Another pleasant day on the water….

Saturday 30 October 2016

Weather forecasts can be right sometimes, and true to the predictions, the wind howled for two days as we stayed put in Solomons Island and enjoyed some excellent restaurants.

p1030011p1030012This morning we pushed off the dock before the sun was above the horizon and followed the parade of like minded cruisers heading south for the winter.  Unfortunately, the wind was coming from the south and no sails were raised all day.  But, the sun was out and the water was calm and it was a very peaceful day with no complaints.

p1030020We debated where we should plan to spend the night.  Our original plan was for a 6 hour day going a bit out of our way to Point Lookout Marina which means basically over an hour of backtracking tomorrow, or to plow through and make it a 10 hour day and stop in Deltaville.

p1030021The final decision was for the shorter day to Point Lookout Marina where we will look forward to what we hear is a fabulous restaurant that was closed when we were here in the Spring.  Bon Apetit.

If the sun rises on our port side….

Wednesday 26 October 2016

p1030006If the sun is rising on the port side it means we’re heading south….yay!

We left Herrington Harbour and continued our way to Solomons Island.

Tomorrow and even Friday are forecast to have strong winds from the south with small craft advisories each day which really doesn’t sound pleasant, so we realize we may be staying in Solomons for a couple of days.

p1030010We are following the sage advice of others and have no set schedule.   Although the morning temperatures are a bit chillier than we would like, we aren’t in any great hurry to get anywhere in particular and don’t feel the need to push it too hard if we don’t want to.

Today was a gorgeous day.  We raised the main sail and motor sailed most of the 6 hours.


We are on the move….

Tuesday 25 October, 2016

p1020996We have no regrets that we decided to sit in Annapolis for a week longer than expected and wait out the forecasted gale force winds in the Bay safely tied up in a quiet creek and easy walking distance to a nice restaurant.  But we are glad to be on the move again and heading south.

p1020998Although we don’t have a definite agenda or itinerary, we do have a rough plan of what we will do.  Hurricane Matthew has caused havoc along the Intracoastal Waterway with high waters, non-functioning draw bridges, large debris and damaged marinas.  Our original plan was to do much of the trip South doing short off shore passages as often as we can, weather permitting.

p1020997So right now we are planning to make our way leisurely down the Chesapeake Bay to Hampton, Virginia where we expect to arrive on Monday, 31 October (Halloween).  If we had a 3rd crew member interested in doing a 2 night passage we would depart Hampton and have Beaufort, NC as our first stop.  Anyone interested?

If we don’t have a 3rd crew member we will make our way south on the Intracoastal Waterway and arrive in Beaufort about a week later.  From there we hope to “jump out” for single overnight passages making good mileage in a shorter amount of time.

Today we chose to have a short day the first day out, and motored for 3 hours to Herrington Bay South to stay for the night.  This part of the trip is the same schedule as last year — it is like deja vu, but this year we have a bit more confidence and experience which results in less anxiety and stress.


Where did the summer go?

24 October, 2016 — Annapolis, MD

As we prepare to untie the dock lines tomorrow morning and begin this year’s journey south we sit here wondering where the summer went.

Admittedly we didn’t do all that we were hoping to do this past summer, and thus there were fewer blog posts.  So, what did we do and where did the time go?

While the first summer was our time to get familiar with the boat, this past summer was doing things to make it easier for us to use the boat and sail and also make it more ready to go off shore.

We bought a new life raft that easily stores in the cockpit table.  It is amazingly small when it is all packed up but accommodates 4 people should the need arise.  We also outfitted our ditch bag with emergency flares, signaling devices, lights, provisions, communications (VHF radio, EPIRB) and clothes so if for some reason we need to abandon ship we should be able to survive until we are picked up.   This meant alot of money was spent on things we hope to never need to use.

Christina took a 2 day docking class so she would become more comfortable and skilled at maneuvering the boat in close quarters and docking in a variety of scenarios, conditions, and slip configurations.  It was a great experience for her, and she has been able to practice her new skills at the helm a few times since then.

Most of our dockmates have in-mast furling main sails.  This means that when they want to sail, rather than having to deal with the hassle of removing the sail cover, and raising the sail (and having it get caught up on the lazy jacks (lines designed to keep the sail neatly on the boom when it is dropped), they just have to pull a line and the sail easily rolls or unrolls from within the mast.  We have had a bit of envy of the apparent ease of this set up.  But, we are more traditionalists and didn’t consider this system when we had the refit done.  The fact that at least 3 of the boats on our dock had their sails get stuck more than once this summer and they could not get the sail in or out without someone going up the mast to get the sail unstuck convinced us we want to keep some things simple and still don’t want that system.

But, raising the sail sometimes seems to be more trouble than it is worth.  What could we do to make it easier?  We decided to replace the traditional, and tight fitting, sail cover and the current lazy jacks set up (which did more to hinder the sail going up and not so great catching of the sail going down) and replace it with a sail pack with retractable lazy jacks.  So now, it should be a simpler process of unzipping the sail pack zipper, and retracting the lazy jacks to raise the sail unhindered.  Raising the lazy jacks again once the sail is up will create a cradle to catch the sail as it comes down, and allow it to neatly land in the open sail pack.  This means no more need to painstakingly flake the sail as we lowered it so it would fit in the previously tight sail cover.  Just a simple zip of the zipper and the sail is now stowed and protected from UV.

