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Sailing Through The Winter Solstice Is Here!

sailng through the winter solstice Take a look! Wander down to the creek and view the boats as they shine throughout the New Year. The boats will be in the creek through Frederick’s Fire & Ice celebration – the first weekend in February.

After you’ve viewed the boats, please vote for your favorites. It’s a dollar per vote and all proceeds go to local charities.

Attention Grabbers! The boats are in the creek and as you can imagine, they’re attracting a lot of attention. We’re even on the Fox 5 Weather cam! Seriously, the captain and crew have outdone themselves this year. Be sure to stroll the creek often – day and night and enjoy these beauties.

Launching. Please take a look at the launch process as filmed by the Frederick News Post Launch. And don’t miss this video of the launch as filmed by Kristin Kremers.  This year’s solstice event is an awesome display of our communities’ collective creativity and talent. There are 20 boats this year in the creek!

Vote For Your Boat. Here’s the list of boats, the sponsor and the charities.

  • USS Fredericktowne from High Caliber Home Inspections supporting Platoon 22
  • Carroll Creek Clipper from The Rotary Club of Carroll Creek supporting Second Chances Garage
  • Snallygaster & Twins from Landscape Services, Inc. supporting Sophie and Madigan’s Playground
  • Centennial from The Rotary Club of Frederick supporting First Century Trust Campaign
  • Spirit of Apprenticeship from Dynamic Auto supporting United Way of Frederick
  • Reel Fun from Delong and Stang supporting Phoenix Recovery Academy
  • USS Hood from Hood College supporting Hood College
  • Black Pearl from East Coast Cable Solutions, Inc. supporting Federated Charities of Frederick
  • Colleen’s Crew from New Era Custom Design and Cabinet supporting Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Mystere from Tourism Council of Frederick County supporting Sophie and Madigan’s Playground
  • Hope Floats II from Colonial Jewelers supporting Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund
  • Kraken from Flying Dog Breweries supporting Color On The Creek
  • Ribbon Cutter from Morgan Keller Construction supporting Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County
  • Key to Freedom from Matan supporting Frederick Health Hospice Hospital Veterans Program
  • Beacon from Truist, formally BB&T and SunTrust supporting The Frederick Rescue Mission and Faith House
  • Artic Racer from Ausherman Family Foundation supporting Frederick Arts Council
  • Richmere Richmeres Too from Stulz supporting SHIP of Frederick County
  • Starry Night from Frederick Primary Care Associates supporting Heartly House and Frederick Health Hospital Oncology Services
  • Stargazer II from The Wine Kitchen supporting Color On The Creek
  • Spirit of Maryland from Property Management People, Inc. supporting Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County
  • Heavens to Betsy (at Brewers Alley Rooftop) from The Berkheimer Group at Morgan Stanley supporting Woman to Woman Mentoring
  • The Holly Jolly Roger (at The Wine Kitchen) from Kevin and Jeannie Hessler supporting I Believe in Me, Inc.
  • USS Elf 2020 Keep Back 6 Nauts (at the Amphitheater Rooftop) from Arachnid Works / JAKKSS Millworks supporting SOAR Frederick, Inc.
  • C Burr Artz Library (Creekside in front of Library) from The C. Burr Artz Library supporting The Community Action Agency and The Religious Coalition.

What Floats These Boats?

Sailing Through The Winter Solstice Update

The boats created for Sailing Through the Winter Solstice 2018 are looking spectacular this year! Multiple teams have created and crafted an impressive variety of sailing vessels at six separate shipyards. Max Wingerd, Vicki and Ed Poole, Thom and Teresa Beckley, Bernard Gouin, John Casey, Kyle Thomas, Patty Hurwitz, Branden McGee and others are behind boat designs that “boldly go where no one has gone before.” 

Innovation and Reality Meet Head-on. Arctic creek sailing is a new “pop-up” public art genre unique to Frederick, Maryland and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. The challenges of keeping water craft aligned and tethered, bow and stern, in a narrow intermittently icy and extremely windy creek for 10 weeks of unpredictable winter weather present a daunting set of problems for designer/builders.

