13 February 2011 | Pikesville, MD
16 January 2011 | Annapolis, MD
11 January 2011 | Marion, S.C.
23 October 2010 | Annapolis, MD
25 July 2010 | Bay Bridge Marina
30 June 2010 | Mill Creek
29 June 2010 | The Here And Now
09 June 2010 | Chesapeake Bay
19 April 2012 | Pikeville, MD
Can’t believe it’s been almost four months since my last blog. No medical problems just a lot of work and being lazy. Last week Mary and I took off the winter cover and have plans for a spring launch on April 30th. A lot of thought about plans have been talked about and with only a year and half left before I retire we still have nothing set in stone. Everything is still fluid and I guess we’ll decide as time gets closer. A lot depends on what I am going to do for work once I am retired. Still have a boat mortgage to pay and we have to eat.
I’m going to add solar cells this year to help with the charging. Midnight Breeze does not have a generator and Mary and I have decided not to install one. The following year will be the water maker, and we should be set.
We are also thinking of moving Midnight Breeze to Solomons Island after our contract is up at Bay Bridge Marina. We would save a lot on Marina fees. We love Bay Bridge Marina it’s a beautiful marina but I just can’t afford the fees on my retirement earnings.
Promise to post at least once a week since the season is upon us!
Have a great boating season!
What Took So Long!
21 January 2012 | Annapolis
I guess it’s about time I update this blog especially since I am paying for it. I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season! Mary and I invited my kids and the grandchildren over Christmas Eve for a gift exchange. Of course Samantha (Sam), Ethan, Liliana, and Nathanial all made out the best. We did get a belated Christmas gift from my daughter Angie; she’s pregnant with our third grandchild. She’s due in July. That will make a great Anniversary gift for Mary and me.
Mary and I both had our yearly colds already so hopefully that will be it for this winter. Other than having a tooth pulled and having to lose 20 pounds I feel lucky to be in such great shape.
I have come to another marker towards my retirement. I am glad to say that Mary and I now only have two more years to go until my retirement. Mary was reading our Latitudes and Attitudes Mag the other day and she literally came running over to me because Bob said you should pick a date that you are going to leave, even though it is not etched in stone. So I took Mary out to dinner that night and we discussed a time line. This is what we have come up with…
I will retire in January or April 2014, we will put the house up for sale in April. The summer of 2014 Mary and I will cruise the Chesapeake Bay getting Midnight Breeze ready for her trip south in November and at the same time move to our condo in Florida. We have decided on two possible destinations; Marathon Key or The Bahamas the first year. We will shore up on the final destination when the house gets sold. We are leaning towards Marathon the first year.
The second time line parallels the first exactly, up until November 2014. If the house is not sold by November, instead of cruising south for the winter, we will move into our condo in West Palm Beach and winter Midnight Breeze in the Chesapeake once again.
So the house will dictate both time lines.
We have both decided we want no lose ends before we take Midnight Breeze south for the winter.
In my next blog I will share some ideas I am pondering for work after retirement. Yea, I still have to work I have a boat to pay for!
Until next time, May your compass always point in the direction YOU want to go!
03 November 2011 | Bay Bridge Marina
This past Monday we had our winter cover installed for the first time by the company we bought it from, New York Canvas. The purchase price included the first install free of charge and we used it as a training session. I can’t say enough about New York Canvas. First, they said they would be there at 10am and they were there at 10AM. They said it would take two hours to put the cover on and it took two hours. Now here is the kicker, the owner of New York Canvas, Fred, showed up to do the install. How’s that for service with a smile. To top it all off he gave us a few pointers on checking the cover throughout the winter then said he’d be back in two weeks to do some adjusting to the cover due to wind a stretching. Like I said I can’t say enough about this company! Remember the name New York Canvas. Tell them Dave from Bay Bridge Marina sent you!
