Friday, 2 November 2018

The Big Move - Not The Big Easy.

A Beautiful Cool Morning In New Rochelle, With Crystal Blues At The Bottom Of The Ramp




















Packing up the boat after 20 years was always going to be difficult - predictably it was physically exhausting and emotionally a roller coaster ride. However we were blessed by the weather gods, with cool but calm conditions and absolutely no rain for the 10 days that we spent sorting, sifting and packing for our move back to Australia.
Truck Loaded, Ready To Go

We booked a large palletised crate from UPakWeShip, an innovative shipping agency that provides fixed price point to point deliveries of personal possessions around the globe.  They delivered the crate to a nearby warehouse and we only had to deliver our goods there and pack the crate ourselves.

Just how many items did we need to ship ? A lot of gear was donated to charity, plus all the paints, chemicals and painting gear went to the Wooden Boat Shop at the Reedville Fisherman's Museum. Equipment was donated to friends and local businesses. Still, five times we went back to buy more cartons, more packaging tape and more timber to protect the goods in transit.

As the boat was being "sold in salvage" we were able to remove all our tools, personal effects. galley equipment, IT and AV gear, spares parts and the like.  However we had no idea how much that would amount to.

Amazingly, in the end we packed and moved 68 cartons, weighing in total around 1800 pounds. Each day we'd empty another locker and the cartons just kept coming. Each carton was numbered, a spreadsheet was created to track the carton contents and then all the cartons were moved into a nearby self storage facility.

Loading The Top Layer Into The Crate At The Depot


























Once packing was completed we loaded all the cartons and goods into a rented U-Haul truck late one afternoon. Next morning we set of for the transport depot, where we assembled the crate and then loaded it with our earthly possessions. We were fortunate to have the generous support and assistance of friend and fellow sailor Paul Osmolskis, who lumped and lifted with us until the crate was loaded.

It took us three and a half hours to complete the loading - at the end we all signed the crate with a big fat marking pen, labelled it everywhere and kissed it on its way to Australia. Going home.

The Last Layer In Place, We Contemplate Future Adventures





















Job Done - Signed & Sealed. Special Thanks To Paul Osmolskis For Working Hard Alongside Us





















Friday, 19 October 2018

Making Lemonade From Lemons .....

Ouch ! Crystal Blues suffered mightily in a collision at sea last month, just off the New Jersey coast and we've spent the past six weeks dealing with the aftermath of that incident. While we are physically OK, I can't say the same about our emotions.

The Ugly Duck
She was hit by an errant commercial trawler, the Ugly Duck, that approached from our port side and initially failed to give way. Yes we were under sail, however the guy at the trawler helm eventually decided to accelerate and turn to port, a bad mistake. So we turned to port to cross his stern, which would have been simple, except that 30 seconds later he changed his mind (panicked?) and turned hard to starboard as if to run down our port side. We again corrected, this time to starboard, but it was not to be - in the last few boat lengths the trawler straightened up and collided with our port bow. We had nowhere to go.

In fact they hit us three times - after the vessels fell apart from the first collision she accelerated into us again, and then again a third time - clearly nobody at the helm at that time. I believe the young guy in control panicked and abandoned the helm. It was a massive collision, and a lesser vessel would be at the bottom of the ocean now, however she took the hit and actually kept sailing until we dropped the sails.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

We're Marking Time In New York City

This Is My Kind Of Transport - The Club Launch At NYAC Pelham Brings Us Ashore In Fine Style




With unexpected repairs and maintenance to complete, we're kinda stuck in New York City.

Do You have this In A Size Large ?
However it's not a bad place to spend some time - we're berthed against a floating pontoon in the river at the New York Athletic Club Yacht Club, in Pelham. Our friends Paul & Eileen Osmolskis have arranged visitor access to the NYAC for us, and we've been able to participate in the social life here at the club, including crewing for Paul in a club race last weekend.

Manhattan is only 30 minutes away by train, where we emerge into the stunning hall at Grand Central Station, check our credit cards and head off into retail wonder land.

We're expecting our nephew and friend Brendan Pollard to arrive on Tuesday, staying with us for six days, so we'll no doubt see a lot more of the big apple.

September is the busiest month for tropical storms on the east coast, and so far we've been lucky on this part of the coast, though the storm season still has two months to run. However summer is waning, trees are starting to change colour and we can feel autumn in the air.  In fact we've broken out what little warm clothing we have, stored away the shorts and T-shirts, and have even taken to wearing socks. Quite a shock to the system.

