Another World Traveling Sailor Meets Kelly, September 17 – 19
Another World Traveling Sailor Meets Kelly, September 17 – 19Report Abuse
http://captmurph.com/home - Jack VanArsdale, Bill Paviol and his daughter, Sarah, joined Kelly IV for the final sail of the 2010 season. We drove to Kelly IV on Friday night, loaded our provisions and gear and climbed into our sleeping bags. It was an early wake up at 6am as Jack prepared a delicious breakfast for the crew and we were on our way at 0700. As we cleared the channel departing Presque Isle Bay, Erie, PA, the mild breeze was about 10 knots and mostly southerly so we set the sails for a broad reach and were bounding along quite nicely. Our original thought was to sail to Dunkirk, NY, but as the day wore on, the wind gradually shifted directly behind the stern (southwest) and built to a blustery 15 knots. While this was great sailing, especially as we set the whisker pole and sails for wing-and-wing, it also brought grey clouds and the looming threat of rain. It was the gloomy thought that the cold rain might catch us that changed our destination. About Noon we were only about 4 miles from Barcelona, NY, a port of many fond memories and one that Jack had never been to. Our stories of the small but interesting harbor and it's friendly people convinced us to rethink our destination and we set the new course for Barcelona, due East instead of Northeast. Jack had the helm for much of the sail and did a great job of keeping us on our northeasterly course about 5 to 10 miles off the brown cliffs and green trees of the Lake Erie coastline. The waves came upon the stern, pushing Kelly one way or the other, then sloshing noisily by as it passed underneath. While the action was similar to our recent delivery trip as the winds were aft and the waves were lifting the stern and rolling the boat as the they slid underneath, it was a much kinder/gentler version! These breezes to Barcelona were only about 15 knots and the waves were only 2 to 3 feet, so the scale was dramatically smaller than the “similar” sail from Sandusky a couple weeks earlier. Knowing that the Barcelona Harbor is quite shallow, we entered slowly with Jack at the helm, myself on the bow and Bill managing our communications so everyone could work smoothly together. The harbormaster told us in a phone call that with Kelly's 5 ft draft, we should just anchor in the small channel, keeping close to the western breakwater. Even there we saw consistent depths of 6 to 7 feet, just enough to keep Kelly floating! We recognized one of the moored boats as the one owned by a world circumnavigator whom we had talked with on our last trip to Barcelona, which happened to be Kelly III's final cruise when I sold her before finding Kelly IV. Fortunately, the experienced sailor was on board his boat as we entered the harbor, so he clambered down into his dinghy and motored slowly over to us. He asked about our anchors. Finding that we had our 2 Danforths, he suggested we use both of them to be sure they dug into the somewhat weedy bottom (not usually good for Danforths). The white haired sailor with more than a few miles under his keel, also pointed out that the pretty blue-hulled boat on a mooring very near us was, in fact, aground! The pretty boat's draft was five and a half feet, just inches more than Kelly IV! There was an open mooring between the 38 ft world traveled cruiser and the pretty boat, but thinking that another boat might own and pick up the mooring later, we decided to anchor between the moored boats and the small rocky beach at the end of the breakwater. It was the tightest anchor spot Kelly IV has ever been in. Thankfully, the shallow depth called for a short rode to accomplish a 5 to 1 scope. With four feet of freeboard and 6 feet of depth, we only needed 50 feet of rode to achieve the 5 to 1 scope. We put out both Danforth anchors and our swing was very minimal. In the early afternoon, the sun returned, the wind kept changing from West to South to SE to SW and around again. It was quite the test for our anchors, so the crew went ashore leaving an anchor watch (me). Although the winds shifted a lot, the majority of the breeze came from the west. It seemed Kelly IV was gradually inching her way closer to the pretty grounded boat, until finally I felt it was necessary to move the anchors a little further to the west, away from the moored boats, especially the grounded one. With two anchors down, very little swing room and no crew (they were all ashore exploring the tiny harbor, marinas, restaurants, historic lighthouse and 16th century sailing ship) my adrenalin was a bit elevated! I shouldn't have been concerned. The breeze dropped to about 5 knots which was perfect, as it was just enough to make Kelly drift, but so minimal that just putting the engine into gear was enough to propel Kelly into the slight breeze. With the sun bathing the entire scene, it became an upbeat and enjoyable exercise. Kelly just motored slowly forward as I pulled up both anchor rodes until the bow was spit between the two anchors. Then I put the engine in neutral and pulled Kelly to one side collecting the first anchor, then back to the other side and popped the second anchor off the bottom. With the now very light breeze, I had time to splash the anchors vigorously in the water to wash all the mud off them. Once the anchors were clean and on the bow, it was simply a matter of circling once around to find the new anchor spot, lowering first one then the other anchor and drifting back to a more comfortable distance from the pretty blue boat (which was still firmly aground). Soon after the crew returned from their explorations, we saw a good looking motor yacht with a sweeping sheer to the bow and first class canvas enclosing the pilot and cockpit area. As the solo sailor motored close by us, he asked about where he might tie up for fuel, so we directed him to the only open slip we could see. It was late in the afternoon, so it seemed he might be taking a slip that was unlikely to belong to anyone else that evening. Fortunately, we guessed correctly! The most intriguing thing about this motor yacht was the British Ensign he was sporting from his stern! It was the first time I'd seen a British Ensign on Lake Erie. My curiosity got the best of me, so Sarah and I rowed the dinghy across the 100 feet to shore (the shortest dinghy ride from anchor!) and walked over to meet our new neighbor. It turns out that John is a dual citizen of Canada and the UK. As a Canadian, his speech was identical to our own, no accent to our ears. I guess I was hoping to hear a little “blimey, mate!” or something. :-) John is a very friendly sailor who had sailed his prior boat, a Catalina 45 down the US East Coast, throughout the Caribbean and even through the Panama Canal. He says he chickened out 300 yards into the Pacific and turned around, but I suspect he is no chicken. Like any good sailor, he changed his plans when it made sense to do so. Like our plans to go to Dunkirk were changed when it made sense. We were thankful we made the change or we would never have met John! In the morning we met John for coffee at the small breakfast place called “Jack's” and discussed our plans for leaving. The wind had shifted to the northeast overnight and was blowing at 15 knots again, kicking up 3 ft waves. The forecast said the winds would be calming and the waves declining as the day wore on, so getting a later departure seemed a good idea, especially for John as he would be motoring into the northeasterly wind and waves. The breeze was fine for us as we'd be riding it downwind again, southwest to Erie. Our conversation bloomed so our departure crept to a later time until we finally pulled our anchors aboard and found the breeze was down to 10 knots or less and the waves were well under two feet. Since the wind was directly astern, we were on a dead run, no additional advantage like a reach. In addition the breeze and waves kept falling. By the time we were only a couple miles from Barcelona, we restarted the engine and motor sailed the entire way to Erie. There was just not enough breeze to get us back in a timely way. Although we never saw the threatened rain on Saturday, Sunday afternoon it finally caught us. It was a little cool, bur we merely raised the bimini and pulled on our foul weather gear for a comfortable, if damp ride home. The rain stopped before we entered Presque Isle Bay, so unloading gear and packing the cars went smoothly. Then the Paviols headed home, Jack and I buttoned up Kelly IV and the dinghy, as I wouldn't be back for several days. It was another memorable weekend, as Barcelona continues to create wonderful memories of the world traveling sailors we meet there!