Cruising Stories

The Victorious 37VT26 Adventures, Cruising with Heidi and Ken Maitland


Polar Mist and Lady Cruise North 2015, Sally and Allan Seymour, Macy Galbreath, Lady 37VT08


Mini-Loop 2012, Sally and Allan Seymour, Sally W. #42, East Dummerston, VT


Exumas, Bahamas 2012, John, Dave and Bicki Howell, Nellie D. #63, Naples, FL


Chesapeake to Miami 2011, Dave and Bicki Howell, Nellie D. #63, Naples, FL


Florida Keys Cruising 2010, John Howell, Nellie D. #63, Naples, FL


Greece Summer 2010, Madeline and Ken Bartig, Mamma Mia! 49-9, Etna, CA


Great Boat, Cute Dog, Summer 2010, Ann Prentice and Don Surratt, PUFFIN #26, Hampstead, NC


A Newbie Sets a Course from NH to NY or Holy Smokes I’m Onna Tug, Summer 2010, Alex Neil, TUGNACIOUS #7, Hopewell Junction, NY


Maine To Maryland, June 2010, by Key Stage, TITAN #31, Camden, ME


In Greece with Mama Mia!, 49#9, Ken and Madeline Bartig, Key West, FL


ROAMING WITH RENEGADE #72, Summer 2008, Capt. Bob White, San Diego, CA


Nellie's New Year's Cruise, #63, December 2008, Dave & Vicki Howell, Church Creek, MD


Transit on the Sea—A Golfer’s Daily Log, By Mel Ludovici on board WHISTLE #42, Heather & Walter Laird, Richmond, VA


Home After the Great Loop..., Fall 2008, Joe and Arvilla Glinski aboard OUR VILLA, #56


ROAMING WITH RENEGADE #72 Summer 2007, Bob & Sandy White, San Diego, CA


NELLIE D. #63 REPORTS FROM ALASKA, Summer 2007, Dave and Bicki Howell, Church Creek, MD

"Great Boat, Cute Dog"

Ann Prentice and Don Surratt, PUFFIN #26, Hampstead, NC

In the summer of 2010, Don and I took our “great boat,” a red white and blue Lord Nelson Tug named PUFFIN, and our “cute dog”, a Welsh Terrier named Roscoe, on an American canal trip. We live in North Carolina so the first and last parts of the trip were from New Bern, N.C. to New York Harbor and back. The fun part of the trip was from New York Harbor north on the Hudson River to Troy, N.Y., west on the Erie Canal to Brewerton, N.Y. and north on the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario. From there we entered the St. Lawrence River and went north and east to Sorel, Quebec, then south on the Richlieu River and Chambord Canal to Lake Champlain, south on the Champlain Canal to Troy, N.Y. and back down the Hudson. This triangle journey of a bit more than two thousand miles included seventy two locks and too many bridges to remember.

I have lived near the Hudson River, in central New York state, and on the shores of Lake Champlain so this trip was in many ways a trip down memory lane. When you are on the water looking at the places you know very well from the land, everything is different. Distances are different, well known places looked different as we were seeing them from a new perspective. Seeing family and friends added to the enjoyment.

We left New York Harbor and our anchorage behind the Statue of Liberty, a really good place to anchor out, on Sunday, July 13 and made our way up the Hudson River. As a one time commuter from Poughkeepsie to New York, it was interesting to see the commuter trains and the shore from the water. The two day trip to Hyde Park where I once lived ended at Norrie Point’s Marina which is in a state park I know well. We joined friends at the diner in Hyde Park which continues to be one of the really great diners where food is good, service fast, and it even looks like a diner. The next day we went north to Kingston, a place I had also lived, met friends and took the short trip to the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park and if you like good food, not a place to miss.

We went north from Kingston up the Hudson to Troy to the first lock which is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A short distance beyond this is a sign directing you to go west to the Erie Canal or north to the Champlain Canal. We turned west and by day’s end had been in seven locks. The process of entering the lock is the same for all locks; you wait for the green light and the doors to open, enter the lock, grab a cable and put your line around it or grab a rope and hang on. Once you are in the lock, the doors close, and if you are going up, the lock fills with water, you hang on to the line until the lock is filled and if you are going down, the lock empties. Then the lock doors in front of you open and you take the boat into the canal. The three and a half day trip on the Erie Canal with its 23 locks was truly enjoyable. There were few other boats and we had the Canal and the Mohawk River almost to ourselves. The weather was perfect and it was easy to think of the early settlers who nearly two hundred years ago canoed up the Mohawk River in search of adventure and farmland. I need to reread my New York State history now that I have a better feeling for the area as seen by our ancestors. The Erie Canal and its locks are also part of the history of the economic growth of the region as it was the way in which farm products were delivered from the western part of the state to Albany and New York City. The canal is being brought back to viability by the state and by the communities along the canal, and that is a positive way to both help the economy and to respect our history. We tied up several times along the walls of the canal after we had gone through a lock. There were often picnic tables, and grassy areas where we could walk the dog. These were a very pleasant place to stay, and they were free.

Oneida Lake, near Syracuse, is a beautiful small lake and the trip through this area was pleasant. Many boats of all sizes were taking advantage of a beautiful Sunday to enjoy the water. We stayed just beyond the western end of the lake in another marina and spent two days catching up with errands and seeing family before returning to the canal, taking a turn north to the Oswego Canal with its seven locks and going up the eastern end of Lake Ontario to Cape Vincent, N.Y. which is near the entrance to the St. Lawrence River. Cape Vincent is a small community that thrived a century or more ago. It’s legacy of very beautiful old homes and huge trees along the road reminded me of the small communities that one finds in many parts of the state.

From Cape Vincent, we went to Ogdensburg where we tied up at the city dock after a day of navigating the Thousand Islands. Actually there are more than a thousand if you count all the rocks that stick up out of the water. The St. Lawrence Seaway was our next set of locks; the Iroquois, the Eisenhower, and the Snell on one day with the Beauharnais Lock the next day. These locks are built for barge traffic to and from the Great Lakes and are much larger than those in the Erie Canal but the process of going into the lock, holding a line, a pipe, a chain, are the same. We tied up along the wall east of the Snell Lock and enjoyed a quiet evening in a protected spot. Because of the amount of commercial traffic, we waited with numerous other boats at the Beauharnais Lock for four hours and then went into the lock where we rafted up with several other boats. Puffin being the heaviest of the boats, we got the wall spot and a sailboat rafted up next to us. After anchoring out near an Indian reservation, we did two more locks, went past Montreal and ended the day at Sorel which is at the entrance to the Richlieu River. The two day trip down the Richlieu River and the Chambley Canal was one of the nicest parts of our trip. This part of Quebec is rural and looks much like New England did half a century ago, except that it is flatter. River traffic in this area reflects an earlier era as well. The locks in the Chambly canal are smaller than those in the Erie Canal and are hand operated. The doors of the locks are manually opened and closed and water levels are controlled manually. Without exception, those at the locks were very helpful. We tied up for the night just past Lock 3. It was in town and a brief walk from an ice cream parlor with really good chocolate ice cream. And at the end of the Richlieu River we re entered the U.S. and Lake Champlain which to me is one of the most beautiful lakes anywhere. With its islands, mountains on both sides, and its clear water, it is worth a long trip to be there. The three days we stayed in Plattsburgh which is about 25 miles south of the Canadian border plus our trip down the lake provided an opportunity to see many well loved places from a new perspective. On July 4 we passed Fort Ticonderoga which we thought was a really good way to spend that holiday. And the next day we completed the triangle by going through Lock #1 in Troy. Going south on the Hudson River was a beautiful trip, particularly the Hudson Highlands near West Point and returning to Liberty Park behind the Statue of Liberty was a fitting end to our Triangle trip.