From The Mast, Moored Boats In The River At NYAC Pelham

Saturday, 8 September 2018

We've Been Adopted By A Town, And It Feels Good

Rob Hedelt: "Australian couple cruising the world on their sailboat adopted by folks in Reedville"




"REEDVILLE—Though I’ve never done much deep-sea, blue-water boating, there’s something magical about the thought of circling the world on a stout ship."

"Meeting Neil and Ley Langford—who’ve done just that, logging some 60,000 nautical miles in 13 years of circumnavigating the globe—just added to the mystique of that idea. I connected with the couple from Melbourne, Australia, several weeks back at the tip of the Northern Neck, in the town menhaden fishing made famous, Reedville. The connection happened because I was in the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum when Neil Langford popped in one morning."

"Museum Director Lee Langston–Harrison, a former neighbor of mine here in Fredericksburg, explained when the blue-water sailor left that the Langfords had sort of adopted the town as a summertime port of call. They were back this summer after first arriving the same time last year. That piqued my interest enough to set up a time to talk with the couple a week or so later, arriving at the dock where their steel-hulled, sloop-rigged 50-foot sailboat, Crystal Blues, was moored on a toasty summer day."

(For the full story click here)

Friday, 24 August 2018

The Mystical Secret Place For Good Old Boats

Chris Gasiorek Shows Me Through Wonderland
























During our stay at Mystic Seaport Museum we met Chris Gasiorek, who is Vice President Of Watercraft Preservation And Programs. While his job title may be long winded, Chris is straight to the point when it comes to recognising boat lovers. He approached us onboard Crystal Blues one morning and offered a guided tour of the hidden collection - a massive converted factory, now housing hundreds of preserved boats, engines and machinery just across the street from the public museum site.

Beautiful Scenes At Every Turn
Mystic Seaport Museum was built on the site of two traditional shipyards. As time progressed and wooden ships were superseded, the shipyard owners built mills on the site, in substantial brick buildings.

One of those buildings now houses the museum's boat collection, an almost un-imaginable treasure trove of boats that date back as far as 1824. Whilst the majority are wooden, there are others made of fiberglass, aluminum and even tin.

The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of ships, boats and maritime culture, including boat building.

So the vibrant living seaport experience is one part of that, drawing over a quarter of a million visitors each year, teaching sailing skills and keeping traditional craft in service. Another part is harboring a collection of unique and special vessels - the collection now housed in the old mill building. They call it the Watercraft Hall, and it houses over 470 boats - we spent a few hours in there, and probably didn't see them all.

The museum also has a large curated library of nautical documents and artifacts, including scrimshaw, charts, ship drawings, scale models and images. Significantly, it is now custodian of the fantastic Rosenfeld Collection - nearly one million maritime photography pieces dating from 1881 thru 1992, with images held in various formats, from glass plates through to color transparencies. This collection also includes the cameras and equipment used by the Rosenfeld family over the years.

The Admiral Views The Collection With Chris Gasiorek
























The Watercraft Hall is open to the public only four days each year, though I suspect that enthusiasts with a special interest could be accommodated at other times, by arrangement.

I understand that the museum gains about half its annual funding from gate proceeds - the entry fee for visiting the site. The balance comes from private donations, plus a contribution from sales through the museum store and online store. Seriously, this is an amazing site, where the art, craft and history of ships and the sea is not only celebrated, but preserved for future generations.  More power to them! If you love boats, add this place to your bucket list, and click below to see some more lovely images of the Watercraft Hall.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Berthed At Mystic Seaport Museum





























Good (bad?) news like this is handed out on paper flyers here at Mystic Seaport Museum, in Connecticut, printed here using a very old press. The Admiral and I visited the museum back in 1995, before we adopted Crystal Blues. Now it's great to be able to sail in here and stay for a weekend - Crystal Blues is tied to the wharf among a dozen or so visiting vessels.

The museum is huge, probably the best working maritime history museum in the world. Dozens of working vessels, many in operation each day, including the last wooden whaling ship the Charles W. Morgan. This vessel has undergone a massive multi-year refit and is in great condition.
The Charles W. Morgan Berthed At Mystic


On the site is a complete New England maritime village of the 1850's, with all the various trades and services represented. This weekend the museum events included a special display of antique marine engines, with enthusiasts setting up their working engines and the museum operating a dozen or so steam engines (using real steam, not compressed air) - my father would have loved it.. Earlier this evening there was live music on the common - by 6:00pm I was talking to the guitarist and by 6:30pm  we were performing together - what a joy. Live music rocks! Even better when you're invited back to play again next week ...

