oxford has local artists paint these in a different theme each year. It may not be cows as in Chicago, or Bears in New Bern but it is fences in Oxford.

To the lower right you can see a typical street scape.

And another looking back towards the water tower.

Evidently, they really like their houses here because we found a 2 story that wasn't on the water which was for sale for the small amount of 1,975,000 bucks. Just to get into perspective, this house would sell for 175,000 in Ft Myers, FL. I guess they are right - location, location, location.

Below left you can see the Robert Morris Inn. I took a macro picture of the info in the tourist guide and I can't say it better than they do.

Can you even imagine the guy that built this had a son that helped finance the Revolution and signed the Declaration of Independence. Like I said, location, location, location.

We are truly in a place of history.

Of course the picture to the left is our boat. Doesn't it look happy? Safety from the storm or hopefully so.

We continued to walk and headed past the Cutts and Chase Shipyard.

They have to coolest boats inside this building and unfortunately we were too late to get in.

The engines below are just a few of the items on display.

And another picket fence painting that was probably sponsored by the shipyard.

Then it was back to the boat and dinner.

You probably remember Tim and Jill from 2007 when we were up in the Chesapeake or perhaps from December in 2009 when we went through Marathon. In 2007, they were thinking of cruising and we stopped by to talk about the life and what could be cut from our budget. They didn't want to sell their house but still wanted to go. We reassured them that we were spending a bunch on entertainment and you could easily cut 700 bucks a month from the budget. Also, since they had a lower time Gemini, they probably wouldn't have as many repair expenses. So, when we saw them in 2009 in Marathon - retired and enjoying their boat we were happy and they were too.

They brought way too much food over and we could have had at least another four people to eat. On top of that, they provided us with enough fresh veggies for about a month. We ate some tonight and will be eating much more in the next few days.

At least I have something to play with awaiting Earl. Oh, Earl - go away.

Now to be serious about Earl. I am serious about hurricanes! Afterall, we have our lives, Jimmy Buffett's life, and our home at stake. What I have been totally amazed at is the emails and phone calls to check on us. At first I thought, don't they think I watching this? Then I thought, how wonderful our friends from our past lives along with our friends from our website are concerned enough to contact us. Now for a little story:

Deb was listening to the news and was just scared beyond belief about Earl. I had explained the chart you see to the left and explained that it sure looked like it was going to miss us. On top of that, we would be ready to run up the Potomac should it turn out to be wrong and weave a bit more west. She was doing fine when my brother texted me and then I talked to him. He was saying, "Jim, there are going to be huge surges and monster winds. Get out of there!" Deb went back to worrying. Again, I reassured her that we had options. I would never put us in a place during hurricane season with no options. That would be nuts. Of course the next day my brother texted us again telling us to fly to Colorado. Larry provided advice on hurricane holes, Donna wanted to know if we were ok, my broker called to make sure we were safe, Steve and Linda wanted to make sure we were fine and knew exactly where Earl was heading, and finally Captain Ron - NO, I'm not kidding - Captain Ron called to make sure we were fine. Ok, it wasn't the same Captain Ron you are thinking about but he is my new boss and he is a Captain and his name is Ron. And then there is always Garry and Shirlene. They just wanted me to know that regardless of the forecasts, sometime hurricanes can have their own mind. Of course they've been through a bunch of them and I personally think hurricanes have a target on their boat. Isn't it good to have friends!

So yesterday we downloaded another map in the morning and it showed it possibly a little closer but a miss. That evening, it showed it a bit more closer but a miss. Then we I got up this morning, and before starting to move to Solomon's Island, the forecast showed it further east. Again, a miss but bigger miss.

