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Windsong Sailing Academy
3966 Secluded Circle, S.W.
Lilburn, Georgia 30047-2233
770-931-9151

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Join us as we follow Kim and Pierre Russell and their 5 yr old twin boys during their dream voyage aboard their 41' Lord Nelson, Victoria.  We will post their journal entries as we receive them over the coming months as their journey unfolds.  Join us regularly as we live "Vicariously" through their stories. 
 

Wednesday October 1st, 2003
Bubble Rock Summit

We got another early start, this time hiking to the top of Bubble Rock, a steep 872 foot climb to the summit which gave us incredible views of Jordon Pond and Eagle Lake.  

The boys had fun testing their agility climbing the rocks.  

 

The shuttle took us to the other side of the park where we had a picnic lunch on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean. 

Saturday October 4th, 2003
Old Man Winter Knocks

As much as we wanted to continue exploring Maine, we knew that cold days were right around the corner and we had a long trip ahead of us.  We were very fortunate to have extremely good weather while in Maine but a recent cold front gave us the kick we needed to get moving.  One morning we woke up and it was 45 degrees in the boat Ė needless to say our long underwear came in handy.

 

We left NE harbor on a beautiful, sunny day with a forecast of 20-25 knots from the south.  This didnít seem to be too threatening as we were going due west and in the lee of a lot of islands.  WRONG.  A few hours later we were hit with sustained winds of 30-35 knots with gusts a little over 40.  Luckily we already had a couple reefs in the main.  We had two or three hours of exhilarating sailing.  We found refuge a couple hours later in Carterís Cove, on the eastern end of Vinalhaven.  I was amazed at how calm and protected these waters were when just around the corner were violent waves and winds. 

We were the only boat in this quaint cove.

Sunday October 5th, 2003
Windsurfing?

We were up early and sailed a full day to Port Clyde, the small fishing village we stopped at on the way up.  Once again, towards the end of our day, we were faced with high winds and seas. This time the wind and current was against our nose and so we were only making two knots across the bottom.  Luckily we were almost to our destination.

 

It was cold and windy and I couldnít believe my eyes when I saw a windsurfer off in the distance.  Who would be crazy enough to be windsurfing in Maine in October? 

We pulled into the town dock at Port Clyde, refueled and filled our water tanks.  After picking up some groceries at the small general store, we ordered a pizza and went back to the boat for dinner.  We were beat and looked forward to a good nightís sleep.

 

Being on a boat is a lot like camping.  Once it gets dark there isnít a lot to do so we end up in bed often by 9 p.m. Sleep deprivation is not an issue unless we do an all night sail.

October 6th - 13th, 2003
Vodka and Young Women

We were now on a push to get down to the Cape Cod canal.  We left Port Clyde in the morning and had a perfect day of sailing with calm seas and decent wind.  We continued on through the night, doing 3 hour shifts.  Around 1 a.m. I could see the loom of Boston in the distance.  I thought how they must be celebrating the Red Sox win tonight.

 

At about 2 a.m. , the wind died and we were crawling along at 2 knots when I decided to start the engine.  Pierre awoke immediately and we both were puzzled by a low whining sound coming from the engine.  We shut it off and Pierre checked the fluid levels and belts which were okay.  After starting it up again, the noise gradually diminished.  Another mechanical mystery to solve.  More deferred maintenance which is not a good thing.

 

We made it to the entrance of the Cape Cod canal by first light and into South Dartmouth (Padanaram), Mass. by early afternoon.  We picked up a mooring at the New Bedford Yacht Club and their launch service took us to shore.  We had a nice walk through the small town before heading back to the boat.

 

We had breakfast at a local diner and on the launch ride back we met a 93 year-old gentleman with a considerable younger wife who were going for a sail on their Concordia Yawl.  He said they cruise Maine every year.  He managed quite well getting on and off the boat.  He told Pierre his secret to longevity was a nip of vodka everyday and being married to a younger woman.  Pierre was happy to hear that and immediately went out and purchased a quart of vodka.

 

Our plan was to sail to Newport, R.I. today but high seas and strong headwinds prevented us from getting there so we detoured to Cutty Hunk, one of the Elizabeth Islandís off of Marthaís Vineyard .

