Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

... Our first blog post from SeaClearly SSB radio on New Year's Eve 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Lagniappe

There is a saying  - "The two happiest days in a boat-owner's life are the day you buy the boat and the day you sell it". I can tell you, unequivocally, that for us, that just is not true.

Day 1 - 7/24/2004
We just sold our first sailboat. She is a Catalina Capri 22 named 'Lagniappe'. That is a Cajun/Creole word that, roughly translated, means "A little something extra".  And she has been. Once we were bitten by the sailing bug, we researched to find the perfect boat for us - under 25 feet, lots of cockpit space, a cabin, straightforward rigging. 'Lagniappe' is all that.

She taught us all the sailing basics we needed to move onward and upward. She gave us the confidence to tackle something bigger. We became sailboat people. Somewhere along the way, during those exhilarating sails on the sound in 25 knots winds and three foot waves, the seeds of a plan to sail away to warm, tropical places began to take form.

Lagniappe at rest
So, we moved up to a big boat. And it just doesn't make sense to keep everything. And we don't have the time to sail both boats. She was for sale here, at home, for awhile. Then we moved her to Oriental, the so-called 'Sailing Capital of North Carolina' for better exposure through a broker. It only took a few weeks for an offer to come in. After 8 1/2 years, we accepted an offer that was nearly 90% of the price we originally paid for her. But, I can tell you, it was a bittersweet moment.

We take consolation in the fact that she seems to be destined for an active life. We hope the next people she trains are as impacted by the experience as we have been.

We are thinking of naming the dinghy on SeaClearly 'Lagniappe II'

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Decorations

We had a pretty cool trip planned for Thanksgiving. We were going to Edenton. It is about a 10 hour sail directly west out of Colington. Cute town, free docking for two days. We made reservations for a slip just in case and they actually sounded excited that we were coming in for the holiday.

Unfortunately, we had 8 straight days of NorthEast winds at 20-40 . All of the water left Colington and went to - of course - Edenton. So we had about a foot less water than needed to get out of the harbor. People always ask why we have such a big boat in a shallow place. My response is always 'I didn't get this boat to stay here'. But on Thanksgiving, we stayed here.

We were depressed. With the kids working, busy, elsewhere and pregnant (first grand child on the way!), we were on our own for the holiday and Edenton had been our ticket. We ate our pre-prepared turkey and fixings that were supposed to be eaten under sail. Then we went for real comfort food - shrimp po'boys.

Finally, on Friday afternoon enough water returned to float us out into the sound just in time for the incessant wind of 9 days to abruptly stop. Really?

And, we had a new boat issue. Motoring out of the Harbour, we had a terrible vibration above 1500 rpm. So, we drifted around for a while and then limped home. Now we were really depressed. What can this be? Engine mounts, broken prop, bearings. Aghhh!

On Saturday - a very nice day - we made ourselves feel better by decorating SeaClearly with Christmas lights. We had a couple of hiccups (ask me about that sometime) but she looks good!
SeaClearly Decorated for Christmas!

Saturday night I lay awake thinking about our vibration problem. Today, starting with the simple, I decided to poke around the propeller and shaft with a long boat hook. I snagged something. With Junie turning the shaft by hand from inside the boat and me tugging from the dock, we un-decorated our prop. This is what we found.
Eight feet of 5/8 line, with knots and loops, snagged on our prop
Between decorating and un-decorating, we are feeling much better now. Maybe there was a good reason not to leave for Edenton. Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandy

Well, we survived Sandy with no discernible damage and consider ourselves very lucky. After Irene last year and the flooding, all of Colington was holding their breath. And after watching Lagniappe, our Catalina Capri 22, almost go down in the storm then, we were more than a little nervous about SeaClearly.
We do have a better pier and slip configuration with tall pilings (not attached to the pier). But still, she weighs in at a healthy 28,000 lbs. Push on that with tropical storm-force winds and - well, you don't want to get your fingers, arms or other body parts in the way.

