Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Survived Sandy with no damage

Fortunately we survived Hurricane Sandy with no damage.  We did a good job preparing the boats and they came through fine.  I think gusts reached 60 kts on Fishing Creek.  They were 44 kts while I was on the boat in the late afternoon.

The power went out from 5pm to about noon the next day.  It was the fastest we have seen BGE repair an outage.  Usually we are out of power 5-7 days.

Two boats broke loose from their mooring balls and ended up against a bulkhead nearby.  Four of us pulled them off and put them back on their moorings.  One is pretty much a total loss.  The other just got banged up a bit.

Here is a compiled video of the 24 hours along with some flooding photos.

Below are photos of tree damage in the neighborhood.

Brooke's Old House

A house in Arundel on the Bay

Another view of it

This tree had a huge root ball

The two wayward boats before we recovered them

A tree across the road

There were others, but you get the idea.  They will be cleaning up for a while.  But its nothing like the Northeast got.

Long Beach Island, where I grew up, was hit very hard by the storm.  Below are links to videos of the damage.  In the first video, the fire truck passes by my grandmothers old house where she lived in the 1960s and 70s.

Monday, October 29, 2012

On the Edge of Sandy

We still have a few hours until Sandy gets to its closet point to the Chesapeake Bay.  Winds so far are in the 30's with gusts to 50 kts.

The rain is in bands and is pretty strong.  Amazingly, we still have power here in Oyster Harbor.  The worst is yet to come.  Probably between 4pm and 2am.  We are watching a strong band heading our way that will be here about 4.

Here is a view from the cockpit of the boat.

The new mooring is getting a good test.  Our old one was great, but was 11 years old and the chain was near the end of its life.  This one is a 400lb mushroom with 30' of chain.

A view from the dink.  The rain can really hurt.  It reminded me of the fun we had during Hurricane Irene.

I'll try to get some more video.  Hopefully the worst will pass before it gets dark - but probably not.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Preparing for Sandy

We hoped we'd make it through the season with no hurricanes visiting Annapolis.  But it looks like we may not be so lucky.

Sandy is an odd storm with a combined occluded front from two weather systems coming from the west.  The media has named it Frankenstorm.  It has created a Nor'easter which started hitting the Bay three days ahead of Sandy - which right now just crossed into North Carolina (about 120 miles offshore).

Forecasters say it'll turn west and head to southern or mid New Jersey and bring huge storm surges to the north side (Sandy Point, NJ to Maine).   We'll be lucky on the south side to have only high winds and some rain.  The wind should drive water south in the Bay and leave us without any major flooding.

The Nor'easter before Hurricane Sandy 
Our friends in Cape Charles, VA may not be so lucky.  Down there, on the Eastern Shore, they can expect winds to drive water into their little harbor and perhaps cause some serious flooding.  We hope they will be fine, especially since we plan to be there Nov 6th to vote.

We spent yesterday and today prepping the boat for the storm, and also adding things for the trip south. The boat is looking great.  I can't wait to be on it, if only for short increments of time as we take it south, and as a winter home.

Bonnie added a chest freezer yesterday which sits in place of the table.  It looks like an ottoman, which I experimented with in April, but Bonnie nixed.  This time it was her idea.  The salon looks much more open.

I'll be checking on the boat throughout today and tomorrow. I also have to check the community docks as I am the volunteer Piers and Harbor chairman/harbor master.

More to follow on the storm and I'll try to get some good video.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stern Bag

Last year at the boat show we ordered a new dinghy for our PDQ 36.  The old dinghy is now in Cape Charles and relegated to runs to the barrier islands to collect shells.  It leaks and the engine is on its last legs.

The new dink is an AB 9'6" with an aluminum hull.  Its only 85 pounds, and although a tight a fit, I figured it would work.  As we were buying the Cadillac of dinks, why not get a great motor too. So we got a 15 hp with electric start. problem...

The dink and motor together make it too long to be lifted on the davits. Crap!

To make a long story short, Bonnie has a great stainless company that fabricates items for her kitchen design company. After a couple experiments with gas pipe, I had a good design.  We put in two extensions on the davits that would shift the dink 18" back.

Gas pipes bolted to the davits for the test.

It shifts the weight back slightly on the boat, and adds stress to the davits.  But so far it looks like its not going to torque the davits enough to do any damage.  The new dink with the larger four-stroke engine is actually about 30 - 40 pounds lighter than the old fiberglass one with a two-stroke.  For offshore passages we'll certainly take the outboard off.

