Back Cove Blog

An Ideal Chesapeake Bay Cruiser


RR 6

First, understand that I love boats. I have since I was 10 years old. It all started when, as a transient military family living in Florida, our home was located next to a marina. There was something about the water, the fresh air, and seeing all those boats tied up and waiting for their next adventure, that pulled me in.  Until I was 17 I had to be content with reading  and dreaming about a boat of my own. Any size or kind would be okay.

Eventually, when our family was stationed in Patuxent Naval Air Station in southern Maryland, in the 1970’s, I would learn to waterski. Long story short, that would lead me to Florida, a sponsorship by Mastercraft, and by my mid-twenties would result in 4 National Water Ski titles.

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I knew water skiing wouldn’t sustain me long-term, so I returned to the Chesapeake Bay area in my late 20’s, where I would go on to own a number of small boats over the years. Settled into the Annapolis area by the year 2000, married with two children, I had moved up to an open-bow 26ft, which was a great boat to cruise around local creeks in the upper Bay. However, by then I was really looking for something that could take me, my wife, Karen, and our best friend Pheobe, much further. We really wanted to explore the Bay.

RR 2Appreciate: Annapolis is located in the upper Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake is largest estuary in North America, 200 miles in length, with 11,000 miles of shoreline over 150 rivers. From Annapolis you are within a short distance of many quaint Bay side towns.  St Michaels, Oxford, Chestertown, Harve deGrace, Solomons Island, and the list goes on. We knew these towns by car, but wanted to be able to traverse the Bay in relative comfort, and have the adventure by water.

So we began my search for our ideal boat. This search went on for almost 10 years. It was 2015 when we finally made the decision to move forward with this next stage of our boating life.

I had begun looking at ‘downeast’ boats after a trip to the Long Island area years ago. There were many noteworthy ‘Bay style’ boats around the Chesapeake to consider, but they tended to have lower profiles, showing their Bay heritage in the angle of deadrise. So, as we honed our criteria over a number of years we decided our boat had to:

  • RR 3Look terrific, with a traditional downeast flair
  • Do 14-18 knots to get us somewhere sooner, rather than later;
  • Be economical; we wanted a single engine. I’m mechanically inclined enough to know that 2 engines equals 2x fuel and maintenance
  • Be dry. Angry chop can build quickly on the Bay.
  • Have some essential creature comforts. The Bay area is heavy with heat and humidity in the summer, we needed air conditioning and ice makers to help us stay cool on the hottest days. 

With that list in mind, we were fortunate to learn about Back Cove about 4 years ago. At the time we were looking at the BC 29, but when the 30 was introduced it became clear that the extra space on the helm and aft decks, and the center rear door, made it a winner.

This spring our search ended when we found a lightly used 2013 Back Cove 30 in Ft Myers, Florida. With the help of a broker, she was splashed in Annapolis this past April and has exceeded all expectations in her first season. Appropriately, we named her Wanderlust in the knowledge that she would take us everywhere we desired in safety and comfort.

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St Michaels, Solomons Island, and Baltimore all became short adventures cruises, but the real highlight of the mid-summer was a cruise to the Tides Inn near Irvington, Va. This trip, the week before July 4th , was roughly 90 nautical miles from Annapolis, including a stop-over in Solomons on the way down. It was a fortuitous stop, as a front unexpectedly RR 5moved through the Bay and generated significant rain. We had a great night at Zahnizers Marina, and the next day the weather was fair and clear as we continued south.

The previous days weather made the Potomac crossing challenging; those who cross this 13 mile River mouth will attest that it can have a mindset of its own! Our Back Cove 30, however, did a great job taking us down the final stretch to the mouth of the Rappahannock River. At this point Tides is a short ride up to its location on Carters Creek.

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Once at the Tides, it was all sun and fun, like taking a trip back in time. The Tides marina facility is very modern and up-to-date, and their staff is attentive to an unheard of level.   We spent a number of days enjoying the Tides facilities, and taking short trips to other creeks that dot the Rappahannock in this area.

As summer passed, and the Bay shorelines took on the colors of Fall, we continued to cruise on weekends, and it became clear that we had made the right choice. Wanderlust is the ideal Bay cruising boat we were looking for.  As we closed out 2015 we were already looking forward to the spring, when we can continue our adventures out and about on the Chesapeake Bay.

