Monday, October 18, 2010

Life Changes

Most recently Sue and I had decided on a plan whereby we get Enee Marie going again by spring and sail her to the north east US. Sounds like one of our plans. I had planned to go to Grenada to work on her for about a month over Christmas - January. The extended version of this plan has us living and working in Chicago during the school year and then sailing Enee Marie in the summer where ever she is. That's a good plan we think but it's an even better plan if grandpa could earn some more stinking money.

Then the phone rang. . .

A private school north of Chicago suddenly needs a full time physics teacher! They want me.

I'll take it!

At the same time as is happened a spot just turned up at the very nice day care center in the neighborhood and Lucy is ready for that we all think. So. . . I could start as early as next week!!

HOLY CRAP! Teenagers! I'm sure I can still hack it but there is soooooooo much work to do to figure out where the kids are at, what text books they use, what's in the lab?

So, I'm back to being Mr. Welty (and I like that guy ok) for the rest of this school year at least. I'll not have the time I thought I'd have to work on Enee but I'll have the money to hire it out even though that's and expensive way to go. Maybe I can do it in 2 hunks - Christmas and spring break but once you factor in air fare I might be better off just hiring out the work and keeping close tabs on it as best I can.

Life just keeps happening to me!

Friday, September 24, 2010

We Begin!

I just authorized Spice Island Marine to begin some work on Enee Marie. They're going to do some fiberglass repair to the transom especially where it meets the hull, sand and fair the rudder, fill in the through hulls that were for the now defunct air conditioning, open the boat in November and clean her up, and, of course, paint the bottom. I still plan on returning to her in December/January to modify the anchor locker and to install the wind vane steering.

From there, plans split into a number of possibilities. If things go smoothly and fast I may have time to sail the boat to Antigua or even St. Martin. We'd like to stage from around there for the longer journey north in the spring/summer. Or, I could leave the boat at Spice Island and we sail from there. That only adds 2-3 days to a northley trip and would allow shake down cruise for Sue and I to learn the wind vane steering. Or, I could launch the boat and leave her on anchor with a company hired to keep an eye on her and to keep the bottom clean. This should be quite a bit less than storage in the yard but then she's in the water and basically unattended.

The installation of the wind vane steering means our dinghy davits are for sale. I'm also thinking of getting rid of the inflatable and 18 hp outboard (heavy!) and going with a rowing dinghy. Nothing to repair there! Anyone in Grenada or heading that way interested in either, let me know.

Friday, August 27, 2010

June Passages

Our plan right now is to do what it takes to get Enee Marie ready for a passage from Antigua to Bermuda first week in June. I know. . . June is the official start of the hurricane season. Look at the data from the national hurricane center though. . . Be sure to scroll down at this site. They have tons of data displayed in a variety of ways. Below is just one of their graphs.

As you can see there are very, very few storms in June or even July. Add to this the lead time you tend to get for big storms coming across from Africa and I feel that it is ok with proper planning to make a passage to Bermuda in June. I'm open to other thoughts from the wide, wide world of " the internet" though!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

HSM Bounty

What a treat! Due to a crewman who happened to read The Why Book of Sailing (buy my book!) on the tall ship HMS Bounty, which is in Chicago right now, we got an extra special tour from the Captain!

Bounty was built in 1960 or so for the film Mutiny on same staring Marlon Brando. The plan was to burn the boat at the end of the film. Brando said if they burned this beautiful wooden boat he'd not finish the movie.

At some point Ted Turner bought all the MGM movie rights. To his surprise he also got a mooring bill from a yard in Florida for the Bounty which came with the movies as a prop!

She's been used in the Johnny Depp Pirate movies and other sailing movies. The wheel has been in every Mutiny on the Bounty film. Every time hollywood needed a wooden sailing helm they picked the same one so many famous actors have stood watch at that very wheel.

We got to see the galley and the work room. MANY spare parts as you might imagine. Capt. Robin is taking her to Milwaukee next and then to Erie Pennsylvania (Enee Marie was there in '05). Sometime after that they are sailing her to Europe. Interestingly, Capt. Robin has bent to some modern conveniencies for safety but when they are underway on a longish passage gps, radar, etc are off and they use celestial navigation and ded reckoning. Why not? The ship can only be sailed via brute effort by the crew of 20. No electric winches or similar.

The pier was packed with people to view and get aboard these fine old ships. Sailboats have been and looks like always will be quite a draw to people. Why not? The whole damn planet was explored via wooden sailboats!

Sailing Routes

Playing with Google Earth. Here's what the two voyages we have in mind look like from way up high! (click on pic to embigify)

Run from Antigua to Bermuda is about 930 nm and from Bermuda to Hailifax is about 730 nm. Let's see. . . .

930 nm/5 knots = 186 hours or 7.75 days.
730 nm/5 knots = 146 hours or 6 days.

Can we maintain or average 5 knots? How much motoring will there be. Fuel? We can't lollygag out there forever as there is the occasional hurricane. (Don't say hurricane!)