The trip from North Carolina to New York Harbor and back had both positive and negative elements. The positive elements included the trip from Portsmouth, Va., up the Chesapeake Bay, traversing the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal with a stop at Chesapeake City which is on the Canal and has many 19th century homes as well as a great restaurant, and the trip down the Delaware Bay to Cape May, N.J. And then there was New Jersey. The Intracoastal in New Jersey is narrow, it is often very shallow and not easy to navigate. Our trip north through New Jersey was not too bad so we decided to take the Intracoastal south in deference to my tendency to get sick when out in the ocean if conditions are not ideal. Our first mistake was to enter the Manassaquan Inlet on Sunday. There were hundreds of boats of every kind going every direction at top speed which was both unwise and unsafe. We found a place in the Toms River to anchor out hoping that eventually things would quiet down which they did when it got dark. The next day we anchored out again behind an island where we could walk the dog. As soon as we stopped, the green headed flies which had been biting us all day got even worse. The following day in the ICW we still had the flies, found that the markers near the inlets could not be trusted, and because it was a new moon, the channel was even more shallow and more difficult to navigate. And the small power boats continued to get as close to us as possible as they passed us which of course created a lot of rock and roll. It took a week for the bug bites to heal and by then we were far from New Jersey.

On our return trip down the Chesapeake, we detoured to the Little Choptank River to visit Dave and Vicky Howell who own Nellie D. It is always good to visit other tug boat owners and “talk boat.” We had a chance to see the home they are building and shared a tasty dinner. This was the first trip with a dog on board and while he was very good and seemed to enjoy the trip, there was one problem. He had to be on land to have a walk. We bought the fake grass for him and he liked to lie on the sun on it and that was all. Because of his reluctance, it meant that we stayed in more marinas than we had intended and that caused our budget to grow. He did enjoy going through the locks. At each lock, he insisted on going on deck and supervising the whole operation. Once we were through the lock, he would go back up on the settee in the pilot house and nap until the next lock. Folks at the locks really liked his happy attitude and he got quite a bit of petting and a dog biscuit or two. And we kept hearing the phrase “cute dog.” In addition to the pleasure of returning to favorite places and seeing friends and family, we also enjoyed the birds. We saw egrets, ducks and geese beyond counting, herons, ospreys and many more. Most of this spring’s hatchlings were just getting out on the water and it was a pleasure to watch them. Did you know that Canada geese practice in line swimming with some lines almost 20 geese long? At least I think they must practice in order to be in such a straight line.

PUFFIN was a comfortable and reliable boat during our ten week trip. We enjoyed our trip and were glad to return home after an adventure we will long remember.

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Don, Ann and Roscoe

Chambly Canal

Erie Canal

Kingston, NY

Liberty Park

Lock on St. Lawrence



Statue of Liberty

Steamboat Charlie

A Newbie Sets a Course from NH to NY or Holy Smokes I’m Onna Tug

Alex Neil, TUGNACIOUS #7, Hopewell Junction, NY

Greetings from a newcomer to Lord Nelson Victory Tugging. It was suggested I might write about my semi-recent trip to bring TUGNACIOUS #7 around from New Hampshire (actually Maine - but more on that later) to New York. I’ve previously followed with great interest the grand excursions of other LNVTs to Alaska, the Keys and points beyond. Travelogues have always appealed to me and many more seasoned Captains have documented both technical and local details that have captivated my attention. So here I am, a neophyte with little experience and nothing to describe but the joy and challenges faced on a first voyage for Captain and tug. While not precisely a maiden voyage (TUGNACIOUS is over 25 after all) it was an inaugural voyage in more ways than one. So here’s her story.

In late 2009 the Admiral and I agreed that we were done sailing, the physical demands were becoming more than we were capable of, but we clearly weren’t done on the water. So the search for a new vessel began. We looked at the usual cast of characters, and while they all had worthy aspects, they were quickly forgotten when we saw our first LNVT. Let me cut to the chase. She was ours from first sight - beyond all rational explanation or evaluation. I could probably write pages extolling her virtues, but that would just be me trying to justify a done deal. We bought her, plain and simple.

Now the fun began - how to get her around from Eliot, Maine to the mid-Hudson valley. In November we trucked her to Great Bay Marine in Newington, NH with expectations of loading her on a lowboy for the trip to NY. None of that happened (even with the stack down on the lowboy we couldn’t get below 14’6” - I know - others have routinely done so). So, I hired a CG Captain and there she sat waiting for good weather (in the Atlantic, in November?!) to make the trip by sea. The weather never materialized and so hull #7 (formerly the JENNY B) sat 3 1/2 hours away from me by car all winter. I am not a patient man. I wanted her around ASAP. Frankly, all that was the best that could ever happen. Serendipitously, in contrast to the recreational marinas in my area of the Hudson, Great Bay is a year round working marina with excellent technical capabilities.

TUGNACIOUS wintered in the shop and had a gazillion $$$ worth of mechanical work done over the winter. Another stroke of fortune - Pam Bates (Monkey #52) suggested a CG Captain for our new voyage. David Stickney is everything a Captain should be, knowledgeable (well experienced in long haul from Canada to the Keys on everything from tall ships to ferries), and also quite familiar with LNVTs. It didn’t hurt that he was also a great companion on the 6+ day trip and had a million fascinating stories from 60+ years afloat. So in late April our voyage began.

Our first day afloat was remarkable; I couldn’t keep the grin off of my face. Can you remember your first cruise at the helm? Everything was new. Her diesel rumble was a lot quieter than I had expected (probably due to the aqua drive). She certainly handled differently from our deep keel sailboat and while the basics were the same, the tactics of maneuvering required skills that I had not yet developed. Fortunately David was a patient and wise tutor. She felt as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. We tied up at the end of our first day and I slept aboard quite exhausted but happy as a clam. I believe that once you have spent the evening aboard,
your boat is yours.

Most of the next day out of Gloucester was a repeat of the first. Exhilarating but now with a tad of unease entering the equation. Was I really capable of mastering the minutiae that it was becoming apparent I would need to become a competent captain of such a marvelous vessel? While I have rebuilt automobile engines and feel comfortable around boat mechanics, what the heck are all these valves and switches and pumps? How should the charger/inverter switches be set? Are the fuel tanks really interconnected for fill or only for feed? How can we launch the dinghy in under two minutes? Does this rash on my arm look like it’s spreading? I guess the reality of owning such a broadly diverse, complex and capable vessel suddenly became apparent and overwhelming. I had gone from becoming a quite creative and capable sailboat captain under varying conditions, to an ensign cast adrift and responsible for a bewildering array of systems and relationships. In other words, I was likely a completely normal first time power/LNVT owner.

Next up - the storm of the century: The next morning we aimed for the top of the Cape Cod Canal. Our track brought us far offshore of Boston and into 3-4’ beam seas for 6 hours. At one point I had images of the Poseidon Adventure playing over and over in my head. I am not susceptible to motion sickness, but that was no fun. Everything was tied down tight and we weathered the (in actuality) moderate seas. The bilges kicked on occasionally as the newly packed stuffing boxes settled and dripped about 7 drops / minute. We made it to the top of the canal and tied up for the night.

