4+WEEKS OR SO TO GO !!
I think we are ready. Going sailing as much as possible in October. The Grab Bags are packed, loaded with all the essentials in case we need to move to the life raft. ( a move not desired nor expected)
The watch list is posted.
The bells were struck for every half-hour of each watch, with a maximum of eight bells. For instance, during the Middle Watch you would hear the the following:
00:30 1 bell
01:00 2 bells
01:30 2 bells, pause, 1 bell
02:00 2 bells, pause, 2 bells
02:30 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 1 bell
03:00 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 2 bells
03:30 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 1 bell
04:00 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 2 bells, pause, 2 bells
At eight bells your watch was over! All other 4 hour watches followed this same procedure except the Dog Watches.
We had such an enjoyable weekend !! We took off time and actually went to the Seven Seas Cruising Association's Annapolis Gam. We have belonged to this group since we lived in NH. It is an association of sailors who live aboard full time (or are planning to) and cruise the oceans blue. We have no idea what a Gam is, but it was fun, lots of cruisers sharing stories, recipes and tips, visiting old friends and meeting new ones. The majority of sailors we met were actually world cruisers, having just got in from ports like South Africa and the Med.
And of course.. there were three world cruising gurus. Margaret Roth, the surviving member of the Hal Roth world adventure team. They sailed everywhere on a 30 foot sloop in the 80's, and wrote lots of books encouraging others to follow them. We read their books decades ago and started dreaming and planning. Now we are going to follow them (definitely not as far) , but with lots of new tools to make it easier (GPS and such), but we also have our sextant and almanac.
Lin and Larry Pardey have been sailing the world for decades. They have broken records by rounding all the southern horns including Cape Horn in their homemade wooden and engineless boats. They started in Seraftyn a 24 footer, and ending building another larger one, Taleisin, a 29.5 foot cutter. I would advise you to google this pair if you are not familiar with them. They have sailed everywhere, using only the wind and their ample skills.
They continue to share all their experience through their books, blogs and magazine articles. Their writings encourage all us fraidy cats to just cut the lines and go. Lin states over and over, even while experiencing 90 knot winds of the coast of Chile, that the majority of the adventures are beautiful skies and stars and the sounds of the soft ocean caressing your boat. She encourages sailors to ready for the worst and then just sail. They have surveyed hundreds of cruising boats over the years and found that the average size for a long term cruiser is 32 feet (we are 34). These smaller yachts are a bred of bluewater cruisers built to be sea worthy and far less expensive to manage than the 40+ yachts you see at every marina in the states.
We got to actually sit and eat breakfast with Lin. She is one of the nicest and funniest people you could meet. Always the cheerleader. The last seminar we went to Lin told us how to compete with her - by writing and selling sailing stories. She says there is plenty of room for all.
Later for the blog, Lin said to be careful to sail all the time and blog when you can. So we are sailing this weekend with friends and family on the wonderful Chesapeake Bay. I will try to remember to turn on the SPOT. You are supposed to be able to track us both on the BLOG and the SPOT web page. Please leave a comment to tell me if this is working ! Mitch
I don't know who named them swells. There's nothing swell about them. They should have named them awfuls. -Hugo Vihlen
And, so it goes, the lazerette is packed and also the stores room formerly known as the aft cabin. The galley is sorted and ready for stores ( too soon to pack food). The clothes problem has been solved. Vacuum bag the tropical stuff and ditty bag the warm sailing gear, leaving the old odd assortment of summer/fall stuff in the hanging locker for now.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a nicer day, but we are driving and not sailing. Heading to Virginia to pick up one of Steve's oldest friends for an evening with us on cimaise and we will return Joel back to the circus (really- he is a circus guy!) the next day.
Hoping to sail up to the SSCA Gam near Annapolis later in the week. The SPOT device is supposed to update our position on the blog in addition to sending out emails. We will see later this week.
I am adding various photos to the gallery of our past sailing life with friends and family, have a look.
