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Thread: 40 miles to Reedville and back

  1. #1
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    Default 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Saturday was forecast to be pretty nice with 10-15 mph winds from the west which would swing northerly around noon. I figured I would head north from Windmill Point on a beam reach and visit Reedville which is 16 miles away. Then the wind would change and I'd have a run back to Windmill Point. I didn't think to check the tide which I ended up fighting the whole day. I ended up going 40.7 miles in 9.25 hours. Average speed was 4.4 mph with a max of 8.1 mph.





    It was so calm at the boat ramp that I launched without brailing. The improvements I made over the winter have really made rigging easier, although it still took about 35 minutes. It's a Ross Lillistone First Mate which is a 15' stitch and glue dinghy.





    Heading out of the marina at 7:20 am with the faintest breeze. Someday I want to make a topsail for ghosting along. But I think that'll have to wait until after I get camping aboard figured out.





    Out into the Rappahannock and the breeze picks up, but the only waves come from a passing deadrise loaded down with crab pots.





    Just about at the end of Windmill Point. Straight ahead is the Eastern Shore about 20 miles away.





    I made the turn at the point and headed due north on a beam reach in beautiful weather and I settled in for a pleasant day of sailing. Reedville hasn't popped over the horizon yet, but I could see the far part of Fleet's Bay. Somewhere along here I scared off a flock of surf scoters... they're big fat ducks with a white patch on their forehead and back of their neck. Dad did a lot of duck hunting and he always called them skunkheads.


    Last edited by The Jeff; 04-19-2021 at 05:05 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Nice, thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Nice to see my old stomping grounds again. We lived just up river, in Weems, for a few years. Windmill point was a common destination, for paddling or the tikki bar.
    The Fisherman's Museum in Reedville is a favorite.
    Dave

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Thanks John.

    Dave, I spent my childhood canoeing and sailing a Sunfish around the mouth of the Rappahannock, but never made it up to Carter's Creek. I've been doing some experiments with a trolling motor and just bought plans for your Indian Creek motor canoe the other day. Not sure when I'll have time to build it, but I'm looking forward to quietly poking around some small creeks!

    Alas, Mother Nature didn’t check the forecast and the wind went northerly way before it was supposed to and I had to start tacking. I was also fighting the current which I had neglected to check before leaving. At times it was a bit frustrating since the wind seemed to keep shifting, or maybe it was being influenced by the land which made it a bit difficult to know how to keep making progress. One of my tacks got cut a bit short when I came across some watermen working a trotline. At the time I thought it was a gill net and didn’t know if I’d get tangled up in it.





    About 3/4 the way to Reedville I went by Dameron Marsh. This is a low lying, marshy area with relatively shallow water all around. I managed to skirt by with 50 yards to spare and it was pretty rough. The wind had picked up and the waves were short and steep.





    Crossing Ingram Bay was the roughest part of the trip with lots of white caps and gusty wind. It wasn’t quite to brown pants level of wind, but there was definitely sufficient wind. Once I managed to get in the wind shadow of land it got a lot better. One of these days I really need to figure out reefing...





    Heading to Cockrell's Creek where the waves really calmed down.





    My original plan had been to go to Reedville and get lunch at the Crazy Crab and then check out the wooden skipjack and buy boat at the Fishermen’s Museum. But it was already 1:30 pm so I decided to head back after checking out the smoke stack at Omega Protein.





    The menhaden fleet at Omega Protein. These ships rely on spotter planes to find schools of menhaden in the Chesapeake and Atlantic. Then they drop a pair of purse boats which encircle the school with a net. The fish are vacuumed out and later rendered down for their oil at the factory. Rendering puts off a powerful smell of money and I remember getting a whiff of it as a kid 15 miles away when the wind was right. These days it’s not as bad since regulations have improved.


