Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life In A Small Town

I have mentioned how much we like Deltaville probably more than most care to hear…but it truly is great.  We also found a fantastic Chinese restaurant which had just opened when we left in the spring.  We have eaten lunch there almost every single day this week.  By the third day, we didn't even have to order - he already knew what we wanted.

So…our typical day goes…

1)  Take Kala ashore to play and grab a cup of coffee in the lounge office;
2)  Take Kala back to the boat while Molly sets up computers and charges phone in lounge;
3)  Grab a couple of bikes and make a trip to Hurd's Hardware, Cafe By The Bay (to visit with friends) or West Marine;
4)  Come back - dump a couple of layers of clothes on the boat and work on the mornings boat project;
5) Pick up the loaner car - drive to Chinese….Maybe stop by the Waterway Guide office to say hello to more friends;
6)  Go back to the yard and work on more boat repairs, issues, projects;
7)  Check on Kala - take her to play again;
8)  Grab bikes and ride to another marina to see if our friends are around;
9)  Back to the boat to work on projects that are being neglected while we visit with friends;
10)  Find more projects to work on;
11)  Take Kala to play;
12)  Make a list of things to pick up at Hurd's and West Marine the next day;
13)  Back to the boat to get ready for the 6pm fun in the lounge where cruisers commiserate discuss their travels;
14)  Go back to the boat, eat dinner and maybe watch a movie or read;
15)  Sleep.  Wake Up.  Repeat.

Today we are leaving to head south on the Chesapeake and stage for our passage to the Caribbean.  We will definitely miss this place.

Kala ready to be picked up

Friday, October 25, 2013

On The Hook

We pulled into a free slip at Deltaville Marina to get the 50-hour service done on the engine.  Ronnie, our new friend and Yanmar engine tech, adjusted our valves, checked our mounts, and changed the Yanmar's fluids.  I might be a girl but I can tell you that I am awfully proud of our shiny new diesel engine.

Meanwhile, back at the mast, Baxter was busy going up and down to put our new tricolor (navigation light) on top of the mast, check the staysail stay, and screw in one of our lower shroud bolts (came loose last week offshore).  I took the time to verify the number of turns on the winch to make sure I didn't exaggerate in the previous blog and wouldn't you know, I was pretty spot on.

Those were just two of the tasks that were on our list…we have continuously been knocking out as many as we can each day…as it grows, we work harder to keep making progress, such is life.

As soon as Ronnie was done, we were excited to go back out to the anchorage (right in front) and life is so much better when you're on your "own island."  Kala is happier at anchor - she doesn't have to work as hard to guard the boat from passers-by and things don't get as dirty at anchor.  We do have to monitor our electricity usage - but that's good for everyone to keep in mind, even those on a big city grid.
Tricolor mounted - right before it started raining and water came down the mast.
It was a windy day and Baxter was working hard to use his legs to keep from swinging around.

One of the great advantages of Deltaville Boat Yard is the use of their Land Cruiser.
Calm morning at anchor in Jackson Creek.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Meet Jack

Jack is a cruiser...

He is a single-hander...

He sails into an anchorage with his life jacket on...

He doesn't need charts....

He runs aground....(happens to the best of us)

He appreciates help....

But he is embarrassed....

and he can't watch everyone helping....he keeps stopping us (and others) who are using better techniques than what he has tried.

Instead, Jack is waiting for high tide.  I would love to wake up in the morning and see he has floated away to deeper water.

Best of luck Jack!  I hope you can help us if this happens to Terrapin.

3 dingys pulling on the main halyard with an anchor to kedge from, an engine pushing forward and several people hanging from the boom will still not get a well-grounded boat off a mud shoal. Better wait for high tide.. (p.s. he floated free at 2am)

Monday, October 21, 2013

To Do's

We are back in Deltaville.  This time we're anchored in Jackson Creek in front of Deltaville Marina. In 2011, we anchored here on Stella Blue and there are so many reasons this is a great place. They have good showers, wi-fi we can access on the boat (with the help of our wirie.), free bicycles to use any time you need them, and a car you can borrow for an hour at a time.  What more could you possibly need?