I picked a great spot at Solomon's to anchor because we are surrounded in all areas and no direct path to the Chesapeake. We are positioned such that should winds arrive, we are as far north up the creek as we can go and we will be protected. Winds will come from the north because the storm is to the east and winds go counter clockwise around a low pressure system Thus, north winds. After, we got anchored in Solomon's, I downloaded another forecast and you can see it is an even bigger miss for the Chesapeake Bay. Life is good on Freedom and they are only forecasting winds less than 20 mph when the hurricane goes by.

I also picked up the graphics from the Weather Channel and they show we are in an area that has a low chance of a threat. So, rest assured that we are safe. However, should something change, we have fuel aboard and can run up the Potomac River and get even further inland and set up our multiple anchors.

Right now, I'm sitting here with the A/C running and it was 96 inside the boat 2 hours ago and now it is in the low 80's with low humidity. Again, life is good on Freedom.

All I can say is that I was and am touched with all the messages and concern for us. Thank you and it is good to hear from you. When the weather is beautiful, contact us again and let us know you wish you were here with us.

We are safe and will keep you up-to-date. Thanks again for your concern. Now to the real issue at hand - What do I do with all those fresh green/hot/sweet peppers, squash, and tomato's. Sounds like the makings for a wonderful fresh spaghetti sauce!

 Sept 3 - Sometimes I wish the news people would simply give you the facts and quit sensationalizing things. But then they wouldn't get ratings which is what pays their salaries and bills. Oh well, it all worked out the way I thought it would and we were ready for very strong wind but in the end, wind was less than 15 mph and the rain has just come and gone more as a drizzle verses rain. Still, it looks impressive but it was a nothing and is falling apart as I write this. Great for New England.

We will put the sails back on the boat and canvas this afternoon when the rain stops. We will probably pull 2 of the 3 anchors either today or tomorrow. Then all will be back to normal on Freedom.

I did learn exactly what I wanted for a good hurricane setup however. I'll be drawing it up and start picking up the pieces as I can find them. What I have now works fine but I can do better. Plus, I will want to pick up some much bigger anchors and larger chain when we get to Florida.

 Sept 6 - Earl has left and really left no destruction in his wake. Right now there is another hurricane forming in the gulf which won't be a factor for us. I just wanted to retrace just a bit to show you where we anchored. You can see all around us there are trees and no open water. I had those three anchors out and yesterday was able to get two of them back up. They were set very well and I had to use Freedom to pull them out because I couldn't do it with the dinghy. That just proved we were in a good spot with good holding.  
The pictures below are in the afternoon before Earl passed us by. The picture to the lower left I like the best because it shows the rings of clouds better than any other picture I took. There are rings that circle around the center of the low pressure system just like you see on a satellite image. The clouds are probably the only good thing about a hurricane except for when it is gone.  

 The veggies you see to the left are some of the ones Tim and Jill gave us. These are the ones that are going into the pot below to make up part of our spaghetti sauce. Yum Yum. The veggies below left we had left over and they have ultimately made it into the refrigerator so they will keep.


 After Earl passed on Friday then the rain ultimately quit. Therefore the concert was on. The picture you see to the right is a close as we could get this time. REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar were the headliners. We went in the dinghy to listen and heard REO Speedwagon. Appropriately, the last song of their set was Riding the Storm Out. Makes sense doesn't it!



 Then on Saturday, our friend Cathy drove down to see us. We spent the afternoon and evening on the boat just catching up with each other. It was a great visit and we really enjoyed the visit.

Like i said, yesterday, I pulled out the anchors and cleaned them along with the rodes and the front of the boat. It is amazing how dirty things get when you have all that stuff in the water with a mucky bottom. Then we were surprised twice. First, Gale and Maureen from Blue Heron stopped by. We saw them last in Miami. We made arrangements to head out for dinner and they took off so I could finish cleaning up the boat. Then Tim and Jill stopped by again. They had sailed over and were just running around on the dinghy seeing Solomons. We had fun talking then all went over to Gale and Maureen's boat so Tim and Jill could meet them too. It was a great fun.

