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We’re Still Here

So, Where shall I begin to tell the story of how great a life can be. Sorry, that’s the love theme from Romeo and Juliet. Today we are in Norfolk, VA and tomorrow we are finally making our departure for Antigua! What has happened over the last seven weeks? Well, grab a cocktail and settle in for some juicy news.

When last heard from we were in glorious Maine. If it weren’t for the polar cold in the winter we’d still be there. As it was we sailed back to Oxford, MD for a bit of work on the boat and relaxing with friends there. We had one day of fantastic sailing to Cape Cod Bay but the wind-blown waves were radiating off the Cape when we entered and it was like a washing machine all the way to the canal. We stopped for the night in Onset, MA and headed down Buzzards Bay to Bristol, RI. What a town! We tied up along the pier at the Herreshoff Maritime Museum for an entire week. Such decadence you can’t imagine.

The night we got there they were throwing a grand Endless Summer party and we joined right in for the celebration. The museum itself is wonderful. I could spend days and days just looking at the old Herreshoff boats. The museum is in the buildings formerly occupied by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, where they built hundreds of iconic yachts as well as several America’s Cup defenders. It is breathtaking if you’re into boat porn. We rented a car for a few days so we could run down to Defender Marine in Conn. If the Herreshoff Museum is boater’s Mecca, Defender is boaters Valhalla. Everything you need and everything you didn’t know you needed. We needed new anchor chain so we loaded 300′ of shiny new chain into the back of our rented Smart car (really a Jeep) along with bags of other cool stuff and went to swap chain.

We loaded the chain into a dock cart and encountered our first obstacle. When we left Bristol the tide was high and the ramp to the float was horizontal. When we got back the tide was out and the ramp was at a 45 degree angle. We had 400 pounds of steel in the cart. We cautiously braced ourselves in ahead of the cart and slooowly two-steps-at-a-time shuffled down that ramp. Believe you me that puppy could have run away with us any other way and we’d be fishing chain out of Narragansett Bay. Not wanting to hump the old chain up the ramp Nancy fed it out with the windlass and I pulled it up onto the pier and into the cart. Much easier for one of us than the other. Fortunately there was a scrap yard 10 minutes from the boat. We drove over there and they gladly took our chain and paid us too! Nineteen shiny greenbacks! It was only 1,572 less than what we paid for the new one. Heavenly days McGee!

After a fun week in Bristol we headed south and slogged up the Delaware Bay, through the C and D Canal and back to Oxford. I’ll tell you, we have made that trip many times and it never fails to amaze me how crappy it is. Generally no good winds, the Delaware bay is narrow and full of ships, the current is always against you at least half the way.

While in Oxford we got a replacement for our electric outboard which had failed. It turned out to be a faulty battery. We went to the boat show and looked at things we already had. The highlight of our time in Oxford and Annapolis was connecting with Peter Harken (the head of Harken Marine) and spending a few delightful dinners and drinks with him. Nancy did a full provisioning and we were on our way. We had a fast reach to Reedville, Va site of the legendary finger crushing incident (see earlier post). Then two slow sails down to Norfolk. We have been anchored in the Lafayette River since the 27th of October. We, along with another 80-100 boats who are in the Salty Dawg rally have been waiting for a weather window and tomorrow is the day!

Fortunately for us Nancy’s sister Pat lives just a 5 minute dinghy ride away and she has been more than gracious in entertaining and feeding us for the last two weeks. She has also been an accommodating post office for all the last-minute project materials: Solar panels for me and SSB radio parts and art supplies for Nancy. It’s getting late and we have an early departure in the morning so you’ll have to check back for photos, book reviews (we’ve read quite a few lately) and Nancy’s new artwork. Don’t forget to subscribe to get notices of new postings.

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