August 12, 2011
The big news is that Leanne has now arrived from New Zealand, so the Shear Madness Crew – Bradley, Kathy, John, and Leanne – is now complete! We are all anxious to get to the fun part of cruising!
We have finally wrapped up our projects! The boat is clean and waxed, new electronics and communications systems are installed and ready to go, and gelcoat and finish repairs are complete. We also had some help from Bernie, who spent a couple hours helping us to figure out how to deploy our “flopper-stoppers”. This is a device that helps to stabilize the boat in a rough anchorage, greatly increasing the comfort. It consists of a pole (like a spinnaker pole on a sailboat) that goes out to the side to hang a “fish” (a metal weight that hangs in the water at a depth below the keel). After a few experiments, we determined which lines went where, how to control the pole when deploying and retrieving, and how to launch and retrieve the fish. I can’t say we are looking forward to an anchorage where we will need the flopper-stoppers, but we are ready! Note that we tested the flopper-stoppers while at a slip in a marina – this is NOT where they would actually be used.
We also had a visit from our good friends Richard and Maggie from Naples, who joined us to finish cleaning up and putting the boat back together (Maggie, not ALL guests are handed a vacuum cleaner on their first day aboard). We were able to finish up in time for a wonderful steak dinner and a well needed bit of relaxation. The only thing left was to fuel up! We visited the fuel dock and took on 1275 gallons of diesel – about a third of what we hold. This will be plenty to get us back up to the Chesapeake Bay, a trip of a little more than 800 miles. Sometime in the next few months, the boat will be hauled out of the water for some work on the bottom (this is done every 1-2 years) so we don’t want to have full tanks when hauling out. Richard and Maggie departed and are driving our car back to Naples for us.
We have now departed the marina and are stopped at anchor while John and Leanne are diving to clean the bottom. Bradley is assisting, but only snorkeling, as he has a slight cold which prevents him from diving (for you non-divers, diving requires the ability to clear your ears as you descend and pressure increases – you cannot do this when you have stuffy sinuses). We will soon pull up the anchor and embark on our journey – a non-stop (barring unforeseen emergencies) trip of 100+ hours.
We can’t wait to be back on the water!
Click on any photo to enlarge.