Exploring the entire museum has taken us two full days, however tomorrow we can move on. If the weather holds, tomorrow we'll head for Block Island, as a stepping stone to reach Cuttyhunk and eventually Martha's Vineyard.

The Shipsmith Workshop

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Sailing Through History On Long Island Sound

The Griswold Inn Has A Fine Collection Of Nautical Prints
Essex, Coonecticut

After rushing our cruise through Long Island Sound last year, we've decided to slow things down this time and perhaps even smell the roses. Last week we came up the Connecticut River to the historic town of Essex, anchoring off the town and thinking about the British raid here in the war of 1812, when most of the vessels in the harbor were burned. Last night we dined at the Griswold Inn, where the tap room has been serving ales for over 200 years. They also serve up some outstanding music - my feet were tapping all night to the Shiny Lapel Trio (actually six of them on stage but who's counting). This is a beautiful town, with several active yacht clubs and a museum to keep us entertained.

The Griswold Inn At Essex, Serving Patrons Since 1776

However our cruise really started further west, when we transited the East River at Manhattan and launched out into Long Island Sound.

Port Washington

Our first stop on the sound, and what a great place it is. The town welcomes visitors with a free mooring for two nights, free dinghy dock, fresh water, pump out facilities etc.  Even the supermarket is serviced by a free floating dock. Cruiser heaven! We took the train into Manhattan, visited the Museum Of Modern Art, the Highline in Chelsea and generally had our big city fix for the month. Back in Port Washington that evening the mood was relaxed - a real village feel, with an excellent Asian deli-market.

We departed Port Washington feeling quite positive, which meant that we were a little unprepared for our next port of call.....

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Small Town Patriots

Small But Patriotic!




















I can't say goodbye to July without mentioning Independence Day here in the USA. With only a tiny nod to local politics, Reedville celebrated July 4th with great community spirit. We stayed in town for the celebrations and enjoyed every minute with our local friends.

Main Street had been decorated for weeks, local homes dressed with the red white & blue, national flags everywhere - so we dressed Crystal Blues with our flags and joined the party on shore. The Fisherman's Museum played it's part with family adventures all morning, the town population swelled enormously, thousands came for the parade, and many stayed for the fireworks that evening.

Hundreds Of People & Vehicles Formed The Parade, Working Main Street In Both Directions



















 Amazingly this small community also put together a patriotic musical performance the following day, where talented local singers and players entertained for several hours. The local hall, now owned and managed by the Fisherman's Museum, was decorated in the red white and blue for the event, held on the Sunday afternoon following the 4th.

Crystal Blues departed soon after, heading north up the Chesapeake Bay.

Community Singers Choral Performance


Sunday, 22 July 2018

Cruising North & East, To New York & New England

Crystal Blues Rests In Her Beautiful Reedville Berth

Early last week we said farewell to our friends in beautiful Reedville, and started our journey northward. Once again it was hard to leave, however the Chesapeake can be fiercely humid in July and August, and we wanted to spend some time with friends on (slightly) cooler Long Island Sound.

Cockerell Creek, Eastern Arm, Reedville


So we day hopped our way north, up the Chesapeake, pausing at Solomon's Island, Oxford, St.Michaels and then Annapolis. All cutesy, aged. restored and very prosperous places. In St. Michaels we partnered with the crew of the Freedom 45 sloop Jade Moon, Richard and Kathy Reavis. Richard is an accomplished guitarist and singer, so we added some rhythm to his guitar and some harmonies to the songs - sang our hearts out in fact, over two nights at anchor.


St. Michaels is a fantastic boating destination, where sailing skills are both taught and celebrated. A cute town dating back to the struggle for independance, and a proud place that hosts the impressive Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Of course our own sailing skills had almost been forgotten on this trip, as the wind was either dead on the nose (fortunately light) or non existent. So Mrs. Cummins had plenty of exercise and drank quite a lot of diesel, while the sails stayed firmly furled.

