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Madcap Sailing
Boat's in the Water & Crew's on Board
Beth / warm days, cool nights
19/11/2010/10:48 am, Fernandina Beach, FL

Madcap is sitting pretty on her mooring at Fernandina Beach City Marina. We spent Sunday evening at anchor in the little channel that winds up through the marshes behind the mooring field, but because we planned to be away from the boat for several nights, we took a ball just as soon as one became available on Monday morning, and stayed for a week. ($15 per day or $90 for a week) That is a lovely little anchorage with space for a number of boats and not all that much further away from the dinghy dock at the marina.

Sandi, Steve, Jim and I had lunch last week with Marilyn and Vic (Whisper). We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at 29 South with Mike and Jennifer Harrison, and Steve and Sandi. Mike is an electrical engineer and was the trouble shooter guy who spent many hours on Madcap in the spring, trying to figure out the problem with the electrical system. Last Friday, Jim and I went off to St. Simon's and Jekyll Islands for a day trip with Steve and Sandi - so pretty to explore around - and then were slow to get to the boat yard on Saturday because we stopped to run some errands on the way. When we got there, we found a note from Jeannie saying they'd been there twice! Nancy and Bruce (Seabird) and Jeannie and Jim (Estelle) were anchored in the marshes I mentioned earlier, and it was a treat to have a little visiting time with them. We met for dinner and caught up on all the news and travel plans (back at 29 South - so delicious - southern food with a classy twist: fried green tomatoes ... pulled pork in spring rolls and in a Cobb salad that is sublime... crispy fried catfish with an oyster etouffe ... grilled mahi mahi on a bed of lima bean and fresh corn succotash ... mmmm.) What a delight to see all these old friends. (Nancy sent this pic) Despite the way it looks, we really have been working more than playing!

The exterior teak is pretty much all done (except for the hand rails which need a lot of work and will have to wait for another time) and we finally cleared and cleaned the cabin sole and applied the long awaited coats of Ultimate Sole. We bought that product in 2007 at the Annapolis boat show, intending to get it on that year. Here we are 3 years later, and while the floor deteriorated some over that time - dings and scrapes and areas where the finish was pretty well worn off - it looks pretty darned good now. It has a nice glossy finish that somehow also manages to be non skid. The product isn't available any more so I'm glad we have another can tucked away for the future. I also put some little area rugs down to help protect the sole, and got big towels to cover the settee seats in the salon and perhaps keep the salt out of the upholstery. Oh - another recommendation - the folks at Topstitch replaced the zipper in one of the cushions. Same day service with a smile!

We've provisioned and provisioned - and once again are supremely thankful for the storage capacity of the Bayfield 36's. Each year I get so overwhelmed with the mounds of bags and boxes, and yet each year it all finds a place. Mind you, I could still use another 6 feet on this boat. Every nook and cranny is stuffed full and because we put things wherever they will fit, there is sometimes not a lot of order and reason to what is where. The Bayfield bathtub is full again and not with bubbles! Anyone planning to take a shower will have a fair bit of shifting to do before there is room for a body in there! The aft cabin/aka garage is crammed to the ceiling. We bought a new Viking valise life raft this year, and that sucker takes up a whole lot of room. It won't fit in either of the cockpit lockers, so it will live in the aft cabin most of the time and be hauled up to the cockpit for passages. It is one of those things that we hope never to use, and it bugs me to have it taking up so much space. Ahhh well - good insurance I hope.

Another boat show purchase was a new 9.5 ft AB dinghy with a fiberglass bottom, and we are delighted with it so far. It sits higher in the water so perhaps we won't get as wet; it is lighter than the old Brig which means hauling it up on the beach and up on the davits will be easier; aaand, one more plus, it will be better able to handle last year's purchase - the Yanmar 15 hp outboard motor. Oh the places we'll go!!

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24/11/2010/4:53 pm | M&B (Strathspey)
Is that our corner table!!!!!???? Did you feel like you were flying the missing buddy formation or are those wine glasses just emptied after a toast to Strathspey and future plans? Very cool to see you all there and wishing all of you safe passages coming up and shorts and Tees and sand betwixt the toes shortly.
Getting Closer
Beth / nice and warm again
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!

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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. (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.

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