Dreaming of Cruising

09 November 2009 | Port Kinsale Marina, Kinsale VA
05 November 2009 | Kinsale, VA
30 March 2008 | Red Hook, St. Thomas to Maho Bay, St. John
29 March 2008 | Red Hook, St. Thomas
28 March 2008 | Red Hook, St. Thomas, USVI

Assessing the project

09 November 2009 | Port Kinsale Marina, Kinsale VA
sunny, high 60's
The hardest part of making the trip to Kinsale is actually getting into the car and doing it. I finally dragged myself out of the house at 9:40 or so and set off. Despite leaving ridiculously late (especially since it gets dark so soon now) I decided I wasn't rushing down again and blowing past all the intriguing stuff on the way. As I approached Oak Grove, about 30 mi southeast of Fredricksburg, I saw signs for Ingleside Winery. I turned off the main road to follow the signs, hoping it was actually open. A lot of wineries in this area are only open weekends if at all in the off-season. Fortunately, this one was open.

After a nice wine tasting and the purchase of a few bottles of wine, I set off again. Entering the town of Montross I remembered that I saw a little coffee shop there last time through. Sure enough, I soon spotted Art of Coffee, a converted gas station, of all things. I stopped for coffee, then seeing their panini menu, decided I was hungry. I even managed to ignore the fact that I was now hours later than I wanted to be and sat down to enjoy my lunch.

Back on the road again, I finally got to the marina. At this point, maybe subconsciously I was stalling, as I decided to explore the other side of the marina that I didn't see last time. Maybe I was afraid I'd find the boat lying on its side after the jackstands collapsed or the keel fell off, I don't know. It would have been par for the course.

I pulled up next to the Skipjack Inn B&B and admired the view. Steps lead down to an actual sandy beach with an expansive view of the Yeocomico River.
(click on the photos below to see a larger version)

There are also four other small rental cottages, they are little prefab buildings. I have to say that they look a little small and under-maintained to command the rates shown on the website. Maybe they were a lot nicer inside. Of course, they did have nice views.

Finally I went to look for the boat. Much to my relief it was there and standing, in a pretty good spot. On a concrete pad right behind the main repair building. There was a power pole behind each pad. I didn't see a water source anywhere but I didn't look too hard.

The boat is really dirty, and the hull looks really bad with all the paint coming off. I think I will strip all of it off and start fresh. There are some chips and dings that will serve as an intro into fiberglass repair. There is some weird pitting/spalling of the gelcoat at the waterline that I don't quite understand....they're not blisters but I don't know what caused them.

I have to keep reminding myself I did only pay $800 for the boat. I knew I was going to have to do some work. And really, the boat could go right back into the water tomorrow, slap the new engine on the back, and be quite usable. You can't argue with that for what I paid. I would want to change out the running rigging before I actually sailed, and there are a lot of little things I WANT to do, but very little that I HAVE to do.

Lots more photos at Photobucket: On the Hard

Hopefully I can get back this weekend, it's supposed to be nice again. I have to get the water out of the water tank somehow.

Moving Day

05 November 2009 | Kinsale, VA
Well....it didn't start out to be moving day.....I loaded the car to the roof (for the third time) and set off on the 3 hour trek to Kinsale. (First time I got there and was informed the marina was holding the boat for debts owed by the P.O., second time I destroyed a tire about halfway there and had to return home....)

A little backstory....here are the photos of the marina and boat from when I bought it back at the end of May, when I found out it wasn't really mine after all......
You can see that the marina has seen better days.