After St. Michaels we had two days in Annapolis, accommodated graciously by new friend Ben Fulton at his condo dock. We waited a day for weather to clear then moved through the C&D Canal yesterday morning, spent last night off the New Jersey shore (actually sailing with actual real wind) and arrived in New York City this morning. On the way up the East River we passed the magnificent Queen Mary II, berthed opposite Governors Island. What a proper ship she is - nothing like the wedding cake styled cruise liners most common on the world's oceans. Timing the tide correctly on the East River we rocketed through Hell's Gate at 11 knots (!) and were spat out onto Long Island Sound in the early afternoon. Crystal Blues arrived in Port Washington, NY, this afternoon and will spend the next six weeks cruising on Long Island Sound.

Queen Mary II

Manhattan In A Sunny Mood This Morning

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Updating Your Anchor Chain
















Looks fairly grungy doesn't it? This was the state of our anchor chain when we replaced it last month. Yes, we did consider having it re-galvanised, however it appears that many galvanising businesses nowadays don't want to handle chain, and don't have the correct equipment to spin it as it leaves the galvanising bath - the result is usually links welded together by excess zinc. During my search for galvanizing businesses on the US east coast, I discovered a really useful text, written by someone who worked in the galvanising industry and who was also a sailor - download it here.

A Hard Working Life

Anchor chain works hard, we consider it our most important first line of insurance. Our old chain was purchased new in 2002, 400 feet (yep) of 3/8 inch ISO size chain, heat treated to high tensile standards. Here in the USA they call it G40 ISO chain - the G40 referring to the high tensile nature and the ISO defining the link shape and size. It's actually stronger than standard 1/2 inch chain, but of course it's much lighter and takes up less space in the chain locker than 1/2 inch chain would. Download the USA specifications and chain manufacturing standards here.

Zinc Dimples On Many Links
Grinding Off The Zinc Dimples, One At A Time
By 2007 it had done a lot of work, and was regalvanised in Sarawak (Northern Borneo), where the hot chain came out of the bath and was thrown around by well intentioned workers to keep the links from sticking together. Then they hang it to cool, and the excess zinc ran down the chain to form large dimples on the end of each link - dimples just big enough to jam in the hawse pipe that lead to our chain locker. Damn.

So we spent several days grinding off the excess dimples to ensure the chain would run freely through the hawse pipe.

Then, in Thailand in 2014, we shipped it off to Bangkok to be galvanised again. That time it came back looking great, however the last four years have been tough, with reefy anchorages through Asia and across the Indian Ocean, not to mention fairly tough anchoring in Ascension Island plus all those reefy places in the Caribbean. Then a year on the US coast, the Bahama, Cuba - really, this chain had traveled well and worked hard.  Given the lack of galvanising services we decided to invest in new chain.

In Australia we would buy only chain manufactured by PWB Anchor, while here in the USA we wanted Acco / Peerless chain, manufactured in the USA. Imported Chinese chain is cheaper, but we simply don't trust it. An hour or so on the web revealed a huge variation in price - West Marine wanted $6.39 per foot for the Acco chain, while Defender offered the same product at $3.80 per foot. In the end we purchased from the West Marine outlet in Deltaville, who price matched the offer from Defender - a huge discount. The new 400 foot length was delivered to the store within 48 hours in a drum, strapped on a fork lift pallet.

New G40 ISO Chain, Ready To Install



















Out With The Old, In With The New

We borrowed a friend's truck to pick up the loaded pallet, which weighed in at around 660 pounds. Back in Reedville we were able to back the truck down to the dock, then slowly unload the chain from the drum by hand and drag it down the dock to the boat.

Eventually we moved one end over the bow roller and fed it down through the windlass system into the chain locker and tied off the bitter end. From there the windlass did half the work, while Ley fed the new chain over the edge of the dock at the bow of the boat.

Hot and heavy work, compounded by the need to drag the old chain back along the dock and lift it into another truck the dame day - we'd donated it to the local Smith Point Sea Rescue group, who promptly and happily sent a truck to collect it.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

The Chesapeake Cowboys

We had a lot of fun at this waterman's event - heck, where else but America would local fisherman start a competition to see who can berth a boat the fastest? Yep, you can see it all right here.... high speed boat docking.

We arrived in Reedville (Virginia) early June, just in time for a fund raising event at the local marina - there were live bands, and for your entry ticket you got all the beer and food you could consume. Profits went to the local volunteer fire and rescue service, but the stars of the show were the Chesapeake Cowboys, local fisherman who compete up and down the bay in weekly events that would seriously challenge the health of any decent marine gearbox.

