Tag Archives: archive

New Website Launched

No, your computer hasn’t gone crazy – the OSYC web site has undergone a dramatic change. The new look and feel is the result of a new Content Management software package that makes it somewhat easier to manage the site, and will allow multiple authors to work on different parts of the site at the same time. As with all new software, there are bound to be a few bugs, so let me know if you see anything that doesn’t seem right.

Cool Sailing Videos

from Bill Shaw: -[->http://www.ned470ko.nl/wnd_movie_hb.asp] -[->http://www.denburger.com/video/skiff1.html] -[->http://www.denburger.com/video/skiff2.html] -[->http://first317.janwil.nl/Mumm30.mpg] -[->http://hyeres.ffvoile.net/videos/01.wmv (after the windsurfing some pretty cool 470-stuff!)] -[->http://hyeres.ffvoile.net/gbr/video/home.asp] -[->http://team.abnamro.com/]

Seawall Workday Report

The December 17 work day was cloudy, wet and cold. About 20 members and one guest came with coats and hats ready for the cold. Spirits were high and before long most were shedding a layer or two. Manning the power auger, shovels and post hole diggers, and carrying rip rap and 80 pound bags of concrete kept the body heat up. When I got there about 8:45, Ronnie Young and a crew were hard at work on the swimming area seawall. Ronnie brought the material needed for the project, including posts, filter fabric, tie back rods, power auger, rod cutter, and his trusty tractor. By the end of the day, the wall was upright and tied back to posts, buried about 6 feet back from the wall, and the fill dirt was behind the wall. Ronnie is going back sometimes this week and finish leveling the dirt after it has dried out. Another crew worked on the ramp. The areas between the new seawall and the ramp were filled with concrete and rip rap was placed underneath the docks and along the ramp. The step next to the ramp used to get up on the dock was also repaired. Another crew worked on the area behind the concrete seawall. The diagnosis was that some water rodent had tunneled behind the wall and a large cavity had washed out. Large rocks were put in the cavity and the dirt was added to fill the void. This may be only a temporary fix and we may need to trap the critter and move him to another area of the lake. Everyone felt good about what was accomplished. Thanks to Arlene for preparing the noon meal and all who came out to help. {Jimmy Harrell}

Lake drawdown workday

{{{Lake Sinclair Drawdown and Workday}}} As planned, Georgia Power has lowered the level of Lake Sinclair about 5 feet below normal. Click on the link below to see photos of the shoreline around the club property. [http://osyc.net/photos/2005-12-06%20Drawdown/->http://osyc.net/photos/2005-12-06%20Drawdown/] There are several shoreline projects which need to be done while the water lever is low: -# Repair the block seawall near where the barge is usually parked, -# Fill in the areas on each side of the ramp where the new seawall joins, and -# Straighten the old seawall next to the swimming area. -# Reposition some of the smaller rip rap. The board has decided to call for a work day on December 17, 2005 starting about 10 AM and finishing about 3 PM. The usual lunch will be served. This is an hour later start than usual. The board knows that this is short notice but if you can make it please come and get some exercise. Bring tools such as -Hole diggers, -Shovels, -Hoes, -Rakes, -Gloves Prior to the work day, Ronnie Young is going to have a tractor remove the dirt from behind the old seawall so we can straighten it and tie it back. Please reply to jimmy.harrell@riverside.net if you think you can come to the work day on December 17th.

Voyage of the Sailing Vessel Libertas

{{{Voyage of the Sailing Vessel Libertas}}} {Bill Shaw writes}: OSYC received the following email from Joe O’Brien and Shawn Haupt. Joe and his wife Shawn are former members of OSYC. They did not renew in 2006 because they are leaving on a 7 year round the world cruise on their new 47 foot catamaran. Ronnie Hartley and I have both seen his boat at different times. It is docked at Golden isles Marina at St Simons. It is a cool boat. He was hoping to have a weather window to leave for Puerto Rico after the 9th of December. He has sold his Hobie 18, the blue one on the beach the last time I was at the club, and have their house on Sinclair for sale. t will be fun to follow their adventures. S/V Libertas
Joe O’Brien
Shawn Haupt411 Walnut Street #3161
Green Cove Springs FL 32043 USA
Hello everyone, Providing ya’ll with our new contact information. Please visit the website (currently under development) and register; you’ll be able to get updates of our travels. We ask that when emailing to hotmail, please do not forward jokes, poems, chain letters, pictures and such, due to limited space. We plan on leaving for Puerto Rico next week, depending on the weather. We would like to thank everyone for their support, help, and best wishes. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Joe & Shawn

