Monday, April 29, 2013

Visitors!

We had visitors this week. First, our new-found friend Thierry came to see us in his Nordic Tug Puffin II. We had been expecting him to show up at some point in his travels back up the East Coast.


SeaClearly and Puffin II
Thierry is the proud owner of, not one but, two beautiful boats (maybe more). His other vessel, the one that led to our initial meeting, is Curlew, Cabo Rico 42 #12 - the boat built right before our's in the Costa Rican boatyard. Thierry actually commissioned and built his boat and visited Costa Rica during the process. While there, he saw the future SeaClearly hull in the mold.

We got a chance to see Curlew in person last year during the Annapolis Boat Show. Now he got to visit SeaClearly. There are only 18 of these boats in existence so it is neat to get to see them.


Puffin II headed north
It is also fun to compare the two boats - similarities, different choices and designs, different approaches taken by the owners, builders and the boatyard.
Thierry is much more of a purist and, I am sure, got several chuckles out of us and our 'amenities' - full enclosure, watermaker, AC - and our Maintenance software. But he also gave some invaluable advice to the rookies. Thanks Thierry and be safe as you make your way north.

Beautiful day on Jockey's Ridge. Beautiful launch!

We also had a visit from our daughter and son-in-law (and the two grand-puppies). That gave us even more chances to over-eat, watch them take hang-gliding lessons, go to Tortuga's Lie, visit Jennette's Pier and hang out on the porch.  Absolutely wonderful time.
Flawless execution!

Now we are getting busy with preparations for a June excursion up the Chesapeake. Coming up fast!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Glad we didn't listen.


Jamaica, Mon.
Sure, we were skinnier then.
Notice the sailboat in
the background!
We have two anniversaries this week. First, and absolutely most important, our 18th wedding anniversary is tomorrow, April 18. The statistical average for second marriages is something like 1.8 years. Many people, at the time, didn't even expect us to make that. Guess they were wrong.

The second anniversary to celebrate was on April 13 - one year ago we brought SeaClearly to her new home - our home. Eighteen years ago we weren't sailors. We weren't even boaters. In fact, we couldn't afford any hobbies. But we were sure that we could build a life together. We knew that we were supposed to be together.

Flashback to 4/13/2012
Now, we are on the verge of retiring and setting off, just the two of us (well, three counting Roux), on a sailboat for tropical destinations. On a boat that, we are sure, was meant to be ours.

We seemed a little crazy then. We seem a little crazy now. Hmmm. There seems to be a pattern.

We have sailed some uncharted waters before without much support. We have had to keep focused when panic seemed the best alternative. We have survived hopelessness and floated to the top. Maybe we have, inadvertently,  had the perfect psychological training for cruising on a sailboat.

If anyone finds this post a little deep, sorry. For those of you that find it hopeful and encouraging, welcome aboard!

Happy Anniversary Junie.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sprung

Finally. Warm. In typical Mid-Atlantic fashion, we were wearing hats and gloves one day and shorts the next. No complaints from me. The Purple Martins are back, baitfish are hitting the surface in the canals. Finally.

We are counting down the days to 'retirement'. I'm still looking for the right terminology for when you quit work with no immediate prospects for income to go sailing. Maybe 'Lucky' is the right word.

Canal sunset, early Spring
We went sailing on Thursday. Had a great time.
We, generally, go by the boating rule - 'A good day boating is when nothing gets broken and nobody gets hurt'. I think Roux (our big Chocolate Lab baby) was a bit concerned a few times when we were healed over.  But he is a good sailor dog.

There weren't many boats out because it was a classic Albemarle Sound day. Three foot chop with 20 - 30 knot winds. That makes it uncomfortable for a lot of boats and people. But we need as much sailing time as we can get and, especially, in not-so-smooth conditions.  We are still (and probably forever) learning the nuances of SeaClearly. Of course, she is a big, blue-water boat so the Albemarle doesn't present much of a challenge for her. But her personality still comes out.

She likes a port tack. Why would that be? No idea. But, ask any sailor and they will be able to tell you which one their boat likes. 'Lagniappe', the Catalina Capri 22 that we used to have (and will always miss) preferred starboard. There may be some physics that make it true. Or it may just be perception. But then, perception is reality.

Junie the Sailor Girl
 and Roux the Sailor Dog
(This is actually from
 some other day.
But notice the PFD?)
Another thing we have been working on with SeaClearly is balance. Her's, not ours. When, like yesterday,  we have a double reef in the main, and the staysail full, she tracks with the wheel damn-near centered. The same is true if we have full main and full genny. When we reduced sail a bit yesterday (eased the mainsail, took two turns on the stay) she pulls a little - about 15 degrees. All of these things are important to know.

Another thing we did was wear our lifejackets. As simple as this sounds, we need the practice. Here in our neighborhood, you can watch boats go by all day and never see anyone wearing a PFD except the little kids (only because it is required by law, not because people possess any level of common sense). We have these kick-ass PFDs and tethers to keep us on the boat. How stupid would it be to fall overboard with them stored safely in lockers. We laughed at ourselves when we realized that Roux had his life-jacket on and we didn't.

One constant challenge we have here is water depth. On a good day, we only have about 6-12 inches of water under our keel until we clear the marker a quarter mile outside our harbor. We can usually tell by looking at the water level on the bulkhead whether it will be a touchy day. Well, Thursday, the water level was fine but those 3 foot waves I mentioned made for variable depth. So we gently kissed the Albemarle mud repeatedly. Thankfully, it is soft and gooey. Probably best that the water is not clear so we can't see it. Imagine how happy SeaClearly will be with clear water and clearance.