Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Alberg 30 Cruising

Well once again September, October and November have gone, and in the Chesapeake area that means three months of moderate temperatures, generally good winds, and plenty of sailing. The only down spot for the Laughing Gull was hitting a rock going into the PSA creek - there are only two rocks, the other one is in Rock Creek! The engine water pump had gone, and I had managed to sail all the way into the creek - only to cut the corner of the island. We were hard aground on an ebb tide - it was almost a long stay! We got pulled off with the help of Larry Morris on Solstice.

Speaking of helping Albergers, I lowered the mast for the first time this year. We used the A30 A Frame, and had a crowd of helping hands. The value of this association is (in part) the advice and help that you get from the various members - there is virtually nothing that has not been done before by a member. If you have a question, reach out on the mail list or over the phone. During the winter there is nothing people with an old boat hang up like to do more than see how others have done it, provide their opinion, and lend a helping hand.

The boat is now out, and I have a small chunk of the bottom of the rudder out - what to use as filler? Let me know.

As we head into the winter months, we invariably start thinking about next year. What spots on the Bay have we not visited? Should we try for the ocean? Do I need a bimini? How do I keep the beer cold longer? These are all issues that can be discussed one way or another in the winter seminars. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them. I was thinking perhaps of a standing rigging discussion as I will be replacing various bits and pieces while the mast is down. Let us know your thoughts.

I say "us" as Ray Meyer will be taking over as Cruising Commodore next year, and he will be arranging the seminars. I look forward to seeing everyone there.

I think I will finish with the words of them Eastport Oyster Boys - http://www.oysterboys.com/ (summarized somewhat). You have to admire these guys for just not taking themselves too seriously:

""A good hat, a good dog, a good boat

A good hat can keep you cool when its not
A good hat can keep you warm when its not
Keep your brain all safe and dry
when the rain falls from the sky

A good dog will be your very bestest friend
A good dog will stick with you through thick and thin
They won't bust when you come home late
Give you a big kiss and then they'll shake

A good boat is all you need to get around
A good boat will take you where you are bound
She will take you near and far
When you are there you are where you are
A good boat is all you need to get around

Let's consider women for a minute
They'll judge you by your hat and how you look in it
If they like the way you float your boat than you hold her tight and don't let go
As long as your good dog aint agin it.

A good hat, a good dog, a good boat""

Well we all have the good boat. I recommend the Tilley as the appropriate hat for that mid summer sun, and as far as the dog - I recommend getting one that likes your wife!

Hey don't give me a hard time - the previous Commodore copied entire chapters!

Monday, November 16, 2009

October Cruising

The Fall Cruise has come and gone, and is written up elsewhere in this issue. We have managed to do a good amount of sailing in September and October, and the boat looks as if she is ready for her winter rest. To top it all off we know the end of the sailing season is nigh when we start having conversations about the February seminars. My boat comes out early in November, and I plan on taking the mast down this year for the first time. We shall see how that goes.

Other than the Fall Cruise, I cannot let the Queenstown Race go unmentioned as it is one of the best weekend cruises of the year. We had a great showing, with plenty of kids all having a good time. The only unusual excitement on the raft up was Austin Williams (4yrs) going backwards off the foredeck immediately after his mother had told him to be careful - do they do that on purpose? He was hauling on a line, and went over backwards much to his surprise. His lifejacket did what it was meant to do, and popped him face up still wondering what had happened! Mike Niklich without any hesitation jumped right in after him. Half way through the process he decided that jumping in and swamping the little guy was probably going to create too much consternation. He ended up hang on with one hand and grabbing with the other while all available people tried to haul them back aboard. It is much easier to haul a four year old aboard than a 40 year old! If you have not had a look at the pictures on the blog, they are pretty good. My favorite is the one showing three of the mothers in the fleet AFTER we had taken all the kids to the raft up party - they ended up having their own party all alone on an eight boat raft up. (http://racing.alberg30.org/). Next year for those that can make the Chester River for a weekend, consider attending as a cruiser.

We have the Die Hard Cruise coming up on November 7th hosted by Mike and Trish Lehman on Broad Creek off the Magothy River. Please let them know if you are going to make it so they can plan accordingly.

As we put the boats away, remember one of the benefits of the Association is there are many people to call on with questions, or to get a hand getting things squared away for winter. If you have questions or need a hand, let people know through the Alberg 30 mailing list - you are sure to get plenty of responses.