That evening we sat in the salon and as David was calmly freeing stubborn knots and whipping line ends, we talked about the day. Here is why David was such a great Captain for a new owner. As we talked it was evident that while we could have either run for shelter or altered course and avoided the beam seas, David has an enormous amount of professional sea time and was familiar with the LNVT. Contrary to any fears I may have had, at no time were we really in jeopardy. It was best to demonstrate how sea worthy our boats are, and while planning to avoid such conditions is always prudent, if I did foolishly find myself in such straits I would have recourse as I sought shelter. A good lesson.

The next morning it was blowing a gale at the top of the canal. Even the fishing fleet didn’t leave harbor that morning. We had brought along a dozen fuel filters for the trip. The dual Racors were reassuring, but not bulletproof. The tanks had been cleaned, but after the rock and roll of the previous day one of the filters looked opaque. I changed the filter but we found that she would only run for ten minutes and quit. It was fortunate we discovered that while tied up and not in the middle of the previous days fun. We bled lines etc. and still no luck. We connected with one of the crustiest fishing Captains in the harbor and he came aboard and stripped down the filters. Unknown to me, the Racors have a float valve between the bowl and the body that must be dissembled and cleared. That did the trick. That afternoon as the wind dropped we made it down the canal to tie up for another full day
of cruising.

Most of the remainder of the trip was uneventful. Buzzards Bay - Rhode Island Sound. My previous doubts had clarified into an understanding that while I have a lot to learn, I can do it. That’s the best outcome of the whole voyage - an excellent mentor doesn’t just cram their student with knowledge, he/she helps the student develop confidence and strategies for acquiring knowledge.

Newport is beautiful and full of interesting ships and after a night there we cruised down into the LI Sound and tied up In Bridgeport. BTW - in late April most marinas north of NY harbor are not yet in full operation. BTW - I didn’t know there were as many lobster pots in the world as seemed to be constantly on our course.

Skipping ahead, we cleared Hell Gate with no problems and cruised up the East River. Later that day we passed from the Spuyten Duyvil into the Hudson. We were home. A half day later brought us to Haverstraw, and the next morning we tied up in my home marina in Poughkeepsie, NY.

While I wouldn’t quite liken it to the search for the golden fleece, this voyage certainly felt that way to me. It was an adventure. Those 6 days afloat aboard our gracious, tough-as-nails old lady were unforgettable. But what’s next? I’ve often wondered what the fortunate few who have walked on the moon do for an encore. What could top that? How does your first time at the circus compare to the next? etc. etc. etc.

Thankfully, the honeymoon is not over, every trip is like the first. She still captivates me when I step aboard. We’ve shed blood sweat and tears fixing and gussying her up, and every bit of it makes her more ours. (Which is a good thing because she needs a LOT of cosmetic work on her bright work) We keep discovering new features and idiosyncrasies. (Don’t ask about the day the steering cable jumped a pulley) Last night with friends and family we spent the evening watching our local fireworks and eating good food and enjoying the gentle rock of her round hull.

Some day we’ll certainly make a great loop aboard TUGNACIOUS. I do believe the incentives just moved my retirement a bit closer.

Reprinted from Tuggers, Summer 2010, Vol. 44.

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Tugnacious #7

Heading north on the Hudson

Maine To Maryland by Key Stage (June 2010)

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I thought about this trip, almost daily, since first purchasing TITAN #31 three years ago. Yet, I continually evaded a firm commitment on leaving by making excuses. TITAN became an object of obsession rather than pleasure. There was always a reason to keep her at the dock…another project, another excuse not to leave her home port. Yes, many good things were accomplished and I did find pleasure in restoring and updating the old girl, but something was missing. TITAN was meant to be at sea. And so, after two long Maine summers of rain, fog, hurricanes, electronics meltdowns, and excuses, I decided to get going and head south. An offer from my friend Dave Howell to help coupled with a desire to attend the East Coast Rendezvous at Gibson Island, MD in person with TITAN, gave me the perfect reason to untie the dock lines and cruise south from Rockland, Maine.

Our start was a bit auspicious. I picked up Dave at the Portland airport in a torrential downpour. And it didn't let up as we finalized our preparations. With help from Vicki Howell on provisioning, and many days spent commissioning TITAN after she was splashed, there had been no time for an adequate “shakedown cruise”. But, as Dave said, the cruise is the shakedown. How prophetic this would prove to be.

We slept on the boat the night before leaving, and as part of my routine evening check, I attempted to start the generator. Yes, after storage in the warehouse all winter, the battery was dead. So, the battery was jumped and she started; but only for a few seconds until shutting down. Climbing down into the stern lazarette, we decided to check the oil and remove/replace the impeller…..none of which I had ever done on the Westerbeke genset. After all this, still it would not stay running until I decided to check the intake strainer and removed a small but meaningful clump of dried grass……now, instant success, with good water flow and normal operation. I retired with the smell of diesel and oil lingering on my clothes to await our morning departure.

Day One: Rockland to Boothbay-40 NM

We left Rockland at 5:00 AM on June 7, blessed by a calm harbor and a sunny sky. Past the Rockland Breakwater, we headed down Muscle Ridge with Boothbay Harbor as a potential stop. My greatest fear for the first several hours was engine malfunction….would she overheat? What about the fuel that had been in the tanks for two seasons? The thermostat that had plagued me last season? The voltage regulator which had caused such electronics issues previously? But, all was well for now.

From the start, our main issue was failure of the Raymarine C120 Multi Function Display (MFD) to obtain a GPS fix. Thus, we had no chart plotter, despite buying the most recent Navionics chip for all the East Coast charts, as well as a new depth finder and an AIS transponder. Was it the rain that had damaged our GPS antenna? Dave immediately began examining the system by removing the console and systematically checking out everything. Fortunately, I had as my backup my trusty Toshiba laptop loaded with Coastal Explorer and a small USB hockey puck external GPS. This system would prove to be a godsend as we headed south, using this as our now primary chart plotter/navigation system.

The engine continued to hum along flawlessly, but the passing cold front brought not only clear sky, but stiff winds and whitecaps as well. As we approached Muscongus Bay, Dave shouted to me down below to check out our mast. As I went above to the dinghy deck, I saw that the starboard, forward, shroud, mast support (there are four total) was no longer attached. As a result, the mast was swinging back and forth and the boom was crashing down repeatedly on the dinghy. Amidst rolling from the waves as well as the high winds, I finally was able to jury-rig and lash down the mast and boom. We decided to detour to Boothbay to a marina slip, where I had stayed previously, for shelter and necessary repairs. Ironically, Boothbay Harbor Marina was a bittersweet memory, in that it was the farthest point south that I had ever previously been in TITAN, and as it turned out, we tied up in the exact same slip where I had experienced my fuel and water contamination problems two years previously after installing new fuel tanks before that trip. We hunkered down for the afternoon and evening, fixing the mast and boom, with Dave even getting the MFD to receive a GPS signal. A short run of less than 40 miles our first day, but we both agreed that Boothbay was a much needed stop.

