2014-07-29 Family Reunion Lima Ohio

The Steinke side of the family has been holding a family reunion in Lima for more years than I can remember. No matter where we are or what I am doing I try my best to get there. I think I have missed one our of the last “gazillion” years! This years point of departure was a mooring ball in Groton, CT. We bundled Magnolia up the best we could thanked profusely our friends on Kindred Spirit and Cutting Class for keeping and eye on her and off we went.  Note: Most all family pictures were pilfered from my cousins.


We brought a number of books on “tape” but the FDR book covered us for more than the trip out but most of the way back too! Tina Fey brought us the rest of the way back!


As soon as Dan & Lori arrived Cow and Bunny could not wait to exchange travel stories. Bunny could not wait to show off his new custom made like jacket!


The setting of the re-union was my cousins farm outside of Wapakoneta, OH. Also the hometown of Neil Armstrong. Smile


The Arizona contingent in black Tricia, Les (my grandmothers brother) Jeanette (my grandmothers sister) Sheridan & John


Dan & Lori looking after the zoo.


Me and my godson hanging out.


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After 1568 miles in 6 days the crew (Bunny too!) arrived back aboard Magnolia who hung out just fine in our absence. Preparations are being made to get underway on Wednesday with the hope to be in Maine mid- week next! Details as they become available.


2014-07-22 Groton CT

Part of me wishes I could report all the accomplishments onboard Magnolia. All the maintenance that has been accomplished and things fixed and repaired. Well that would be an out and out lie. None of those things have happened!

We enjoyed a nice motor over from Block Island, RI to Groton, CT. (We have been really hurting for a nice breeze!)


As we passed through the Watch Hill Passage we were presented with some pretty impressive homes ashore. As we understand it the white house on the hill is owned by Taylor Swift.





As we approached our mooring ball in Groton, CT the first thing we noted was our neighbors – a family of ospreys. The anchorage immediately felt at home with our old friends, the osprey, common in the Chesapeake.


Our view from the mooring ball our friends loaned us for our visit.




Since the crew of Magnolia will be heading for a family reunion in Ohio, it gave us a great opportunity to throw a “BBQ what’s in the reefer” party! Amazingly three boats from the local yacht club all made the trek to the Bahamas and we were lucky enough to meet all at one point or another throughout the winter.  What fun getting together to share our sailing stories and future plans. (L-R) Anthony – Annette, “Magnolia” – Dave – Sue, “San Cles”, Al – Michele, “Kindred Spirit” – Dan – Marcia, “Cutting Class”


Dan and Marcia were saddened when we were coerced into admitting we had not had a lobster since we arrived in New England. Dan and Marcia both grew up in the Mystic / Groton area so after a terrific tour of the the are we moved to their backyard. “Pause Button” They have a wonderful 1920s home that invites anyone entering to feel welcome and relaxed. “Forward Button”


These guys do not stand a chance against this crew!


That is a a beautiful Lobster!!! Good food and great friends just make me so happy!


Dan and Marcia enjoying sharing their world! We are so happy to be included. All of us that were in the Bahamas Class of 13/14 share a bond that I hope we will carry until we will old and gray!


Dan, Marcia, Al, Michele, Sue and Dave – we shared an adventure that we hope will tie us together for a lifetime. Thank you for sharing yourselves, your home and your community!

2014-07-21 Block Island

Before we get onto Block Island proper I wanted to show you a picture a friend sent us taken during our passage up from Cape May to Block Island – Thanks SV Braveheart

Block Island, RI is about halfway across Block Island Sound between Montauk, NY and Newport, RI. Until we started sailing I had never heard of the place! It was a nice place to start our New England adventure.


In 1865 a channel was cut to open the Islands Salt Pond to the ocean and create a very protected anchorage and a great location from which to explore the island.


You just have to look around a little and know you are no longer in the Mid-Atlantic. There is a definitely a difference in the architecture!