    Last edited by The Jeff; 04-19-2021 at 10:29 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    THANKS for the ride along

    th-6.jpeg

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Ready for the run back!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Very nice! I know a bit about those waters. Thanks for posting.
    Skip

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    ...........fighting against the deliberate polarization of politics...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Glad you guys are enjoying it!

    This is a menhaden ship from the 1940’s which carries the purse boats on davits. Modern ones have a pair of ramps at the stern to winch them out. Right now all the purse boats are stored on land beside the stack.





    The Morris-Fisher stack was built in 1902 and stands 130 feet tall. A decade ago it was in real danger of falling down... a huge chunk was missing from the top, there were cracks running down the side, and bricks fell off regularly. Funds were raised and it was restored in 2011.





    Not in very good shape! From savethestack.blogspot.com and https://www.hmdb.org.





    Reedville was at one time the richest town in America. There were over a dozen fish factories along the creek and many owners and ship captains built their mansions on “Millionaire’s Row.” The red roofed building in the center is the Crazy Crab where I was going to have lunch and on the left is the ruins of a fish factory. You can just make out a few of the mansions too. One of them, “The Gables” is made from bricks used as ballast and has a mizzen mast running through the center of the house to support the roof.





    Heading out of Cockrell's Creek there are some more ruins and piling.





    Back into Ingram Bay and the wind and waves started picking up. But it was great because I was on a 14 mile broad reach!



  9. #9
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Fantastic. A really enjoyable mixture of sailing and interesting local history. Keep posting, please!

    James

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Thanks James, I enjoy researching the history to try and figure out how true the stories I've heard actually are.


    I averaged about 6.5mph which is a little slow because by now the tide had started coming in again. I mostly sat on the side deck straddling the rowing thwart. Lots of hiking and the leeward side of the boat had a constant stream of foam shooting out. The waves were probably about 2' with an occasional bigger one. It always looks scary until the boat just slides up the face and it's gone.





    Back to the familiar waters of Windmill Point.





    These guys have front row seats to all the hurricanes and nor'easters.





    Wing and wing after making the turn into the Rappahannock. I've been thinking of building some kind of combo whisker pole/boom crutch, but I haven't quite got it figured out in my mind yet.





    I dropped the jib as I approached the entrance to the marina. Closer to the boat ramp I scandalized the main with my new snotter led aft arrangement. Then I removed the toggling snotter block and dropped the main halyard. The sail came down easily without hanging up on the thumb cleat due to the new spiraling robands, I definitely think the winter improvements are working well.





    This one needs a bit of work before fishing season! While I was waiting for a guy to pull his boat out, he asked me how old mine was. He was pretty surprised when I said three years, he said he thought it was "an original!" I think someone has complimented Ross's design on every outing.


    Last edited by The Jeff; 04-19-2021 at 05:50 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    So all in all I'm pretty happy with the winter improvements, although I did find a few things that need tweaking.

    There's a leak where the centerboard cap meets the rowing thwart and I spent the whole day sponging out water. I had this problem last year and I guess I didn't put enough bedding down when I bedded the cap.

    The snotter definitely needs some purchase. I think the peak pennant is stretching because I had a terrible time keeping a diagonal crease out of the mainsail. Might need some better line, or maybe the snotter purchase will fix it.

    The toggling snotter block is a vast improvement to my cow hitched version, but I think removing the thumb cleat and adding a mast traveller will be better. I'm not sure if I want to attach it on a line to the main halyard, or run its own dedicated halyard. Either way it needs to be easily removable so I can put it on the mast while it's stepped.

    The side benches are ok, although not quite as comfortable as sitting on the sole and leaning against the side deck. Points for keeping my butt dry, but my head did get knocked by the boom more often.

    My radio runs out of battery after 8 hours. I'll try to remember to keep any emergencies within that timeframe.

    Will I ever be able to go sailing without finding something new to fix?! Maybe on the next trip.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Very interesting to watch you make adjustments. Some cool sailing! The PIII balance lug rig is only 76 sq ft, so it must be quite a different boat with 102 sq ft in the spritsail rig. Reefing really is a good way to take some of the "excitement" out of big wind days, and still make good progress (especially on those long beam reaches--you don't lose speed by reefing, typically; just make everything less stressful on you and the boat).