Day Two: Boothbay to Glouchester-94 NM

We departed Boothbay on another beautiful morning at 5:00 AM and rounded The Cuckolds and Southport Island. The MFD was largely functional, and the laptop extremely reliable. Traveling down Sheepscot Bay and Casco Bay, we passed Cape Elizabeth with Portland, Maine visible in the distance. We finally entered Gloucester Harbor late in the afternoon to stay for the night. An easy call to the Harbor-master secured a mooring for $25…cash only. We prepared dinner and retired early for another start in the morning.

Day Three: Gloucester to New Bedford/Fairhaven-78 NM

Up early on Day 3 to keep heading south. Weather was a bit cloudy and windy with a front forecast to blow in by nightfall. We cruised past Boston and Plymouth with the Cape Cod Canal our destination. We refueled at Sandwich Marina just inside the Canal's entrance. There was a very impressive cross current from an opposing tidal flow and crosswind while transiting the Canal. Then on through Buzzards Bay and into the very long entrance channel to New Bedford/Fairhaven. Just before entering the channel, I almost made a grave error by turning around a buoy off West Island, heading for a bridge which I mistook for New Bedford. Once in Fairhaven we met John Isaksen, skipper of NEPTUNE #35. TITAN docked in a slip right next to NEPTUNE. John’s hospitality was magnificent, and dinner at Margaret’s Restaurant in Fairhaven is not to be missed, especially for the scallops. Rain started in the late afternoon and the weather report for the next day was not optimistic either.

Day Four: One More day in Fairhaven

Up early, we heard reports of winds to 25 knots in Buzzards Bay. We decided to hunker down in Fairhaven and headed to John Isaksen’s shop, at the Fairhaven Shipyard, to have coffee with him and his friends…one of whom, Bob Gracia, is the former owner of BARBARA MAE #25. Boating talk which was geared towards NEPTUNE'S bilge keel installation and experience with Naiad Stabilizers on BARBARA MAE took up much of the morning. Then we were off to New Bedford Ship Supply, an incredible shop, for replacement hinges for TITAN'S screen doors. To my surprise they were in stock along with every other imaginable piece of hardware manufactured over the last century. After a late night visit with John and his family on NEPTUNE, we retired to plan the next day’s leg.

Day Five: Block Island Sound to Forked River New Jersey-232 NM

Again, as early risers, we headed out into Buzzard’s Bay. It was cloudy, rainy and windy which led me to think that perhaps the nasty weather forecast for the day before (which did not materialize) was to be experienced this day. But, as we passed Block Island and into Block Island Sound we saw a dramatic improvement in the weather. We continued on into and through Long Island Sound, and because we had made such good progress decided to head straight through to New York City. We checked the current charts for Hell Gate, finding our arrival would coincide with an ebbing current and decided to make this leg an “all-nighter”. So, we went straight through New York City at 2:00 AM, passing the UN Building on the East River with TITAN doing 11 knots in the current, and then past the Statue of Liberty at 3:30 AM. We gave some thought to anchoring in the highly recommended Statue of Liberty anchorage, but deferred because of darkness and lack of local knowledge. Then on through the Verrazano Narrows where I initially mistook a very large freighter for the bridge pilings. Nothing but the bridge showed on radar, but AIS clearly identified the freighter and its location. After a brief stop on an unoccupied mooring ball in Kill Hills Harbor to attend to some minor maintenance issues, we continued around Sandy Hook to the New Jersey coast. Initially we stayed offshore, which was fine except for the infamous beam seas causing a gentle but steady roll. We saw SALLY W. #42 en route north to Maine and chatted quite awhile with Alan and Sally Seymour on the VHF. Then we made radio contact with the third Victory Tug of the trip, PUFFIN #26. They were headed north to the Hudson. They were many miles offshore from us in the 60 foot depth contour, thus we never made visual contact. Out of curiosity, we decided to go “inside” to the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) at the Manasquan River Inlet. We had been warned of its shallow channel, especially in the Little Egg and Great Egg Harbor areas. Despite this, it seemed a safer haven than the open ocean, especially with the possibility of thunderstorms looming. So, through Manasquan Inlet and the Point Pleasant Canal (it is very narrow with lots of current), we headed to the Forked River and our anchorage for that evening. Here I learned the technique of “sniffing out an anchorage” by gently nosing in and carefully watching the depth sounder. After many such “sniffings” with depths going abruptly from 6 feet to 2 feet in a matter of yards, we selected a secluded cove and dropped the hook. We first attempted to anchor with the Forfjord, but it wouldn't set in the mud bottom. Dave and I decided to try the untested (to me anyway) 16 lb. Fortress with rope rode. This simple anchor worked like a charm, stuck quickly and effectively in the mud, and from that day forward became our “anchor of choice”.

Day 6: Forked River NJ to Marmora, NJ-37 NM

Early the next day we left our anchorage and headed to Little Egg Harbor. On the way out we got some local knowledge about the narrow Forked River channel from another boater. We followed the ICW towards Atlantic City, and the going was slow because of the numerous “no wake” buoys as well as the winding and deceptively shallow channels. We went aground because I got confused by the numerous channel markers; some marked the main channel while others marked side channels. We deployed the dinghy with depth sounder on a reconnaissance mission to discover deep water. Then, thanks to the kindness of a passing boater, we were extricated from the sandbar by a towline. After getting off the sandbar we sought the comfort of deeper water by exiting the ICW via Atlantic City's Absecon Inlet. We traded one set of problems for another, however, as the inlet was very rough. Five foot standing waves, caused by wind-against-current, made for a bumpy ride. On the way out we saw breaking waves over both jetties and nothing but whitecaps in the Atlantic. Once we cleared the inlet I went aft to inspect the davits. I was met with the sight of my dinghy’s pontoons literally digging into TITAN's stern wake. This damaged the port davit allowing the dinghy to ride even lower than normal. We cut the throttle, secured the dinghy and then proceeded on. I was able to elevate the dinghy with a block and tackle attached to the boom. This fix lasted for the remainder of the trip.

As the afternoon progressed, weather reports of thunderstorms appeared. Wishing not to be outside in such storms, coupled with evening approaching, we decided to once again head inside to the infamous New Jersey ICW at Great Egg Harbor Inlet. This is an approach which requires careful attention, with a shipwreck ominously marked on the chart and breakers on the beach both port and starboard. We followed the buoys as well as the local boaters in to safety, glad that we still had daylight and good visibility. When we got to the 9th Street drawbridge, in Ocean City, NJ, it was closed. The bridge opens every 30 minutes, and we patiently awaited the next opening. We watched the bridge open slightly, quiver a bit, then close as the bridge tender informed us that because of hot weather (it was only in the 80’s for goodness sake), the bridge was now non-operational for at least several hours, if not the entire evening. The bridge's clearance is 15 feet. So, the only option, short of going out into the Atlantic again, was to lower the mast. After measuring 13'6” from the top of the stack to the waterline, we lowered the mast and proceeded under the bridge….a sigh of relief as our measurements were proven to be accurate. TITAN was free….but again, only shortly. The shallow and poorly marked Great Egg portion of the ICW proved its reputation as TITAN went aground three more times, twice between the channel markers! After each grounding we were able to maneuver off, but after the third such incident, TITAN had a “different” sound and a vibration. Worried about possible prop or shaft issues, we stopped at a marina to spend the night when we spotted a Travel Lift on their docks to await the morning.

