Wednesday, July 16, 2014


July 16, 2014 - A NEW SEASON BEGINS

It's that time again - We are preparing for another cruise to Maine on board Obsession, and I plan to keep a blog of our trip again this year, like I did in 2011.  We will re-visit some of the places we've enjoyed in the past, and plan to include some new stops.  This year WE WILL NOT sail overnight. (See post Thursday, August 4, 2011 titled "I promise I won't ask you to do another overnight sail, honey".) 

Our hope is to spend a few days in the Vineyard, Boston Harbor Islands and in Gloucester before actually heading for Casco Bay and then Penobscot Bay.  But, if you're a sailor, you know that many things can happen to change your plans.  

Obsession was re-launched in April (we didn't haul her out of the water for the winter) and we spent considerable time getting her ready for the season, performing routine maintenance, repairing and fixing things.  

In my 2012 season blog I introduced our two stowaways Cosmo and Zin who were going to be the voice of my blog.  That year our trip to Maine was cancelled and I didn't continue writing, this year I hope that Cosmo and Zin will add their commentary and perspective to my blog.  Here is a sampling of their work.

Since we moved aboard in June we have spent time on the dock with our friends, made  two trips to Newport, a trip to Cuttyhunk and one to Block Island.  We also rode out the first hurricane of the season in our slip, and as I write this we are waiting for the strong thunderstorms with heavy rain to pass so we can leave for one more trip to Block Island with our Marina friends.

Below are some pictures of our first month and a half of living aboard Obsession at G-35, Borden Light Marina.  After tonight we will probably not be dockside for a few weeks. 

The Marina experienced a power surge and as a result
the battery charger/inverter had to be replaced.
David spent many hours trouble shooting the problem
and removing and reinstalling it and the
new battery.

One evening we took fellow dock mates Pam and Mike
and Cathy and Ray for a harbor tour.  Thanks so
much Ray for being our own private tour guide
of Fall River

On our trip home from Block Island we experienced thick fog  A tug
appeared out of the blue - we knew it was towing something.
Lo, and behold - the barge appeared.  We made a quick u-turn!!

Block Island Boat Basin - the dinghy dock at low tide. 


Our new favorite "spot" in Newport.  At the Clarke
Cooke House.  I always wondered why it
was nicknamed The Candy Store!?

Add caption

Entrance to Block Island - always brings a smile.

The Inn at Castle Hill - need I say more?

One of many beautiful sunsets you'll see in my blog (I hope)
This one is Newport Harbor

Light up the Night at Borden Light
Before dark - it was a fun night.

Friday, June 22, 2012

First Impressions

First Impressions from Cosmo

G-Dock - and our Observation Deck. 

  1. Sunset from G-35-Obsession.

This picture was taken from "The Tipsy Seagull" 
 Borden Light Marina in Fall River, MA,  is Obsession's home from September-June.  Once June comes around David and Janice are ready to begin a summer of cruising.  They return home (Borden Light Marina occasionally to clean the boat, make repairs, do laundry, re-provision and spend a little time with their friends from G-Dock.  Obsession's slip is G-35.  It is the 3rd to last slip at the end of G-Dock, making it fairly easy for them to get in and out.  Everyone on G dock is friendly and although most of them are power boat owners, everyone (including me) have one thing in common - we all like to be on the water.  I was lucky enough to spend an evening with most of them sitting at the dock, enjoying a drink or two and getting to know them.  A big trip for most of them is a trip to Block Island, and that will happen in mid-July.  Unfortunately, we will not be joining them, but I'm sure I'll hear about the trip later in the summer.
Some of the G-Dock crew doing what they do best - enjoying the sun, being on the water and a drink.

