SSS YORKSHIRE - Sea Scout Ship
25’s participation in the Eastport Yacht Club 23rd Annual
Solomons Island night race last weekend, 18-20 July 2003, went something
The crew was:
George Hay Kain, Skipper
Steven Alexander, Tactician
and embarked Flag
Lorna Brenneman, Committee
person and XO (Executive Officer)
Mike Carew, Sailing Master and
potential committeeman recruit
Drew, Apprentice, Boat Captain
Matt, Ordinary, SEAL graduate
Carl, Recruit, future fame
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The crew left the Brenneman home in York, PA at 1500
Friday for the boat at Mill Creek. We
loaded gear quickly and got underway on diesel for the race starting line at
Annapolis, about an hour away.
Arriving off USNA early, we did sail drills in preparation for the race.
The race itself is an annual race past specified buoys from
Annapolis, MD to Solomons Island, MD. For
spinnaker boats, the course is 55 miles.
For non-spinnaker boats like Kuan Yin, the course is 45 miles.
Friday night there was almost no wind.
Our PHRF-N class started next to last anyway, at 1945, so all we saw
were transoms going down the Bay. The
night was very pretty, though. The
lightning in the sky miles away was awesome.
By noon the next day, Saturday, the cut off time to finish, we were
still about 1 mile short of the finish line, so they didn’t score us.
However, in the spirit of “he who is last shall be first”, we got
the best spot at Zahniser’s Marina, since the original committee boat had
to leave and they put us in the prime spot the committee boat had just
There seemed to be copious consumption of alcohol among
the non-Sea Scout adults from other boats, but we walked into town to see
the sights so it didn’t bother us. The
Calvert Museum display of how watermen make their living fishing the Bay was
neat. We also priced Avon RIB
10’ inflatables at a boat store that was discontinuing the line.
$2,500. We’d need a
bake sale to raise that kind of money.
Perhaps the real excitement was a collision we were
involved with just before the start of the race on Friday evening.
I was down below on Kuan Yin working on Sea Scout advancement with
one of the kids, so what I know about it is what my crew told me as I rushed
on deck after the “thud”. Steve
Alexander had the helm, and the rest of our crew was on deck.
We regrouped and crossed the starting line, with the other boat well
ahead and hurtling off down the Bay.
We very carefully logged everything, and decided that
we would wait until the end of the race to deal with the legal issues.
At the finish of the race, we reported immediately to the race
committee and said, “We don’t want to file a protest again him, although
we feel he had no right to make our duty to stay clear impossible to
perform. However, if he
protests us, then we want to file a counter protest again him to protect our
legal position in the event of a damage claim.” The race committee replied, essentially, “Don’t worry
about it. ....
He did the same thing to other boats as well.
We know what happened, and feel he had no right to make you, as the
less maneuverable vessel, take action beyond what you did.” That was good
enough for us, so we moved on to other things and enjoyed the rest of the
weekend. We noticed that the other boat was listed as a “DNC” on
the race roster, as were we, so I assume he didn’t cross the finish line
in time either. “Haste makes
That evening, on the pier, a nice older gentleman who
had “DAVE” embroidered on is right sleeve, came over to our boat.
He was a Sea Scout himself long ago, and spent many years as a land Scout
leader. We were getting along
great, and he was going to go get his wife and bring her over to see the
interior of Kuan Yin, but he didn’t come back.
I’d like to find out who he was and get to know him better.
Racing seems to bring out the bad side of some people.
The other incident that left us perplexed occurred about one hour
after dark on Friday night. There were two other large boats bobbing about in the
vicinity of Kuan Yin. No
one was going anywhere. Based
on observations of a crab pot buoy roughly in the center of the triangle Kuan
Yin made with the other two boats, there was slight current movement up
Bay. We had our proper running
lights on as did boat #2. Boat
#3, however, was showing only a stern light and a 32-point white anchor
light. I assumed that they were using the anchor light to illuminate
their Windex, as were many of the other boats.
In a friendly attempt to advise them that their red and
green bow lights were not working, I called over to them, “I’m not
complaining - I just wanted you to know your red and green lights aren’t
working.” He shouted back in
a self-important snarl, “You’re the windward boat.
We’re at anchor on the starboard tack.
You have NO RIGHTS!” Steve
Alexander called back to them, “Well, we thought you were underway because
you are showing your stern light in addition to your anchor light.”