Day 7: Marmora, NJ to Sassafras River, MD- 108 NM

TITAN and her crew anxiously awaited the yard workers arrival on Monday. By 9:00 AM she was secure in the lift and hauled out. Careful inspection revealed barely a scratch on the keel, and no prop or shaft damage whatsoever. The only shocking surprise of the morning was the yard bill of over $700 for just one night in a simple slip with no power and the haul-out at $10/ft. one way only! Fortunately, a conversation with the business manager of the marina showed that the charges were in error, but still the haul-out cost almost $400. By noon, after a late start, we continued on towards our destination of Cape May at the end of the New Jersey ICW. It was slow going because of the circuitous route and the many channel markers and no wake zone buoys. We had planned to anchor near the Coast Guard station in Cape May Harbor at the entrance to the Cape May Canal. As it was early evening with still good daylight, we decided to cruise down the Canal so as to become more familiar with it for the next morning’s departure. Cruising guides say that the best window to transit Delaware Bay is on a flood tide with winds containing any easterly component. This literally pushes the boat northwest toward the Delaware River and our destination of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Heading down the Cape May Canal we heard weather reports calling for high winds and rain for the next 48 hours. But now we saw that the Delaware Bay was calm, with no chop, and flat seas. Plus, a flood tide was just starting with the wind from the south (OK, no easterly component, but …) so, we thought, “let’s go”! And we did just that.

I was very surprised to find from the charts and depth sounder that Delaware Bay is so shallow….and that is precisely why it can be so treacherous. The AIS was a godsend again, clearly pointing out the ships in the channel, especially important since this leg became our second “all-night” passage of this trip. We steamed on taking turns at watch toward the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal. We considered an anchorage at Reedy Island, but navigating at night through an unfamiliar narrow entrance in a long dike wall made us reconsider the plan. We elected to continue straight through the C&D all night. The Canal is well-marked, lit on both sides, and has range markers to keep you centered in the channel. It is remarkably hypnotic and reminds one of an airport runway approach. Arriving early in the morning to the Sassafras River in Chesapeake Bay, we dropped the Fortress anchor and rested in a beautiful and serene cove, sheltered from the northerly winds.

Day 8: Sassafras River MD to Magothy River, MD-37 NM

After a great breakfast, we headed south towards Gibson Island, our final destination and the site of the Rendezvous. Steaming toward the Baltimore ship channel we again experienced the utility of the AIS system. Clearly, the AIS data showed not only the name of the vessel and course, but also speed, closest point and time of approach, call sign, destination, length, beam and draft of the vessel as well. Now, having arrived several days early for the Rendezvous, we opted for a leisurely cruise up the Magothy River. Anchoring in late afternoon, we passed dozens of osprey nests on channel markers, the young chicks curiously eying us. The Fortress anchor again stuck the first time and we had a relaxing meal in the quiet cove surrounded by largely unoccupied houses and boats tied to their docks. After resting for the night, we cruised back to Gibson Island. There we secured a mooring buoy, in driving rain, to await the start of the Rendezvous two days hence. Dave’s wife Vicki drove us to their home in Church Creek for some R&R, a good shower and the use of a hard-working washing machine. We returned to TITAN 48 hours later for the Rendezvous start.

Day 9: Gibson Island to Church Creek, MD- 52 NM

TITAN'S final leg after a very successful attendance at the East Coast Rendezvous was to the Howell’s dock in Church Creek, which was to be her new temporary home port. Sunday morning, after the Rendezvous breakfast on the dock, was hot and a bit humid. The Chesapeake was flat calm, with no wind, and a very mild haze in otherwise clear skies. We entered the Little Choptank River and on to Fishing Creek and finally into Church Creek. All in all, a very satisfying and successful journey of over 650 NM.

Reflections and Expectations

While a seemingly small trip as cruising veterans might perceive, to me this was a very meaningful accomplishment of which I am proud. For far too long I preferred the simplicity of a slip, venturing out only on day trips or rare overnighters. As I reflect on this past history, I have to conclude that anxiety and yes, a bit of fear, held me to the security of the dock. In Maine, rain, fog, two hurricanes and endless electronics issues allowed me an excuse to stay put, but I have to admit that it took courage for me to “just do it” as the ad states. My perception that it was just too much of a bother to leave my slip caused me to miss out on a lot of experience that I now have.

To be sure, there were many negatives on this trip. There were the seemingly endless preparations of putting everything together mechanically. Provisioning worries, which required multiple shopping trips, were constantly on my mind. TITAN was stored indoors since last September and the yard could not splash her until literally 4 days before we were scheduled to depart. I worried about engine failure, electronics failure, and imagined disasters at sea. Yet, all this disappeared once we left the dock. We were gone, and as I was told “the cruise is the sea trial”!

What did I expect? Naively, I brought multiple DVDs to watch in the quiet of the evening, as I imagined being secluded in a remote peaceful anchorage. I brought star finder cards and software, as well as a sextant with which to take celestial sights and attempt navigation fixes by the stars and sun as a diversion. I had planned simple bright-work upkeep while underway and attaching a new weather station I brought along. I had scuba diving gear with wet suit and tanks in case we wrapped a crab or lobster pot around the prop. I brought my music and audio books to listen to as we leisurely cruised along during the day. And, I even considered making sushi and doing gourmet cooking, taking along spices and curry paste. Yes, my expectations were not based in reality, although in fairness, this trip was in actuality more of a delivery trip than a leisurely cruise.

What was the reality? There obviously was little time to watch DVDs or listen to much music. When not on watch, we slept. When in a slip or at anchor, it was early to bed and early to rise. The long days were mesmerizing, the steady hum of the engine almost hypnotizing. But, the stress of worrying about what I had forgotten was far outweighed by the very real stress and concentration of studying the chart, looking up the changing tides and currents, and most importantly, carefully watching every channel marker and the depth sounder literally every foot of the New Jersey ICW. Yet, also very real was feeling a change within…a change that reflected, almost daily, new lessons learned, new confidence, and a feeling of pride in what we were doing. I rose from my low point of three groundings in little more than 36 hours, like a phoenix from the ashes. I truly felt as if perhaps, just perhaps, I really could do this.

What were the “lessons learned” as I now reflect back on our journey? I list them below, not in any particular order of importance or priority.

1.Make your boat as seaworthy and secure as possible prior to departure.
2.Check and double check the chart and your orientation, slow down or stop if you are confused.
3.Check and re-check every single unfamiliar light, coordinating it with the chart, your eyes, AIS and radar. Also, give those freighters WIDE berth…they really move fast!
4.Go slow, watch the depth sounder like a hawk, and be prepared to cut the throttle and go into neutral.
5.In mud or sand bottoms use the Fortress for daily use. It's easy to set, easy to pick up, easy to clean, and most of all sets well. All this amounts to a far lower threshold towards avoidance of anchoring because much of the “hassle factor” is removed.
6.Listen and learn from locals….local knowledge trumps everything else.
7.I would avoid the New Jersey ICW. If you must use it, concentrate on each and every mark on the chart….do not relax even for a second. Still, you'll likely go aground so having a good towing policy provides peace of mind.
8.There are two kinds of boaters…those that have gone aground and those that will.
9.Pay attention to local knowledge and weather reports for planning the next leg.
10.Avoid the New Jersey ICW-stay outside! (Did I say that already?)
11.Most importantly—You can do it….just GO!

