Saturday, January 30, 2010


Billy, our resident philosopher, has inspired me to take a moment and reflect both on our journey thus far, and on our destination.

Purchasing Lucy Maru, and sailing Me Voy to Baltimore stand out as two milestones of 2009. Of course there were many smaller milestones (moving out of "the cave", selling the shop tools, Travis becoming a "real boatwright", launching Me Voy, re-planking L.M., re-decking L.M., rigging Me Voy) that made 2009 a very active year.

Now its 2010, and the arbitrary deadline that I casually set up for us to leave Baltimore on our first cruise is fast approaching. The timeline was set for 35. That is I wanted to take off when I was 35 years old. That puts it at Fall 2011. Totally within the realm of propability.

Now, when we agreed that this was our goal, but we had no idea how this was going to happen. We had no boat, very little money, no experience sailing or otherwise working on boats. But, knowing that the Universe we live in is in fact conspiring to help us, we knew that all we had to do was to figure out what we wanted, and then how to get it would be revealed to us. And so it was.

Forward to 2010. We have a boat (x2), we still have very little money, we have tons of boat working experience and some sailing experience. The Universe is still conspiring to help us.

Take this weather for instance. Its a perfect conspiracy. Perfect for sitting around with oatmeal bars and green tea, making lists of things that we plan on accomplishing in 2010. Lists with Winter goals, and Spring goals. Lists with colums like things to learn, things to aquire, and things to let go. Lists within lists, listing things we have no idea how we're going to accomplish, just knowing that we will. And, if we don't, well that's all part of the conspiracy too. Hope everyone out there is enjoying their own Universal Conspiracy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The End is Near

We were awakened this morning by the all too familiar rolling and pitching of the boat that means the wind has kicked up another nor'easter. This one felt like it may be a bit stronger than most we have experienced, but we're experienced live aboards now, nothing could scare us, right? At about 6am I was having my second cup of coffee, and finishing a chapter in the book I am currently reading when a sound that could only have been caused by something terrible happening to our home on the water crashed and crunched across the top of our boat. I threw down my book and ran onto the deck to see a 4' x 6' wooden hatch on our hard top had lifted off with one of the many gusts well above 50mph. It took with it in its path our anchor light, and our radar dome. This was definitely stronger winds than we have experienced, and I had no more need for caffeine. I was wide awake, and so was Maggie. I decided after retrieving and securing our giant, very heavy, hatch that I better check on MeVoy.
There was already one poor guy's jib flapping wildly in the heavy wind, easily tearing it to ribbons. The scene was frightening to say the least. Unsecured items of all sorts were flying around and crashing into the water and the boats while thundering white caps crashed and sprayed the pier with thunderous force. I found MeVoy to be weathering the storm pretty well, however her spring line, holding her forward off the dock was either stretching or the pile was moving. Probably the latter.
I ran into Dock master Bill who obviously needed a hand, and the two of us braved the wind and spray in the dark together. There were several snapped dock lines and uncountable lose items. The dock was badly damaged in several places and a few hard core live aboards were busily working, in vain, to secure items and adjust their lines. They were glad to have our help.
We went from pier to pier, doing what we could, saving what could be saved. More sails came unfurled and cracked out their versions of "The Sailmaker's Symphony" in perfect harmony as the wind ripped them to shreds.
One fly bridge was blown off and was hanging precariously over the dock held only by its engine control cables. More lines snapped and the water was rising fast. I was getting tired and was soaking wet.
We managed to get everything tied up and relatively safe around 7:30 when I started taking pictures. I was surprised to find Maggie so calm and relaxed, reading a book and having coffee. Didn't she know what was going on out there.
We had a nice breakfast and I put on dry pants and socks. The wind let up considerably by about 10am much to our relief. The water was still rising. It was lapping the boards on the dock at low tide.
The tide still came in and with it more storm debris.
I began to think to myself, "I thought boating was supposed to be fun".
This is the owner of the boat that lost its fly bridge. She looks depressed, but she was only concerned for the ducks, who had all disappeared. I found that odd.
The last thing dock master Bill and I talked about in the morning was whether or not the water level would continue to rise and submerge the dock. He said no. This is him looking disdainfully at the water already over the dock at his slip.
There were others out taking pictures of the scene. Matt, the electrician, takes my picture while wading on the dock.
Maggie is unmoved. Still working away, seemingly unaware of the incredible weather.
There is actually a pier over there.
Where is FEMA?
One of our neighbors who lost a genoa. I waded through the freezing water to get this picture.
The scene down the pier from MeVoy. The climb aboard was quite a bit more difficult than usual, but once safely aboard I took this final picture from the bow of Lucy Maru. Then I once again changed my pants and socks. I am sure many seasoned cruisers have seen more intense situations than this one, but it is one I will not soon forget. Can't wait to go cruising!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Continuing Progress


It's hard to get going again after all of snow and ice and cold weather, but it has finally warmed up a bit so it's time to get back to work. I have a pretty long list of things I am hoping to accomplish on our two beautiful boats this winter, but so far very little of it has actually gotten done. Let's face it, winter sucks. This one has been extra cold and has come with a few other unique situations that have been major blocks to progress. But, you can only do what you can do. So now we have to deal with the scientific matter of inertia. This is the universal law that states that an object (or person) at rest tends to stay at rest. We haven't been completely useless, but we have by no means, been up to our usual git-r-dunn pace. So now we are slowly but surely easing back to the old routine.

