07/11/2009/7:35 am, Lusby, MD
How cool is it to be a Lusby in Lusby? Every time I use my credit card - and I have used it a few times - the clerks do a double take when they look at the name. There is probably a family connection back a half dozen generations but nothing close. Thomas and Mary Lusby crossed the ocean from England to Amherst, Nova Scotia in the late 1700's, but I haven't been able to find out when others arrived here and named the place.
We made the 10 minute drive from Lusby to the boat yard shortly before 10 am and sure enough, the big red Sealand truck with Martin at the wheel and Madcap on the trailer rounded the corner right on time. Madcap looked in perfect shape - all trussed up and tied down.
We have nothing but accolades for both Sealand Specialized Carriers (Chester NS) and Zahnisers Yachting Services (Solomon's Island, MD). They have taken excellent care of our precious ship. Over lunch, Martin filled us in on some of the details of boat transport. The keel sits a mere 3 1/2 inches above the pavement, and the total height of trailer and boat must be no more than 13 1/2 feet. Our beam is 12 feet, and if it was wider, we would have needed escort vehicles to travel with the truck - greatly increasing the costs. At 12 feet, it was considered a wide load and could be moved only on weekdays in the US. Height- wise, we measured just under the 13 1/2 mark. We had taken everything off the boat - radar, wind generator, mast (of course!), dinghy davits, dodger and bimini frames. If the keel was deeper, we might have been looking at removing stanchions, bowsprit and more. Martin said that whenever he approached an underpass where there was new paving, he held his breath that the level of the roadbed had not been raised! There are different weight restrictions between Canadian provinces so on other trips, he has had to move wheels back and forward to adjust the weight on each axel. Fortunately it wasn't needed for this trip. Amazing details eh? (Martin - if I didn't get some of this right, send along your corrections!!)
The Zahnisers crew were ready and waiting - and in no time flat, John and Bobby had Madcap in the sling and ready for the water. Paul climbed on board to check the stuffing box (and repack it) (I have learned that is not a box with "stuff" stuffed in! It means strips of flax or, nowadays, gore-tex wrapped tightly around the prop shaft so water doesn't come in.) Chuck reconnected the radar. Cory checked the mast and rigging. Other guys put up the wind generator pole again and Phil oversaw the whole operation. One result of their careful inspection is that we have some maintenance things to take care of.
They found a crack in the toggle that connects the top of the forestay to the mast, some corrosion at the bottom of the mast, some wires with compromised coatings, a halyard that should be replaced, and rivets on the furling mechanisms. We had our own list of things to check - installation of the AIS, (Automatic Identification System), corrosion on the port toe rail, checking and replacing the propane sensor. The result of all this, is that although we had hoped to be put back together on Friday, ready for a Saturday departure, the mast with its new and improved top and bottom will not be stepped (put back in) until Monday. Jim and Richard are working away at the AIS, and balancing the blades on the wind generator. I've been doing some more provisioning along with returning the car to Baltimore (with Carole's kind assistance) and renting another one from the Enterprise branch in Lexington Park (15 minutes from Zahnisers) - good people over there too!
In the evenings, we've been enjoying the company of our gracious hosts. We enjoyed meeting Janice and Dennis (Lady's Choice) the other night, and visiting the new Mexican restaurant up the road. The weather holds well - a bit cooler today but still warmer than home and we are safe and happy (although getting poorer by the day!)
03/11/2009/7:27 am, Baltimore, MD
We arrived in Baltimore safe and sound on Monday afternoon - all flights connecting smoothly and luggage on time. We took the light rail ($1.60 each) downtown and then walked from the conference centre stop to our hotel. Our base in Baltimore was the Brookshire Suites Hotel on East Lombard St - just a block back from the beautiful, walkable waterfront. An evening reception with a free drink per person and an assortment of hors d'oeuvres and breakfast with hot and cold offerings were both included in the price. We'd recommend this hotel to anyone making a Baltimore visit.
