Sunday, September 21, 2008

September 21, 2008

Sometimes circumstances cause us to make decisions and dock at locations that we otherwise would never see or experience.

Hartge’s, (pronounced Harchies) Yacht Yard in Galesville, MD is one of those scenarios.

Located on a peninsula off the West River by way of the South River, the yard has been home to 4 generations of Hartge family members since its founding in 1878. The parents were German immigrants and piano builders who originally settled in Baltimore. Their offspring settled in Galesville, bought the land that now comprises the yacht yard and over time grew to become renowned for their boatbuilding and woodworking skills with sail boats. They currently work on everything that floats including steel and hi-tech carbon fiber.

T-B Plaque, Steel Hull Sailboat on the rails & a Hi-Tech Sailboat

How did we get here? Well while we were underway I noticed that one of our two alternators wasn’t working. That’s not an emergency since we have one on the other engine and we also have a spare for just such a situation. I called the yard early on Tuesday, 9/16 and inquired about having the alternator tended to. Sure, no problem I was told and so we planned to anchor right off the marina that night and go in on Wednesday at 7:30 when the yard opens for business. We had weighed anchor Wednesday morning and were moving when I called Luke the Service Manager. “I was expecting your call, you’re the blue hull trawler in the anchorage?” he says. We get directions since the yard is huge and appears from the anchorage to be a maze of slips, fairways and masts. By 7:45 we’re tied to a long side-to, part of the approach to the marine rail that is used for hauling boats.

The Rose viewed from shore.

Within minutes Spike, (Ace mechanic) is onboard and in the engine room doing an inspection to verify that my diagnosis is correct. He quickly removed the alternator and installed the spare, noticing that the original installation was done incorrectly resulting in undue strain being placed on the mount. We checked the starboard alternator and sure enough we had the same problem there. The malfunctioning alternator was sent out for a new bushing and rebuild while Spike went to work correcting the mounts. The bad news, well the rebuild shop was busy and wouldn’t have the alternator back for several days. I agreed to have it shipped ahead to a marina that we know will hold mail and supplies for our arrival.

Spike does a visual of the engine room occasionally stopping to put his hands on hoses, belts, clamps, etc. When I hear him stop humming I know he’s found something, especially when he says, “Oh Shit!”. He had spotted a broken motor mount and after closer inspection we decide that there are two on the outboard side of the port engine that need to be replaced. You might think I’d be upset with this, but the opposite is the case. Better here where I can get repairs done than in the middle of the Chesapeake or running in the Atlantic off the coast of Georgia. Parts are ordered and we specify overnight delivery so they will be here in the am. Looks like our stay is extended another day…..

Meanwhile the weather is doing as predicted, winds 20-25 kts with waves building to 3-4’. We’re riding easy, well protected here in the river and decide to take advantage of the situation to do some sightseeing. The marina has a courtesy vehicle but it was already in use when we asked to borrow it. Linda who is in the office offered the use of her personal car, but Luke gave us the keys to yet another yard vehicle. Connie & I find a West Marine where we exchange a broken, 4 year old pair of binoculars. We don’t have a receipt, but West Marine backs up whatever they sell! Of course we find time to get some more groceries, heaven forbid we should run short of food. Over the next day or two we are beginning to feel more at home here and are becoming familiar faces to the yard crew as they go from job to job with a toolbag and one of the 3-4 yard dogs following behind. One of the dogs is a Golden Retriever who runs around all day usually looking for someone to either scratch his ears or throw an ever present tennis ball.

During the day I wander around the yard and look into the numerous outbuildings and covered boat slips that are occupied by vessels in various stages of repair and restoration.

I cannot begin to describe the beauty and grace of the wooden boats both power and sail that occupy space here. There are a handful of yards left on the East Coast that are capable of this level of work and I had the good fortune to stop at one.

This could be a series of, "before and after" shots. The bottom shot is a Lord Nelson Tug.

We walk into town….such as it is. It appears to consist of a wine and cheese shop, two antique stores and three restaurant/bars. We help the local economy by buying several bottles of beverage along with a stained glass piece by a local artist that catches Connie’s eye.

It’s our 25th anniversary and we had visions of celebrating in the Little Italy section of Baltimore. We bypassed that destination after being quoted $2-$3 per foot for dockage around the Inner Harbor. Instead we have lunch at the Pirate’s Cove here in Galesville and Connie prepared a great dinner accompanied by a bottle of Chandon which we consumed. Now that was a celebration! Some time ago I had arranged for a salvaged 1715 Spanish Coin to be mounted as a pendant for her anniversary/birthday present. Finally I was able to watch her face when she opened the box. Hey, we live on the Treasure Coast of Florida so it’s fitting that she has a memento. Many thanks to our friends Don and Chunky for helping me pull this off!

In the background we are watching the weather persist and conditions are not improving. Rather than fret, we start thinking about taking advantage of the yard party planned for Saturday afternoon. While we wanted to be underway early Saturday morning, Spike says it is a great party with live music and besides he plays bass. Wells is the guy who runs the parts department and is the vocalist. After several invitations from other staffers, (“You ARE staying for the party aren’t you?”) we decide to stay one more night. The up side? Our rebuilt alternator comes back and is promptly deposited in the spare parts storage area saving us the expense of shipping. But in the end it all comes down to food and drink!

We walked to the front yard of the original homestead which fronts on the creek and it had been turned into party central, including amplifiers, lights and tables loaded with food. Within the hour we had about 140 people plus kids and dogs wandering around with draft beer, wine and soft drinks. Burgers, dogs, and chicken both fried and barbeque were just some of the selections. Most folks brought a dish to share, a boating tradition.

The music was excellent with, “Riverside Drive” playing a mix of down-home Blues and Rockabilly. Spike was cleaned up and hot on the bass! Remember Wells the singer who is also in charge of the parts department? He sounded like he was straight from Bourbobn Street and it turns out that it’s his wife who runs the local art gallery where we purchased the stained glass. A very small community to say the least.

T-B The water view from the homestead and the band.

Yours truly sampling the goodies.

During the evening we met several couples who either had boats in the marina or lived nearby. One couple, (John & Rhonda) are members of the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club, and spent winters at the Jib Room, (a place we know well!) in Marsh Harbour. They now live nearby on the waterfront and invited us to spend time at their dock the next time we’re in the area. They also have reservations for a house in Marathon this winter. We will definitely get together again.

T/B Spikester, Mean Lick and Wells!
We’re underway Sunday, (9/21) at 7:00 a.m. as planned, although the departure is a bit tricky since late Saturday a large sailboat had tied up perpendicular to and off our stern. I have to back down the fairway for a bit to avoid his bowsprit before making a 180 degree turn to reverse direction and make way back to the creek. All goes smoothly and we’re underway for an anchorage on Mill Creek off the Wicomico River, south of the Potomac in Virginia. Our niece Meagan is waiting for our arrival in Portsmouth, VA on Monday so we have reservations at Ocean Marine Yacht Center there.

We hope you get as much enjoyment from the pictures as we did from staying here.
Paul & Connie
M/V The Rose, GH37
Underway on the Chesapeake


Post a Comment

<< Home