We have a pretty big project list but we're stead fast in our efforts trying to keep the list limited to absolute necessities.  One of the biggest reasons we are here is to get the 50 hour service done on our engine (think new-car break in and adjustment - same applies to a marine diesel engine.)  Also, we have to fix the nav lights before we go back out (both masthead and bow.)  Details, details....

Better get back to work.

Baxter has spent the better part of 2 days at this location.  I have figured that it takes 130 turns on the winch to the first spreaders, 80 to the second and another 100 to the top.  I think he just wants to see my chiseled arms.
I have done my best to make this electronic with reminders and locations, but when it comes down to it, I guess I'm just plain old-fashioned.

Leaving Liberty Landing

We left Jersey City at low tide.  As we made a turn to starboard out of Morris Canal, I finally got the shot I hoped for sailing in front of the Statue of Liberty.  It is so crazy where this year has taken us.

The route we plotted to Deltaville, VA was approximately 315 miles and would take about 51 hours.  We had read the offshore forecasts for Thursday and knew it would be unpleasant after midnight for about 12 hours but before and after that rough period the winds looked great and the seas favorable.  Our other option was to wait, but honestly, we were antsy and there were no three consecutive days in the next week that looked any better - so we sucked it up.  The forecasts rang true and the seas were choppy, big, and very confused.  "The seas were angry that day my friend."  We expected this and we could deal with it, but that doesn't make it fun.  Neither one of us were able to get any sleep.

Then came the noise from the backstay...what could that be?  We looked up to the top of the mast - as it swayed 10 degrees to the right, 10 degrees to the left every 5 seconds, we noticed our tricolor light (green and red light block used for navigation on sailboats) dangling by wires.  As it dangled, it took out our windex (arrow that shows direction wind is blowing from) and threatened to take out our wind instruments.  That would not be good.  We watched as a possible bill of over $1000 waited to fall.  It was only 1 am so we had about 11 more hours of this pounding, 30+ kt winds, and more dangling.  The most we could do was to pray that when it fell, it didn't hit our very pricey-to-replace solar panel or one of us in the head.  As far as navigation goes, we still had another red/green light on the bow where other boats could see us.  Kala managed through the pounding, but like us, was ready for it to end.  I reassured her, it was tough, but it wouldn't last forever.

The tricolor in fact did come crashing to the deck about 4 am, and it didn't take out anything with it - the best we could hope for.  The next night, as we turned on the bow navigation light, nothing happened.  Turns out, the waves that continually came over the bow the night before had corroded the switch and it was done.  So with no red/green nav lights, we would just have to find another way to light up the boat.  That's not within regulations, but it would work.

As the daylight broke on Friday, the wind started subsiding.  By 1pm, it was like a magic wand had been waved over the Atlantic Ocean.  The seas had decreased from about 12 ft to about 3 ft and, with only 12 kts of wind, Terrapin was still doing over 7.5 kts.  It was the flip side from the previous night.

We sailed into Chesapeake Channel in the dark at 5:30am as high tide was moving in and wind was clocking around to the south.  It was like a moving sidewalk ride the 40 miles up to Deltaville.  We had only slept about 4 hours in the last 48 but we were excited. I called my mom to check in and I heard a "humph" from the starboard stern.  All of a sudden about 8 dolphins leapt out of the water and told us it was going to be a great day.

That's kinda indicative of the sailing life, or life in general actually.  You can be in the midst of stormy weather, with no control of challenges or the environment, but if you hold on tight, the winds will turn, the sun will come back out, and the issues will subside.  As time passes, you start forgetting about all the bad and the positive prevails.  In fact, when we are on passage, I take notes of the things that have to be repaired or changed because when I get to port, I just think of all the good things.  When I look back at my list, I think "Oh yeah, I forgot about that."  I know we will have more rough times in the future, but if we hold on tight and stick together...we will be enjoying the good times and forgetting all about those little issues.