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Captain Key Stage, Titan #31

D minus 1, nothing but rain

Departure day is clear and bright

The light house near Rockland, ME

In Bootbay with the big boys

The old Manufactory in Glocester, MA

John Isaksen, Neptune #35, explains how to scallop

Taking on 80 gallons in the Cape Cod Canal

Anchoring in the NJ ICW

Just make it under OC NJ 9th Street Bridge

As the channel marker visual aid shows—keep green on the left

So why then are we aground with the green on the left. That's right this is the NJ ICW!

Started hearing a rattle after the last grounding. Decide to haul for a look see. There was no damage.

Using 'mini-T' to mark our position on the chart

Celebrating a successful 650 nm cruise
(l-r) Dave Howell, crew and Key Stage, Captain

In Greece with MAMMA MIA!, 49' #9

Madeline & Ken Bartig
Etna, CA

It's been a cold and dismal winter outside in the mountains of Northern California but a busy one inside preparing for our return to Greece. We fly out on March 31 and will be cruising the islands for 6 months like last summer. Things will definitelygo smoother since we are now old hands at this Med cruising scene and are familiar and comfortable running MAMMA MIA!. When we return to Partheni, Leros and the boat, we will spend several weeks? (you know how that goes) doing bottom paint, this and that and christening her MAMMA MIA! with her new signs and US documentation. It will be marvelous to fly Old Glory off her stern once again.

Once we splash, where we head to is up to the gods. I have an urge to travel towards the Ionians and then Italy but my heart is pulling me back to revisit new friends and special places. For us, the true value of cruising lies in the making of new and cherished friendships. Becoming a part of daily life on small islands and being embraced by the locals is the most precious souvenir that one can bring home - and these moments pack nicely in small corners of your heart.

My crew will be smaller this summer. I'm thinking of leaving Charlie and Rosie, our kitty cats, home on the ranch. Mallory, however, my African Grey parrot, is an indispensable personality on board and is much loved by the locals. She already has her ticket arrangements and passports ready to go.

Reprinted from Tuggers, Spring 2010, Vol. 43.

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SUMMER 2008 CRUISE, Capt. Bob White, San Diego, CA

This article is dedicated to all the great LNVT Tuggers we met along the way during our 2008 summer cruise in New England. Pam Bates (MONKEY), David Fogg & Thea Nelson (URSA [49]), Dave & Vicki Howell (NELLIE D), Wickham & Alice Skinner (AFTER ALL), Key & Jo Stage (TITAN) and Jay Sterling & Marty Raymond (CRUZ-IN). We enjoyed their hospitality and good company.

Sandy and I with our two Siamese cats, BC and ZZ began this cruise 3 June after winter storage in Mystic Seaport, CT at Seaport Marine on the recommendation of Sue and Ted Kelly (Bristol 42 MOOSE) that we met on the Trent-Severn Waterway in 2006. First destination was Block Island by way of the Mystic River and Watch Passage. First day was beautiful, but the next two days were wet and cold. Proceeded to Narragansett Bay via West Passage to Wickford Marina in North Kingston, RI where we experienced the hottest weather of the summer (96 degrees). Next day, visited Herreshoff Marine Museum and America’s Cup Hall of Fame in Bristol which included paintings from our marine artist friend Scott Kennedy. Docked at Newport YC (expensive) but

Renegade with Ursa (49#3) just behind

necessary to solve an alternator problem detected underway from Bristol. Two vintage 12 meter yachts were moored within 200 yards. Next stop was Padanaram at a New Bedford YC mooring before heading to Monument Beach and a mooring in preparation for the Cape Cod Canal. Entered the Canal at 0615 on end of flood tide traveling 9.5 knots on the way to Plymouth. Stayed at Brewer’s Marine where two granddaughters, Audrey 8 & Lydia 10 joined us. We visited all the Plymouth tourist sites before heading to a Provincetown mooring for the first day of summer. The village of Scituate, MA was probably one of our favorite destinations. Granddaughters particularly enjoyed the lighthouse story. Then on to Boston through the Narrows and foggy conditions. Constitution Marina with its swimming pool was our headquarters as we toured Boston. Also spent time at the Boston Harbor Islands, for example, George’s Island and Peddock’s Island, mooring where we encountered a violent thunderstorm (35k winds and sudden 3-4 ft seas) requiring several USCG rescues that we monitored

on the VHF. Departed for Marblehead via North Channel at 0800 after granddaughters departed Logan Airport to return home. Arrived at Corinthian YC mooring at 1235 to enjoy this scenic harbor. Left two days later for Gloucester. 4 July brought rain and cool weather but we enjoyed this historic atmosphere. On 6 July departed for Newburyport via Blynman Channel and Merrimack River arriving 3 hours later at Newburyport City Dock that was a model of hospitality and facilities. Two days later headed for Smuttynose in the Isle of Shoales and moored in Gosport Harbor in perfect weather. Gathered mussels on Smutty and visited with the docents. Next day departed for Portsmouth, NH and Prescott Park Municipal Dock that was by far our worst docking/mooring experience in New England. The docks were in disrepair and inadequate to deal with the river surge. Departed for Kennebunkport, ME and a vast improvement in facilities at Chick’s Marine where we saw President Bush I in his new fishing boat.

The four hour cruise to Portland was highlighted by a vessel fire near the Portland Buoy that we saw from about three miles. Decided to stay across the river from town at South Port Marina due to less surge and noise. After four days in Portland ventured into the many surrounding islands of Casco Bay. First day at Chebeaque Inn guest mooring after observing the crowded anchoring conditions at Jewell Island. Moved on to Bailey’s Island at Cook’s Lobster Dock before the Basin anchorage, and then Cundy’s Harbor and Holbrook’s Wharf, another lobster pound. Cruising to Booth Bay Harbor (Tug Boat Marina) by way of Townsend Gut was an fascinating experience due to the Southport Island bridge and narrow channels. Long time friend and owner of Nordhaven 50 ANDIAMO, Tony Duchi greeted us while cruising with friends on a sister ship. After Booth Bay picked up a mooring in Christmas Cove for a couple of days before entering Tenants’ Harbor after passing Eastern Egg Rock (puffins). Next destination was Rockland and the Journey’s End Marina where we finalized preparations to have RENEGADE trucked to San Diego.

On to exploring the waterways of Maine: Entered Camden Town Dock shortly after a thunderstorm and obtained a slip where we could witness the stunning departure of the many schooners the next day. Several cruisers in Booth Bay suggested we visit Belfast and we found their public float a delight. Now on to Eggemogin Reach and Buck’s Harbor Marine that reminded us of British Columbia facilities. Next took Casco Passage to Bass Harbor (and fog) at Upharbor Dockage for a pleasant stay before heading to Somes Sound, the longest fjord in NE. Moored at Abel’s Yard which turned out to be our most pleasant location in Maine. The restaurant and lobster pound were superb. We returned to busy boating and Great Harbor Marina in Southwest Harbor before another favorite moorage at Lunt Harbor on Long Island. A small lobstering village with a sheltered bay. Anchored in Winter Harbor next enjoying the wildlife and lobster purchased from a local for $5.00 each. Our summer cruise concluded as we enter North Haven before arriving back at Rockland and Journey’s End Marina 1 Sept (logged 644.8nm at 1.21 g/hr). This marked the end of our 10,000 mile journey since we purchased RENEGADE in 2000. The next several days decommissioned RENEGADE with the help of Key Stage for return to San Diego. Those that have trucked your vessels realize the height challenges requiring removable of all equipment from the pilot house top, stack and spars.