We added extra lines, put on the old sail cover and tied it down, removed the Bimini top and connector, lashed down the boom, secured the furlers at the drums. Closed all seacocks, disconnected from shore power. Checked, double checked, triple checked. 
Ready and waiting for Sandy


We left the Wind Generator in operation. The manual says it is so smart that it will shut itself down if the wind gets too high. So, we thought, let's see just how smart you are.

The wind and rain started on Friday. And. It. Just. Kept. Going. Like Irene last year, it got to the point where you just wanted it over. We had constant winds in the mid 40's. If you haven't seen constant winds that means they never let up. They might gust higher but they never go below mid 40's. It is never calm, quiet or peaceful for days.

 We had gusts over 70 mph and still had winds over 40 mph through all day Tuesday. We were feeling very sorry for the poor Weather Channel girl that got the Outer Banks assignment.

Stop shaking the house! Stop blowing my boat over to those ridiculous angles! Stop pushing water into/out of our canal! Just go away! Oh no, she is going to hit the pilings again! Put on rain gear, run out into the hurricane and tie her down! Climb onto the wildly pitching boat - OK, this was mostly just because we wanted to get on the boat. We wanted to check on her. We had one or two small hatch leaks. Not bad for rain and wind like this.

Our preparation and on-going efforts helped avert the minor problems. We were fortunate not to suffer any catastrophies (like lines breaking, pilings pulling out, rigging snagged, headsails shredding or other boats breaking loose and ramming into us - as examples of the things Junie and I imagined would happen).

Wind Generator - thinking.

The Wind Generator performed exactly as advertised and kept our batteries fully charged throughout the storm despite having to run the bilge pump more than a few times (rain water - but that's another story). And it was entertaining to watch as it would peak out, brake itself, re-check the wind and go again. Pretty cool.

For all of our worry, we were all fine. Maybe a little stressed and exhausted. Actually, SeaClearly didn't seem too stressed. Neither did Roux. Nothing got broken, nobody got hurt. No floods. We had power, TV and internet the whole time. The ocean side of the Banks took a pretty bad shot this time and lost some houses, some beach. It is going to take a while to dry up.


We were much luckier than the folks up the coast to the north. Their damage is horrific. Our hearts go out to them.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I have been reminded that I am long overdue for a new post - so, here ya go!
It's been a couple of weeks since we got back from the 2012 Annapolis Boat Show. It was a very cool  long weekend. We got to drive a Container ship, mowed down a sailboat that got in our way, met some fellow Cabo Rico owners, got two highly sought after books (signed by the authors), spent a chunk of our boat funds - and never got on one boat at the show.

Junie bringing a Container ship into San Francisco
So. First, the Container ship. Through one of Junie's many 'best friends' that she meets on airplanes, we got hooked up with MITAGS - the Marine Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies. It is a training campus for Merchant Marines, captains, boat pilots, etc. They have, among other things, a very sophisticated simulator system. It is like a big 360 degree IMAX theater for teaching boat skills. Absolutely amazing.


We got to play with several different boats but the most educational was driving the Container ship. We got to see, first-hand (virtually) just how slow such a large ship responds.

Which is how we ran over a small sailboat that suddenly appeared half a mile ahead. Once you start trying to turn this ship, it is several minutes before anything happens. As our guide pointed out, the most useful tool the boat captain has at that point is the horn. We will give these guys plenty of room.



On to the Boat Show! We have been going for several years now but this time was really different. Since we won't be buying anymore boats - ever - we spent all of our time tracking down pieces, parts, safety gear. We spent 2 solid days in tents, comparing prices, asking questions. Aimee, you wanted a story about pirates. Well there were some there. Mostly in the marine electronics booths.

View of the Annapolis Boat Show from Eastport

In the evening we met up with some folks from the Cabo Rico users forum that we had been communicating with via the web. It felt like we already knew these people. Had a great dinner, shared stories. One of the guys, Thierry, has the CR42 built just before ours. He took us aboard one day. Really interesting to compare the subtle differences.