These work boats are generally operated from a stand-up console on starboard side, close to the stern. Yes, there are other people on board but they do not touch the controls except in an emergency. Click the arrow below for lots of maritime cowboy fun.


Monday, 18 June 2018

Dangerous AIS Targets? New Challenges To Safe Navigation

A Busy Waterway, However The AIS Fish Beacons Give Me Great Fears


















Heading north around Cape Hatteras a few weeks back, we found ourselves facing a number of targets along our intended course - only some were more dangerous than others. That green target at top right of the image (36870200) was an American aircraft carrier performing incredibly tight turns and circles - but that wasn't the danger. Neither was the fast moving target to the left of our track (the track in black), which was the Captain Caden, a 21 meter fishing vessel out of Barnegat Bay.

FV Handful & Four Local AIS Beacons
The real danger was that tiny cluster of targets on our starboard side - the US flagged fishing vessel Handful, seen here with a cluster of AIS beacons around it (note : this image, and those that follow, is produced by replaying our voyage on our electronic nav system. The target shapes are different when in actual navigation mode). If we zoom in (at right), the picture becomes more clear - one primary AIS target, being the fishing vessel Handful itself, plus a cluster of four AIS fish net beacons floating around her. Fish net beacons, using AIS. Hmm. OK, read my lips. Say after me. This is not good....

The AIS system was devised and built as a safety system for vessels under management. It was not built as an identification system for unmanned, unpowered fish net and long line floats that do not ask questions and cannot correct their course. If the technology is used for net tracking, the targets should display with a clearly different icon or graphic on screen. But they do not. They look just like ships on screen.

The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has published guidelines for the display of navigation related symbols on screen (read them here) and no fishing target beacons are included. The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation has published a draft paper (read it here) on marking of fishing gear, which acknowledges the illegal nature of AIS fishing beacons, but doesn't come down against them.

Thanks to Ben Ellison, author of the excellent PANBO marine electronics blog, I obtained the following information from a US Coast Guard website :

"18. Can I use AIS to mark nets, pots, traps, moorings, or as a race mark, etc.? There are no outright prohibitions to use AIS (i.e. AIS AtoN) as a marker (see Types of AIS and IALA Recommendation 1016 – Mobile Marine Aids to Navigation). However, it is not permissible to do so with equipment intended for use on vessels, (i.e. AIS Class A or B devices), for lifesaving (i.e. AIS SART, MOB AIS, EPIRB AIS), or with devices that are not FCC certified and licensed. See 47 CFR §§ 2.803, 2.805, 2.301, and 80.13 regarding licensing, station identity, and the prohibition to sell, market, or use radio devices that are not FCC authorized (search, Equipment Class: AIS)." It appears then that so long as these devices are FCC approved, they can be used at sea. But are they FCC approved?

So, what has gone wrong? Firstly, Chinese manufacturers have seized on an opportunity to use AIS electronic packages as fish net beacons, though without any approvals from relevant international AIS scheme managers. Secondly, US fisherman keen to track their nets (at  very low cost) have seized on these tools and deployed them, even though they are illegal under US law (my opinion). In fact you can't buy these readily in the USA - you have to order them online through Ali-Baba or one of the foreign web supply chains.


















Above is the Ova fishing buoy beacon, sold out of China on the internet for not much over US$100.00, waterproof to 10 meters, and it comes pre-programmed with it's own MMSI number. Wait a minute - how did that happen? An MMSI number is supposed to be a Maritime Mobile Service Identifier - a number that identifies a vessel and an owner and tracks back to the national registration of the identified vessel.

Who ever heard of MMSI numbers being issued by the factory that built the product.... geez. They are supposed to be issued by the country of registration!

Then there are other brands and models - in fact there are so many models that there is an entire market place on the web where you can buy these (illegal) devices. Check out the page at this address. Many are shipped with software on disk plus a cable that allows the user to program the MMSI number - this is completely illegal under US FCC regulations.

Many fisherman, reading this story, will be wondering what the heck I'm complaining about - OK so it's illegal, but where is the harm? In fact it can be said that the fisherman are doing us a favor by identifying nets and floats that otherwise would be invisible to us at night. However until these beacons can be identified easily on screen as floating beacons (and not ships), then I believe that some dangerous situations are being created. Read on for the story on that ....