I got a kick out of this, a pickup truck from Texas with surfboards parked in a lot in Rhode Island….just me?2014_07_14_16_02_12_AWB-021


(L-R) SV Braveheart (Mike & Kathy), SV Exuberant (Bert & Pru), Annette. Magnolia and Exuberant have crossed paths up and down the coast all the way to Georgetown Bahamas and always fun catching up with them. We met Braveheart on our way up the Jersey coast. Yes you make friends 20 miles offshore sometimes….


(L-R) MV Amici (Ted & Sally), Anthony. Our hosts for the evening were Ted & Sally who we met through Exuberant. See how crazy it can get sometimes. None the less Ted is an excellent cook and we all made contributions to the wide array of dishes. A fun night and look forward to meeting up again. Thanks again, Ted & Sally!!!


The other memorable moment from Block Island was the 193 Amp Hour day achieved by the solar panels. An epic achievement to say the least!!!


2014-07-15 Solar Panels

Last winter in the Bahamas we spent months at a time anchored out and not connected to shore power. We also learned we like our cold refrigerator (cold beer) and our colder freezer (steaks from the USA) and unlimited computer usage. All these things take power and lots of it. We do not apologize for it.  We still use less than a 10th of what we did when we lived ashore! Magnolia has been equipped with a 90 amp alternator on the main engine and the diesel generator is tied to our 100 amp charger. We have multiple means to generate electricity, but they all require running a diesel engine. The fuel consumption is reasonable and the engine wear and tear is minimal and no matter the already installed equipment needs to be utilized.

Magnolia consumes between 160-200 a/hrs per day. We need to run our generator to make hot water and run the vacuum so we do not mind running the generator for an hour in the morning. Running the generator fulfills between 70-90 of the a/hrs Magnolia requires, the other 110 –130 had been fulfilled by a second running of the generator in the evening. The goal is now to avoid the second generator run in the evening by installing solar panels (a set of panels with 200 amp and a set of 24o amps totally 440 amps).

The consideration was where and how to mount panels. Many people add additional stainless tubing structure above their cockpit enclosure or onto the dinghy davits. We really did not know what we wanted because neither prospect was overly appealing from a  additional weight or cost aspect. We eventually settled on a lightweight Sunbrella canvas system that would allow us to reconfigure the panels to take maximum advantage of the sun as it moved across the sky.

With the initial design complete it was time to assemble the pieces. First we needed a charge controller. We settled on an Outback 60 controller because 1) a friend has it and has had good results and 2) it is the one our electrician normally installs in case Anthony got in over his head. Based on a recommendation from JR & Drena  aboard SV Journey, we turned to Discount Solar which is an Ebay store for the four panels. We also purchased MC4 cables from Solar and Wind Pro also an Ebay store.

With the pieces in hand the first thing was to fabricate the Sunbrella canvas mounting. The Admiral was kind enough to cut and hem a panel about 4 inches wider and 8 inches longer than two panels laid end to end. The panels are semi flexible and are mounted on a grommeted base. We installed grommets on our Sunbrella base and used nylon bolts, washers and acorn nuts to attach the two together. We installed additional grommets so we could use line to tie the panels down in addition to web straps with snaps as each end. Our enclosure has snaps available to snap right down onto. We also added a casing so that two 1 inch rods could be inserted into the panel so provide additional rigidity. We are currently using 3/4 inch PVC pipe, but I am having 3/4 inch tent posts fabricated for the final design.

The Admiral actually provides a better description of the canvas base on her blog “Seamless Sailor”.


Here the panels are installed and being used. It is not our plan to keep the panels installed on the enclosure underway. We really only need them the second and additional days we are at an anchorage. They fold right up so two panels are facing each other and store in the V berth in 2-3 minutes as we prepare to get underway.



Two of the panels are connected together using a MC4 Y connectors. Each “set” of panels is fed into a Blue Seas – circuit fuse block with ground bus. This essentially connects all the panels together before being fed into the Outback controller. The Outback controller is then connected to the battery bank through a 5o amp cube fuse.

As can be seen below we generated 184 Amp Hours on this particular day.  That would cover our total daily usage!


