Farewell Voyage

Farewell Voyage

Now that things are settled and official, I can report that we have sold our lovely Green Eyes. I was a bit sad to leave her, but it’s a relief to know that now we can focus on Tipsy Lady and get her ready for next season. Plus, it’s a pretty major item to check off of our summer bucket list!

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We sailed Green Eyes down to Yorktown Friday for the July 4th weekend. The forecast called for storms, but it turned out to be a gorgeous day. It was a lovely sail down… Until we got there.

We had reserved one of several mooring  balls the city has in the York River, just a little ways out from the town dock. We had stayed there previously and it worked out really well. This time, things weren’t so smooth. The wind  and current were pushing us opposite directions so we couldn’t get situated in a good place. We were just getting pushed into the ball. They had replaced the old (plastic?) balls they had before with huge steel ones. It wasn’t pretty. I bent our boat hook in the struggle to keep us off the ball.

The sailboat on the ball next to us had obviously had the same issue. They were tied up alongside their ball, with spring lines from the bow and the stern, and a whole bunch of fenders in the middle to protect the boat. We pulled away from the ball trying to decide what to do. We almost just left to go anchor in Sarah Creek across the river. We decided to go back and mimic what the other boat had done. Once we got her all settled, it actually worked pretty well for the duration of our stay, although it was a little nerve wrecking during the storms that came through over night.

So we had just caught our breath after the stress of tying up to the mooring ball when we got a text from the potential buyer that was meeting us there to look at her. It read, “I’m on the beach, off your bow.” Oh my. We wondered how much of that struggle he had seen! Alan brought him over to check out the boat while the kids and I checked in with the Dockmaster.

The next morning, we made a deal. We’d have the 4th in Yorktown, then sail her a few miles up the river to the buyer’s slip on the 5th.

Independence Day in Yorktown began with a parade.

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We played in the water for a while during the day. The kids’ raft became the “dinghy side car.”

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We were, however, rather disappointed that the evening’s fireworks were cancelled due to storms.

The next day the river was smooth as glass for our last little journey with Green Eyes. We had an almost magical experience as we motored along, though. We saw more dolphins at once than we have ever seen during all our time on the Bay. They were everywhere, some swimming right alongside the boat. Every time one would appear, there would be squeals of delight from the kids. This is just a little snippet of them; I’m terrible at managing to point the camera in the right direction at the right time.

It was one last lovely memory of Green Eyes. We’ll remember her fondly.

There are a few more pictures from the weekend here.

Weekend at Godfrey Bay

Weekend at Godfrey Bay

We’re deep in the craziness of All Stars softball, preparing for the regional tournament next week. Those girls have been working super hard though, and the coach kindly rewarded their efforts with the whole weekend off. (Hallelujah!)

We decided we better seize the opportunity and take Green Eyes out. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t all pretty. There were a few complaints. (I hate this boat!) And a few whines (I miss Tipsy Lady!) …and Alan and I were the primary offenders. It’s just true. We found our dream boat, and it’s hard to have to go backwards for a season. 

And there’s Piper. It’s not easy adding a dog to the boat that already seemed to small for the five of us- not to mention her fur, everywhere. 

So we decided to not go far. We motored down to Godfrey Bay, where we knew there was a nice little public beach. It was just about a two and a half hour trip. We got there just at sunset, Saturday evening.

  
Alan decided we better take Piper ashore to go to the bathroom, since I’ve pretty much dropped the ball on teaching her to go on a mat on the boat. He blew up the dinghy, we got all ready to go… And the dinghy motor wouldn’t start. So Alan rowed Savannah and Piper all the way to shore and back, in the dark… And Piper never did go to the bathroom while she was there. Yeah, definitely one of those nights. 

The next morning Alan rowed us all to shore to enjoy the beach before anyone else got there.

 
I gave Piper a nice walk, and the kids had enough beach time to get tired of it. This time Alan just pushed the dinghy most of the way back to the boat, since it was pretty shallow at least halfway back there.

 
 The kids swam along behind us.


Back at the boat, the kids had a grand time swimming. Alan even rigged a rope swing for them, which resulted in many exclamations of, “this is the best day of my life!” Sammy dubbed it the “Pirate Pirate Course.” It turns out there is still much fun to be had, even on the old boat we’ve mostly outgrown.

 

  
 And Piper…. Well,  there is work to be done there, for sure. While we were enjoying the Pirate Pirate Course, she peed on a cushion. Yuck, yuck, yuck! But we’ll get the hang of this dog on the boat thing, because she is a much loved companion, and she mostly seems to enjoy it, too.

   
 

Spring update

Spring update

Last year, we bought a new boat, and barely used it. The boat was so far away from our home in Pennsylvania, and it was such a busy summer, filled with all the busyness of selling a home and moving. It felt that we hardly got to stretch her legs.

We moved in the fall, and got to experience a taste of what we anticipated life to be this summer. With the boat now a short drive away, we could pack some snacks and blankets and be there quickly for a weekend sail. There are so many great anchorages within a day’s sail. We envisioned a summer of exploring all around our nook of the southern Chesapeake. Even an afternoon’s sail after church on Sunday was suddenly realistic.

We were settled in our new home and we had a boat with more room for everyone, so we got a puppy over the winter. Come spring, the plan was to bring her along and teach her how to be a good cruising pup.

