Logs for 2007
The Adventures of Sailing Vessel Flipper
The 2007 season started on May 7th the Capital Yacht Club flag raising day. We took Flipper down the
Washington Channel, fueled her at James Creek Marina and ventured down to Alexandria.
In early October, Phil convinced the crew to stay out "at anchor" for a couple of days to test Flippers
systems. A couple of days turned into one week and everyone enjoyed the Indian Summer with cool evenings
and nice days. Phil returned to the dock with several "projects" necessary for a trip down the Potomac and
to spend a couple of weeks on the Bay. Katherine kept reminding everyone at the club that we were "out at
anchor". Phil had a " run in" with the local marine police who insisted that he must display full running and
range lights in the inflatable dingy even when transiting 100 yards from anchor to the dingy dock. Phil
enjoyed the new anchor windlass and radar arch / dingy davits that were installed in 2006.
Upon our return to our slip at CYC, Phil replaced the Perkins 4-108 heat exchanger and added a second
supplemental heat exchanger hopefully to preclude future exchanger cleanings. Phil also installed a Balmar
charge controller to prevent the alternator from over charging the batteries (another persistent problem with
Flipper). Phil also marked the all chain rode to know how much chain is out. Everyone aboard removed extra
clutter which seems to plague us. Phil had to make an early morning run to Trans Atlantic Diesel in
Deltaville, Va. (about a 3 hour run one way) to get a new engine water pump.
On Saturday October 13th we set out on our first cruise together in over three years. It was great to get back
down the Potomac, and to watch Katherine adapt to her new underway environment. We had a leisurely start
and made it down to Mattawoman creek, Md. to anchor. Phil wanted to try an anchorage which was about 6
inches shallower that Flippers draft. After pushing mud for about 5 min. Phil turned the boat around and
noticed the engine was starting to heat up. Checking the water flow, Phil decided we needed to stop to clean
the raw water strainer. Turns out the strainer was clear, but the sea valve and hoses to the strainer were
packed with seaweed. 30 min. later, Phil had everything cleared and we proceeded to a slightly deeper
anchorage for the evening. We enjoyed a quiet night at anchor.
On Sunday morning we awoke to the sound of a dozen bass boats passing Flipper at full speed on their way
to their morning fishing spot. The sunrise 15 min. later was beautiful. We quickly got underway and
continued to motor south on the Potomac. Phil had the auto pilot working all day as he continued to work on
deck. The new Garmin 172C GPS / chart plotter installed this year has made piloting much easer. We arrived
late in the afternoon at Saint Clements Bay where we met with our good friends Don and Sharon Bishop from
Mississippi who recently bought a 47' Sea Ranger which they keep at Colton's Point off the Potomac. We
motored up into a nice cove with a little restaurant which we enjoyed for supper and had another wonderful
and quiet night at anchor.
On Monday we started at sunrise, ahead of our M/V friends. The rounding of Point Lookout where the
Potomac meets the Chesapeake Bay was uneventful and we proceeded up the bay with the tide. We arrived
at Solomon's Island around 15:00. We fueled and took on water and then anchored in Mill Creek. Our
Friends from M/V Sequel arrived ahead of us and anchored on the opposite side of the creek. We had a
wonderful supper aboard Flipper. Katherine was quite fascinated with two old Schooners which she called
"Friendly Pirates". We enjoyed another quiet night at anchor.
On Tuesday we motor sailed to St. Michaels, Md. and anchored in the inner harbor. We had just enough time
for a short bounce on the inflatable and for Mom's trained eye to spot a pirate ship jungle gym we could
scope out the next day before joining our friends for a wonderful supper aboard M/V Seaquel and yet another
nice evening at anchor.
On Wednesday, we took Katherine to the Pirate ship jungle gym which of course she loved. As we were
heading back to the inflatable we received a call from M/V Sequel informing us that S/V Flipper had found her
way alongside their boat. We returned to find our friends had taken things well in hand. We re-anchored
Flipper discovering that Phil had only let out 10 feet of rode the day before. The new Bruce anchor had done
it's best to try to hold but with 15+ kts. winds and nearly 1 to 1 scope it did not hold.... We had lunch aboard
M/V Seaquel and then went into town by dinghy to explore the St. Michael's Maritime Museum and lighthouse.
