Great Loop Leg 2
Posted on 05/13/2004 1:52 AM by Bob Duthie
Day 47 Wednesday May 12 Our last day
Our last day. La Trappe Creek was a beautiful place with deer walking in the water by the shore and a pair of swans. Some plantation homes also lined the shoreline.
When we got to Dickerson Harbor (part of Oxford Yacht Agency (OYA) the harbor was full of new Grand Banks and Eastbays. John Shanahan, OYA's owner asked me for our hull number. He said that he had sold that boat and then recounted the most amazing stories about it.
The boat arrived late in 1981 and there was ice in the bay. The purchasers bank was trying to get out of the deal as interest rates had risen to 22% since the rate had been set. The bank insisted that the boat must be commissioned by February 1st so John had to take his crew to Baltimore and install all the equipment that had been ordered. Then the bank sent a surveyor to be sure the boat was commissioned.
Tanks of antifreeze were used to run the engines in a snowstorm on the pier. The boat was to be named 'S.S. Sour Freddie' but the buyer missed his first couple of payments. OYA made the payments and assumed control of the boat under a recourse clause.
A few days later a big tough bushy bearded man (Frank) on a motorcycle rolled into the shop and said he wanted a 36 foot Grand Banks. An hour later he had paid for it and took the boat. It was named 'Francis Grier' after his mother who owned Oklahoma oil wells. More equipment was installed by John including the NeCo autopilot and a huge radar as the new owner liked to go out at night.
Two weeks later John was awakened in the middle of the night by a call from Frank who had run aground at high tide in the Christiana River at Wilmington DE. The tide there is 9 feet high so as it dropped the boat rolled on its side. Frank didn't think of taping the vents or closing the windows and the engine room filled with water. John drove up with pumps and a rubber dingy. Phil (who is retired but now helps out at Dickerson, see photo) ran a marina at Georgetown and took a crew of 7 men to save the boat.
They worked for 24 hours before the boat was afloat. It was towed to the marina and cleaned immediately. Today there is no trace of it ever having been partially under water. Frank died 8 years later and the boat was purchased by the marina on Lake Erie and renamed 'Katy Leigh'. Our boat is now in good hands with Phil. Our friend, Jack, very kindly picked us up at the marina and drove us to the Baltimore airport.
That's it for this leg of our Great Loop voyage. We'll be back late August for the next leg which we hope will take us to the Erie Canal in Upstate New York.
Posted on 05/12/2004 10:05 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 46 Tuesday May 11 St Michaels to Oxford
The St Michaels Rotary Club met this morning at the yacht club. Jack was a former president of this club. I was able to get a makeup. I sat beside a woman who had bought a used Canadian Coast Guard trawler in Prince Rupert and sailed it to St Michaels. It was moored at the yacht club.
We left at 900 for Oxford where a meeting had been arranged with the yard master for the work to be done while the Katy Leigh is stored here.
Oxford is much smaller than St Michaels and a beautiful but sleepy old summer town (see photo). It claims to have the first and oldest (1836) continually operating ferry in America.
Tonight it's clean up leftovers and start packing for home. We take the boat 11 miles to Trappe where it will be stored in a shed until the end of the summer.
Posted on 05/11/2004 5:12 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 45 Monday May 10 Crossing the Chesapeake to St Michaels
Instead of another day in Solomon's we decided to cross the Chesapeake to St Michaels. It was a good day to cross with little wind. However it was hazy and a careful watch had to be maintained as we followed the shipping channel. We were not disappointed with two huge ships suddenly appearing in the haze. One changed course to follow us just as we thought we were clear, so we did a 180 and went the other way.
We tied up at the Miles River Yacht Club. Within a few minutes one of the members came over and offered us his car to drive to town. We took him up on the offer and toured the Marine Museum there. It's oystering exhibit was very good. The photo shows some of the restored boats. We had drinks with the yacht club member and his wife (who are thinking about getting a trawler). Dinner was aboard.
Posted on 05/10/2004 5:09 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 44 Sunday May 9 Mothers' Day
We left early for Solomon's Island, MD. The winds were light and it was calm. About 5 miles out a thunderstorm came through. I followed it on the radar and managed to avoid the heavy rain. So in two days we had rough water and a thunderstorm.
We got to Solomon's at noon and refueled (200 gal @ $1.34/gal) and tied up at Spring Cove Marina.
The marina is right beside the Calvert Marine Museum which is very interesting. They have one of the old lighthouses on the property. (see photo) This has to be the boating capital of the Chesapeake. I have never seen so many boats in one place. Jack is taking us out to dinner to celebrate the day.
Posted on 05/09/2004 5:38 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 43 Saturday May 8 Alexandria to Point Lookout
This was the roughest day trip yet. We went 95 miles from Alexandria to Point Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac. It rained off and on but the winds were running 15-20 mph and we spent 5 hours pounding. We ate aboard at night.
