Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Few Photos from Deltaville...

After two months, Terrapin is back in the water and we're finalizing repairs and provisioning for the passage to the Caribbean. We're headed to Norfolk tomorrow (Friday) to wait for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream and onto North Sound, BVI. More to come before we leave but here are a few photos from the last few days...

Kala is taking her bow riding seriously!

I'm scared to tell you how much money is represented in this photo... new furling motor, rebuilt gears, new running rigging and new sails! Whew, our bank account is screaming!

You know you're in trouble when they back the van up to your boat...

With a boat named "Terrapin" you definitely need a sailmaker with a stealie logo!

Wrestling the genoa onto the furler in 10kt winds. Typical, it wasn't windy until we started to put the sails on!

Nice sunset on Jackson Creek.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Getting Our Feet Wet

It has been two years and four months since Terrapin has been in the water.  On Monday afternoon, we launched and it felt great...this is definitely where we belong.

Going for a ride...
An amazing day!
At the dock for more to-do's tomorrow
Taking a moment to celebrate - Kala couldn't be happier

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Coming Together

We took some time off from the regular scheduled program to run to Atlanta – which is a 9-hour drive from Deltaville.   Though it was too short, it was so good to catch up with Baxter’s parents.  They have been so great to Baxter and I during our travels and they are always the exceptional hosts.

I was also able to meet up with our friend Keri.  Keri joined Baxter and I in the BVI for New Year's in 2014.  She now lives in Arizona but happened to be in Atlanta on the same day that Baxter and I  were there.  Baxter had a busy schedule but  I had an extra hour that wasn't filled (how rare is that).  Keri and I talked about what she's been up to, what we've been up to and dates and places to meet up in the Caribbean.  I love talking about meeting in Antigua - or wait, should we meet in St Barth's??  Have you been to Barbados?  Maybe we should meet there.  Plan is in place and we can't wait to see her again.

Meanwhile, back in Deltaville, packages were received – including our furling motor.  Baxter and I arrived late Friday night and first thing Saturday morning we asked the few guys working on Saturday morning at Deltaville Boatyard to see if they could open the parts department and check to see if we had any new shipments.  There it was – wrapped so tight and cradled like the fragile package it is.  There were other packages too, but they were just distractions because if the furling motor doesn’t work, Terrapin will be spending the winter in Deltaville.  It took about 4 hours of connecting the motor and fishing out screws that fell down the mast.  We had a gusty wind of about 25 kts and spitting misty rain but we re-attached the furler and as the sun came out, I asked Baxter to do the honors of flipping the switch to see if it worked.  Not sure what we would do if it didn’t….but - it did!!  It worked!!...whew.  Now that is off the list, we will just sit back and relax for the next couple weeks - just kidding, of course.  We moved on with other projects - you didn't think that was the last thing on the list, did you?  Actually, I don't think sailors' lists ever end.  

Baxter installed an additional battery which will provide more amps (i.e. more lights and power supply while at anchor or on passages).  That, combined with our switching most lights to LEDs, should help with power usage.  After the battery, he routed the antennae cable for the SSB under the lazarette and through the lockers.
656 miles is nothing...we can do that before 5pm
On the road again...
Kala enjoying the luxury of a front door (vs. a lift on the ladder) in Atlanta
So far as furling motors go
Celebrating the in-mast furling motor install!!
Moving on to the SSB install
To route the cable for the SSB, start at the transom (to the right in the picture) under the fuel tank (under Baxter) through the cabin to the nav station.
While we were in Atlanta, we picked up some toys including kite boards, paddle boards, and scuba gear


Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Daily Grind

We have left our full-time jobs in offices and at first glance, it seems like we might have trouble filling our days.  Truth is we work harder, longer, and don't get paid (in monetary terms).

Just a few items since Matthew blew through that we have been working on:
1) Installing a new head (aka toilet)...I don't think it's necessary or worth it to go into detail about that.

2) Trying to determine if our port water tank(s) are leaking or if the large amount of dew on the boat every morning is responsible for the puddle of water under a drawer in the galley on a daily basis.

3) Patiently and calmly facilitating the repair of our in-mast furler motor and gear box for our main sail.  This is a no-go issue.  If it doesn't get fixed, Terrapin is just a motor boat.  With two weeks before we expect to leave, that was a wrinkle in our plan.  Baxter didn't get mad - didn't get frustrated - he just researched and found the only person alive who can fix this, literally (and I hate the overuse of adverbs so I mean, literally).  The company who made this motor is out of business.  The company they sold their parts to stopped servicing these motors and they sold them to this guy (Eric).  Our only option if this doesn't work is probably upwards of $20k...which is almost an entire year of living on the boat.

4) Installing the backstay insulator for the single-sideband radio.  This entailed Baxter hanging 50 feet off the ground by his forearms for over an hour.  

5)  Installing the IridiumGo! mount and antennae.  This is our satellite connection while we are offshore, so pretty critical piece of equipment.

6) Provisioning for the passage.  It's a little early but since we won't have a car after this weekend, it is easier to do it now.  Hopefully Baxter and I won't go on a canned food binge and eat everything before we leave.