Reprinted from Tuggers, Spring 2009, Vol. 39.

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Nellie's New Year's Cruise

Dave & Vicki Howell, Church Creek, MD

On 13 December Nellie D., loaded with Christmas gifts, decorations and a month's provisions, pushed away from the dock. Her destination was Washington, DC, some 140 nm away. It was a leisurely departure as we planned to stay out until after the new year. The Potomac is awash in history but docking at Mt. Vernon and touring the Washington's plantation stands out. Alexandria, Georgetown, and the new National Harbor look completely different when approached by water. Our DC anchorage was only a mile from the White House and we spent two wonderful weeks walking the National Mall and visiting many museums and galleries. We got to visit with some Tuggers too: joining us for a

night aboard were John and Jeannie Niccolls, KNOCK OFF #66 and past owners Garry and Carol Dominsse, YELLOW ROSE #47. Additionally, we had two fun days with Bob Allnut, VICTORY #2, while moored at his dock—which, by the way, is just up the Potomac and only 12 nm off the ICW. Winter weather created some challenges but the many advantages of off-season cruising far outweighed the discomforts. The ice breaker NELLIE D. made it safely home on 4 January 2009, 56 engine hours and 325 nm later.

Reprinted from Tuggers, Winter 2009, Vol. 38.

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Clockwise from left: Nellie D. #63, Washington Monument, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial, Alexandria

Transit on the Sea—A Golfer’s Daily Log

By Mel Ludovici on board WHISTLE #42
Heather & Walter Laird, Richmond, VA

Day One
”Annapolis or Bust” is what it says on my tee shirt. My regular foursome has just teed off back in Roanoke, VA and here I am at age 66, sitting in my “Annapolis or Bust” tee shirt. I am part of a two person “volunteer” crew to help my son-in-law, Walter, reposition WHISTLE from Yorktown, VA to Annapolis, Md. WHISTLE is a 25-year-old Lord Nelson Victory Tug now in tip-top condition. The other “volunteer” is my 32 year old son-in-law and soon to be father, Darin Conti. That makes me a soon to be grandfather. The plan today is to go to Deltaville but the weather forecast is doubtful. “Small craft warnings” the captain says. Books today, beer today but no boat today. I have been on a boat, once, and Darin has seen one in a movie. Walt has taken us through seamanship101 so we’re ready, but not for small craft warnings. Later… The captain took WHISTLE out for a quick spin, found the small craft warnings to be unfounded, and we headed North. Birkenstocks, power cables and docking lines were left behind. Riding with both the wind and most of our stuff on the dock, WHISTLE is clipping along at 9 ½ knots. The captain has taken his mulligan and instructed ground support (my daughter Heather) to police up our belongings and meet us in Deltaville. We’re back on schedule. Annapolis or bust!

Day Two:
No command decisions needed. Clear skies, calm seas, we’re off to Tangier Island. The captain has assigned me to lunch and lines. Darin has been assigned to navigation. I am thinking the captain finds Darin to be more cerebral than me. The captain sailed off with all our stuff on the dock in Yorktown. I think I’ll be fine. Tangier Island, like the crab population that serves it, is dying. It’s sad because the island has a wonderful heritage, great charm and huge potential. Settled by the Crocketts and the Parks, the population has dwindled from 1,000 to 550, 549 of whom are either a Crockett or a Parks. We are greeted by unassuming, scooter riding, dock-master, marina owner, Milton Parks: salt of the earth and owner of six cats. He won’t accept a tip and is overflowing with free advice. Milton offers a tour of the island. Now understand, you can hit a five iron from the end of the island to the other, and there are folks giving tours in golf carts. We opt to heel toe it on our own. A point of real interest is the museum. Every able-bodied man on the island volunteered for service during WWII. A homemade plaque commemorates those lost at sea plying their trade as crabbers. A recording plays Pentecostal hymns. I know all the words. 1600 Hours, Tangier Island, VA. The only open restaurant on the island closes at 1700 hours. Invoking the often used rule that “It’s five o’clock somewhere,” Jack Daniels and I spend about 30 minutes getting reacquainted. We head off to Hilda Crockett’s Chesapeake House arriving just shy of the five o’clock deadline. Our table is waiting, filled with food. Quick introductions are made with Hans, a cancer doctor from Washington and David, his lawyer son-in-law. They too are sailing north. There’s little time for small talk as crab cakes, clam fritters, sweet tea and pound cake are coming from every angle. In at 5:00 pm, out at 5:30 pm-filled to the brim! Pay Hilda on the way out. We waddle back to Parks Marina. Once again we are greeted by Milton who says the problem with the island is that young people won’t work. Employers are available, but employees are not. The few young people we saw seemed to validate Milton’s theory. One more social event before calling it a day - meet the neighbors dockmates Kurt and Sue. Kurt and Sue are from Fort Myers, FL-sort of. They explain that they have lived on their sea going vessel for 11 years: sailing north in the summer and south in the winter. I am not sure that ancient mariner routine would suit me, but it seemed to make Kurt and Sue happy. We said our goodbyes, watched a beautiful sunset and headed off to bed.

Day Three:
No fishing from the fantail today as we plow northbound through four to five foot southbound waves. The captain’s confident, the galley is closed and navigation hasn’t a clue. WHISTLE’s doing a great job. Two hours of serious sailing, and we get into deeper, calmer water. It is smooth to Solomon’s Island and Spring Cove Marina. A tale of two cities from day two to day three. Day two, check out the oily engine parts contaminating the water at Parks Marina. Day three, admire a Claude Monet print as I face the urinal at Spring Cove Marina. Day two, a 30 minute injection of Hilda Crockett’s family-style seafood. Day three, roast duck and white wine with the country club crowd. Only in America! Three down, two to go. Having a great time.

Day Four:
We sail with tide at 0900. Calm seas, blue skies. It’s great to be alive. A revelation! I have double bogeyed the term “bilge”. I assumed that the terms bilge and head were one in the same. The captain had made it clear that if needed, we could use the head at sea but never in port. Before pushing off this morning, the captain appears with a five gallon bucket and announces his intention to “pump out the bilge”. “And do what with it I ask?” “Dump it overboard if it’s clean” says the captain. “Oohhhh! That can’t be a good idea”. Knowing my earlier contribution to what I thought was the bilge, I question the captain’s wisdom. Along with his explanation of the two-and how they worked-comes a “you idiot” smirk from navigation. Who knew?! Bilge pumped, lines clear, galley secured-off we sail to Knapps Narrows. Wait! Just when you think you’re out of command decisions, up jumps another one. The captain has decided to do a drive by Knapps Narrows and continue on to Annapolis. Conditions are perfect and Annapolis is well within reach. We pause briefly at Thomas Point for a photo op, and then press on to WHISTLE’s new homeport, Annapolis, the sailing capital of the world. The first thing I see is a striking blonde perched on the bow of a slow moving sailboat. I am going to love this place!

The 19th Hole:
Throughout my life, I have had the good fortune to enjoy good things and good people but none better than the past four days. I have totally enjoyed the time I spent with Walter and Darin and even more the opportunity to meet the “boat people”. From those with a 40 ft. Schooner named “Ultimate Pleasure” to those with a 20 ft. crab boat named “Dog Bite”, boat people are a special breed. Perhaps it’s that they share common pleasures as well as common dangers. Perhaps it’s the universal need to return to our source. Whatever the reason, they are a good bunch. A cut above the rest. As a nonboater, I am appreciative that they are part of the human mix. We are all better off because of it.

