Recent Events

2017 Christmas/Holiday Party – December 1

Good food, good friends, good times…..


The 2017 Commodore’s Banquet – November 11

On November 11 Mary Stajkowski took the helm as our 37th Commodore.  She is our 8th female Commodore and is part of just three couples where both spouses served as Commodore.  Husband Tony Stajkowski served as Commodore in 2009.  The other couples to hold this distinction are Alex and Joan Whan and Mike and Kristel Adair.  To celebrate his wife’s special evening Tony gave her a bouquet of flowers as she was sworn in. 

The evening began with a photo slide show of pictures from this year’s many enjoyable events while Tony welcomed everyone and led us in the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag and the Invocation.  After a delicious dinner featuring Crab-Stuffed Flounder, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and London Broil Tony acknowledged all present Past Commodores by having them stand and be recognized.  Afterwards, retiring Commodore Ron Hrabak presented gifts to the many members who helped keep the club moving forward and entertained us with a slide show presentation of his Guess Who guessing game.  Ron took the time to create a nick name and a series of hints for every member present, along with some who were not.  No doubt Ron will be remembered as one of the hardest working Commodores in recent memory.  The highlight of the evening was, of course, the swearing in of the new slate of officers by member and CBYCA Delegate Donna Ferron who can all be seen in the photos below, except for our Rear Commodore, Heidi Moser who was not present.  In conclusion Commodore Stajkowski gave us a report on her plans for the upcoming year which appear to be as exciting and interesting as always.  Needless to say, it was a very enjoyable evening for all who attended. 


Sailing Planning Meeting – November 9

Six BMSA members attended last night’s meeting. Although it was a small group it was very productive. The intent was to encourage our members to actively participate in trip planning for out of town trip destinations. Suggested destinations were: Oxford, MD and the Choptank River, including watching the log canoe races on the Tred Avon River; the Sassafras River, anchoring in either Back Creek or Lloyd’s Creek; the Magothy River, sailing from Sandy Point and taking slips at Ferry Point Marina; the Finger Lakes or Lake George in NY, and kayaking at Crisfield, MD, also known as Janes Island State Park. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent. Reviews of Janes Island on Trip Advisor were excellent, although it was suggested that a trip here be made in the fall to avoid problems with insects. Also suggested was daysail trips to destinations other than Blue Marsh, such as Nockamixon. The idea is to meet for breakfast and then head out to your favorite location for day on the water. If you would like more information on these trips or would like to make any suggestions contact Fleet Captain Joe Rutolo. 

Last Sail of 2017

On Thursday, October 19 seven members of BMSA took to the waters of Blue Marsh Lake on a beautiful sailing day.  At 8-10 mph the wind was perfect, the sun was bright, the sky was deep blue, and the temps were in the 70’s.  What more could one ask for?  The wind was so good that we made at least two complete trips around the island, a feat often made difficult due to fluky winds going through “the cut.”  There were three boats from our group captained by Tom Stoner, Bob Ciferri, and Joe Rutolo.  Crew members were Mike Adair with Joe, Ron Hrabak and Russ Witzke with Tom, and Tom Lucas with Bob.  We sailed until 5 PM, de-rigged and made it to Ganly’s by 6 for dinner with several spouses of the sailors.  Although we were greatly disappointed at having to cancel our trip to the Magothy River the previous weekend, Thursday’s sail enabled us to end the season on a very positive note.  Below are some photos by Tom Lucas.

General Meeting, Elections, and Photo Contest – October 11

It’s official!  Our new Board of Directors have been elected for the next year. They are as follows:

Commodore – Mary Stajkowski
Vice Commodore – Bruce Littlefield
Secretary – Michele Rutolo
Treasurer – Ron Hrabak
Rear Commodore – Heidi Moser

Congratulations to all!  Official installation will take place at our Commodore’s Banquet on November 11. 

After elections took place our annual photo contest ensued and the winners are as follows:

Sailboat Category – 1st Place, Bruce – 2nd Place, Joe
People Category – 1st Place, Joe – 2nd Place, Bruce
Seascapes – 1st Place, Tom Stoner – 2nd Place, Tom Stoner
Nature – 1st Place, Tony – 2nd Place, Michele
Miscellaneous – 1st Place, Bruce – 2nd Place, Heidi
Best of Show – Tony

And below are four of the winners:  Joe, Tom, Bruce, and Mary who stood in for her spouse, Tony.







Magothy Rescheduled – Armando Sails Anyway – October 6-7

For the third time this season our trip to the Magothy River was cancelled yet again due to inclement weather.  Each time Small Craft Advisories were issued and our group decided to play it safe and try again later.  Our most recent attempt had us scheduled to sail from Sandy Point to Ferry Point Marina on the Magothy River Saturday and Sunday, October 7-8.  On Friday afternoon Small Craft Advisories were issued for both days and thunderstorms hit the area on Sunday.  The current revised plan is to do this same trip next Sunday and Monday, October 15-16.  Anyone interested in joining us should contact Joe Rutolo.

