Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Water logged Annapolis a day after Hurricane Sandy

Yesterday, Tuesday the 30th of October, the bulk of the storm had passed through central Maryland and although we aren't permitted to go check the house on Brigantine, we decided to go take a look around the city dock area in nearby Annapolis.  The dock area has a history of flooding and this occasion was no different.  We had to drive around "Robin Hood's Barn" in order to get to the docks as many streets were still flooded a day after the storm.

I feel sorry for the owners of small businesses such as Storm Bros. Ice Cream.  They get repeatedly flooded but somehow find it within themselves to repeatedly bounce back.  I'll get in line for a scoop of rum-raisin to support them as soon as they reopen.

Keep in mind that these photos were taken a day after the water had receded.
Not much of a step down to get in your rubber dinghy today.  No doubt at the height of the water you could have carried on in the dinghy right up Main Street to Mills Liquors.

The Kunta Kinte statue grouping was still a bit damp.
Looking up "Ego Alley".  The posts mark the normal edge of the pavements.
It was a raw and damp day.  We soon decided to go up the hill to Galway Bay to see if we could get a pint of  Guinness, a shot of Red Breast and a bowl of leek and potato soup.  They had power so we had success on all three counts.  Friday or Saturday at the latest, we plan on going to Brigantine to see if our summer house made it through the storm.  It depends on when we will be given access to the island.  I'm hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Work Day at BYC

Like most small clubs in the Mid-Atlantic, Brigantine Yacht Club has work days in the spring (to get the club functioning for summer) and in the fall (to put the club to bed for the winter). BYC generally holds fall work day before Halloween on a Saturday when high tide occurs between 8 am and noon.

Work days kick off about 8 am.  I arrived a few minutes after 8 and someone had already taken down the awning from above the main entrance doors.

Since the club had new plastic floating docks installed, work days are not as much bother as in the past.  Unlike the older wooden floating sections, these new dock sections are designed to remain in place all through the year.

However, the floats on the end of the T-dock are still the old wooden type and so that dock gets broken down, the floating sections craned out of the water and the ramp winched up out of harm's way.
After "walking" the individual sections over to the bulkhead, slings are placed around the float and the club's "big boat" launching hoist is used to get them ashore.  This used to take several hours when all the floating sections where wood.

This year we had only four sections to wrestle out of the water.

While the floats are secured ashore, the ramp that leads down to them is hoisted well above the expected flood high tide level and secured on a plank.  Normally the outward end of the ramp goes up and down with the level of the floats as the tide changes.  The rear end of the ramp is hinged to the fixed portion of the pier leading to the float dock.

The ramp leading down from the bulkhead to the plastic floating docks is also raised above the tide up  with "come-alongs" and secured with a plank, under the ramp, bolted to the two closest pilings.

The outer end of the launching ramp for the smaller dinghies will get the same elevated treatment for the winter.  This is both a good and bad thing.  It's bad because with the ramp out of commission it's almost impossible to put a small dinghy overboard on those rare winter occasions when the weather is agreeable.  It's good because it limits the temptation to go sailing (and maybe get in trouble) in winter when very few potential rescuers are watching out of their bay-side windows.

Small plastic boats like Optis, Lasers and the club's pair of 420s are placed on, under or near the Opti racks and will be shrink-wrapped for winter later in the week.  We used to store member's small boats in the clubhouse during the winter for a small fee but now the boats that stay on the property during the off season remain outdoors.  This way the club house can be rented for different functions through the fall to help keep dues from increasing.  So, after the hoses are drained, the loose gear is stowed, and the club's power boats are prepped and shrink-wrapped for winter, that'll be it for the 2012 sailing season at BYC.  Six months to go until the 2013 sailing season---sigh.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Capitol Idea, Sir...

Some of diaristwoman's relatives where over from the old country (husband had business meetings all week) so we met up with the wife and kids for a spot of site-seeing.  Those of us who live in the Washington, DC suburbs know the drill:  in springtime take them to see the cherry blossoms and at other times to see the monuments, museums and well known buildings such as the the Capitol and White House.  It's a good thing that friends and relatives blow into town every now and then because, although we live close by, we almost never avail ourselves to the opportunity of going and partaking of what DC has to offer.  It's always there and we keep telling ourselves we'll go and see it soon, but "soon" never seems to come around.  If it wasn't for visiting relatives I'd never generate enough gumption to see anything at all!  Your diarist, for example, had never been to the Capitol but that's what the relatives wanted to see.    So let's take a look at what the old "tourist" saw that day.

The Capitol from the visitor's center entrance side.  It was a gorgeous mid-October day with day-time high temps in the low 70s and just enough breeze to blow the stink off.  Perfect for schlepping around DC on foot.

Let's go through security and dive into the belly of the beast.

You can take pictures of anything except the security officers.  You do need a ticket for the group tours.  Those are free and smart tourists (like the ever well-organized diaristwoman) will go on-line the day before and book tickets for their party here.  Our tour doesn't start for a few minutes so let's wander around--but stay close and DON'T get lost.

The original plaster model of Freedom by sculptor Thomas Crawford.  This model was used to make the mold for the final 19 1/2 foot tall bronze which sits on top of the Capitol's dome.