PIlot Charts

Pilot charts are very interesting and useful tools for planning a long passage. Below is a piece of the one for June around Bermuda. You can get a whole book of these (they're big) and there's a page for each month. The chart represents averages of data taken over many, many seasons.

The blue circles are the most interesting. Each one show for that location for that month the average wind direction and strength. For example, the one above with the 5 in the middle: The longest arrow shows wind from the south east. The length of the arrow shaft is proportional to the percentage of time the wind blows from that direction. The number of feathers on the arrows show the wind speed on the Beaufort scale. So for the one above the most persistant wind for that location for June is SE force 3. The 5 in the middle indicates 5% of the time calms.

The green lines indicate ocean currents and the direction and velocity in knots is given. When you look at the bigger picture from Antigua to Bermuda for June you see a general picture of fair winds for a northerly passage.

You'll note that if the percentage for a particular wind direction gets too high (above 29%) they don't make the arrow longer but just put the percentage withing the shaft.

Anyway, looks like E and SE winds most of the way and then switching to S - SW as we approach Bermuda. In between there are surely going to be some doldrums. Take more fuel! Another thing to notice is that when the wind switches to the north there's plenty of it. Those probably represent norther's coming down.

There's lots more info on the charts regarding temperatures, wave heights and general description of the persistent weather for that month. You can buy these charts at the usual chandleries or download them! Here's the link.

I'm visiting the captain of the Bounty today as the Tall Ships are in Chicago. Apparently my book, The Why Book of Sailing has been a popular volume on board. Who knew! A full report and pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sail Away Again?

Sort of. I guess it's time to re-charge the old blog. After a year in Chicago enjoying the monumental duties (and low pay!) of being grandparents we have hit upon a new plan for the upcoming year and perhaps years.

1. We can't NOT have a boat (forgive the double negative!). Our boat is our ultimate security blanket. Right now we are enjoying living and working in Chicago (we're both teaching at Columbia College) but if that were to go south we'd be living in a cardboard box on lower Wacker Drive!

2. We want a bigger adventure than yo-yoing up and down the Caribbean. . . as nice as that is!

3. So we have a multi-part plan:

a. Scott returns to Grenada Dec 14 or so and begins to whip Enee back in to shape. The biggest (and most expensive project) will be the installation of Hydrovane self steering. We like this one as it has it's own rudder, has great reviews and that rudder can also serve as an emergency rudder if we lose the big one. It's been installed on our very boat before with fine results. Other jobs include modifying the anchor locker so that I can undo the castling chain from the bow, purchasing a new foresail, general clean up, selling the dingy davits, bottom paint, etc. More on modifications as we proceed.

b. If I finish the jobs in time (I have to be back in Chicago Jan 23) I'll try to move the boat north to Antigua either by myself or with crew. If not Enee will just have to stay in the yard at SIMS in Grenada a little longer...

c. Sue and I return to Enee when school gets out June 1. At that time Enee HAS to be ready to go as we plan to then sail her to Bermuda (1 week +) and then after a rest on to NE United States or maybe even Nova Scotia. We'll put the boat up for the winter where ever we land and return to Chicago in August for teaching and grand parenting.

Now we can live and work in Chicago, be close to family and friends, and still visit Enee on the East coast in the summers. Could work!

Here's Lucy the grand daughter

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug See why we're tending toward staying?

We look forward to any and all comments for advice, good boat yards, etc. Sue and I are VERY excited about the upcoming year. The planning and preparation are half the fun!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From the Captain's Perspective

Hey All,

Scott is writing his version of the Key West to Kemah trip in his new blog: Sailing Science.

Click on the link and check it out!

over and out

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 6 Arrival!

They made it! Nothing broke and nobody died. Bloody Mary's were awaiting, thanks to Jen, as they tied up to the dock.

Final Lat/Long:
GPS location Date/Time:06/26/2010 07:24:29 EDT

By my google map total distance is 769.591 nautical miles.

Can't wait to hear the stories.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 5 and Counting

Well they're getting close. The ETA is Saturday now. The opposing current and lack of wind have added a day to their trip.

Here's an email from Scott recieved yesterday:
Morning! Much excitement (and it doesn't take much) this morning. Another pod of dolphins was prancing about the bow and I went and sat there and watched them. Jay was down below downloading emails and Roger was asleep (auto-helm). When Jay came up he started hollering as nearly all the fishing line was racing out to sea. FISH ON!Took forever to reel in 1000 yards of line but worth it as there was a very large fish on the hook. We're having Mahi for lunch AND dinner today. Little wind - motor and main. Should hit the ship channel around 4:00 AM Saturday - Kemah later that morning. See you soon!