Cruiser Quest October Assault on Hwy 16 Bridge, Oct. 2005

{{{Cruiser Quest October Assault on Hwy 16 Bridge}}} {{by Jimmy Harrell}} {{October 8-23, 2005}} On Saturday October 8, 2005 a group of determined sailors planned to meet at OSYC to try to sail all the way to within sight of the Highway 16 bridge near the Lake Oconee Dam. Plans were to leave OSYC at about 0900. (This was actually the fall back plan by the Lake Juliette Sailing Club’s scheduled trip to the St. Simons.) The group, Bob Horan, Jimmy and Charlotte Harrell, John and Sherry Davis, and Pete and Eric Ekstrom, met at the appointed hour to find a rainy and depressingly miserable day. We decided to wait and see what the weather did. The decision was made to leave OSYC about 1030. The weather had gotten marginally better and we would hope for the best. Winds were 6 to 10 mph out of the SW. Wind was good until we got to the main power lines across the Oconee Channel at about 1500, about 6 miles from OSYC. Wind died and it took us about an hour to go the 1.5 miles to Goat Island. We arrived at Crooked Creek at about 1646, to find that the restaurant had closed. So dinner was “eat what you brung”. Since the wind was a little better, we decided to sail until about 1800 and find a cove to anchor. We made it about 2.25 miles before the wind dropped until we were just barely moving faster than the current, so we pulled into a cove and anchored for the night. On October 9, we left the anchorage at about 0930 and headed up river toward Oconee Springs and hopefully on to the Highway 16 bridge. We arrived at Oconee Springs at about 1345. Bob Horan and I were attempting the trip without using the motor so we had to paddle or row the last mile or so to Oconee Springs. The Davises and Ekstroms had motored part of the way and were rested and relaxed by the time we got there. We rested, picked up a few items from the store, and one of the group took a shower. We had to make a decision. The wind was very light and the current was running, and it was too late to sail the remaining 5 miles to the Hwy 16 bridge. It was decided that we would turn around and head back and earn credit for a trip to Oconee Springs. At about 1430 we left Oconee Springs. We made it just past Crooked Creed by 1800. Bob Horan pulled into a cove for the night. By this time we had wind at about 7 to 10 mph and the rest of the group decided to sail farther. Charlotte and I decided to stop for the night at our house which is near the mouth of Rooty Creek. We arrived at about 1945. The Davises and Ekstroms were going to tie up at our dock, but had trouble finding it because of darkness and fog. They decided to motor onto their favorite cove across from Airport Island. Charlotte and I left our dock about 0840 on October 10 and sailed toward OSYC. We contacted Bob Horan by radio. He had an early start and was near Goat Island when we entered the Oconee channel. We arrived at OSYC at about 1115 and the others were already there. October 21-22, 2005 It was Friday, October 21 and the weekend forecast looked good for a sailing trip. I put out the word that I was planning a second assault on the Highway 16 bridge and invited all OSYC to join me. Charlotte and Greg Phillips said they would go. Grayson and Calvin Smith and Tommy Barker and Charlotte Harrell were maybes. Instructions were to meet at OSYC and be ready to leave by noon. The Phillips planned to leave by about 0900 and said that they would meet us somewhere on the water. I arrived at OSYC at about 0900 on Saturday, October 22, and started setting up the Capri 18. Charlotte Harrell had decided not to accompany me. I saw Greg and Charlotte Phillips rounding the club buoy at about 1000. We exchanged greetings, and they headed up river. My boat was in the water and ready to go at about 1100. Since the others had not arrived I figured that they had also decided not to go and left earlier than planned at 1115. There were white caps here and there so I estimated the wind to be about 12 mph out of the NW. By the time I got to the Power Lines the wind was well over 15 with gusts over 20. I had too much sail with the full main and the genny. The wind speed was not a problem but the gusts were rough. It took about 16 tacks to get to the Power Lines in about 1.25 hours. Greg had hove too and reefed his main. He already had up his small jib. Between Goat Island and Crooked Creek, I lowered the genny and sailed for a while under just main; I needed a little rest. After the rest, I decided to change to the smaller jib. Changing the headsail while single handing with that much wind was not easy. After about four trips between the cockpit, to correct direction, and the bow, I had the genny lashed to the foredeck and the 100 jib in place. The rest of the day was much more relaxing. We passed Crooked Creek at 1400 and Oconee Springs at 1500, roughly 4 hours since I left OSYC. This was 14 miles as a power boat travels from OSYC. Just past Oconee Springs, I caught up to Greg and Charlotte. I asked Greg if he knew the way or had a chart. I had not brought one, and I couldn’t see the map on my GPS. He did not have a chart and said that he thought I knew the way. I told him that I had been up that far once before about 15 year ago and I thought that we were going in the right direction. We decided to just do the best we could, stay between the banks and watch the depth sounder, and ask directions. Information from fishermen about how far it was to the bridge and where the shallow areas were was not very reliable. My GPS display has always been fairly dim but it seemed dimmer than usual and I could not see the map features. The channel is the same as the county lines and that usually showed up on the GPS map. (Later when the sun went down and I could see the screen better, I found that I had zoomed in so much that all the lake boundaries and other map features were off the screen. I felt dumb.) Shortly after passing Oconee Springs we came into a very wide area of the lake. We were over toward the left and the depth varied between 6 and 8 feet. I began to worry that