Home Port; on the Delaware River at Fox Grove Marina Essington PA.

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 2009

Fiberglass lighter/life-boat at Essington

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 2009

Ulladh on the hard at Fox's Grove.

November 14, 2009
Anchorage Marina, high tide with low pressure system off Delaware Bay

Sunday, October 4, 2009

October 2009

Sunday October 4, 2009
Morning Delaware River sailing to PHL, clear sky mid 70's F, 10 knot breeze from the west with the flood. Return against the flood-tide into the building wind.

Wednesday October 7, 2009
Winds from west 20 to 25 knots with sustained gusts above 40. Add extra spring line and double up bow and stern lines.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chesapeake Bay

September 25, 26 & 27

Friday 25
Chartered a Gemini 105m catamaran (10.5M 35ft). Departed Back Creek Annapolis 12:00 noon on Friday with Vicki and Kat 18nm south and west for Galesville on the West River. Easy sailing while we got familar with a different sailing style from  mono-hulls.

Passed Thomas Point light a classic Chesapeake light house on stilts and tacked with 10 to 15 knot breeze out of the east to West River and docked at the Thursday's resturant transient dock about 5:30 PM for beer and appetizers.

Leave the dock in darkness after a stroll along the waterfront about 8:00 PM and anchor just outside the mooring field.

We had set the anchor for 10:1 scope typical for the Delaware but overkill for the Chesapeake which resulted the next morning with an anchor so well set that we needed to power over the anchor to tug it loose in opposition to the set angle.
Depart Galesville about 8:00 AM for a 25nm cruise east to St Micheals on the Delmarva peninsula. The Coast Guard has posted a small craft advisory with winds 15 to 20 knot from the east with sustained gusts 20 to 25 knot, and 5ft short period swells.
The Gemini was in its element, tacking 60 to 30 degrees off the wind at 10 knot speed over ground (SOG). We probably ran more tacks than we needed to enter the Eastern Bay at Bloody Point for a long slog under power with dogleg turns and narrow channels to St. Micheals.

Dock at St. Micheals Marina about 4:00 PM and meet-up with Vanessa and Danaka with Alex their driver to overnight on the boat before they leave at 5:00 AM for a 10k race on the Delaware side of Delmarva.
Beer and crabcakes at one of the many crab resturants Saturday night. Throughout our trip we have been running through a maze of crabbers and crab pots.

Sunday 27
Heavy rain overnight and misty rain in the morning. Depart St. Michaels about 8:00 AM for our 25nm return to Annapolis, spotting the channel markers in Miles River through a slowly clearing mist before turn west into the eastern bay, with a 10 knot breeze from the west. Try some tacks and make slow progress and eventualy power sail past Bloody Point light into the Chesapeake.

Set a port tack with 5 to 10 knot breeze from the west on a heading northwest to Annapolis, and hold the same tack to the entrance to Back Creek.
Drop sails as we motor into the Severn River and make the turn to Back Creek with a stop at the fuel and sanitary pump-out, then return to the charter company slip about 5:30 PM

A great weekend and we learned a lot skippering a catamaran including its limitation, and benifits. Perhaps a longer charter next time.

The most useful item I brought apart from the Embassy Cruising Guide and Charts was the new Stiener bonoculars with built-in compass, we could easily get a compass bearing to bouys and points.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2009

Wednesday September 2, 2009
Afternoon sail, high 70's F, 5 to 10 knots shifting from north to east.
Sail on a broad reach with the ebb to Darby Creek, then beam and close reach slalom tack nuns and cans crossing the channel PA to NJ to PA to Harrah's.

Begin return and wind has shift to out of the east and with well trimmed full sail have negative progress against the ebb current. Penn Terminal dock cranes are overtaking my little boat. Drop the jib, motor on, sheet in the main to produce a clean airfoil with streaming tell-tales, and motor-sail return to Essington.

A 5 to 10 knot breeze has more power with denser fall air than the light summer air. In a few weeks with air temperature in the 60's F there may be enough dense air in a 5 to 10 knot breeze to overcome the tidal current.

Friday September 4, 2009
Afternoon sail low 80's F, 5 to 10 knot breeze out of the northeast broad and beam reach to Eddystone. Tack between channel and PA to return on close reach and close haul.

Marina neighbor leaving as I return.