We let it drop at that, but we felt perplexed because we were just
trying to do him a good turn and advise him in a purely friendly way of a
situation that was potentially bad for him, yet he replied in a nasty manner
and also in a manner that made no sense (I don’t think you can be at
anchor and on a starboard tack at the same time.)
If it wasn’t for the nice way this Dave fellow talked
to us at Zahniser’s and for the nice way John McLeod has gone out of his
way to make us feel welcome (and to accommodate our newbie problems of late
entries, no firm PHRF rating data, etc.), we’d probably abandon all
further thought of having anything to do with these racing people.
However, we’re willing to hang in there and at least continue with
the items we need to do to qualify for the Bermuda BOR race, as that is a
goal we are definitely shooting for.
Our youth crew thought the whole race was fascinating,
as none of them had ever raced in big boat races before. It got a little boring about 9 a.m. Saturday morning just bobbing around in the hot sun off
Calvert Cliffs, but we told them, “What we start, we finish,” and they
were content with that.
The pool at Zahniser’s made up for the heat, and the
bands were great.
We saw Garth Wells briefly.
He had been navigator on ELVIS.
They had come in 4th last year, and were hoping to place
in the top three this year, but Garth said they made some bad tactical calls
and came in 10th this time.
C’est la vie.
The trip back to Annapolis on Sunday was really more
the highlight of the trip. We
got underway at 0700 when most of the other crews were sleeping off the
effects of their arrival celebration. We
pumped out at the state pump out station.
Drew did an excellent job of getting us underway on diesel from the
pump out, and the kids did all the navigating up the Bay.
We were north of Calvert Cliffs when we received a
“Pan - Pan - Pan” on channel 16 from Coast Guard Activities Baltimore.
“A 12’ Jon boat is reported adrift at position latitude __
longitude ___. Report all
sightings and render assistance if possible.”
In all my recreational boating, this is the first Pan Pan I’d ever
heard. Our crew quickly plotted
the position, and came up with a new course to intercept.
It was slightly to the left of our original intended track, but with
the motto of the sea firmly in mind, we charged ahead to investigate and
render assistance if possible. It took us about an hour and half to get there at our full
speed of 7 knots.
We called the USCG just prior to our arrival on scene,
and the CG confirmed the reported position.
Upon arrival at the scene, we found nothing, so we started an
expanding square search in the direction of the presumed set and drift from
the current since the time of first report.
We found three other small fishing boats during our search, and
relayed the CG message to them.
After expanding the square almost to the point of land,
we notified the CG of our lack of results and of our notifications to other
vessels in the vicinity. We
asked the CG whether they wished us to remain on scene or whether we were
free to proceed on our way. After
a “wait one”, the CG came back and said the Jon boat had been found,
they thanked us for our assistance, and said we were free to proceed.
We rang up all ahead full and came back on a new course for home.
We were proud that we had done our “good turn”, but were
perplexed that the CG didn’t advise vessels that the boat had already been
found and also that they didn’t tell us that when we had earlier told them
we were en route and asked them to confirm the reported location.
We were also perplexed that the CG rebroadcast the Pan-Pan for the
Jon boat three more times AFTER they told us the boat had been found.
About an hour after the search, I suddenly threw the
white throwable cushion overboard for a man overboard drill.
The helmsman promptly executed a 360 turn and the bow lookout snagged
the cushion with the boat pole. I
was pleased as far as it went, but pointed out to the crew that humans
don’t have loops to snag with a boat pole, and that you can’t jerk a 250
# person out of the water if you are going by them with any appreciable way
on. I bided my time for the
The wind started to pick up, so we hoisted sail, shut
down the engine, and proceeded merrily on our way.
About 10 minutes later with the crew feeling very smug and self
confident, I suddenly threw one of the boat fenders over (that had no loops
on it), shouted, “Man overboard, starboard side”, and proclaimed that
for the purposes of this drill, the engine “was inoperative”. Now it was a different story.
The kids made about 10 passes trying to get close enough to the
fender with no way on the vessel so as to be able to retrieve it by hand.
No luck. They quickly
realized that a true man overboard drill is not just snagging a boat cushion
at high speed.
I finally showed them how to do it under sail, but even
I had to make three passes for the fender.
We did get the MOB pole, horseshoe, and light on the first pass,
Now it was time for swim call. We anchored about a mile offshore in 25 feet of water.
