112 statute miles this weekend…

After a five-day hiatus ashore on Skidaway Island and “The Landings” with friends Marlyse, Phil, and [hurricane] Nicole, we hit the “road” and put on over 112 miles.

7.5 hours today!

We are keeping our eyes peeled on the shoreline of Cumberland Island, where a few score of wild horses live.

We may come back by ferry if their tourist season is still open. The ferry at St Marys is a short drive from Jacksonville. Russ is driving our car down from Maine and he’ll meet us Tuesday at Lambs Yacht Center, our home for a month or so.

We still keep a logbook.
It looks like we still have enough 2022 logbook pages left for another seven weeks of adventures aboard Shellerina!
A look off our stern on a bumpy, windy night: the moon is rising in the east and the Cumberland Island “Sea Camp Dock” is fully illuminated. There are nine other boats anchored in here tonight. Most of us wishing we selected a more protected anchorage.
This also shows our relative position.
Even more anchored in here tonight (Monday night addendum). Lots of anchor lights off the bow and stern.
You may need to zoom in on this one.

Shore Power Cord fix

Poor connections can cause this type of dangerous situation in one’s shore power cord. This was on the dock end, but still!
The female end of the ‘Y’ adapter was also pooched.
The fix.
Strip the insulation, tin the ends, and join the two ends together, as shown.
Mastic tape and heat shrink tubing with adhesive inside makes the finished product, saving hundreds of dollars in replacement cords. All this came in the kit.

“The Landings” Savannah GA, we are guests of the Libbys.

Shellerina in Slip A3 at Delegal Creek Marina, part of the famous The Landings residential community. In the foreground: Shelly, Marlyse, and Phil Libby. We will stay here for several nights until Tropical Storm / Hurricane Nicole blows by.
A few hours later…
I have the feeling this harbor will be getting rougher in the days ahead.
We escaped this one with no damage or discomfort thanks to the Libbys and the Delegal Creek Marina facilities.

Church Creek to Beaufort SC today.

mm 501 to 504 very shallow. Here a sailboat, aground, waits for some tide to come in and float her. Probably a 3 hour wait. “If you are gonna go aground, best to be doin’ so at low tide!”

Only inches to spare…
Another tricky spot at mm 511.4. Give that red nun some distance.

Bald Eagle on ICW today
I guess this is why we’re heading south! 85°F in November!
6.3 hours, 46 nautical miles. No dings in the prop! Saved today’s route for next spring!
Tonight we are trying out Gene’s Anchorage (Gene of Galene).
So far, so good for ~8 boats.

New Inlet Creek, aka “Church Creek” anchorage…

The moon’s reflection enhances this pic of our anchor-mates here tonight.

We made it past Charleston SC and thru Elliot Cut and anchored nearby as planned at Buzzards Roost Point, Stono River. But then Gene of Galene suggested Church Creek mm 488. Taking that time off today means shortening the longer trip tomorrow, plus the suggested creek appeared as a favorite to many fellow reviewers, including Gene and Mac & Deb of Janthena.

The wind is blowing stern to bow as the tidal current usually wins when the two are opposed.
ICW MM 488 New Inlet anchorage. 5:30pm EDT.

I need to remember to change the boat’s sundial tonight as Daylight Savings Time ends.

Returned to South Santee River anchorage…

We enjoyed the staff at Wacca Wachee Marina Thursday night, and transited to an anchorage we stayed at last spring. Three large sailboats had the same idea, two of which I scouted the depths thru a tight spot exiting Winyah Bay on the southbound ICW. It was low tide and they draw 6 and 6.5 feet. I was able to assure them they’d find a minimum of 8.6 feet there. Their electronics agreed as they braved that shallow spot. I neglected to take a photo of a strange floating swing bridge there. Maybe next spring. It is a hairy place to pass thru with current, so the camera does not always take priority.
Arrow points to strange floating swing bridge. Normally open… but a narrow opening.
“The Turn” on ICW at Winyah Bay.
The current changes with the tide in this river anchorage.
Underway Saturday morning… to Charleston SC. We’ll anchor on the far side of Elliot Cut, and time the tide thru that area!