 

Incidentally, Pierre believes the problem with the whining engine noise is coming from our fresh water cooling pump and has ordered another pump from Rich at V-12 engineering which should be in New York when we arrive.

 

After a quite night on a mooring in Cutty Hunk, we sailed over to Newport, RI. Newport is a mecca for boating enthusiasts.  We were able to anchor near the townís wharfs.  The place was bustling with boats and tourists from cruise ships.  We spent three nights here.  We had our fill of hanging out in local bars watching baseball and Georgia football.  We enjoyed the Cliff walk which is a paved trail which offers views of the coast and spectacular mansions.

We were both impressed and inspired by the Seamenís Church Institute.  This catholic run facility on the Wharf has provided services to fishermen, merchantmen, yachtsmen and the needy for many years and is a tradition here.  We had showers for $2 each.  It was the best shower I had experienced in over a month.  We then had a nice, inexpensive breakfast in their dining room.  They had a small chapel with magnificent murals upstairs. There were photos with narratives on the walls throughout the building of seamen who had perished.  It was a very moving place.

 

We left Newport on Sunday morning and sailed 16 hours, arriving at Oyster Bay on Long Island Sound at 1 a.m.   It was crucial that we made it to City Island by Tuesday morning because a front was arriving with forecasted winds to 40 mph.

 

Tuesday October 14th, 2003
Storming New York

 

We were greeted with a spectacular sunrise as we cruised out of Oyster Bay on our way to City Island.  We arrived at the Consolidated boat yard on City Island by 10:30 a.m. We picked up a boat slip at the yard.  Since there were gale warnings for the next two days and since we knew we were going into New York City, we decided tie up at the dock. Pierreís friend Jeff is a rigger at the boat yard and had made arrangements for our dockage. City Island is a part of the Bronx and is a good 35 minutes drive into downtown Manhattan.

 

The gale force winds arrived just as predicted.  We recorded gusts at 53 mph. and the boat at times heeled 30 degrees at the dock. 

 

We were excited to see our family and friends in New York City.  John Sussek, the best man in our wedding, and his wife Lydia invited us over for dinner.  The view from their 28th floor high rise in the financial district is incredible. We had a wonderful dinner and visit and it was fun to see baby Johnny again.  They were leaving town on Thursday for a week and they offered us their place for as long as we wanted.  This was a big help to us since it would be tough to get to and from NYC from City Island every day.

October 15th- 21st, 2003
It's Happening Again

We spent most of the next two days working on the boat.  I worked on correcting an electrical problem which caused our port side lights to go out and Pierre replaced the water pump.  I was anxious to get back into the city but Pierre wanted to keep working on the boat.

 

We drove back to town in Johnís car and then took the subway to have dinner at Betty and her husband Peter.  Betty is Pierreís niece and they have a daughter Emily who is in the second grade. Pierreís nieces Emily and Robin and their friends John Thomas and Matt were also there.  It was a fun night.  The boys loved playing with all of Emilyís toys, especially her trains.

 

It was late when we got home but we saw the last two innings of the Yankees-Red Soxís game 7.  You could here the horns honking all over town when the game ended.

 

It is so nice to be on land.  We loved being able to sit in bed and watch TV, take showers and use the internet at will. Our week in New York was fun filled.  We walked through Central Park, spent some time at the Natural History Museum and played with the boys at a wonderful playground at Battery Park, which overlooks the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty.  Pierre even did some sailing on John Thomas in Emilyís boat in New York harbor.  Robin and Matt came out to City Island to see our boat on Monday and then we had another nice dinner with Peter and Betty.  Their cute and energetic daughter Emily presented the boys with an art kit and drawing books.  The boys love to color so this will keep them entertained for hours. Thanks Emily!

 

The Twin Tower site was two blocks from Johnís place.  I could only imagine what the streets were like here on Sept. 11th.  Now, they are filled with tourists with video cameraís, peering through a chain linked fence which surrounds the gaping hole where the towers once stood and street vendors hawking sweat shirts with NYPD and NYFD emblems.  Engine Company #10ís fire station sits across from the Twin Tower site but is vacant now. 

 

We all ended up with colds a couple days into our trip here so being able to relax in a nice place and not have to worry about the daily grind of boat life was much appreciated.

                 

Emily and John Thomas treated us to a night out, babysitting the boys so we were able to go see Mystic River, the first movie we had seen in over four months.  They also took us out to a quaint Italian restaurant in their East Village neighborhood.

