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Monday evening we arrived late at the mouth of Mobjack Bay. We were tired and ready to anchor. I checked the NOAA marine forecast which called for winds around five knots. Though I knew better, I settled for an unprotected spot. It was very nice and offered a lovely sunset.

About 10:30 the wind picked up as well as the waves. It was an uncomfortable night.

I know better but I still make decisions based on consistently inaccurate weather reports. The real key is to expect the unexpected.
 

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I've been beat up enough to not rely on NOAA weather, especially when selecting an anchorage location. I can clearly recall one night anchored behind Dobson Island in the Magothy River, It was about 3 a.m. when the wind shifted and that sheltered anchorage became a raging torrent with boats slamming into each other. I fired up the engine, hauled the anchor and headed across the Magothy to Cool Springs Creek and dropped the hook near the county launch ramp. It was like anchoring in a mill pond. Also got caught anchoring on the south side of Poplar Island when the wind was predicted at 10 from the north. It was very calm when I dropped the hook at 11 p.m., but the wind switched to SW at about 5 a.m. and we were getting hammered with 3 footers. This time I upped anchor and sailed up the bay to home in the mouth of the Susquehanna River. My wife remained in the Vee berth until lunch time - that her last overnighter with me. :)

Gary :cool:
 

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Does no one use the NOAA Marine Forecast for the Chesapeake?
I do, for everything, not just marine forecasts. Of course, I compare with others, and it helps that my wife seems to prefer anything else, so there's always something to compare to. NOAA is consistently, hands-down, the most accurate forecast. I do like the wind map visuals on predictwind and windfinder.

I do agree that these models probably are more predictive at elevations above the immediate land effects, which means much higher than I'm seeing at the boat.
 

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So last Friday we actually chose not to cancel our scheduled trip to St Michaels and departed around 9:40 AM. We had fantastic wind blowing mostly from the east all day, 13+ up to around 20. After we got south of the Bay Bridge we had to decide whether we wanted to put in to Annapolis, or keep heading to St Michaels, and elected to keep heading for at least Eastern Bay. Our thoughts were that if foul weather reared its head we would put in somewhere along the way. Aside from a small and quick rain shower, which we saw coming and put on our gear, we made it all the way there by around 5 or so. When the winds started whipping up to mid 20s and gusting higher we decided instead to simply motor for the last few miles.
Anchoring among 4 or 5 others there, we dug the anchor deeply and Predictwind was saying the wind would be coming from the east probably for the night, all day Saturday, and Sunday as well. It was right!
Friday night a dinghy ride to shore, a great meal at Ava's and back to the boat for night caps!
Saturday... the dinghy motor wouldn't start! Water in the engine/fuel is my guess from the rain. Working on a dinghy motor, in high wind and rain, isn't as fun as it probably looks. We called the water taxi after I spent a while messing with it to no avail.
Sunday... kept working on the engine, no luck even after draining the carb and fuel filter. No rain, but the waves and wind were still there. Like riding a horse and trying to work on an engine. Was going to go the water taxi route, they were leaving early for the day. Bummer.
So while some might be depressed about this less than lovely time, but we love being on the boat. We love hanging out together (whew! lucky me!). It was a time for in cabin games, music, etc. And practice for what real life is, not all sunshine and rainbows.
Monday the weather broke, the wind was there, so we left somewhat early and since Predictwind was saying (as it had been for days) that the best wind was in the morning. It was true again, and a great sail away from St Michaels and out into the Bay. We had nice wind up until we got north of the Bay Bridge, where it sputtered quickly from 13 to 3. We motored a while and brought up the new (to us) spinnaker. Since we had not yet flown it, we worked for a while getting everything set up for it and finally got to see it in action.
It was serendipitous that a neighbor took a picture of us sailing, who did not realize it was us and posted it on their Facebook page.
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We got to sail several miles until close to home with it up!
 

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In my experience, "some chance of evening thunderstorms" is a known thing on the Chesapeake from mid-May to late September unless there is a strong north or west wind blowing through. Even if they don't pop up, convection often builds and the "5 o'clock puff" is so well known it has a name. I don't think NOAA has to remind us of what is commonplace and I'm never surprised.

I don't expect forecasts to be correct at the micro (local) scale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #227 ·
Topic: fuel for outboard motors and other small engines.

Ethanol fuel is terrible for small engines and the additives don't help it much in my experience. There are a few fuel stations I know that sell ethanol free gas but they are 30+ minutes away from home. I happen to live close to a county airport, then it occurred to me... I wonder if they would allow me to fill my gas can for the dingy/tender? The answer = yes. I don't know of the following is true for all/most but the fuel pump is:
  • self serve
  • open 24/7/365
  • credit card transaction
  • 100 octane aviation fuel

I took 3 gallons (I think it was $4.04/gallon) in my tank and later that day after we dropped the anchor for the evening I took the dingy for a ride. Runs better than ever, starts on the first pull, and perhaps due to the octane level seems to have just a little more guts.