See you at picture night on December 6th at PSA.

NOTE - The Racing Blog site has a number of good pictures related to this event - just follow the link at the top of this page.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alberg 30 - September

Well summer is truly here now - temperatures well into the 90's - glad this was not the case during the summer cruise.

Well after the cruise, I was wondering what it would be like to take the boat further afield - perhaps even get some real salt water on her. I do not consider what we have in the Bay to be real salt water. In the midst of this thought, an email from Bill Carter shows up floating the idea of doing the next summer cruise to Atlantic City. Bill lives in New Jersey, and has recently been posted to Atlantic City for his job. He has offered to set up the trip, and scout the various locations. Shortly after this email arrived, I had a discussion with Dave Cooper at the summer rendezvous - more on that later. For the past two summers, Renee and Dave have headed down to the salty water at the mouth of the Bay. We had a good discussion about that trip. The criticism of the long cruises is that they exclude folks who are not ready for that type of cruise. Regardless of which route you take to the salt, there are some long days - not all crews are up for that; indeed not all boats are up to that.

Bill is continuing to explore the idea and work on the logistics. In the meantime, I am going to speak to some of the folks that went on last year's cruise down the Bay. As the thoughts progress, I will keep people informed. Personally at some time, I would like to sail around the Statue of Liberty, and also sail out of the mouth of the Bay.

On a different note the Summer Rendezvous / Commodore's Champagne Party at Paula Binder's on Spa Creek was one for the books - perfect location, excellent weather, and great food. The Foote family did a great job of organizing everything, and many thanks to Paula for the use of her beautiful house.

By the time this is printed, we will have had the Labor Day Cruise, and the Broad Creek Cruise. The Labor Day Cruise will be hosted by the Lodges, and will presumably be up Langford Creek again. Last year, we spent the first night with the crowd, and the second night at the Langford Creek Marina. The Marina has a bus from there to Rock Hall, which provided a little break for the kids. If you have not done that cruise, I would recommend it. This year, I hope that we have more wind, but other than that it was a pleasant weekend.

The Lodges are also hosting the Fall Cruise starting on Saturday October 3rd. Please let them know if you plan on attending. Also let Harry Gamber or J Berquist know if you plan on attending the Navy Game Cruise in Weems Creek on September the 26th. Wow - I cannot believe I am talking about sailing in cold weather again - and this column started with me whinging about the heat!

Let me know your thoughts on sailing into the briny blue. More on that later.

Happy Sailing.

August - The Summer Cruise

The Summer Cruise has come and gone, and what a cruise it was. Good weather, generally good winds, and fine company. The Orioles even won! We travelled 150 miles around the north end of the Chesapeake Bay. The scenery ranged from the bucolic Eastern Shore to the industrial steel works and shipyards of Baltimore, and to the urban playground that is now Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area. There are plenty of great pictures on the web

The Sunday night in Annapolis was uneventful. Brian and Rebecca Palmer showed up with their daughter Elyse. We were awoken bright and early by the Naval Academy plebes doing the morning workout at 5:30 sharp. This gave us the opportunity for an early breakfast (at Chick & Ruth's) and start to Fairlee Creek. It was a motoring day – no wind, but no motor boats, and with an awning, very pleasant.

Day 1

Fairlee Creek had changed a lot since I was last there, maybe 20 years ago. The most obvious change is the Tiki Bar on the beach as you go in. This was thankfully not open. I understand that on the weekends, it is a motor boat filled place. However, when we were there it was very peaceful, good swimming and the beaches kept the kids happy. Laughing Gull was joined by Loretta and Cabot Lodge on Gendarme, Ray and Sandy Meyer on Viceroy, Jim and Barb Palmer on Waconah, and Brian and Rebecca Palmer Palmer on L'Esprit.

Day 2

The following morning commenced with Jim Palmer goading me on to sail out of the creek. Fairlee Creek has a narrow entrance, and the current sweeps through there. It is often a good place to watch the ill prepared land on the beach. Apparently Jim used to sail in and out all the time, and surely I was man enough … you know the drill. Anyway, we had a late start in about 10 knots of wind. I managed to sail out of the creek; Brian followed, and was swept onto the beach, which slowed him down for a few minutes. Grounding not withstanding, Brian does not win the summer cruise keel wheels award – more on that later. It was a run up the Bay, with whisker poles and spinnakers, and the wind freshening to 15 knots by the time we sailed up the Sassafras to Turner Creek.