At a typical marina, most boats are attached to a mooring fixed only at the bow and are able to move freely, aligning with the shifting winds and tides. In our case, if not moored by the bow and stern most of our boats—which can reach 25 feet in length—would swing into the stone walls of the Carroll Creek promenade.

The lack of free movement with the wind means our craft are subject to strong broadside crosswinds and gusts which reached 40 to 60 miles per hour during three separate storms last year. Further compounding the challenge is the surface ice in Carroll Creek. Ice can form several feet in thickness, applying potentially crushing forces to our boat hulls.

The Effects of Winter. The heavy oak and iron-clad Endurance, Terror and Erebus—and many other arctic exploration boats of years past—met their end as a result of ice compression and shear. The beautiful sparkling sheathing of ice common after freezing rains that often weighs down and snaps tree limbs and power lines may have a similar effect on our brightly lit rigging, spars and sails as well. Heavy ice contributed to the failure of the main deck hatches described in Gordon Lightfoot’s classic ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald” and sent her to the bottom of Lake Superior. 

Weighting Our Boats. The combined forces of tall masts, topside weight and wind can heel and capsize a boat on Carroll Creek. These forces are usually counteracted by fixed heavily weighted keels, often reaching up to 6 feet or more below the waterline. The deeper and heavier a keel the better it is for a boat’s stability. Our craft must be trailered to and launched from a spot on the Creek where the water depth below the hull is only 18- to 25-inches, making fixed deep keels impossible. To recreate the stabilizing forces of a standard keel, we use a variety of tactics. These include adding extra ballast to our holds and attaching heavy steel or concrete weights that are suspended directly under the hulls or to short retractable dagger boards and swing keels. The larger boats this year employ 1,400 to 2,400 pounds of stabilizing and anchor weights.

Add Electricity. Finally, the multiple electrical connections on each craft and their shore power hook-ups are subject to the usual wet-weather problems we all know about. 

When you walk by a decorated boat on Carroll Creek this year take a minute to reflect on how they’re more than just pretty lights on the water. Shared strategies among multiple teams are at work trying to keep these crafty works of art floating and alight.

Pete Kremers and Kyle Thomas   

Sailing Through the Winter Solstice

Hope Floats

Sailing Through The Winter Solstice

As we celebrate STTWS 2018, we decided to share the reasons our shipbuilders and designers had in mind for each boat, including construction and materials used. Enjoy.   

The idea. The Hope Floats boat is sponsored by Colonial Jewelers, and was inspired by the efforts of owners Jeff and Patty Hurwitz to raise money to support local breast cancer patients.  To that end, the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund was founded in the year 2000.  To date, the initiative is approaching the $2 million dollar mark in total funds raised.  Every dollar of that money has been used to purchase state of the art technology for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer patients at Frederick Memorial Hospital, and to support the Center for Breast Care and the James M. Stockman Cancer Center. 

Carroll Creek Fleet Admiral Pete Kremers steers the FMH Radiology Department when not at sea.  He has been instrumental in research and implementation of the dollars raised by the Fund.  So it was a natural fit that Jeff and Patty would want to support Dr. Kremers’ efforts, both to raise money and awareness for the fund, but also, as long-time downtown business owners, to help beautify the Creek in the cold of winter.

Construction. Hope Floats was the creation of daughter Allison Hurwitz and Matt Distefano.  They chose bright pink with delicate lights to symbolize the journey of breast cancer patients.  The name refers to the Hope that the Fund is providing for women through advanced diagnostics and treatments.  Colonial Jewelers is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the Winter Solstice project.

Our charity. Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.

Starry Night

Sailing Through The Winter Solstice

As we celebrate STTWS 2018, we decided to share the reasons our shipbuilders and designers had in mind for each boat, including construction and materials used. Enjoy.   

“I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.”  Vincent van Gogh

The Idea. I’ve always loved impressionist  paintings, especially the works of Monet and Van Gogh. In fact, Monet’s garden at Giverny was the inspiration for our own Color on the Creek water garden. Earlier in2018, I happened upon a boat named “Vincent” on the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum auction website. Ironically, her lines and several white swirls painted on her bow reminded me of a Van Gogh painting titled Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saints-Marias. But it was thinking about another Van Gogh masterpiece—Starry Night—that really got my creative juices flowing. So much so that I purchased the boat at a premium before the auction.