Anyway, after a late start and a pit stop to vote, I got there and found this:
Video of flooded marina

The marina was deserted. The docks were under water. Well over a foot deep further out. I actually braved the flood and waded out to the end where my boat was to find there was no way I was actually going to be able to get on it. Had a winch fall out of the bag and disappear forever. My boat had sustained some damage to the hull as it was slamming into the top of the piling. As I was standing there wondering what ELSE could go wrong, a boat went by out on the river. As I watched the waves roll even higher over the dock in disgust and amazement I noticed many of the boards bobbing up and down as they were apparently only attached at on end. That was it. I had visions of all the boards drifting away one by one as I stood on an island of intact dock that kept shrinking. I even more gingerly waded back to the car and tried to keep from crying. So I was standing there, trying to figure out what the heck to do and angrier than I have been in a long time. I was perilously close to saying "screw this" and walking away from the boat for good. I pulled up the tide tables on my phone and found it was almost high tide. I decided I would go drive around and check out the other marinas in the area.....while there are quite a few, only two have the equipment to haul a sailboat. So I might have had to haul it at one place and move it again afterwards. I had been told to stay away from Port Kinsale (which was one of the two) as it was the most expensive marina around. I figured I'd go sightsee and come back at low tide and try again.

Well, none of these marinas are on my gps and the phone wasn't working great out in the boonies either. So I set off blindly, remembering I had driven by Kinsale Bridge Rd and thinking it had to lead to the bridge that leads into downtown Kinsale. I found the road, and immediately saw signs for White Point Marina and Port Kinsale Marina. I came to Port Kinsale first and decided to check it out despite the naysayers. I got out of the car, took a couple photos, and some guy came zooming up on a huge lawnmower. (I actually thought it was a golf cart!) I must have looked a bit distraught as he asked if I needed help.

I told him I had bought a 22' sailboat and was looking for a place to keep it, and that I needed it hauled, scraped and bottom painted. He said, "Well we can sure do the work, be glad to, but I don't know if you want to keep it here, we're the most expensive marina around. A slip at Kinsale Harbor just down the road would probably only cost half what we charge." I was suprised, that's pretty refreshing. He told me the fees for the hauling and whatnot and they were all comparable to what I'd seen other places. He said, "We can do it today, you wanna bring the boat over?" I said, "Well, I can't really do that....do think it's possible someone could go get it for me?" He said "Sure!" Two mechanics jumped in a little runabout and zoomed off. It was about 1.5 miles away by water. They towed it back....they were back so quickly I didn't even see them coming. I didn't even ask before they left what that was gonna cost me, I didn't care at that point. The situation had to be taken care of. When they totaled up my bill, the tow charge was $100. I was thrilled. Talk about money well spent.

Anyway, when they hauled the boat it had barnacles like I've never seen. It was awful. Barnacles combined with river slime. Ewww. They scraped for at least an hour. I have decided to leave it out for the winter and try to get some work done on it. Then in the spring I think I want to keep it there. They have a bar and restaurant, showers, wi-fi, water and electric at each slip, kayak/dinghy storage, a little store, a screened in deck overlooking the water, a pool, some cottages and a B&B, and a campground. I'm in the mood for amenities, and if this place is $2000 per year and the other place is $1000....well it isn't that much more money in the big scheme of things. This way if I drive down there and the weather isn't that great I can hang out at the bar instead. :-) Or sit on the boat and surf the web. And these people seem super nice and not looking to gouge a new boater.

Here are lots of photos of the marina and the haulout and also Kinsale Harbor Marina. Kinsale Harbor was a charming place too. However, it didn't look like they have electricity at the docks, and the restaurant/office/store is closed Mon-Tue. Which just so happens to be my days off. No repair facilities at all, either. So I'm leaning towards Port Kinsale.

Moving Day pics (high bandwidth version)
Moving Day pics (lower badwidth version)

short video clip of the haulout

Oh, and one thing I didn't think of when I ventured out onto that flooded dock at Sandy Point......a guy I worked with said, "Wow, good thing you didn't have electric there." I never even thought of that. I didn't, but there were outlets at some of the slips. I'm very lucky that there were no cords in the water. I'm so glad to be out of there. I felt like a big weight is off my chest. My shoes are still wet today. Unreal.