Although there were no apparent issues with the standing rigging (the cables that hold up the mast and bowsprit), the rigging was over 15 years old.  For piece of mind, we decided to have it all replaced.

A trip back to Annapolis to get the hydronic heater working again, yielded more frustration and no results, so we ordered a new one knowing we would need to return to Annapolis to be installed.  This would hopefully ensure that we would be able to stay warm while underway on those cold days we knew we would have again.

Marine service technicians are always busy during the summer season so getting work scheduled can be a challenge.  We knew what we wanted done early in the summer, and found service providers to do the work for us.  Coordinating around their schedules for the necessary measurements and eventual installation, meant 4 trips to Annapolis.  (We thoroughly enjoyed the many different happy hour food/drink offerings at the different restaurants while there each time.)  We planned for all the work to be done by the middle of September.  But the weather didn’t cooperate with all the schedules and here we sit two weeks later than when we were hoping to start our journey, and still waiting for the final tuning of the rigging.

We have been staying in a safe quiet marina nestled up a creek in Annapolis where we were able to sit out the gale force winds over the past weekend….so we are really not complaining.

With confidence in our rigging, a sail system that should be easier to go up and down, emergency equipment in case of emergency off shore, a new oil pressure sending unit so we can be confident in readings on the gauge, confirmation that the new hum from our prop is due to new paint and not a problem, and a working heater so we can stay warm as the temperatures continue to drop, we are looking forward to untying the dock lines and heading south.

We look forward to sharing our adventure with you again…


How many sailors does it take to change a lightbulb?

6 September 2016 –


Have you ever wondered how many sailors it takes to change/fix a lightbulb?
It really depends on where that lightbulb is located.  In this instance the answer is 3.

We noticed that our steaming light was not working anymore, and we needed to get that fixed before we plan any more nighttime excursions.

The steaming light is a navigational light midway up the mast, and should be lit whenever the vessel is under power after dark so that other traffic can see us and identify that we are underway under power.

getting-readyWith the help of dockmates Bob was made secure in the bosun chair, attached to a halyard (the line usually used to raise the sail) and hoisted up the mast.  up-the-mast-2



We didn’t understand how the LED bulb could be burned out already, and feared a bigger electrical problem.  We were pleasantly surprised and  very happy when, after loosening the cover of the light, Bob discovered that a piece of the plastic cover was broken and it had been dislodged.  This most likely occurred when the halyard had been wrapped around the mast a few months ago.  (See 7 April Post).  Removing the broken piece, and re-securing the cover, the light is now operational.  Yes, not as water tight as it should be but operational.

Thanks again John and Daniel for your help.


We were wondering why the boat seemed sluggish….

8/19/2016 – On our last trip to Annapolis we noticed the boat just seemed to be a bit sluggish and going 1/2 a knot slower than it should.  The bow thruster wasn’t responding as well as usual, and seemed to not be as loud.  We weren’t sure why.

img_0321When we had the boat pulled out of the water for a power wash we discovered the offending barnacles that were most likely the culprits.  img_0320



After a bit of cleaning and some touchup paint, the bow thruster was looking better again.  Sure enough, the next time we used it, it worked perfectly.

Unfortunately, after the barnacles and scum were cleaned off the boat, it became obvious that we really needed a complete bottom paint job.  No, bottom paint is not for looks, but rather to help prevent marine growth.  So….one more unexpected expense we will have to contend with — but we’ll wait awhile and just enjoy our improved speed for now.


Vacation time….

July 2016 – When we told folks we were going on a vacation, we often got the response ” but your life is a vacation – you live on a boat!”.


True, but life on the boat is full of chores, worries and stress at times.  We decided to take a true vacation/holiday off the boat.

So ….. where do live aboard cruisers decide to spend a week away from the boat? On a houseboat with 11 other people of course!

We joined friends on their houseboat on Lake Powell, Utah for a week and had an excellent time swimming, jet skiing, and exploring the many canyons.

The red rocks and cliffs with the blue sky reminded us both of Central Australia in so many ways with the added benefit of fresh water to swim in.  The week of having to do nothing except swim and read a few books, not being responsible for anything was pure heaven.

Photos from the trip:

From there we went to Denver, Colorado for another week to spend time with family and friends.

It truly was a great way to vacate our lives for a while, and enjoy life on land.

Many cruisers report that the first year living aboard is often the hardest and most stressful as you get accustomed to life with another in a confined space, being concerned about every noise and smell, monitoring the weather even when you are safely tied to a marina and of course just keeping the boat ship shape and safe.  Others will tell you that if your relationship can survive the first year aboard, it can most likely survive anything.

We can attest to the unexpected stress this first year.  We dealt with unmet expectations, frustrations and more than a few disappointments.

With this in mind it wasn’t until we were away from Dreamtime for 2.5 weeks that we each began to feel some of the stresses we had grown too accustomed to carrying, start to melt away.

When we returned to the boat we were well rested, rejuvenated and ready for new adventures – grateful for the opportunities and experiences we have had, and counting ourselves one lucky couple.