Construction. I struggled with design elements for the new boat and a starry night sail plan until my friend and accomplished artist Max Wingerd offered “a little help.” I was amazed how quickly his vision and artistic skills moved the project forward. With an ad hoc team including Rob Ringle, Rich Favarulo, Jerry Winnan, Robert Robey and others, we built a new deck and made many other necessary improvements to prepare Vincent for Frederick’s challenging new art genre aptly called arctic creek sailing. Josh Diffenbaugh, a talented painter, worked his magic on color designs. Then Max and I went to work on turning his design for the sail graphics into a reality.

Max Wingerd. The painting Starry Night is a true rockstar in the world of fine art and has long been a favorite of mine. It represents Van Gogh’s discovery of the vibrant energy in darkness. That he painted it from his room in an asylum in San Remy France, which had bars on it to prevent his escape, makes it all the more powerful and amazing to me.

Yet for all the movement of swirling and dancing stars,the painting has a symbol of stability and order right in the middle of it: a picturesque town, asleep, with a single serene church steeple rising in stark contrast to the dark hills beyond. Next time you look at a photo of the painting, you’ll see it. Minus a few spires, it could be Frederick!

The idea of creating a Starry Night boat with Pete for FPCA (Frederick Primary Care Associates) was as daunting as it was exciting. Once we decided to go full speed ahead with the concept, the challenge was capturing the celestial energy of the painting with colored lights on the sails and recreating the sleepy little town below that sky. The sails were actually a fun thing to do in the dark. The town, with my limited power tool collection, was a bit more challenging. But it all came together beautifully.

Of course, there were lots of hours devoted by lots of people in constructing, painting, water-proofing and readying the boat. My thanks to all!  Now that Starry Night is float in Carroll Creek and all lit up, it just might make Vincent proud, too.

Our charities. Heartly House, offering safety and security to victims of domestic and sexual violence. And FMH Cancer Patient Assistance Fund, helping patients and their families with the costs of medical care.

Peter Kremers

The Carroll Creek Clipper

Sailing Through The Winter Solstice

As we celebrate STTWS 2018, we decided to share the reasons our shipbuilders and designers had in mind for each boat, including construction and materials used. Enjoy.   

The Rotary Club of Carroll Creek (RCCC) joined Sailing through the Winter Solstice (STTWS) in 2017 and was most happy to continue the journey in 2018 as RCCC celebrates its 25-year anniversary! 

The idea. RCCC has long been involved in the rejuvenation of Downtown Frederick and participating in STTWS is a natural extension of its mission.

Construction. RCCC purchased a simple single-mast 12-foot fiberglass red sailboat on Craig’s List. Through weekly building meetings over the span of four months, its dedicated shipmates transformed it into a two-mast vessel with curved aluminum sails, a shop-grooved PVC deck supported by six laser-dimensioned lateral wooden ribbings, customized PVC railings, a rear cabin, a mid-deck connection “doghouse,” a carved bowsprit, a crow’s nest, 3/8 inch rope lights and a shortened keel to support a 70-pound hanging anchor. The sailboat proudly displays the blue and gold Rotarian colors as well as the 25-year anniversary wheel! 

Rotarians rallied behind the project and enthusiastically participated in a naming contest within RCCC. Close to 120 names were suggested, 8 finalists were retained, voting took place and, voilà, the Carroll Creek Clipper was born! 

A rear sail, a crow in the nest, and a jumping Maryland white marlin hooked to a fishing rod completed the second-year edition.

Many thanks to Pete Kremers and Kyle Thomas for their vision and tireless energy in launching STTWS! Started as a one-boat pilot project in2016, the festival now counts ten boats in Carroll Creek and two on land. An absolutely remarkable achievement!

Super kudos to my shipmates, with whom I had the great pleasure and honor of working! 