 

Our week in New York was special.  Pierre and I look at each other and sometimes say ďItís happened again". What have we done to deserve all this hospitality and kindness?  We are so lucky.íí  Once again, our friends and relatives have gone way past the point of normal hospitality.  We just hope that someday we can reciprocate.

Wednesday October 22nd, 2003
Plans To Move On

We are heading back to the boat tonight and will plan on leaving tomorrow for Cape May, NJ, weather permitting. This should take about 24 hours.  Weíll spend a night in Cape May and then head to Annapolis where we plan to spend a week or more exploring the upper Chesapeake.  

 

Thursday October 23rd, 2003
Ride With The Tide

 

Itís important to catch the right tide when leaving City Island.  If we left on an opposing tide, it could double the time it takes for us to get out of New York. Pierre said if we left by 10:30 a.m. we would be okay.

 

We had a lot to do before we could depart this morning.  We didnít arrive to the boat until late last night as Pierre and I vowed not to leave Johnís place until we finished our journal. Pierre still has to change the oil and fuel filters and I have to go grocery shopping and return Johnís car to a safe place in New Rochelle where he can pick it up when he returns.

 

We were all scurrying around but managed to leave the dock by 10:30 a.m.   The current on the East River was swift as we motored along at 7-8 knots.  There was a lot of action around here.  Planes from LaGuardia were taking off, helicopters hovered above us and ferries, water taxiís and tugs pulling barges occupied the river with us.

 

I pointed out the Brooklyn Bridge to Thomas and Patrick.  A couple days ago we walked across this bridge and ate pizza at Grimaldiís, touted as one of the best pizza places in New York.

It was a magnificent sight as we approached the skyscrapers of Manhattan.  Our heads were turning all around as we made the turn toward the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  We had the majestic Statue of Liberty to starboard, a large orange Staten Island Ferry passing us to port and Manhattan looming off our stern, in addition to several cargo ships and freighters entering the harbor.

 

Pierre put a second reef in the main before we turned south toward the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  The forecast was for 15-20 knot NW winds but we now had sustained winds of 25-30 knots.  These werenít the most ideal conditions to leave in but the forecast for the next several days had the wind blowing from the SW.  Iím learning the importance of wind direction.  If we left with a SW wind it would mean a bumpier, slower ride and we would have to motor since the wind would be against us.

 

We were scooting along at 7-8 knots under sail and looked forward to getting around Sandy Hook and having some lee which will mean calmer waters.  We are making great time and should be in Cape May in 24 hours or less.

 

It was cold and overcast and temperatures were dropping into the low 30ís.  Pierre and I decided to do two hour shifts during the night.  I had on my long underwear, two layers of clothes, my foul weather gear, fleece gloves and a hat and I was still cold.  I loved using the autopilot because I could curl up the corner of the cockpit and still watch out for traffic but get out of the cold wind.

Friday October 24th, 2003
Friendship Across The Language Barrier

Itís about 4 a.m. when we pass Atlantic City.  It looks like a mini Las Vegas with its array of lights.  The winds were sustained at 20-25 knots.

 

We arrived at Cape May by 9:30 a.m. and dropped anchor.  We sailed the entire trip, once out of New York harbor. Our max speed was over 9 knots, the fastest Iíve seen on this boat yet. Pierre noticed we had lost two battens during the trip.  Oh well, something else to fix.

 

Thomas and Patrick were full of energy, having had a full nightís sleep.  Pierre and I were exhausted and managed to take a 2 hour nap in the afternoon.  We decided not to put the dinghy in the water and go to town because we were planning to leave for Annapolis at 3 a.m.   We needed to have the tide in our favor going up the Delaware Bay which is why we had to leave so early.  We were hoping to make it all the way to Annapolis, another 24 hour trip.

 

I saw a sailboat with a Norwegian flag pull into the anchorage.  It was Hermine.  We saw this boat in Cutty Hunk and then again in Newport.  We talked to them in Newport and learned that they bought the Dutch made boat in Plymouth, Mass and were sailing it to the Caribbean with their 9 and 10 year old son and daughter.  I hailed them on the radio and invited them over to our boat once they got settled.