We later had a nice supper ashore, followed by... you guessed it, another nice night at anchor. What can we
say? The weather was good.
On Thursday morning we rafted briefly with M/V Seaquel to say our good byes, for now, and they headed back
to the Potomac while we proceeded for a few more days of cruising. We were delayed for a while waiting for
fuel and water at the city docks and then had a nice motor-sail to Annapolis, Md. We anchored in Back bay
where the Admiral complained about the change of scenery from nautical, historical, picturesque St.
Michaels to what the Capt. tried to justify as an "aluminum forest". The first mate found that so interesting
she sent husband and child off to explore the various inlets and "trees" while she caught up on "accounting".
On Friday foul weather, a dwindling water supply, and the Admiral's desire for a more "picturesque" setting
took us to Spa Creek for fuel, water, and a mooring. Phil explored the upper reaches of Spa Creek as
Katherine napped and Monica enjoyed some peace and quiet. That evening a front passed with heavy rain
and we stayed aboard watching the neighborhood change with every shift in wind direction.
On Saturday the winds were still very strong from the South so we stayed another day at Annapolis. We hit
the stores and a play park and pizza place we know from our car outings to Annapolis.
On Sunday, the winds (still strong) shifted to the North and we got underway at sunrise and motored South to
Solomon's Island. On the way South in 3 to 4 foot seas the Balmar controller stopped charging the batteries.
We again anchored in Mill creek. Phil checked the battery temperature after verifying that the charger had
shut down due to high temp (126 deg.) He woke up at midnight when Monica came to bed and smelled
batteries. Phil again checked the battery temps and they were at 146 degrees. He isolated the banks and
things started to cool down. The Captain remained up most of the night watching temps.
On Monday morning we were able to use the auxiliary house bank to start the engine and we proceeded to
Spring Cove Marina to dock, take water, and change out Batteries. We presume that the battery failure
(shorted cell) was due to older (5 years) rather unused batteries which recieved a shake in a moderate
seaway. The high battery temps nearly causing a battery fire. West Marine is a short walk with a dock cart
(15 min) and with a Port Supply Card and 3 minor boat units (for our friends not so familiar with boating, that
would be $300, for future reference, a "major boat unit" is $1,000) Flipper had a new primary house battery
bank. While the Captain upgraded the house battery bank the Admiral and Admiral's aide stayed out of the
way and walked to the local grocery store/coffee shop for supplies. Later that day the entire crew was free
for a long and very enjoyable walk into the historical part of town for touristy shopping, ice cream, and "run
ins" with other boaters before returning to Flipper for supper aboard and a quiet evening.
Tuesday was a quite a day. Katherine met a Canadian boy Christopher whom she invited over to play. They
played on Flipper, swam at the pool, visited downtown Solomon's, and had supper ashore with all the parents.
Meanwhile, Phil prepped Flipper for a short haul and pressure wash. Flipper's bottom looked remarkably
good given that she had not been out since the move from Mississippi.
On Wednesday we left late (8 AM) and proceeded with the tide around Point Lookout at slack low. We made
an early day of it anchoring at Smith Creek before dark. Our return up the Potomac was accompanied by the
beginning of the end of Indian Summer with cool and drizzly weather. But the drizzle at Smith Creek was
quite manageable and even enjoyable, a pretty little spot with a touch of Fall colors and much quiet.
Thursday we motored up to Port Tobacco with the tide but against a strong head wind and more cool drizzle.
Friday we again motored up the Potomac against 15 knots of wind, rain (much heavier now, nice and steady,
we really enjoy our Bimini and side windows) and fog. As Phil said, it was a good day for Ducks but not for
sailing. We arrived in D.C. in heavy rain that had us thinking of using the remote to anchor and come into the
slip the following day. Thankfully the rain subsided just as we approached Capital Yacht Club around 17:00
and we returned to our slip staying relatively dry.