the water might get too skinny before we sighted the bridge. I headed toward the right bank looking for the channel and found about 15 feet of water. I tried to stay in at least 10 feet by going back and forth. Greg just went up the middle since he had a retractable keel he did not much worry about shallow water and indeed had to crank up the keel several times during the trip. I drew only 2.5 feet but the keel was winged and fixed. I have heard that if you run a winged keel in semi-soft mud that it can act like an anchor. I have now given the wide place upstream from Oconee Springs a name, Shallow Sound. On we went. I kept an eye on the sounder and Greg staying in the middle. Shortly after I passed under another set of major power lines (now named the Upper Power Lines) the depth went from 15 feet to 5 between my glances at the sounder. The alarm went off and I rapidly made a crash jib and a U-turn. I waved Greg off the shallow area and started looking for deeper water. This time I found the channel which was over 20 feet deep. About 1 mile from the power lines, I rounded a bend and there was the bridge. It wasn’t much of a scenic thing to see, but it was sure good to finally find it. Greg and Charlotte arrived a few minutes after me. It was 1630 hours, a little over 5 hours since I left OSYC. The wind could not have been better. The travel direction from the Oconee Channel Power Lines to Highway 16 Bridge Sighting was mostly NE with the wind mostly out of the NW and backing to the West. We had very little tacking. After a few minutes we turned around and headed back hoping to make Oconee Springs before dark. We arrived at Oconee Springs at about 1820 and decided to keep on going. At about 1930, the wind died to just a whisper, and we were near the same anchorage we had used two weeks earlier. We ghosted in and by the time we set anchor, it was very dark with no moon light. We rafted up and prepared to fix dinner. Greg and Charlotte had brought barbeque which they shared with me. We also had hot chocolate with a little schnapps added. I had never had schnapps in hot chocolate before. That schnapps sure makes hot chocolate taste better. After swapping a few lies and talking about what the others were missing, we hit the sack about 2130. It was cool and quiet and I slept like a log. Sunday, October 23 was downright chilly. The night before I had forgotten to take the stove out of the lazarette so I had to climb out of the cabin in the cold and rummage for it. I set it up on the cabin sole and perked a pot of coffee. By the time the coffee was ready, the cabin was warm even with the hatch open. By the time the coffee was ready I noticed some activity in the other boat. Greg was cooking pancakes. He offered me some but I had already eaten two previously boiled eggs from the cooler, so I declined. He really knows how to cook and eat on a voyage. By 0900 breakfast was finished and we were ready to weigh anchor. Greg had already stowed his anchor when I realized that mine was stuck. Greg came back to help and with both of us pulling it would not budge. We then tied a loop around the rode and hooked it to Greg’s boat. We started both motors and pulled in opposite directions. Our thinking was that the loop would slide down to the anchor and then Greg could pull it out backwards. Well that didn’t happen. Turns out that the rode was tangled around a tree top and using the motors, we were able to pull the tree loose from the bottom and untangle the rode. It is amazing to me how the line got wrapped around so many little branches in such a twisted way. About 20 minutes later we were both under way. Wind was about 8 to 10 mph out of the NW and backing. We were able to sail for about 7 miles to the Power Lines before having to tack. The wind had by then dropped to very light and variable and was out of the SE. I had to tack under the Power Lines and around Hancock Point. From there to OSYC I did not have to tack but the wind was very light and the boats were moving slowly. It took about 3.5 hours to travel the last 5 miles back to the club where I arrived at about 1545. Greg and Charlotte were a little behind me and approaching Airport Island just as I passed the OSYC buoy. Th wind practically died and it took them about two hours longer to get to the buoy. We did it. We made it all the way without the motors except while trying to free my anchor. We each earned 400 Cruiser Quest points and for about 2 hours I was in the lead for the Cruiser of the Year award. I passed the buoy about 2 hours ahead of Greg and Charlotte. It felt really good to be on a part of the lake where I had not been sailing before. There were some fairly large open areas and quite a few secluded coves. In the past when I have been as far as Crooked Creek, I noticed that the water seemed to have a lot of trash and was muddy. On this trip, this changed as we got past Oconee Springs and closer to Lake Oconee Dam; the water appeared a lot cleaner and clearer. I plan to make this trip again if not this fall, certainly next spring. Meantime I plan to scout the area in my pontoon boat and locate and mark some of the better anchorages. Maybe OSYC could plan a multi-day cruise around one of the holidays next year. One more thing, it’s a good idea to have a radio on board to communicate with the other boats. We tried to use cell phones on this trip because Greg’s radio wouldn’t cooperate and found that cell phone coverage is poor to non-existent in this area. Waypoints and Distances Distance from OSYC to within sight of the highway 16 bridge following the Oconee river channel is about 19.5 miles one way or 39 miles round trip. Crooked Creek Marina (Restaurant Closed) 19.5 miles one way from OSYC N33 15.337 W83 15.546 Oconee Springs Park 14.6 miles one way from OSYC N33 16.880 W83 12.500 Upper Power Lines 18.6 miles one way from OSYC N33 18.461 W83 09.049 Highway 16 Bridge Sighting 19.5 miles one way from OSYC N33 19.269 W83 09.015 Anchorage 12.4 miles one way from OSYC N33 15.980 W83 13.297 Shallow Sound 16.6 miles one way from OSYC N33 17.681 W83 150.699

