Windlass failure…

Even though I “baby” it, a 22 year old tired windlass still has a limited lifespan. It is a high current, high torque, device that gets salt spray on it before any other part of the boat does. Corrosion vs. strength is the constant battle.

Three bolts sheared off where the two gypsy halves meet.
These two faces mount together to pull CHAIN or ROPE through the windlass.

Windlasses are expensive, and they are a big project to repair or replace. SO, “baby” the windlass. Use a “snubber” to take the strain off the windlass if there is any wind or current. Also, never use the windlass to pull the boat forward against the wind when weighing anchor. Use your engine’s power to keep the strain off this important piece of equipment on the bow of your boat!

Awake at Cape May…

Several friends reached out to make sure we were OK returning to C.M. It is great to have friends that are looking out for us! TNX

We had a “projects” day, as there are always a lot of projects that need to be done. Cleaning the windlass’s electrical connections from corrosion was accomplished, some cleaning of the decks, etc. study of the weather windows and currents for our next hop took up our day recovering from yesterdays melee with Mother Nature.

We are now looking for an early start on Tuesday, and I think I have the Admiral convinced that one trip to Delaware City makes the most sense for our next passage. Fingers crossed.

Hearing all the USCG Recruits at their “bootcamp” training here in Cape May, 150 yards from our boat, has been very entertaining. Our nephew, Adam Sirois of Edgecomb Maine is likely to be down here this winter at some point adding to the noise in this harbor.

FMI: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jBtJet6kmZ0

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Back in Cape May Harbor

I made the Go-No Go decision last night and this morning to go for the 42nm transit to the Cohansey River / Greenwich NJ on the east side of Delaware Bay, 2/3rds of the way up to Delaware City. Current favored a very early start. Wind and sea state favored a start later in the morning. “But 2 foot seas on the nose should be OK.” Knowing that conditions would be improving, I said “Go”.

Our passage today.

We pressed on for two hours with the weather hitting on our port bow. Then when the forecast changed, AND the ETA changed from noon to 1:00pm, We chose to turn around and take the weather dead astern and make Cape May canal in 90 minutes instead. THAT ride was comfortable, and we knew a large (and FREE!) anchorage awaited us there. It sure was better than taking a beating for FOUR more hours!

Once anchored, we started picking up everything in the salon that relocated itself to the floor underway. What a mess! But there was no damage.

I then fixed the galley sink which was only giving us hot water for some reason. After changing out the guts of the Mowen faucet with a spare “cartridge kit”, which did not fix the problem, I stared looking for simpler solutions. A sharp right angle crimped supply hose was the culprit. Lesson learned: check the simple stuff first!

It was an exhausting day that began at 5:30am so we could leave at first light. Somehow Shelly had the energy to cook up some fresh Steelhead Trout from Aldis with smashed podadahs. This day will be “over” as soon as I put all my tools away and we share a glass of wine!

Lewes DE – recommended port

It isn’t exactly on the Great Loop route, but it is only a 15 mile side trip, which we recommend. There is a “harbor of refuge” anchorage and a canal with a 200ft Lewes City Dock inside. The village offers tons of restaurants and other businesses within walking distance. Major shopping is less than 3 miles away or $13 Uber ride each way. This is a very historical and architecturally quaint town. The people are very friendly. Dockmaster John of the City Dock is very helpful. M.302-245-9360. $3/ft.

The first incorporated town in the first state to ratify the US Constitution, December 7, 1787.
Lewes’ Harbor of Refuge inside the growing Cape Henlopen “hook”. This anchorage in combination with the City Dock in the canal, gives cruisers options to wait for your weather window and timing your next move north or south, or up Delaware Bay, which is our move after Fiona’s wake settles down. .
Click to see video above. White caps this morning in this well protected canal, Lewes City Dock. We’ve got the OK to stay here one more night. Hopefully things settle down tomorrow.

Granville and his wife Anne on Lewes City Dock with Shellerina in the background this afternoon.

Awake on the hook – Cape May

Click to see 2 minute video above.
Arrived in Lewes DE.