First trip - Newport, RI.  Janice and David have a mooring in the main harbor of Newport.  We visited Newport Memorial Day Weekend with Mike and Pam Mason from G-Dock (Out of the Blue) and Norm and Mal Hopkins from F-Dock (Galway Gal).  It was a gorgeous weekend - the weather was perfect.  Although we didn't put the sails up on Obsession, it was important to make sure that the engine ran well and that all the new electronics were working.  We even checked out the radar on the way home.  It wasn't really foggy, just a little hazy, but according to David that's the perfect time to check out a radar system; when you can see "targets" on the radar and recognize them on the water.  Unfortunately, that weekend Obsession's mooring wasn't available, so Oldport Marine let them raft on a mooring right in front of the Newport Yachting Center.  A great spot!  We took a dinghy ride all around Newport Harbor and into Brenton Cove, saw some of the changes that are being made at Sail Newport and Fort Adams for the America's Cup Series racing in late June, and enjoyed the Newport Scene. 

Pam and Mike Mason in Newport Harbor Memorial Day Weekend

One of the floating dock/moorings in Brenton Cove.  My seagull friends aren't going to be too happy when the boaters return.

David helping Oldport Marine find our mooring in Newport Harbor.

 I like Newport.  It has a lot of restaurants, an abundance of little shops, and a harbor bustling with sailboats, tour boat , fishing boats, and mega yachts.  There is always something to see and do.  Early morning flat calm, afternoon sea breezes and gorgeous sunsets.  This is a place this pirate could call home.
Some of the small sailing boats in Newport - Optis sailed mostly by kids under 10.

Second trip - Cuttyhunk.  This place, I've heard is Janice and David's favorite place.  We have now been there twice so far this season.   We have visited "The Mall".  This encompasses  the fishing shacks on the dock, the heads at the head of the dinghy dock, Bart's Cart, the Corner Store, and The Market up the hill.  Captain Bruce's fish store, an ice-cream shop (not open yet) and the Raw Bar land location are all in the row of fishing shacks on the dock.  Captain Bruce sells lobsters, and sometimes striped bass, schrod, scallops and ICE.  The ice-cream shop usually boats about 3-4 different flavors of ice-cream every week.  The famous Raw Bar not only has a land base here, but every night around 5:30 they come around the harbor in a boat, shucking and selling locally harvested oysters, little-necks, shrimp, chowder and stuffies.  YUM. We have quite a collection of Cuttyhunk Raw Bar cups.  They come in handy for many things - drinking cups for dinghy rides, and even as a bailer now and then.  I think I'll like Cuttyhunk more when the season is in full swing.  It was quiet and there weren't many boats or people around.
Janice says the sun always shines in Cuttyhunk.  So far I have to agree.

This is a painting/mural on the wall in the ladies' head in Cuttyhunk.  It's someone's interpretation of July 4th in Cuttyhunk.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The IN's and INGs of Getting Obsession Ready for the Summer

Cosmo and Zin here – We have come to realize that owners of sailboats nowadays seem to have a lot of work to do before they have their boats ready to sail.  As Pirates, some of these chores are familiar to us, but others seem to mystify us.  We watched Janice and David and some of their friends at the marina performing these “–ING and –IN’” tasks starting in April right through the beginning of June.  Here’s our list:  (IN’ – Cosmo, -ING – Zin)

Cleanin’ – Both Janice and David spend a good deal of time cleanin’ the boat. They have their favorite cleaning supplies, and surprisingly enough they take great pride when something comes exceptionally clean.  The boat is mostly white, so it’s easy to see the dirt, whereas the Pirate Ships I’ve been aboard are usually dark, and we don’t really notice the dirt – on the boat or on us! 

Polishin’ – I watched David especially spend considerable time polishing the sides of Obsession.  It looked like very hard work, and if I do the math correctly he polished a total of 42 feet * 2 sides = 84 feet of wax on, wax off.  He complained later that evening of sore muscles.  I wonder why.

Scrubbing – Kind of fits in the same category as cleanin’ but some things, like the inside of the ice-box and refrigerator and certain areas of the heads needed a little extra elbow grease.  Hard work.

Scrapin’– David is the master scraper in the family.  He scraped off all loose pieces of bottom paint and scraped off all the barnacles from the propeller during his April school vacation.  He explained to me that the barnacles would slow the boat down if left on the propeller, and any loose paint needed to be scraped off so he could re-paint those areas.