Turner Creek has a tiny entrance. However, it has more water and space than the charts would lead you to believe. It too has a nice beach for cooling off on, and once in the creek, there is room to anchor right off the old produce warehouse that in one form or another has been sitting there for a few hundred years.

Day 3

The following day we swam, explored ashore and generally lazed around until about 3:00 and had a leisurely sail up to Georgetown further up the Sassafras. At Georgetown, we anchored below the town, and had dinner ashore.

Day 4

The day started with modest winds, which gradually built into the afternoon. The lack of wind was offset by the strong current running with us, which added around two knots to our speed. Worton Creek is another excellent location. The beach outside the Creek was just right for kids, and generally being a slug. Inside the Creek, Laughing Gull got a slip at the marina where Bill Carter was hosting dinner, and the other boats went further into the creek, and anchored in two rafts. Sue Barrett on Tern Two joined us and moored with the Lodges, and the Meyers.

The highlight of the day was the feast that Bill and Chris Carter laid out for us. A big thanks from all of us on the cruise for all that effort. It was a pleasant evening, and next year, we will have to do something similar – although perhaps with more of us pitching in. The kids had the boatyard dogs to play with, and the marina opened up the facilities to all of us in the group.

The evening closed out with the best grounding of the cruise. The Lodge, Meyer, and Barrett crews returning to find their raft nestled snugly into the weeds. Being Albergs, and generally well behaved, the boats had grounded themselves in a very civilized manner (See the picture on-line), and came off without too much effort.

Day 5

From Warton Creek to Rock Hall is about 20 miles. Most of the fleet got there by early to mid afternoon. The Adams and the Palmers anchored outside the Creek, and played in the water with the kids. We had a pleasant lunch anchored in the breeze, and set sail mid afternoon. It was past 6:00 by the time we got to Swan Creek in Rock Hall and joined the raft for an evening swim. Rock Hall was the first place we saw any jelly fish, although they were so few of them that they did not stop anyone from swimming. J Berquist joined the group in preparation for the white sail race, which brought the total number of boats to eight.

Day 6

The wind had built overnight to a steady 18 – 20 knots from the south. This made for a perfect sail to Baltimore. The Palmers (Esprit and Waconah), and Sue Barrat headed close hauled for the Magothy. The Lodges headed up the Chester, and the rest of the boats headed for Baltimore on a beam reach in somewhat lumpy water. Getting out of Rock Hall to get to the starting mark for the white sail race was dead upwind, with everything bouncing all over the place. However, once we rounded the mark and got headed for Baltimore, things settled down. Laughing Gull and Viceroy were sailing together. Viceroy got to the finish mark about 2 minutes ahead of Laughing Gull – which put the average speed at just in excess off six knots for the 17+ mile trip. Trish and Mike Lehman rolled in for the game, and to host a wonderful party on the dock – See Trish’s write up for details.

Day 7

The last day, and finally the weather began to feel like a Maryland summer. The forecast had been for a cold front that was to bring a north wind, and we were all looking forward to scooting down the Bay with a following wind. Alas, the weatherman was wrong. We flew the chute for a few miles out of the river, and then turned into a motor boat.

This cruise exceeded my expectations. The weather was manageable. The kids took to the cruising life remarkably easily, and by and large I was able to keep the beer cold. The Eastern Shore has not changed that much since I was last there. It retains its charm, and is just far enough out of the way that you feel as if you are “away” from it all. Baltimore on the other hand has changed considerably, and from a boater’s perspective for the better. A special thanks to Bill Carter and Jim Palmer for helping to plan this trip. The cruise was better for their local knowledge. I, for one, am looking forward to the Fall Cruise, and between now and then to seeing folks on the water.

The Summer Rendezvous is at the beginning of August - looking forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Keeping Cool in July

The Memorial Day Cruise was great fun. The wind actually blew this year! For pictures and a summary please see page 5 and look for emails in the List when Ray & Sandy and the Adams' get their pictures out!

On June 6th, Vicki Lathom hosted a rendezvous on Luce Creek on the Severn. By all accounts this was a great event. Once again we tried to get the racing crowd to join in, but between family emergencies, and other instances of reality impinging on our sailing agendas, we were not able to do that. I am looking forward to attending next year. This is a short sail from where I keep Laughing Gull, and I really have no excuse.