Hopefully it gets better from here.

Day Two, Sailing class

30 March 2008 | Red Hook, St. Thomas to Maho Bay, St. John
Sunday. We cast off in the morning and headed out to St. John. The first hour or so was spent in learning handling under power. One great advantage of a cat is having two engines 20 odd feet apart. This gives you great maneuverability. Of course, when you're driving a 45'x25' boat, you need it!

We did all this right outside Red Hook Harbour as there was a regatta going on just offshore in Pillsbury Sound. We didn't feel like blundering around anywhere near them.

Then we raised the sails and set off towards St. John. We sailed along the north shore of St. John, then up towards Jost van Dyke. We practiced tacking and jybing between Great Thatch Island and JVD. We finally headed back to St. John and picked up a mooring in Maho Bay.

We finished off the day by grilling some burgers.

Day One, Sailing class,

29 March 2008 | Red Hook, St. Thomas
Saturday. Class did not officially begin until 4pm so we had most of the day to explore. I elected to take the ferry to St. John, while Mary and Larry took the bus downtown. I wandered around Cruz Bay for a while and had lunch at Rhumb Lines Restaurant. The beach by the ferry dock was pretty and that's where the photo was taken.

When class officially began we started out with cruise preparation. We worked out a provisioning plan, including how many nights we planned to eat ashore, and worked out what everyone thought they might want to eat.

We then went on a "treasure hunt" on the boat. Bob gave us a long list of things we needed to find, count and describe, including fire extinguishers, bilge pumps, emergency tiller, fuel and water tanks and capacities, boat measurements and so on. It was an excellent intro to the boat and all the places you can stash stuff.

We talked a bit about the plans and objectives for the week, then headed out to dinner at some place with a lot of blue lights and shark tacos.

Went to bed early to get ready for the first day of sailing tomorrow!

Depart DC for American Yacht Harbor St. Thomas

28 March 2008 | Red Hook, St. Thomas, USVI
With six years to go before retirement I decided to take a step towards my retirement dreams. I renewed my passport in January and managed to get a week off in April. With little time to waste I started searching for sailing schools.

Since my retirement boat would be a catamaran,
that is what I looked for. I was also hoping to go to a nice locale where I would break in that
shiny new passport. I ended up booking a class with Fair Wind Sailing in the USVI on a 45'
Leopard cat.

I elected to arrive a day early and sleep aboard the boat the night before to get a handle on
what was what as well as protect myself in the case of any delayed flights. Happily, all the
flights were on time, but my snorkel gear disappeared enroute. I was told that since it was obvious what it was (a fin bag) that it was probably stolen when I connected in San Juan as there is a HUGE amount of baggage theft there. Shame on American Airlines for allowing that to occur.

The drive from the airport was one that I don't care to repeat.....I believe we were driving on
goat paths for a while there with a thousand foot dropoff on my side. With a ton of traffic.

Finally arrived at American Yacht Harbor, Red Hook, St. Thomas. This is a pretty impressive facility. I'm told their fees are impressive as well. I thought a 45' boat was big....it's on the small side in this area. Just incredible. I was the first one aboard, then Larry and Mary from Milwaukee arrived. Our Captain for the upcoming week, Capt. Bob, arrived soon after. The fourth and final student, Mike from Chicago, wouldn't arrive until the following day. The class starts tomorrow at 4pm so we have all day to ourselves. Larry and Mary and I had a nice dinner at Molly Malone's, enjoying some fantastic fish sandwiches, and turned in pretty early. The photo is of sunset over the slips at AYH.

Vessel Name: Gillyweed
Vessel Make/Model: 22' Westerly Cirrus
Hailing Port: Kinsale, VA
About: Planning to retire in 2014 and move aboard. In the meantime I am starting to learn to sail.
Extra: I recently bought a 22' Westerly Cirrus. Now I just need to get it shipshape and get out there.

Port: Kinsale, VA