Last time we came ashore, we lasted about three months before deciding we had to leave again, as soon as possible. We've now been back in the States for nearly nine months and we haven't yet pulled the rip cord, climbed back aboard Hawk and headed off to sea. But, I have to admit, that option has been sounding better and better. Especially as the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall.
Can you believe we'd rather be in cold, snowy weather on a boat than in an apartment? Sad but true. We both miss the huffing of the diesel heater, the sound of the wind strumming on the rigging and the skittishness of the boat as it spooks at a gust. Of course, when it comes to checking the anchor in a blizzard or undoing frozen dock lines with a tea kettle of boiling water - well, not so much.
Since our last update, we've gotten settled into our apartment in Milford, CT and divided our time among work (Evans), writing (Beth), beginning the search for a "real" job (Beth), spending time with our families and refitting Hawk (both of us). Evans has enjoyed working at North Marine Group, and while the startup continues to prove challenging, he has built a customer base and filled their production capacity (including new factory coming on line next year in Sri Lanka) through 2012. North has asked him to work on some other issues of interest to the senior management, and he will turn his focus to that through the spring.
In July, Beth surprised her sister, Leigh, for Leigh's 50th birthday by showing up in Chicago in time to see her brother-in-law, Steve, off on a Farr 40 for the Mackinac Race. Beth got to drive up to Mac Island with Leigh and relive the many traditions Leigh and Steve have been talking about for more than a decade. The island combines three of Beth's favorite things: bicycles, horses and sailboats. By the time their magical week on the island came to an end, Beth was plotting to bring Hawk into the Great Lakes and enter her in the Mac Race with Leigh andSteve as crack crew.
Over the summer, Hawk got a thorough interior refit. Though she's a simple boat, there was still a surprising amount to do. We replaced our old incandescent and fluorescent lights with LEDs, installed all new plumbing, put in new sink drains and faucets and replaced all exterior lights. We repainted the trim throughout the boat, all lockers inside and out and the cabin sole; revarnished drawer fronts, fiddles and the large credenza on the port side of the boat; and refurbished the Corian countertops in the head and the galley. We're in the process of having new cushions, lee clothes and cabinet covers made. But Beth was most excited about the new stove. We have been thinking about replacing the old one for more than five years, and by the time we got to Milford in June, parts of the stove interior had completely rusted away leaving exposed rock wool. Hawk still needs a bit more attention on the exterior paint, but other than that she'll be as good as (or better than) new. She looks a little odd at Port Milford, her mast rising a third higher than any of the smaller boats' cozied up around her hull.
In October, Beth went to the Annapolis boat show as a Boat of the Year judge for Cruising World magazine. The sailors out there will find plenty of photos of her in the January issue. In ten days, the team of three judges spent three hours on each of 19 boats with Beth doing all the sail handling the old fashioned way - by hand, just to be sure it could be done if the fancy electric and hydraulic furlers and winches packed it in.
While we remain tenuously linked to land, we do think this is where we need to be at this point in our lives. But we'll see if we still feel that way this time next year!
In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you and to catch up on whatever you are doing. In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season!
Beth and Evans