Trailer Sailer Trip to The Dry Tortugas, May 2005

{{{Trailer Sailer Trip to The Dry Tortugas}}} {{by Jimmy Harrell}} {{May 24, 2005}} Earlier this year, a friend of mine, Jerry Hardin, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in sailing from somewhere in the Florida Keys to the Dry Tortugas Keys. Jerry is a retired educator from Oakdale, Tennessee. He and I have been sailing buddies for several years since we met at a gathering of small boat sailors in Pensacola, FL. I committed and Jerry contacted other trailer sailors through the internet at www.trailersailor.com . A young couple, Justin Pipkorn and Edith Gillespie, both 71 and from California, signed on. Both Jerry and I are 62 and sometimes had trouble keeping up with them physically. Everyone knows where the Florida Keys and Key West are, but many do not know that there are several keys beyond Key West. The Dry Tortugas Keys are a group of seven small islands about 70 miles west of Key West Florida. The coral and sand islands have abundant marine and bird life, and the reefs are excellent places to snorkel. The islands were discovered by Ponce de Leon in the 1500’s, and the US built a brick and masonry fort there in the 1800’s. Fort Jefferson and the surrounding islands are now a National Park. Between Key West and the Dry Tortugas are several small keys, the major group being the Marquesas Keys which is an atoll which has a protected natural harbor surrounded by the islands. The atoll is located about 20 miles from Key West. We decided to stop there for the night since 70 miles is too far to sail in one day. The core trip plan was set. Sail from near Key West to the Dry Tortugas and back with overnight stops at the Marquesas. From this core, our trip expanded ambitiously. Since we were all retired in no hurry to get back to a job, why not do some island hopping from about the middle of the keys to Key West before heading for the Dry Tortugas? We decided to launch the boats at Seabird Marina on Long Key and take three of four days to get to Key West and possibly take a day and do some snorkeling at Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary about four miles from Big Pine Key. Jerry and I left my home in Putnam County, Georgia early on Sunday May 29 towing his 23 foot sailboat. We arrived at Long Key at about midnight. Justin and Edith had arrived two days earlier and their boat, “Just Right”, was already in a slip. Since the marina was closed, we spent the rest of the night on Jerry’s boat , Vagabon II, on the trailer. The next day, Monday, we raised the mast, rigged, and launched the boat and planned to sail the following day. The weather did not cooperate with winds forecast to be 20 knots and seas four to six feet inside the reef on the Atlantic side of the keys. We delayed the trip one day. On Tuesday, we left Seabird Marina, motored out into Florida Bay, raised the sails, and headed for the Channel 5 bridge to get to the Atlantic side of the Keys. We cleared the bridge and headed west toward Key West following Hawk Channel which is between the Keys and the reefs on the Atlantic side. The winds were light out of the east, and we had a leisurely 32 mile sail, stopping for the night at the Marathon Marina on Boot Key at about 5:30 PM . On Wednesday, the wind was a little stronger, about 10 knots out of the east. We left Boot Key and sailed 12 miles to Bahia Honda Key. We anchored just off the Bahia Honda State Park beach between the Highway 1 bridge and the old Highway 1 bridge. The park has camp sites, a marina, an outdoor shower, a beach, and a souvenir store which sold sandwiches and ice cream. We towed a dinghy to use to get to shore and decided to row to shore and sample the ice cream. Shortly after we got to shore a park ranger informed us that the beach was off limits to dinghys, so we rowed back to the boat and donned fins and snorkel and swam to shore. The ice cream sure tasted good after all that exercise to get to it. We got an early start on Thursday in order to cover the 34 miles to Oceanside Marina on Stock Island, just east of Key West. As usual, the wind was out of the east although it was a little stronger than previously. The forecast was for a 10 percent chance of showers. At about midday a storm hit us. We had seen a dark cloud on the horizon which appeared to be headed our way. We put on foul weather gear and took the first reef in the main sail. As the wind increased, we decided to take a second reef in the main, and we expected some strong wind and rain but nothing to be alarmed about. Before we had finished tying the second reef, it was apparent that the storm was stronger than we expected, and we decided to drop all sails and take it under bare poles. We noticed a large trawler less than a mile away and heading in our general direction. By the time we had the sails down, the hatch boards in place and locked, and ourselves tethered to the boat we were hit by very strong winds which we guessed were around 50 mph. (Local reports said the winds were up to 70 mph.) In spite of its cover, the dinghy we were towing filled with water and was acting like a sea anchor holding the stern into the wind. Jerry started the 5 horse power motor and after what seemed like a very long time was able to turn the bow into the wind. Now, where was that power boat, and did he see us? We thought about contacting him by radio. We had two hand held and one stationary radios on board, but they were in the cabin. Removing the hatch boards to get to a radio was not an option because the waves breaking over the boat could fill up the boat and sink it. (Note to self: always keep one of the radios in