In the meantime, Armando, Christa, and Henry set sail from Middle River on Friday, October  6 and motored to Bodkin Creek in very light wind.  They had wonderful weather for sleeping at anchor in Bodkin and then sailed back to Middle River on Saturday.  With a following wind and tide they easily made 5 knots under mainsail alone.  Below are photos taken by Henry from the trip.


The Fall Cruise – September 15-17

The Trip: from Maryland Marina on Middle River to Fairlee Creek on Friday, to Worton Creek on Saturday, and back to Maryland Marina on Sunday. 

The Participants: On Babe, Tom and Ron; on Coventina, Tony and Mary; on Lilly, Bob and Henry; on Obbligato, Neil; on Allegro, Joe and Bruce.

We had spectacular fall weather for the cruise – a religious experience in some ways as some of us were singing “All is Calm, All is Bright” and praying for wind.  

We “Poole”d our resources during this trip.  While Bob shot the gap through the cut between Poole’s Island and the artillery range on the way to Fair Lee Creek, the others circled from the south and east.  Magically we all found our way to the marina before 5:00.  

We all had that sinking feeling at the Great Oak Landing Marina.  No, we really did!  All piled onto the Babe for Foursies when the Babe started taking on water due to a backwash up the scuppers from the weight.  Ron’s shoes and socks got soaked but he never realized it and kept on partying.  Only one somewhat sober person noticed the rising water before some shifted to sitting on the dock of the bay.  

At the Great Oak Landing marina the boats weren’t rocking but the band at the restaurant was until well after midnight.  While we enjoyed it at first since the band was good, a few found it went overboard as the night wore on. 

Ron and Tom played buoy tag going north from Fail Lee Creek to Warton Creek while others trekked south and motored back up the bay.

Tom and Ron on the Babe were well grounded throughout the weekend.  The reason is that they tended to take motor sailing short cuts to make up for the lack of wind.  Who needs depth charts when you have direct feedback from the centerboard.  In short, they were using the centerboard as a depth finder and frequently touched bottom across the shoals.  Oops!  Guess we gotta go that way.  Oops!  Guess we gotta go over to that marker where all the other boats are sailing.  While it may have looked impressive, their zigging and zagging up Middle River on the way back was not planned.  

Tom and Ron decided to go out of their way and sail past one of the abandoned artillery range observation platforms to see the multitude of egrets that now occupy the site.  They laughed as they clapped to scare the birds but once all those critters started taking off they realized this may not have been such a good idea.  They could have become the target for a strafing run as the birds dropped their own dirty bombs on the Babe.  Fortunately Tom and Ron scooted away without incident.

Bob Ciferri displayed his prowess as a gourmet chef each morning.  While he refrained from flambe’ dishes, the omelets and toasted muffins he made had us all envy Henry who was his astounded and grateful crew.  

Bob also showed us his polar bear spirit by swimming in the Warton Creek Marina pool.  He swore it was only cold for the first minute.  Tom and Henry got their feet wet and Ron tested the water too before making a hasty retreat.   

The party on Neil Hoffman’s Obbligato at the Warton Creek Marina was well lit.  That is, the BMSA sailors were well lit with grog and grub.  This was followed by a delicious dinner at the marina restaurant where the revelry continued.  

Henry was the clown of the “trip” on this trip.  He tripped on Obbligato and needed band aids and then almost tripped and fell into the drink on the Maryland Marina Dock.

Tom found retrieving his boat up the boat ramp at the Maryland Yacht Club a snap.  No, Really! Not only did the trailer rollers roll cockeye and require a do over, but the trailer hoist rope snapped in two.  Tom’s practice doing knots at National Outdoors Day paid off.      

Last year Tom swore he wouldn’t go back to the Middle River on a weekend because of the plentitude large cruisers ignoring the no wake speed limit.  He was reminded of this on our return and swore he wouldn’t go back again.  We had so much fun this weekend it will be hard not to try it at least one more time.

Meanwhile, from Joe and Bruce’s perspective the biggest challenge of the weekend was the tide. It was very strong heading south, up until around noon when the gradual changeover began. Unfortunately, we need to go north most of the time and actually found ourselves having to point our boat, under motor, about 10 to 15 degrees north of our target to avoid being swept away from our destination. While pointing at the “cut” between Poole’s Island and Aberdeen Proving Grounds we saw Babe getting further and further to our south. I radioed Tom about it and he just said “we’re aiming for the cut.” Even though they traversed Middle River from north to south while heading west they still beat us to the dock on Sunday.

The best sailing of the weekend was actually on Friday morning as we headed up Middle River toward Poole’s Island.  We had a wonderful breeze of about 8 knots that was pure pleasure to sail. It lasted until we got close to Poole’s Island and Tom said he was turning on the motor. I kidded him about doing that as he is always the die hard sailor. He took it pretty seriously as he sailed nearly the entire remainder of the day, in spite of very light wind. Although we all longed for more wind, the sunny skies and pleasant temperatures made the trip a joy in spite of it all. Maybe our last vagabond to the Magothy River October 7-8 will give us those elusive perfect conditions.

