To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Week 38: Annapolis V: "Progress"

Currently, Red Ranger should stay anchored at 38°58.586′N 076°28.415′W, Severn River, Annapolis, MD. We're near the end of our wait for a dodger. After several weeks of essentially nothing, suddenly a lot of stuff is happening. All at once. Some good. Some bad.

Due to our schedule, we may have to leave here with half a dodger. We need to leave early next week for Deltaville. It turns out that we can't leave Red Ranger unattended on a mooring ball here. And marinas are expensive.


The Commodore Says: "Any job worth doing is worth overdoing."

We added a valve to our water bladder. A helluva valve.


Yes, there are a lot of parts there. The filler hose for the bladder is 1". But, we thought it was 1½". But we wound up with 1" hose. The white nylon piece which is a 1¼" hose to pipe fitting. This goes into a bronze 1¼" to 1" reducer. The reducer has a 1" to ¾" bushing. This goes to a ¾" to ¾ male-to-male so I could screw on the ¾" valve. The valve was the whole point of the exercise.

On the right side of the valve is a ¾" short and a ¾" to garden hose adapter.

Now, we can put the hose on the dock's spigot, open the valve and fill the bladder without holding the sprayer of a garden hose over the opening in the bladder. A garden hose that we dragged around in our dingy and bounced off docks and perhaps may have even dropped into the creek. We try really hard to protect our water-filler garden hose. But it's better to be utter clean than wonder about it.

This seems to fill the bladder faster, since we're not spraying through a garden hose sprayer.

It certainly fills the bladder far more completely.

This is good stuff.

Weather Watching Monday

The weather sometimes worries us. While the 55# Rocna has been holding, Monday night was a bit unnerving. We were looking at gusts over 25 knots. In the mouth of the Severn, we get closely-spaced chop that bucks Red Ranger something fierce.

Since Monday night's weather was intense local thunderstorms (not TS Andrea), we were burning the on-boat power running the Wi-Fi to watch the weather. There were tornadic storm clouds and at least one tornado in the Maryland-Delaware area. Plus numerous watches throughout Virginia.

There's not much we can do about a tornado. We can't outrun it. The warning is diffuse and last-minute. There's no easy way to evacuate the boat when the water is spraying everywhere. So we basically have to hunker down and hope that the anchor doesn't drag too far.

What's remarkable to me is the way the winds suddenly shut off.

First it's blowing in the 20's, gusting to 25. Rain is spraying around. Waves are splashing loudly all around.

I'm sitting in the navigation station, reading.

Then I notice that it's suddenly very quiet. Red Ranger is still bouncing on the remaining waves (which last an hour or so after the wind). But the wind has stopped. Like someone switched it off.

Anchor Emergencies

We fret about our ground tackle. Frequently.

We obsess over what's going on down there in the Chesapeake Mud.

In the Bahamas, we could see it. No mysteries.

In Norfolk, at Hospital Point (Week 34) our snubber line unscrewed its shackle pin. How does a chunk of rope unscrew a pin? No clue.


Here in Annapolis, our snubber line failed completely sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. The nylon line almost appeared cut: two of the three strands had chafed through very cleanly. The third strand was then pulled out of the splice.

The cool part about the end of the line is the alternating colors showing how the splice remained intact up to the very end.

We discovered this by noticing that the main anchor rode was bar taught instead of hanging slack. Normally, the snubber takes the bulk of the strain. When the rode is taking the strain, that means the snubber has failed. This lead us to execute our Anchoring Emergency Procedure.

  1. Start the engine.

  2. Pull in some of the anchor rode to inspect the rope-to-chain splice. This is another point of failure that concerns us. From here we could then pull in another short stretch of chain to look at the snubber hook to see what failed. We could also retrieve the hook which will allow the bo's'n (me) to rebuild the snubber.

  3. Discuss and decide what to do next: deploy the backup Bruce anchor, redeploy the Rocna anchor, or take a mooring, or run to a dock.

CA didn't like the look of the rope-to-chain splice. It's a bit scraggly looking. I built it March of 2012. The line looks good. The final bits of the splice are scraggly-looking because they refuse to stay tucked. This splice, after all, rolls around in the mud.



We've made a few repairs to the ground tackle.

  1. The bo's'n built a temporary snubber using a piece of dock line from our rode locker. We've got plenty of shackles and the hook is still good. This allows us to anchor with confidence.

  2. We may replace the rode entirely. The chain is rusty in places. If the snubber chafed through, how much longer can the main rode last? I think it's still good, since it shows no signs of stress: it hasn't unlaid anywhere; there are no stray threads. We reversed it last year so the end we're using hasn't even seen daylight for decades; it should be in good shape.

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Until we replace the rope, the bo's'n added several inches of seizing to the splice. This will keep the ends of the line from looking ratty. Plus it may go through the windlass gypsy more smoothly.

  1. We're going to ask the bo's'n to make two new snubbers. Plural. We prefer twisted line for snubbers because it has more stretch and makes for a smoother ride. We've used the failed snubber almost daily for over 6 months. That seems to indicate that we're going to need several. Plus, I'm going to try to change the design significantly to use thimbles in the spliced eyes.

The subltelty here

Meanwhile, we're on a mooring in the harbor, waiting for weather to pass.

