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Posted by: nauticalchronicles | December 2, 2015

OUR WAY

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

Our Way

We apologize. We have neglected to keep you current with Peter and Mary’s life stories.

In December of 2013, we got a Christmas letter from them saying they had purchased a motor-home which they were living in, a large old Chris Craft live-aboard boat which they were renting weekly to tourists in New Jersey, and were contemplating moving back to Salisbury with all their toys. In the Spring of 2014, they did in fact, return to the Hampton Beach RV park with their motor home; their boat “Out of Service” was delivered to them, by truck, just before our annual trek that year to the Charles River for the 4th of July celebration and the planned, continuing journey of epic proportions to…New York City. They barely had time to commission her before the voyage, and while valiantly attempting to attend this event “to hell-gate and back”, they were forced out at the Charles River leg due to well-documented issues they faced while in the river. They limped back to Cove Marina while the remaining members of the armada continued down the coast.

Later that summer Peter convinced Mary to sell the Chris-Craft and look for a new, smaller & more economical, later-model power boat. By October, the most recent “Out of Service” had been sold and they were on the hunt. They moved their motor home from Hampton Beach to a year-round RV park in Henniker, NH (“the only Henniker in the world”).

We kind of lost touch and didn’t hear much from Peter and Mary during the winter, but this past April, 2015, we were invited to join them to visit several boats they were considering purchasing. Three boats were located on Long Island, so they had made reservations on the New London ferry to cross over to Orient Point. They would then travel west to Amityville and West Islip on the south shore, return back to Riverhead and Aquebogue on the Peconic River and planned to board the 5:30 ferry back to New London; it was going to be a long day.

My mate and I begged off due to “prior commitments with our grandchildren”, but suggested they contact their other good friends, Erik and Victoria, “The Kids” as we refer to them. Erik and Victoria were thrilled to have been asked, had enjoyed Peter and Mary’s company on the docks last summer, and had enjoyed the trip to the Charles River with them. And they were looking forward to seeing other boats since they too were considering selling their own, older 30’ Larson. As we found out later, Peter and Mary convinced Erik and Victoria to have “early morning cocktails” on the ferry over, their favorite saying being, “how can we drink all day unless we start early in the morning”. They all had a fabulous outing, looking at five different boats, located on both shores of the island as well as on the Peconic River. The weather was perfect for boat-shopping, and the brokers were all pleasant and helpful. The only glitch occurred late in the afternoon when they missed the scheduled 5:30 ferry and were forced to wait another hour.

They spent that next hour in the Orient by the Sea Restaurant where they managed to miss the 6:30 ferry as well. While they did make the 7:30 ferry, they managed another cocktail or two while on board, forcing them to stay overnight in New London at a cheap motel (a prudent decision) and return to Lowell (“The Kids” home) early Sunday morning.

As it turned out, the trip was a big disappointment to Peter and Mary. They were not impressed by any of the vessels they inspected, and were going to continue the search. However, the trip was a huge success for Erik and Victoria…they found a 35’ Silverton Convertible named “My Way” which they fell in love with. They went back and forth with the owners on price and eventually purchased and closed in early June; plans were then made for the boat delivery from Aquebogue, NY (Long Island) to Cove Marina in Salisbury, NH.

The Delivery

As a licensed captain, I have been asked on a number of occasions to assist in the delivery of a boat for a new owner or to assist with the operation of their boat by a new owner. Many years ago, my friend Paul and I took the USCG approved course and subsequent testing through Boatwise Marine Training School in Massachusetts so we could pursue our boating hobby as an income-producing endeavor. Though we have not made our fortune making boat deliveries, our adventures have been well worth the “cost of admission”. Our most notable adventure, to date, has been our now, well told story of the delivery of a beautiful, 45’ Bertram sport-fish from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Scituate, MA which was our first and longest delivery (ask us about it sometime if you haven’t already heard it). Additional deliveries included New York, Long Island, Connecticut, New Bedford, Salem and Portland. Also, requests for assistance in the operation of boats, new to the owner, have been numerous.

So…as seasoned captains and crew members, the delivery of Erik and Victoria’s new 2000, 35’ Silverton from Aquebogue to Newburyport should have been “just another delivery”, however, there is always this cloud hanging over Peter and Mary’s head; maybe that cloud was still in place as we planned to take possession of the “My Way”.

Cast of Characters:

  • Bob & Debbie: sellers
  • Andrew: broker
  • Erik & Victoria: buyers
  • Me, Peter and Kevin: crew
  • Barb (Erik’s mom) and Victoria: drivers of the mini-van

The Plan:

  1. Leave Cove Marina by 11:00 am Saturday for New London ferry at 2:30 pm
  2. Barb & Victoria in mini-van drive crew to Long Island, then return rented mini-van back in Massachusetts
  3. Crew preps boat for early Sunday morning departure
  4. Travel to Onset or Sandwich for fuel
  5. Arrive at Cove Marina to cheering crowd around 5:00 pm

As our log entry states: “that’s the plan; we’ll see if it comes together!” Signed, “Captain Erik, 1st Mate Bob; June 12, 2015”.