August 19 Pool Picnic:   Rocky Mountain High-Jinx In Oley

Up to the challenge, a group from BMSA set out on a search for hidden treasure in the big sky country of Oley on August 19th and quickly struck gold at our annual pool party.  Armed with only grub, grog and swim gear we climbed Mt. Littlefield in a flash and experienced a Rocky Mountain high right here in Berks County.  With broad vistas of the valley below, we enjoyed a resort like atmosphere that included a swimming pool, whirlpool spa and water park slide that were all carved right out of the local bedrock.  With music playing and Sharon dancing, Tom and Jan set up the BMSA tent and kicked off the event by opening up the first beer.  This was quickly followed by a few testing the waters of the pool and then playing like little kids.  Sissie and Kristel initiated a rubber ducky war and there was a whole lot of splish-splashing fun going on.  It was another food, folks and fun BMSA event as we enjoyed tasty beverages and laid back and enjoyed a picture perfect evening – No Problem Man.  As a special treat, Nancy shared her love of wild life by discussing how she promotes butterfly migration.  This included taking a few on a nature walk and showing them a butterfly that was about to emerge from its chrysalis.  Of course the party wouldn’t have been complete without Barb’s shenanigans.  When she checked out the zipper on Ron’s shorts he said it was the best time he’s had in years.  

Thanks go to Bruce and Nancy Littlefield for hosting this event and cooking up a storm.  The sangria they made was tasty and went well with the salami and cream cheese appetizer made by Kristel.  In fact, all the food brought was super good.  However, catching up with good friends after a long summer was even better.  

Lest any forget, the next BMSA General meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 13.  The program this month will feature Joe Rutolo, who is now a qualified Charter Captain, reviewing the ups and downs of the spring BVI trip that was enjoyed by several of our members.  He’ll show a few pictures, not those X rated ones, and provide the do’s and don’ts for the next trip.  We’ll have sodas, water and drink as well as some snack food.  Come out and join us for a typical BMSA good time.      


The Pirates and Wenches weekend held in Rock Hall continues to be one of the favorite cruises each year to the Chesapeake Bay.  This year we had four boats represented.  The crews and boats making the trip were: Hosts Donna Ferron/John Pittman – Halcyon; Tony Stajkowski/Mary – Coventina; Tom Stoner/Ron Hrabak – Babe; Armando Antonini/Christa/Ralph Bibbus/Joe Rutolo – Chessie-Cat.  All our boats were berthed at the Gratitude Marina and we made use of their grill to prepare our Friday night dinner though we had to retire to the Captain’s Lounge as a brief shower came in just as the barbecuing was completed.  The crew of Chessie-Cat had their own onboard meal prepared by master chef Christa and joined us afterward for drinks and dessert.

Saturday we elected to not sail but instead took in the town’s Pirates and Wenches activities in the harbor and beach.  The harbor had many dinghies decorated as pirate ships and armed with water shooting firearms both manual and powered.  Christa and I sat on the bulkhead and protected ourselves with an umbrella from the water projected our way by the dastardly knaves.  We then took in some beach time in the shade of our favorite tree enjoying the live music, girl watching, looking at the boats moored beyond the beach and, of course, slaking our thirst with the drinks of the day – margaritas and beer.  When the boats started to up-anchor we returned to the marina to dress for dinner, down a quick cocktail, and trolley downtown to the Four Sirens for dinner.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal.  My scallops and medley of seasonal vegetables were very tasty and filling as well.  Donna knows all the good restaurants in town!  We retired to the marina’s Captain’s Lounge where we sat in the dark with our after dinner drinks to watch the lightning show from an approaching storm – much lightning and little rain.

This cruise was a definite plus.  The weather cooperated with little rain and the wind was good both arriving and returning home.  However since we had boats coming from both the north and south someone was going to have tougher going and on top of this the wind shifted from the south on Friday to the north on Saturday.  Coventina and Babe coming from Sandy Point had the better of the deal – reaching and running 10 miles both ways while Chessie-Cat which had 17 miles to go had to sail to windward both ways.  Chessie-Cat which is undergoing some refitting after being acquired by Armando had engine trouble on the way home stopping a number of times under dying winds – enough to ruin any day!  Each boat took home memories of the trip.  Speaking of memories this is one Tony will not soon forget.  Saturday night after dinner while trying to board Donna’s boat in the dark Tony missed his footing and fell into the water.  He must have taken lessons from wife Mary as she had a propensity in the past for taking an occasional dip.  In any event Ralph who was following came to the rescue by extending a helping hand to the startled Tony and pulled him over to the boat’s ladder.  My theory is that since this was Tony’s first sail of the season on Coventina he probably doesn’t have his sea legs yet.

Keep abreast of our future sailing adventures on our website and join in the fun!  Tom Stoner

Pictured below are photos from our trip. 