    On the VHF battery issue, there are still a few models out there that run on AAA or AA batteries. On long trips, I find it's less trouble to pack a bunch of batteries than to mess with complicated recharging systems. Then again, my "electronics" consist of a camera and (sometimes) a handheld VHF.

    Thanks for posting.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Thanks for the ride along.
    That was a good day's sail.
    I'll bet you were happy to have side decks when the rail was almost in the water!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    My radio runs out of battery after 8 hours. I'll try to remember to keep any emergencies within that timeframe
    .
    Are you tuned to Wx the whole time? ( I tend to do this myself)

    If so, you are using more juice than if you were simply monitoring 16 or 9. The constant transmission of weather drains the battery more than the intermittent broadcasts on other frequencies.

    You can also simply turn it off unless you need it or want it for something specific.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Yes, when I carry a VHF, I only turn it on for weather forecasts as needed. I'm almost always solo, with no other boats to keep in touch with.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Tom, I really do need to get reefing figured out. I've been hesitant because of how difficult the sprit rig is, but I think the mast traveller will go a long way to solving that issue. That little thumb cleat on the mast has led to so much headache.

    Rich, I was a bit annoyed at how much effort went into making the side decks at the time, but they're well worth it. I once got through a shallow spot by heeling the boat over until water was almost coming in.

    Kevin, I think I'm just monitoring 16 and 9. I don't get a constant stream of weather reports and tides if that's what you mean. Amazon says an HX150 has a 7.5 hour battery life, so I can't complain. And I was under the impression that anyone with a VHF radio has to monitor 16, but I'm not entirely sure. https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/47/80.310 Some websites say that's only when it's operational, which I guess it isn't if it's turned off!
    Last edited by The Jeff; 04-21-2021 at 10:32 AM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    It may also be a function of sail area (an additional 26 sq ft in the spritsail rig), but I've never once, in 10 years of stealing my brother's boat now, ever needed to sit on the side deck and hike out. Lean back, yes. But always sitting securely in the boat.

    Then again, seems like another PIII owner reported needing to sit on the side decks with the lug rig, too. For whatever reason, I've never needed to, and I've been in some fairly windy conditions at times.

    Tom
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    www.tompamperin.com

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    That's really a nice trip. Thanks for sharing it. You have some nice cruising grounds there.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    You certainly covered some miles. Thanks for posting.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Nice trip, good photos . Merci

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Nice trip-log!

    My 2-cents would be to definitely figure out simple and quick reefing. Essential, I think.

    Sure, you can scandalize but in a strong wind it'll flog too much. And jib-only throws you out of balance and robs all the power.

    To my mind all unpowered boats should be a bit over-canvassed to deal with light-wind conditions, and then sailed reefed as a normal thing whenever the breeze rises.

    Dave

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    I agree that the overcanvassed + easy reefing approach is the best option.

    Alternatively, less sail area for light airs also works well in boats optimized for rowing--then, instead of trying to ghost along with a big sail area, you just pull out the oars and probably make better speed (and definitely better VMG if your destination is to windward). That's what I ended up with in my Alaska by leaving out the 49 sq ft mizzen and sailing just with the 85 sq ft main.

    I'd be curious to hear what reefing options the plans show for that spritsail + jib rig.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Tom, I've heard you mention before you never hike and I always wondered how you managed that. Does your brother's boat have any lead in the centerboard?

    I checked the plans and the jib is 23, main 81, and reefed main 64 square feet. Jib and main is 104, and jib and reefed main is 87. I wonder which would be preferable... main only, or jib and reefed main. Probably would have something to do with balance.