What Actually Happened? (Condensed)

Saturday morning early: Before leaving Lowell to pick up the mini-van, “The Kids” car was broken into; $800 in cash was stolen, and the fire extinguisher being brought to new boat had dispensed its contents into the back of their SUV causing a mess with all other items being brought to the new boat.

All parties met at Cove Marina as planned (Kevin was a little late). Everyone piled into the mini-van which rested smartly and firmly on its springs and axles due to the amount of weight from participants, equipment and overnight requirements of the crew. Promptly at 11:00, we headed to New London; since there were no mishaps on the way, we actually made the 2:00 ferry rather than the one we had reserved for 2:30. ETA for arrival at Larry’s Lighthouse Marina on Peconic Bay “just 5 miles east of Riverhead” was now 3:00 pm. Prior to our arrival at Larry’s, Peter said he needed “fresh eggs” for the trip. Erik indicated there were no pots or pans on board to cook with so why bother, but Peter was not to be deterred; we stopped for eggs.

Andrew, the broker, met us at the marina where we proceeded to board “My Way”. The old owners were on board and made certain to tell us that no shoes were allowed inside the salon area. They had apparently forgotten it was no longer their boat, and it was evident, after seeing us, they had some remorse for selling her.

Our drivers headed back to the mini-van to accomplish the return trip to Massachusetts; the old owners left with a wave and a tear in their eye and we set about prepping the new vessel for its voyage. Peter went to the helm station to start the boat; both batteries were dead (the “cloud” over Peter’s head!). With a jump provided by the dockhands, the boat started easily. Peter and Erik brought her from the slip to the fuel dock for a top-off, and by 6:30 pm we were back in our slip and headed for dinner.

(Condensed) at 8:00 pm, we had completed dinner, been witness to a serious fight between two ladies at the bar, managed to get our broker into trouble with his wife at home by providing him with more free drinks than he was used to imbibing and we managed to imbibe our own share of cold beverages, especially Peter and his Orange Stoli’s. We were all in and all done by 9:00 pm ready for an early morning departure (reminiscent of Captain Ron leaving Cuba in a hurry!)

Sunday morning early: our crew was up at 5:00 am as planned. It was a terrible night sleeping. There was rampant snoring by two members of the crew, and a third crewmember with a noisy CPAP machine to help counteract his snoring. After waiting for Kevin to complete his shower at the marina facilities, we disembarked at 6:30 am. The old owner’s neighbors gave us a bottle of wine, wished us safe-passage and reminded us not to wear shoes in the salon. We left the dock with that very nice bottle of wine and a seriously vulgar odor emanating from the head and grey-water tank. All of the crew were content to remain in the flybridge as we motored out into the Peconic Bay and River, enjoying the calm water and the early morning sun and mist.

Peter and Erik did most of the boat operation, steering, navigation, radio operation and review of gauges. We had been told by the owners and broker that the boat used approximately 16 gallons of fuel per motor per hour at 18 knots. We had done the math and determined we could make Onset, just before entry into the Cape Cod Canal with plenty of fuel to spare.

By 11:45 am, we were 17 nautical miles from the canal entrance in bumpy Buzzard’s Bay waters with about a quarter of a tank of fuel remaining, and we knew that fuel gauges are historically inaccurate in boats (we wished we had Flo-Scans on “My Way”, but we didn’t). An hour later, we were still several miles from Onset and decided, prudently, to find a closer harbor.

At 12:38 pm, we decided to enter West Falmouth harbor since it was the closest to our position. The weather was hot, humid with no breeze; it was dead low tide and very, very shallow. We were the largest boat in this small harbor, but found a mooring ball we could tie too, a very shallow mooring but the water was very still; we also knew the water was coming back in. There is no fuel in West Falmouth Harbor. We called Tow Boat.

By 1:30 pm, Tow Boat had arrived. Normally, they would have towed us to Fiddler’s Cove, but since it was Sunday, that fuel dock was closed. We needed to be towed to Kingman Yacht Club in Cataumet, where we arrived at 3:30 pm; it was now obvious we would not make the cheering crowd at Cove Marina by 5:00 pm! While we seriously enjoyed being at Kingman, and would like to return again for dockage or a mooring, and visit the area, we were anxious to get underway. We now had a very accurate record of the new vessel’s fuel usage:

  • We had traveled for 7.0 hours at 18-20 knots
  • We had been full when we left and we took on 264 gallons at Kingman
  • We had used 37 gallons per hour (18 gallons per motor)
  • We had 36 gallons left when we stopped traveling
  • We would not have made it to Onset…lesson learned.