Denise & Jeff!

We had a blast having dinner with Denise and Jeff Thursday at Kreas Waterway Grill, the restaurant at Wacca Wachee Marina. Then they got the nickel tour of the boat. We waved the $0.05 fee, as they were kind enough to pick up some meds for us on the way over. Of course we had the boat all cleaned up and organized for them ahead of time! (Snopes.com reports: No. It was actually a mess.)
Each of them told Shelly and I separately that they would do the Great Loop if their other half was up for it!!! LOL. We’ll see what they do! Yes, that is M/V Shellerina in the background.

Creech’s Porch NC mm 308… on Halloween even!

What could be scarier than Creech’s Porch on Hallween? Well we could not imagine, so we had to come see!

Robert Creech, Honoree Looper, Harbor Host, and PIRATE! (Love the ear ring Robert!). He took off the eye patch for this picture.


Creech’s Porch NC might not show up on many charts, maps, or cruising guides, but it shows up in hundreds of log books of Loopers who have come through Southport NC. Pull into the Provision Company’s free dock and walk a block or two to the head of the harbor where Kay and Robert have lived for a few decades.

Trick or Treaters braved this path up to Creech’s Porch this evening, as did lots of other friends whom Shelly and I got to meet.

Not to be outdone, Kay had her costume hat on! … a bit less intimidating for the little munchkins seeking candy.

Cape Fear and Bald Head in the distance, Southport NC in the middle, and a scary front lawn was our view this evening from “Creech’s Porch NC.”

Thank you for helping us re-provision, Kay and Robert!

Spooner Creek – 2 nights

ICW mm 210.5 Spooner Creek – Morehead City NC

We entered with ease at low tide with 6.5 feet of water, and a 2.0 knot cross current in the ICW‘s Bogue Sound,. We’ll stay here again.

We arrived here Friday night with the intention of staying only one night. But the fresh water pump failed, and so a dinghy ride and Uber adventure ensued to get a replacement. Fortunately West Marine was less than a mile away, and they had several in stock for me to pick from.

Dinghy dock at NW corner of Spooner Creek. Condition: rickety but useable. I could have beached the dinghy if I had to. “What do you want for nothin’, your money back?!”

The Walmart was a safe walk from here, but West Marine was on the opposite side of US Rte 70, and there are no pedestrian crosswalks. So Uber got the call, and a couple of other WM customers gave me a ride back to the dinghy dock. The day was shot after putting away all the tools. So, we stayed another night… it was blowin’ Saturday too. So, less hassle to leave on Sunday’s better forecast.


Rendezvous with Janthena’s crew!

Deb and Mac of Janthena came to meet us in their home port of Oriental NC, aka “O-Town”.

Crews of Shellerina and Janthena squish in for a selfie at Silos, local’s favorite.

They also came with forwarded US Mail and Rx prescriptions that we had filled at the not-so-nearby CVS.

This old pic show where Silos got their name.
Artwork adorns the concave walls of Silos much like art does in the Guggenheim, near Central Park NYC.

The food was a great surprise to Shelly and I, but not for O-Town locals Deb and Mac. It comes highly recommended to all Loopers passing thru Oriental.

Clearly this place is also loved for its local entertainment. So, add that to all your other passage-timing criteria next time you are coming thru these parts!

Another gift from Deb was a handmade desert treat which we had back on the boat.

Sliced almond encrusted fig-shortbread treats. Light and unbelievably good.

Deb “warned” us that this was a new “experiment” that she cooked up. No warning was necessary. “Deb, you can experiment on us anytime!” Thank you.