BMSA Summer Cruise: Duck Races and Hot Times – July 21-23

This year’s BMSA Summer Cruise was one that will long be remembered for its epic heat. To paraphrase a James Taylor song, Conrad, Barb, Tom and Ron saw fire and they saw rain, and they saw sunny days that were in the upper 90’s with near 100% humidity that they thought would never end. The only thing they didn’t see much of was wind. However; as diehard sailors Tom and Ron used every bit of it that blew their way. They kept the sails up as much as possible hoping the Babe could catch a few puffs. Sadly they ended up motor sailing much of the time. Making the best of it they kept on moving along enjoying the day – No Problem Man – while staying out of the sun as much as possible. How calm was it on the water? Well, while sailing back to Long Cove there was a mother duck and her brood swimming ahead. The ducks easily won the race to the dock as they disappeared far ahead. It was no contest. Yes, the water was that calm that ducks were swimming in the middle of Langford Creek. And yes, there were that few boats on the water in the middle of a peak weekend in July. In short, it was hot, hot, hot! – and there was very little sailing going on.

Nevertheless, the Fab Four had a swimmingly great time despite the weather. Given the “real feel” temperatures of 107 degrees and strong sun, this motley crew made an ample use of the pool at the Lankford Bay Marina. They played alligator and relaxed in water that was as warm as a spa. There was a little excitement when a boat caught fire around the bend from the marina at a private slip. It had just fueled up and something must have gone drastically wrong. Then poof, no more boat! While there probably was a big bang, all that was visible was a big puff of black smoke that rose high into the sky. Then there was Saturday evening when a strong thunderstorm with a tornado warning issued. This could easily have been a major problem for many reasons. Fortunately the system stayed south and dissipated so we were spared from its damaging effects.

Tom and Ron want to give a special thanks to Conrad and Barb who were their heroes and saved the day on this trip. While Tom and Ron sweltered at the marina, Conrad and Barb wisely stayed at an air conditioned artist’s den doubling as a bed and breakfast in Rock Hall. They graciously provided the ground transportation for getting to dinner both Friday and Saturday night. It was a Where’s Waldo trip to Waterman’s for dinner on Friday as nobody knew the address. However, it was worth the search as the slushy Margaritas there hit the spot and went down real smooth while they sat at a table by the bay. There was an island band playing in the background that put all in a groovy BVI mood. Then on Saturday after a morning swim with no wind in sight, Conrad provided an afternoon power boat trek up the Chester River to the Chestertown bridge. The Weee Bumps of the speeding power boat and the resulting breeze was a refreshing break for Tom and Ron from their bobbing on the Babe. While they experienced a few rain drops when returning to the dock, it was not enough to dampen their spirits. Then off they went to the Corsica Yacht Club before the storm hit. Once there, nobody even noticed it was raining while feasting on chicken barbecue under a big tent. Conrad was partial to the chocolate iced cupcakes and was kept in a good supply as we all got extras for him. After eating they walked up to the pavilion where an easy listening classic folk band was playing. They sat there enjoying the music while drinking a tasty beverage before ending the perfect day and returning back to the marina.

All in all, it was a weekend cruise that brought to mind those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer of yore. It should have been no surprise that when stopping at Molly’s for slushy drinks on the way home that they found that the slushy machine was full of juice as it was just too hot to chill. All of this adversity just made them more anxious for the August 11-13 Pirates and Wenches weekend when they will get another crack at challenging Mother Nature – and have another party of course in the traditional BMSA spirit. Arrrrr! Come and join us for the fun.


July Picnic in the Rain – July 13
What do you do when you discover two people wrote an article for the same event? You post both! Immediately below is a write up by Commodore, Ron Hrabak, followed by a short version by Joe.

July 13 Picnic:   Unexpected Rain Does Not Damper Our Party Hearty Pirate Spirit

It was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who wrote “Into each life some rain must fall”.  Unfortunately he didn’t say anything about BMSA picnics.  He also didn’t say how much “some” was.  Well, we certainly got our share at our July 13 picnic – enough for a lifetime.  With a 3:00 AccuWeather forecast of 97 degrees and a shower from 3:05 to 4:15, Ron Hrabak and Tom Lucas lit a match to the charcoal and began preparation to throw out the first burger and hot dog at 5:00 for our July picnic.  Like all good Scouts, they came prepared with an electric fan to keep cool and a large umbrella in case the rain persisted.  What they didn’t realize is that AccuWeather was dead wrong!  A light rain began about 4:15 and got harder and harder and never stopped.  There was even lightning that passed by in the storm.  We timed the first bolt about 2 miles away.  The next bolt was 1 mile.  Then we saw and heard the lightning at the same time and ducked for cover.  Imagine a cartoon where a bolt strikes an umbrella and all you can see an x-ray ray of the character and and you know what was running through our mind.  

Nevertheless, Pirates are a hearty bunch and with a pavilion for shelter our Party Spirit prevailed.  There was no lack of food.  The burgers and dogs were grilling under the cover of an umbrella and were plentiful.  Ron also had brought a pan sweet and hot sausages pre-cooked in onions and peppers that were yummy.  By the end of the picnic all were gone.  With the sides and desserts and cold drinks we slaked our appetites and then some.  Joe was the big winner of the 50/50 drawing.  However the highlight of the picnic was Barb’s hijinx and rendition of “Singing In The Rain” while dancing to the car.  Wow! If we only had a camera it would have made the highlight reel for sure.  Maybe she’ll grace us with an encore performance at the Saturday, August 19 pool picnic hosted by the Littlefields’.  You’ll have to attend to find out.  Maybe she’ll show off her Mo-Town moves with Sharon too. 