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Ocean Cruising Club - Potomac River History Cruise

OCC Dinghy Drift At Leonardtown (Image Courtesy Tong Gibb)
Last Saturday the Ocean Cruising Club started a six day mini-cruise of the lower Potomac River, from here in Reedville, Virginia. We joined the group of 25 boats for those few days, visiting St Mary's (the original capital of Maryland) and also Leonardtown. Both cities have a long history dating to before the revolutionary war - in fact Leonardtown was burned by British Marines during that war.

On Wednesday night the boat crews met upstream for a sunset dinghy drift - combining the boats together in a massive raft and then drifting downstream as the cocktails and nibbles were passed from boat to boat. Lots of fun that continued for several hours. Thursday was Flag Day here in the USA, so we dressed ship to join in the celebrations. This morning we cruised back down the Potomac River to Reedville once again, where Crystal Blues will rest until the end of the month.


Crystal Blues Dressed Up

Monday, 11 June 2018

Return To Reedville

Crystal Blues Shares The Dock, With The Beautiful Grand Banks Trawler Slow Dancing, Plus Dingies From The Visiting OCC Fleet

















On Virginia's "northern neck", Reedville is a small village with a proud commercial fishing history. Right now it has aged gracefully to become a popular retirement and vacation area, set among rural farmlands, surrounded by a myriad creeks and bays.

Reedville Peninsular
Its a beautiful environment, still with a large population of working watermen, engaged in oystering, crabbing and net fishing. A fleet of large trawlers still work the Menhaden schools at the bottom of Chesapeake Bay and in the nearby Atlantic ocean. The Menhaden fish has been called "the most important fish in the sea". By tonnage, Reedville is still the second largest fishing port in the USA.

The Menhaden fishery once gave Reedville a fabulous wealth - it had the highest per capita income in the United States. Millionaires row in Main Street Reedville is evidence of this - scores of magnificent homes line the single street that forms the spine of this tiny peninsular.

Our friends Walter Keith and Mary Frazer have welcomed us back to their home and dock. There is a busy social calendar this time of the year, and in between music and social events we're trying to work on maintenance and repairs, but that is proving difficult.

On June 9th the Ocean Cruising Club started a Potomac River History Cruise from here, so we suddenly found the anchorage filled with 25 visiting OCC boats. Then cruising friends Bill & Jean Crew arrived on Pelican Express, with four legged crew mate Bella. Local friends are also calling to welcome us, several arriving by boat.

Ted & Lynne Hower Bring Pepper To Visit.  The Boat Is A Chesapeake Deadrise Skiff, Built By George Butler In Reedville.

 Yesterday was a big day for the OCC rally group - they came for cocktails here at Walter & Mary's home, then we all crossed the street for the first musical concert of the year at the Reedville Fisherman's Museum. Bluegrass and country rock kept our feet tapping until predicted thunderstorms shut down the evening.

Between the rain storms the social schedule has been frantic and the maintenance schedule continues to take a beating. Tomorrow we're off to cruise the lower Potomac River for three days with the OCC.


OCC Cruising Sailors Celebrate On The Porch At Walter & Mary's
Our Reedville Welcoming Committee
On The Dock In Reedville
 



Saturday, 2 June 2018

Back In The USA , Its Springtime Cruising


Arrival At Sunset, Chesapeake Bay




















778 nautical miles later, we arrive in Norfolk, Virginia, after a very quick (3.5 days) transit from Great Sail Cay in the Bahamas. For the sailors reading this, that is an average of 9.26 knots. Of course we had 3 to 4 knots of lift from the Gulf Stream current for some of the passage, but we were pleased with our sailing speeds never the less. Cleaning the hull underwater, before we departed, also helped quite a lot.  The passage was completed with about 80% of the distance under sail, so not too much motoring.

Approaching The Sea Buoy Off The Chesapeake Bay Entrance
The warm weather had followed us north, so we sailed into harbor in shorts and not much else. After anchoring overnight we moved into a commercial marina berth the next morning, to allow for the necessary inspection by Customs & Border Protection

The clearance process here was simple and friendly, unlike the fairly shabby treatment we had received in Charleston the previous year. Next day we visited the Customs offices to obtain our 12 month Cruising Permit, and with that last piece of paper in place we could relax - we'd officially arrived.

In our approach, our first time here, we passed the enormous US Navy ship yard complex that stretches out along both sides of the river - a spectacular statement about US military expenditure - there were more ships here in just one river than in the entire Royal Australian Navy.