Sanding – I was sitting close by while Janice sanded the varnish of the doors and flagpole.  She explained that it was the first time she had ever done anything like this, and that she was happy they don’t have much varnishing to do on the boat.  The finished product was nice, shiny, varnished doors and flagpole that we are happy to show off on the boat.

Varnishing – Janice had to be careful to only put a very light coat of varnish on the doors and flagpole or it would drip.  What seemed redundant is that once she sanded it and varnished it, she’d let it dry and then do it over again.  She did this 3 times.  I know what repetition is. “Polly want a cracker, Polly want a cracker, Polly want a cracker.”

Paintin’ – David really worked his “you know what” off April School vacation week.  Not only did he polish the sides of the boat, scrape off loose paint from the bottom, but then he painted the bottom and the keel with this black paint that went on very thick.  He used 3 gallons – and at over $100.00 a gallon, that’s not a drop in the bucket!  Janice is very glad that he wears these very old and paint spotted jeans and a long sleeve shirt when he paints.  But he still manages to get some in his hair, on his hands and even on his face.  When he finished though, the bottom of the boat was completely black, and Obsession was ready to be launched the very next day.

Emptying – Janice explained to me that last fall she and David emptied out all the water from the water tanks, the hot water heater and the heads, then poured in anti-freeze so any water left in the hoses or the tanks would not freeze and cause problems.  The anti-freeze is pink, and smells funny, so in the spring it has to be emptied out by filling and refilling the water tanks and the heads with fresh water a few times.  Looks like the anti-freeze worked – no leaky hoses, no leaky tanks, and the heads are working fine.

Swearin’ – Of course I would be the one to notice that occasionally both Janice and David use mild profanity – it goes with the territory.  I recognize the words, and also understand why they use them occasionally.   

Installing – I wasn’t aware of this happening, but I’ve overheard that all the electronics on Obsession were replaced over the winter.  I gather that Janice and David sailed through a few lightning storms, and last summer had a few problems with the gauges.  All new electronics are installed except a new wind-vane, and they are looking for someone to go up the mast to do this for them.  Janice refuses to hoist David up the mast, and their friend, Mike, a fireman, has also advised David not to go up.  Any takers?  I’m sure David and Janice would provide some sort of liquid  compensation for the good deed.

Buying – Sometimes I get to go along on the buying trips to West Marine and Defenders.  I noticed that they bought New Cruising Guides, an Eldredge, replacement parts for the grill, new bumpers, a new windscoop (the one that Peggy and Ralph gave them when they sold Seanile finally bit the dust), an air-conditioner, and a new foam mattress. 

Loadin’ – They are still bringin' stuff aboard.  I have noticed that the waterline is starting to go down.  Clothes, dishes, food, booze, ice, foul weather gear, books, DVDs, bedding, rugs, food, booze, clothes, ice.  Yes I did repeat myself.  It seems as if there is never enough clothes, food, booze and ICE. 

Finding – No matter how careful David and Janice seem to be in the fall, it seems that something didn’t get put away in the right place and they spend time looking for and eventually finding those things.  Right now they are looking for the Eldredge they bought at Defenders in March.  They say they need it to travel through Woods Hole and to the Vineyard, to Block Island and down the Long Island Sound and through the Cape Cod Canal to Maine.  I hope they find it – I can’t wait to visit those places.  (She did - with the new Cruising Guides in the bag under the chart table!)

Plannin’ – From my “bed” on Obsession I am privy to Janice and David’s conversations and plans for the summer.  I’ve heard mention of Block Island, Vineyard Haven, Woods Hole, Hadley’s Harbor, Newport, Stonington, Watch Hill, Greenport, Shelter Island, Port Jefferson, and Cuttyhunk.  The latter is a place I finally got to visit last weekend.  I understand now why it’s one of their favorite places, and can't wait to return.