There are many, many statues of famous people through out the Capitol, but of course visiting Swedes want to see the bust of Raoul Wallenberg.  He's on display in Emancipation Hall.
The highlight of the tour is, of course, the Rotunda. Here is Constantino Brumidi's fresco The Apotheosis of Washington, viewed from 180 feet below.  Yep, it's way up there.  Thank goodness for a zoom lens.  Geo. Washington is seen seated between the allegorical figures of Liberty and Victory.  Circling this threesome are 13 maidens depicting the 13 original colonies which formed the early United States.  At the six o'clock position we see Bellona, depicted as Freedom defeating Tyranny (kingly power).  Continuing clock-wise Brumidi depicted Science, Maritime Interests, Commerce, Mechanics and Agriculture in a manner which reflected the values and interests of those days.  For example, Ceres, the figure depicting  Agriculture is seen astride a McCormick Reaper.  If Brumidi came back to life and painted this today would Commerce be rendered as Steve Jobs (instead of Mercury) holding an iPad?
A panel from the Frieze of American History.  This gives a Cliff's Notes summary of 400 years of American history from the landing of Columbus to the Wright Brothers.  Brumidi designed sketches and started the initial work but fell from the scaffold in 1880 and died a few months later.  Filippo Costaggini was hired to finish the remaining eight scenes from Brumidi's sketches but even so this left 31 feet of unpainted recess.  It wasn't completed until 1953 by Allyn Cox.
In addition to the fresco, frieze and statues in the rotunda, there are also a number of paintings done on a monumental scale.  Here are details from John Gadsby Chapman's The Baptism of Pocahontas.  The event depicted is believed to have taken place either in 1613 or 1614.  For curious minds, her baptized name was Rebecca...

Some of the statues in the Rotunda.  Note the flashy Corinthian Columns.

This is a statue of History, apparently ease-dropping on members of Congress and busily recording their speeches.   Note the wheel, cleverly incorporating a clock so that congressmen know when it's time to get the hell out of town.

Fianlly, our tour took us down to the Crypt.  Note the much plainer Doric Columns.  George Washington was supposed to be buried here but he refused and his remains are at his home in the more pastoral resting place of  Mount Vernon.  I don't blame him.
I've barely scratched the surface on the inside of the building but kids have had enough.  Even the grounds around the Capitol abound with interesting details such as this Japanese lantern.  After demands for food had been met we moved on to the Air and Space Museum but that's another post for another time.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Wet Day Out at the Annapolis Sailboat Show

Saturday was the better day to go to the show but we had other commitments and so Sunday it was even though the forecast called for chilly, wet weather.  For us the boat show isn't so much about gawking at big tubs that we can't afford as it is about bumping into friends, looking at the small boats, revisiting what have become favorite vendors and finally, getting our annual roast beast sandwich--swimming with raw onions and horseradish at the Fleet Reserve Club.  So we piled into the trusty wagon and headed east on Route 50 for Rowe Boulevard and the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.

Wet, wet, wet.  We usually park at the stadium and take the shuttle buses downtown to the show.  Parking in downtown Annapolis during the boat show weeks is next to impossible.

The banners on the fencing leading to the ticket booth brightened the dull day.

The first stop for Diaristwoman was the somewhat bedraggled  Helly Hansen tent.

While she was over at HH, my attention was directed towards this nice Stuart Knockabout.

When I looked back, she was practically swooning over this new foul weather jacket.

Both she and the sales agent agreed that money had been satisfactorily spent.

After that we moved on to the small boats.  Chesapeake Light Craft had this pram on display.

Moving on the Mega Byte display we bumped into Tweezerman from the Earwigoagin blogspot.

Placid Boatworks had a pair of sleek looking composite canoes
Interesting kevlar-carbon fiber herringbone weave cloth capped the 'whales.  The interiors of each canoe featured kevlar cloth as well.  The stem cap is a piece of  laminated birch.
Several one-design classes had boats on display with knowledgeable class members on hand to answer inquiries.  The Comet class is celebrating its 80th year.
Like many of the older small one-design classes, the Comet class has recently voted to permit upgrades to the sail plan.  Cloth other than Dacron can now be used.  Main sails are now permitted to have loose foots and the jib shape has acquired a fat head as can be seen here.

The boat hanging up is an old woodie.  The class member whom I spoke with indicated that the older boats are still competitive against the new composite ones if upgraded to take advantage of the improved rigs.  I asked him how much it cost to have a spot at the boat show and he said $1500 for the space rent and roughly $800 for the display materials.  This is a fairly big commitment for a small association.  It's a shame the boat show organizers couldn't find a way to make things a bit more affordable for the small dinghy classes.  The displays from dozens of one-design classes would surely draw increased attendance from people like myself who will never buy the hugely expensive yachts which are the norm at typical boat shows.
Does a Benteau really make sense?  Not for this sailor.
And you'd need a Sugar Daddy to buy this cat.  Sugar Daddy makes a small dinghy like a Comet seem reasonable...
Further along, these models caught my eye.

Very nicely done.

The Hendrick's Gin barge was back again this year.  It's becoming one of our fav stops!

Woodwind II was at her usual dock.

Witchcraft dates to 1903.

What is old is new again.  This Hood 32 is new construction but features classic lines.
Zooming in on the Eastport side of the harbor, Severn Sailing Association's Thistle fleet was wrapping up their two day "Oyster Roast Invitational" regatta.

Further along the docks we spotted this interesting catamaran with what appears to be a dual sliding seat for the crew.

Back on land we looked at the Norse Boat offerings.

Old meets new:  a blending of traditional wood jaws on the gaff and a carbon fiber mast.
There was a crowd at the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating display.

The reason was the appearance of Matt Rutherford, the Annapolis sailor who single-handedly circumnavigated the Americas earlier this year.  We shook hands.  It was pleasant to meet him again.  He's raising money to go back to the Arctic, this time with a group of scientists to study global warming effects.  His original boat, the St. Brendan was on display complete with all the grunge from the voyage intact.  I told him that he ought to have her buffed up a bit!  After that it was high time for our annual date with a roast beast sandwich.  And so that's a wrap on another enjoyable Annapolis boat show.