Sunday, October 30, 2011

Iced In In Maryland!

Much too slippery for safety!
The Frost is on the Pumpkin! Actually it is on the deck and dock and we are iced in the harbor. And it is only October 30th! Yesterday we had rain, sleet and snow. Thank goodness for our diesel heaters that have kept us warm in the cabin.

Our plan was to leave on the 7:01 AM high tide this morning just as the sun was coming up. The problem was that you could not stand up on the deck and there was no safe way to get onto the dock to release the lines. So at 5:30 AM the Captain made the call: go back to bed!

It is actually a beautiful sunny COLD day. At 9 AM the ice began to melt, but the tide was too low to get out of the harbor so we are here for another day. It would be a beautiful day to sail - if we could get out there!
Or rain? We had it all!

Want snow, sleet ...
Saturday was an MESS! When it wasn't pouring rain, it was spitting sleet and snow. As you have probably seen on the news, the East Coast took an early winter storm hit up and down the coast. I tried to capture the snow fall in a photo without great success. The snow was coming down so hard and fast that all you can see are the white diagonal lines as the flakes blew past my camera lens. It was like being in Michigan: the weather was changing by the hour.

Just how long does it take to eat a dozen?
Gwen and Perry arrived from Detroit, flying through the snow storm, to sail to Hampton, VA with us. As experienced sailors, they understand the weather delay.

Now that we feel like "part-time Marylanders" (or whatever they call themselves here), we took them to Skipper's for fresh crabs. You can make a whole evening out of pounding and picking crabs!

The rest of the day will be spent working on the boat so we can leave at high tide this evening. We will get out of the harbor on high tide (that's the down side of having a 7' draft) and anchor in Herring Bay. In the morning, we can leave as soon as you can safely walk on the deck. Our original plan was to go to Solomon's Island area for Sunday night, Fleet Bay for Monday night and into Hampton by mid-afternoon on Tuesday. Now we will see...

Monday, October 24, 2011

So Little Time to Learn All the New Electronics

We are packing to depart for the Chesapeake Bay this week. The frozen food is on board. A little provisioning will be done in Hampton, VA. But basically, I am ready to rock and roll - literally! I have my trans dermal patches to stave off the seasickness this time. I hope they work!

Looking out of Herrington Harbor North in the evening
Since the rainy weather has delayed much of the deck work, polishing and installation of the new electronic, we are pressed for time in getting everything done by Sunday. On Thursday we will test the equipment. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the tide issue: there is only one high tide on Thursday and it is at 5:14 pm! That doesn't give us much daylight. Since our draft is 7 feet, we have a challenging time getting in and out of the harbor. And the tides at this time of the year are not flowing in our favor!

I have a feeling that I will be reading a number of manuals on the way down the bay. Since we have made this trip several times now, we know our way points already. Our friends Gwen and Perry Smith are sailing with us so they can spend some time at the helm while Dennis and I study!

Drum Point Lighthouse at Solomon's Island
We will be stopping in a new place for us: Solomon's Island. We have always been in a hurry going south and have never stopped at this boaters' favorite destination on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Solomons Island is a major boating center located at the mouth of the Patuxent River, in southern Calvert County, Maryland. It is about 40 miles south of Herring Bay as the crow flies - a little further by water.

After an overnight at Solomon's Island, we will sail down to Fleet Bay and anchor overnight. There are not many places to tuck into on western shore unless you go up the rivers. That takes too much time when the goal is just to make the trip down to Hampton, VA. From Fleet Bay, we will continue on to the Blue Water Yachting Center in  Hampton, where we join up with the Caribbean 1500 fleet. Our friends will disembark and we will pick up our Atlantic crossing crew and finish our preparations for the trip to Tortola.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Island Weather Is Calling!

It is time to put the pots away and go sailing!
As the cold damp nights and crisp days are settling into Michigan, we are anxious to head to the islands again. It is hard to believe that November is just a couple weeks away already! Where did the year go? I guess time does fly when you are having fun!

We still have not been able to test the new electronics as they are still installing them. Our biggest challenge is getting out of the harbor on high tide to test them. This time of year high tide is very early in the morning or near sunset making it more difficult to complete the task. We will certainly test it on the way to Hampton, VA - and have back-up systems available, too!

Since Dennis is not yet ready to retire, we will sail Trillium to Tortola and return for December. When we go back down in early 2012, our goal is to travel down the island chain. I am not sure how far we will get before turning back north for the trip to the East Coast. Hopefully, we will do some sailing on the East Coast next summer. We are not going to the Mediterranean as we had originally planned. At least not until he is ready to give up the practice of law. He does work on while on the boat, but the Internet and cell phone connections make it challenging.

This is Shanghai, China
This year's sailing will be chopped up a bit as I will be going to China to teach my international leadership program in February. This will be my first trip to China so I am looking forward to it. I am not too sure how I will be able to teach for five days after such a long flight and time zone differences. I know I will rise to the occasion! Unfortunately, Dennis will not be joining me on this trip. Then I will be heading to Europe in April to teach the next session of leadership, getting back to Trillium just in time to start sailing north to Bermuda. That will make provisioning interesting!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's Annapolis Boat Show Time Again!

We are off to Annapolis for the Boat Show weekend. Actually, we are going to do our final check on Trillium and the new equipment, but we scheduled it to coincide with the boat show. If you are a boater - sail or power - you should check out the Annapolis shows. For one week it is strictly sail and the following week it is power. To plan ahead, note that the sail portion always ends on the Monday of Columbus day and the power portion starts the following Thursday. It is amazing to see the way the boats and docks move in and out of that final day between shows. Here is a link to a fun video showing the action:

Several of the sailing magazines sponsor seminars on various topics with well-known sailors presenting. There are a number of social events linked to the boat show. While we are not consuming as much since Trillium is pretty well outfitted, it is fun to reconnect with sailors, dealers, etc. And of course, there are always new things to peruse. I have a short list of items to pick up before we head offshore again.

I am really anxious to test the new electronics: everything from broadband radar to the super chart plotters. I had just mastered the old system by the time we returned to the east coast. However, one of the chart plotters died on the way back and they are no longer supporting the old technology. That is the problem: technology gives you the latest and greatest, but it becomes obsolete and no longer supported after a certain amount of time. Now I have a lot of learning to do, but I do believe the new equipment is more user friendly than the old. I will let you know!