Weather Safety On Wednesday

Beyond the anchor failure, there's this note from the National Weather Service


0102 AM CDT WED JUN 12 2013

VALID 131200Z - 141200Z




That's more than a little intimidating. The accompanying graphic shows a big red blob of danger over the Chesapeake.

It gets worse.






Here's the June 11 forecast with the dreaded derecho word. A mooring looks like a better idea than an anchor.

Having several days to prepare is good in many respects.

It's also bad. It leads to worrying. There's nothing much we can do, so there's no point in worrying. But we know we're going to spend parts of Thursday and Friday rocking and rolling in high winds. Forecasts climbed from 25 knots to gale force of 40 knots.

Wednesday: Dodger Day

The complicated part of our dodger is finally ready. Maybe our snubber failure was auspicious. We'd pulled up the anchor and moved to a mooring just in time for Dan to call. Dropping the mooring to go to a dock is much simpler than hauling up the Rocna to go to a dock.

Wednesday was the heavy lifting part of the dodger job. The hard top (plus steel) weights almost 100 pounds. Plus it's large. And awkward.


We took the old dodger down, folded up the fabric to be recycled (or discarded.) The steel may have some value on the used market, so we lashed it down on the aft deck. We'll take it to Nauti Nell's in Deltaville to see if she can sell our old steel tubing for a few dollars.

We fit the dodger over the companionway hatch and jockeyed the supports around until it looked good. It's a big white slab of high density polyethylene. [Their web page describes an earlier version which has fiberglass.] This is the stuff they make cutting boards and plastic pseudo-wood decks out of. It's a vaguely waxy and consequently doesn't engage in many chemical reactions: no mildew, easy to wash, responds well to heavy scrubbing. The various attachments (the brackets, fabric track and the handles) are welded on as well as held in place with wood screws.

After installing the dodger top, Dan made patterns for the window pieces. The windows will need some new Lift-The-Dot attachment hardware on the splashguard bulwark that's molded into the deck. The arch has a track that accepts a cord with a bead in it. Much like the bolt rope on a sail. The idea is to slide the bead into the track. No zipper. No fastener. He's got some heat-bonding process for the various window and cover pieces so that there's no stitching to fail. The Wave Stopper Hard Dodger is ingenious.

Thursday: Bimini Support and Weather


On Thursday Dan brought over the stern arch for the bimini. Pro Tip: he makes everything slightly too big and uses his tubing cutter to knock an inch or so off the tubing when installing it. The stern arch will be more sophisticated than our old arch because it will have bows that go athwartship and have a proper curve to allow proper drainage.

Once the arch was up, he could start creating patterns for the bimini top.

He tapes and clamps plastic sheets where the fabric will go. He marks them up with his Sharpie. He looks. He marks. We discuss what we want. Zippers. Windows. How far forward. How far down. How much room for the winch handles. How to deal with the asymmetric Whitby cockpit. All the details.

Apparently, he can cut and sew this quickly. He may have parts available tomorrow, Friday. We may be out of here on Tuesday with a whole dodger.

Dangerous Weather


We packed up Dan and his tools when we got the Severe Weather Alert! Tornado Warning! Take Cover Immediately!

We'd been dreading this since first thing yesterday morning, when we discussed the derecho possibility.


Once we had Dan back at his truck, we took in everything not permanently attached to the deck. We lashed the sails down just to be sure. And we watched the Wall of Storm pass over Annapolis. It was a clearly-defined wall. Sunny on one side. 40 knot winds and rain on the other side. And the space between the two was perhaps a minute of rapidly-rising breeze.

There was an obvious "shelf" on the leading edge.

When it hit, it hit hard. Red Ranger tipped sideways as the water went instantly from little ripples to waves with the tops ripped off.


It was over just as quickly as it started. First the sky brightened, then the wind dropped to a sensible 10-15 knots.

The rain was incessant, but without the crazy wind, it was just a summer shower.

There's more bad weather predicted for Friday, but (hopefully) not as dangerously bad as this storm system.

Friday: Bimini Cover

Dan came back with our Bimini cover this afternoon.

We've got the hard-top dodger. We've got all the structural steel. We've got the bimini cover fit to the steel. There's plenty of rooms for the winch handles. We can climb in and out with ease.

The fabric is taught and the shape of the bows gives us reason to believe it will shed rain nicely. Our previous, home-brewed solution was a bit saggy, so rain would pool.

On Monday, we're expecting the windows. Tuesday, we can head off to Deltaville and start our next wave of jobs.

Saturday: Wiring and Stowing


On Saturday, I added a USB charger to the aft berth. I should probably add one in the forward cabin and the saloon. USB-chargers for phones and iPads and the like are the new standard for outlets.

They draw little current (2.5A) so any size wire is acceptable. They're very small, and fit almost anywhere. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to plug in your phone almost anywhere on the boat.

CA spent some quality time trying to restow our tool locker. We added a Fein Multimaster to the tool collection. This takes up space. And it may make our sander obsolete. We don't know yet, since we haven't started on the serious woodwork projects.

This Week

Engine Hours: 5. Diesel Gallons: 0. Miles Run: 0.

Read Aloud: The Wise Man's Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicles. Book 2.


Attribute Value
Engine 5. h
Diesel 0. gal
Distance 0. nm