It's true...we actually left New York.

I think we earned this picture.
"Harry the Hitch Hiker".  He stayed with us for about 10 hours.  Not sure where he went - hope we don't find him in the cabin.
Thursday evening around 5pm.  Before the pounding.

That little blue dot is our position.  Makes me so happy!
Sailor dog looking like a pro.
Baxter up the mast after arriving in Deltaville, surveying the damage.  A few bolts sheared off but manageable repairs.
Our hosts on the Chesapeake.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sea Trial

Sea trial on the Hudson between Jersey, yo, and Manhattan. Terrapin is a happy girl and we're gonna take her for a spin down to the Chesapeake later this week. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eastpointe Surprise

As Baxter mentioned, while Terrapin was on the hard (i.e. out of the water) it was difficult to get Kala on and off the boat without risk.  My Mom lives nine hours from New Jersey, so after Baxter and I considered our options, I gave her a call and told her I would be at her house that night (which ended up being 24 hours after a Hertz car malfunction debacle). 

We stayed in Eastpointe for just over two weeks and despite the time away from Baxter, had such a nice visit.  Baxter and I are now left with the task of telling Kala that only Grammy gives her three treats at a time – she pretends she doesn’t understand what we’re talking about. 

While we were in Michigan we had a great time meeting so many of Mom’s friends, attending so many meetings with her, and helping her around the house.  We went to parks so Kala could swim and I played technical assistant helping Mom and her friend Sue with their computer woes (you’re welcome Best Buy).

Mom is ready for her trip to the Caribbean this winter to come sailing with us…she is also marketing new charters for anyone interested.  She got used to introducing me as “This is Molly, my youngest.  She lives on a boat with her husband and dog.  She’s a boat captain.  You can hire her for a charter in the BVI.”  I’m glad she is proud to tell people we live on a boat…but she can’t be as nearly as proud as I am to tell people, “This is my Mom.”  That says it all.  

Kala enjoying OB (Orange Bone), another Grammy special.

Mom receiving the PACE Humanitarian Award from one of her favorites, Rev. James.

Great visit with my Uncle Kenny, Chris, and Mom...Kala front and center

During Uncle Kenny's visit, Kala showed off her rolling skills and found something super stinky - so later, she found herself in the bathtub.  Sorry for the blurry pic but if you've given a dog a bath, you understand.

Where my mom often finds herself - head of City Council meeting.

Harsens Island with Mom and her friend Sue.

Just because I was visiting Mom, boat work didn't stop.  Finishing up last cushion (re-do from previous poor color choice)

On land, I feel like a fish out of water - Mom helping me rehab.

More boat work - they don't sell red bulbs, so that's an easy fix with a little paint (red light is essential for maintaining night vision down below during passages.)

Mom's Sunday breakfast crowd!  Bob, Elise, Adie, Elwood, Kevin, Mom, Jean, and Annie.  It was my pleasure to be a guest of this great group.

Mom's Community Garden box (yes, that is basil on the left and it is as good as it looks.)

Boat project - faucet fixture.  Ended up not working.

Helping Sue through her technical issues at Best Buy.  Rumor is she is now the Queen of Facebook.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Molly and Kala have returned to New Jersey and we're all floating on the service dock in Liberty Landing.

Things we're going so smoothly that we had time to rent a car and drive to the Annapolis Boat Show yesterday. We saw lots of old friends and met some in person that we had only exchanged emails.

Tomorrow, we will do a short sea trial for the engine with Emad and finish putting some of the interior back together. Assuming all goes well, on Tuesday, we will provision and then on Wednesday we'll do a quick overnight sail to Block Island.  Should be fun!