the cockpit.) About that time, the trawler was barely visible and passed a few hundred yards off our bow. Our next concern was where we were, how close to the shore. I checked the mapping GPS and it was displaying a lost satellite signal message. The water and rain and clouds were apparently blocking the signal. I had never had that happen before. The water depth would give us some idea about how close to shore we were. Checked the depth sounder and it was reading zero which obviously was wrong because we were still floating. The magnetic compass was still working, and we had mentally noted the wind direction and our direction of travel. It was time for some dead reckoning. When the storm hit, we were about 2 to 3 miles from shore. The wind was blowing us east parallel to the shore. It probably took us 15 minutes to get the bow into the wind. During that time, we were traveling no more than 3 mph in the direction of the shore. That would put us no closer to shore than 1 mile. This was a comfortable margin. At this distance we would have deep enough water to keep from running aground which would be a very bad thing in the kind of winds and waves we were experiencing. So our decision was to head west, parallel to the shore, using the magnetic compass. I kept a lookout while Jerry drove the boat. We were now seriously worried about Justin and Edith. Their boat was two feet shorter and weighed about half what ours did. About an hour later, the winds subsided to an estimated 35 mph, low enough that I was able to quickly remove the hatch boards and retrieve the radio microphone from the cabin and replace the boards. After a few calls, the trawler came back and said that they had been in touch with “Just Right” and that they were OK and that they were worried about us. He asked about our condition. I told him that we were two tired, wet, and scared souls tethered to the boat and hanging on but were otherwise OK. He said that he would relay the message if he could. About two hours after we first started this ordeal, we got a call from “Just Right”. Based on GPS readings, we located them barely visible as a speck on the horizon behind us. By this time the wind had settled down to something very manageable. We bailed out the dinghy, got out of the foul weather clothing, which was just about as wet inside as on the outside, and all was well. A short while later, I asked Jerry if he saw what I saw. Yes, there was another storm on the horizon coming toward us. The foul weather gear went back on, the hatch boards went back in place, the radio microphone was in the cockpit, and we waited for the worst. It fizzled. There was just a little rain and hardly any wind increase. By the time the new storm was over, we were near the channel entrance to Oceanside Marina, which was on Stock Island just east of Key West. This was a tricky entrance but Jerry had been in before on a previous trip and expertly piloted “Vintage II” in with “Just Right” following closely. Everyone at the marina was talking about the storm, and they were a little amazed that we were out in it in such little boats. One power boater had been near the Marquesas Keys when it hit. He said that the waves were 15 ft. or more. In addition to the airport report of 70 mph winds, several others said they would have guessed 70 mph. We found out later that several docks in Key West were damaged. After a while we started swapping lies about storms. Since most of the liars were power boaters, we asserted that we were sailors, and that the storm was no big deal. It was now late afternoon and we cleaned up and headed for happy hour at The Hickory House, a restaurant and bar that was within walking distance. After dinner, we walked somewhat steadily back to the boats, gathered wet clothes and headed for the laundry mat. By bed time we had clean and dry clothes and the boat was in reasonable order. We checked the weather radio. The news was not good. Winds were forecast to be 15 to 20 mph with seas up to 7 feet. This was not the conditions we wanted for the trip to the Dry Tortugas since we would be beyond the coral reefs which offered some protection from the Atlantic waves. Previous wave forecasts had been on the low side. The next morning we decided to spend another day at the marina, caught a bus to Key West and toured the area. Next day brought us the same forecast, so we decided to spend a second day at the marina. On Sunday, May 8, we left Oceanside Marina. After we got out into Hawks Channel, we turned west and crossed the Key West ship channel and headed for the Marquesas Keys, about 25 miles away. As we approached the Marquesas, we located what we thought was the channel into Mooney Harbor, inside the atoll. The tide was going out, and we got stuck on a sandbar. The wind was forecast to clock from the east to the north and northeast during the night. We would be exposed. We tried the motor then kedging off. Nothing worked so we put out two anchors and waited for high tide which was at midnight. Meantime, Justin and Edith had found the channel into the harbor and spent the night at an idyllic anchorage inside Mooney Harbor. While Jerry stood watch, I went below to rest. I fell asleep and Jerry didn’t wake me until midnight. Jerry was pretty wet from waves breaking over the side. We tried to get off again at midnight to no avail. . The next high tide would be at 9:30 AM and it was to be about a foot higher than the midnight tide. There was nothing else we to do but wait so, we went below and went to sleep. Early the next morning we were ready and anxious as high tide approached. We tried at about 9 AM and again were unsuccessful. We