I have some pictures of Midnight Breeze being pulled and I’ll post them soon. The bottom looked to be in great condition, which is no damage! I was able to get the fresh water system winterized while waiting for the canvas dealer to show. We did make one big mistake and believe me I have learned from this mistake. We had the boat pulled the week before the cover was installed. Guess what we found when we came down to install the cover? Yep, bird shit all over the deck and dodger. And no water to wash it off, so we had to do everything by hand. What a royal pain in the ass! Next year, if we pull the boat, the cover is going on the same day. This will be the itinerary: Wash, wax, haul, and cover! I will not make that mistake twice!
Already I am missing the boat, I’m bored! But next summer’s itinerary is already being planned. The first item on the list is a new laptop and charting program that will work with our Ray Marine chart plotter. The computer as of now depends on price, but the program is going to be Fugawi ENC Charting Software. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. I have had The Capn software for almost 14 years but I just can’t get it to work with Ray Marine chart plotter. I’m also setting up a WIFI network onboard so I can use my IPAD Novionics program that talks with my chart plotter. I’ll be able to input waypoints and routs on my IPAD and transfer them to my chart plotter or go from my chart plotter to my IPAD. I used the program this past summer as a solo program and I am pleased with the accuracy quality of the charts that came with the program. The program can be bought at the Apple Store for around $49.95 with the charts.
Winter Break is Finally Here
15 October 2011 | Pikesville, MD
Dave/Cool 50 degrees
Well, it’s done! Midnight Breeze has been winterized and hauled out for the winter and Mary and I are leaving for Ft. Pierce, Fl tomorrow for a well deserved vacation. We are going to need it, as soon as we get back things get moving again. With the holiday season knocking on our front door and a retirement seminar in November we are going to be busy. But it’s not going to be all play and relaxation in Florida either. We have plans on driving down to Marathon and Miami to check out some Marinas for possible future use when we head south. We do have a little more work on Midnight Breeze when we get back. Last week we purchased a winter cover for her and with the purchase, the Canvas Store is sending a representative down to show us how to put the cover on for the first time. We also have the fresh water system to winterize. A day’s work and that’s it. AS I reflect back on this season I wished we had gotten out more. With the new boat being delivered in the first week of May and taking time getting to know her I was not as comfortable taking her out all the time. I waited for perfect weather and if there was a hint of bad weather we stayed in the marina. August and September were a wash because of the hurricane that dumped more than 14 inches of rain on us and 3 inches of that ended up in my basement. After that we had another 8 inches and the bay was not fit to sail in because of all the floating debris. Some of those that did venture out ended up with damage caused by this wash-off debris. So that brings us up to date for now.
Mary and I did make the sailboat show in Annapolis this past week and came away without spending any more money. Over the winter we will access our financial standing and determine whether we can add a wind generator or solar cells this spring. I know what you are going to say and after talking to some old salts at the boat show I’m back to thinking of solar cells first then the wind generator. I would get more use out of the solar cells in this area for the next two years than the wind generator so they may have to come first. I am also looking forward to going trick or treating with my grandkids this year.
Until next time stay safe!
23 September 2011 | Bay Bridge Marina
Well, our minds are made up and our winter purchase for an upgrade for Midnight Breeze has been decided. No wind generator and no solar cells this season. We decided to go with a winter storage cover instead. Mary and I were out getting prices for winterization and the cheapest shrink wrapping we could find was $950.00. WOW! What a waist! So, we shopped around and found a good boat show price through The Canvas Store out of New York. In three years it will have paid for itself and on top of a good boat show price we also got free shipping and installation the first time around. Mary and I both feel we couldn’t have done any better. And at least the canvas cover is reusable and will not pollute the environment and is guaranteed for the life of ownership! I’ll post some pictures at a later date when the canvas gets installed.