And the books. I am sure that everyone already has Lee Chesneau's 'Heavy Weather Avoidance and Route Planning' and Chuck Paine's 'My Boat Designs' but do you have signed copies? Ha!

Monday, August 13, 2012

One of the great things about Cabo Rico (the company) is their attention to detail. We appreciate this more every day. There have been several things we ran into that we didn't quite grasp how it worked - things that did not quite make sense.

Of course, it was our problem of understanding, not Cabo Rico's. Once you figure out what they did, it is usually a perfectly elegant solution. In fact, it crossed my mind that, in some ways, they are sort of like Apple devices - iPads, iPhones. If you stop and think how you would want it to work, that is probably how it does work.

Cabo Rico also delivers a complete set of prints of each individual boat - as-built. Wiring diagrams, schedules of equipment, routing of hoses, on and on. They even have simplified, illustrated user manuals of all key systems. And a complete pictoral history of the build process. We are very grateful that the first 2 owners preserved and passed on these wonderful reference materials. Talk about a benefit to troubleshooting! I am planning to image all of these so we have electronic copies because I have gotten so spoiled I would hate to ever lose them.


Just before disconnecting the Solar controls

Because, we have a lot of maintenance tasks. It is just part of the process.  My iPhone is filled with pictures of things I am about to take apart, things I need to buy and things I have heard could be useful.


Documenting a failed water heater

Junie found an excellent software package (name available on request) to track maintenance tasks and parts inventory. I call it the Quicken of boat maintenance. The setup is tedious but the benefit is an on-going list of things to check, test, replace, operate and replenish. It is just so easy to forget or let time pass without doing these things. While having a never-ending list can be a bit overwhelming, it sure beats the alternative of being surprised by things that don't work or stuff you don't have.

And, maintenance is to sailing like homework is to school classes - 5 hours for each one hour. That may seem like a lot. But somebody recently asked me if SeaClearly had turned out to be more of a pain than we expected. Hmmm. I realized that, for all of the work and hours and learning and research, I never thought of it as a pain. I think my patience is improving. Or maybe I just continue on my journey to 'old boat guy'. That's OK. Because there are also a lot of quiet times and sailing times.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dolphins are always good

I was reading some blog site the other day and the question was posed "When are you too old to be sailing?" There were many opinions - 60's, 70's, several 80+ sailors responded.

But my favorite answer was:

"No matter what age, when you stop saying 'Wow! Dolphins! Cool!' quit sailing and move ashore"




We left Manteo Saturday morning in a dead calm. We were, basically, a trawler with a big stick. But it was still pleasant. Then, the dolphins showed up. Five, ten, a couple dozen. Playing in our bow wake, leaping out of the water beside us, cruising along behind seeing what we stirred up.

 It was cool.

Junie, of course, was calling the dolphins as she has for years - "Hey Babies! Hey Babies!". Roux is also fascinated by them and, despite the fact that he was recovering from a restless night sleeping out in the cockpit while we were in Manteo, he was running around the deck barking. Or maybe he is saying "Hey Babies!". Who knows.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Live from Manteo!


First Friday in downtown Manteo. We got up early and motored through the fog to Manteo. We have a prime spot on the Manteo waterfront for the First Friday event. We are supposed to have skydivers and all sorts of entertainment.




















Roux found a comfortable spot on the gazebo.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Trying to get up-to-date

It has taken a couple of weeks to get this blog updated and tell the story of SeaClearly's homecoming trip. Now, I will try to stay a little more current. Filling in the past couple of weeks:
  • We took the kids (hardly kids, anymore - sorry guys) and kids-in-law out for a sail. I think they are questioning our sanity. So are we.
  • Started taking things apart, replacing things, maintenance schedules, lists.
    Watermaker
    
    Spares behind batteries! Who knew!