decided to wait for 9:30 and try again. If we did not get off this time we would probably have to call for a tow which would have been very expensive. I was beginning to think that we were not going to get off without help. Just before 9:30 we felt the boat float. We quickly got the motor running and tugged on the anchor. We were moving. I retrieved the anchor in record time and Jerry motored “Vagabon II” out to deeper water. We radioed “Just Right” and told them we had gotten free and were headed west toward the Dry Tortugas. They reported that they had just finished breakfast and would be pulling anchor shortly. They caught up after an hour or so and the two little boats were on the last leg to the Dry Tortugas. We were beyond the outer reefs which up until now had offered some protection from the higher waves from the Atlantic. The waves were forecast to be 4 to 6 feet, and it was a rough ride with waves at least a foot higher as we approached the Dry Tortugas. According to my GPS, we sailed a total of 52 miles that day and anchored in the harbor next to Fort Jefferson with about 20 other boats. Our two boats were less than half the size of any of the other boats in the anchorage. We were very tired from being tossed around all day by the waves that sure looked like more than 7 ft to me. We ate supper, watched the sun set and went to bed as soon as it was dark. The next day we went ashore and did a self guided tour of Fort Jefferson, on Garden Key. For pictures of what we saw, check out ths web site: http://www.terragalleria.com/parks/np.dry-tortugas.html . We did not do any snorkeling nor did we visit any of the other islands because of the weather. We needed at least two days and maybe more to really enjoy the place, but the forecast for the next few days had the wind out of the east and getting stronger each day. We felt that we would be OK if we left the next day. If we waited another day, we might be stuck there for several days waiting for a weather window to get back to Key West. This coupled with the constant east meant that we would have a rough ride motoring directly into the wind to get back to the Marquesas in the daylight. Going back under sail would have meant tacking and taken probably a day and a night to make the trip. At the least we would have arrived at the Marquesas in the dark which would have made it difficult to find an anchorage with all the shallow water. Anyway, after one day at the Dry Tortugas, early in the morning, we headed west for the Marquesas. Winds started out at about 10 mph on the nose and increased to 15 during the day. Waves started at 3 to 4 feet and built to 4 to 7 feet by the time we reached the Marquesas about 13 hours later. We motor sailed all the way, a rough and uncomfortable ride. We were very cautious while trying to get into Mooney Harbor because the last time we were here, we spent the night aground. Since we were on a rising tide, it would be easier to get off if we did touch. Our depth sounder had worked intermittently since the big storm so we did not want to depend on it. “Just Right” was behind us because they had decided to take the waves at an angle to make for an easier ride. Justin had given us GPS way points taken from their previously successful approach two days earlier. I stood on the bow and watched for shallow water while Jerry drove the boat slowly. The water was clear for 4 or 5 feet. Using Justin’s we approached what we thought was the channel. I yelled shallow water and Jerry turned the boat around and we tried another approach about 100 feet further east. Again we found shallow water; and again. Then we saw a local commercial fishing boat approaching from about 200 yards to the east of us. He went right in without any trouble. So we followed him, and there was the channel. It was very easy to see once we got close to it. We went in and anchored. The anchorage was magnificent and well protected from the waves, very quiet and peaceful. Shortly two other commercial fishing boats entered and anchored. An hour or so after we anchored, we saw “Just Right” on the horizon. At the approached, they ran into shallow water and retreated. We talked to them on the radio, gave them directions and after a couple of attempts they also found the channel and came in. There few bugs were kept at bay by insect repellent. I think that the best part about cruising is spending the night in anchorages like this. The next morning, May 12, we left the Marquesas and headed east directly into an east wind of 10 to 15 knots. This was another day of a rough ride into mostly 4 to 7 foot waves. We wore foul weather gear all day, and waves were splashing into the cockpit constantly. Some waves were definitely over 7 feet. Counting the distance out of Mooney Harbor and into Oceanside Marina, we covered 33 miles. I think the second best thing about cruising is spending the night in a marina with clean showers and flush toilets after being poun
ed by the waves all day. Happy hour found us again at the Hickory House Restaurant. After a couple of Margaritas, the discussion centered around plans for the rest of the trip back to Long Key where the vehicles were parked. The forecast for the next few was for the wind to be out of the east and 15 to 20 knots. This meant beating into the wind and waves the same as we had done for the past two days. That did not sound appealing to any of us. Someone suggested that we rent a car and drive to Long Key, pick up the vehicles, load the boats, and call this trip a success. This idea was unanimously accepted and this is what we did. The next day we loaded the boats and headed north with the boats in tow.