2014-07-15 Cape May, NJ–Block Island, RI

After our “fun” anchorage in Reedy Point DE, we enjoyed out stay in Cape May very much with one exception. Our neighbors the Hughes in Arlington have a weekend place in Cape May and we had hoped to meet up with them. Unfortunately our weather window was open and we could see it closing so we had to set off.


We departed Cape May at 03:00 (AM) enable to ride the tide our of the bay. This was to be our longest non-stop passage to date at just over 200nm. We have never transited these waters on our own before and the first time always adds a little anxiety. We were also crossing the shipping lanes going into NYC so figured that could be interesting. In the end we had calms seas, fair winds and the big ships worked with us to stay out of each others way. In the end an un-eventful passage.


Our first sight of New England was the Point Montauk, Long Island, NY. As it turns out my friend Tom Leclerq’s grandfather was the light keeper here.



As soon as we saw the weathered gray shingles we knew were not in the mid-Atlantic any longer! We made it to New England!!!


The Admiral seems to have faired pretty well on the overnight passage.


We had intended to go to Lake Montauk on Long Island but friends contacted us on the radio so we decided we would meet up on Block Island. The mooring field on Block Island is referred to as the Salt Pond. It is an inland lake that provides 360 degree protection from the winds and seas.


As well as SV Exuberant we also met up SV Chantaclear, SV Braveheart and SV River Rat. We will spend a couple of days catching out breath and exploring before moving on to CT.

2014-07-09 Catching Up in Cape May. NJ

It was a whirl wind first half of the summer. As you already know we accomplished a lot of boat maintenance and I can say Magnolia is in better shape today that she has been for as long as we have had her! Out latest big accomplishment was getting the solar system put together and installed and I will cover that in the next post. For now here is a quick catch up of what we have been up to.

We met up with our former dock-mates Dudley & Cheryl from SV Blind Date. We had a lovely evening in Annapolis catching up. 


Magnolia added a new crewmen, “Bunny.” Bunny does not have a lot of boating experience but has traveled extensively with Dan & Lori so he comes experienced!


Bunny prepares to get underway for the first time….


We are very safety conscious aboard Magnolia so the Admiral manufactured a life vest for Bubby JUST IN CASE something unfortunate were to occur.


Magnolia did not depart as hoped so the Admiral and I celebrated the 4th watching the fireworks from the Spa Creek Bridge in Annapolis, we might have had and ice cream too!


Departing on the 5th of July from Annapolis we decided the ride was not as pleasant as we would like so puled into the Magothy River just above the Bay Bridge. We enjoyed an quiet evening on the hook and tried again on Sunday. We were rewarded with a wonderful sail up the bay in calm conditions under a lovely sky. Days like this are epic! Of course upon our arrival to Chesapeake City I took the Admiral out for some dinner and “reconnoiter” the town for our Tennar visit the next day.


Sadly Jack and Caitlen both had to work so Kathy and Christina came down from NJ for a little visit and some lunch

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Making the trip from Chesapeake City to Cape May NJ is a really long way so with advice of our friend Rodger’s and Quigly’s we split the trip up, one part short, one part long.  

I kind of cracked up because that is a DNR boat and it looked like he was setting a speed trap for some un-weary boater. I know, too much time on the water.


The short part of the trip got us as far as Reedy Point across from the Salem Point Nuclear Power . I have spent a lot of time in NJ and really like and there are some really places areas. When you call yourself the Garden State and I am looking across at car freighter and a nuke plant, well I have to chuckle.


There was a forecast of possible thunderstorms so we enjoyed a nice afternoon catching up on some reading and I even fired the barbeque and made some bread. Our radios alarm when NOAA puts out a weather warning. As we finished dinner sure enough alarms started going off! Below is about 35 knots, always a good time…


We peaked out at just over 45knts but as quickly as the storm arrived it dissipated to an easy rain storm. No real fuss.


Magnolia and crew are well anchored in Cape May, NJ for a couple days waiting on a weather window to make the run to Long Island. If all goes according to plan we will depart on Sunday morning arriving Long Island on Monday or Tuesday.


Vessel and crew are in the best shape we have ever been in, be safe SV Magnolia