In summary, while a good time was had by all the moral of this picnic is:  Don’t trust AccuWeather!  Who ya gonna call when you need an accurate forecast for a picnic?  Well, our own crack BMSA meteorologist Michele.  She would have predicted that it was going to be wet – Damn Wet.  Next time we’ll know! 

The weather forecast for the July Picnic at Blue Marsh Lake was calling for stormy weather. We just didn’t know how stormy. By the time I got home I found an email from a friend who lives in England telling me he saw reports of severe storms in our area and he wanted to know if we were OK. Wow! Was it really that bad? Well, we did get hit pretty hard with lightening, thunder, and a deluge of rain and wind. There were even tornadoes in the weather warnings! But that did not deter 18 members of the club from coming out. Much credit and thanks are due our two hosts, Ron Hrabak and Tom Lucas who spent much of their time holding a large umbrella over our burgers and dogs, cooking them and keeping them from being ruined by the rain. True sailors are used to stormy weather and made the most of the evening, eating, drinking and telling stories. Below are some photos from the event.
Impromptu Dinner with the Doughertys – Thursday, June 29
On Thursday evening a number of BMSA members came out to Blue Marsh Italian Restaurant to have dinner with former BMSA Commodore Mike Dougherty and his wife Jan who were visiting from Florida. Mike served as Commodore in 2008 and it was great to see him and Jan again after their absence the past several years. Due to the impromptu nature of the event it was not possible to contact all club members. Mike showed pictures of his boat, Sail La Vie, a Hunter 23 that he recently bottom painted himself. The boat looked great and brought back memories of the Doughertys’ sailing days in Pennsylvania. It was a very nice evening and it was obvious that everyone enjoyed the experience. 
The Spring Cruise – June 27-28, 2017
Of all the vagabonds I can recall this was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding. This event was originally scheduled for June 23-25, however the weather forecast was predicting heavy rain and wind from tropical depression Cindy. As it turned out gale warnings were issued for June 24 and our decision to reschedule proved wise. Unfortunately, Tony and Mary were unable to sail on the new dates due to their work schedules. That left two boats to make the trip: Tom and Ron on Babe and Joe and Russ on Allegro. We launched at Sandy Point State Park and motorsailed under the Annapolis Bay Bridge due to unpredictable winds and tides under the bridge. Once on the south side of the bridge the winds picked up and we had such a great sail that we thought we’d arrive at the marina too soon, so we headed east toward the opposite shore. After a short time we noticed what appeared to be possible storm clouds beginning to form to the east so we decided to head for the marina. To our surprise, the wind shifted and was on our noses and the tide turned against us. Progress to our destination was very slow going so we finally made the call the drop our sails and crank up the motor. As we made for our destination a large storm could formed over Eastport and you could see the rain cloud plunging down. It wasn’t long before the rain and wind hit us. We quickly put up our bimini but it didn’t provide much relief with the wind putting the rain in our faces and making it very difficult to read the GPS. Thunder and lightning began to crack and visibility was greatly reduced. When I called the marina to get our slip assignment I was told they did not have any information on our boat and that we should come to the fuel dock so they could figure out where to put us. We arrived at the dock during the downpour and were relieved to have made our destination. It turned out that when we changed our reservation dates the marina forgot to put us in on the new dates. They finally found us a slip large enough for both our boats. After getting tied up the sun came out, we had beer and snacks, and life was good again. We took a late water taxi to Eastport as the early one was full, arriving at the Chart House around 8 PM. We decided to do some walking and ended up having dinner at a very crowded Boatyard Bar & Grill. We got outside seating and enjoyed a very nice meal and drink. It was nearly 10 PM until we got back to our slips only to find that one of the only boats in the marina to have people on board was right next to us and the occupants were singing and playing guitar until after midnight. At least they could sing and they came up with some pretty impressive harmonies. We guessed they may have been part of a band. 

 Upon checking the weather forecast Wednesday morning we saw that winds of 15-25 were predicted for Thursday. With much disappointment we made to call to come home a day early and forgo our trip to Magothy Marina. As it turned out, we made the right call as Small Craft Advisories were later issued for Thursday. The winds Wednesday morning were very light and, at times, left us becalmed. After crossing under the bridge, however, the winds picked up and we had a very nice sail for a few hours near Sandy Point Lighthouse. Here are two videos Tom and I shot of each other’s boats: Babe and Allegro. We finally called it a day around 3 PM and headed for the docks. After de-rigging we had some drinks and snacks under a big shade tree and then began our journey home. In spite of the hardships we endured with trip rescheduling and stormy weather we felt good to have made the trip and enjoyed our time on the water. 
Great Outdoors Day, June 10 – What Knot To Do
While normally getting all tied up in knots is not a good thing, at the Blue Marsh Great Outdoors Day we did just that.  Tom Stoner. Tom Lucas and Ron Hrabak each got to practice and teach kids of all ages the so called ropes and the importance of knots when sailing.  This was a great success as Heidi Moser had set us up at the feature table for the event and our banner stood out like a colorful lighthouse beacon from all the others.  There was a steady stream of kids all day – with many eager to learn.  We taught square knots, granny knots, birthday present knots, stopper knots, double half hitches, clove hitches, cleating knots, and whatever else folks requested.  We also got to talk to a few potential members and hand out information.  However, the absolute highlight of the day was when Tom Stoner taught a little girl how to tie her shoes.  We all cheered when she did it and she wanted to do it over and over.  Her Mom wanted to get home as quick as possible so the little girl could practice some more. It reminded us that it’s the littlest things in life that can make you happy.  It was one small miracle of life as we all left the lake with a smile on our face. 