On Tuesday morning, Jim and I went round to the US Customs building on Gaye St to get our new cruising permit. Last time Joyce Gray got us out our permit-less state, and this year, Bettye Toone assisted us. There were no problems whatsoever. We have our permit - for a year - and were told that when we leave the country, we can turn it in and get a new one when we arrive "from foreign". This is our favourite Customs office bar none. Miss Toone even told us that if we have any questions or problems wherever we are, to just call her and she will straighten us out! Nice to have our own personal US Customs officer looking out for us.
A 15 minute walk from the waterfront brought us to Faidley's Seafood stand in the Lexington Market where we devoured the most wonderful crabcakes. Oh my.... I asked one of the fellows there what the difference was between the regular crabcake and the lump crab one. His answer was, "... the difference between hamburg and filet mignon, and both quality and quantity improve with the price." Oh my - that lump crab one was about the best crabcake I have ever eaten - big chunks of crab held together with a wee bit of something else - mayo and crackers perhaps? and something that added a bit of a bite - dijon? - then popped in the fryer for just long enough to crisp up the outside. Delectable.
While we browsed through the displays at Barnes and Noble Bookstore back on the waterfront, my cell phone rang and the Sealand truck driver said "I bet you want to know where your boat is!" We had been wondering that very thing and were happy to hear that he was in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and planned to arrive in Solomon's Island on Wednesday morning at 10 am.
Solomon's Island is a mighty hard place to get to except by boat or car so we rented a car and headed out. Most of the leaves are finished but there was still enough colour to make it a pretty 2 hour drive. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as dropping off a car at another location, even for a price, so we'll figure out how to return it later.
One of the happy results of our first cruise was the lasting friendships we made, and we arrived at the home of Carole and Richard (Kilissa) in Lusby, MD in time for happy hour. Joe (Gemini) and Pete (now landbound) arrived and we had a typically energetic cruisers dinner - conversation interspersed with mouthfuls of delicious food - almond chicken, rice and crisp green beans.
01/11/2009/5:21 pm, Halifax, NS
Thanks to Jeannie Lea (Estelle) for the title of this posting. She's got it exactly right.
We've been enjoying our last couple of weeks in Halifax as we look forward to our sailing season starting again. It's funny; once we made that decision to ship Madcap to the Chesapeake and start our cruising from there, we have known it was the right decision without any second guessing. We finished painting our new deck, I got the spring bulbs planted, Jim caught up on mountains of paperwork that he had thought he'd have to do on the boat, and we had a little more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Halifax and our family. The delay is perhaps all for the best because both Jim and I have been feeling some aches and pains - his knee and my back and hip - and we were able to get those problems addressed while we've been home. Now it is time to get back on that boat and on our way to warm weather.
It has been an interesting experience getting Madcap ready for her trip too so we haven't been bored! Jim spent several hours doing the paperwork. After repeatedly trying to find the correct form he managed to locate it and got all the pertinent information filled in. (The agent told him on the phone that he needed Form 3299 - Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles. He looked up the file on the computer and downloaded the one labelled 3299. The one that came up was form 3229 - Certificate of Origin. Eventually he managed to find 3299 through some other search and got it filled in.) He contacted a broker and was told that we don't need to hire one because we are just passing through the US. It was nice of them to tell us that. Jim has called Dept of Homeland Security several times to check on specific questions because we don't want any hassles at the border. We are OK with provisions on board; (we took off all fresh produce and anything perishable.) Our wine/beer supply is OK. (It is not large anyway because we plan to stock up in the US.) We gave a pretty thorough inventory of all articles on board - books, provisions, electronic equipment - in hopes that it saves time and lessens complications for the driver.
We will get our cruising permit in Baltimore so we'll be legal once we get in the water. It was in Baltimore that we had such good fortune getting a new permit on our way back up the coast in 2008 so we're happy to be able to deal with the same folks.
Madcap will be launched at Zahnisers Marine in Solomon's Island on Wednesday (we hope) and we will be there ourselves by then. We fly Halifax to Baltimore on Monday and then will stay a couple of days with Carole and Richard (Kilissa) - just up the creek from the marina. We'll get all the loose bits put back together, the sails on, some fresh food on board and we'll be set to go again.
I'll let you know if it all works as planned!!