We had a fantastic dinner with an old friend, Granville Reed, who used to be Ray’s room-mate in the 1980’s. We’ve stayed in touch over the decades. But it has been years since we’ve seen each other. The stories at dinner were great for us, and very entertaining for Shelly too! Irish Eyes had great food and a live band for us on a Wednesday night! Granville even found a parking spot! It’s all good!

Lewes is a really nice town, and a great protected harbor. We are tied up at the City Docks while we wait for Hurricane Fiona’s influence (6 foot seas) to pass by here. It was flat dead calm today for our passage across Delaware Bay… but it’s gonna get rough out there soon for a couple days.

Granville, Shelly, and Ray at Irish Eyes on the waterfront in Lewes DE.

Late start from Atlantic City to Cape May – 2:45pm departure.

Today’s late start meant dropping the hook after dark in Cape May.

Offshore fishing fleet anchored off Wildwood NJ
How they appear on the chart plotter with AIS.
This fishing vessel’s name is Little River
How it appeared to us.

Wildwood NJ

The helm as we approach the inlet at Cape May.

Fortunately, this is an easy harbor to navigate at night.
Night vision cameras help! showing up here on the iPad.

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Lithium Installation Day

Sunday at Atlantic City NJ, dockside, shore power (= A/C on a very hot day!)… what a perfect day to install the new Lithium LiFePO4 batteries in the engine room!

Two Battleborn GC3 (270AH) batteries fit where an 8D wet cell sat on the port side engine room. AWG 2/0 cables marry the two to form a new bank. The same size cables (from opposite ends of the bank) go to the charger/inverter thru a 250A Class T fuse (+) and a Smart Shunt (-).
A piece of 3/4” plywood mounted atop the new bank enables me to make all the connections to the Inverter/Charger and the two Solar Controllers which bring 600 watts to this new house bank on a good sunny day.
Positive comes off the lower battery, negative off the top. This ensures both batteries are leveraged and cycled equally.

The 3 year old 8D size flooded lead-acid battery is moved over and has a remote battery switch for it to help, when needed, the starboard bank of 3 Group 31 batteries which start the main engine, operate the bow thruster and windlass. Those types of very heavy loads are best kept separate from Lithium batteries, generally speaking.

These Lithiums have a built-in BMS (battery management system) to ensure safe and long lasting operation. They should last 10-15 years, and come with a 10-year warranty. They are the perfect match for our new solar panels, for when we are disconnected from shore power for days.

Summary: 600 Watts of photo-voltaic panels feed 540 AH of storage to support daily living loads as a “House” bank. Conventional wet cells support the boat’s heavy loads, and are charged by conventional means (alternator, shore power charger, etc.).

Future: A DC-DC charger will be considered if we find one is needed. But for now, these are totally separate systems. The generator has its own starting battery and can charge either or both banks.

The original wiring of this boat has the bridge’s electronics on the engine’s starting bank. We have begun to move all those NAV electronics and the IT/Internet network to its own battery as those things are all upstairs on the fly bridge.

Deliveries!!!

While cruising around the eastern United States, on of the biggest challenges is, “Where do you take delivery of “stuff” you need from Amazon or many different vendors. Many times marinas, if you know when you are going to be there will accept packages for transient vessels.

But what if you don’t know exactly WHEN you will be there, or which marina you’ll be staying at? This happens a lot.

Occasionally we lean on a friend to help us out. We have “stuff” shipped to their home and then the bring it to us. That is exactly what we needed for a bunch of supplies to finish our solar project. Rich Holst, a long-time friend and customer agreed to help us out. And tonight we had Rich and his kids aboard for a tour, then we went out to dinner together here in Brielle NJ.

Rich and Alex get briefed on the navigation systems aboard Shellerina.
Sunset on the dock with Rich and daughter Alex and son Rich, and Shellerina in the background.
The Holst family on the fly bridge!
Rich and Alex at dinner with us!
Shelly and I waited a week in Lawrence NY for calm seas to make this open water passage across the Ambrose Shipping Channel into NYC. We saw lots of ship traffic today.