  • Found yet another storage locker that we had never seen (small compartment, under the settee, behind the house batteries). Full of watermaker spares. Sweet!
  • Set sail on a 3 hour tour - and, yes, it turned out like it sounds.
We left the dock right after one of Junie's 5:30 conference calls. I was preped to go, Roux (105 lb Chocolate Lab) went with us, casted off the lines. We were having a great time playing with the sails, investigating reefing line issues, talking about procedures. We had the full cutter rig flying and making a respectable 4.2 knots in not much wind when I glanced down and saw our depth getting skinny. The words 'We are going to need to come about real soon or...' didn't quite make it out of my mouth before we came to a soft, gooey stop in the Albemarle mud. Now, mind you, we know better than to be this far north coming out of Colington. We were just distracted, having too much fun with the new toy.

The wind is from the north, we need to go south - seems easy. We should just blow off. We have the full rig out. Yeah, right. We tried several common tricks but stayed stuck. By now, it is starting to get late. Beautiful sunset but the wind is shifting to the northeast - not good for us. That is the wind that sucks all of the water out of our side of the sound. I finally overcome my embarassment and we breakdown and call our BoatUS buddies. Their recommendation is to avoid trying to tow us at night. If you are OK, just sit tight and we will see you in the morning.

So, we did. We called our neighbors to let them know we decided to anchor out (then we fessed up). It was really not bad. We had spare clothes, some food, fuel. So, we sat. Our only issue was Roux. He has not, will not, do his business on any boat. Never has. Despite our encouragement, he holds out. For 18 hours.

Morning comes, BoatUS comes. Overnight, most of the Albemarle Sound has gone to Edenton so it takes them almost an hour to drag us to clear water. So much for the new bottom paint. Captain Harry then follows us all the way to Colington and, indeed, has to pull us one more time over the bar into the Harbour.
We get back to the dock and Jack has a 'Welcome Home' sign scribbled on a piece of plywood. The water level has dropped almost 2 1/2 feet from when we left yesterday. Roux was very excited about getting off the boat. Checking out all of the strainers, systems doesn't uncover any serious issues from our episode. More live and learn.

That brings us up to today. The dock work barge is finally gone. We are planning to sail to Manteo for First Friday. Pioneers, they never say die.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homeport

April 13, 2012 - Friday the 13th. Absolutely nothing unlucky about this day for us. SeaClearly has come home. Our friends Dennis and Marsha were at the Colington Harbour Sound Park to welcome us home and get videos of us gliding in. Thanks for the welcoming committee!

After weeks of lying awake wondering what this would be like, we were making the last few canal turns to bring her to her new homeport.
Our next-door neighbors (and friends), Jack and MaryLou, are waiting for us with cameras and cheers. More welcoming committee! How cool is that?

The dock work (which, some of you know, has been in-process for a ridiculously long time) got done just in time. The work barge is still there but we have a pier and mooring poles. We have shore power, even lights.

Now, for the final challenge of the morning - docking the new boat in the new slip with the neighbors watching and filming. What are the odds of this going well?

But, we are blessed with favorable winds and a lucky Friday the 13th and we, collectively, nail it. Don't even rub a rubrail. We are in!


Within a short time, we have the entire family around, neighbors and friends, and a good old-fashioned cookout going on. Thanks to everyone for coming. It isn't long before there is a group of folks sitting around the cockpit talking about boats. This is perfect.


We have had a wonderful trip, learned a lot, got along OK because of what we know and inspite of what we don't. Now we start the real journey - really learning the boat, the systems, the processes, getting to know our sailing-selves better, putting things in their boxes and learning to think outside of them. Suddenly, the time we have allotted to come up to speed and head off on our sailing adventures doesn't seem very long. 

Manteo

April 12-13, 2012 - Once we got past our engine trouble, we had a pleasant day sailing up the Pamilco towards Manteo. We actually had a 'Plan B' point where would have to divert to an anchorage if it looked like we couldn't make it all the way before dark. We were making good time when the decision point came so we kept moving.

