This long absence from blogging has been brought to you by Busyness! That’s the bad news. The good news is that we actually did it! We cast off our dock lines and sailed away from our slip!
Though it’s been completely worth it, the weeks, days, and hours leading up to the actual cast-off were a little tense. And did I mention busy? Believe it or not there were about a million things for us to do before we actually could leave. Here is a short list of the long list of projects we got done. (Keep in mind that a Boat Project is never as simple as A to B to C and so on. A boat project usually runs A to B to A to C to B to D and back to A again. By the time you get to the end you’ve forgotten all the reasons why, you have lots of spare parts and new tools because the project had to be reengineered 5 times, and you’ve created at least one new project. Add it to the list. Start all over again. Wash, rinse, repeat.)
Windlass (good news):
The Big Project, which we were working on since the end of October, was installing a new windlass. The previous owner pulled the old windlass out of the deck (that must have been exciting!) and had a piece of steel welded over the hole. That caused lots of problems for us. The least of these problems was that we couldn’t raise and lower our anchors except by hand. I’m working on my fitness but there was no way I was going to pull a 50 lb anchor out of the mud. All that is changed now, though! We have a lovely new windlass (that actually works!) a hole in the deck for the chain to go through into the anchor locker, and the inside of the boat is put back together. I mention all this because we got everything wired up, tested, and ready to go just 2 days before we were supposed to depart. Not. Stressful. At. All. Later we will do an in-depth post on how we fabricated the worlds most reinforced windlass mount.
Haul-out (bad news):
A week and a half before we were scheduled to leave we took advantage of the offer of our marina to do a short haul. This means that the boat was pulled out of the water by a big lift and we got to look at all the lovely things that were growing on the bottom which got removed by pressure wash. Unfortunately some of the bottom paint got removed, too. If you have been following this blog for a while you will remember that we had work done in North Carolina. This included (at least we were told it included) three coats of bottom paint. They didn’t do a good job and some bits of paint got blasted off all the way down to the steel in the pressure wash. This is not supposed to happen. Chalk another one up for that really crappy NC yard. Oh, and we also had a length of line wrapped around our propeller.
This could have been Very Bad News but it seems we picked it up just as we were pulling up to the lift so no damage was done. After removing the length of line we put the boat back into the water (yes, even without bottom paint in some places).
Navigation lights (mostly good news):
We haven’t had working navigation lights the whole time we have had this boat. The lights weren’t working when we tried to bring it from NC to NJ so Peter and Coastie Guy bought new lights. Unfortunately, when they tried to hook them up, they found that the wires had been cut by the yard when they were doing repairs (thanks, guys!). Instead of running new wires – the old ones had since corroded to the point of not working anyway – we decided, for the past two seasons, that it was just easier to not sail during the times when we had to run lights (which is sunset to sunrise or as conditions render it necessary, just in case you’re wondering). However, we now felt we had to have lights prior to departure (a lengthy, serious talking-to over the phone by Coastie Guy helped to reinforce the message). As all boat projects go this one became more and more complicated until we had lost all civility with each other. A lot of time was spent on trying to make it work. It did work in the end. It always does. It’s just a matter of figuring out what doesn’t work until you find out what does. We still have some “prettying up” to do so this project isn’t quite complete.
Dodger (goodish news):
I finally got the dodger up after only a year working on it. I had come to loathe the very thought of it but, when it actually was put up, it turned out to not fit too too badly. Although it’s still missing windows (for most of the year I had it shoved away in a corner of the boat, hating it and not working on it) it turned out to be an absolute life-saver on our trip. It blocks the wind and keeps the spray off the person who is warming up after steering the boat. I still hate it.
Here are some of the other things we did:
- Turn solar arch around and secure (the arch for our solar panels was pointing IN to our cockpit instead of hanging out the back. Now it’s not.)
- Mount solar panels on arch
- Patch hole in dinghy and inflate
- Caulk binnacle gasket to stop leak
- Get pigtail and hardware for second propane system
- Remove bimini (we actually did this while underway…)
- Mark anchor chain
- Provision with foodstuffs and sundownerstuffs
- Do last load of laundry
- Sell the car back to AllesGirl and HerSpouse and transfer the title. (We had to get a new title at the DMV after I checked the wrong box on the first one. I’m adorable.)
We had planned to leave four days before our lease was up. Then the plans changed to two days before (the weather was sour for a bit). Then it was one day. Then we realized that there was no way we were going to make it so we said we would leave on the day the lease was up. Then we talked to our neighbor (who was also leaving) and he said we had a one-day grace period before we would be towed out of our slip. So the bad news was that we left the morning of the very last day we could.
The good news is that we did actually leave.
There’s more good news: we bought a GoPro camera and filmed everything leading up to our departure (and lots of sailing on our way to Massachusetts!). We planned on a video to accompany this blog post!
The bad news is that I accidentally deleted all the footage.
The good news is that we are working on a new video.