The big deal for me, is really the space that this change created. There is now 18" of space between the dink and the boat.  Bonnie and I had some ideas of what to do.  Perhaps mount a cooler or something like that.

I was talking to Charlie, a friend who happens to run the local Quantum sail loft in Annapolis, and devised a canvas stern bag for storing life jackets, enclosure canvas, and similar light items.  It measured out at 92" wide, 18" deep and 22" high.  That's about 36,000 cubic inches of new storage space on the boat.  Wow!

Stern bag in place

It fits on the lifeline between the hulls.  I supported the back with dymeena at first, but decided to use a 7/8" length of steel tubing meant for a bimini or such. I strung the dymeena through it to add support in case someone ever tries to stand on it.

It fit and did not take much effort to mount it. I grabbed all the light items; life jackets, ditch bag (not so light), four large fenders, enclosure canvas, and seat cushions.  I'll also stick a fishing rod in there I'm sure.  Amazingly, with all that, its still only half full.

Dinghy on davits with bag in place.  It actually worked!
So the last test was lifting the dinghy.  It sits nicely against the bag, and reduces the banging of the boat as it shifts.  Success!

The only thing I would change is that the lip on the cover does not have a slot for the life line to fit through.  I'll ask Charlie about ideas for that.

Another successful project... Almost like a trend...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Putting up the Cockpit Enclosure

When we purchased the boat in 2008, it had a full set of canvas for the hard top.  Panels were at different levels of age and condition.  A couple were moldy and opaque.

I went to a canvas shop for pricing and got prices from $5000 to $6500 for a full enclosure.  So Bonnie and I decided to make due with what we had, and possibly just buy a new from windshield section as two of the three panels were the worst and we could not see from the helm.

At the SSCA Annapolis GAM we came across the owner of Eisen Shine ( , a year old company that cleans Eisenglass.  He offered a great price to see what he could do.  So I dropped off the canvas Sunday morning.  It took him a few hours, but he got is all clean and it looks great.

Amazingly he was able to clean the worst four panels to almost like new.  They have the slightest yellow tint compared to the newer ones.  The newer ones were bad as well, and they all look like they have never been used.

I attached some photos.

The left panel was yellow and partially opaque.  Now it is perfectly clear.

The left most panel in this photo was also almost opaque.  Now it has only a slight tint of yellow.

The back panels had creases and a white haze.  Now it removed.
Another successful project.  Perhaps we are on a roll...

Monday, October 1, 2012

New Trampoline

I had thought I could get another year out of our old Trampoline.  But on the Labor Day trip I stepped down hard on it and a tear started along the rope bolt, almost sending my deck show into the Chesapeake Bay.

Old trampoline with tear and temp patch just port of center.

I patched it up as best I could, and back at home quickly started researching where to buy a new one.

Temporary Repair

On the PDQForum I found that many owners had good luck with Sunrise Yacht Products (  They do custom trampolines and lots of other stuff for boats.

I found the site, filled out their online quote request, and received a quote back from them the same day.  I had a great chat on the phone with Richard about options - which helped me decide what I wanted.  He sent me a drawing of what he had on PDQ's and I took the drawing to the boat to verify the measurements.

Our PDQ was a little different in measurements,as PDQs went through a lot of changes over the years. So I noted those and took some photos, which I uploaded to Picasa so Richard could see them.  Tramp measurements uploaded to Picasa
We received the trampoline in about two weeks.

Because is wife is very efficient at all things sewing, and I had a good idea to remove the old trampoline only partially - with the new one laying on top, the install only took about two hours.

Laying new tramp over the old one
The old tramp had rope bolts all round, with adjustments via grommets down the center and along the front.  The new one was much better thought out, with only a single rope bolt in the back, and using sail track slides on the other three sides.

Sail slides replace bolt ropes on three sides
We did a preliminary, but loose run of line down each side.  We purchased the Spectra line that does not stretch, so we gave ourselves a nice advantage in adjustments down the line.  Once we had the lines run, we tightened it across the front (opposite of the rope bolt) then down both sides.  It was about perfect.  We walked on it, ate Chinese food on it watching the sunset and then looked at where we needed adjustments.

Another 20 minutes of adjusting and we were done.

Almost completed trampoline.  
I sent the above photo to Richard with a thank you note.  He looked it over closely and sent back some advice on tying the back corners.

It was nice to have a successful project done.  Only a few more large projects to get done before November 1.