 

We had a nice visit with Eva and Andres and their children.  I could imagine the language barrier was tough for them. Eva spoke pretty good English but Andres was not as fluent. Pierre was able to help them a little bit with route options to the Caribbean .  They thought about leaving with us at 3 a.m. but then decided to stay.

Saturday October 25th, 2003
Passing Ships

We were up by 2 a.m. and motoring out the Cape May breakwater by 3 a.m.   It was tough getting out of my warm bunk when the alarm went off but at least it wasnít as cold as last night.

I was at the helm while Pierre navigated.  By 5 a.m. we were in the Delaware Bay and I retreated down below for a two hour nap.  The bay was like a lake this morning, much different than when we passed though here on our way up and I was heaving over the side.

 

It was around 1 p.m. when we exited the C & D canal and entered the northern Chesapeake Bay .  The bay was filled with recreational sailors enjoying the sunny day.  The winds were SW at 10-15 knots so we had to motor sail.

 

We didnít get into Annapolis until 11 p.m.  Pierre never slept the entire trip.  When he dropped the main he saw a good size tear in the leech of the sail.  Weíll have to get that repaired while weíre here.

Sunday October 26th, 2003
Isabel Attended Annapolis

It was foggy and overcast when I poked my head out the cockpit this morning.  I could see the slanted mast of a sailboat against the rocks along the Naval Academy seawall.  A remnant of Hurricane Isabel I assumed.  Annapolis was hit hard.  I could only imagine what it was like to see the water level above the seawall and into the Naval Academyís science center.  The tide here was reported to be 7.5 feet above normal during the storm. Fishing Bay Harbor Marina in Deltaville, the place we stayed in July, faired well but the Deltaville Marina was wiped out.

 

Our plan is to stay in Annapolis for about 10 days and explore the upper Chesapeake and do some work on the boat. 

A friend put us in touch with a couple (Mike and Blair) who live on Clements Creek, just up the Severn River in Annapolis.  

They have a neighborhood marina and have arranged for us to stay at a dock there.  

 

As we motored up the Severn River we passed a Hinckley sailboat and Pierre noticed that his friend George was at the helm.  He yelled to him and the boat turned around.  George and his wife Joan live on the Chesapeake south of Deale and were up here for a Hinckley weekend rendezvous.  We hope to see them again on our sail south.

 

Blair was waiting for us at the slip when we arrived.  The small, picturesque Downs Marina was surrounded by hilltops covered trees whose leaves were blossoming in fall color.  What a great spot.

 

Our van was at Peter and Susan Kaneís house in Manassas, VA.   I asked Blair if she knew of a rental car place nearby and she offered us her car.  I couldnít believe this woman, whom we just met, would give us her car to drive 1 Ĺ hours to Manassas .  She also said we could take showers at her house and do laundry when needed since the marina did not have these facilities.

 

We arrived at the Kaneís by late afternoon.  We hadnít had a shower in four days so it was nice to take a long hot shower there and visit with Susan.  Peter was at their river house which was also hit hard by Hurricane Isabel Ė several downed trees, one which went through their roof.

Monday October 27th, 2003
War Stories Time

It was nice to have our van back.  We spent the rainy, dreary day running errands and hanging out on the boat.  The port lights were not working again so I spent part of the afternoon trying to figure out the cause.  Pierre ran into his friend Brad Miller at Fawcettís Marine store.  Brad had sailed Bandera from Maine to Annapolis to be here for boat show and to have some work done on the boat.  It was a fun night listening to Pierre and Brad tell stories from their sailing delivery days while eating cheeseburgers.  Brad also gave me some ideas for troubleshooting the port light problem we were having.

 

Pierre told me I would be in charge of anything electrical that went wrong on the boat before we left on this sailing excursion and he would take care of the diesel engine.  I took three DC (direct current) classes at DeKalb Tech the year before we left in hopes of having a better understanding of it all.  Iíve done okay with simple repairs such as replacing bad switches or finding and replacing corroded wires but am still overwhelmed by the more complicated things.  It would be nice to have a mentor to give me some hands-on training.  So for now, we are using oil lamps to give us more light in the cabin until I can figure out the source of the problem.  