Launchin’ – I helped launch Obsession!  I got to sit with George in the drivers’ seat of the travel lift.  It was exciting to see the boat actually hit the water.  David jumped on board and as soon as the boat was floating\' he started the engine, released the slings and drove away to our slip on G-Dock.  From what I understand boat launching day is one of the happiest days around here.

Enjoying, Meeting, Laughing – Cosmo and I have come to understand that Janice and David enjoy their boat very much.  They spend much time on their boat from the day it is launched until the day it is hauled.  We have had many visitors, and gone visiting with their friends from G and F Dock, and other sailing friends.  We can hardly wait to meet more of their friends this summer.

Hoistin’ – I was there the day Janice and David hoisted the jib and the mainsail for the first time.  They are pretty big sails.  David and Janice work well as a team – especially when hoistin' the main – David stands at the mast and pulls down on the halyard while Janice is in the cockpit tailing at the winch.  Then David comes back to the cockpit, and finishes hoistin' the main the last foot or so with the winch.  It works like a charm.

Remembering – Cosmo and I have heard so many stories of Janice and David’s past sailing adventures.  We enjoy hearing about their trips to the Vineyard and Cuttyhunk with Christen and Robert in their C&C 29.  As the summer progresses I’m sure we’ll hear more stories, and I’ll be sure to share them with you. 

So, you have heard about the IN’s and INGs of getting Obsession ready for the summer.  NOW, let the summer begin.  Aaaaargh…. That means Hello, good-bye, or can also be a sign of disgust.  In this case it means good-bye for now.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Meet Cosmo and Zin

This summer my blog will not be written in the first person, but from the point of view of our two companions, Cosmo and Zin. They are Lalapaloopsa dolls, originally bought for my granddaaughter Payton, but when I noticed that Cosmo was "born" on September 19, I immediately knew he was meant for me. You can see from the picture that he is a unique Pirate, with an eye patch, and dressed in clothes made from an "authentic" pirate flag. He has been observing us these past few months, watching and learning and listening as we were preparing Obsession for the summer season. He has a lot to share. His parrot friend, Zin, being considerably smaller and more portable, will serve as a substitute blogger when circumstances dictate that Cosmo can't accompany us. Plus, he will offer a different perspective and distinctive dialect to the blog. Their names? You have to ask how I named them? Well, just to be clear-Zin for the White Zinfandel wine I drink, (house wine on Obsession) and Cosmo for my favorite cocktail-Cosmopolitan.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's Over!

Hard to believe that the summer is over.  Both David and I had our first day of school on Thursday, boy, it was hard to have to wear shoes all day! And sit in a metal chair at a table listing to a speaker all day! The real deal starts on Tuesday after Labor Day.

Monday after Irene Obsession was one of the first boats to go back in the water.  Once she was in David helped George and others from the Marina put the rest of the boats in.  He worked until 5:00pm that evening.  Lifting, pulling, bending squatting, kneeling.  He LOVED it.  I put the dodger and bimini back on, put things in order down below, and enjoyed the beautiful day.  Later that day Nancy brought my mom and dad down to the marina and we had hamburgers on the grill at the Clubhouse.  Mom and Dad didn't have power at their apartment at John Clarke, and we were concerned for them to go back home to an apartment in the dark, but as we approached the island we noticed that all the stop lights were working (of course David got them all) and more and more houses had lights on.  Hooray - we arrived at John Clarke, and the lights were on.  Food in their freezer was still frozen, things were still cold in the refrigerator.  Within 5 minutes of leaving I noticed that Mom was on the computer checking Facebook!  Well - it IS 2011!!!

Life at the Marina Tuesday through Thursday was uneventful.  David tried every possible fix for the engine overheating problem, from changing the oil filter, to flushing the salt and fresh water pumps and hoses, he checked the impeller and changed the gasket, ran the engine for 20 minutes at 2600 rpms and it seemed to work.  I had appointments with Walgreen's, TJ Maxx, Stop and Shop, Ocean State Job Lot, Walmart, and Burlington Coat Factory.  Prognosis - we are ready for the first day of school with new outfits, shoes etc.