Another Steve and Mitch production. an outboard mount on our crowded stern rail. Look closely in the gallery photos and you will see stainless muffler clamps (ACCK!! Not an official MARINE part?.... Yep..shhhh it is our secret ).Stainless butt hinges are then bolted on the clamps as a pivot point, a stainless tube ( holding the starboard mount Steve made) is attached using bimini hardware. It swivels outboard over the dinghy so we can use a block and tackle on the crane ( built of the same components, with a dyneema line),all which easily hold our 60 pound motor and then locks it to the stern.
All the tools and spare parts came aboard yesterday and 1) we did not sink from the weight and 2) they all fit in the designated locker! We may have room for food after all, as long as we leave the lawnmower,Prius and chainsaw ashore!
Fortunately for the world at large, while the captain is standing on his ear in the engine room muttering imprecations while attempting the impossible with the unlikely, other members of the crew are actually doing something pleasing even if their fingers are kinda sore. Behold our brand new reefing ties with 26 individual hand whipped ends. ( those of you with an interest in this sort of thing may want to view a closeup of this whipping in the gallery) And above all, remember what Devo said - "Whip it good!"
09/09/2011, eye eye dock !!
"Men in a ship are always looking up, and men ashore are usually looking down." - John Masefield
After 12 plus hours of driving to Solomons, back to Rappahannock with shed expelled stuff, and then back to Solomons in time for the splash today..all I can say is HOORAY!!!!!!! we are floating, the seal does NOT leak, not a drop!!! We are beat, having take out Chinese and watching a DVD and then sleeping in our bed..what a joy. It has been a tough month or so with driving the liferaft to Lake Suzy FL to watch it get repacked ( a week on the road) and then Irene, Lee and Katia ( a week on the hard)
I really miss my gently rolling bunk and the sounds of night birds on the water ...so tonight will be bliss.
Then early to rise, we will redress Ms. cimaise in her sails and lines ready to head away from the dock - hopefully this weekend. We need to motor in circles for a while to calibrate the Raymarine electronics..somehow this helps the fluxgate compass to find its little brain. Then we need to head up the Pataxuent to the measured mile buoys and calibrate our speed and rpms.
The actual boat work is down to dregs... install the new companionway steps onto the existing framework, reinstall the just returned Icom single Side band, which should be ready to rock and roll after visiting its family in Seattle; installing the outboard motor mount and the outboard; figuring out where we will store the 5-6 extra containers of diesel; and then the real battle....da da duh da!! we gotta fit all the crap in the shed into the boat...without getting a D-I-V-O-R-C-E.....the battle stands on tools versus food..hmmmmmm how many tools...how much food???? stay tuned to this site for continuing updates..this is getting close to the fun part!!!
"The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective." -Henry David Thoreau
Well, here we be maties, on still land.. waiting for the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee to go away. It is cold and raining buckets off and on. The yard- where we hauled (expecting to be back in the water on Monday)- forbids staying aboard overnight. So the 4 days we worked on the boat we stayed at the Comfort Inn. Running out of inside work and nice weather for outside work we decided to scoot over to Rappahannock to camp at Dave's till Monday...till we noted that the fact that the yard was closed for the holiday ( oops we forgot it was a holiday...duh). So we planned on Tuesday but Lee will not go away.
So here it is Tuesday evening, we plan to rise at o'dark hundred and drive the 3 hours to cimaise in the rain and spend the day in the storage shed we rent -sorting and piling and loading the car with whatever we will not need for the actual boat loading. The shed is 40% full of scraps of plywood, stainless tubing cuts, large destructive tools and miscellaneous dregs of 15 years of projects. The remaining 60% is spare parts, dehydrated meals for 3 weeks at sea, Caribbean clothing and snorkeling gear, a couple bottles of Pussers rum, a liferaft, a dinghy and motor, all our sails (removed for the haulout and hurricane),various storm drogues, and boxes of precious thingamajigs we packed 10 years ago but cannot remember what or why. Tis time to sort, and a tropical downpour is a perfect day to spill the locker contents out into the hall and inventory and plan for storage, trash or back home. Back here tomorrow evening for another comfortable evening in Dave's guest room. We will spend Thursday sorting and stashing the rejects we bring back.
We plan to return to cimaise on Friday to splash, the rain will be nearly gone and we have a sailing date for Sunday and Monday.