Sunday September 13, 2009

Late morning sail, high 70's F, 5 to 10 knot breeze steady from the north gusting to 15. Sail close hauled and close reach to PHL against the ebb and return close hauled with the ebb. Dock against the ebb, cut the motor as the bow approaches the end of the dock tee and coast snug to the floating dock. Gusts build for next half hour then the breeze completely dies.
Early fall sky over Little Tinicum.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 2009

Friday August 7, 2009

Afternoon sail to PHL at slack before high tide with 10 to 15 knot wind from the east gusting to 20, forecast evening thunderstorms.
Practice setting first reef while underway; bow to the wind, lock tiller tamer, slack mainsail halyard and tie off first luff reef at goose neck then tension halyard, tie off first leech reef, and tension reef line as new outhaul.

Returning to slip a fast ebb has begun and building gusts in opposition to the ebb, port side to the dock is not going to work, motor off and come in starboard to dock with assistance from marina neighbors.

Quick calculation debris on the water covers a distance of 40ft alongside the dock in less than 5 seconds, 8ft/sec, 480ft/min, 28,800ft/hr, 5.45 statute miles/hr, 4.75 knots. Ulladh's hull speed is 5 knots. The guesstimate was 2hrs after high tide, one hour before peak tidal flow.

Tuesday August 18, 2009

Afternoon sail, low 90's F, ebb tide after high. Sail to Mifflin Bar Dike on a beam reach come about and tack in close reach with building wind shifting from out of the south to out of southwest in opposition to my course and the ebb tide back to the marina. I had previously increased tension on the forestay and appear to have reduced weatherhelm.

Smooth dock, motor against the tide, then motor in neutral as I coast to snug against the floating dock.

Marina neighbor returning as I leave.

Wednesday August 19, 2009

Afternoon sail, low 90's F, 5 to 10 knot breeze steady from southwest.
Swift close reach to Eddystone with the ebb, then come about against the ebb and a swift beam reach return to Essington.

Smooth dock using same technique as Tuesday. Returned to dock at peak ebb flow, but tidal current was suppressed by a high pressure system at the mouth of Delaware Bay, which is also blocking the westward movement of Hurricane Bill. The tidal range and current is greater when a low pressure system is at the Bay mouth.

Sunday August 30, 2009
Three Forts Ferry from Delaware City to Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island.
Built after the war off 1812 to protect Wilmington and Philadelphia from future naval attack, then during the Civil War used as a prison camp for up to 12,000 Confederate soldiers. The south battlement was modified for the Spanish American War, and last used during WWII as a garrison on the river.

The river narrows to 5 miles between Fort Dupont in Delaware and Fort Mott in New Jersey, with Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island between them.

Moat supplied with water from open sluice gate at high tide. All 3 teirs of wall openings are gun ports with large naval cannons.
Courtyard with officers quarters.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 2009

4th of July
Sail with Katherine and Vanessa; Low 80's F, forecast 10 to 15 knot west wind, actual from NWS at PHL 10 to 15 with sustained gusts to 26 knot. Set out with first reef and small jib sail wing on wing past Mifflin Bar Dike to the first green can at PHL moving fairly fast, come about try to beat into the wind but make little headway. Motor sail with reefed main and eventually drop the jib. The 3 hour sail ends with a perfect dock in sustained gusts after coming through a pirate flotilla with water cannon and water bomb from the party at Foxs Marina.

July 5th
High 70's F, forecast 5 knot breeze from the north (PA side), slow beam reach to PHL with the flood tide and slightly faster return to the marina in slack tide. Returned to the dock about 20 mins after high tide during forecast slack, but the current was running as a fast ebb. My marina neighbors assisted docking claim there was no slack; flood current-swirl-ebb current.

July 18th
Saturday morning sail, low 80's F, 10 to 15 knots from the west gusting to 25 at PHL. A speedy run wing on wing to PHL followed by a swift tacks into the building and gusting wind back to the marina, against 1ft to 2ft chop with white caps. Usually come into to dock with the motor in forward at idle, but need more power to overcome windage against the hull with sails furled. Motor in reverse as the hull snugs against the floating dock and throw stern line on a dock cleat before overshooting the dock. Step off and secure spring line and reset the stern line and secure bow line.