7) Servicing the Luke Prop - filling it full of grease via a screw called a zerk fitting.

8) Painting the bottom and buffing the hull - I might be in the picture, but Baxter definitely did the majority of the work.

There's still quite a bit left to do but more about that next time....
IridiumGo! mounted with antennae installed on stern, connecting to the device in the nav station.
We bought Kala her very own pink sleeping bag.
Servicing the prop via zerk fitting with a grease gun.
Preliminary provisioning list

Prepping to paint bottom.
Furling gear box and motor - removed and preparing to ship to our Obi-Wan
The Ship's Tailor made this "curtain" for us based on a design Baxter created.  It comes down from the hard dodger and protects the cockpit so watches will be warm and dry - but still allows quick access to cockpit.  It is also easy to take down - unlike a full enclosure.
Installing a new head
Thank you Chris - on SV Perseverance VII for helping to winch Baxter up the mast
The black line that goes halfway up the backstay is the antennae for the single side-band radio.  Baxter was hanging off the backstay for over an hour to install inch by inch.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Life In A Small Town

Deltaville, VA was established in 1642...over 374 years ago.  That is 144 years before there was anything resembling the United States.  When Deltaville was established, most people who lived here were citizens of England - there wasn't even a United Kingdom at that point.

And so it has been here with the same geography as it has now, with creeks that meander through deltas and rivers that stretch out like fingers from the bay westward connecting the Atlantic Ocean to almost 100 miles inland.

Patricia at Bay Canvas made our cockpit cushions and a few extra covers...her jack russells George and Posey are too cute.
Debby and Susan own Cafe By The Bay and always have "cookies" ready for Kala.
Hurds - Hurds is so awesome.  They offer great alternatives to the high prices at West Marine.  Mr. Hurd celebrated his 100th birthday on Sept 15 (also my birthday).  He was a fighter pilot in WWII, was shot down by the Japanese, came home and opened this store - and still works here.  Sam, Harriette's husband, is our go-to guy and always there with a "What can I do for you today?"
Ulman Sails (Jerry, Justin, John and Tiffany) made some really awesome sails for us and we can't wait to take pics of them flying on Terrapin. 
Scot at Ship's Tailor made a custom "curtain" for us in the cockpit.  It will help keep the crew warm and dry-er during those cold days in early November.

Friday, October 14, 2016


This week, the news around the U.S. is something about Donald Trump or Hillary but last week - last week was focused on Matthew.

Hurricane Matthew did a couple of head fakes in his run up the Atlantic and kept lots of people guessing.  He seemed like he was almost going to run right into Trinidad - where we have friends who go there to avoid hurricanes.  Then, he was going to keep moving west, when he decided to turn north.  Then...well, let's just say, he had a mind of his own and it kept changing on a daily basis.

It turns out he made it almost to Cape Hatteras, NC before turning east and moving out to sea.  Cape Hatteras is about 100 miles south of Deltaville as the crow flies, so we were right at the edge of his fury.

Living on a boat that is held up by jack stands - we were trying to make sure we understood how and when we would be caught by him, if at all.  Our conditions weren't bad considering the potential threat.  We would feel a nasty gust as the boat would vibrate and our mast would howl.  It was hard to get restful sleep but the rain actually helped us find leaks in the boat and gave us the opportunity to fix those leaks before we are on the passage and the boat is covered by salty sea water.

By Sunday morning, the sky was blue and the sun was shining.  The temperature was perfect and the wind was still....a nice example of nothing bad lasts forever and blue skies will return.

Obviously, I had nothing better at 1:56am then to take a picture of the radar on my phone.
These two goliaths were placed in front of us (Terrapin is between them on the left) - good wind protection; bad if they fall over.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Boat Yard Life

For those who have never lived in a boat yard, it’s interesting and different and hard to explain. You have neighbors who are 10 feet away and you don’t even care. When it rains, everyone is sleeping on a damp bed (all boats have leaks and usually they are either right over your head when you’re sleeping or when you’re eating). Everyone has several “maintenance” projects and then one really big project that is make or break for their cruising plans. No one has money that they are willing to spend on stupid stuff. Most people don’t have cars at their boat. Everyone is doing laundry at a laundry mat. Everyone knows all the details about the weather and the forecast to the level that would qualify them as a meterologist. Most people work on their boats from sunrise to sundown – more than what would equate to a full-time job and they get up the next day and repeat all over again.

Even having just moved away from the convenience of land life – nice grocery stores with good plant-based options, stand-up refrigerators, houses that don’t leak, etc…we embrace boat yard life. It is pretty simple and intrinsically rewarding. When you spend 3 hours buffing your hull and someone says, “Wow, your boat is so shiny”…there are few things that compare and you know they understand the effort.

Here's a bird's eye view video of boat yard life.

We are lucky to have such a large space for fuel tanks and an inspection port.
El Burritos de Terrapin
"Just because we live on a boat doesn't mean I'm not in charge"
Deltaville's amazing sunsets
Fairing the keel
A selection of options in climbing aboard - using the scaffolding or the ladder - you pick.
View from the deck to the scaffolding.