Today, we are going to do some mundane things like go to the grocery story and pick up some stuff we need. Then Gale and Maureen are coming by for a cruisers dinner - everybody brings something. They are still headed north to Delaware City where they will officially complete the loop. We on the other hand are off to visit Bernie and Pat again before heading to Washington, D.C.

 Aug 10 - Deb and I had the idea that what would be more fun than to catch a few crabs during happy hour. If we got enough we would cook them up, eat them and then start dinner. As it turns out, Gale and Maureen had never crabbed. Gale brought a net and I picked up some chicken wings, tied them to a string and we were ready for crabbing. As you can see below, we did catch some. 3 before dinner and I cooked them so we all had a taste of crab. Then we cooked dinner - it was a good dinner too if I don't say so myself. I also learned a really cool sauce for appetizers from Maureen who learned it from some more cruisers. Tasty, spicy, sweet but hot sauce just for the cheese and crackers. Yum, Yum.  

As you can see, we all got into the crabs. By the way, we caught another three that Gale and Maureen took home for the next day. Life is still good on Freedom.

The next day I stopped by their boat to learn some Yoga exercises that Gale swears have helped his back. They will help mine too as I learned. While I was there Gale had some questions about a motor vibration and I checked his engine alignment which was right on. However, I found a nut loose on his motor mounts that had never been tightened. About a half inch loose! Well, hopefully the vibration is fixed. We also removed his prop and lubricated the shaft.

Next day, we headed off and got beat up some as we headed south on the chesapeake for the Great Wacomico river. Winds were wrong but as it ended up, we figured out a way to hide just enough that we could get south and then head up the river toward's my friend's Bernie and Pat's place.

We were headed up to spend a couple of days before heading for Washington, D.C. First night Bernie cooked Crab Cakes along with Salmon. Pat made an excellent salad. Bernie and I did some troubleshooting on his dock and I found a wire that was bad. Then we changed his engines fuel filter and did a few other items before heading off for lunch. That evening, Pat made some cabbage rolls that you see to the right and half were for us to take today and the other half for them. Then I made my seafood risotto which came out wonderfully. I really enjoy the food cook-off's at Bernie and Pat's. Below right - looks good doesn't it!

This morning Bernie and I went out to do some close quarter work around the dock and he picked that up really quick. However, the outdrive kicked up so we took the boat back, put it on the lift and I was able to adjust it so he won't have that problem again. We tested it and it worked great and Bernie did a great job with the new stuff he learned.

After we finished this morning saying our goodbye's, Deb and I motored out to the river and set the mainsail and had the most wonderful lazy sail down the river. We tacked back and forth with both boards half way down doing 2.5-3.5 knots. Great, wonderful sail. I sailed the boat up to an anchorage, dropped the sail, then dropped the anchor and all was finished for the day.

I then found out that the class in Maine is on. So, I booked an airline to Boston and will catch a bus to Camden. The travel will be all day affairs but at least I won't be doing the driving and on top of that, I am really looking forward to seeing how the class is taught verses taking the class. We will be ready for teaching classes as early as January.

Tomorrow we head up the Potomac for Washington. Winds and tides are such that it will probably take 2 1/2 days.

Hopefully we will be able to sail some more on the trip up but regardless, we will have a good time.

Ok, why didn't we put out the head sail? Because we didn't want to go that fast - really!

  Sept 11 - Just when you thought life on Freedom was too good to be true - you were right. It suddenly changes. But once again, I'm ahead of the story.

We left this morning from our anchorage and the winds were out of the north as predicted. They were only 10 knots but we were motoring into them so a little banging was happening and the boat was bouncing a bit. After about 2 hours, we turned up the Potomac and things started to settle down. I raised the mainsail to get some of our lost speed back because the current was running against us. Things looked better but it really didn't matter. Even though we are now traveling with ship's, we have a beautiful day and all has been good on Freedom. However, I've been telling people more and more that our schedule is dependent upon no mechanical failures along with the weather. Let me back up. We have about 4,200 hours on our engine and the last major failure occurred at 2500 hours. That is the last time when we were left stranded and then we weren't really stranded, we simply had a slipping transmission. Today that all changed!

