12/26/2011, Sunset Boating Center
Yvonne and I drove to Richmond, VA on Christmas morning to spend the day celebrating the holiday with my aunt Doris and her three daughters - my dear cousins Carol, Sherry and Tracey and their families. There were 17 there for dinner in all, including Carol's son Jason and his wife and two children who are living and working in London now.
The feasting began with Eggs Benedict and Bloody Marys before noon, followed by a mid-afternoon power nap. Our evening meal was scrumptuous - lasagna, sausages, sauteed peppers, meatballs the likes of which we haven't had before and plenty of great fellowship with our family. We drove back to Norfolk and slept soundly on the boat upon our return.
In the morning we awoke and began preparing the boat for the 14 mile trip to Hampton, VA where we were to meet the riggers, Gaston and Ralph. We left the slip at 0900 with winds gusting to 24 knots on the beam. Our tachometer didn't work so well and when I set the RPM at 1700 we only made 4 knots through the 2-3 foot chop in the bay. I had read that when the batteries are fully charged, some tachometers don't work well since they depend on the AC ripple on the alternator voltage for RPM information. With fully charged batteries and little ripple, the tach showed too high - so I added power until we had 6 knots. Once we turned west with wind off the nose we could motor sail and make 7.4 knots. The trip took 2.5 hours slip to slip.
We met with Ralph and Gaston (Tidewater Marine Services) and agreed on some things to be done but we will meet again in the morning and settle on a scope of work. The repairs we know we need will take longer than 4-5 days so we won't be sailing south on this trip. We will go back to Vegas this weekend and return to the boat most likely at the end of February.
We walked out for dinner and had blackened tuna with veggies then caught a cab back to the rental car we had left at the marina in Norfolk and drove it back to the boat. We plan to do boat chores and fixit stuff this week while the riggers work on the chainplates and winches - we are putting on some new electric primaries too. Can't wait!!
12/23/2011, Henderson, NV
The leaves have mostly fallen from the trees and I spent many hours raking and bagging them, at first with some resentment for the sheer pointlessness of the act. But I tried to see each leaf as a fallen protector from the blazing desert sun that would overcome our roof mounted AC unit but for the assembly of leaves above. It helped a little. Beer was a better cure for my frustration. You can't see the 29 degree Farenheit temperature in the photo but it's cold. Trust me.
Here I am in front of our little travel trailer, also known as the "Boat Trainer" which has allowed us to get a preview of the simple life and work with each other in small spaces. The boat seems big by comparison and it's an easy transition. I never did bring the garden hose in and wet everything to practice leaving a hatch open, and I didn't tip it over with a forklift to simulate a knockdown. We don't miss the "Big House" on the golf course at all. We will miss the simplicity of our trailer once we sell it, but we plan to get another one and tour North America after our cruising days are complete.
We leave today for Norfolk to get some rigging work done on the boat and then sail further south toward Myrtle Beach, Yvonne's home area, if we can get the rigging work done before New Year's weekend. Yvonne has to be back at work on the 2nd of January.
It was terribly hard to leave the boat slipped at Bay Point Marina in Norfolk, VA nearly three weeks ago having just bought her, but we had to take care of things in Las Vegas. My biggest concern was freezing temperatures there in Virginia, but there were no really cold nights since we've been gone. It's much colder in Las Vegas!
Yvonne received the final check for her sale of her driving school - Hoorah! Now we can afford electric winches for the boat. We like the Lewmar 55 EVO model. They are a bit pricey, but we think they will be a very important bit of gear for us over our years cruising.
I have a new Manson Supreme anchor and 300 feet of 5/16" HT chain waiting for me at West Marine in Norfolk and can't wait to install it on Abundance. I decided a 60 pounder would do the trick and we will have a CQR on the port side of the anchor rollers as a backup with 175 feet of chain and about as much nylon rode behind it. The Lighthouse electric windlass should be fine with these two sets of ground tackle.
We will take the boat to Hampton, VA tomorrow afternoon and get our riggers going on chainplate inspections and bolt replacement. They will get the chainplates sealed with new covers and new bolts where needed and install some needed spreader boots on the lower spreaders. Finally, they will tune the rig so we can do some ocean sailing.
12/01/2011, Atlantic City, NJ - Golden Nugget Marina
We looked carefully at the surface analysis and forecast charts, using an iPad application called WeatherFax. It is fabulous. I didn't have to mess with the SSB as long as I had wifi or 3G for the iPad. I also consulted with Jeff Dunn, retired USAF meteorologist who said, "Defiantly [sic] Thursday". So Thursday it was.
We left the dock at 7:15 headed for Norfolk with a good forecast of beam to broad reaching and that's what we had.
We reached for about 24 hours then had to start the engine and motor into Norfolk, arriving 27 hours after departure which gave us an average of 6.7 knots for the 180 mile passage. We tied up at Bay Point Marina at about 10:15 on Friday morning. I had a sense of wonder as we motored across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/tunnel where cars we under our keel traversing the waterway at 50 feet below the surface. It's an engineering marvel to be sure.