  • Bob DeIuliis, for his solid building skills and pragmatic approach!
  • Josh Donofry, our benjamin, for defying gravity in the shop, and jumping into the frigid waters at launch!
  • Doug Fauth, for generously hosting the building meetings in his workshop, and for his extraordinary craftsmanship!
  • Neil Fay, for making sure water pump and electrical connections were operating properly, and stringing endless feet of rope lights!
  • Luke Markey, for expertly designing and building the Rotary wheel, as well as the jumping Maryland white marlin
  • Mark Mayer, for finding our base sailboat, introducing the curved sails concept, and for being our money man!
  • Melissa Muntz, for guiding us through the various media!
  • Tom Plant, for being our anchor man, and for his continued attention throughout the building process!
  • Bonnie and Rob Swanson,for their esthetic flair, and for stringing hundreds of feet of rope lights!

The Clipper shipmates are deeply grateful for the precious support of Linda Roth, RCCC President 2017-2018, and of Peter Fitzpatrick, RCCC President 2018-2019. Their strong commitment to the project made it possible and very enjoyable!

Long live STTWS! 

Go Clipper Go!

Our charity. Color on the Creek.

Bernard Gouin

RCCC – 2002

Captain – Carroll Creek Clipper

The Boats, Sponsors and Charities

Saturday, November 17, nine boats began their voyage with the Sailing Through the Winter Solstice 2018 event.An energetic group of volunteers, sponsors and launch teams cooperated to make relatively quick work of the fleet launch. A tenth boat was added on Sunday, December 1.

Heavens to Betsy joined us virtually, from her rooftop roost atop Brewer’s Alley. And our last boat, Puff, will make its appearance in the Kris Kringle procession and then take its perch overlooking the creek and North Market Street in front of La Paz.

Please come to the Creek to see the boats with your family and friends and consider supporting your favorite boat using our Vote for your Boat secure link. For $1 a vote, you can support your favorite boats and their designated charities. 100% of your donation(s)/vote(s) go to support local registered 501(c)3 charities. Mark your calendars!

Here’s the list of boats.

Tourism Council of Frederick County
Color on the Creek

Capital Women’s Care
Heartly House

Hope Floats
Colonial Jewelers
FMH/Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund


BB&T Bank
Frederick Rescue Mission


Starry Night
Frederick Primary Care Associates
Heartly House and FMH Cancer Patient Assistance Fund


Spirit of Maryland
Property Management People
The Religious Coalition


Rickmers Too
Stulz Air Technology
SHIP (Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership)


Carroll Creek Clipper
Rotary Club of Carroll Creek
Color on the Creek


Ed and Vicki Poole; Thom and Teresa Beckley
Glade Valley Community Services


Snake Dog
Flying Dog
Color on the Creek

Heavens to Betsy (Rooftop of Brewer’s Alley)
The Berkheimer Group at Morgan Stanley
Color on the Creek


Puff (Creekside near La Paz following Kris Kringle parade)
Kevin and Jeannie Hessler – LSWG
The Sheila Thompson Family
Celebrate Frederick



Sailing Through The Winter Solstice.

As we celebrate STTWS 2018, we decided to share the reasons our shipbuilders and designers had in mind for each boat, including construction and materials used. Enjoy.   

The Snallygaster. It started last year when Ed happened to see a Viking themed sailboat with a carved head and a big red sail.  This big red sail was perpendicular to the boat and it really caught Ed’s attention!  From then on, he only wanted to do a Viking ship. (Note: he over-ruled another, more whimsical Seuss-ish ideas that kids of all ages would like. And even though Ed LOVES the Dr. Seuss books, he only wanted to make a Viking longship).  When Ed purchased another boat to use for COTC, the owner said it had been modeled after Norwegian fishing boats, so that Norwegian link sealed the deal on the Viking ship.  We couldn’t come up with how to include people Vikings into the design, so Ed thought the ship could be overtaken by a sea serpent which threw the Viking men overboard.  That’s how the sea serpent came into the picture. We also thought that kids would love the dragon breathing fire!

