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Madcap Sailing
Is it Christmas?
Beth / 8 C, WNW 15knots
17/10/2009/3:00 pm, Chester/Halifax

When we first left home to go sailing this fall, I said to our housemate, Denise, "See you at Christmas!" This is the third time we have reappeared.

I must say, it felt a bit Christmassy yesterday when I saw snow mixed with the rain on the windshield. And being back at home felt immeasurably better than being on the cold boat, so that felt a bit like Christmas gift too.

We had a lively sail back up the coast on Thursday to Steven's Cove near Chester - home of South Shore Marine. Because we wanted to make the trip in one day, we left Shelburne at 0330. After a day of wonderful winds on our port beam, we pulled up to our old mooring ball at 1730. Finally - a beautiful, if cold, day of sailing. Once again, we were grateful for our cockpit enclosure that kept the wind in the sails and not on us. The temperature hovered around 8 C (something like 45 F). We still had 4 and 5 layers of clothes on - complete with ski gloves and wool toques (YES - We are Canadian!!)

Some dry day this week we'll go down to the boat yard to get sails off and the boat ready for haulout. It looks like Madcap will be hauled on Oct 28th and will head south right after that. Her crew is investigating interesting ways of joining her.

In the meantime, Jim and I visited "The Old Triangle" last night - one of our favourite Halifax establishments for comfort food and maritime music. A trip to the market this morning stocked the larder again and tonight we'll go out on the town for Nocturne - a fabulous yearly event when the art scene opens up for an evening of sight and sound. There will be about 30 galleries open from 6 to midnight, with performance art in the streets and folks of all ages walking and busing from venue to venue. It is not a bad thing to be home for another week.

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24/10/2009/8:17 pm | Bernie and Gwen Reid
Hope you have been able to get south somehow. We are watching your site, thanks to Blair and Mary. Keep on sailing.
We were close to you in
SEptember when we drove to Nfld for 2 weeks, but you had probably left the area.
We'll keep in touch.
25/10/2009/8:35 am | ivan whitehall
Jim and Beth,

We are following your progress with a great deal of interest. Your decision to abandon for now was dead on. Mother nature is a tough opponent . Keep in touch,. Ivan will come out on the top.
Plan B
Beth / windy / 14C inside the cabin!
14/10/2009/3:23 pm, Shelburne, NS

We have spent the last few days going round and round and round the possibilities for Plan A - sailing away from Nova Scotia and on to points south. (However much we love this province, it is not our preferred winter abode this year.) Our plans have had to do with timing and risk and destinations on "the other shore". We have finally had enough of that and have moved away from Plan A entirely.

At the end of my last posting, I said "Way will open." Well, way has opened and it is the Highway. After days and days of discouraging forecasts and plummeting temperatures, we started looking at the idea of shipping Madcap south and starting the sailing portion in the Chesapeake Bay.

Plan B sees us sail back to South Shore Marine near Chester, load the boat on a truck and send her off to Solomon's Island, Maryland. It is not all that wildly warm there either right now, but it's a whole lot closer to finding the heat. This plan will also get us to about where we would be at the end of October if we had been able to keep on going when we left on Oct 2.

I keep feeling apologetic about it, but as Jim reminds me, cruising is about weighing options and making the best decision for us. This is it. Is it an easier way out? You bet. More expensive too, but we'll find a way to compensate for that. At least this is something we've never tried before and it takes away the spectre of poor Madcap with ice and snow on her decks and her crew frozen in the cockpit.

Now we are looking at weather windows to go back up the coast and, once again, finding it challenging. How can that possibly be? The wind has been NW up to 25 knots today with wave height of 2 metres but it is scheduled to drop tonight. We plan a "before dawn" start on Thursday in an attempt to make Chester in one day, because Friday brings winds up to 45 and 50 knots, and the next few days after that are NE winds - exactly the direction we will be travelling.

Jim says, "We need to reboot this trip." We are not sure yet of the exact timing of this next adventure but we'll let you know how it evolves.

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14/10/2009/3:50 pm | Mireille Massé
I think you made the right decision! Good luck for the return trip to Chester. Bons vents my friends!
17/10/2009/5:29 am | Monica and Tony
Wise decision.Hope all goes well.
28/10/2009/2:40 pm | Rosalie Johnson
Jim and Beth, have a very safe trip.

I heard that you were having difficulty getting out of Chester. Maybe you need a new skipper.

Enjoying the Colours
Beth / windy
12/10/2009/12:46 pm, Shelburne, NS

We are still tied to the mooring ball at Shelburne Yacht Club. We are still trying to decipher the forecast and tides and currents and our comfort level. We are still bewildered.

However... we took a beautiful drive to Yarmouth yesterday and spent quality time with our friends at Lake Annis - Christine and Art and Bill (and time for a quick hello to John). We soaked up the beautiful autumn colours and the joy of friendship. We dined till we were stuffed to the eyebrows! We filled the fuel tank and topped off the water tank. Jim returned the rental car to Halifax while I enjoyed the warmth of the sun in our enclosed cockpit and caught up on email. The wind generator is keeping us well supplied with power. (We've been here over a week and have never turned on the engine or the Honda generator.) The propane fireplace and our down filled comforter keep us all snuggly when the sun goes down. We have friends who send us encouragement and good ideas.

We are learning to watch and think, but to let go of knee jerk reactions (like when we saw the other two boats here leave for Yarmouth this morning). We will make measured decisions that are right for us and we WILL get south somehow! So what if we don't know when or how? The way will open!!!

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Columbus Day!

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14/10/2009/3:02 pm | Monica and Tony
We do hope you are able to continue your journey south before too long.We shall look forward to reading your Blog and following your sailing adventures.Keep your spirits up and here's wishing you safe passage.It will be well worth the wait!
15/10/2009/9:23 am | brenda mackenzie
Hi Jim and Elizabeth,
Just wanted you to know that I am watching your progress :) You will be sailing in warm waters soon, leaving us all behind. Safe travels, Brenda

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