Henry Boyd… finally captured on ‘film’

Henry Boyd, owner of River Forest Manor & Marina, Belhaven NC ICW mm 135.8

If you are cruisers and Loopers like us you read forums and cruising guides for reviews and advice. Many of those helpful posts mention this guy whom we just had to meet!

Direct quotes found online, from customers about Henry:

– Henry Dockmaster and owner is very cordial.

– Probably the two nicest things about this marina is Henry, the marina owner and Spoon River restaurant close by.

– Our first time here. Henry is fantastic and makes you feel at home right away.

– Great place and Henry is the best.

– Henry was helpful, and set us up with a guidebook to the area. I used a golf cart to reprovision at Food Lion. The restrooms were SPOTLESS, and the free laundry was very much appreciated.

– Henry is a great guy and makes you feel welcome.

– Henry is a character and wonderfully accommodating.

– Henry and dockhand were terrific.

– Henry and Eddie do a great job helping you get in and assuring your visit goes well.

– Dock Master had the weather for the sound.

– Dockmaster will even arrange a private tour of the fabulous old Manor House.

I cannot add much to all that!

We got an AGLCA discount on everything, as Henry is a very proud AGLCA sponsor.

A great choice in Belhaven NC: River Forest Marina

Let’s face it, there are a lot of good choices when coming through the Belhaven area on the ICW. This, our second time through, we hoped to stay at River Forest. We succeeded!

Lots of Looper’s excellent reviews and positive comments about this “Henry” character made this our first choice for our fall migration.

Henry Boyd, Shelly, Mike Dunn on the docks of River Forest Marina.

Owner Henry Boyd was competent and responsive at talking us in on VHF from R10 and calling us with his weather observations hours before our arrival. He and Mike were there to catch our lines and help us feel welcomed to their spot in this great port.

Shellerina appears in the background along with the first SUN these parts have seen in almost a week. Finally, (after some arm twisting), actual photographs of Henry Boyd and his crew are visible online!

Once we took one of their golf carts into town, Shelly met Teresa Van Staalduinen co-owner of the famed Spoon River restaurant. It was a Wednesday, which means the restaurant was closed for the day. But she and husband Mark are expanding into retail in this town. Shelly visited their Artworks & Market.

Teresa explained how much they LOVE Loopers, the two “girls” connected and Teresa proceeded to gift Shelly with a red wine she though we would like!

… all while I was getting more exciting stuff at the ACE Hardware store next store.

Then we went to Food Lion for other essentials which we figured out how to fit on the golf cart for the ride “home”. Guess what we found there in addition to food. A fly swatter! We’ve been trying to find one for months!

Once back at River Forest Marina, my brother Russ and his wife Kim pulled in, driving a small RV that they are delivering to Ft Lauderdale FL. We had arranged for this rendezvous weeks ago, and fine tuned the time and place a couple days ago.

Kim and Russell Sirois of Edgecomb Maine in Belhaven NC on their RV adventure!

Russ has “been there” for us on multiple occasions in the past 18 months! He helped us pack and released the “last line” when we first pushed off for our Loop in May 2021. He joined our crew for the overnight Gulf crossing months later to Tarpon Springs. It was great to have him and Kim aboard Shellerina again!
Great service and succulent seafood dishes were enjoyed at Fish Hooks Cafe, as Spoon River was enjoying their day off. Mike said the Tavern is good and, “You can’t miss with Fish Hooks.”

Belhaven and River Forest is certainly achieved “favorite” status in Shellerina’s log book and blog.

“Special Thanks” to Henry and Teresa! They both expressed their LOVE for Loopers. River Forest is an AGLCA Sponsor and gives a discount when he sees the AGLCA burgee!

A Shellerina Sunrise. Pic by Kim the next morning!

The RV Van framed up with Shellerina Thursday before both “vessels” depart their berths here at River Forest.

From this same spot we could take in a beautiful sunset last eve to the right, and now we are soaking up a sunrise from the same spot. This phenomenon won’t be possible during the summer months, but it should last from now till February 20th or so. ((Equinoxes plus 1 month on either end.))

