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

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 2011

Sad when it comes to an end.
Malt Whisky and Scrabble complement each other.
Hull cleaned, sanded and one coat coal tar epoxy with copper flour

0.5 litre each side, coal tar epoxy with 1 coffee scoop copper dust each 0.5 litre

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 2011 Haul Out

November 27, 2011

November 8, 2011
The Hurricane seasons is not done with us yet, Sean is building;

November 5, 2011 Haul-Out
Haul out at Fox Grove

Empty slips

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 2011

October 22-23 Sail to Delaware City

Coal barge unloading at Oldmans Creek

Bouchard push tug/barge at anchor off Wilmington

Chesapeake Bay Skipjack

Early morning at Delaware City

Tanker at Delaware City Refinery

Newcastle DE

October 6, 2011
Afternoon sail in less than 5kt variable breeze.

Dredge off West End Boat Club

October4, 2011
Motor work on the 6hp Tohatsu.
Install new plastic rod end clips to shifter/neutral lock rod.
Adjust throttle control rod.
Adjust remote shifter cable
Smooth shifting and gentle idle.

October 3, 2011
Ophelia departs for Ireland, Philippe meanders and is forecast to to turn ENE

Friday, September 30, 2011

September 2011

September 30, 2011
Late Septmber sail 5 to 10kt gusting to 15, mid 70's F

September 29, 2011
Two weeks of rain finally coming to an end, maybe, time to plan a trip for October.
Ordered a very small plastic clip for the outboard starter/shift cam lock. The clip snapped and created a condition limiting reliability of shifting into neutral or reverse.

Ophelia gained strength but is projected to turn NNE away from the US east coast. Philippe is projected to turn ENE

September 26, 2011
Ophelia falls apart and Philippe continues to turn north.

September 25, 2011
Ophelia and Philippe

September 24, 2011
TD 17 after Ophelia

Philadelphia Navy Yard Warehouse

September 23, 2011
And another one after Ophelia just forming

September 22, 2011
Another day without wind, adjusted furling head sail leech, moved clutch on boom vang to boom end for ease of use from cockpit, installed new Plastimo radar reflector on shroud at spreader, then had a beer. Measured for new companionway door, after two beers, maybe I should measure again?

Next up Ophelia

September 19, 2011
A day with minimal breeze. Fixed a snagged spinnaker halyard and wanted to to do a test run, but not even enough air movement for the spinnaker. An afternoon of controled drifting on the Delaware and watching aircraft land at PHL.

Last time I used the spinnaker I was changing windward side so frequently, carrying the spinnaker forward around the forestay and furling jib that I tangled the halyard with forestay above the furler. Attempts to untangle made the problem worse. At dock today I used binoculars to view the mess I created and walked the sheet out of its tangle checking with binoculars at each untwist.

Mariners' 1-2-3 Rule;
The Mariners' 1-2-3 Rule, or "Danger area", is indicated by shading. The 1-2-3 Rule, commonly taught to mariners, refers to the rounded long-term NHC forecast errors of 100-200-300 nautical miles at 24-48-72 hours, respectively. The contour defining the shaded area is constructed by accounting for those errors and then broadened further to reflect the maximum tropical storm force (34 knot) wind radii forecast at each of those times by the NHC. The NHC does not warrant that avoiding these danger areas will eliminate the risk of harm from tropical cyclones.

September 16, 2011
Slow day-sail on the river still air with a few puffs and gusts, but water is now clear to about 2ft visibility on the rudder. Still some Irene and Lee debris clunking against the hull and collecting in the slips.

Minor fiasco;
Single handed approach the slip at just under half throttle to overcome the current, bow enters the slip, motor to neutral, I go forward step off at the shrouds as the fender nudges home, spring line in hand ready to drop onto the dock cleat. The boat starts to gain speed reversing out of the dock, closest cleat is now at the end of the finger pier.

With spring line on the end cleat the boat swings around to form a perfect tee with the pier, just missing neighbors both sides. Step back on the now stationary boat and with longer dock lines and power get the boat back into its slip.

September 14, 2011

September  13, 2011
Sailing today with Pepe: to Billingsport and return, gentle breeze just under 5kt with some welcome gusts. Lots of debris on the river. A light wind spinnaker day, but time to get a new spinnaker pole.

