Saturday, June 23, 2012

New boat delivery

Well we did it. We bought a new, to us, boat. It’s a 2003 Outbound 44. Her prior name was ‘Ginger’. Her new name is ‘Georgia’. Turns out we misspelled Jeorgia on our J/37. Seems like a distinct lack of imagination, but lots of folks know us as Jeorgia, so we decided to keep the name something way close. Also, I couldn’t resist the comments from the S. Carolina bridge tenders. You go under one of the opening bridges there and they always ask for the boat name and home port. We tell them Jeorgia and Seattle. The response is something drawled out like “Georgiaaa, what’s a boat from Sea- At- hell doin’ with name like dhat?’
Here’s Chris signing away for the new home.
We really like Jeorgia. Great sailor and actually a fun boat to cruise. Since this is our full time home, we just wanted more space and more storage. The Outbound (new Georgia) has a ton of storage. It has great galley layout. Even more important it has a man-cave. The port side locker is dedicated machine room/workshop. I can hide back there and Chris isn’t even allowed to come in. What a treat it was to take a frozen shackle back there and break it loose on the mounted vice.

Sign on man-cave
We bought the boat from a couple who has had it up in Cape Breton for the last few years. If you don’t know where Cape Breton is, join the club. It is very near the frozen north of Canada. They call it the Canadian Maritimes. It is just above Nova Scotia, with the biggest nearby city being Halifax, a mere 4 ½ hours drive. Nova Scotia is way east, located almost directly above Bermuda. The boat was at the Cape Breton Boat Yard. Nice folks. The owner, Henry, was very helpful. He sees almost all the high latitude cruisers who are headed to New Foundland or Greenland as they come through his marina.
One day when I’m feeling particularly cynical I think I’ll write a blog on boat buying. There was a listing broker for the Outbound plus we had our friend Torben off of Tivoli on our side (Torben Bensten Passage Yachts San Francisco, Torben and Judy flew up to Halifax and drove us to Baddeck, Cape Breton for the sea trial. It was great to get back together with them.
Right now we are doing the delivery back to Virginia. The goal is cross to Cape Cod from Nova Scotia. Then head through the Cape Cod Canal to Rhode Island. Work our way down Long Island and sail past the Statue of Liberty. Then beeline down the NJ and Delaware Coasts to the entrance to the Chesapeake. We need to get the Outbound down near Jeorgia so we can unload our cruising gear from Jeorgia. Then we’ll do some cosmetics and get her on the market. Know anyone who wants clean J/37 with a brand new Yanmar engine?
We are back in whale and sea lion country. We think this is a humpback who came to visit us on the passage from Baddeck to Halifax. It is also cold and wet – first day of summer or not.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chesapeake Bound

There are a hundreds of markers on the Intracoastal Waterway, ICW, that you have to pay close attention to. The channel is not wide in most places and it shoals very quickly. The markers with working osprey nests are the most entertaining. We ran aground lightly hitting the mud 3 or 4 times coming up the ICW. Not something that an east coaster worries about, but disconcerting for us west coast sailors. We did hit something solid, probably a tree trunk, near Myrtle Beach. Not a pleasant sound.
Some of the marker entertainment is a little tacky.
There’s two routes on the ICW from NC to the Chesapeake. We took the Great Dismal Swamp Canal route. How could you not with a name like that? The canal was started by a company run by George Washington. It’s purpose was to assist in clear cutting the swamp of high value lumber like cypress trees. There’s a lock on each end that moves you up 8 feet or so. The swamp was part of the underground railroad in pre-Civil War days, where southern slaves would hide while they tried to escape to the north.
An evening anchorage in the Dismal Swamp
When we got to Norfolk, VA we anchored at Hospital Point. The buildings above are the Navy hospital there. This is the hospital that Chris was born in --- a few years ago.
We headed up the Chesapeake with every intention of making Annapolis. There was a weather forecast of 4 to 5 days of north winds blowing 15 to 25 kts. When we got out there we were motoring into steep chop and winds in the 20kt range. Best we could make was 2 to 3.5 kts. At that rate we were not going to make Annapolis in time. So we called up our friends from El Salvador, Tom and Carey on Dragon’s Toy, and asked them about the marina they were at. It was just up the York River from where we were. Turns out they had a slip available we could get for a month. It was $300 a month less than Annapolis and in a really nice setup. Free breakfast on the weekends. A courtesy car you can take into town to shop. Good marine store too. Plus we’d get to catch up with Tom and Carey.
After the tallship Godspeed (above) passed us going downwind, we tucked in our tails and headed to Gloucester Point, where York River Yacht Haven is located to put Jeorgia into a slip for a month, the ICW trip being over. The trip was good, even though we really pushed it to get north. We only hit one fuel dock – and that one twice.
We are leaving today to fly up to Cape Breton to do a seatrial on what should be our new boat. If all works out, we’ll sail her down the NE coast and back to the York River. Then we’ll take our cruising gear off Jeorgia, clean her up and get her on the market.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Save Money, Do-It-Yourself Boat Repair

Whenever practical I always try to do my own work on the boat. I learn something each time and I know where things are when it breaks and I need to fix it in some remote location. Sometimes I know it requires more expertise than I have. Then I’m willing to get someone in to help as long as I can watch and learn.

Sometimes DIY doesn’t save a lot. This moron apparently sent his cushions out for new upholstery. When he got them back he re-installed them with dry-wall screws.
Completely irrelevant, but couldn’t resist…
We’re making good time up the ICW, heading toward Annapolis and enjoying the scenery. Will be doing the Dismal Swamp Canal tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

ICW Bound

We had a good two day sail up from Ft Lauderdale. It blew hard out of the SE, S, W and NW – just for variety – between Ft. Lauderdale and Cape Canaveral. Then things got light and we ended up motoring past Jacksonville into Brunswick, GA.  The irony of this trip was that we needed to be in GA by June 1st for our insurance to stay valid and cover hurricanes. In the past week two out of season tropical depressions had  just hit the area.
We rented a car and drove an hour back south to visit with our sister-in-law Mary in Jacksonville.  She was busy being ah, dare I say, grandma to Dylan Rell (named for, well you know the first name, and Rell Sun, a surfer girl from our generation).  Dylan took us for a nice walk around the St Johns River mansions. And Mary treated us to some real home cooking. It was a short, but good visit.
Then it was back off to the boat. We had hoped to get the 50 hour Yanmar service done in Brunswick, to keep up the warranty on the new engine. After talking to the mechanic there who first said that he was way too busy to get to it in the next few days, and then told me he didn’t didn’t do valve adjustments on Yanmars (!), we just figured it was better to push on to Savannah and go with a Yanmar dealer. W. W. Williams, the dealer in Savannah, sent Kevin to do the work. Nice guys, who were really timely and did solid work.
We wanted to head offshore to make some better time, but a cold front was coming down from the north and we just couldn’t see beating to weather offshore when we could motor up the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)  in relative peace, getting a good nights sleep each night
Getting to just south of Charleston SC was pretty easy. The continual bird parade on the ICW kept Chris busy. She located about 206 houses she’d like to buy once we stop this sailing stuff, all with long docks across grassy marshes to the water. The scenery was pretty cool. The cold front came through today and we had dumping rains and 25kt winds on the nose for most of the  day heading to Charleston and past it. The first time the foul weather gear and boots had come out for more than a year.
Tonight we are anchored in Minim Creek at mile 515 on the ICW. A long day to get here, 6am to 8pm, with no overtime. Calm, way remote, we are the only boat and silence is only broken by the caws of the cranes and herons fighting over their branch to roost on for the night.