For those of you keeping track of the nautical miles I'm listing the lat/long reports from the beginning:

Date Time LAT LONG
6-21-10 08:10:27 24.56284 81.80609
6-21-10 16:17:17 24.47658 82.60577
6-21-10 20:03:06 24.44973 82.95004
6-21-10 22:57:57 24.50378 83.20925
6-22-10 05:07:51 24.82509 83.79071
6-22-10 07:57:00 24.95769 83.9726
6-22-10 17:05:42 25.44269 85.04053
6-22-10 18:35:42 25.53443 85.20159
6-22-10 23:44:41 25.78006 85.65888
6-23-10 08:17:30 26.14867 86.5168
6-23-10 09:45:29 26.19002 86.64132
6-24-10 02:39:41 26.9324 88.35954
6-24-10 06:07:00 27.10781 88.76423
6-24-10 08:57:58 27.23868 89.11275
6-24-10 14:05:00 27.48349 89.75311
6-25-10 02:05:06 28.04003 91.28268

According to my Google Map this is a total distance of 561.855 nautical miles.

Last night as I was just getting to my apartment when my cell phone rang. I look to see that Scott is calling me from his cell. What the What? He tells me that they are sailing through some oil rigs (not through the oil slick) and surprisingly discovered a strong signal of 4 bars. He just got off his watch (helm duty -- don't say duty) and was setting his alarm on his phone before he hit the hay (fell asleep). So that was a wonderful surprise.

'One more day, my johnny, one more day!'

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 4

This is Day 4 for the Rum Runner crew but this email I'm sharing with you was written by Scott late in the evening on Day 3. How's that for confusing!

Hey - Just got off watch and about to hit the rack. I'm back on at 2AM. LOts of motor today trying to get out of the opposing current. I think we'll be clear in a few more hours. A pod of about 12 dolphins entertained us today for several minutes including a baby about 2 feet long.

LOoks more and more like a saturday arrival.

Getting very weird to be out of sight of land for this long. Seems like we're not moving since we're always in the middle of the big blue bowl.

love you miss you. Share email with Leah. . . I just can't remember addresses!

Current (as in Day 4) Lat/Long:
GPS location Date/Time:06/24/2010 02:39:41 EDT

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 3

So I didn't get a lat/long until well after 8 am today. Got a little worried but for no good reason.
Have received several emails from Captain Snappy today -- all for someone else. Well I guess I did have one in there just for me too, contents being: Did you forward my emails? Give a Cub update. So I do serve a purpose.

If you're missing the captain's 'voice' here's part of an email about his trip:
Day three of our passage from KEy West to KEmah, Tx which is in Galveston Bay. We sailed a lot the first day out of KEy West going just south of the dry tortugas before turning and heading wnw to KEmah. Much motoring since then as the wind has been dead on the stern. We've also found a 2-3 knot current against at our present position (26 14 N, 86 47 W)We should pop out of it by day's end. Total trip is around 800 miles. Hoping to make Kemah on Saturday. In the meantime, good crew, good fun, good food and HOT!

So that's today's update. Hope you're keeping safe and dry from the midwest storms.

Sailor Sue

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Key West to Kemah Texas

Just when you thought it was safe to sail ----
Captain Grandpa Scott is on the seas again!!!!!

Our Caribbean cruising friends Jay and Jen from Rum Runner were looking for crew to sail their boat from Key West, FL to their new home in Kemah, TX. We're so glad that we were on their list of possibilities!

Scott was most available since I'm working Full Time (actually I mostly have the summer off but a conference is happening this week so I wasn't available). And we contacted our buddy Roger from Texas who helped Scott and I sail Enee Marie from Long Island to Norfolk way back when. Great news -- Roger was also available for the trip.

After a few tough days* in Key West getting Rum Runner rigged for the trip, the crew was ready to set sail on Monday, June 21st. Jen pre-prepared all meals for the guys so they would eat healthy during their 900 mile 5 day trip. She then acquired crew of her own to help drive Kona the wonder dog from Key West to Kemah where they will await the arrival of Rum Runner. Will there be bagpipes and fireworks?

*Tough Days = closing most of the bars on Duval Street!!!

So here is my attempt to share the route of Rum Runner's journey homeward bound. Roger brought along a device that emails lat/long at the push of a button. So we are getting Rum Runner's position several times a day. Today I also got a phone call from Scott. How great to hear his voice! He said they had rough seas last night (their first night) with little wind but things have calmed down and they have some wind so were sailing 7 knots this afternoon.

Click on the link below and see what happens. What I would like to happen is that you will be directed to a google map that shows Rum Runners' traveled route so far.,-87.749066&z=6&t=h&hl=en

If this link doesn't work for you and you'd like to do your own tracking, here are the lat/long as sent via the "" device:

Date Time LAT LONG
6-21-10 08:10:27 24.56284 81.80609
6-21-10 16:17:17 24.47658 82.60577
6-21-10 20:03:06 24.44973 82.95004
6-21-10 22:57:57 24.50378 83.20925
6-22-10 05:07:51 24.82509 83.79071
6-22-10 07:57:00 24.95769 83.9726
6-22-10 17:05:42 25.44269 85.04053
6-22-10 18:35:42 25.53443 85.20159

I'll update daily so you'll be able to follow along.
Sailor Sue


6-22-10 23:44:41 25.78006 85.65888

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Site

Just in case anyone stumbles by here I'm working on a new site to collect sailing and science things. Some from the book and some new ones as they come up. So, give it a look and let's hear from you if you do!