September 12, 2011
Katia is visiting the British isles now, but Maria is building strength north of Puerto Rico and may follow same the same NNE path of Katia east of 70w or NNW of Irene west of 70w.

September 9, 2011

September 8, 2011
Nate is growing in the Gulf, Lee and Katia are dropping rain on the NE and Maria is on her way?

September 7, 2011
Hurricane Katia should miss the east coast and be just a coastal storm. Tropical Depression 14 is growing and looks like same path as Katia.
Update TD14 is now a named storm "Maria".

September 4, 2011

September 3, 2011
Sailing after Hurricane Irene silt clears from river, but still some small and large chunks of debris.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 2011

August 28, 2011

August 26, 2011
Waiting for Hurricane Irene

August 13, day sail with a return to gentle breezes and occasional gusts.

August 4, 5 & 6 Cape May to Essington (write up in progress)

Depart Bidwell Creek Cape May Thursday August 4 at about 8:30 AM in light rain just after low tide when my keel could slip enough in the mud at the marina entrance to get out.

Winds out of the ENE 10 to 15 kt gusting to 20+ with reports from mid bay buoy at 17kt sustained,

Left with main on second reef sailed across to Egg Island Flats at speed over ground (SOG) 4.5 minimum and 6.5 maximum. Sea state was a short period chop 2 to 3 ft and some beam breaking waves about 4 ft.

Egg Island Flats to the Cohansey River entrance, wind and chop was building but the boat was happy and charged up the lower bay as if its skipper knew what he was doing.

With good speed I over shot the turn into wind for the pylon entrance markers at the Cohansey, which then resulted in a jib to close haul with wind just off the bow and charge to the entrance, rather than drop sail and motor into the wind. In retrospect that is what I should have planned to do, again the boat was leading the skipper.

Sailed through the entrance into the wide winding Cohansey, rolled in the heads sail, motor on and wait for a long section between serpentine bends to head into the still strong wind to drop sail.

Motor on, go to the mast and drop sail, the current and local eddies swing the boat around as I tend to sail but all secure and motor to Hancock Harbor, dock at 2:30 PM. 30 nm in 6hours including the winding Bidwell Creek and Cohansey River, a 5kt SOG average.

Depart Hancock Harbor 8:30 AM Friday August 5. light winds out of the south, clear sky.
Motor out the winding Cohansey and hoist sails just before passing through the entrance pylons. With the gentle breeze from the south on port beam the boat glides along at 2 to 3 kt past Arnold Point and crab pots to deeper water.

Jib to a heading for the Salem cooling tower with the breeze directly on stern, try wing on wing but progress drops to about 1 knot. I ahve 28nm to cover and need to make at least 4kt with  favorable current to reach Delaware City before the tide turns.

Motor on, head sail furled, mainsail sheeted tight and motor sail to Delaware City.

Arrive Delaware City 2:45 PM with the flood tide propelling this little craft at 6kt with the motor on idle from the lower end of reedy Island to the old canal entrance.

Depart Delaware City about 11:00 Saturday August 6. Alex bike 45 miles to join me on the sail/motor sail to Essington.

Motor out to the main shipping lanes in disturbed and confused water, 2 to 3 foot short chop without consistent direction. Alex at helm,  I had reefed the mainsail before departing with winds 15kt + and gusting. Turned NE up river, the wind now directly on the stern and weakening.

We motor sail with main only to Cherry Island Flats, then with a SE wind 10 to 15 and gusting we sail to Marcus Hook, then through Commodore Barry Bridge and race with the the flood tide to Essington in a building wind.

The concern is when to turn to wind for the mainsail drop, we have a short distance between the marinas and Little Tinicum Island that will be windward then we will be in mud flats. Just before Fox Grove the gust change direction, Alex turns the boat 45deg off the marinas into the gust, I drop the sail and tie.

Motor into the slip with Joe of Bonnie Blue standing ready to help dock.

More photo's to come.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 2011

July 19, 2011
Day sail out of Bidwell Creek. 5 to 10 kt out of SW, mid to high 89's F

Sail with Vicki Noon to 4:30 PM thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon.

Sail out for about 2 hours in the direction of the Maurice River at a relaxed 2 kts and return on opposite tack.

Developing thunderstorms over Delaware with distant booms about 2:00 PM and cloud bank developing over New Jersey. Sky darkens at the Delaware horizon as we return and secure to the floating dock as the front sweeps in, in the car on the way home as the rain comes.