RR 8Ron & Karen are IT professionals who reside in the Annapolis community of Bay Ridge.   In the summer months Wanderlust’s berth is on Lake Ogleton.

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Jason: 5 years with Back Cove Yachts


In his five years at Back Cove Yachts, Jason has developed an intricate understanding of how our boats function. He’s had to, as he does all the wiring into the control panel, which he relates to the nervous system of the boat. In his words, “If my part isn’t done right the whole thing falls apart.” This kind of attention to detail not only lets Jason excel at his job, but as the father of three girls. In celebration of five years of excellence, we set out to learn a bit more about him.

What super power would you like to have?

To know when someone is telling a lie. Not to always know the truth, necessarily, but just to know when someone isn’t telling it.

Where would you go in a time machine?

Into the future about 30 years to see how far my kids have come. I have three girls, and right now they are 13, 10, and 6 – I can’t wait to see the awesome things they will do.

What’s your favorite dessert?

Bananas Foster

Where did you grow up?

All over the Maine coast, really. We moved a lot for my parent’s jobs when I was a kid, so I spent a lot of years as the ‘new kid’ in school. 

Jaosn 3

What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years?

Letting go of someone I love so that they could be happy.

Tell us about something that was difficult, but made you a better person?

Learning to trust people, despite their faults. 

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

A dog person. We have two, one is a young German Shepherd/Husky mix and she has a ton of energy, too much energy if I’m honest. Our other dog is a seven year old Terrier / Boxer mix and she’s pretty chilled out.

Name one thing that makes you smile, no matter what:

My girls.

Tell me about an embarrassing moment:

When I learned my kids are far more technologically advanced than I am.

Jason 1

What’s the most important thing you learned in school?

You’ll forget most of what they say is important.

If you won a million dollars what would you spend it on?

My Family.

What are you most proud of?

Again, my three girls. They are my life.

What’s your favorite color and why?

Green. I’ve always loved being outside and green is the color of nature and life.

What movie, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch every time i’ts on?

John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’

Jason 4

You have to sell everything you own and can only keep one thing – what do you keep?

My phone, unfortunately it has everything on it.

How honest are you?

As honest as I possibly can be. I’m brutal, I just can’t walk around wearing a mask. Unfortunately people don’t always want to hear the straight truth.

When you’re 80 what stories will you tell your grandchildren?

Nothing from my 40’s or younger, that’s for sure.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

New Zealand. My grandfather fought in WWII and he contracted malaria, so they sent him to New Zealand to recover. I’d love to go back and find the kids and grand-kids of the people he stayed with and learn more about them.

Jason 2

 

 

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Monty: 20 year with Back Cove Yachts


When I met up with Monty he was on a mission to fix something called a Chop Gun that had been giving him trouble for several days. I would very soon come to find out that Chop Guns are just one of the many things Monty has become a master at repairing around the Back Cove Yachts facility. Always on the move and known to everyone, Monty has been a fixture here for more than 20 years, and has overseen the facilities at Back Cove Yachts from the very beginning. In celebration, we set out to learn a bit more about this notoriously straight-talking motorcycle enthusiast.

What’s your favorite song of all time?

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the Judy Garland version from The Wizard of Oz.

Pepsi or Coke?

Pepsi

What’s our favorite dessert?

Custard

What’s your favorite food?

Spinach

Photo Nov 10, 11 16 23 AM

Today’s Project: a malfunctioning Chop Gun


Where did you grow up?

Rockland, Maine. 

What was your first real job?

As a young man I was one of the first 6 people in the state of Maine to be certified as a Decontamination Technician. I sterilized surgical equipment.

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Cat. I have a rescue named Bailey, and she runs the house.

Name one thing that always makes you smile, no matter what:

Animals. I can honestly say that I would rather face down a bank robber than see an animal get hurt. I even feel bad when I’m driving and I hit a squirrel.

Photo Nov 10, 11 20 33 AM

A Chop Gun is used to spray resin onto the molds. It combines the liquid resin with fiber to create a coating. This one is malfunctioning and spraying in a thin stream rather than a wide fan.


What do you do in your spare time?

Work on other people’s houses

Do you have any hobbies?

Motorcycle riding. Some buddies and I used to take a trip once a year – pick somewhere, stay in a hotel, and explore the area on our bikes. 