The overnight passage was marked by cool temperatures and clear skies. Orion was a familiar friend as was the North Star, high in the sky at northern latitudes. It was fun layering on the sailing gear and changing watches every three hours or so. Yvonne tried to let me sleep more than my share - and I loved her for it... She cooked most all the meals while I ran the systems and kept tabs on the machinery. Time goes quickly when passagemaking - oddly enough. Yvonne reads e-books and I listen to music on my Sony Walkman MP3 player. I marked a waypoint on the Garmin 76 GPSMAP every hour or so in case the Raymarine C80 took a dump but it never did. I must confess that I didn't even pull out a paper chart for these passages, relying entirely on the C80 and backing it up with a Garmin 76 GPSMAP, iPad and iPhone and also had the laptop with Fugawi on it, so four chartplotters on board to back up the main unit seemed safe enough. And it was.
11/25/2011, Onset Bay, Massachusetts
We determined to set off with the high tide and had to top off the water tanks. We moved the boat to Onset Marina and filled them there. John and Juli came with Little John to wish us off from there.
We headed out of the bay, and entered the Hog Island Channel where we were greeted with steep tall swells occasionally breaking right in the main channel because there was a south wind directly against the outgoing tide. This gave us a chance to find out where the boat leaked - happily, the dodger proved to be dry when we took a layer of green water over the bow time and again. The leaky chainplate area of the deck shipped a lot of water into the boat, but otherwise we were fine. The swells slowed us to 4 knots or less when they would hit us but the Lehman kept pushing us ahead.
The wind proved to be right on our nose for the whole 44 hour passage to Atlantic City so we didn't bother with sails until the next leg to Norfolk.
Our Sunday sunrise arrival at Atlantic City was welcomed by the reflection of sunlight from the hotel/casinos and reminded us of Las Vegas. We stormed into Absecon Inlet at over 8 knots over the ground on the flood tide and tied up at Gardner's marina which was closed, and didn't open for the two days we were there...
We later moved to the Golden Nugget marina where it cost $100 per night, not bad - and we were handy to the casino for food and transportion. We waited for a weather window for two nights, and then the high pressure came - so we sailed out on Thursday morning around 0700, a week after Thanksgiving bound for Norfolk.
11/22/2011, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
On Monday, we motored to Kingman Yacht Center for the survey and all went very well except the forward sling impinged on the rub rail on the starboard side and opened a crack that runs about 15 feet along the underside of the rail. We will need to seal it ASAP, but for now it seems to be no problem.
Once we accepted the boat after survey, tons of things had to be done. My funds from my 457 deferred compensation account had to be wired into escrow for the closing, which was scheduled for Tuesday, the 22nd. We had to secure insurance, buy a liferaft, a dinghy and a new outboard for the dinghy.
I had Al Golden, president of IMIS (Jackline policy) standing by for the insurance binder, and we had someone at the credit union watching for the incoming deposit from Hartford. We hurried to West Marine where we had already had the manager, Todd, bring in a HP-350 dinghy - Yvonne wanted the larger model at 11.5 feet. We had taken a ride in John and Juli's HP-310 and I thought 10 feet would be fine, but it seemed a bit small for us, so we went for the Hp-350. We also bought a Mercury 9.9 outboard for it so it will move along nicely when we need to cover some distance.
We bought a new LED spotlight that has a red floddlight as well as white, which preserves our night vision. We also bought some engine oil at John's recommendation, for the main engine and the genset. Diesels need their oil like sailors need their rum! Why is that, Captain Ron?
With the dinghy and motor crammed into the rental car, we drove to the survival shop, LRSE http://lrse.com/ We bought a 6-person raft - here's the page:
We jammed that into the rental car and sped off to John and Juli's where they had graciously put us up in their basement apartment.
Somewhere in the midst of this running around on Wednesday, we got a call from the credit union that our funds had arrived. A quick call to Tom Morton, our treasured broker, set the closing in motion. I called Al Golden and he sent a binder to us via email. Tom then called to say WE CLOSED THE DEAL! All this on Thanksgiving eve left us with lots to be thankful for. Our boat buying days came to an end just like that. Now we own a boat and all that goes with it.
John and Juli had us over for a fabulous Thanksgiving feast on Thursday and we all had a fine time, swapping stories and vowing to stay in touch. They want to be able to buy the boat when we are finished cruising!
11/21/2011, Buzzards Bay Massachusetts
We met John and Juli Thompson at the boat this morning to prepare for the survey and sea trial. Once Jeff Gonsalves, our surveyor arrived, we started the engine and dropped the lines heading for Kingman Yacht Center to haul Lucky Escape for her hull inspection.
John and Juli are wonderful people who have owned and sailed Lucky Escape for over two years and are sad to be selling her, but have made a decision to stop sailing to raise a family, starting with their very young son, only a few months old.