 

October 28th - November 5th, 2003
A Bit Of
Shore Side Activities

 

Itís nice having our boat at a dock again.  Itís so easy to step off the boat and into our van and go wherever we want. We took a day trip to Baltimore where I was able to meet up with my friend Brenda and her two year-old daughter Molly. We took the kids to the Baltimore National Aquarium while Pierre browsed the waterfront shops. By evening, we were in Manassas, VA having a wonderful dinner out with Peter and Susan while their daughter Jenny entertained the boyís. This was our first meal without the boyís since we left Atlanta.

 

I still hadnít solved the problem with the port cabin lightís so I decided to call a marine electrician. It would be expensive but I hoped that in addition to solving the problem he might also be able to teach me a little about troubleshooting.  I got John Lovellís name from someone at Fawcettís Marine store in Annapolis.  John is a young guy who lives on a boat and started doing electrical work on boats a few years ago.  He worked fast and explained things to me as he went along.  He discovered that the short was due to wires on a reading light in our cabin that had been twisted so the point of breakage.  He also found that corroded wires in our anchor locker were the cause of our port running light not working.  He did such a great job I planned to have him come back in a few days to help me with a few other things.

 

Blair was very gracious in letting us use her house for doing laundry, connecting to the internet and taking showers when needed.  It was good to be in a neighborhood where the boys could go to the playground and ride scooters. Halloween was approaching and we decided to drive to Beaufort, SC and be with my PA friends Laura, Nadine and Sue.  We planned this get together over a month ago, hoping that we would have made it to South Carolina by now, but since we couldnít get there by boat, we decided it would be wise to drive our van down. Ultimately, we will need to get our van to St. Petersburg, FL, where we plan to be for month or so working on the boat and visiting with my parents.

 

We drove 10 hours on Halloween and made it to Beaufort just before dusk and in time for the boys to trick-or-treat. Laura had costumes for the boys so we were all set. 

The scene was a bit crazy with six children and seven adults in the same house for the weekend.  Sue and her husband Ron just moved from San Diego to Beaufort a couple months ago.  They gave Pierre and me their master bedroom for the weekend which had spectacular views of the sunset over the saw grass laden bay.  We had a fun-filled weekend with kayaking, biking, watching football and visiting with friends.  The boys loved playing with other kids for a change.  Nadine, the single one of the group, flew in from Montana.  She was great entertaining the kids and giving the parents a break for a change.  Nadine planned to drive down to Jacksonville Sunday night and agreed to take our van to my Uncle Johnís house.  This was good as it was one step closer to St. Petersburg.  Sue would meet Nadine later in the week and drive her back to Beaufort.

 

We rented a car and made it back to Annapolis Monday afternoon in time to visit my friend Leigh.  She lives in Baltimore and drove to the marina to see us.  I hadnít seen her for many years so it was nice reconnecting with her.

Monday night we went to the U.S. Naval Academy to meet with Pierreís niece Jan, a second year midshipman.  We ate pizza on a deck overlooking the academyís indoor ice skating rink.  Thomas and Patrick had never seen anyone ice skate before so this was a special treat for them.  Jan is a friendly, petite girl who swam competitively growing up but doesnít look like your typical bulky athlete.  I asked her how many push-ups she could do and she replied ďNot that many. I can only do about 85 in two minutes.Ē  I thought most people I know probably hadnít done that many in their lifetime, much less in two minutes.  She said some of the men at the Academy can do almost twice that.

 

We finally got to meet Mike Doyle, Blairís husband.  He had just returned from Afghanistan where he was involved in a rebuilding project.  Unfortunately, he had a bad virus and was in bed for a day with a high fever but still managed to drag himself down to the marina to meet us.  It was because of him that we were able to stay in this slip so it was nice to introduce ourselves and thank him.  Mike and Blair have lived in many places all over the world and had a house full of artifacts from their travels.  We enjoyed a nice dinner with them and exchanging stories about our travels.  They also have a sailboat and have cruised extensively in Maine.

 

Pierre had taken our ripped mainsail to Doyle Sails for repair and was told that at best it might last another year. Maybe.  We decided to shop around for a new main as we didnít want it to fail when we needed it the most (i.e. In a storm). Pierre started getting quotes for a full battened, approximately 400 sq ft. three reef mainsail.  We decided to go with a Neil Pryde loft in Connecticut as their prices were reasonable, they seemed knowledgeable and had good recommendations.  A local representative came down and took the measurements and said they would ship it to us in route in 2-3 weeks.

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