What’s the most important thing you learned in school?

Math

If you won a million dollars what would you spend it on?

My Family

What are you most proud of?

My kids and grandchildren. I have four grandchildren, two of whom are graduating from high school next year. They have big plans to be a Firefighter and a Teacher, and I’m very proud of them. 

Photo Nov 10, 11 18 29 AM

It’s called a Chop Gun because this fibrous material comes in rolls and the gun chops it up before mixing it with the resin.


What’s your favorite color?

Blue

You have to sell everything you own except for one thing – what would you keep?

My Kawasaki Nomad 1600 motorcycle. I used to have a Goldwing. 

How honest are you?

Very Honest

Does your honesty ever get you in trouble?

Yeah, pretty often. It’s been said I don’t know when to keep my mouth shut. But I’m a straight forward guy – if you ask me a question you’re going to get my honest answer.

Photo Nov 10, 11 24 28 AM

In the containers on the floor is resin (the brown/amber liquid) and acetone (the yellow/green stuff) which is used as a solvent to remove the resin from tools and hands.


What is the best band of all time?

The Beatles. I never went to a concert though, my parents kept a pretty tight rein and they would never have let me.

What do you cook when you’re the only one home?

Cheeseburgers

What’s your favorite sport/team?

Nascar – Kevin Harvick

Photo Nov 10, 11 16 05 AM

Mold after the resin has been applied using the chop gun

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Chinook: Photojournal, Part 3


This final installment completes the Chinook Photojournal. Carefully and beautifully compiled by the owners of Back Cove 37 ‘Chinkook,’ Klaus and Elizabeth spent four months exploring the Great Lakes Loop – a route comprised of inland waterways and canals, plenty of locks, a marine railway, and the Great Lakes of North America.  The Back Cove Yachts Blog would like to thank Klaus and Elizabeth for sharing their amazing adventure. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015: Vermilion OH

Hi All,

Monday 17, Aug: easy run from Sandusky to Vermilion, Ohio. We discovered an absolutely charming little town (very reminiscent of New England) and found the star attraction, Chez François, just yards away.

Definitely worth the trip.

Chinook

Back Cove 37

 

Monday, August 24, 2015: Chinook Continues on Lake Erie

Hi All,

From Vermilion we came to Cleveland, Mentor Harbor and to Erie, Pennsylvania. Vermilion to Cleveland was easy, but Cleveland to Mentor Harbor was lumpy with residual wind and waves tossing us a bit. The entrance to Mentor Harbor was my scariest event for the year, waves on-shore and the entrance ever so small. Thankfully, Mentor Harbor to Erie, PA we judged perfectly and got in a long run on a flat calm day.

We spent a perfect day in Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University area, and especially loved the Pre-Columbian art from Central and South America and the American and French Impressionist paintings featured at the Cleveland Art Museum.

Image G

At Rock and Dock next to the R&R Hall of Fame, the Science Center and the C. Browns Stadium: couldn’t be more ‘center.’ The nautical flags spell out ‘Cleveland’

Image H

The Great Lakes steamer W. G. Mather is now part of the Science Center exhibits

Image I

Aboard the W. G. Mather. Looking aft from the bridge.

Image J

Cleveland Art Museum’s Hall of Armor.


The Crew on CHINOOK 

 

Friday, August 28, 2015: Back Cove 37 CHINOOK Reaches Buffalo New York

Hi All,

Friday 28, Aug: we reached Buffalo. NY on the eastern end of Lake Erie on schedule. A short 32 NM run from the Dunkirk Yacht Club in Dunkirk NY with 10 to 12 kts of following wind and perhaps two ft waves. It was quite nice.

We are now in Erie Basin Marina, downtown Buffalo. The whole waterfront area is crowded with locals and visitors.

Image 36

WWII US Navy ships at Canal Side on the Buffalo Waterfront.

Image 37

WWII US Navy Ship

Image 38

Plan of our run on the western Erie Canal from Buffalo to Tonawanda, and to Brewerton,  near Syracuse.


We will be here through Sunday. On Monday we plan to make a short 10 NM run down the Niagara River to Tonawanda and the western end of the Erie Canal. Some caution is advised there; go too far on the Niagara River and you go aaaaaahhheeeeeeeee” over the Falls.