The last stretch of the day is a very familiar route for us. We have, many times, gone from Colington down to Oregon Inlet, into the ocean and back. We never had to contend with a 5' 6 draft or a 56' mast clearance. So our concerns focused on hitting bottom and hitting top. We stayed to the channel and knew the turns so bottom was not a problem. When we got to the bridge near Pirate's Cove the evening was settling in - still, flat, getting dark. The recorded bridge clearance is 'around 60 feet' - not very comforting. We eased up to the bridge and got so nervous that we, literally, came to a complete stop and drifted under the bridge. Man, that looks close looking straight up!
It was dark as we made the turn(s) into Manteo but, once again, these are familiar waters. A little help from the charter got us into the anchorage right off the lighthouse without trouble. (Well, there was one bit of excitement when we almost took out an unlit sailboat).



Many times we have been to Manteo and have seen the boats anchored there and wondered who they were. This time, it was us.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Idleness yields Atrophy

Just like people, boats are not designed to sit around doing nothing. And, usually, if you do nothing, something bad comes of it. The damage may not be obvious but it should be expected.
In our case, almost every thing that we have had to fix on SeaClearly was a direct result of sitting on the hard for almost 2 years. While she waited for us to show up and take her home, things got older, dried out when they were supposed to be moist or got wet when they were supposed to be dry.

As we came across Pamlico Sound, the engine High Temperature alarm went off. I throttled back and the temperature immediately started dropping until the alarm shut off. So, we went below to check the situation before shutting down. We found that the belt that looked pretty OK through inspection and survey was, in fact, dry rotted. It was dissolving into a fine black mist that was coating the engine compartment while it flapped loosely around the water pump and alternator. Quick back up to shut down the engine. Push the big red 'stop the deisel' button and exactly nothing happened. So, of course, just as you push an elevator button harder to make the lift come faster, I pushed the button harder. This only raised my frustration level and did nothing to shut down the engine.
Engine before black powder. How clean!
What happened next was nothing short of funny. We all scrambled in different directions doing what we do best - finding the resource that will give us the answer fastest. Printed copies of Yanmar manuals and Nigel Calder's boat bible appear from nowhere while the new-boat-idiots try to figure out how to stop the engine.

OK, there is a stop solenoid somewhere. It looks nothing like any of these pictures. Go push the button again while I watch. Wait! Something tried to move. Let me help it. Yes! Alright, step one accomplished. 

We were pretty sure we had a spare belt and we did - 2, in fact. (We swear we will be as diligent stocking spares as the prior owners). It's an easy job to replace the belt. Start her back up. Well, not so fast. Those alternators don't charge so well when the belts are just flapping around. We had to jump ourselves off the house batteries to get fired up.

Then, we all sat back, sort of relieved and thought 'Well, that was fun'. Could have been much worse. Two hours earlier we would have gotten tossed around, maybe at a bad spot. If there were no spares, no references, no tools - we would have been screwed. So, we live and learn.
On towards Manteo.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

From Ocracoke

The peaceful achorage at Ocracoke turned into a windy, choppy night. We were very worried about the anchor holding since we have very limited experience. Other boats that looked far away in the daylight with a breeze from the northwest looked bigger and closer at night with 25 - 30 knot winds from the north. Everybody swing!
Regardless, we all slept soundly (due to previous short nights, long days). We got up and had coffee and reflected again on how nice our new floating home really was - sort of like camping in a condo. Also, inside of SeaClearly is cozy. To the point that you have no idea how bad the weather is outside. When we went out to clear the decks and prep to leave, we found out. Just plain snotty. We already expected the wind change and that we were probably motoring all day headed north. The wind speed was (as usual) a good bit higher than the mechanical voice on Channel 4. We decided to go anyway since our (again, limited) experience had shown us that SeaClearly doesn't mind the weather much.
Weighing anchor was a bit more exciting than dropping. Junie and Jeffrey were on anchor duty. As soon as the hook came off the bottom, we started blowing toward shore. They were diligently trying to wash down the chain and couldn't quite understand why I was yelling 'Get it up! Get it up!' (Sorry, no pictures. There are seldom pictures of the difficult situations because, well, everybody was busy) We got underway safely but the resultant Silver Lake mud that made it into the anchor locker would come back to haunt us.