50 nm day to cross Albermarle Sound

Two markers like this one mark the 15 mile trek across the sound. Perfect sea state for a big crossing like ours today!

From our 2-night anchor spot on ICW mm 26.4 we are now anchored in the upper Alligator River area, having crossed the Albermarle Sound. Seas were calm and wind was under 10 mph going with us, so the overcast skies were of no concern.

Albermarle Sound is about 15 miles across. Tonight, we are anchored near ICW mm 82. St Johns River FL is at mm 470… so we still have a ways to go.

We are looking forward to meeting my brother Russ and wife Kim in Belhaven Wednesday! Then we get to meet up with Gold Loopers Deb and Mac of Janthena at their home port of Oriental on Thursday! So its a big week for us.

Our “routes” are programmed into our auto pilot… read from bottom up. All are easier/shorter passages than today’s 50 nm run.

Interesting Note: Our boat is still all set up for nm or nautical miles. Whereas, all the ICW mile marker (mm) references are in statute miles. So, this January 1, 2023, we will be converting all our navigation system units to statute miles, which is not only what the ICW uses, but also what the Erie Canal, and western rivers are standardized on.

Anchored on the ICW… “North Landing River” MM 26.4

Video looking aft.

Up forward, this shows the first boat to anchor here today, and the second sailboat who came in after us.
Then two more boats came in and anchored behind us, for a total of five! In the morning the ICW traffic started, most slowed for the pass. But still it’ll make your Admiral get up for coffee!
There was room for all of us, and the three sail boats didn’t complain about the 8 feet of water.

A productive Saturday!

It started with changing out our fuel filters. We have two: a Racor 30 micron, and a CAT 2 micron on the engine.

6.5” of mercury recorded on this vacuum gauge. So, as it is starting to approach the yellow, it is time to change out the fuel filters.
If you don’t have one, get one. Every time I check my oil, I take a picture if this with my smartphone. It simply screws into the top of your Racor filter housing.

Old Racor filter element shown below. (It was new Feb 2022):

New Racor installed today:

The first thing you do when changing fuel filters is close the fuel shut-off valve. Today I learned that after changing the filters, it helps a lot to re-open that fuel cut-off valve before trying to start the engine. <wink> The engine ran like shit, until I realized my mistake! LOL

2 micron CAT secondary (attached to port side of engine.)

After all the work was done:

We exchanged hugs and kisses with Colleen and Tony of Lady Kadey, then headed down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) from MM zero, Norfolk VA. We knew we had a chance at a couple of free walls and Atlantic Boat Basin at MM 12. But we also knew there were anchorages within 12 miles further down, if needed.

We missed out on diesel fuel for $5.02 /gallon at Top Rack (MM 8). Gene of Galene told me about this place, and Mac of Janthena told me he scored diesel for UNDER $5 just last week here!!! Alas, our tank’s needle still pointed to “F”. So we did not stop.

Addendum: I just realized that where we filled up at Chesapeake Boat Basin, in Kilmarnock VA, had diesel at $4.86 per gallon beating this price!

Then we got to Great Bridge VA, where there is a lock. So gotta take a lock pic of Shelly!

Shelly manages all the lines for docks and locks.

This lock and four bridges that had to open for us (read: we had to wait) made the 26.4 miles take a bit longer than expected.

The sun was getting low, so we simply pulled over along the ICW at MM 26.4 where a sailboat had the same idea. Three others have since joined us here.
3.5 hours, 21.5 nautical miles

There is a Gale Warning out for these parts tonight and tomorrow. So we may be here for a bit. Friends we made along the way today anchored a bit close and directly upwind of us. So we politely asked them to move which they did.

Nice people that moved when we asked. I love the name of their boat. Rambunctious was a word that was frequently used in my childhood home! They are from Long Island too!
All secured! How’s this sunset for a finish to a productive day!