My Second Morgan Invasion, Mar. 2005

{{{My Second Morgan Invasion}}} {{By Bob Horan}} {{March 13, 2005}} {{{Part 1}}} The experience started on Thursday, the 14 th about 5:30, when I cranked up my antique 1972 Ford F250 4X4 and pulled up the street on my way to the 20 th Annual Morgan Invasion. It was smooth going until I heard a loud bang while passing a semi tractor trailer 10 miles north of Cordele, GA. I could see no lost tread from the semi, so I decided I should pull over to check my rig. By the time I had gotten stopped, I knew it was my rig. Left rear tire on the truck shredded. Back on the road with the wimpy spare and headed to Wal-Mart for two new back tires, but their garage was closed and would not mount them. 20 miles down the road, I finally found a service station that would mount them for me. By 9:30 PM, I was on the road again. I had gotten 70 miles in 4 hours. It was time to get serious about driving. At 1:30AM, I stopped and rested near Ocala until about 7:00AM and then pressed on to arrive at the War Veterans Memorial Park boat ramp in St. Pete at about 10:00. Raising the mast and launching was smooth and I took my time getting everything ready for arriving at the Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club. Arriving at the Club, I was one of the first 24s to arrive. The evening was a mixture of good food and meeting sailors I had met last year plus the new faces of new Morgan Yacht owners. My daughter Linda arrived about 9:00Am on Saturday, and by then I had also recruited another couple from St. Augustine, FL. to be crew also. We would be a crew of four. Tom and Leslee also own a Morgan 24 and were happy to be able to sail on Linda Jean to gain the experience on a boat like theirs. With introductions completed, and race instructions in hand we pushed off from the dock following the fleet. The sea looked peaceful when we raised the sails and we soon decided we needed the 150% Jib up to sail well in the 8-10 kt. wind. When we arrived at the starting line to find we had up too much sail, with the wind blowing about 20. After changing sail and tacking back to the starting line we saw a Morgan 38, Tease, that had the top of their mast broken off. Nobody injured and no hull damage. The start for us followed shortly with us being on the wrong end of the starting line. We finally started 3-4 minutes late. The wind was blowing strong and we had our hands full. The rail was in the water a lot and we trailed behind the rest of the Morgan 24s. As we approached the last leg the waves were building up a lot and rounding the mark was a challenge. Now we were in some pretty bumpy seas and we could see one of the boats behind us was having trouble tacking on the mark, and the other Morgan 38 had lost a man overboard. They retrieved the man and came back in the race. We were on a port tack when we heard and felt the crack. I thought we might have broken a centerboard. Linda called back that the chain plate had pulled up on the port side. I pushed the tiller and Leslee let up on the jib. I let off on the main and told Tom and Linda to pull down the sails. I cranked up the motor and forced Linda Jean into the wind so they could get the sails down. We would be in serious trouble if the mast came down. With the sails down, I went inside to look at the damage. Not good. The chain plate fasteners had ripped apart the bulkhead and was being held from pulling thru the deck by the acorn nuts of the bolts. Back on deck I tied the outer shroud to the jib track using some small line. We motored in thru the 4-6 ft seas hoping we could get into some calmer water before the mast pulled the chain plate and the jib track up. I called the Race Committee boat on the VHF Radio to tell them we were withdrawing from the race. After we motored thru John’s pass we all relaxed a bit, as we broke out the snacks and drinks, since we had been too busy out there to do much of that. Back at the dock we surveyed the damage a little closer to find that the starboard chain plate was also starting to show signs of fatigue. Linda Jean would need some serious repair or replacement of the main bulkhead. The good part of this is that the mast did not fall, no one was injured, and the cost of repair will be relativity low, but would take months to fix. We had dinner and then the awards ceremony started. We knew we would not get any trophies for the race but wanted to see who did them in the 4 classes. During the awards, Linda Jean received the under 40, “Most Pristine and Innovative Morgan Yacht Award. Pristine Classic”. So we did go home with something. Many asked if I would return next year, and my reply was “ I will return to skipper one of my Morgan 24s next year for the 21 st Annual Morgan Invasion”. The return trip home was uneventful. Arriving home at 8:10 PM on Sunday evening after leaving the War Veterans Memorial