We left around sunrise to be able to dock near slack tide in the challenging port of Manasquan River NJ, very close to where Rich and his family live. Thanks you guys!!!

Our day begun underway at sunrise.
Above and below, dredging in the vicinity of Ambrose Channel.

The ship on the right looks like the one that got stuck in the Suez Canal months ago.

A great cruising day!

How’s this dock landing with 2K of opposing current?!

(Click to see video.)

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We decided upon Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries for our new “house” bank!

My long time friend, Rich Holst of Bohler Engineering, took delivery of a pallet at his home that included a couple of Lithium batteries and accessories yesterday. I rented a car to meet him there. We then enjoyed dinner out together with his son Rich!

I made it back to Lawerence [municipal] Yacht Club about 10pm. It is a secure marina facility in a beautiful residential area here in the metro NYC area. We’ve been anchored in this outstanding basin for days waiting for our weather window to Manasquan Inlet NJ. Dockmaster David Sarnelli told us we could bring the boat in to transfer the batteries from the rental cat to the boat… but that will have to wait for morning.

The marina was gated up tight; I could not get in! So I called Shelly to let here know I may be sleeping in the rental car for the night. I was tired enough as the Friday afternoon and night driving between NYC and NJ was fierce (NOT something I am accustomed to anymore, living on a boat!) We whispered our sweet nothings to each other and we both fell asleep a few hundred yards from each other. She was anchored out in the basin, I was parked outside the marina gate.

About an hour later, I was awakened by a vehicle pulling up to the marina gate, and one of the occupants agreed to let me in the gate!

So, I grabbed the excellent leftovers from my dinner with Rich and his son and rowed out to Shellerina in our dinghy. The heavier batteries would wait till morning when we’d bring the boat in.

Below, here they are, aboard the boat in the salon, physically configured as they will be down in the engine room. Thanks to our friend “Ron” whom we met in May 2021 here on our very first night of America’s Great Loop! We also took on ice and topped off the fresh water tank, and Instacart brought us some provisions! Tonight, we are back out on the hook in this great anchorage.

Negative terminals still have their covers on. Positive ones are removed to make precise cable measurements. These two 270 AH batteries will be wired in parallel to double that capacity at +/- 13 volts. A 250A Class T fuse will reside between this bank and the 2000w inverter charger, as will a smart shunt which we have on all our banks.
The exact cable length is 5-1/2 inches (hole to hole CL) to conjoin these batteries into a single bank. 2/0 AWG cables (custom made by BatterycablesUSA.com have been ordered.
These batteries weigh 80 pounds each, about half of the weight of a crudely comparable 8D which they will replace.

We can’t wait to let the sun start charging these up for daily living aboard Shellerina!

All our “heavy” loads, such as the bow thruster, the starter for the main engine, and the windlass, will rely upon traditional lead-acid flooded batteries which are better suited for those uses. Bridge electronics, Internet routers, etc. have their own AGM battery independent from the rest of the boat; same with the generator’s independent starer battery.

These right-angle brackets are nice! The batteries can be mounted in any configuration.

The “Go – No Go” decision…

For cruisers, every open ocean passage requires a “Go – No Go” analysis. Our next hop is only 33 nautical miles from East Rockaway Inlet NY to Manasquan Inlet NJ.

It isn’t going to be a long passage… maybe 4 to 5 hours, but that can be a grueling amount of time if the sea state is not compatible with the boat and the crew.

Predict Wind is one of the tools we use to analyze the conditions before any open water passage.

Our normal criteria is < 15 mph winds, and < 2.5 foot seas if on the bow or stern, even less if on the beam… for the whole geographical length of the passage. The “period” timing / distance between the waves should be 5 seconds or more meaning they are swells, not actual waves. Looking at the predictions (above) for tomorrow, the wind is “OK” but the 4 foot seas coming out of the East means we’d be taking them broadside for the whole passage. Not very comfortable. The 7 second period is GOOD, but not for 4-footers broadside all day.