We decided to start small, and tackle the stern rain on Lucy Maru. I milled the Mahogany about a week ago in anticipation of the favorable weather to come, and stacked the boards neatly under cover by the helm. It may sound like after milling the wood sticking them into place would be easy, but of course, this is a boat, and almost nothing is easy on a boat. the situation is that there are two one inch stainless posts holding up the roof on each side that need to go through the wood railing. The challenge was to bore the holes in exactly the right places, then cut the boards apart at the holes so the wood could be fit around the posts and glued back together to look as if it was never cut apart. I do love a challenge, and this gave me a good chance to use the Lee Valley rip cut back saw I got myself for my birthday last year. It was a very expensive hand saw but it paid for itself on this job.The cuts were super clean and after a bit of reaming on the holes, they fit together without any trouble.

Maggie lined up the joints and epoxied them together while I did the joinery for the other side. It was really nice to be working on the boat together again. We are a great team.

After all was said and done, it looked as if the rail had always been there. Not bad for a couple of hippies in the dead of winter. Just a little sanding and varnish work and that will be that. Well, maybe we'll save that for next week-end. Don't want to over do it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter Improvements

Meet our new rug.... The Great All Seeing Amir, or just Amir, made by the good people of Iran.
Its so soft, and silky and fits our place perfectly! On sale from $1700 to $350! Wahooooo!

Other improvements included a new bean holder solution which you can see hanging on the wall behind Chopper. It's a shoe holder and it works great!

New curtains were also on my winter to do list... more on that later

For now check out the view. Does something seem a bit off? That's our neighbor's Bigga Mike's boat. Or was his boat, as it sank yesterday. He wasn't aboard, and luckily he got his stuff out of it just the day before it went down. Looks like he timed his exit wisely.

Friday, January 1, 2010

NOT the Bahamas

I've lost faith in the Almanac. Average temps. and precipitation - was the forecast for the Mid Atlantic part of the US, but we've already had record snow falls and the temps are hovering around the 35 range for the highs.

The water has frozen oven, but since the sun came out, the ice broke apart to resemble floating icebergs. The ducks are still here, dodging the floating obstacles, sending Chopper into fits of uncontrolled drooling and barking. I helplessly watch as he runs down the deck of LM giving them a good chase, waiting for that nightmare scenario where he slips on the varnish and plunges into the frozen Arctic below. Then, without hesitation (that's key) I jump in after him, only to find that all the clothes I'm wearing are slowly pulling me down, and then I don't remember what all the fuss is about, coz I'm drifting into a nice warm sleep, if only I could reach that fuzzy white pillow floating next to me... then T comes out to see what the splashing was, only to find us floating in a frozen embrace... the end. I try keep these nightmares to a minimum, coz on a boat there are so many scenarios that could be classified as "nightmarish", that I would have to dedicate a significant amount of time to imagine them right. Thanks for indulging me on that one, though.

Anyway the snow came, buried us and left. We shoveled, we salted, we drank warm beverages, we shoveled and salted some more. The live aboarder comradery was almost palpable. There are about 20 other liveaboards in the marina, and there's nothing like a snow storm to bring us closer together. People who have never spoken to each other except the perfunctory "Hi how ya doin?" were having strangers over for hot beverages. One guy came aboard our boat and asked if we needed anything, namely bread or milk. Bread and milk seemed to be the essential staples that everyone was buying in preparation for the Big Snow. In fact 3 of our local supermarkets were all out of milk except the 0 percent, and when we went to scope out the situation later, even that was gone. 0 percent milk, really?

Floating with Christmas lights on

An brave boater sets out on the Bread and Milk mission

Chopper makes his way down the dock, knee deep in snow

Bill the Dockmeister seeing everything that goes on!

This is the greatest marina, I'm sure of it. Its not a very "fancy" marina, no pool, no hot tub, no wi-fi, no floating docks. But Bill our dockmaster ran a new water line down the docks so that we could have water tru the winter. Is that super or what? Now if only the ducks flew south for the winter. Dumb birds. What are they doing here anyway? Wait... can they be saying the same thing about us?

Me Voy, we should have gone to the Bahamas!