Park at Noon. {{{Part 2}}} While I was at the 20th Annual Morgan Invasion, I asked a couple of people including Charlie Morgan, what I should consider in repairing the damage to the bulkhead which the chainplate connects to. I received a couple of suggestions. They were: 1: Replace the entire bulkhead. (Maybe sailing in a year) 2: Cut out the rotten wood, patch with wood/fiberglass and add a larger backing plate. (Maybe sailing in a month) After looking at the damage, I decided go with Charlie Morgan’s advice. I would do a wood/plywood patch and a larger backing plate but I would also extend the chainplate to approx 20” instead of the original 7 ”. (I wanted to be sailing a month) I started working on the repair by taking measurements of where the chainplate used to be on both the port and starboard sides. Then after borrowing a cutter from my son, I started cutting on the Formica that covered the port side bulkhead. The cutter was a carbide blade that had only short teeth but would cut even metal if needed. I cut a square of about 12” by 12” cutting out the wood , I tried to keep the edges straight. While I was cutting, the blade created a lot of smoke and dust and after only a short time I was required to put on a gas mask and eye protection to continue. After examination of the wood at the edges of the initial hole, I decided to try cutting a little more down the bulkhead thinking the wood was not too good yet. I cut almost 7 more inches down and found the wood to be very solid. With all solid wood showing I cleaned up the hole so I could put together a good plan. I cut out a cardboard piece to fit the hole and then started looking for some plywood to use for this project. From the local Lowes Home Improvement Store, I bought a sheet of pressure treated exterior plywood. Cutting out a piece that was roughly the same size as the cardboard one I got it ready for installing. I had decided to insert bolts into the good wood and use a sort of interlocking system with the plywood to make the patch tie in with the remaining original bulkhead. Using 5/16 X 3” stainless lag bolts, I inserted the bolts leaving about 1” showing yet. They were in tight in good wood and would hold a lot as long as they were tied in to the patch securely. Cutting T shaped slots in the plywood, I had the plywood ready to slide over the bolts. With the plywood ready, I started the fiberglass part of the patch. Putting in 3 layers of glass on the back side I glassed in the snug fitting plywood. Quickly, I mixed a batch of fiber strand enforced patch and filled in the holes and tried to level out the patch so the cloth and resin would be easy to lay in. The patch was still setting up when I started putting resin and the first layer of cloth on the front side. Using larger pieces of cloth each time, I put on 5-6 layers of cloth with the final 4 layers being large enough to be glassed to the to the hull. Now it was time for a little more patch to fill in enough to make the patch smooth so I could make it ready for the paint and connecting the chainplate extensions and the 20 inch backing plates. After some sanding and more filling, I finally had the patch smooth enough. I painted the patch trying to match the color of white already on the bulkhead. I had ordered a couple of 3ft anodized aluminum bars from McMaster Carr, that were 2” by 3/8” thick. While the paint was drying I cut the 3/8”anodized aluminum bar so that I would have a 20” backing plate and enough for the front to overlap the existing chainplate. I lined up the top hole in the chainplate extension with the bottom, hole in the chainplate and drilled the first hole so it would tie into the chainplate and then extend downward to match up with the 20” backing plate. Using a torch, I heated the aluminum bar so I could put a ” offset in it so it would bolt to the chainplate and then bolt flush to the bulkhead. With the chainplate extension & backing plate drilled, I mounted and through bolted them onto the repaired bulkhead. With the chainplate firmly in place it was time to seal around the chainplate on the deck and clean up the boat. The starboard side also looked like it might have some rotten wood but after cutting away the Formica, I found solid wood, so I just fiberglassed over the wood to smooth it up with the Formica and installed an extended chainplate and backing plate to match the new port side hardware. The two repairs look exceptionally strong, with the six ” bolts connecting the chainplate/extension with the 20” backing plate. It maybe an overkill, but I will never worry about having a problem with the chainplate again under normal sailing conditions. Total cost including the plywood, aluminum straps, 12 bolts, resin, cloth, filler, & lag bolts came to $171.40. Labor came to about 35 hours. For a failure of this type, I came out pretty good on the cost part of it.