By the time you all are reading this,
the heat of summer will have really set in. For us July and August are a a time of evening sails, and so often too much motoring around the Bay. An awning is a godsend. I am always a little surprised when I see a cruising Alberg without an awning in the heat of the summer. Awnings are fairly easy to make. I recently cut up an old sail to make one. This is great during the day, but does not handle the dew well at night. For those of that sleep in the cockpit, this means a potentially soggy morning - depending on the dew. There are plans on the web site for a simple awning using PVC tubing as spreaders. Obviously you cannot sail with this up, but because it mounts above the boom, it tends to let the air circulate and be a good solution for while at anchor.

I am a great fan of a dodger. in nasty weather a dodger has obvious advantages, and you can sail with it up. However, one not so obvious benefit is that during hot weather, it keeps the cabin MUCH cooler by keeping the sun from coming directly down the companionway hatch. Also, depending on how you design the dodger, it covers a decent chunk of the cockpit. I can sail tucked into the shade most of the time. I have an extension that comes off the back end of mine that reaches to the back stay. If you are not doing a lot of tacking, you can sail with this up. However, you need to be in the cruising mode, as it is a pain to tack (you have to put down your beer).

I do not have much experience with biminis. I would like one but as I also race I have resisted adding one. Currently it is OK to remove the dodger to race, but another set of hardware - that sounds like work. Regardless, I keep looking into it - I like the idea of being able to tack without having to wrestle the dodger extension. If anyone has plans for a dodger that they like, and allows them to quickly remove it and not have extraneous hardware that gets in the way, I would like to hear it.

Regardless of how you stay cool, enjoy the summer! Next time -- the report on the summer cruise, the Orioles game, and just how successful we all were at staying cool in Baltimore Harbor!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cruising MainSheet - June 2009

We know that we should try and achieve some sort of worklife balance, but it struck me that we should also by trying to maintain abalance between the amount of time that we spend working on our boats andactually sailing them. At some point you just have to draw the line, and admitthat everything that you wanted to get done will not get done. At that point,clean things up, get all the necessities of life back on the boat, and getsailing! I think I reached that point this weekend. I finally everything backaboard so that we can hit the Memorial Day C ruise in comfort – which means getting everything ready so that we can leave early enough on Saturday to get to the starting line in time.

Thanks to all that came out to the Spring Rendezvous. The weather and the venue were perfect. Sue Barrett did a great job of arranging things for us with the Bay Ridge community. The fact that we were able to keep some of the boats there that were racing was a great help. After a day of racing it was nice not to have to put the boat away, and then travel to another local. I hope that we will be able to do the same next year. By the way, Mike Lehman was sailing a screw for $70. Did anyone buy it? He seemed to think this was a great deal – “after all when was the last time you got a screw for $70?!” You gotta love a guy that gets such a kick out of his own jokes.

The cruising season is starting in earnest. By the time you get this, we will have been up the Wye
River on Memorial Day, and Vicki Lathom will have hosted the Luce Creek on June 6th. In Mid June, we have the kids cruise on Broad Creek in the Magothy. I look forward being able to make some of those, and to seeing folks there.

The Summer Cruise is coming in early July. This year, we will be cruising the top half of the Bay starting in Bodkin Creek on the 4th, and finishing up in Baltimore Harbor for the Orioles game. Bill Carter is hosting a BBQ at Warton Creek’s Green Point Marina on the Thursday (6/9), and then the following day, we will meet in Swan Creek and have a white sail only race to Baltimore
Harbor. It looks as if there will be a significant number of attendees for the second half of the cruise. I am interested in figuring out how many folks will be attending the first half. Let me know, and we can plan accordingly.

See you out on the Bay!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cruising Mainsheet - April 2009; Sailing With Children

When people talk about sailing with children, I hear two refrains - how to keep them safe, and how to keep them from becoming bored. The first requires more attention. However, with a few good rules of thumb, there should be few problems. The following information comes from our experiences, the experiences of fellow Albergers, and a modest amount of research. For the most part these comments are for parents with younger children – eight or under.