THE CREW ON CHINOOK

 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015: Buffalo NY To Tonawanda NY and the Erie Canal

Hi All,

Monday 31, August: we left Buffalo for a short run down Black Rock Canal and the Niagara River to the western end of the Erie Canal in Tonawanda, NY. Thanks to keen navigation and helmsman-ship we we able to avoid going over Niagara Falls. Here we are central to everything for excursions by car rental for several days. On the Canal at North Tonawanda for $20 a day with electricity to keep the A/C running.

Image 39

Garmin Blue chart of the area


We were at the bottom Lake Erie, and took Terminal A to State Armory (Buffalo). The Niagara River flows around Grand Island, then turns west and becomes Niagara Falls where Dufferin Island is marked. We took the eastern branch of the river to North Tonawanda. The thin line thru the W of Tonawanda is the Erie Canal.

With that, our Great Lakes adventure crossing L. Ontario, thru Georgian Bay, the North Ch., L. Huron, L. St. Clair, and L. Erie is behind us. Western Erie Canal to go.

The Crew on Back Cove 37

CHINOOK

 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015: Heading East on the Erie Canal from Tonawanda. Day One

Hi All,

Sat. 5, Sept: Our first day under way heading east from Buffalo and Tonawanda. Our first locks are No. 35 and 34 in Lockport.

Image 41

Invaded by Canada geese

Image 40

Big double gated Lock E35. To the left the remnants of the original 1825 flight of five locks replaced by 35 and 34

Image 42

Looking into E35 from the other side

Image 43

And what was the flight of five locks.


Chinook

Back Cove 37

 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015: Heading East on the Erie Canal from Tonawanda. Day Two and Three

Hi All,

The guard gates on the Erie Canal are 16 1/2 ft above the water limiting who can pass through. Our Back Cove handles these just fine but I did have to fold our VHF antenna part way.

Image 44

A guard gate on the Erie Canal

Image 45

Fairport lift bridge


The last lift bridge is this one at Fairport. It is one hundred years old, and in the Guiness Book of Records: one end is higher than the other and built on a slant, with no two angles the same anywhere.

To our surprise Rochester did not have good places for transient boats. Everybody seems to prefer nearby Fairport, and we agree.

Chinook

 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015: Heading East in the Erie Canal

Hello All,

We continue to make progress heading east in the western part of the Erie Canal. Next came Newark, but it rained for a day and a half, and on to Lyons.

Image 46

Our last evening in Fairport. We are the second boat on the left (north) side. The crews raced by at an incredible speed.

Image 48

New York Canals Tug ‘Seneca.’ Check out the crocheting! We are the boat behind Seneca.

Imge 49

A fine skirt for a wahine for a hula

Image 47

Seneca under way at Lyons

 

Back Cove 37

CHINOOK

 

Chinook Crossed her wake where the Erie and Oswego Canals Meet

Chinook took four months in 2015 to complete the Great Lakes Loop.  Our trip measured 1750 nautical miles, took 250 engine hours and 840 gallons of diesel. That is 2.1 NMPG! We went through all 34 locks on the Erie Canal, 7 on the Oswego and 44 on the Trent-Severn Waterway. Our low average speed is explained by the speed limits on the NY Canals and Trent-Severn Waterway, and when not speed limited one still had to follow no wake rules or courtesies. 

We had this inland cruise in mind when we decided on buying the Back Cove 37. It turned out to be an excellent choice. Our biggest concern was our ability to handle the locks and this was quite easy, given the secure side decks and the location and spacing of cleats. We did add a stern thruster and proportional thruster control to our options list, which were invaluable for close maneuvers in the locks. 

Our low 13 ft fixed air draft, water line to all round mast head light, allowed us to do the western Erie Canal, probably the most pleasurable part of the entire cruise. 

With best wishes to our fellow Back Cove Owners and All,

Klaus and Elizabeth

The crew on Chinook

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Chinook: Photojournal, Part 2


The second part of this photojournal, beautifully compiled by Back Cove 37 owners Klaus and Elizabeth, follows their adventures in Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, to Lake Erie and Vermilion, Ohio. The Back Cove 37 is ideal for waterways like the Great Lakes Loop, but you don’t have to listen to me, take it from the man himself:

I’ve said it before, and Elizabeth agrees, the Back Cove 37 handles extremely well on the canals and locks along the Loop. It’s the perfect size. With its fixed 13 ft air draft, and an easily fold-able (or partially fold-able) 8 ft VHF antenna (we left the 18 ft air draft Antenna up) we easily navigate any canal in the Loop. 