The wind and waves were continuing to pick up, so we did “swim
call” in life preservers with a 50’ line astern buoyed by a fender in
case we couldn’t get back to the boat. I cleaned the waterline while the kids played.
Then we got underway again with sail and took advantage
of what where by now 20+ knots of wind and 2-3’ waves. Where was the wind on Friday and Saturday when we needed it?
Oh, well. Running up the Bay on a SW wind was sort of boring, so we
reached over to Bloody Point Light and back.
Now THAT was sailing - green water over the bow, lee rail under,
spindrift, etc. Yahoo!
It was GREAT to be at sea again!!
During the windiest part of the afternoon, we heard
about 10 more Pan-Pan’s from USCG. They
ranged everywhere from a capsized 30’ sailboat to a cabin cruiser out of
gas in the shipping lane under the Bay Bridge. There were also women
and children in the water without life preservers.
All incidents were too far away for us to even consider going to
assist. It did, however, make the point that recreational boating is
not always a kid’s game.
All good things must end, and so we turned again and
ran up past Annapolis, then came about and doused the sails for our entrance
into Mill Creek. We tied up at
Cantler’s Riverside Inn on Mill Creek and had crabs and our own libations.
Steve Alexander’s friend John and two other pals joined us for a
jolly celebration of the end of a Sea Scout sailing weekend against which
all others will be judged.
We proceed up to our berth on Mill Creek, secured the
boat, and got home by 0130 Monday morning.
Our original main objectives in entering the race were
fulfilled: 1) complete the race with no personnel injuries, 2) complete the
race with no damage to our boat, and 3) have fun.
George Hay Kain, III - Skipper, SSS YORKSHIRE - Sea
Scout Ship 25
XO Lorna Brenneman, Tactician Steve Alexander, and Sailing Master Mike Carew
keep a sharp lookout at the start of the race.
The "Men in Black" from SSS YORKSHIRE await the announcement of
the official race results at the Zahniser's Party Tent. "By the
way, Skipper, who was the genius who selected BLACK as the color for Ship 25
polo shirts to be worn in 105 degree heat? Skipper?? Hello
???" Next day we headed back up the Bay.
NOW SWIM CALL!
Boat Captain Drew ascends the boarding ladder and heads for the bow to take
another flying leap.
~~ International playboy Carl Chindblom cavorts with unidentified female
onboard his yacht in the Chesapeake. ~~ "Carl?
Carl! Wake up! You're dreaming again. Let's get back to
swabbing the decks, shall we?"
Underway after a refreshing dip in 25' of water a mile off shore, the winds
start to pick up. "Where was the wind Friday and Saturday when we
needed it? Hello?? Anybody listening???"
"Yee haa!" says the Skipper. "It's GREAT to be at sea
again!!" Kuan Yin seems to agree.
Sailing Master Carew and Skipper Kain seem well pleased with Kuan Yin's
performance when there is sufficient wind to move her 16 tons of net weight.
Sailing Master Carew seems to be enjoying being at sea again, too.
Boat Captain Drew poses as "Mr. July" for the upcoming Sea
Scout Swim Suit Calendar.
A sailor belongs on a ship, and a ship belongs at sea. This is Sea Scouting
as it was meant to be - 20 knots of wind, two foot seas, a stout ship, and a
GPS to steer her by. Oops, that was supposed to be a "star"
to steer her by.
Skipper "Mellon Man" Kain models his new EYC Solomons Race polo
~~Millionaire yachtsman Carl Chindblom entertains the creme de la creme
of society onboard his yacht the Kuan Yin. Chindblom, who made
his fortune from the patent he holds on the now-famous "underhand
double Chindblom knot" he invented when a young Sea Scout, now jets
between his camp in the Adirondacks, his yacht in the Chesapeake, and his
horse farm in Pennsylvania. The "double Chindblom" has found
wide application in industrial, commercial, and marine applications.
Chindblom expects to enter his yacht in next year's Annapolis-Bermuda Race.
....~~ "Hello, Carl - wake up!! You've been dreaming
again. Great hat, though! It's a start."
Safe and sound at Mill Creek once again, our intrepid sailors prepare to
celebrate the Ship 25 weekend sailing trip against which all future ones
will be judged with crabs and [root] beer at Cantler's Riverside Inn.
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