Number 1: Lifejackets ALL the time for the smaller children.
For adults this may seem like an onerous request. However, kids do not seem to mind. The trick is to find one that is comfortable and fits well. Our rule when they were very young was that the life jacket went on before they hit the dock. Now as they are older (6 and up) they must wear a life jacket whenever on deck while we are under sail. When at anchor, the rules are relaxed if they are in the cockpit. I know of three Albergers whose kids have fallen over the side while at anchor. One of them was my oldest, who was trying to get into the dingy while I was down below. I came up to find her hanging off the edge of the boat, with her legs flapping in the water trying to catch the dingy that had drifted out from under her while she was getting aboard – she had a lifejacket on. (My wife found this out for the first time while proof reading this article!)

There are plenty of stories of kids going over the side. The common theme is that when it happens, it happens quickly, and especially with small kids, it seems to happen as a result of routine activity (like sitting down or walking). Obviously care must be taken when walking from boat-to-boat in a raft-up.

Number 2: There needs to be a Safe Place. The definition of a “safe place” changes based on the age of the children. For people sailing with small babies, this invariably means that folks have made a playpen down below. The Coopers on Cookin had a play pen slung from the handrails over the port main cabin bunk. The Morris’ on Solstice created a hatch for the v birth so the kids could see out, but had to stay there. The literature seems to favor taking a car seat aboard to strap small babies into. I have done this once on a very hot summer day. I found that the kid needed to get out of the seat just to cool off! It was August. Our kids were a little older when we started, the youngest was three. The whole area down below was their play pen. The key here is that when you need the kids out of the way, you need to know they are safe, so you can attend to the task at hand – dousing a spinnaker, docking the boat, or those pesky tasks associated with preparing the bar for an invading hoard of rafted Albergers.

As kids grow older, the Safe Place changes. For us it is on the bridge deck, with their feet up off the cockpit floor, and safe from being entangled. I have seen others put the extra folks on the cabin top while the boat is being docked. Regardless of where it is, children need to be forward of the helmsperson. Having a little kid behind you is asking for it. While underway, a child can go over the side in a heartbeat.

Number 3: Do not go over the side! This may seem an obvious rule. However, I am always struck by how little thought seems to go into the difference between dealing with safety issues prior to someone falling over the side, and that of after it has happened. Once someone is in the water, the game changes considerably. The obvious solution to this is making sure one does not go overboard in the first place. (See rules #1 and #2.) Our solution to this when they were very young was to keep them in the cockpit while underway. As they get older, this is harder to enforce; they are allowed to be on the foredeck if they are straddling (“strangling” as they say) a stanchion. I am considering getting harnesses, and running a jack line forward from the cockpit. This has mostly been on my mind when I am by myself with the three kids. The second obvious solution to this is to be well practiced in the “man overboard drill.”

Number 4: Hydrate and Slather! No one is happy when they are dehydrated or sunburned, or both! And no parent wants the guilt, or the whining, associated with either. Enough said.


The issue of boredom is relatively easy to deal with – kids rarely get as bored as parents think they will. Everyone’s children are different, their attention spans vary, and they each have different things that keep them amused and happy.

A number of new boat owning parents have expressed surprise that their kids have been happy while the boat is underway and generally find ways to amuse themselves. We bring a number of toys (we make sure that there are no small pieces), an assortment of books and writing/drawing supplies, and have also engaged the kids in understanding charts and helping navigate. We got surprising mileage out of some kids’ star charts. Often, if the right distractions are aboard, the kids will play for hours below. During the last day of this Canadian Friendship Regatta, we had two children aboard (ages 6 and 8). They played below the entire time.

In addition to toys, we bring a good supply of food that can be quickly prepared. As the kids grow older they are able to wait for food, but while young – this is virtually an unheard of trait. When they want food – they want it NOW!

Another useful method of ensuring that kids are happy is to give them a task- get them involved. Scrubbing the deck – or better yet the dingy while you are at anchor provides hours of fun. While underway, provide them the opportunity to steer or work a sail. Depending on their age, this may not last too long, but it gives them a change of pace, and perhaps most importantly some attention from one of the parents. Another thing to think about is that with children aboard, you cannot expect to have long 12 hour sailing days. Plan the trip so that you are at anchor after a five or six hour sail versus a 12 hour haul.

With attention paid to these two issues, sailing with children is a great way to spend time with the family. We look forward to many wonderful experiences as they grow. If anyone has any interesting experiences or ideas or recommendations, please drop me a line. Perhaps I can compile a “best of” fpr a future column.

Cruising Mainsheet - May 2009; Looking After Our Bay!