Tomorrow? Stay put and hunker down OR make a play for Coinjock NC (MM 50.0) where we have never stopped (yet).


Deltaville VA

Fishing Bay, Deltaville VA You can see the very narrow alternative entrance to Deltaville to the right. If we needed protection from a storm, we’d brave the narrow inlet. But the forecast doesn’t show anything too exciting for the next few days. The north entrance to this port is also quite narrow. (Not shown)
Color-coded Army Corps of Engineers’ contours for the other entrance. (The magenta boat symbol on the left is us.)

Today we took a quick 2-hour hop south and anchored in Fishing Bay, Deltaville VA. There are three ways to get into Deltaville, from the north (narrow, shoal-ly), from the south (same), and in this bay that is risk-free. About 20 boats came in here to anchor before and after us. There is plenty of room for all.

The blue dot is us. Norfolk is the major port shown about 40 nautical miles to the south.

Today’s jump shortens our next hop to Norfolk. We are trying to minimize the long days of 50 miles or more. There are not a lot of good stop options between here and Norfolk (40nm) that are on the way.

Mile Zero (MM 0.0) of the American Intracoastal Waterway AICW or ICW, starts in Norfolk and continues all the way to Plantation Key FL (MM 1153.4). (It is tracked in statute miles.)

St Johns River FL, our “hailing port” intersects the ICW at about MM 740. So that’s where we hope to be in about a month, (mid-November).

There is also a Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GICW) that goes all the way to Brownsville, Texas.

Anchor lights around us after sunset.

And later…


Anchored off Chesapeake Boat Basin in Kilmarnock VA…

Well protected harbor in Indian Creek, Kilmarnock VA
Brand new transient docks at Chesapeake Boat Basin.
We tied up temporarily on the new transient docks to await our turn into the fuel dock. The sail boat only took on 4 gallons of diesel! … ensuring there was some left for us! LOL
Sailboat fueling up ahead of us. $4.86/gallon diesel
It appears that they used all FRP pilings for the new docks?!?! It will be fun to see how they hold up in the years ahead.
Looking over towards the office, Ships store, and swimming pool.

See my other posts about this port which we like… and we’ll be back again.




Finishing touches to the solar project…

Perfect cruising day: light wind, waves, and current on our stern. We arrived in Kilmarnock VA, took on fuel and ice at Chesapeake Boat Basin. Nice to see them selling diesel for under $5 / gallon. We got fuel here for $3.999999 last spring! Well under the norm both then and now. It’s all self serve here. They have completed construction of their transient docks and transient shower house and laundry. Very nice.

Well, they also have a decent Ships Store that had a few key items that I needed to finish our solar project. They even had AWG 2/0 cable and crimp ends, ANL fuse block and fuses, and other ancillary electrical stuff I needed to finish up this project right! I was very excited.

This final step was to add a DC-DC Charger to keep the main bank charged up when at anchor. The main bank is a traditional flooded lead acid bank of Interstate batteries. The new Victronenergy.com charger didn’t have a “preset” menu option for charging lead acid batteries?!?! Odd! “Consult your battery manufacturer,” is what the manual said to do. So I called and left a voice mail to Interstate seeking that information.

Shellerina’s Starboard Engine Room, looking aft.
This piece of plywood atop our 540 AH Lithium LiFePO4 bank is now fully utilized by the new DC-DC Charger, the fuse blocks, and Smart Shunt.

I got a call back from “Jeff” in Engineering at Interstate Batteries. He directed me to use 14.4 VDC for both Bulk and Absorption stages of the charge cycle, with a 6 hour maximum time limit. He further instructed me to use no more than 13.3 VDC for the Float stage. This is very helpful information indeed… which I could not find anywhere online. Thanks Jeff!

Interstate Battery’s specified charge profile settings for their Group 31 and 8D flooded wet cell batteries, shown as programmed / configured into our new VictronEnergy.com DC-DC Charger.