So when Friday rolled around, we headed out early on another crisp, cool day, with the North Wind that eventually died and switched to the SE.  We motored all the way to Newport - engine worked fine, picked up the mooring, and sat back to enjoy the view.  After a lovely cocktail party at 41North with our friends Mariah and Bob, we showed off our skills in the library at the pool table, then enjoyed a dinner of Truffle Fries, Tater Tots, Steamed Asparagas, various cheeses and salad. Just a mix of different appetizers that we shared sitting at the Oval Bar and enjoying the view!

Today, Saturday, is another beautiful day, I can hear the wind running through the wind generator, I can feel the warmth of the sun streaming through the hatches, and I can sense the boat's movement from the waves lapping against the sides.  The sky is blue with big white fluffy clouds.  We are looking forward to fireworks tonight - the Navy's Salute to Summer.

We will toast the end of summer tonight aboard Obsession with a bottle of Moet Chandon that I have saved all summer for such an occasion.  We certainly have had a summer to remember.  And we will toast to many more in the future.

Travels Aboard Obsession for the summer of 2011 has come to an end.  The summer of 2012 is being planned as I write this. Maine? Long Island? Cuttyhunk and Vineyard?  Tune in again next summer.

Obsession - OUT.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The first wave of clouds wind and rain of Irene Saturday afternoon.
We sailed to Fall River from Newport on Wednesday.  It was a beautiful sail, 15-20 knots of wind, so we just used the main. Pulled into our slip without a hitch, and proceeded to get things ready for hauling for the hurricane.  More and more of our dockside friends showed up over the next few days, CJ, Linda and Susan, Mike and Pam, Scott and Donna.
Notice the shadows on the cooling towers of the coal plant.  Also, that's the Energy Independence unloading coal.  She passed us traveling up Narragansett Bay on Tuesday.

Truly Topless she is! Lori DaSousa's boat.  Aptly named this very day.  Hope she rides out the storm well in her slip.
Borden Light started hauling boats that very day.   David and I love to watch the boat yard at work.  George drives the travel lift like it's a toy car, the guys are a well tuned machine, knowing exactly where to put the boats and be prepared to push blocks under keels, and place the poppits.  I am amazed at the number of boats they pulled between Wednesday afternoon and Saturday evening.  We watched Mike drive his father's boat "Lundon Bridge" into the travel lift without steering, "I don't need the wheel - just use the engines!" he said, sounding a bit like Captain Ron.  And he accomplished the task without touching a boat, a dock or the sides of the travel lift.
Lundon Bridge in travel lift ready to be hauled Thursday night.  They parked their trucks with their lights on to light up the lift area.

Friday night proved to be fun, after all our work was done - taking off the jib, the side curtains, and laundry, we sat on the dock with our friends, watching the boats being hauled and finally ended up at the Tipsy just in time to close it down.

Saturday - 7:30am - Obsession was in the travel lift and on the hard by 8:30am.  More work - bimini and dodger need to be removed and stowed, cushions, tie down the electronics covers, tie up the bimini and dodger poles, pack clothes and food make sure everything is tied down and nothing left loose to fly around.  Again, George and Mike and the Borden Light crew worked alongside many volunteers getting as many boats out of the water as they could until 5:00pm.
Right where we wanted to be. In front of G Dock clubhouse and on the pavement.

One of the tires of the travel lift went right through the boardwalk next to Obsession with the boat that was hauled right after us.  Glad we ended up on the pavement.

We checked into the hotel, (got Hurricane rates!) went to dinner at White's and then crashed on the soft, DRY and comfortable King Size bed, being lulled to sleep by the news and weather.

Sunday morning - I was up at 4:00am to my favorite Channel 10 newscaster - Frank Coletta, and Gary Ley.  (Is anyone surprised by that?) Hurricane not as strong as expected, but "still beware" was their mantra.  After breakfast we drove over to the Marina to check the boats,
Unusual high tide.  This is as high as it got this morning.  Phew!
Just enough room to walk through.  Like a maze!

 the tide, the docks etc.,  then drove through the condos.  Surprise!  Obsession is fine.  But what? Trees down by the condo? Oh dear!
Tree down in front of our condo.  No major damage, just the fence.