Well, sailing season must actually have started. I have lost my first hat over the side – and recovered it. Time to get out the hat leashes.

The boat is in the water, although still a bit forlorn and naked without the sails on, and the first Association events are approaching. The Early Bird Cruise on the 18th, and the Spring Rendezvous at the end of April will have happened by the time this is published. The next big event is the Memorial Day Cruise (and race). For our family this has generally been the first real over nighter. And while I have enjoyed the race, the kids have really enjoyed the visit to St Michaels, and the following day up the beautiful Wye River. If you look on my web site (http://mysite.verizon.net/laughing_gull/), and follow the people pics link, you will get to the pirate pictures from last year – great fun. I hope to see people there.

On a different and more serious note, I want to make a comment about the Chesapeake Bay, and the way we are approaching the environmental issues that face it. Last month, the Annapolis Capital reported that the State had allowed construction of piers to start in Sullivan’s cove off Round Bay on the Severn River. On the same day, it reported that the construction on Dobbin Island in the Magothy River, that had been completed by a construction company owner without many of the required permits, could remain. Clear evidence has been presented that the single biggest contribution we can make to the health of the Bay is to protect the critical shoreline areas that contribute significantly to controlling run off. However, it appears that if you have money to hire lawyers, you can get de facto waivers to the laws that were established to control this very issue. I corresponded with a number of our legislators, and my conclusion was that with the profusion of laws, it is possible – and often politically expedient - for politicians to claim that the issue is out of their jurisdiction. One can make the case that our legislators have passed a number of laws geared towards protecting the Bay – just recently they passed a septic pollution bill. However, rarely have they acted to uphold or put any teeth to the legislation.

This has been on my mind recently. Not only because the weekends on Sullivan’s Cove have been marred by the sounds of trees being cut down, and pilings being driven into the wetlands through old White Cedar stands, but also as I have worked with members to plan the summer cruise. We will be cruising on the Upper Western Shore – an area of natural beauty. I have not been there by water for about 20 years, and I look forward to going again. I know there will be incredible change that has occurred, and I am hoping that it has happened in a responsible and controlled way. Development must be balanced, and promoted in a way that does not harm land owners, or stifle change. We know how to do this, it just takes a well educated and vigilant public, some leadership from our elected officials, and a focus on what is good for all – not just those that can afford the lawyers.

As an Association, we benefit from what the Bay has to offer, and owe it to ourselves and our fellow sailors to be vigilant and persistently communicating with our elected officials. Numerous sites can direct people to the appropriate governmental agencies. Because I live off the Severn, I am most familiar with the site for Sullivan Cove: http://www.savesullivancove.com/. However, I know that the many of the communities have web pages that can provide information on what is happening and how to get involved. I encourage you to sign in and engage!

This topic has been fairly emotional for many. If you have comments or would like to provide feedback, please feel free to do so. I know that there are a number of people within the Association who are knowledgeable and engaged on this topic. I look forward to hearing from you and learning about what we can do as responsible “consumers” of the Bay to make sure we do our part to look after this nautical playground. Feel free to contact me by email - laughing_gull@verizon.net.

See you on the Bay!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

March Mainsheet

We have had the cruising and racing seminars and by the time many of you will be reading this, boats in the Chesapeake Bay will be getting ready to go back in the water. The cruising seminar was well attended. We sorted out the cruising schedule for the year, and this is now available on the Alberg 30 web site. Thanks to all those that agreed to be a cruise coordinator and / or host.

A theme that ran through the cruising and racing seminars was the desire to schedule activities so that the racing boats and the cruising boats can cross paths more often. The Alberg 30 is a unique boat and Association in that it is entirely possible to be racing one weekend, and cruising the next. The vibrancy of the Association is in part due to the fact that there is this unique mix of cruising and racing. The Spring Rendezvous has been scheduled to coincide with the NOOD Regatta this year. In addition, I would encourage folks that generally cruise to consider the Queenstown race raft up. Last year, there were two separate Alberg rafts, and a good mix of folks. I believe that I am right in saying that there were more kids at the Queenstown raft up than there were on the childrens’ cruise.

This year we have two events at the Potapskut Sailing Association (PSA); the Spring Series (5/9) and the Canadian Friendship Weekend and Regatta (10/17). While both of these events are racing events, they are excellent opportunities for cruisers to drop a hook for a few days and socialize.