Posted on 05/08/2004 5:36 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 42 Friday May 7 Old Towne Alexandria, day 4
Our last day in Old Towne Alexandria. We used the time to tour the new Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. At 3:00PM we were joined by a Brockville Yacht Club friend who will come with us to Oxford. Andrew left for Nashville at 6:00PM before a thunderstorm hit Alexandria. Dinner tonight with an old friend from Apple Computer who is now with Microsoft.
Posted on 05/07/2004 10:14 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 41 Thursday May 6 Old Towne Alexandria, day 3
Another day in Old Towne Alexandria; we had breakfast at Starbucks where Andrew is able to get wireless internet access and get some work done.
Mavis and I toured the Carlyle House (see photo) which is owned by the state of Virginia. It is about the only house in old town which was not built right at the street.
Carlyle was a wealthy wharf and plantation owner and built the house in 1752 to look like a Scottish mansion. Tonight we had another business dinner with a client.
Posted on 05/06/2004 9:17 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 40 Wednesday May 5 Old Towne Alexandria, day 2
This was our second day in Old Towne Alexandria. The dock master gave us the good news that we can stay in our slip until Saturday. Dock space is at a premium here as Isabelle took out one entire pier and damaged the others. A thunderstorm passed us a a little to the north but we were spared with only a few drops of rain and a wind gust. Andrew Duthie arrived at 2:30pm and tonight we had a business dinner with Washington clients.
Posted on 05/05/2004 8:26 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 39 Tuesday May 4 Old Towne Alexandria
Our marina is right in Old Towne Alexandria at the Torpedo Factory. Torpedos haven't been built since 1946 so the building is now an artists' colony and restaurants. There are many old homes and waterfront buildings all around. All new construction is made to match the older buildings. It would be a great place to live. Many of the buildings are restaurants and shops.
Mavis and Corin went to the 1816 Tudor House owned and built by Martha Washington's grand daughter in Georgetown. Bob went to the Alexandria Rotary and had lunch with Major General William Suter, clerk of the US Supreme Court.
Posted on 05/04/2004 9:04 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 38 Monday May 3 Colonial Beach to Alexandria
We got up early to leave for Alexandria but the forecast wasn't good and it was raining and windy. We decided to wait till 9:30 and then review the situation. By then the winds were less and we plowed our way out of the Colonial Beach harbor at low tide. Our ETA for Alexandria was 6:00PM which is later than we like. Then a couple of miles out Range Boat #4 approached us and said that we couldn't continue on our course as the Naval Proving Grounds at Dahgren were firing weapons into the Potomac. However, they said if we crossed the river we could continue along the north shore and we would be out of harm's way. At that point were guided by Range Boat #2. As it turned out we were helped by the tidal current and arrived in Alexandria about 5:30PM. This was our first day of rain for the entire day. We passed Mallow's Bay; (see photo) the graveyard for 285 wooden ships built during WWI. The German submarines were decimating Allied shipping so 800-1000 wooden ships were planned to be built quickly. By the time 100 were built the war was over. However they kept building them. They were built out of unseasoned wood, were badly designed, dangerous to sail, and expensive to run and keep afloat. So they were all towed to Mallow's Bay and burned to the waterline so scrap metal could be removed. Only the 'bones' remain.
Posted on 05/03/2004 9:01 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 37 Sunday May 2 Colonial Beach
Freddy was wrong. There was no signal on the end of the dock and up 3 steps. Today was a short 35 mile cruise to Colonial Beach. This town is a summer place and right out of the 50's with lots of little cottages. Alexander Bell spent summers here in the house in the photo. We walked about 4 miles to visit the downtown. There is a lot of damage here from Isabelle last fall. The marina (which advertises itself as a year round safe harbor) was wiped out by a fire two years ago with 55 boats lost, and again by the hurricane. There are many piles and docks that are not connected. One lone sailboat is being used to nest a family of ospreys. The restaurant has been restored and was very good. This is the first place Corin has been able to order raw oysters.
Posted on 05/02/2004 8:42 PM by Bob Duthie
Day 36 Saturday May 1 Potomac River
Another day like yesterday. Light wind till about 10:00AM then it picks up to about 20 miles per hour. Since it was a south wind after we turned west into the Potomac River we were sheltered by the shoreline. We stayed at Oliverson's Marina which has been in the same family for many years. It is on the Yeocomico River. Freddy Oliverson is now running the business. He loaned us his Cadillac to go for groceries. He is well known in these parts. On the way to town everyone waved at us. We are in the Northern Neck of Virginia formed by the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. It is very rural with big farms. Freddy has made a reservation for us for dinner tonight at Hughlett's Tavern in Heathsville. They received a couple of hundred thousand from the state to restore it so it should be pretty nice. There is no Cingular cell phone service on the boat. Freddy said if we go to the end of the next dock and walk up 3 steps we can get a signal.
Posted on 05/01/2004 4:10 PM by Bob Duthie