This DC-DC Charger is the only connection between the new solar system and the rest of the boat’s electrical system. Two different chemistry battery banks require this type of interconnection (if any) as the optimal charging profile is different enough between the two. Charging and using two different types of batteries will do damage to one bank or both over time.

The reason for us selectively interconnecting the two is because our (lead acid) main bank on the starboard side still has some house loads on it (e.g. anchor light, cabin lights, etc.) These drain the starting battery bank when at anchor. Changing that would require a wholesale rewiring effort to move those loads off the main bank to the LiFePO4 bank on the port side.

So, now we can use this DC-DC charger; the solar system can charge both banks as want… whenever needed.

Solomons Island MD

We got a slip at Beacon Marina in Solomons again this fall like we did last spring. Reasonable dock rates, walking distance to West Marine, and a spirits store, and an on-premises restaurant were all taken advantage of again.

Last night we dined with Vitaly, a single-handed sailor who is good friends with Christian and Heidi of Aurora whom we met early on out Loop last year on the Erie Canal. Aurora just crossed their wake in Boston this week.

Solomons MD on Chesapeake Bay

Also in-port with us this day was Laurie and Hal Goldschlag of Gemini. They bicycled over here to our marina to come visit us. I cannot believe we forgot to take a “team photo” together during their visit. Like us, they lived and worked on Great South Bay Long Island NY for years before starting their Loop. We never met until all of us were on The Great Loop together!

In lieu of a great team photo, all I have for pics of this marina is their laundry room.

Beacon Marina Laundry Room

Shelly often sends me on Recon Missions to check out the facilities of places we stay, to see if they meet her approval. This Laundry was a “go”. So, we have clean laundry again aboard Shellerina tonight!

FYI, Beacon Marina uses Dockwa.com … for slip reservations. (We use it when we have no other choice.)

This may not be the most elegant marina in this popular port of Solomons Island, but it suffices for us. (+++ walking distance to West Marine). Plus it was nice for Hal and Laurie to be able to easily get through [non-existent] “Marina Security” to come visit us.

We hope to return to Chesapeake Boat Basin in Kilmarnock VA. CBOFS (Chesapeake Bay Operational Forecast System) shows us that an early start at sun-up will give us favorable tide currents all morning!

Here is what 10:00am tomorrow looks like. All the tidal current is going in our direction at our halfway point.

Mantus S2 Anchor Swivel-Shackle

I was all excited to finally deploy my new Mantus S2 swivel. I’ve been carting it all around for almost a year. The ol’ standard style shackle was working fine, but I figured this style would pull up more smoothly through the bow pulpit.

Then, this morning, the anchor cannot be brought all the way up due to this “wrap”. Fortunately conditions were flat dead calm this morning. So I could leave the helm to assist Shelly with this.
This isn’t supposed to happen!

The old one never did this.

If this happens again the old shackle is going back on!

While it IS true we had a 180 degree wind change last night, one would think that the shackle which could swivel would outperform the traditional style. Again we never experienced this before with the traditional one.
Traditional shackle
Our new Mantus S2, which is supposed to be better! It certainly costs more!

Addendum: six weeks later…

We‘ve anchored out at least a dozen times since this event, including in rivers with tidal current changes. Thankfully, this problem has not happened again.

Delaware City Day 2022

Click above to see and HEAR a 2-minute video of this concert organ.

Dennis Robinson of the Grand Master Organ Company has rebuilt over 200 self-playing concert organs like this one… which is trailer-able / portable. He brings it to the annual Delaware City Day celebration every year, and sets up at Delaware City Marina. He owns 15 of these in different configurations (mostly larger) in his personal collection. About half of those 15 units are somewhat portable.
Dennis (79) passionately explains how beautiful this older analog technology is to work with. The craftsmanship is remarkable. There are no speakers, amps, or digital music coming from this… it is all air, tuned pipes, with a little percussion mixed in! I think an air pump is the only thing consuming power here.