I noticed a very slight engine sound difference and glanced at the gauges. The Tach was only reading 500 rpm and then it went back to normal. That isn't right. So, I pulled open the engine hatch and saw black smoke. Now that is a problem! I dropped the hatch and immediately shut down the engine. I learned quite a while back that if there is a fire you need to cut off one of the three parts of the fire triangle. By shutting the hatch I cut off the air and by shutting down the engine I cut off fuel flow. Now, I can't cool it but I can only hope that it wasn't a fire.

It wasn't. The black smoke was from the alternator belt and the reason it was smoking was that it was covered with antifreeze which was making it slip. Now were was that antifreeze coming from?

With the hatch raised I could see a clear 360 degree splatter on the engine cowling. Nothing was dripping but it was clearly from the water pump and by the water pump I mean the circulating pump not the raw water pump. But I needed to confirm that assessment. However, I had other worries. We are in the Potomac and there are ships. Bottom line is we don't have an engine and on top of that the wind is VERY light. I went forward and got the asymmetrical spinnaker up and that really didn't do anything because the wind was so light and the current was against us. We do have one more source of energy on the boat - the dingy.

So as you can see below, I hipped it up (tow talk). Ok, what I did was tie the bow around a stanchion and back to a cleat so it was pulling. Then I tied a rope to the aft stanch eon and to the engine mounting bolts. Then I locked in the rope and tied that free end to the tiller so it wouldn't move. I set the throttle at about 1/4 throttle and guess what? We were heading forward at about 2.5 knots. Life is good again on Freedom and we aren't worried about ships anymore. On top of that, I am now getting time towing a boat. Well maybe I should say alternatively powering a boat.


 I still have that problem with the engine and I went looking for places we could pull into. I called 4 different marinas and figured out very quickly that the ones on the north side of the Potomac had no public services and on top of that there is the detail of no bridges until you get up to Washington or thereabouts.

So, I picked a marina 25 miles on up the Potomac that we could rent a car and I could head down to Norfolk and buy our new water pump assuming they had one in stock. With that solved I only needed to ensure my diagnosis was correct and of course that minor detail - I had to make 25 miles with sails or the dinghy engine.

First task, complete the diagnosis. I grabbed the pulley on the water pump and I could feel it move around. That means there is a problem in the bearing. Then the stream of antifreeze started flowing. I tried to get a great picture of where it was coming from with our mirror but the picture didn't cut the antifreeze. It was coming from the bearing so diagnosis was complete. I then called the marina and confirmed our arrival on Sunday. I'm an optimistic guy. Really, the wind is supposed to shift to the southeast and that means I will be sailing tomorrow. Luck turned our way one more time.



All of this fun stuff started at about 1:30 and at 2 I had the dinghy going and at 2:30 the wind was blowing at 4 knots from our stern. Our best sail engine is the spinnaker so it was out on our starboard and the main on the port in a beautiful wing-on-wing configuration. What is sad is I saw a couple on a power boat taking pictures of our sails. Little did they know the dinghy was doing most of the work.

We were able to make 4 knots for almost 45 minutes and felt like we were in the big time again.

Our anchorage is out there somewhere we just haven't picked it yet.

I listened to the weather radio again and it confirmed the wind was supposed to be southeast tomorrow morning. So I picked a place on a south bank which had a large bay so I should be able to pull the anchor by hand, set sail, and then get up the Potomac to where I can either hip up the dinghy or simply tow the boat into the harbor. The interesting thing is that we won't know what we are going to do until we get there.

Don't you love anticipation!

Not Deb. She wants answers but she is doing fine.

We still expect to be in Washington before I fly out on Friday. I'm just hoping for a water pump in Norfolk!

