11/11/2010/4:53 pm, Fernandina Beach, FL
As of Wednesday night, we were at the water's edge, and Thursday morning we were in the water!
We applied 3 coats of cetol on the rub rails, bowsprit and cockpit; we cleaned and waxed the hull (Collinette is our favourite product); Jim has gone over the electrical system from top to bottom. Along with our own efforts, many other people have been buzzing around Madcap - it's a veritable beehive of activity! Dave (from Tiger Point) painted the bottom and once Madcap was in the sling last night, he finished off the job by painting the bits that were under the pads of the cradle so we won't have a garden growing anywhere on the hull.
Larry (from the Sign Shoppe) put our new lettering on the stern and it is truly beautiful. Bob Roth came out last week to take pictures and talk about what we wanted. We dropped into the shop several times to change this and check that, and yesterday we saw the results. We have new MADCAP lettering and a new port of registration - we are now officially out of Halifax, NS, (and are now registered instead of just licensed). I'll add the pic later - my camera battery seems to have died.
Pat (Jackson Electronics) climbed to the top of the mast on Tuesday to replace the anchor light. He has given us excellent service through the winter, replacing all the things that got fried last year, and on Monday night, he flew home on the red eye from attending the funeral of a family member in order to keep the appointments he had on Tuesday - ours being one. That's an impressive commitment. Walt (Tiger Point) installed a new bilge alarm and put a fuel filter on our new dinghy - among many other tasks over the summer. Mark (Tiger Point) installed a new electrical panel at the nav station during the summer, and between them all, our fixes and improvements have happened. We have the feeling that all the guys have taken an interest in our Madcap and they all seem to like her just about as much as we do. Good thing there are so many successful outcomes and positive feedback because it sure costs money!!
Boatyard camaraderie is alive and well here. As we've worked, we've chatted with Denise and Steve (Charisma) two boats up the lane, and Cindy and Jeff (Salty Dog) across the way. We'll all be launching in the next few days and look forward to some proper socializing once we are in the water. Cindy loaned me her ladder and board scaffolding when she saw me climbing up and down our long ladder every 2 minutes and it was just the most wonderful thing. I'm sure it saved me a hundred climbs. I am sporting my annual crop of sailboat bruises, but they would be far worse without those boards to step along instead of an extension ladder to reach around. Jim and I are both feeling achy muscles, and weary bones and sometimes complete exhaustion at the end of a day. Thank goodness we do all this in pursuit of something we both enjoy so much!
On the fun side, we've managed a beer or two at the Green Turtle on 3rd St, salad and pizza a couple of times at Moon River on 14th St. Besides that, we've continued to enjoy fabulous hospitality at Sandi and Steve's with good meals, transportation, encouragement and stimulating conversation in the evenings. Sandi, Jim and I have walked the golf course on several mornings. Dennis and Jan (Lady's Choice) have arrived from Solomon's Island and we've had the opportunity to listen in on some highly entertaining stories. Marilyn and Vic (Whisper) are in the area and we hope to see them soon too.
After launch on Thursday we will stay on the dock at Tiger Point for a couple of days to clean the interior of the boat - no small chore - get the sails on, fill up with water, load groceries and all that sort of thing. We need some new fenders (and more boat wax before that job can be finished) and a whole cartload of other odds and sods from West Marine. The plan then is to go around the corner to pick up a mooring at Fernandina Harbour Marina. We stopped in there on Tuesday and were met with Sasson's smiling face and welcoming, "Here are the Madcaps!" No wonder this place feels like a home for us!
We are having trouble thinking more than 5 or 6 days into the future. We do plan to head south eventually and try to get to the Bahamas in early December!
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. (www.gladdingmarinesurvey.com)
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.
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!!