This is the picture that met us as we turned north out of the channel. Fortunately for us, we were 'sailing on the patio'  motoring along in the comfort of our full enclosure. The Pamlico Sound has a nasty reputation and it was giving us a small taste today. Steep waves, short period, multi-directional 4 - 6 foot seas with constant 25 - 30 + winds. As spray flew over the cabin roof and 6 inch rivers of water streamed down the decks, we were warm and dry and commenting things like 'Wow, it's ugly out there' as though it were somewhere else. SeaClearly is a wonderful, solid platform.

So, we motored along for several hours, mashing waves, checking routes, snacks. The weather and the seas improved a little bit. We started entertaining ourselves chasing down the flies that had joined us. Remember that Silver Lake mud? Apparently it attracts visitors.

Everything was just great until the Engine Temperature light came on. I know. This is starting to read like a serial adventure. Hey, I'm just telling the story.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ocracoke Silver Lake

April 11, 2012 - We had a cool trip from Oriental to Ocracoke. Easy sailing, enough sights to keep it interesting. Lunch from the galley while underway. Not bad.

The trip planned out at about 36 nm - short by cruising standards but significant for us. Since we got a pretty early start we expected to show up before dinner time and, despite having planned a dinner on the boat, we had all been privately formulating a way to get dinner at some cute restaurant ashore.

The approach to Silver Lake is not difficult but it is a little unnerving. There is ferry traffic, obvious sandbars, things sticking up, narrow sections and markers that switch from green-on-the-right to red-right-returning in the middle of a hard port turn. But we felt pretty special clearing the channel and drifting into the harbor with the lighthouse watching us come in.


Now, we had a couple more first-time challenges. Number 1 - anchoring. The only time we have used the anchor / windlass was to drop it to the bottom in 7 feet of water to test it. Suddenly, we have to make all of those choices and take all of those actions we have read about, studied, planned for.
  • Pick the spot where you want to end up.
  • Motor up into the wind to where you need to drop anchor.
  • Come to a stop and let the backward drift begin - help the drift if necessary.
  • Start letting out chain. Keep pointing so the captain knows where the anchor is.
  • Thank the previous owners for marking the chain lengths with colored paint and recording the colors / lengths inside the foredeck locker.
  • Get your scope where you want it - 7:1 - and check that you are clear of other boats in case of wind shifts.
  • Make sure she sets properly (and add a little reverse just to be sure - even though a lot of people say you shouldn't need to).
  • Dig out the 'snubber' - a bridle that you attach to the anchor chain to keep the tension off the windlass.
  • Shut down and congratulate the crew!

We make a couple of quick phone calls to notify the family that we made a safe passage and, almost before we hang up, they are checking us out on the Sliver Lake webcam (what a world we live in) and watching us (Challenge number 2) take the dinghy off the davits, get the motor off the brackets and on the the dinghy, hook up and go.

Of course, by this time, everybody's secret plans to get ashore have become obvious and the justifications made. We pile into the dinghy and head across the harbor and find that cute little restaurant. Nice ending to a nice day. Tomorrow will be different.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Leaving Oriental