The outboard was running at high RPM, set with half choke for the return in the creek. It would appear that the choke was sticking but after running rich became free. Next trip to the boat will be with a carb cleaner spray.

Cormorants at the creek entrance;

July 8 & 9, 2011
Day sails out of Bidwell Creek.

A short sail on Friday July 8, before the thunderstorms come rolling through, mainsail only. An intense storm overnight with some lightning strikes and damage on land.

Saturday morning the mist clears to a beautiful day with clouds on the horizon and clear sky above.

Vanessa and Alex as crew, we need to push the boat out of the slip at low tide, just touching the mud bottom.

Past the stone jetty and sharp turn to port to clear the mud flats, to the bay and bounce of the sandy bottom in each trough of the 2 ft swell, then clear of the entrance and set the sails for a close reach along the west coast.

At low tide the bay off the west coast is only 6 or 7 feet depth for miles, as the tide rises the depth will eventually be 11 or 12 feet for miles. The shallow bay and steady wind produces a swell higher at low tide and reducing as the tide rises and water depth increases.

We saw some small turtles near the stone jetty then out in the bay a large turtle, about 18 inches at the shoulders and a head the size of a fist. The eagles nesting along the creek where feeding their young.

Come about after two hours and return on the opposite tack to the stone jetty. The breeze is constant from the south and Alex wants to try sailing the 1 mile along the winding creek easterly to the marina, roll in the head sail and enter the narrow channel by the stone jetty under main only.

We pick up speed in the creek sailing with the incoming tide, Alex at helm and I man the main sheet to present maximum sail area at each serpentine turn. The marina approaches and we make a sharp 90 deg turn into the breeze just past the entrance and our slip and coast with built up momentum to nudge the floating dock, step off and secure the dock lines.

July 2, 2011
A Saturday sail with Alex and Vanessa on the lower Delaware Bay, out off Bidwell Creek. Steady winds from NW, a 3 hour sail close hauled come about and a 3 hour sail on broad reach return.

No tugs, no barges, no container ships, no tankers.

Return to Bayway Marina on Bidwell Creek at low tide, I have an end tee slip about 200 meters from the marina entrance. Turn into the entrance from the creek and come to a complete stop in the middle of the entrance, stuck on a mud bar.

Power boats try to pull me into the marina and out to the creek with 200hp and twin 200hp motors, nothing moves. The power boats churn mud and they final give up when there drive legs are churning mud in 30 inches of water, my keel is 48 inches. I am told that the entrance was dredged to 10ft this spring?

Sit and wait for the tide to rise with power boats slowly passing through a narrow slot between me and the Sea Tow dock.

As we get some more water depth Alex steps into the water to swim about 10 ft to the floating dock, but walks in heavy gooey mud. Throw him a spring line (bow to stern cleat), wrap around a piling and after a lot of rocking and pulling the boat is secured to the floating dock on the other side of the entrance to SeaTow.

The marina office tells me the slip is available and I can use it.

Secure the boat and go for a beer. Go to Cape May but most of the nicer places are full or have lines. Park across the highway from Lobster House which has a 45min wait for bar snacks. After trying a few places return to the car parked next to Mayer's Tavern on the back street on Schellenger's Landing.

Mayer's Tavern a working mans shot and a beer bar, is a step back to the 60's or maybe the 70's. Friendly atmosphere, good music $3 beers and really good scallops. 

July 3, 2011

The plan for Sunday was a 5:30 early morning departure from Bidwell Creek and 28nm to the Cohansey, but the morning started with heavy rain and thunderstorms. I need 8 hours minimum, but would prefer to have 10 hours, with the tide to get to Cohansey before the sun goes down at 8:30 PM.

The entrance to the Cohansey is narrow with unlighted day markers and shoals with crab pots.

The storm eases at about 10:00 AM, I have lost the tidal current advantage, so passage will be closer to 10:00 hours. This is a 20ft boat with 16 ft at water line, hull speed is 5kn but I should really expect 3 to 4.

A 10:00 AM departure may work. Motor out past the stone jetty into the lower bay, speed drops immediately from 3.3kn to less than 1, 2nd reef on main start to unfurl headsail, wind driven waves directly on the bow are cresting at 4ft. Even if the wind direction changes and turbulent water eases in the next hour or two, I don't have enough time, now against the tidal current to make Cohansey. The bay average depth between Bidwell Creek and Egg island Point, my route is 11 ft with some sections of Egg island Flats less about 9 ft, with 4 ft draft I would be getting close to touching bottom in the troughs.