Ahoy Fellow Sailors!

We delayed the season start from Friday June 2 until Saturday because the call for winds was 20-30 and possible thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Their call for clearing skies around 10:00am Saturday was right on the money and we looked forward to a fun day as the winds were on the light side at the start but were to build a little as the day progressed.  The turnout was good with five boats- Russ Witzke and newbie Josh Hackman, Tom Lucas crewed for a non-member Steve on a 17’ cuddy cabin cruiser, Marty Katzen had Bud Carnes and Bob Ciferri as crew, Bruce Littlefield soloed on his Force Five, and I had crew Ron Hrabak and Tim and Nancy Sittig.  The day was beautiful with sunny skies, decently warm for early June, nice winds pushing us wherever we wanted to go, and the added excitement of the WWII planes flying overhead. 

But around 1:00 the winds started to gust which kept us wary and on edge.  We got our first MOB drill of the season when Tim lost his hat and we retrieved it under sail.  Around 2:00 our day of sailing ended when Russ at the helm and sailing with a small jib caught an unexpected gust which dumped the tender Buccaneer on its side which made matters worse by turtling. The Corps’ rescue boat came to the rescue shooing all helpers away and got the wet, but otherwise OK, crew onboard.  However they showed their inexperience at retrieving sailboats by towing the turtled boat to the Dry Dock ramp.  Fortunately the mast came off the bottom and damage was seemingly minimal pending closer inspection.  The boat arrived to the dock still on its side and was righted by various BMSA members.  After much bailing, the boat, still laden with water and many minnows, was retrieved up the ramp.  Josh seemed undeterred by his initial experience and rescued the fish, dumping them back into the lake!  Hopefully he enjoyed the day enough to return for more.

Our next sailing adventure will be Thursday June 8 when our midweek sailing resumes.  We will be going to the lake at 2:00pm and invite all to join us.  Need crew or want to crew?  Contact me 610-223-3593.  We will be going to Ganly’s around 6:00.  If you plan to join us for dinner you must call us early to be included.  See you on the water!  Tom Stoner


Superheroes in Our Neighborhood

At our May General Meeting Steve and Ron from the Spring Township Fire Department provided us with the basics of fire safety and explained what they do for the community.  If you are picturing a Norman Rockwell painting with fire fighters driving a team of horses pulling a wagon and a Dalmatian or two by their side, think again.  These are high tech lean, mean professional fire fighting machines that are highly skilled and train hundreds of hours a year in what they do.  What was really cool was that at the end of the presentation we got to take a tour of the building.  Kristel even got to live the dream by sitting in the drivers seat of one of the fire trucks.  Should an alarm have sounded, she was ready to roll. 

In all seriousness, we learned a lot.  When in trouble who ya gonna call?  Well don’t bother with the Ghost Busters as they only exist in Hollywood.  Call 911 and get these folks in action. Last year this station recorded 1771 calls – that averages about 5 per day – not including medical assistance responses.  If you think the Flash character in the comics and TV is fast, these folks are out the door within 2 minutes of an alarm and on the scene within ten.  Often they will beat an ambulance and police to the scene and can initiate any needed medical treatment.  The whole key to this feat is that you need to dial 911 first.  While we hope that you never have to do this, if you must Steve and Ron urged us to think about what to say before the operator picks up.  While wanting to help, they need to clearly understand the situation to make sure the right people and equipment are dispatched.  This requires them to ask a series of questions that can be exasperating in an emergency situation. Don’t hang up.  It is important for you to stay calm and answer the questions as quickly and accurately as possible so help can be sent as fast as possible.  While you are talking they are making contact with the appropriate emergency responders so you may still be on the line when they arrive.  Steve and Ron even conduct training programs for kids for this purpose where they simulate such a call.  In case of fire, they told us evacuate the building first and then use your cell phone.  Your life is more important than your belongings and pets.

Two other important lessons learned – home fire extinguishers have a shelf life of about 8 years.  You can extend this by shaking them upside down to make sure the powder inside does not cake – but who does.  Your smoke and CO detectors also have a shelf life.  If yours haven’t been replaced in a while, you should do it.  In  fact, should you live in Spring Township they will do it for free!  While we focused our meeting on Spring Township, we were reminded that the Fire & Rescue squads in the area are like a band of brothers.  They respond wherever and whenever needed.  Who ya gonna call? The Fire Busters.    

