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Madcap Sailing
Work Before Play
Beth / mid 60's at best ... brrrrrr
08/11/2010/10:44 am, Fernandina Beach, FL

Jim and I have been hard at work in Fernandina Beach for a week now. We took a new approach to coming down here this time - we flew from Halifax to Boston and then took the train to Jacksonville. It was the first time I had travelled in one of those cute little sleeper compartments and it was certainly worth trying out. The price was right, the scenery was pretty, and we shared a dinner table with some interesting folks who were on their way back south from the Jon Stewart rally in Washington. Everyone we spoke with seems to have had a wonderful time at that.

Madcap survived the summer well and seems to have most of her systems working. She is still on the hard but we hope to launch on Wednesday. I have been steadily working away at getting the teak cleaned and cetoled (is that a word? "varnished" would work better linguistically but I'm applying cetol, not varnish!) The picture above shows our freshly pained bottom and the gleam of the wood (along with ugly tape to keep the cetol off the gelcoat!) Jim has been re-sealing the chainplates to get rid of a small but persistent leak we had, installing a new windlass switch, and exploring all the new electrical work to make sure everything was done according to plan. Our mast top anchor/navigation light is not working and is scheduled to be replaced on Tuesday and new lettering goes on the stern but everything else seems good to go. We had a new survey done for insurance purposes and Bill Gladding reported that Madcap is in average or above average condition in all respects. Yeah! Bill did a very thorough survey for a reasonable cost and we happily recommend him. (

The weather has been downright cold the last few days but is supposed to warm up again. I left most of our warm clothing home because I figured this could not be a repeat of last year, so as a result, we've been layering heavily and look like Pillsbury dough boys as we climb up and down the ladders! Both of us lost some weight over the summer but you wouldn't know it to see us. I refuse to think that the eating and drinking with our friends here has anything at all to do with it!

We are so fortunate to be able to stay with Sandi and Steve (Princess). They haven't kicked us out yet! We've visited a couple of times with Dick and Tina - including a marvellous birthday celebration for Dick last night. We took time on Saturday to visit the farmers market and watch the Veterans' Day parade - not sure why it was Sat instead of on the 11th!

Harris Teeter (that wonderful grocery store in Amelia Island) had case lots of wine on sale for 15% off so we took advantage of that and stocked up for the winter. Hmmm.... the fact that we have reduced-fat potato chips and wine and dried cranberries (all on sale!) and nothing else on board for provisions does not really reflect the way we plan to eat this year. Sandi and I will make a Costco run this week.

With any luck, I will find time to write more interesting postings and tell you of remarkable adventures as time goes on! We'll stay in this area for another week or two before we head further south.

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Looking forward
06/10/2010/9:37 pm, Fernandina Beach, FL (that's where the boat is!)

Jim and I have had a wonderful summer at home in Nova Scotia. We spent city time in Halifax, cottage time on the Northumberland Strait between NS/NB and PEI, enjoyed trips to British Columbia and Ontario and PEI and Maine, and hardly missed Madcap at all.

On one particular evening earlier in the summer, we were feeling a bit mopey - missing our cruising friends and not really back into the swing of things in Halifax. We headed for the cottage and decided to stop for pizza in Tidnish. We had heard from a couple of sources that the bread and pizza at "Bev's Breads" were delicious, and that they were sailing folks. I was pretty sure Bev was the woman I had met a couple of years ago at Tiger Point Marine and that Jean was the guy who had challenged me over whether Tidnish was in NS or PEI. (Of course it is NS). Sure enough, as we walked through their flower filled yard, Bev met us, remembered us, and declared that we must come through to the comfy waterfront deck for a glass of wine and a chat before the pizza. We were instantly cast back into cruising mode as we sat with these two gracious people and reminisced about boats and lives and people we knew in common. The pizza and bread we took home with us were mouth wateringly delicious too. What a fine night.