I have commitments in Philadelphia on Wednesday and a departure from Bidwell on Sunday would get me to Essington on Tuesday evening, so call off this trip and will try again later in the week. I am a fair weather sailor and that was not fair weather.

Talk with the bait and tackle shop at the fuel dock, their live bait tanks have clogged with mud, we may have more mud in the marina entrance.

The commercial crabbers did not go out this morning, but some recreational crabbers hung around the creek and marina to crab in sheltered water. I got to learn quite a lot about crabbing, but am not sure I can identify the male or female and need a gauge to judge which to keep and which to return. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 2011

Late June sail Essington to Cape May, some sailing, some motor sailing, 3 gal fuel used over 80nm (93 statute miles)

Friday June 24, 8:00 AM Essington Departure, ride the ebb tide to Reedy Point/Delaware City 25nm; Motor sail most of the way, gentle breeze from the south.
Friday June 24, 1:30 PM at Reedy Point, overnight at Delaware City;Delaware City Marina and meet up with Rick and Lori at Crabby Dicks, and many friendly conversation dock side. The marina staff are very professional and helpful. Clean modern bathrooms and showers.
Saturday June 25, 7:00 AM ride the ebb in the upper bay to the Cohansey River 26nm.The breeze has a more northerly component and start out motor sailing but as the breeze builds with a westerly component I have a pleasant sail past the Salem nuclear power plant to the Cohansey. Closer to Cohansey the flats outside the shipping lanes are fully stocked with crab pots. The Cohansey has a small entrance with a bar but water depth at low tide is greater than 17 ft at the entrance and 20, 30 ft to 40ft all the winding way to Hancock Harbor.
Saturday June 25, 1:30 PM;  at Greenwich on the Cohansey overnight at Hancock Harbor.
Nice relaxed atmosphere with older but well maintained facilities and an excellent restaurant open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 
I had broiled soft shell crabs with a fellow sailor, and great conversation dockside.
This is a must return to marina and maybe stay a few days with day trips out into the bay.

Sunday June 26, 7:00 AM ride the ebb to the lower bay and Bidwell Creek 28nm
Bay sailing with a 5 to 10kn breeze out of the NW swinging to NE. Typical 2 to 3 ft bay chop, short period square waves (distance between crests equals height trough to crest), sail at a bearing of 150 magnetic to egg island flats then a bearing of 120 magnetic to Reeds Beach until I identify the rock jetty at Bidwell Creek and the narrow entrance channel.

Sunday June 26, 2:30 PM overnight at Bayside Marina on Bidwell Creek.
A working marina, not the best facilities, but well managed and friendly. 3 mile walk to the nearest food shops, so make do with soup and eggs with salsa on board.

Monday June 27, 10:00 AM out to the bay and sailing under headsail alone in 10 to 15 kn breeze out of the ENE in long lazy circles around oyster beds in the shallow water of this part of the bay. 9ft water depth and a breeze produces the typical square waves. Return to the marina at noon and wait for Vicki to pick-up for the ride back to Philadelphia. I will return to the boat on Saturday or Sunday for the return trip.

Sunday June 19, 2011
Low 80's overcast, about 5kn breeze from ESE. morning sail to Green E1, Banacol container shipping docking under tug assist.

Saturday June 11
Low 80's overcast,thunderstorms forecast. 5 to 10 kn breeze from east. Morning sail with Alex and Vanessa to Harrah's. 2 foot short period swell, too gusting for the head-sail so main-sail only. 

Friday June 10, 2011
Low 90's pleasantly cool, but less than 5kn breeze. Slow sail to the coal dock buoy and motor sail return.

Thursday June 9, 2011
100 F 5 to 15kn breeze out of the west, gusting 20 to 25. Afternoon sail to PHL, to gusty for the headsail, or rather I was to lazy to keep adjusting the sheets and tacking.

Monday June 6, 2011
Low 80's F, less than 5kn breeze out of the SW. Midday sail to Eddystone coal barge channel marker at a relaxed 2kn SOG.

Ballyhoo at Corinthian mooring

Homeland Security on patrol

Coal barge preferred channel buoy

Return past Corinthian with tide change

Compac cat boat June 4


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)