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.
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”.
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!
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.
Granville and his wife Anne on Lewes City Dock with Shellerina in the background this afternoon.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!!!
A great cruising day!
How’s this dock landing with 2K of opposing current?!
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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
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.
The Internet here has been strong from both of our providers, the fridge is packed. We are good for several days if need be.
Today in West Neck Harbor we were joined by one of our new close friends and followers, Harry Verby and his GF Jill. Aboard his express cruiser Adverb V out of Riverhead, they picked up long time friends and dock mates Tina & Steve Romano. So we rafted up in this popular weekend anchorage.
Here is a video (below) of Advent V crossing our stern in preparation to raft up!
After our haircuts, Bob Helbig gave me a tour of ALL the boatyards in Mystic and Noank. “I gotta keep an eye on my competition.” Because of his new car, no one recognized us or who he was… so we got to go in everywhere! LOL.
We also got to meet Ron & Andrew (Bob’s sons) who are General Managers for these three boatyards. Nice wheels!
Lots of people insisted, “You gotta stop at Cuttyhunk Island!” “Cuttyhunk is my favorite place on the planet!”
We reserved a slip last night at Cuttyhunk Marina. We found fixed docks which Shelly was able to negotiate to get on and off the boat. We assumed (never ass-u-me) that we’d find at least one nice sit-down restaurant ashore, easy walk from the marina, NOT.
Our departure for Point Judith RI was on-time this a.m. but once we cleared this island there was a 4 foot swell hitting us nearly broadside. So we turned back and anchored in the outside harbor with several boats.
Nice sunny day on the hook. Some much-needed rain yesterday was gone.
Tied up on the Cape Cod Canal, this is our first time hooked up to shore power in 12 days. We’ve been on Richie’s mooring or on the hook since leaving DiMillos August 10!
The solar panels helped with that run! However, they are not very productive this afternoon, as we are getting some much needed rain, heavy at times. We’ve observed that they don’t work at night either, for some odd reason.
Shelly was in the small building just to the right of the launch ramp when this hit.
But this small, busy port is famous this week for having the cheapest fuel on the coast of Massachusetts!
This is a sweet harbor and beach community that no one has ever heard about! They even have a Safe Harbor (brand) marina a bit further up into the harbor.
There was no room to anchor, and no transient mooring balls. So, after taking on fuel and ice, we headed to the Plymouth-Duxbury Bay area and anchored in behind Clarks Island.
We have not paid under $5 since back in April in NY. (Only paid over $6 once! And that was by mistake, we pulled in and fueled up as their advertised price per gallon was very low. However, this outfit did not include tax in their advertised price as everyone else does. Very Shady. (Naming names: May 22, 2022 at Safe Harbor Onset Bay, south end of Cape Cod Canal). Not cool people!
My brother Steve and I remember climbing on the base/structures of this lighthouse when we were young kids. One rounds this light when coming into Beverly, Salem, or Marblehead Harbors from points south (Boston, Cape Cod, etc).
Steve asked for pics of this when were coming north last spring. But we were already past it. Fortunately, this morning’s sunrise cast some great light on this same place burnt into Steve’s and Ray’s psyches.
Marblehead Light. Sixth-Order Fresnel lens, fixed (not flashing) GREEN light at 130 feet AMHW. Visible for 7 nautical miles.
So long to all the family we got to spend time with in Salem and Beverly this past week+. Thanks to all, but especially to Rich, Donna, Pam, and Peter.
See you again soon!
A while later, we saw the Provincetown Ferry blasting by us at 28 knots!
I ordered this new S/S knob for the steering wheel on the upper helm. They are not legal in cars for most states (thus their nickname), but they are perfectly safe and legal in boats.
I had to choose between one of my favorite manufacturer/vendors [Edson] for marine equipment, and an inexpensive alternative on Amazon. $150 vs $16… I went with the inexpensive alternative, and I love it. Smooth turning, no wobble or “play”, polished 316 S/S knob. Thanks to Donna for taking delivery of all our packages this week!!!
So much better than no-knob!
Someday, maybe I’ll have $150 I don’t need for fuel, and get the Edson. Maybe Edson will lower their price due to very respectable competition!
We had two good customer calls this morning, then I tackled 3 electrical projects that I’ve been equipped to complete, but have not been able to fit them in.