We also noticed while being towed that Kingman, as nice as it is, it’s a long, no-wake-speed way from the Cape Cod Canal entrance which did not diminish our anxiety in returning to our home port at a reasonable time.

By 5:00 pm, we had finally made the entrance to the canal! Peter and Erik were captaining the vessel when just beyond the railroad bridge, across from the Merchant Mariner’s College, we were stopped for speed (again, Peter’s “cloud”). We were told there existed a small, very small sign near or on the bridge indicating maximum speed to be 10 knots; we were released, in these seriously choppy waters, with just a warning and a comment that these waters were choppy due to our speeding…slow down.

At “no wake” speed, we made Sandwich by 6:00 pm, starving. After serious discussions by our crew members, we decided to stay the night at Sandwich Marina, have a nice dinner and a good night’s sleep and begin the final leg of our journey on Monday (calling in sick for work as necessary). We stopped, took on an additional 40 gallons of fuel, just to be safe, docked and had dinner at the Pilot House Restaurant. One of the most compelling reasons for not stopping had been SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS from the previous night. Our predictions for Sunday night were not much better for a “good night’s sleep”.

Monday morning early:

By 6:00 am, the accuracy of our predictions was evidenced; what a horrible night. To make matters worse, a boat of partiers didn’t quit partying until 3:00 am. And the cause of the seriously vulgar odor emanating from the grey-water tank had not yet been determined. And, for the second morning in a row, Peter was unable to use his “dozen of fresh eggs” since there was no way to prepare them.

Monday’s Forecast: rain, possible fog, winds SE 10-20, seas 2’-4’ building later in the day. Not the perfect day to return to Cove and the cheering crowds.

By 8:00 am, we were underway and out of the canal. We navigated 9 miles to our first waypoint to be certain the boat was running correctly and the instruments were operating accurately. It was decided, reluctantly by some of the crew, to navigate a course directly to the Cape Ann marker, a course of 44 miles or approximately 2.5 hours. The question was whether we should be so far from land after yesterday’s debacle. On the plus side, we would save time and fuel and would possibly beat the building seas south of Gloucester.

By 11:00 am, we made the marker as planned, leaving only 1.5 hours to home.

And by 12:30 we were at the foggy, misty docks of Cove Marina. Louise and Victoria were there to meet us as well as “the cheering crowd” of three other friends. We had a cocktail to celebrate, reviewed quickly the items needing to be addressed on the boat: depth finder issue, getting matching lines and fenders, take stickers off windows and door, the value of the C. Jaffey painting on the wall, reminding Peter to take his now-not-so-fresh eggs home with him and most importantly find and correct the cause of the seriously vulgar odor emanating from the head and the holding tank.

Review of vital statistics:

Boat successfully delivered!

Should have been:

  • 10.5 hours underway
  • 1 hour (estimated) for fuel fill in Onset
  • 11.5 hours total
  • If left at 6:00 am, arrival at 5:30 PM

Actually was:

  • With towing, 12 hours on Sunday
  • And 4 hours on Monday
  • 16 hours total
  • If done in one day, departure at 6:00 am, arrival at 10:00 pm, with final four hours travelled after dark (in a new boat with new radar & GPS)

And, to come full circle, there is a dark cloud which hangs over Peter and Mary. That cloud may have followed us on our most recent “successful” boat delivery. When Peter left with Mary after our return, they still had every intention of finding another boat and returning to Cove (and they also had his “now-not-so-fresh eggs”). In fact, they still had a deposit on a slip at Cove. Unfortunately, they have not found a boat yet, they have not returned yet and their partial deposit was returned to them in July. The last we spoke with them, they are really looking forward to returning this summer, with a new boat! They will call us to help deliver it for them when they find it. We hope they do!

And finally, my mate and I believe that the name “My Way” sounds kind of selfish, especially recognizing that it takes a minimum of two people, the captain and his or her mate to pilot a vessel such as Erik and Victoria’s 35’ Silverton; the name should be changed; it should be changed…to “Our Way”.

the little man

Captain Robert Brown

1st Mate Louise

My Way delivery 010  My Way delivery 012  My Way delivery 019

My Way delivery 024  My Way delivery 025  My Way delivery 028

My Way delivery 041  My Way delivery 044

 

 

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Responses

  1. Awww that is a great story of us .. thanks so much for sharing our story .. and so happy you all could be apart of it and with you aND louise help of finding her .. you guys are the best love u guys xo .
    Love the hoars

  2. Great story and travel narrative with a dose of spooky world!
    I charted out of Kingman, you are correct:)
    Brian

  3. Another enjoyable read, Captain Bob!

  4. Despite the delays, congrats on getting the new boat where it was supposed to be. “Our Way” is a very appropriate name since you ALL seem to do thing your way. Boats and booze, love it. Looking forward to Tookie and Louise’s new one. Love keeping up with some of you on FB. Hugs to all, Betsy

  5. Another fabulous adventure with only the creative embellishments Bob can add! Loved it!!


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