Don't you want to go cruising? It's fun!


 Sep 13 - I pulled up the anchor the next morning after getting the dinghy tied up to the port stern. No wind. As a matter of fact, weather was pretty junky. It had rained all night and now the drizzle had the visibility down to about 2 miles. I figured out very quickly that we would be hugging the shore.

When we approached the marina, I put Deb in the dinghy and planned on a nice easy entrance. All she was supposed to do was put it in forward, neutral, or reverse. Well, the best laid plans! Ends up the directions to turn when we reached the 100 foot yacht were wrong. We were supposed to turn after the bow of the yacht. That fake turn ended up being a problem given the tides and close quarters. I had to tell Deb to put the dinghy into reverse and also add power along with redirect the tiller just because we had to turn the boat around after we got up to the bow of the 100 foot yacht. We had to turn 180 degrees and with good communication and Deb following everything exactly, we did great. The harbormaster said they couldn't have done it. I guess we do have a bit of experience which helps. The really cool part is that Deb, even though terrified did perfectly. We pulled right up to the dock and the dockmaster took a line but we really didn't even need the help.

Below you can see some of the pictures I took before taking off the water pump. Looks like a cleaning opportunity!

I took the picture to the right this morning. Yesterday, I took off the water pump and used a couple of rolls of paper towels to clean up the antifreeze below the engine along with the front of the engine. I could have cleaned some more but I did what I did. After the cleaning with engine cleaner, I then repainted part of the front of the engine where the paint all came off. It does look better just not new.

Then at 8 am I called Engines 1 and they had the parts in stock. Good thing since Bernie was at a hotel waiting to pick them up. I entered our order and paid for it via credit card and then set out on my bike to pick up extra antifreeze along with gasket sealer. Bernie, gave me a call and let me know he had the parts and should arrive at 11:30. As you can see below, Bernie arrived with a Westerbeke bag in hand. I quickly checked fit kidding that I may have to send him back if he had the wrong parts. Right..... All was great and we went for lunch. What can you say about Gemini owners who are also friends? Priceless!

You can see below right Bernie and his wife Pat in their vehicle which simply made our day. I can't say enough thank you's for what they did for us.

To the left you can see the difference in the pumps. Not only was the one on the right coated with old belt junk along with antifreeze and what appeared to be grease, it also had been overheated. It didn't take seconds for this to fail catastrophically. I'm just happy I caught it before the engine overheated.

It only took about 30 minutes and everything was reinstalled. I left the cap off and filled multiple times until it wouldn't take more antifreeze. Then I installed the cap , filled up the jug that holds extra antifreeze, and let the engine heat up. Once hot the thermostat opens and out comes the air and in goes antifreeze. That finishes but the thermostat cools off before all the air comes out. So you have to do it again. Fill the jug, start and heat up the engine, stop the engine and let the engine cool then in comes more antifreeze. Then you do it again. And again. It took four times before the air all came out and it was working just fine. Still, I let it all cool off and heated it up another two times to ensure we could leave in the morning.

All is great on Freedom. We leave in the morning to continue our trip to Washington D.C. It is about 70 nautical miles so we will probably make about 45 tomorrow and then finish it up Wednesday.

THANK YOU Bernie and Pat. We truly appreciate your above and beyond effort.

The rest of the day gave me time to get the dinghy cleaned up and put away. It is looking good again and there is nothing like unlimited water at a marina along with some good detergents.

The rest of our trip up the Potomac should be beautiful. Think of the history we are passing here. Once I get out of mechanic mode, I'll get back into documentary mode.

Thanks again for following our website.

One last thing - I just heard from Gale and Maureen and their engine is running much smoother since we found that loose motor mount nut. Cool.

 Senator Craig, Bill - test pilot of F4's and F 15 and 16's, Jay, Craig Cole - Art's and Redevelopment, Rob - bartender,  
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