We have the optional stern thruster, and the Side Power Proportional Control, (aka the “Back Cove Easy Docking System”) and I would strongly recommend both options. I use low power settings for maneuvers in the locks all the time. In the Erie Canal we had a lot of debris, and once had a brief noise and no-go from the bow thruster. Fortunately, it was easily cleared with a brief opposite ‘thrust all’ at low power. 

 If feasible, and I believe it would be, I might suggest adding two more deck cleats on each side – just aft of the boarding steps and just above the port and starboard pair of beverage holders at the cockpit seating. The cable and line spacing in locks would make the additional cleats extremely useful. 

 Warm regards,

 Capt. K. F. Loehr

 

Thursday, July 9, 2015: Back Cove 37 Chinook

Hi All,

Yesterday we traveled from Port Severn, the NW end of the Trent-Severn Waterway, to nearby Midland. Today we traveled on to Penetanguishene, putting us at the south end of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron 

Image F

A Huron Chief in Penetanguishene


We plan to follow the eastern side of the Bay along a small craft route through the Thirty Thousand Islands, towards Killarney. 

This morning, the General Manager of Bayport gave us an hour and a half long chart briefing on the best and the worst – the spots to see, and the ones to avoid. 

All our love and best,

K & E

 

Monday, July 13, 2015: Georgian Bay

Hi guys,

From Penetanguishene we motored a short hop over to Beausoleil Island, Georgian Bay National Park. Three days at the same dock. We enjoyed the beaches, cold showers, and trails (which were mostly very nice, unless they went through the woods, where the mosquito swarms are voracious – the evenings require closing up, or having screens).

Image 24

Typical Georgian Bay Glaciated Granite Slabs

Image 25

Docked here for three days with congenial neighbors and a smoky fire pit (to keep the mosquitoes at bay)


Today we made a thirty mile run up the coast to Frying Pan Island, and Henry’s Fish restaurant. Walleye was the specialty. Tomorrow and Wednesday we have stormy weather forecast so it will be a nearby anchorage in a small cove.

CHINOOK

 

Monday, July 20, 2015: Our Anniversary

Hi All,

 16 July, our anniversary and we found Killbear Marina at Killbear Provincial Park and Parry Sound. Known for local Walleye (called Pickerel here) and some German food.

Image 26

Just for Back Cove 37 CHINOOK

Image 27

Pan Fried Pickerel and Rindsrouladen (Beef Roulades)


The next day was a stinker! Rainy and very windy. We stayed put while all the day boats came in to escape the blow.

All our best.

Elizabeth and Klaus

 

Monday, July 20. 2015: Killarney, Ontario, Canada

Hi All,

Today, 20 July, we were at the northern most part of Georgian Bay where it meets the North Channel at Killarney. We ran through Collins Inlet, a narrow deeply glaciated inside channel. Lots of pink granite and wind blown pines:

Image 28 Image 29 Image 31 Image 32

And finally Killarney Light one mile from town.

Image 30

Killarney Light


Elizabeth and Klaus

Back Cove 37

CHINOOK

 

Sunday, August 9, 2015: Back Cove 37 CHINOOK in Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair

Hello All,

The last eight days we navigated through Lake Huron, the St. Clair River and into Lake St. Clair, Michigan.

We narrowly avoided the serious threat of damage from a T-storm and line squall in Rogers City. A very large tent became airborne, flinging debris and tent poles into the marina.

Klaus Img 6

Wayne, of Rogers City Marina, with a split tent pole fished out of marina waters

Klaus Img 8

Fresnel lens in the Old Lighthouse at Presque Isle

Image 7

Strange red light in Alpena Harbor

Image 9

Chinook visiting Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Lake St. Clair


Yours,

Klaus and Elizabeth

 

Monday, August 17, 2015: Back Cove 37 Chinook on Lake Erie

This was our weather radar picture this morning as we were running from Sandusky to Vermilion, Ohio. You can see our purple route and boat location.

Klaus Img 33 Klaus Img 34 Klaus Img 35

Thankfully, this one never got bad.

Yours,

Elizabeth and Klaus

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