About the same time, a neighbor, Thom Beckley (former owner of Endless Summer RVs) made a fish and crab baiting table base to replace a wooden one Ed had been using.  It was this table base that made us aware of Thom’s creativity and detailed metal cut work. We started to discuss our ideas for the boat with Thom and suggested that he get involved. We brainstormed ideas, names, design, details, etc. and the project came to life!  Thom said he “knew people” and could come up with the sea serpent design and fabricate it.  He said he can make the sail out of bent aluminum. And for the mast, we used an RV awning roll tube. It’s aluminum and its size was sturdy enough to hold the sail.

A friend suggested the name “Snallygaster,” saying that it was a Frederick folklore dragon – which was verified by a quick review on Wikipedia!

Construction. As far as materials, we applied at least 5 different sealing materials to the inside and outside to help stop / prevent leaks.  Then we used liquid wood and then wood epoxy in all the suspect areas.  We also applied fiberglass to the inside. We also coated the outside.

With help from a friend with CAD skills (Heather Smith), Thom created the design for the sea serpent to fit his machine and the scale of the Snallygaster came to life.  Heather also scaled and prepared the CAD program to create the Scottish dragon emblem for the sail and small pennant flag.

It was Thom’s creative genius that suggested making the sea serpent 3-paneled so that the inside white profile would reflect the green lighting on both sides and provide a 3-D effect.   The green panels of the sea serpent bodies are just painted plywood.  Thom made aluminum ring rims for each of the shields to allow us to mount the lighting inside the circumference. Thom also hand-hammered and antiqued each of the “bosses” (the hand protector piece of curved metal inside the shields). Each of these required over 200 mallet strikes to get the shape correct!  There are 10 bosses!

The vertical ribs of the sail were hand-rolled. Then we painted and antiqued the shields and attached the lighting to Snallygaster and the flag.  Ed did the rest of the lighting.  Marty Winpigler of Trim Excellence helped build and attach the decking and inner supports of the boat.  Thom also made metal brackets that would support each oar at a specific height and position to keep them from being repositioned by wind or the weight of snow/ice.  The cables used for the mast and concrete bucket weights were supplied by Gary Bloomfield of The Door Man Garage Doors.

Our charity. This was a pretty easy decision…. the five services provided by the Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) programs. They include: a Food Bank, a Thrift Shop, an Emergency Relief Fund, the Holiday Toy Shoppe and a Back to School Supply distribution for parents and children. GVCS also administers the Peg and Orley Bourland Trade Scholarship annually and awards $1000 each May to a deserving student entering a trade or vocational field.



Spring Clean Up and Tropical Planting

Perennial and Spring Clean Up. Here we go again! A call to arms. . .ask not what Frederick can do for you. . . but what you can do for Color On The Creek!

Its time for spring clean up…. the warmer weather has forced us to move the schedule around a bit. The perennial planting and spring clean up is now scheduled for Saturday April 8th from 9 to noon. As always this is rain, shine or snow.. .we will need lots of creek rats and land crew to support them. The water level will be lowered again to facilitate removal of the muskrat caps and fertilization of the pots.

We have lots of waders but those with their own are encouraged to bring them along. Dress warm and in layers as April is a difficult month to judge. Please let us know if you can help and if you’re a likely “creek rat” or land volunteer.

Tropical Planting. The Tropical planting will be held on Saturday May 6th from 9 to noon rain or shine. We will plant over 230 tropical lilies, bog and lotus plants. We will need lots of creek rats as well as land crew to support them. Please let us know if you can help and if you’re a likely “creek rat” or land volunteer. As always we will meet at the suspension bridge in front of the wine kitchen.

The garden will be spectacular this year ….be a part of it!

Schedule Of Events

  • Saturday, April 8. 9 a.m – Noon; Perennial and spring clean up
  • Saturday, May 6. 9 a.m – Noon; Tropical planting
  • Saturday, August 12. 6 pm – 11 pm; Festival at Carroll Creek amphitheater.
  • Nov 18th through Fire and Ice (Feb 10th); Sailing Through the Winter Solstice will run


C.C.Y.C. – Carroll Creek Yacht Club Limited Edition Sweatshirts Available Now!

Ahoy and welcome to the auspicious “Carroll Creek Yacht Club!” Following the successful build and maiden voyage of the “Stargazer”, we are looking to expand the fleet this year and your support is greatly appreciated.