Another little change this year is that we have scheduled the Orioles Game Cruise to coincide with the last weekend of the Summer Cruise (7/3 through 7/12). The Orioles game was well attended last year, and with the summer cruisers also attending, we are looking for a large turnout. Trish Lehman has scheduled slips in Inner Harbor Marina in Baltimore – at the Rusty Scupper. Currently we have 45 slips on hold, and Trish needs to know by April first who will be there in order to hold the slips. This marina has good facilities, access to numerous bars and restaurants, and use of the pool at the nearby hotel. In addition, it is a manageable walk (or water taxi) to the Camden Yards stadium.

The Summer Cruise itself will be in the upper part of the Bay, and Bill Carter has offered to help Ray Meyer with some local knowledge to schedule an interesting series of stops. This is the first of the large cruises that I will have been on, and I am looking forward to the whole thing!

Enough of the future – back to reality. Our boat goes back in the water on March 22, so I do not have much time left to get organized. I have promised my wife that I am going to focus on the little things that make life easier aboard – like putting all the cupboard doors and drawers back into the boat. On the way to the boat this morning to try and get my new chain plates on (unsuccessfully), I was struck with an amusing thought that even with each new piece of equipment I HAD to purchase for the various jobs, I was still saving vast sums of money over what a boatyard would have charged. This is the same approach to saving money that my wife references when she declares how much she has saved by purchasing some item of dubious necessity on sale. Hmmm, but I think it is different for a boat? It must be – If I do not get the boat back together, the world will stop! That is my story and I am sticking to it!

February Mainsheet

Before I introduce myself as the new cruising commodore, I should say thanks to Trish Lehman (and that Boy she keeps referring to). She has promised to help me through the process of making sure that the cruising activity remains well organized. By way of introduction, my family and I are the owners of Laughing Gull #197. In the cruising mode, we generally travel with our three kids – all girls. It seems we have attended the cruising / races for the most part. However, I hear the Fall Cruise is a treat, and I have made it a priority to be on that one in 09. Regardless of which cruises we are able to make it to, I look forward to contributing to the Alberg 30 community, and continuing the tradition of relaxed cruising, collegial racing, and the ever present willingness of members to lend a hand.

The favorite cruise for me this last year was the Memorial Day Cruise and the Pirate Party. Both Townie and Mike Lehman set a good example of where the rest of us need to be next year with respect to our pirate gear. However, the Coopers (Cookin) also deserve special mention due to their complete set of pirate outfits for the whole family. I discovered during the course of the evening that they had purchased the pirate gear in the States BEFORE they left for Greece (that would be the country across the other side of the Atlantic) on the premise that one should not embark on a sail like that without the essential gear! Who knew? (for pictures follow the link at the end of this article).

The February Cruising seminar is approaching, and during which we will be looking for hosts for the various cruises. I have already had some proposals from folks that are interested in hosting a cruise. Despite the cold October rain at the Navy Game this year, Harry Gamber has already proposed a series of game dates for a repeat. Any other ideas, suggestions or volunteers drop me a line and we will try to get them on the agenda at the Cruising Seminar.

Also at the Seminar, we have lined up the SailRite folks to provide a presentation and demonstration of the products and services they provide for the do it yourself canvas person. Keep an eye on your email for the precise agenda. Also, if there are things that you would like to get on the agenda, drop me a line.

Now onto thoughts of next summer; the coldest part of the year is approaching, the boat is high and dry and major pieces of her are once again in my basement. The level of day dreaming about warm days, good winds and the places we really must get to next summer has increased, and I am once again trying to prioritize the list of activities required to get things out of the basement! This year, I have the upper shroud chainplates off, as are the hatches and all the cushions and bits and pieces. Everything is sitting in my basement in various stages of repair. I have owned Laughing Gull for three years, and each year in one form or another I make her a bit more cruise worthy.

In future columns I plan to write about various cruising related topics, and will be hitting some of you up for input. On the list at the moment is: cruising with children; how we find more storage in our boats; why we cannot swim in the Chesapeake’s tributaries in the hot summer months; and a few others. Obviously there will be the reports of the antics on the various cruises. Shoot me an email of you have other ideas.

The cruising calendar is located on the Laughing Gull site, as are links to pictures - http://mysite.verizon.net/laughing_gull/ . I look forward to hearing from you and seeing everyone on the Bay!