Donna Ratledge and daughter, Mary, show up at every public display of Dennis’s multi-media vocation, at special and annually-recurring events like this one. Mary, 20, is the indisputable #1 fan of Grand Master Organ Company. You should hear her describe the magic of the largest concert organ in Dennis’s collection!

This paper roll contains 25 minutes of music, typically 10 tunes per roll. In this “125 Scale Roll” in addition to “notes” as you might hear on a player piano, these contain the timing controls for physical cymbals and drums on the concert organs that have them!
One of the boxes that the rolls come in.

Above, Mary Ratledge’s favorite hat.

Dennis’s contact info…

Delaware City Day… every fall… definitely worth taking in by land or sea.


Delaware City Marina – AGLCA Sponsor of the Year 2022


We arrived here at 4:00pm today after a 9 hr long beautiful cruising day on Delaware Bay. It was our 3rd attempt in the past 2 weeks. The tidal currents in the Bay were opposite what we’d have liked. But we’ll take today’s sea state any day!

The ‘Compass Rose’ here at Delaware City Marina
Tim is 97% strictly business… he runs a function-side operation. But, if you look for it, you can see Tim’s artistic side! Both: “Form and Function”

See more about Delaware City & this marina:



About 2 knots of current
About 3 knots of current.
Tanker after unloading upriver.
An above average tow.
4 or 6 inch chain?!

New Lewmar V3 Windlass

New Lewmar V3 Windlass deployed on our 2000 Mainship 390.

Click below for a video.

Lewmar’s 003 Gypsy seems to be much smoother than the 002 Gypsy we had before with our 3/8” chain. The V3 is normally spec’d for 40-50 foot vessels, so this represents an upgrade for our 39 footer. The 22 year old Lewmar “Concept” windless seemed tired and underpowered. So when it failed we wanted to get the next size up.

The most important thing to note is that the V3 “fits” in the anchor locker where the old one was. The V3 is about 1” longer. No modifications were needed to make it fit, except as noted below.

The old… begging to be replaced! ((Motor only: Lewmar Model number: 60000189))
New next to old. The 4 (8mm) bolt holes match up with new and old. The hole for the shaft itself needed to be enlarged about 3/8”. No modification for the hole where the chain goes thru the deck was needed. So, this was mostly a good match, old to new.

The wiring was identical. So, I did not replace any of the switches, relays, wiring, or anything electrical. I simply hooked up the new unit the same way as the old one was wired in.

Newly installed V3 electric motor and gear box mounted under the deck, and wired up just as the old one was.

The biggest challenge I wanted to fix was the elongated mounting holes (below) and to counter the torque / rotational forces that caused them.



This very soft, weak, Balsa Core sandwiched between 1/8” fiberglass decking is inadequate, strength-wize, to support a cleat or a windlass.
I did use some fiberglass “filler” epoxy to fill the oversized holes, but I still questioned the strength, especially considering the vertical shaft hole in the middle still had to be trimmed larger… reducing the material between the center shaft hole and the four mounting holes (which are only 3-1/2” apart). “There is too much torque on this windlass system to resist re-elongating these four mounting holes thru the balsa core deck.

Thanks to my friend George Menezes for his advice on fiberglass repair & construction.

1/8” thick, 1-1/2” angle aluminum stock was used to fashion a custom “Torque Bar” which would be mounted to the aft two mounting bolts beneath the deck. It would ensure both: the windlass would not be pulled up thru the deck, AND, more likely, it would increase the rotational mechanical advantage from 3-1/2” on this deck construction to 15” apart. Basically, it makes it impossible for this new windlass to rotate in-place.





This pic shows the new windlass’s backing plate with the “Torque Bar” both of which will be backing the windlass from beneath the deck. The torque bar will be bolted at its ends so it prevents any rotation of the windlass in its mounted position on-deck.