Some cruisers say, “For New Jersey, if the word ‘East’ is anywhere in the forecast, it’s a NO GO!”

Here is another APP’s forecast for tomorrow. “Windy” is the name of this one. The seas are predicted to be 4.8 ft with a 5.7 second period. They also show the winds to be 20-15 mph during our cruising time. A bit higher than the other APP.

So, tomorrow is a No Go.

Note that a “normal” weather forecast for the area looks pretty benign. (Below).

But we need to incorporate other forecasts and modeling tools when heading out for open ocean passages.

Each boat and each boat’s crew should establish its own Go-No Go Criteria, it’ll vary by boat and crew’s comfort level. Each boat should then use multiple information tools to analyze the conditions they are likely to find once they are out there in open ocean.

NOAA also has weather buoys out there who can tell us what the wind and wave conditions are.

This area is where we want to go next.
This buoy chart shows 6 foot seas pretty consistently all day today just a bit offshore from our next desired passage to NJ.

So there is “real data” available to substantiate and compare to the forecasts.

Using this information is how one stacks the odds in one’s favor when cruising on open water… to keep safe and to keep pleasure boating able to live up to it’s name!

So, WHY is it that the wave heights are so high when the wind speeds are so mild / low?

Answer: Hurricane Earl 2022

Even though he is hundreds of miles away, this hurricane is causing rip current warnings all across the northeast beaches for an otherwise great beach day tomorrow.

This hurricane has been forcing us to stay in-port for days, beautiful cruising days for every metric but wave height (and direction!) for our next passage across to NJ.

Fortunately, we are spending these days (for free) in a wonderful, protected cove on-the-hook! Bannister Cove Boat Basin, Lawrence NY. Bonus: it is very close to Far Rockaway Inlet (aka East Rockaway Inlet). Perfect for when when we are ready to say Go4it!

Never discount the “chit chat” on the dock or VHF. Intel from others who were actually “out there” is very valuable! I dinghy’d in today to take care of some shoreside business items (more to follow), and the firsthand chatter on the dock about sea conditions matched up perfectly with the NOAA weather buoys. The weather has been beautiful… except for Six foot seas.

We are staying put, and like the Dixie Chick’s song goes, “Earl has to die!” LOL

https://youtube.com/watch?v=Gw7gNf_9njs

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Bannister Bay – Lawrence NY

We are anchored here, enjoying some FREE nights on the hook in a beautifully protected harbor.

We are watching and waiting for a good weather window to exit the nearby Far Rockaway Inlet to cut across the Ambrose shipping channel to NYC to make Manasquan River Inlet in Brielle NJ. Thursday or Friday might work.

The sea birds have been feasting on schools of 6-8” baitfish that begin jumping like crazy all around us. Obviously, something is chasing them from below… Bluefish or Striped Bass. So, Ray has a good casting rod ready to go. Nothing yet.

If we start catching fish, we’ll be able to stay here indefinitely… going to the dock for fresh water once a week or so!

Its been raining a lot today, so the solar collectors aren’t earning their keep yet.

Nearby JFK airport was making for a lot of noisy air traffic overhead yesterday. But as the Anchor Alarm APP shows, the winds have shifted making them depend on a different set of runways today.

The Internet here has been strong from both of our providers, the fridge is packed. We are good for several days if need be.

T-Mobile is finally earning its keep aboard this boat, after making Verizon Wireless do double duty for the past few weeks.

3 Lovely Ladies

1- We had a great gathering today … friends came out to see Shelly, Nick, and Ray, as we prepare to head south.

The Romanos: Tina & Steve

The Roses: Andria, Brian, daughters Lennon, and Layla

The Jantz’s: Jane and son Michael

The Fowlkers: Nancy Sielaff & Kirk (Dez’s parents)

2- Ray failed to get a “team photo” for this blog post. Sorry folks. Big Fail!

3- However, a few pics were taken that we love… three lovely ladies:

Lennon Rose
Jane Jantz
Layla Rose
Sisters Layla and Lennon Rose together!

Thank You everyone for coming out today!!!