We had visits from a few cruising friends and met a couple of new ones on the waterfront. Our own comfortable back deck was the perfect substitute for a cockpit on these occasions. We watched whales and dolphins from the ferry that plies the waters between Campobello and Deer Islands in New Brunswick. We listened to the gulls and terns and crows at the cottage. We frequented the Farmers Market in Halifax - both at the Brewery and the new Seaport site, and we regularly walked the waterfront boardwalk. In short, we managed to keep a connection with the water even as we enjoyed being landlubbers again for the summer.

Our beloved sailing ship stayed on the hard at Tiger Point Marine in Fernandina Beach, Florida, where we hope to find her all fixed up and ready to go again next month. As I chatted with Ken (Fair Wind) on the waterfront one sunny day, I mused that it would be nice to be tied up there making plans for a southbound trip, but by the time Jim and I walked back in the evening, we were both very happy to know we will be starting the cruise from north Florida this year. No more north east coastal weather concerns. As I write this however, the temperature has taken another swing upward. The picture shows the water at the cottage (Northumberland Strait) just after I got out of it. Imagine, swimming in Nova Scotia in October! (And now, by the time I am posting this, we are back to typically cool and sunny autumn weather.)

For the next couple of weeks, we will attempt to get to the end of our Halifax to-do list and say our goodbyes to the family here. We'll also drive to Annapolis, MD to attend the Sail Boat show (Oct 8 - 10) and do some visiting in the area. We sure hope to see lots of familiar faces there!

Our plans for getting to Florida have been changing daily, but we have now committed ourselves to a new route. We'll fly from Halifax to Boston on Oct 30, and take the train the next day from Boston to Jacksonville, FL, arriving there on Nov 1. An adventure on the way to an adventure.

We are both expecting another great cruising year (fingers crossed for fewer electrical challenges) with lots of new experiences. We will launch Madcap in early November and that's about as far as our planning goes at this point! Stay tuned for more!!

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23/10/2010/3:31 pm | Susan and Randy
Hi Jim and Beth,
We're packing, heading for south too - launch in Antigua Nov 8. Still scratching our heads about plans for this year, maybe heading slightly north...we'd be interested to hear how you liked your marina in FB.

Happy sailing, hope we cross paths,
Sue and Randy
And finally ... Last year's statistics
06/10/2010/9:00 am, Fernandina Beach, FL

I kept promising to fill in details on the last few postings when I had time. I guess you've figured out by now that I never did take the time to sit myself down and write the words. Thank goodness there is a new season and a new cruise and a new opportunity!

I do, however, have some statistics to report - thanks to Jim, who loves those neatly entered notations in his log, and who loves to add them up and see how they look - and who gave them to me way back in June!

We travelled 2449.6 nautical miles last season. That is roughly the same as 2818.9 statute miles, or 4510.24 kilometers. Those figures are from Solomon's Island, Maryland, where we started our cruise "for real" - not from Nova Scotia, where we aborted our initial sail and put Madcap on a truck instead. We still managed to travel a pretty fair distance! From our departure point in the Chesapeake Bay in November, we travelled down the US coast as far as Fort Lauderdale, and rambled in and out through the Bahamas as far south as Ragged Island before heading north again and ending up at the northern edge of Florida in May.

Madcap was at anchor 80 nights, on a dock for 56 nights, on mooring balls for 42 nights and at sea for 3 nights, for a total of 181 nights. The dock time includes a whole month at Fernandina Beach, Florida. We were home in Nova Scotia for Christmas for 2 weeks of this time, and grateful to be plugged in and able to use the electric heater for the rest of it. The figure for mooring reflects the number of fronts we endured in the Bahamas - when we chose to seek out mooring balls rather than see if our anchor would hold.

The longest distance we travelled at one time was 240 nautical miles, from Charleston, SC to Fernandina Beach, FL. The shortest distance was 1.7 nautical miles, from Staniel Cay, Bahamas, around the corner to Big Major's Spot.

We used 264 US gallons of diesel and 431 gallons of water. This water figure reflects not only our conservative approach to water consumption, but also the number of nights at dock when showers were available.

Now that I have finally wrapped up the cruise of 2009/10, I'm looking forward to getting the 2010/11 blog started. Keep reading and come on along!

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