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(L-R) Darin Conti, Walter Laird, and Mel Ludovici

Captain Walter Laird

A fitting sunset


Home After the Great Loop…

Fall 2008, Joe and Arvilla Glinski aboard OUR VILLA, #56

We arrived at our marina in Trempealeau, WI on the Upper Mississippi River on OUR VILLA on September 5, 2008 after 11 months of cruising America's Great Loop. We cruised 6,801 miles, locked through 182 locks, used 1,389 gallons of diesel and logged 967 engine hours. We burned 1.44 gallons per hour, which averaged to 4.9 miles per gallon, with nothing subtracted for generator consumption. We had 3 mechanical issues on this trip. 1. Our muffler collapsed on the inside, causing the engine to overheat. To remedy the problem, we had the muffler cut in two and rebuilt and also replaced the sea water pump. 2. Our alternator failed due to grease on the slip rings. 3. The motor mount bracket broke when a bolt broke that attaches it to the marine gear, which we had welded. We had problems with our motor mounts five years ago when a bolt broke. Also, we severely damaged a 40 pound Danforth style anchor and replaced it with a 65 pound Forfjord anchor. We crossed our wake on June 16, 2008 in Burlington, VT where we purchased OUR VILLA in July, 2003. The most memorable parts of the trip were the many wonderful people we met and the beautiful scenery in the USA and Canada.

Reprinted from Tuggers, Fall 2008, Vol. 37.

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Joe and Arvilla showing off their gold AGCLA burgee


Summer 2007, Bob & Sandy White, San Diego, CA

Editor: Bob and Sandy have shared their cruising stories in Tuggers since leaving San Diego in 2003: Winter 2005, Winter 2006, Summer 2006, Fall 2006

As we (Sandy, our two Siamese cats, and I) planned and then began our 5th full summer on RENEGADE #72 last June, we fully realized how fortunate that we are able to experience this wonderful cruising lifestyle.

We departed, Penetang, ON, Georgian Bay, site of two winters of storage and reliable marine service, on 10 June heading for the Trent-Severn Waterway, which consists of 45 locks along its 230 miles. From Port Severn proceeded to Picton, one of our favorite ports of call in 2005, when we were heading in the opposite direction. On to Kingston, ON, gateway to the Rideau Canal and its colonial villages, (125 miles with 45 locks) celebrating it’s 175 anniversary. It was constructed to Ottawa by the British following the War of 1812 as an alternative to the St. Lawrence River to avoid American hostility.

Following the eight ladder-locks of Ottawa, we entered the Ottawa River to cruise to Chateau Montebello, an old log constructed resort with a modern marina. Another canal and two commercial vessel locks took us to Montreal. We docked across the St. Lawrence River at Lonqueil, a French-Canadian town with wonderful food and atmosphere. Here we rented a car and drove to Quebec City, a traditional European walled city. The St. Lawrence Seaway took us upstream at 10+ mi/hr to Sorel where a sharp starboard turn put us in the Richelieu River to the Chamblee Canal, to Rouses Point, and back in the US. The anchorages in Lake Champlain were tranquil and remote. Burlington Community Boathouse provided a break in the splendor of the Lake and an opportunity for reprovisioning before heading across the Lake to Westport, NY. One of our favorite marinas was next, Chipman Point, with its office and facilities in an 1802 building.

After Lock 12 on the Champlain Canal, we visited Whitehall and Fort Edwards town docks to savor the turn of the century buildings and hospitality. Tugboat Alley at Waterford proved to be remarkable as we docked amongst old, small working tugs and English canal boats. Troy (Federal) Lock was a short distance away prior to Albany YC on the Hudson River. The Catskill YC at the end of the creek of the same name proved to be an unexpected pleasure. We proceeded to Kingston, NY docking at the town dock before arriving at Haverstraw Marina on the way to New York City and Lincoln Harbor on the New Jersey side of the Hudson. We regrouped here and bicycled to Hoboken and immediate area. Left Hudson to enter East River with favorable tide to transverse “Hell’s Gate” without incident other than ferry traffic and passing under the numerous bridges of NYC that were remarkable.

Once in Long Island Sound we cruised to a number of mainland marinas and several river destinations. Originally we planned to cruise the ports of LI Sound, but family illness cut our trip short and we arrived at Mystic, CT (Seaport Marine) 19 August for winter storage. Mystic is a small, scenic community that includes the Mystic Marine Museum facility. Total cruise of 1214 mi over 187 hr @ 6.48 mi/hr consuming 271 g of fuel (1.45 g/hr).

Reprinted from Tuggers, Winter 2008, Vol. 34.

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Summer 2007, Dave and Bicki Howell, Church Creek, MD

It took us 84 days, 400 engine hours and 2400 nm under the keel from Poulsbo, Washington, but greetings from Juneau, Alaska. I’m surprised by how vertical the Inside Passage is. The mountains don’t slowly rise, they explode from the water. In places the 100 fathom line can be

Dave and Bicki with a good haul

found just off the rocks. This is in stark contrast to the U.S. east coast where the 100 fathom line averages 100 miles off-shore. Waterfalls, from little trickles to Niagara-like affairs, are everywhere. It would be hard to overstate the abundance of the wildlife here. From our anchorage at the end of Lisianski inlet, on Chichagof Island, we saw 12 grizzlies at once. The walk ashore was cancelled. We saw the 5’ sea otter, which was almost wiped out by being the object of Alaska’s original ‘gold rush’, in huge numbers on the west side of Prince of Wales Island.

One of the advantages of the Inside Passage is the sheer number of anchorages. There’s lots of literature to help find them too. We particularly like the 2007 Douglas guide Exploring Southeast Alaska. At first I was thrilled with a calm anchorage and good holding. Now I want that, plus mountain vistas, a huge waterfall, good crabbing, and a hot spring to soak in. It’s asking a lot, I know, but can be found at Warm Springs Bay, Baranof Island. The anchorages have been deep, averaging about 60’ with 100’ being the deepest. LNVTs were made to cruise these waters. The high bow easily cuts through the sometimes high, closely spaced waves found in the straits and channels. Anchoring a lot, we appreciate the functional layout of the windlass and self stowing anchor. Also the chain locker easily holds our 360 feet of chain. The 150 gallon potable water capacity lasts 2 weeks when taking showers every other day and using saltwater to pre-wash dishes.

The people we meet are always the highlight of a cruise. Joe and Helen Mehrkens live in Juneau and are PERSEVERANCE’s (#32) original owners. They asked Lauren Hart to put their galley to starboard, he did and then made it an option on subsequent LNVTs. While docking recently at Taku Harbor PERSEVERANCE was in reverse when the transmission cable failed. There was no damage because they hit a boat just as sturdy as theirs—ours. Joe said the lesson learned was: shut down the engine immediately. I’m surprised how much we enjoy and depend on electronic charting. Our laptop, which sits on the helm and runs Nobeltec navigation software, displays the latest digital versions of NOAA’s nautical charts (available free at: So equipped, we’ve taken on routes and anchorages which are off the beaten path or listed in the guide books as “local knowledge required”. It’s satisfying going safely where others fear to tread.

Reprinted from Tuggers, Summer 2007, Vol. 34.

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