Over a relatively short period of time, this gadget will tell me exactly what the Amp-Hours consumption is for our biggest consuming DC appliance when on the hook. This will help finalize the battery storage requirements.
Also shown above is a separate volt meter to show me, at a glance, what the voltages are for the house and starting battery banks.
Solar Controllers are not like multi-bank chargers. They only charge ONE bank. So if you want to occasionally charge two banks a DC to DC charger is commonly used. But those are “one-way” devices. They assume one bank is ALWAYS going to be the one charging the other. Contraire mon Frere! There may be times I want the starter bank to get a boost from the house, and on cloudy days underway with the alternator running, we may want the house to get a boost from the starter bank! This switch enables me to control it either way.
These are great additions to our boat’s operation that I have wanted for a long time. Finally, these projects are DONE! And they enhance to current use of solar and planning our next steps with that system.
Rick, our mechanic, is here installing a “like new” heat exchanger and new impeller on our generator. The flow should be substantially increased once he is done. We had an anomaly with the thing shutting down after 30-60 minutes (4 times in the past month). There are no gauges or indicators to tell us why. So I’m hoping the apparent low flow of cooling water was the culprit, and this should fix that.
Rick is going to see if there is a way to hook up this generator “backwards” so that it produces diesel fuel from the excess solar power we have on sunny days. That would be sweet!
It is official now, one of our biggest goals has been accomplished. The large load of our refrigerator-freezer is now powered by the sun!
When out on the anchor for the day or for overnights, our batteries really take a beating from the fridge. This afternoon, we have totally isolated that load, as well as my work’s laptop and monitor, and all the Internet connectivity. That stuff is no longer on the boat’s main battery bank.
At some point, I’ll move the cabin lights off too.
Below you can see the battery is fully charged so only a small amount (0.76 Amps) is flowing into the battery. The rest of it is being consumed by the fridge, laptop, monitor, Internet routers, etc.
Key components of the solar project:
Qty 3 Solarland Monocrystaline Panels 300 watts, 19 volts, 13 amps, 61.8 x 27.8 x 1.4 inches (rigid panels), 25 year warrantee. $367 ea ($1.835 per watt)
Victron MTTP 150/35 Solar Controller max 150 volts input, max 35 Amps output. This is hooked up to two aft panels wired in series (36vdc/13A). $323.
Victron MTTP 100/20 Solar Controller max 100 volts in, max 20 Amps output. This is hooked up to the third panel up forward. $167.
All the wire, mounting hardware, taxes, and shipping added up to another grand. So, it was a $2500 project. The vendor, https://www.emarineinc.com had the most helpful website, and knowledgable staff to assist in the system’s design.
The storage was already on the boat: one Interstate 8D flooded lead acid battery (2 years old). Estimated 300 AH (150 AH useable). With the ability to temporarily jumper it to a second bank when needed.
When the time comes, the 8D battery will be replaced with more capacity. Our current yacht insurance (Markel) is not “friendly” to Lithium batteries. So, my guess is QTY 4 Group 31 flooded lead acid will be what we go with. 6vdc golf cart batteries will also be explored. Our agency is exploring other carriers as well.
Brackets for the forward panel were cemented to the deck this morning. After 24 hours the 3M 5200 quick cure should allow me to attach that panel to the deck/brackets. Wire was “fished” for aft and forward panels, again, with Linda’s help. With luck the solar controllers will be mounted and wired up in the a.m.
Addendum Tuesday Aug 2:
After work, I finished hooking up all the wiring in the engine room then connected things up at the aft panels. The aft two panels started producing right away, even at 5:30pm.
It was too dark by the time I finished the forward panel. We’ll see what time it kicks in in the a.m. Very exciting. This should make anchoring out easier and more economical.
There is still “clean up” and “finishing touches” on some of the wiring to give everything a professionally done appearance. But functionally it is all working and so far, everything tests out great.
Tomorrow, I can’t wait to move the 12vdc fridge circuit over to the Port Bank… the one which these solar panels charge.
Lifelong friend and fellow nomad, Don and Ray have been friends for years as IT professionals, Amateur Radio contesters, and co-workers at Wright-Pierce. We welcomed Don for one of Shelly’s fine dishes and a “technology tour” of our vessel.