In summary, if you watch any TV you know there have been a spate of superhero shows and movies released with Guardians and Avengers and Costumed Crusaders – all totally fiction and predicated on saving the universe and earth from evil.  What we often forget is that there are true superheroes among us who daily rise to the challenge and protect our lives.  They go by many names: Firefighter, EMTs, Fire Police and Police just to name a few.  They are the real superheroes!  

Ron Hrabak
Sail Away With BMSA


April 2017 Wine Trail – 4-29-17
Happy Trails – Wine Trails That Is

There’s an old saying:  With a glass of wine you make a friend.  Well, in true BMSA fashion the Antoninis, Hrabaks, Rutolos, Vaninos and Witzkes set out to make as many friends as possible.  In what may become an annual event, we began a wine trail adventure last Saturday that started at the Folino Estate winery, meandered to the Clover Hill Winery and concluded with ice cream at Premise Maid.  While the wine and chocolate were fine, it was another example of our motto: Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times – BMSA.  It was an OMG event that we wished more from the BMSA had enjoyed.    

Our journey started before noon with a visit to the Folino Estate winery for a session of pre-lunch wine tasting.  There were more than generous pourings for those who chose to partake with some great wines to choose from.  In fact, most bought a bottle or two to take home as booty.  This was followed by a leisurely lunch with lots of reverie.  We started with baskets of fresh baked bread to dip in olive oil and tasty beverages.  Our entrees varied from a Red Wine Burger, Tagliatelle & Polpette, Antipasto Panini, Lidia’s Homemade Lasagna to a special Mushroom Ravioli.  All items were made from scratch and all were superbly delicious – nothing store bought here.  How good was it?  Well it received a ten on the Armando scale – Molto Buono – which is the highest praise a place can get.  

After our lunch we toured the grounds of the Folino Winery.  Note that this is not your typical Pennsylvania Winery.  It is truly an estate with a castle like building and a landscaped surrounding that is modeled after the great California vineyards.  We walked by an outdoor area for al fresco dining and an outdoor wedding venue, stopped by a waterfall and finally passed by some bocce ball courts.  Having walked off lunch and considering the time, we skipped our planned Pinnacle Winery visit and headed for the Clover Hill Winery.  While the Clover Hill building and grounds were grand and the free wine tasting a treat, we had been spoiled at Folino’s.  Also, like the sirens of Greek mythology we sailors were lured by the call of Premise Maid down the road with their home made candies and ice cream.  Apparently the call was heard by many land lubbers too as there was a long line at the Premise Maid ice cream shop.  Nevertheless we prevailed in getting cones and dishes of this taste tempting treat.  Somehow the conversation turned to tales of ghosts and the supernatural which was appropriate for our crew of motley pirates.  

As Premise Maid was soon to close we decided to call it a day and headed back to Reading after another BMSA event enjoyed by all.  In fact, we had so much fun the wheels are in motion to set up another trip to Folino’s in 2018.  We might even have a BMSA bocce ball tournament with dessert served on the veranda.  Come to the October Planning meeting and express your interest.  Arrivederci!       

Below are photos from our fun trip:

The April General Membership Kick Off Meeting – April 12
Donna And John Conquer the Atlantic  
We were honored to have Donna Ferron join us at our April General Meeting to speak about her recent ocean adventure.  If you missed it, kick yourself as it was one of the best meetings ever for the BMSA.  Donna mixed slides and video in a wonderfully good manner to bring her adventure to life and explain the challenges of ocean sailing.  The following is a brief summary of her presentation:  
It was the proverbial dark and stormy night on January 7th.  There was snow falling in Annapolis, Maryland, and ice was coating everything in sight as the temperature had fallen into the teens.  In short, it was damn cold – too cold to do anything outside.  Any sane person would wake up in the morning, look out, shake their head, and make like the ground hog seeing its shadow and go back to bed.  However, not Donna Ferron and John Pittman.  When they woke up that chilly morning they peered out and shook their head; but without hesitation decided it was time to go to work.  So with grit and determination they stepped out of their cozy cabin and began clearing the snow and ice off the adjacent dock, the deck of their boat, the cock pit, the boom, and all the stays and sheets to make ready to set sail.  Obviously they weren’t sane people. They were Sailors. So as soon as all was loaded and double checked, they released the lines from the dock and shoved off for parts unknown – well not really as they are superior navigators with all the right stuff.  Their goal was to transport “Magic”, a Valiant 42 sailboat designed by Robert Perry, for the owner. Their destination: the American Yacht Club at Red Hook on the east side of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands 1600 miles away.  Thus started the adventure of a life time. 
Now don’t think it was quite as simple as this.  It took a lot of preparation and planning before they shoved off.  Donna and John were crewing along with T John for Dave, a Professional Delivery Skipper.  While Dave had the primary responsibility and made all decisions, the crew worked the boat and provided feedback.  Donna explained that this was the ultimate learning experience.  She discussed the idiosyncrasies of the boat, the inspections that had to be made, the unexpected problems, what had to be repaired, and the provisioning and the set up of the boat for sailing.  Most important of all was the work station that was used for communications and weather monitoring.  They made use of SPOT, a Satellite Personal Tracker computer app so that their family and friends and the BMSA could follow their progress.  Dave also wrote a log of the days activities and was able to send it to Donna and John’s family.          
To be sure this was not a 3 hour tour of Gilligan’s Island fame; but a 2 week trek that included ocean gales that were significantly worse than wrecked the poor Minnow.  Their first challenge was to sail down the Chesapeake Bay for a pit stop near Hampton Roads Virginia to resupply and wait for the ocean weather to clear.  They arrived over night and discovered that the solar powered marker lights give out after midnight making it difficult to navigate the harbor.  Despite this inconvenience, they arrived safely and were able to make some fixes, refuel and take time to plan and mentally prepare for what lay ahead.  The trick was to wait for a low front to pass by and then tag onto its tail to take advantage of the wind and the following clearing conditions.      
When all was right they set off, soon finding themselves with no land in sight.  While things started smoothly Murphy threw the first punch at them as one of the lines for the traveler broke.  They made a stop gap repair and kept on going.  As crew, Donna and John were assigned to 4 hour watches followed by 8 hours off with three hearty meals a day.  The boat had an autopilot which kept them on a steady course.  After passing across the Gulf Stream they ran into some violent weather.  While the person on deck watch was tethered to the boat, others were chained to the toilet so to speak.  Their Pirate YoHo turned into a Heave Ho.  As a lesson learned, seasickness can occur to even the most experienced sailors.  Make sure you take patches and pills with you on such a voyage.  While my experience is that a double shot of Remy Martin does wonders, this was a working adventure with no such relief.  To give an idea of the conditions experienced, Donna showed a video of the waves and the boat listing and bouncing making it a Weeeeee! ride like at Dorney Park.  Murphy struck a second time when they realized that they were short on fuel.  Fortunately, the Skipper did not need  to hail a passing ship for resupply as there were few ships in the area.  By carefully conserving what they had the fuel supply held out.  Also the fabled trade winds were merely that – a fable, as they never materialized.  On the positive side, while John was not able to catch a Kraken he did manage to land a nice size tuna along the way.  There is nothing like the taste of a fresh catch.   
Finally yelling “Land Ho” and arriving at their destination, they went to lower and stow the sails when Murphy struck a third time.  The main sail used an in-boom furling and wouldn’t come down.  After such a long trip with a bar in site, it wasn’t long before they improvised a solution, lowering the mainsail and flaking it on top of the boom.  With a sigh of relief they set anchor, made things neat and headed for a hot shower on shore and a bar for some celebratory drinks and grub.   
Would Donna and John do it again.  Well not with that model boat – but You bet – in a heart beat.  They even have interest in crossing the Atlantic Ocean a la Christopher Columbus should they buy a new boat in Europe.  Life is an adventure, enjoy the ride.  Me, I’m at the age where I’d prefer to take a cruise ship, just not the Titanic, and enjoy the ride more comfortably.  We all thank Donna for sharing her awesome experience with us.  
As an addendum, several of us in the BMSA were able to share John and Donna’s adventure by following their progress using the SPOT satellite uplink.  It became a little harrowing when their trail stopped for a day just as they entered the Bermuda triangle.  This was likely due to a heavy overcast from the passing storm that blocked the satellite link.  We all issued a sigh of relief when they re-emerged back on the site the next day.  Should you have any questions or want to learn more about their trip, Donna would love to talk with you and share her experience.  Contact her directly using her email address in the BMSA Log.        
Sail Away With BMSA

Ron Hrabak


“Sheer Madness” at Dutch Apple Dinner Theater on February 4

Eighteen BMSA members car pooled from Ollie’s parking lot to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater for a great meal and an even better comedy play. The setting for the play was a hair salon in Lancaster County and the theme was a whodunit murder mystery. The lead character was Justin Droegemueller who played gay hair stylist Eddie Lawrence. Eddie had us in stitches for nearly two hours with his riotous antics, along with a fantastic cast of five other actors. The crowd was invited to participate by asking questions and offering suggestions to solve the murder mystery.  The ad libbing was fantastic as the cast did not miss a beat, no matter what surprises the audience threw at them. This play was one of the best I’ve seen at this venue. If you get a chance to see it before it’s over, don’t miss it.







One thought on “Recent Events

  1. Tom Stoner

    It’s April 11, 2015 and I started reading the account of our Kick Off meeting for 2015. I was sorry that I was not able to be there- it seems like everybody was really into it! I just kept reading and read all the way through the events of 2014! I want to thank Joe for the great job he has been doing with the Web Page. It makes for entertaining reading as well as the easiest way to keep informed regarding club happenings. Also thanks to all those who have contributed articles and pictures.
    2015 is looking to be a good year. The social activities binding the club together over the winter have been fairly well attended and the sailing season is shaping up with many destinations on the drawing board. Now all that is needed is the participation of the membership. Please help out the organizers of these events by promptly giving your input in order to make the planning easier. It’s no fun changing reservations! Come out and enjoy the fun! We want to accommodate everybody!


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