What I don't know is this... Will running that fuel cause damage to my Tohatsu 9.8 outboard 4 stroke? Tried Google but nothing...

Just thought I would share... Maybe the airport was not is n obvious choice for others like it wasn't for me... I kinda feel stupid for never investigating before... I've had this outboard for 10+ years and it gets used a good amount so I usually don't have many issues with it... But last fall I forgot to run the fuel out of the carburetor and it sat for a few weeks not used. Sure enough... A meticulous cleaning was required this spring.

I don't know if you will find this useful but I kinda had a "well I feel dumb" moment
 

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Curious, could also buy jet fuel?
 

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Discussion Starter · #229 ·
Curious, could also buy jet fuel?
They directed me to just the two self serve pumps. I believe the "jet fuel", which I think they sell very little of, is in a tanker truck not accessible to public.

Aviation fuel I believe is also filtered more than road fuel... ?

The airport tenant said folks come in all the time for fuel for their chainsaws, weed eaters, generators, etc and $4.00 +/- per gallon sure beats the $28.00/gallon fuel being sold in auto parts and hardware stores by the gallon. :)
 

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They directed me to just the two self serve pumps. I believe the "jet fuel", which I think they sell very little of, is in a tanker truck not accessible to public.

Aviation fuel I believe is also filtered more than road fuel... ?

The airport tenant said folks come in all the time for fuel for their chainsaws, weed eaters, generators, etc and $4.00 +/- per gallon sure beats the $28.00/gallon fuel being sold in auto parts and hardware stores by the gallon. :)
$4 a gallon is a bargain! I gave up on E10 fuel late last fall. I called a bunch of places, including local airports. I can't remember what the airports told me, but it wasn't viable for some reason (wouldn't let a car drive up to the pumps?). The best I could find was a "local" Sunoco place (still about 25 minutes from my house) that had 5-gallon cans of no-name 91 octane for $50. Yes, $10/gallon! (They had Sunoco 5-gallon cans for $80.) I got tired of shopping around and bought it. Like you, my dinghy outboard starts first pull now (used to take 2-3) and my lawn mower also started first pull this spring in 45 degree weather, and every time since (used to take 2-3 pulls in warm weather and 5-8 pulls in cold weather).

I'll have to make some more calls to airports as soon as my current supply runs out. I drive past Summit (DE) airport on the way to the boat. Maybe they have self-serve pumps.

Part of what sent me on this chase for ethanol-free fuel was a malfunctioning roto-tiller/aerator that I've had for 20 years. It wouldn't start for the last 5 years (was too busy to fix it). I've always siphoned out the fuel and then ran the tank & carburetor dry after every use, but nevertheless it became unable to run at low throttle, and eventually stopped altogether. I took apart the carburetor figuring something must be mucking it up, and it was pristine. Then I took apart the tiny little Briggs&Stratton fuel pump, which was just a little rubber diaphragm that responds to pressure pulses from the motor, with flapper valves that act as check valves to keep the fuel running in the right direction. I didn't immediately recognize what was wrong with it, but I bought a replacement just in case:

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Once the replacement arrived, I realized that the old diaphragm had become terribly brittle. My guess is that the ethanol extracted all the plasticizer from the bladder material. The gradual deterioration must have been what caused the roto-tiller to keep working at full throttle but not at lower throttle. When it was configured as an aerator I used to have to do wind sprints behind the thing! Now it runs perfectly at very slow idle, so I can walk behind it.

Now I just need to fix the string trimmer and leaf blower, which are also broken, and probably for the same reason.

As for whether it will hurt your outboard, here's what Suzuki says about mine. Sounds like they strongly prefer alcohol-free, but will reluctantly honor the warranty for E10 (although Suzuki is notorious for finding excuses to refuse warranty coverage):

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139511
 

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Just curious, do you live near that little airport in Edgewater, or are you still on the eastern shore (Bay Bridge Airport)? I assume you're buying Avgas 100LL, as that seems to be the only one that would work. Suzuki warns against leaded fuels.


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EDIT: Looks like 100LL has some lead in it. UL91 and UL94 are the only ones that would fit Suzuki's requirements, but Shell has discontinued them. Not sure about other fuel refiners. But you need to be careful!

...and it looks like the only piston fuel Summit Airport has is 100LL with lead. Maybe that's why the local airports weren't viable for my needs.