July 25th
Saturday morning sail, low 90's F, faint stirring of the air, slow sail against beginning of the flood tide to Eddystone. Coast Guard issues a Pan Pan for a disabled Bass boat off Boeing. By the time I get to Boeing they are under tow by a Bayliner.

I had a meeting in Fishtown on Friday. I was early so visited Penn Treaty Park on the river where William Penn signed a treaty with the Lenape. View from the waterfront towards Ben Franklin Bridge, the spit of land and jetty to the right was the approximate location of a British fort during the French and Indian War. The water was clear with visibility at 3 to 4 ft

July 26

Thunderstorms forecast for next few days. Sunday morning remove the diesel tank and associated plumbing, the last item in removing diesel odour from the boat. Next will be to partition the lazarette from the boat interior and make self draining by using the former exhaust through hull and provide ventilation, for relocation off the outboard fuel tank. Work for non-sailing days.

Water in the bilge from rain and cleaning the engine compartment has now evaporated leaving a dusty residue, no more drip from a leaky engine cooling jacket or drip from the stuffing box, and less chance of dumping contaminated bilge water into the river.

Friday, June 26, 2009

June 2009

Friday June 26, afternoon sail to Mifflin Bar Dike, 90 deg F humid and less than a 5 knot breeze from the south.

Sunday June 29, midday sail to Chester, a pleasant 85 deg F, 10 knot breeze from the north with gusts to 15 of Boeing and Eddystone, a fast beam reach to Harrahs with the ebb tide, then return against the ebb.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spring 2009

-Remove engine and prop, close stern tube.
-Construct transom beam and install outboard motor mount.
-Remove engine through hulls and restore hull openings.
-Clean and prep hull below water line, base coat with coal tar epoxy, finish coat with coal tar epoxy and copper flour.

Motor removed, engine bay cleaned of almost 40 year of crud, propellor and shaft removed and sealed, through hulls cut out and fiberglass patched.

Transom beam installed and hull cleaned and sanded. Hull above water line sanded, primed and painted.
Hull below water line painted with coal tar epoxy.
Hull below water line finish painted with coal tar epoxy and copper flour.
Outboard serviced, alternator added and hung on transom beam. Down position. Copper patina developing.

Outboard up position.

In the travel lift sling ready for splash

Ulladh in its new home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18, 2009

Time to get the boat prepared for a new season.
The boats in front of Ulladh get splashed first, but by then the boat bottom will be re-coated with Coal Tar Epoxy with copper from Progressive Epoxy, topside repainted, Volvo Penta MD 1 inboard motor and prop removed and Tohatsu 6 hp outboard motor serviced with new alternator and hung on a new transom beam with new Garlelick motor bracket.


Ulladh pronounced "ul-la" (null lad).

Uladh the gaelic spelling for the territory of the U-Nail chieftains in the ancient Irish province of Ulster (English/Norse), originally the counties of Down and Antrim, but now including Derry, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, also referred to as Ulidia (Greek/Roman),.

Uladh was the home of a pre-celtic, cruithne (crew-en-ya) pictish tribe, who may have been descendants of prehistoric tribes indigenous to the British Isles since the retreat of the last ice age.

Archeological finds date first inhabitants to about 6,000 BC and trade goods from Rathlin Island, County Antrim off the northeast coast of Ireland made from porcellanite stone appearing in Egypt and Crete by 2,500 BC.

The early tribes of Ireland where displaced by later waves of migrants from mainland Europe; about 1700 BC by bronze age tribes, celtic tribes about 500 BC, and in the past two millenia; Roman trading posts, Viking settlements, English plantations... and in the 21st century a welcome increasing diversity from the European Union and the world.

SV Ulladh (for vhf clarity I use "sailing vessel ul-la") is named for the territory of the first peoples to settle in Ireland after the retreat of the last ice age.


Since 1949 Fisksatra Varv in the coastal town of Fisksatra Sweden, built fiberglass boats from dinghies to a 300 ton minesweeper for the Swedish Navy.

The Havsfidra 20's were built between 1968 and the late 1970's to Swedish Navy and Lloyd's certification standards.

The Havsfidra 20 and a larger version the Storfidra 26 where sold in the United States by Continental Yachts and Trawler Agency of Atlantic City NJ.

Havsfidra; sea-feather?
(fidra; to touch or tickle with a feather -Icelandic-English Dictionary, Clarendon Press 1874)