It takes a good deal of logistical planning to leave the dock - even for a short trip and, especially, when you are still learning your boat. First, the crew. Our middle son, Jeffrey, from Denver enthusiastically volunteered to fly out and help us bring SeaClearly home. We were grateful for the offer and set that up before he changed his mind.
The calendar is always a challenge at our house. Between business trips and daily life, it can be tough to get things to align. Short story - April 10, June was home (a somewhat rare occasion for the business traveler), I was driving back from a trip and Jeffrey was flying into Norfolk and picking up a Hertz car to ferry us to Oriental. It is always a surprise when these things come together. By 5:00 pm, we are packed into the rental and headed down the (familiar) road to Oriental.
We have been watching weather windows for 2 weeks and we are looking pretty good. After our grounding on arrival to Oriental a few weeks back, we are still nervous about the water level. And, with good reason. On a good water day, SeaClearly's deck is at, or slightly above, the bulkhead at Deaton's. We arrive to find her deck 2 feet below the bulkhead and only reading 0.4 feet of water. Not good.
But, we start down our checklist and hope for the best. There were a few minor repairs (not the stuff that makes interesting blogs), packing, unpacking, returning the rental car (thanks to Karen Deaton for the use of her car) and a couple of cans of diesel for comfort.  We took a few minutes for a glass of wine and a planning session then quick sleep.

April 11- I woke up first and one glance out the port tells me all I need to know. It is sunny and clear and I am looking over the bulkhead! The water came in during the night. We are out of here!

Our next stop is Ocracoke. Junie has our course plotted in both the Raymarine and the iPad nav tools. We run through our list again and take care of the last, important item before departure - Christening. We are firm believers in satisfying the powers-that-be but probably not as superstitious as some. I did buy a pretty good bottle of Champagne from Chip's Wine Market. Since Chip and Tammy were such an influence on our decision to make this leap, I figure it has to be good karma. Thanks guys.
With our crew and a few of our boatyard friends in attendance, we did a slightly abridged modified new English version of renaming, poured champagne onto SeaClearly (not on the teak!) and into the waters to appease the gods of the sea. Then, it seemed like rather quickly, we were shoving off.


All of our worries about depth were ungrounded (sorry) and we cleared the channel without incident. Soon, we were under full sail and headed East. Unbelieveable!

Bringing the baby home...

Fast Forward time.
We spent 5 weeks in the boatyard. We traveled back and forth every weekend until we knew the roads and turns far too well (turn left just after the antique fire truck). We met some great people, had some memorable experiences, enjoyed Oriental. And, we got some work done

  • Teak - All exterior teak was refinished and got 8 coats of varnish. Peter (the teak guy) did a wonderful job. We may never be able to afford it again but she looks amazing.
  • Canvas - More yards of canvas than you can imagine. Dodger, Bimini, Connector, Full enclosure, covers, screens. We created an entire patio - and learned to love it already. The Inner Banks folks are artists.
  • Rigging - a couple of minor adjustments
  • Rubrail - Our own project. We removed, cleaned, rebedded and reinstalled the entire thing. I got obsessive and wore out my thumbnails scrapping rust stains. There are a lot of screws in a rubrail.
  • Mechanical - We traded in a wimpy, corroded SS mixing elbow for a very manly bronze - $$. Alignment and repack. Not too bad.
  • New name - We got the official name and hailing port on - SeaClearly  Kill Devil Hills, NC

And now, we are ready to bring her home.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Moving Day - Part Deux

March 9, 2012. So, we are off to Oriental, NC. The first stretch of our trip is through the Adam's Creek section of the ICW. Peaceful - especially in the pouring rain. Junie was recovering from our departure from the harbor. In her estimation, I had become 'super captain' just because we had managed to escape without hitting anything. Lowered expectations.

A few minutes into the trip, we passed under our first bridge. It is frightening how tall a 55 ft mast appears to be when passing under a 65 ft bridge. Glad we are not taller.

Still raining and starting to blow as we leave the creek and head into the Neuse River. Fortunately, Junie had attached the dodger and bimini the night before even though the windows are all missing. That is part of the work to be done while in Oriental. At least it provides a little protection from the 25 knot wind and the rain and the 48 degrees temperature. But we are grinning from ear to ear.