Sitting on the dock with Manhattan in the background.

So nice to be floating!

Molly beginning the big clean-up.
Kala is obviously happy to be home.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Final Exam?

Sorry for more photos of our boat work but tomorrow is the big day!

This morning, I added 2 gallons of mixed Sea Cast to lock the tube into position so we should not have this issue again. Sea Cast was a great option due to the low temperature of the curing process which won't move or damage the fiberglass tube. Emad tapped and drilled the set screws for the cutlass bearing and we should be in the water tomorrow morning and able to start the engine for the first time.

Molly and Kala are leaving Detroit tomorrow morning very early, driving back to Jersey City and should be here before the rain starts. Maybe, just maybe we will be able to drive down to the Annapolis Boat Show on Saturday!
Photo progression of the interior view of the shaft tube repair.  Final result is the bottom photo. As you can see, the tube is now totally encased.
Photo progression of the exterior. The far right photo is Emad tapping and drilling the set screws before the newly sprayed resin is painted. End result looks better than factory.
Ready for the exam? I think so.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Valiant Rendezvous 2013

With rain in the forecast for Jersey City this weekend and no way to complete the fiberglass work, I rented a car and drove down to Annapolis to visit Steve on Chandara and attend the Valiant Rendezvous. The Valiant Rendezvous is an annual gathering of Valiant owners at the home of Rogue WaveOwners Bernie and Kate. 

There were 20 boats represented at the gathering with 10 having arrived by sea and were anchored out behind Kate and Bernie’s house in Luce Creek. In the group of 20 represented boats, there were three circumnavigators, one couple that had bought their Valiant new in 1979 and still live aboard and several who had flown in from overseas. 

The gathering reinforced our feeling that we have purchased a well-founded blue water boat that has a great familial support network. 

Four of the Valiants that attended by sea rafted together on the Chesapeake

Awards presentation by Bernie & Kate. Great hosts!

Chandara on the hard after hitting an unmarked fish trap that was in the channel at night. Note the black cat in the corner leaving. I think both Terrapin and Chandara have had way too much bad luck lately!

The back of Steve's Beta with the damaged v-drive removed. Steve's repairs are underway and should be completed  in the next few weeks.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Turning The Corner?

Well, things are looking up! The sun is shining (for now, maybe rain tomorrow) the temperature is warm, work is getting done on Terrapin and I'm at the remote office surfing the free wifi and sampling the employee benefits.

To top off a great Friday, Molly and Terrapin got their photo in the October print edition of one of our favorite sailing magazines Ocean Navigator! Granted, the magazine was trying to promote their Instagram connection but, hey, we're happy to help them market.

October 2013 print edition of Ocean Navigator Magazine

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pushing Through

Today was a big day. Bill, our fiberglass expert, got started drilling out the old shaft tube with a carbide tipped bit. He first had to navigate past the $300,000 carbon fiber Gun Boat mast to cut off the five layers of fiberglass that he had laid-up on the old shaft tube. Molly and I love Gun Boats after seeing one of the early hulls in Bora Bora. (yes, we're all that.) (Check Out Tiger Lily, the Gun Boat next to Terrapin.) Tomorrow it is supposed to rain so maybe no fiberglass work.

While Bill was doing this, I prepped the interior and helped Emad, our repower specialist, connect the hot water heater line into the engine. This way, when we run the engine, hot water will be generated. This sounds like a small thing but when you motor into an atoll after a long passage, you are happy for a hot rinse-off.

The drill bit. The top is wider than the bottom so that the bit drills a centered hole as it increases in size.
Bill cutting off the cone.

Lining up the bit.

The tube is the black thing in the center.  The bane of my existence.
Drill baby drill!!!

Showing off the carbide teeth.

Plastic sheeting and a ventilation system.
The Gunboat 66, Tiger Lilly that was next to me. The owner flew riggers in from the Solent to step the mast.