FWIW, I just checked and my 5-gallon can is "Stinger" unleaded-no ethanol racing fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #232 ·
Queen Annes County Airport... You can't drive up... But it's a short walk from the parking lot
 

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So... "jet fuel" is refined kerosene... essentially very pure diesel fuel.
"Aviation gas" is hi-test gasoline- 100+ octane.
Definitely NOT interchangeable fuels!
 

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Right, jut jet fule should work in my Taylors pressure kero stove.

I had a hell of a time finding kero in Northern Florida in 2017. And what I bought fouled my burners.
 

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"Aviation gas" is hi-test gasoline- 100+ octane.
I called Summit Aviation in Delaware today and confirmed that the only grade of avgas that they have is 100LL. They have no lead free gas. Suzuki says lead will damage their engine. It's possible they're just saying that because EPA would crack down on them if they don't "carry the ball" for their regulations, but I'm not going to risk it. Ditto for my lawn mower and the new ZTR that I just purchased.

We never made it out of the slip last Monday. I did a bunch of little things, including re-flashing my Garmin 18xLVC GPS that drives my navigation system, installing a backup depth finder, and other stuff.

This weekend we're hoping to either had north to Still Pond or south/east to Cacaway Island or Corsica River. We'll see how hard the SSW wind is blowing and decide whether we want to run or beat.
 

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We only did a daysail yesterday. Would have loved to anchor overnight, but we would have been returning at the peak heat today and securing the boat in the slip in that kind of heat would be a miserable ending to our trip. Instead we came back at sunset, docked as temperatures were dropping, and cooked dinner among the beautiful scenery of our quiet slip.

I had put some bleach into the tanks to do a 4-hour shock, so once back at the dock I purged the tanks and refilled with water. It seems like the homeowners association has a good water softening system, because the water had no detectable sulfur odor or other signs of hardness. I have started dosing 4 ppm chlorine bleach into my tanks since I don't think its a good idea to store unchlorinated water in our boat tanks. (All our previous marinas had chlorinated municipal water.) We only drink bottled water on the boat, and use the tank water for flushing, dishes, showers, and brushing teeth (when we spit out the water). We don't want the water to be foul, but 4 ppm chlorine isn't a problem since we don't drink it.

We continue to have occasional odd things happen while exiting or entering the our new slip. I backed out with a strong side wind, but seemed to lose reverse propulsion at one point. My primary depth finder seems to flake out in the turbid water of the creek, but my backup handheld sounder (with sensor adhered under the aft berth) showed enough depth. Plus, it was HIGH TIDE so there should be plenty of water. But we weren't moving backwards. More puzzling, we weren't even blowing sideways with the side wind. It sure seemed like we were stuck on the bottom. I wanted to back further out to make sure I had room for the stern to clear when I pivoted into forward, but since our bow was about 15' outside the slip I decided to go ahead an put it into forward and pivot carefully. I throttled up and we were able to move forward and carefully pivot away from the slip. The whole thing really rattled me, though. The thought that I might have a shallow underwater "mound" or other obstruction behind my new-to-me slip haunted me during the whole sail, especially knowing that the tide was dropping so would be even shallower when we returned to the slip. However, our return to the slip was uneventful - we had adequate depth to get in, although it's always a challenge dodging the huge number of anchored boats in Swan Creek while we return to our slip.
 
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if an engine has an O2 sensor and/or catalytic converter, leaded fuel will ruin them in a fairly short time. No cat, no problem.
I remember my Dad removing the cat from the first "unleaded only" car he got in the 70s, as they were phasing leaded fuel out- leaded was still cheaper, esp during the '79 oil crunch.
Can't say what other engineering subtleties may also not react well with leaded fuel, but the cat is the biggest one.
 

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I found a local gas station which stocked ethanol free gas by asking at a small motor repair place. I have also found Southern States stations to have it.
 

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Monday evening we arrived late at the mouth of Mobjack Bay. We were tired and ready to anchor. I checked the NOAA marine forecast which called for winds around five knots. Though I knew better, I settled for an unprotected spot. It was very nice and offered a lovely sunset.

About 10:30 the wind picked up as well as the waves. It was an uncomfortable night.

I know better but I still make decisions based on consistently inaccurate weather reports. The real key is to expect the unexpected.
The 'mouth' of Mobjack is wide and exposed. May I ask where you anchored? We're always looking for alternatives to E River when heading south.
a
 

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Just inside past the old light in about 10 feet of water. Not a good choice but we were tired and "expecting" a quiet night. After all, we had just checked the NOAA forecast.

It would have been better to cross over to the Severn River.
 
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