Our destination is Deaton's Yacht Service boatyard. They are, among other things, the BoatUS towing representative in the area. We have called them multiple times over the last week to advise them that novice sailors with a big boat are headed their way. They informed us that they have some shoal areas coming into Whitaker Creek. So, I did the only prudent thing and joined BoatUS.

Within sight of the entrance, between the last set of markers, we once again proved that our depth gauge was perfectly calibrated. When it said 'zero ft', we stopped. Backed up and tried moving to starboard as recommended. Bump. Port. Bump. Finally finished the job, got firmly grounded and called our new best friends to come and get us. Leave your pride at the dock. (Side note: BoatUS sends a summary of what they pay the towing rep. Let's just say that it was worth joining - about 6 times over).

Optimistically thinking we must be past the challenges for the day, we arrive at Deaton's - and the only slip they have open for us is up the channel, 2 ft wider than our boat with boats parked behind us leaving a 50 ft wide space for us to turn our LOA of 45' 4". With limited drama, we get docked, high-fives, and we have arrived.

Our plan is to get some teak refinishing, new canvas, bottom paint and some check-out. Anyone with a boat knows what happens to a plan once you get into a boatyard.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Moving Day - Part 1

March 9. We arrived in Beaufort (Core Creek Marina) last night to get ready for our maiden voyage as the proud new owners of 'Solas'. We spent the night on her (in a parking lot, up on jackstands) in order to be there for an early launch next door at Jarrett Bay boatyard. We were feeling pretty special.



Right on schedule, the Travel-Lift came rolling (ooohh sooo sloowllyyy) across the yard to pick us up. We jumped in the truck to get to the launch slip around the corner.



Now, if you remember the survey day picture, you will notice an empty, peaceful dock and bulkhead area with a beautiful 'Solas' standing all alone. Not today! The launch area was packed! Boats lined up along the entire length of the bulkhead, a rusty 75 ft shrimp trawler taking up half of the passage - and they have to launch us stern first into the only remaining 50 ft slot (see below) just out of the travel-lift bay. Meaning that, at best, we are going to have to back out of the 600 ft long channel. Backing is not one of my talents. Believe me when I say that the picture does not tell the story in this case.





So, we figure, we will at least wait until a few of these boats shuffle around and make some space. No chance. The boatyard has another launch ready to go and we need to move!


'You want to get her started and check her for leaks, Captain?' Oh wait, that's me!

The rest of the departure story really needs to be told in person so you can see the facial expressions and desperation. Short story, after a few semi-graceful pirouettes and lucky breaks, we cleared the harbor. All of the boaters smiled and waved - or laughed and waved - whatever. We were off on our 15 mile trip to Oriental.







Survey Day Recap

We have been a little slow with updates because a lot has happened. The next few entries should help us catch-up and, also, remember how much has gone on.

We had our offer accepted. And then, the logistical fun begins!


Arranging survey, travel schedules, writing checks (the first of many), phone calls, phone calls. And then the 'Holy s#@%!" What are we doing?! The recurring thought is ' We are just too stupid to buy this boat'. This boat has already been more places than I ever dreamed of going. She may reject us.









Regardless, we are off and running.


Survey Day dawned bright and clear. Michele (our broker), Mike (the soon-to-be-previous owner), Bert (the Surveyor), John (the other broker) all showed up on-time with appropriate amounts of coffee. Everything went very well. We learned a lot, saw a lot. Mike was great and gave us insights into systems and operation that were not obvious. All in all, a good time was had by everyone. I can't believe that all surveys and sea trials go like this but we had an excellent time. And we started setting precedents. We ran aground. More on this later.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Solas" passed her survey and sea trial looking like a real beauty! 

Mike, her owner, was so generous with his experience and insights.  He had to fight back tears a couple of times and so did we.  All and all it was a very pleasant day on the water.


We have officially accepted her and are planning on the closing during the week of March 5th.  We will take her to Oriental, NC for some TLC and hope to have her home by our anniversary. 

When we look at these pictures, we can't believe that it is real.