As the wind started to pick up, and the rain got heavier, we decided against a trip to Newport across the Sakonnet River Bridge, and opted for the hotel for a bit.  As I write this the electricity is out here in the hotel, and as I check my facebook (using my iPhone hotspot) it seems to be the norm around Rhode Island.

This is a new age.  My mom has facebook, and can communicate with us all during the storm (as long as she has electricity).  Sharing pictures and thoughts with friends near and far almost instantly is part of this age of communication.  Love it.  David even has entered the new age.  He has a new Smart Phone - a Droid-X.

From the Point in Newport - one boat is losing it's jib - the red one on the left.  Very windy and rough in Newport.

Forty Steps.  Photo by David with his new Droid-X

Thursday, August 25, 2011


We left Cuttyhunk in search of POTUS (President of the United States).  We had a great sail up Buzzards Bay and through Woods Hole.
The Elizabeth Islands always remind me of the Caribbean!  This is Weepecket Island, just west of the entrance to Woods Hole.  I've noticed more and more boats anchoring off this island during the day for a lunch/swim stop.  Someday we'll do that too.  I wonder if there are any clams to dig there?

 BUT the engine started to overheat again.  We had hoped that if we ran it at low rpms (1800) and gradually increased it to 2400 rpms like we did from Gloucester that it would be fine.  It didn't.  We put the engine on to help us through Woods Hole - and also got a lot of help from the current, then continued to sail over to Vineyard Haven.  We really went there to stock up on food and maybe get a glimpse of the President.

Sea Force One?  We had good reason to suspect that President Obama was aboard The Alabama.  But even if he wasn't, it was a gorgeous picture.  

The weather was beautiful, but the wind direction wasn't.  We rocked and rolled on anchor outside the breakwater, so, once our shopping was done on Tuesday morning we headed for Cuttyhunk.

The tide was with us down Vineyard Sound, and the wind was from a favorable direction - we had another great sailing day.  We anchored in our favorite spot, and settled down for a relaxing night aboard, listening and watching the weather reports about IRENE.  What should we do, it's not going to really impact the weather until Sunday - but should we head home as soon as possible since the engine isn't 100%?  We finally decided to sail to Newport on Wednesday, spend Thursday there, get another impeller and David would spend some more time bonding with the engine.  He will try to flush out the hose and replace it, check the impeller again, and replace it if it's damaged (it was 6 years old), change the oil, and anything else that he thinks may be affecting the temperature.  (If any of you are thinking it could be the gauge, well, we replaced that at the beginning of the summer).

Our sail to Newport was just perfect also.  The tide helped us all the way, turning with us as we rounded Castle Hill.  Unusual for us, we sailed right to Fort Adams. 4.5 hours from up-anchor in Cuttyhunk to on mooring in Newport Harbor.  Excellent!
Always a welcome sight as we enter Narragansett Bay.

We spent last evening at 41North, relaxing and reviewing options and preparations for IRENE.

We are lousy pool players - but we have fun, and it's something different to do.  We had the room to ourselves for more than an hour, I'm working on perfecting one shot, and NOT putting the cue ball in the pocket!
It looks like IRENE's coming.  Our plan, subject to change - head to Borden Light on Friday.  Talk to Mike - if we haul, we need to go back in the water  since our tenants won't be moving out of the condo until September 11th.  We will find a hotel or some place to stay on land the nights the boat is out of the water.  If we can't haul, hopefully we can move to a slip closer to the shore.  If we have to vacate the slip, then we'll have to bring her back to Newport and put her on the mooring, and PRAY!!!!  Don't worry, although we have contemplated staying aboard in the Kickimuit, I don't really think that's an option.  Of course, we still have some time for the IRENE to change course, like EARL last year, but we need to be prepared.

I think the weathermen have done an excellent job forecasting the weather this summer.  If Kelley's (Channel 10) forecast is correct, then IRENE is headed this way.