Hello to the BCC list. I’ve enjoyed the useful and entertaining information
contributed by other members, so now that my wife and I have actually bought
one perhaps we should introduce ourselves.
My wife Dorothy and I purchased ITCHEN from Mark Geigel and sailed her down
from Haverstraw NY to the Chesapeake earlier this month. Lot’s of motoring
the first day, enjoying Fall colors at their peak along the Hudson
Palisades, while pushing along under power to get set up for predicted
favorable winds down the Jersey coast and up Delaware Bay. We left Liberty
Landing marina at first light the next morning and after a few hours of
light air and dodging hydrofoil ferries in morning fog, soon found ourselves
reefed down off Sandy Hook, and then reaching at hull speed under doused
main and 110 genoa the rest of the afternoon and much of the night.
Ironically, NOAA weather radio was reporting “currently less then 10 knots,
variable” at about the time we found ourselves in a brisk 20 - 25 NE breeze,
gusting to 30! Wind slacked off in the wee hours and we made Cape May inlet
just before dawn, got a good day’s rest and then caught favorable easterlies
which got us up Delaware Bay and enjoying an excellent seafood dinner at
Schaeffer’s in Chesapeake City that night.
Next evening near sundown found us approaching the Chesapeake Bay Bridge,
where we enjoyed the sight of another BCC coming out to intercept us. A nice
surprise – it was Kate Christensen and Bernie Jakits in Kate’s ALOHA!
Knowing where we had spent the night they had figured out our likely ETA and
timed the intercept perfectly. So we abandoned our plan to push on to
Galesville and followed them up the Severn to be treated to grilled steak
and good wine and a secure mooring in the quiet cove in front of their
Next morning it was “bad news, good news”. The bad news was that during the
night the rudder had floated up off the pintles. There was no broken remnant
of the hex head bolt in the pintle’s threaded hole, so it must have backed
out sometime en-route. Luckily the tiller had jammed under the taffrail and
kept the rudder from drifting away. The good news was that it happened at
the mooring and not 3 miles off the Jersey coast in a nor’easter. The
surveyor and I had visually examined the pintle-gudgeon-bolt-washer
assemblage the previous week when ITCHEN was hauled, and it seemed secure,
so it is a puzzlement why it failed when it did. After discussing it with
all concerned, including Sumio, I plan to install a block attached to the
rudder below the pintle so that there will be a positive mechanical stop to
ensure it can’t come adrift in the future. Newer production BCC’s have
rudders with negative buoyancy, plus bolts in both upper pintles, a much
more fail-safe arrangement. For craft equipped with the earlier foam-core
floating rudders I think some sort of positive stop is an essential
retro-fit, especially if only one pintle is fitted with the hex-head bolt.
ITCHEN was hauled today and should be back in the water with rudder
reinstalled tomorrow, new pintle stop block in place. We’re looking forward
to lot’s of good sailing weather still to come here on the Chesapeake,
especially with that cozy cabin & Force 10 stove! After that, who knows . .
. Florida, the Bahamas, Maine next summer?
The other good news is that after bringing her down the coast Dottie and I
are totally in love with the boat – both the design and it’s condition.
(See the smile on Dottie’s face in the photo of the rendezvous Kate just
posted on the BCC board’s photo album!) Mark lavished care and attention on
every detail and she looks beautiful and handles well in a variety of
conditions. I was particularly impressed with her easy motion in the rough
conditions along the Jersey coast. I grew up sailing on “other peoples
boats” back in the 1950’s and 60’s, mostly fairly traditional wooden CCA
designs – Crocker, Rhodes, Nevins – and more recently racing and cruising
on a variety of more modern fin keel designs. The modern designs have their
place, but for comfortable two-person cruising, the BCC seems hard to beat.
Coming from a museum background I have a huge respect for traditional craft
skills and designs based on generations of experience-based evolution. The
BCC strikes a nice balance between traditional design principles and the
use of modern materials.
So, thanks to Mark for passing along such a thoughtfully maintained boat, to
Bernie and Kate for convincing us that the time was ripe and that this was
the right boat for us, and to the BCC list and Sumio for lot’s of helpful