Mary and I were reflecting back over this season and trying to figure out what we would have done differently. We both said more anchoring out and less eating out! However, considering this was our first year with Midnight Breeze II we cut ourselves some slack. Next year we have decided to anchor more. We have a nice grill and have never used it. I blame no one but myself for that. Being too lazy! One item that we have decided on is a departure date for heading south! Mary was reading the latest copy of Latitudes and Attitudes and the big man with all the body art said you must set a departure date even though it is arbitrary and may change. He goes on to say you have to have a goal to challenge yourself with, even though that date is fluid. So, we looked at the calendar and decided on the spring of 2014. I’ll be able to retire from government service in October of the 2013 and plan to cruise the Chesapeake as a warm-up in the summer of 2014 before heading south right after the boat show in October of that year. We hope we can meet up with some experience cruisers and follow them the first year to get some experience ourselves. So it is finally done, we have a date and with that comes a plan of action. I’ve already signed up for the retirement conference at work in November. The Gov says you should start your planning and exit strategy two years before you retire so that is what we are doing. Both Mary and I have started cutting back on our possessions and making plans on moving our base of operations from Maryland to West Palm Beach where we have our retirement condo. We have been repairing the condo over the last two years and almost have it where we want it. The last thing we will do is sell the house here in Maryland, take one of the cars to Florida and leave the other here in MD. Our plan still has us cruising the Islands during the winter months up north and returning to MD in the summer to work in replenishing our cruising kitty and visit family and friends. We do have some aspirations of one day taking Midnight Breeze south during the hurricane season to Aruba then continuing to South America, Central America, Mexico and a Texas stop over to visit family, before returning to the Islands and MD. Once that has been completed I want to see this great country of ours by RV. I have spent most of my working life working for this great country of ours and I would like to see it all before I die. If I live to see that end then I’ll think up something else. I’m not going to lie down when I retire because I do believe that’s the fastest way I know of to meet out maker, I’m not ready and I hope he’s not ready!
So until next time be safe and may the winds always fill your sails!
Watching Your Step!
04 September 2011 | Bay Bridge Marina
Dave/Sunny and Mild
Well, Irene is history and Midnight Breeze pulled through like the champ she is, without a scratch. We have the canvas back up but have not had the time to install the jib yet. We may hold off for this week on installing the jib since we have visitors coming. My cousin Dan and his girlfriend Cynthia are coming in today for crabs and spending the night and we might just have a visit from Katia. So it's wait and see for now.
Midnight Breeze has an appointment to be hauled for the winter on October 11th. Why so early you ask? We have several commitments for the month of October and I didn't want moving into November. So she's coming out early this year right after the sailboat show in Annapolis. Mary and I still have not decided on what to add to Midnight Breeze this winter but we are leaning towards either solar cells or a wind Generator. We only have money for one unit at this time and will add the other next year. We are also looking at a Sailrite unit for Mary. She is a good seamstress and wants to make a few things for the boat. I told her it would be her birthday and Christmas gift if she wants it.
A word of warning! Last year we bought a Rubbermaid step, a two stepper, to make it easier to get on and off the boat. It's been a good work horse up till now. Last week while putting the canvas back on Mary was getting off the boat when the steps literally caved in and sent Mary on her back between the boat and dock. She hit her lower legs on the dock fell back, hit her head on the haul of the boat, bent into a U and ended up in the drink! I saw her eyes close and thought she had knocked herself out. I was on my way in to get her when I saw her hand reach up. I grabbed her hand and pulled her over to the dock where she caught her breath. We had a mechanic servicing our engine at the time he came running over to help pull her out. She ended up being ok and swam over to the latter to get out. I took a look at the steps and noticed that the cross brace on the lower back of the steps had cracked in half which destroyed the integrity of the steps. They just caved in on themselves when Mary put pressure on them. The crack was due to the steps degrading from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Lesson learned, you get what you pay for. We are going step hunting this weekend! Mary is ok; she has a few bruises and a knot on her head, but in good spirits. If that in itself wasn't enough of an embarrassment you should have seen what happened to her when she was climbing the latter to get out!!! I'll leave that for her to tell. I've talked her into contributing her side of things in this blog and she should start to post soon. Until then, watch your step!