Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

In the space of two weeks, the weather here has gone from, “Doesn’t that breeze feel good and cool?” to, “Doesn’t that sunshine feel nice and warm?”  That can only mean one thing, it is getting to be time to migrate!  The Chesapeake Bay is of course a major stop on the bird migrations of the east coast.  The sounds of large flocks of geese honking their way south is an evocative sound of the changing seasons. We’ll soon be joining them.

We have been working hard every day to get more of our projects complete.  There is one more part with a delivery expected by the end of this week to get our wind instruments back up and talking to the other devices on the boat.  We have had successful major overhauls of a number of systems, and some repairs. We have lights up the mast to fix, and then we’ll be ready to sail again.

Our plans from here are still developing.  In the short term, we will be headed to Fort Lauderdale to paint Harmonie’s bottom.  After that, things get murky!  There might be a business opportunity helping a new Amel owner with a major refit.  If so that might keep us parked in the Sunshine State for a bit.  We are seriously exploring the idea of heading to Panama, south of the hurricane zone, for the summer season next year.  For now, we are going with the flow.

We have updated our tacking website with our voyage tracking, so if you are interested, have a look https://fetchinketch.net/where-are-we-now/

 

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An Amel Rendezvous

Amel Meetup

Amels to the left of us!  Amels to the right!

We had a delightful couple of days on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  Pat and Diane of the Amel Super Marmau Shenanigans organized a meet-up of local and “local for now” Amel yachts.  Over a dozen boats attended, completely taking over the anchorage off the town of St Michaels.

A few people we have had the pleasure of meeting before, and almost all of the rest we have “met” online in discussions of issues and fixes for our special boats. Discussions ranged from gory technical details of “How do I fix this?” to cruising plans for the upcoming year, to sea stories about storms, calms, and port calls. Getting a chance to see what other people’s boats look like is also a special treat.  Every one is both the same–and different.

Tonight we are back in Annapolis, ready to visit the boat show tomorrow. There are a couple of specific vendors we have to talk to, but almost no “shopping.”  We are, slowly, working out alternatives for our upcoming winter cruising season.  We will be making our way south pretty quickly after the boat show, weather gods willing.

 

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“Only one thing makes that noise…”

As we were getting Harmonie ready to leave the dock for the weekend, Karen was up on deck and I was down below.  I didn’t hear it, but Karen called me on deck, and said, “Only one thing makes that noise!”

We walked over to the other side of the boat yard where…

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Oops!!!!

You can see the racks of boats that are stored “dry.”  If one of those is your boat, you call the yard, and tell them you want to go sailing, and they pick your boat up with a special forklift and put it in the water for you.  Sometimes, very rarely, something goes wrong.

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We are guessing the boatyard just bought themselves a J-24.  The crew rushed the crane over to pick up the debris before too many people saw the body on the pavement.

The only question I have is: How did Karen know what a J-24 sailboat sounds like hitting concrete after falling 10 feet???? (It was the echo of the crunching fiberglass, she says.)

Right now we are anchored off downtown Annapolis, and we will be making our way over toward St Michaels tomorrow for the Amel meet-up. We are looking forward to meeting a lot of people whom we know only from online postings.

 

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Karen says, “Hay!”

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Autumn is here, at least by the calendar.  The hottest days are past, and we are wrapping up a long and complex list of projects. We have finished getting Harmonie‘s electrical system upgraded to exactly what we what, we fixed a leaking hatch, did many minor repairs to generator, and rigging.  Replaced an old and corroded anchor windlass, cleaned, polished, sealed, waterproofed, and organized.  The boat is looking, and working, great.

This coming week we will be visiting with over a dozen other Amel yachts that will be gathering in St. Michaels, Maryland.  At the end of the week is the big sailboat show here in Annapolis.  For us, this year will likely to be more a social outing than a shopping expedition. The last of the shiny new boats are getting rigged here at the boat yard for display.  Overheard on the docks: “It’s for the boat show.  It doesn’t have to work, just look good!”

Once the boat show is over, we begin final preparations to migrate south.  We are still working on our plans for where to go, and when to get there.  We have one or two things to do in Florida, but this year it will be a short visit to the Sunshine State before we head further south and east.

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Death to the fouling creatures!

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Karen got down and dirty with her weapon of choice (the boatyard classic 9-in-1 scraper) to do battle with the scourge of zebra mussels.  Most of the boat was actually very clean, except for the very bottom of the keel. We might, just maybe, possibly, perhaps, could have scraped some paint off on a sand bar or two…

Karen described the task as more fun and satisfying than “pouring boiling water down an ant hill.” I hear her application for membership in PETA was turned down.

If anybody is wondering, we use SeaHawk BioCop paint on the bottom of the boat to keep the nasty critters from attaching, and have been very pleased with it.

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There is Harmonie safely tucked in tightly amongst the other boats.  It’s looking like the storm will be very much a non-event here, but all is safe, and that’s what matters.  At this point we expect to be floating again on Monday.

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Harmonie drying out

A calm, gray, foggy morning and Harmonie was lifted first thing. No surprises. Everything in good shape. The bottom was actually very clean, with almost not attached growth.

We have a couple minor routine things to do, and then she’s on her own for a few days.

It’s interesting watching different boats come in to be hauled. Some (like Harmonie, of course) arrive ready to go and are up out of the water within a few minutes. Others, well, are not ready. I’m watching six men from the yard crew stand around doing nothing while a boat sits in the travel-lift while one guy makes final prep to lift it. All things that could-a/should-a been done by the owners days ago. I hope they get charged extra!

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Going with the Flo.

We have been back and forth about our plans for dealing with hurricane Florence, and they are now finalized.

It looks like the upper Chesapeake around Annapolis will see relatively minor impacts from the storm.  However, this area is very prone to tidal flooding, which can make staying at the dock problematic. We had three options,

  • Stay at the dock and adjust lines as needed if the water rises,
  • Find a local cove and anchor.  While at anchor we really don’t care how high the water gets!
  • Have Harmonie hauled out of the water, and placed in the boat yard.

We have ended up with the last option. Tomorrow morning the yard will be lifting Harmonie out of the water, and setting her down on jack stands until the weather passes.  Our friends Aras and Vickers have graciously offered us the chance to crash at their house in Alexandria.

In anticipation of the storm, the yard has been hauling boats one after another non-stop for days.  Boats are stacked everywhere there is a flat piece of ground. They gave us one condition for hauling tomorrow, that was that as soon as the weather passes we get launched again–because they need to clear the yard ASAP to get back to their normal operations.

In the best of all possible worlds, this whole exercise is not needed because local impacts will be minor, but just in case…

Certainly there are many places, not all that far away, that will be taking a severe beating in the next few days.

 

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