    Dave, I think the mast traveler idea for the snotter will be the answer to simple and quick. Right now I'm not sure I'd want to attempt reefing on the water since I need to stand on the bulkhead at the front of the centerboard case to reach the snotter. With a mast traveler attached to the main halyard, I could let the sail down and the sprit will come with it. Then tie in the reefs while everything is low in the boat.

    Oars! I forgot that I need to figure out a good way to secure them under the side decks... Every time I think I see light at the end of the tunnel something else gets added to the list.

    Thanks all for the comments!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    No lead, just the rod/handle to hold the CB down.

    Balance lug is 76 sq ft, and almost always reefed in strong winds (the deepest reef eliminates the luff entirely, turning the lugsail into, essentially, a 36 sq ft lateen), so that's one element in my un-hiking.

    In that boat, I've often been sailing with a 2-person crew, so much heavier load. Another contributing factor.

    When solo and in high winds, I've generally been on a broad reach because I'm chicken, so not much reason to hike then either.

    Built of Baltic birch ply, so heavier hull--maybe some effect there.

    Those are my best guesses. Probably a combination of all of the above explains it.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Great voyage!

    I will never forget the smell of dead menhaden where I go in Maine in the summers, there were some years they'd get up into a cove, not leave, deplete the oxygen, and die en masse along with most of the other critters in the water.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Nice little trip and good story, well told.

    With regard to reefing a sprit rig, I always found it nothing but irritating. If it was me I'd lose the sprit, replace it with a yard at the head of the sail and put in regular slab reefing that can be drawn down to the boom.
    Alex

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Even on a larger yacht -- Drake is a 46 ft LOA ketch -- I very often start out the day with one reef in the main. Then I shake out that reef if the wind fades.

    It's probably different on the ocean coasts, but in the interior waters of the Great lakes and similar, being over-canvassed is a practical plan.

    IMG_20200823_165455_2 (2).jpg

  28. #28
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Even on a larger yacht -- Drake is a 46 ft LOA ketch -- I very often start out the day with one reef in the main. Then I shake out that reef if the wind fades.

    It's probably different on the ocean coasts, but in the interior waters of the Great lakes and similar, being over-canvassed is a practical plan.

    IMG_20200823_165455_2 (2).jpg
    Pfftt.... You only need to be overcanvassed for Great Lakes mornings because you're too lazy to row!

    There must be room to stow some 18-foot oars aboard Drake...

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Tom, that goes a long way to explaining it. I rarely have more than a lunch and a change of clothes and my boat is Okoume which is a good deal lighter. The few times my wife has gone with me I was surprised I could feel the boat was more stable. Maybe a few bags of shot for ballast would be a worthwhile addition.

    Alex, I may well go for a lug sail someday. But right now I am having a lot of fun figuring the sprit sail out. I feel like the mast traveler for the snotter should make reefing pretty quick and easy, but we'll have to see how it does in practice.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Pfftt.... You only need to be overcanvassed for Great Lakes mornings because you're too lazy to row!

    There must be room to stow some 18-foot oars aboard Drake...

    Tom
    Hah!

    Tom, you bring them, you use them, and I will gladly keep you fed, watered and beered.

    Best deal ever!

    Dave

  31. #31
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Hah!

    Tom, you bring them, you use them, and I will gladly keep you fed, watered and beered.

    Best deal ever!

    Dave
    Darn--such a great offer, but you Canadians haven't opened the border yet. I guess I'll have to stick to my little boat with the dinky 7' 8" oars on U.S. waters this summer.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  32. #32
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    Default Re: 40 miles to Reedville and back

    I regularly sit out on the side decks with the lug rig on my First Mate. I even installed a hiking strap as a bit of security. The added margin of safety provided by the sidedecks were a selling point of the design over designs like the Goat Island Skiff. But I'm also the type to wait to go out until whitecaps start to form, which I have learned, is not typical of most sailors and I'm not all that heavy. I find sitting on the side decks more comfortable, so I get a bit annoyed when the wind drops too much and I have to utilize the side bench.

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