C.C.Y.C sweatshirts are available for a limited time, in a limited quantity, so order soon. The sweatshirt types are not identical – The Navy blue sweatshirts are more light weight, while the Grey sweatshirts are a heavier weight.

Links are provided below to the three versions of our hooded sweatshirt.

A Navy Blue sweatshirt with white graphics and lettering, as shown above, available in sizes Small to 2XL.

A Grey sweatshirt with black graphics and lettering, as shown above, available in sizes Youth Extra Small to 5XL.


And finally, the Christmas spirit shines through on our Navy sweatshirt, white lettering with Christmas Lights design! (as shown to the left). This one is also available in sizes Small to 2XL. Note: This sweatshirt will only be created if we get 20 orders.



Pricing varies and is listed on the pages included in the links above.


This initial group order will be placed on January 25th and it takes about 14 days to create and ship. They will ship in one bulk order. We will distribute the sweatshirts individually to yacht club members. Items can be collected or will be delivered by either Pete Kremers or Kyle Thomas.  Thank you for supporting Color on the Creek and welcome to the Carroll Creek Yacht Club!!

All proceeds from sweatshirt sales will help fund Color on the Creek and “Sailing Through the Winter Solstice.” For now, we are starting with one group order.  Additional orders can be arranged in the future based on group interest or by contacting Kyle directly at

Based on popularity, we may be expanding merchandise sales to t-shirts, hats, and other items.

C.C.Y.C design, logo and concept, created by Kyle Thomas.

Launching Stargazer!

After a teaser appearance in the Kris Kringle procession, the inaugural launch of “Stargazer” was held on Wednesday December 14th for our “Sailing Through the Winter Solstice” celebration. The event was greeted with suitable fanfare – and we even earned a beautiful picture on the front page of the Frederick News Post the following morning!

And then came the storm. Unfortunately, our successful launch was followed a day later by an image we really didn’t want to see! It showed, somewhat disrespectfully I might add, the BOTTOM of “Stargazer” after she was rolled over in a vicious wind storm. With recorded gusts of 40 mph, coming straight from the underworld I might add, the wind was simply too much for her. However, unlike the Vasa, (a famous 17th century Swedish warship that languished on the bottom for over 300 years after foundering on her maiden voyage), Stargazer was rescued in less than 12 hours.

Real friends come through! Five hardy souls, in the water and on land, worked through a bone chilling 3 degree wind chill to right her, pump her out and then secure her safely. Her salvage was completed several days later when, after a few prayers, she was “re-electrified.” It was a little tense but, similar to the ill-fated Apollo 13, she fired-up without so much as a hiccup. “Stargazer/USS Hamster” has been continuously illuminated ever since.

Special thanks. We thank all those who helped and cheered us on launch day including the always dependable members of the Carroll Creek Rotary. We also offer very special thanks to David Collins, Kyle Thomas, Bill Stover and Larry Hill who rescued her the following evening so that she might  gaze upon the stars once more.

What happened? Why did she go down you might snarkily ponder? Well. . .she can’t swing free with the wind as she is anchored in the bow. Additionally, she is also tethered to shore power in the stern. The naval architect who designed and assisted in building her (a reputed genius, I might add) placed lateral stabilizers or “birds” over the gunwales to deal with heeling. However, this same “genius” failed to have weighted them properly for the “act-of-God” winds that were to visit her.

The outcome? Despite the upcoming holiday season and his rather pathetic pleadings, he was summarily fired. However, after a little thought, was just as quickly rehired as he was now deemed a leading “expert “ in the field of Keel-less Imitation Old World Creek- sailing Vessels. The definition of an expert is after all “someone who has made every conceivable mistake possible in a narrow field of interest.” We feel very confident he won’t make that mistake again.

Next up? So Stargazer awaits your visit and hopefully she will be joined by others in the years to come. We have at least five sponsors interested for next year if the city agrees to expand the fleet. If you liked Stargazer, next year will be fantastic. If you want to see the event grow, please call the mayor and your favorite alderman to voice your support.

Current plans are for Stargazer to remain in place at least through Saturday Jan 14th.