This shows how the backing plate AND the custom torque bar are combining to back the windlass under the deck. (Starboard side).
Port side
Another view of Starboard side
This picture of the windlass shaft coming down thru the deck was taken a couple days ago, before the electric motor and gearbox was installed. It may help to show you what I am trying to accomplish more clearly. (The hole at the top of the pic is where the chain / rode comes down thru the deck.). Aft is towards the bottom of this pic.
Several inches out from the windlass, the torque bar is also bolted (on both ends) thru the deck. “There’s no way that windlass is going to rotate now!”
The blue arrows show the bolts that go thru the deck and thru the “torque bar” below, essentially making it impossible for the windlass to rotate in its mounted position over time. Larger washers may be changed out on these bolts, and a new Mantus S2 Swivel will soon replace the shackle shown above.

Of course, working in tight spaces in this anchor locker made the whole project very challenging. The torque bar only made that part of this more difficult. However, my confidence in this new system makes the extra effort worth it!

Lewmar model V3 with 003 Gypsy (3/8” chain, 5/8” laid rope, or 3/4” 8-plait rope. 2248 pounds pull, 85 amps @ 12 VDC, (1000 watts). For 40-50 foot boats. Defender part # 013385 2000 Mainship 390.

Rocna 25kg – 55 pound Vulcan (anchor)

Rode: 200 feet of 3/8” G4 chain + 250 feet of 5/8” nylon laid rope.

Related posts:


https://shellerina.com/2020/09/21/splicing-8-plait/ (snubber article)

The windlass should be “baby-ed” on your boat. Use a “snubber” as shown in the link above, to take the strain off the windlass when at anchor in any moderate wind or current.

Never use the windlass to “pull” your boat up to the anchor against a wind or current. Use the main engine(s) to position the bow above the anchor so the windlass only has the weight of the rode and the anchor-in-mud to lift.

Windlasses are expensive and they are a pain in the arse to repair or replace. So, Baby yours!

002 vs 003

Lewmar stamps their gypsy part number on the gypsy as shown. Again, our 3/8” G4 chain fits the 003 better (smoother) than our 002 ever did.

Final touch (October 8): Mantus S2 Shackle upgrade is installed.

Secured for the “big blow” & windlass project update.

Securing in a slip at Utsches Marina (Cape May NJ) was a good move, as the winds have been very strong for the past 24 hours. Utsche’s basin here offers good protection, shore power, showers, all the comforts of home.

The white dot is were we are. The green dot is where we need to go to get to the C&D Canal towards the to of this map.
The seas this hour are running more than 10 feet high as measured by this NOAA weather buoy 44025 (halfway back towards Long Island.)

We were saddened by the news of the sinking of thousands of boats on Florida’s west coast, including that of our Looper friends, Marilyn and Jim of Spinning Dreams III.

On one of the trawler forums there was also a picture of a sunken Mainship, similar to ours, which sank at the dock only 10 days after its new owners closed to purchase her. There were also pics of surviving Mainships after the storm which miraculously made it through unharmed, while other boats around them were severely damaged or destroyed.

Hurricane Ian certainly left its mark.

Fortunately, our favorite places survived damage in the St Johns River area of Florida where we hope to be in a month or so.

We figure we will be here until Thursday when calm seas up the Delaware are predicted. This gives us time to work on projects like the windlass. Here are some early progress pics.

New vs old electric motors and gearboxes which power the windlass.


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


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! 


Here is a look at our forecast for Saturday’s passage up the Bay.

Sea state predicted for Saturday.

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.


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.

15 miles (nm) to go for Atlantic City

On this crystal clear day with no heat shimmer, you can even see how the base of Atlantic City is below the horizon at this distance. Only the skyline appears.

Outside track from Manasquan Inlet to Atlantic City. Love it! Mostly calm seas the whole way.

Another perfect cruising day!

Our next door dock mate had a successful day out there too! Two of his four dolphin fish, aka Mahi Mahi shown here.


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.)


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



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.