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Madcap Sailing
Still in Fixit Mode in Solomons
Beth / 18 C and overcast
10/11/2009/12:07 pm, Solomons, MD

This cruise is off to a slow start - even though we lopped off many miles because of the slow start from Nova Scotia. On the 2007 cruise, we were plagued by a series of engine problems. This time other parts of the boat need attention.

The bad news: We thought we were all set to drop our lines and sail off early this week but we've had another gremlin pop up. As Jim was filling the water tank on Sunday, we discovered that water was running almost as fast out of the tank and into the bilge. We had been finding more water in the bilge than we used to and in hindsight, it was probably a small, slow leak that turned into a large, fast one.

We checked everything over in hopes that it was a hose or a connection but decided it must be the tank. On Monday morning, Dave (from Zahniser's) made the same check and came to the same conclusion. We have an 88 Imperial gallon tank located forward under our berth. Of course there was no easy access to it, so Dave cut away the fibreglass cover to expose the aluminum tank and found a significant split in one seam. The picture above shows the tank cut in pieces (to get it out through the companionway)

The good news: We discovered the problem here where we can get it fixed. We have ordered 2 new aluminum tanks. (2 so they will fit in, and so that in future, if we get a leak in one we will still have another tank, and if one gets tainted water it won't affect our whole water supply).

The bad news: They have to be custom made in New Jersey and that takes a week. We expect delivery by Friday - or should I say, we HOPE delivery will be Friday and then we are looking at 2 days for installation. So we will be here a while yet.

More good news: The mast was stepped this morning. Yea! Madcap looks like a sailing ship again! With one new halyard, freshly lubricated roller furling, tight rivets, a new toggle, all new mast wiring (some done at home in NS and some done here), and Spartite to prevent leaks down the mast, surely we will have no issues on this front. The new AIS works. The new propane sensor works - at least we know that so far it doesn't go beep, beep, beep even when there is no possible way there is a propane leak.

We moved back on board last night, and as much as we have enjoyed staying in a real house and sleeping in a real bed, it felt just wonderful to be back in our own cosy nest. We will do some more work on getting things back into shape as well as some touristy things over the next few days. Washington is less than 2 hours away. I'm going off to Annapolis with Carole on Wednesday while Jim attends to some chores.

Our good news items still outnumber the bad news, although all this time on a dock will seriously skew our anchorage to dockage statistics!!

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12/11/2009/3:51 pm | Rob Wells
Thanks for continuing to blog in your period of advirsities. It helps us land locked souls deal with the pending weather in our summer haven.
Had a visit with HA this evening and heard his digest version.

Go safely when you get underway. Rob
16/11/2009/12:58 pm | Glen Gray
hello from Ottawa! we'll be following your voyage south and hope to see you both in the Abacos... New years in New Plymouth!
Fair winds and clean diesel!
glen & louise
Lusby and Bissell Reporting from Lusby
Beth / 14-16 C daytimes
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!)

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08/11/2009/3:54 pm | Peggy Taylor
Glad to hear you and your boat have made the first leg of your trip. Happy "Sails" to you until we meet again (to Roy Rogers' and Dale Evans' tune.) Looking forward to your blogs.
Baltimore Stopover
Beth / sweater weather
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.

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09/11/2009/4:07 am | Jim & Jeannie
Great to hear things are going well. We agree that Bettye Toone is the best C&BP officer. She has been helpful to us also.
And crabcakes at the Lexington Market are definately the best we have ever tasted! You're well on your way now!

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