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We had, of course, some maintenance planned while she was on the hard for the winter. We knew there were some issues with oil leaking in the bilge, so Alan wanted to address that – go over the motor, and clean up and paint the bilge. As he got into the project though, he discovered some other serious issues that needed to be addressed while the motor was pulled out. There were a couple rotten bulkheads that need to be replaced, and it sounds as though that project is going to be a huge pain in the tuchus.

The upshot is, sadly, Tipsy Lady is out for the season. She is truly the boat we hope to have for many, many years so we want to take good care of her and really properly address the issues we’ve found.

We did get out a couple weekends ago on Green Eyes. She has been for sale, but really was located in a terrible place to try to sell a sailboat. She finally made it back to Deltaville (still her home port since we never did change her lettering after buying her), and hopefully will sell this season now that she’s in a good sailing area. In the meantime, at least we can get out and sail with her.

The five of us – the kids all a bit bigger than the last time we were on her- plus the puppy… suffice it to say, it’s definitely a smaller boat. We only went out overnight, but I don’t think we could survive a 3 week trip on her anymore. At least not after the taste of the comparative luxury of Tipsy Lady.

Ah, but it was a beautiful little sail. We weren’t sure if we were going to go out at all. Savannah had a 3:00 softball game, so we figured by the time they finished and we got packed, it would just be too late. But there was a nice breeze and it just felt right, so we rushed home, threw some bottled water and granola bars in a bag, picked up a takeout pizza, and headed for the marina. We were out by 7:30, sailing toward the sunset at a brisk 5-6 knots.

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There was some real sadness as we had to let go of the summer we envisioned, but things never are quite as you envision them. Now we look forward to some sails on Green Eyes until we find a buyer for her, some sails on our little G-cat, and really making the most of all that this area has to offer.

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Independence, Huzzah!

Independence, Huzzah!

We had fantastic plans to spend Independence Day weekend in Yorktown. Yorktown, for you non-history nerds and other strange people, was the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War and the surrender of Cornwallis to George Washington. Are you getting excited with me yet? Celebrating independence at the very site of victory, Huzzah!

We’d sail down Thursday night and grab a mooring ball, which we had reserved several weeks in advance. There would be a parade in the morning, beach time, and walking around the lovely historic town. After grilling kabobs, we would eat dessert and drink wine as we watched fireworks from the aft deck. Fourth of July perfection, right?

Then this guy came along.arthur

The outskirts of the storm that became Hurricane Arthur was supposed to be reaching the lower Bay just about the time we were hoping to leave Thursday night. We had to decide what to do, and since we had the kids with us, we decided to hunker down in the marina until it passed. In retrospect we probably would have been alright if we’d left when we originally planned, but by the time we realized that, it was too late to change our decision.

Our good friends Matt and Sarah and their son Dallas joined us, and we had a relaxed Independence Day at the marina, playing and swimming. Late afternoon we all drove to Yorktown, where we parked in a field with the rest of the crowd, and trudged to the waterfront with our cooler and chairs to wait for fireworks. We thought longingly of our vision of grilling on the deck as we waited in long lines for food and envisioned our relative solitude on the boat as we waited in more long lines to use port-a-potties. Ick.

The company was lovely though, and the kids got to play on the beach and had lots of fun helping to corral the very inquisitive Dallas.

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And there was a nice fireworks show.

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It really was a very nice holiday. It just wasn’t what we had envisioned.That, however, more or less came the next day.

On Saturday, Matt and Sarah headed home, but we sailed/ motor-sailed up to Reedville, a historic town known for its menhaden fishing industry. We had heard they were having fireworks that night. It was a beautiful day and a nice little trip up there.

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We passed the historic smokestack and arrived during their Independence Day parade. We caught glimpses of fire trucks between the houses, and could hear their horns and sirens. After finding a spot to anchor on Cockrell Creek, we took the dinghy into town. It is really a lovely town. Every house was festive, with flags and banners displayed for the Fourth.

We had read in online reviews that there was a nice place to get ice cream. Some kind local folks were more than happy to give us directions there and wish us a pleasant stay. We located the ice cream shop, Chitterchats, and decided to come back after dinner. We rode back to the boat and grilled those kabobs we’d been wishing for the previous night, then returned for ice cream. The line was long, but the ice cream was delicious.

After dark were more fireworks. It was so much more pleasant to watch, knowing my bed was right there below waiting for me when they were over. The town put on a very nice fireworks show, which was followed by some pretty impressive private fireworks from the opposite side of the creek.

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The weekend went so quickly. After sailing back and cleaning and packing Sunday, we had to begin the long drive home. Alan went right to DC as he had to work the next day, so the kids and I made the trip back to PA without him. It’s always a long drive, but this time it was especially painful, due to an earlier accident on the Potomac River Bridge, which added about 2 slow, painful hours to my trip. I will be ever so grateful when our trips to the boat are no longer bookended by that drive.

Memorial Day Sail

Memorial Day Sail

We had a lovely though uneventful first family sailing trip on Tipsy Lady over Memorial Day weekend. We sailed up the Rappahannock and found a couple nice little anchorages off the Corrotoman River. It was incredibly nice to be close enough to anchorages to just go leisurely and pick out a spot. We’re used to having to leave early and press hard all day just to get somewhere. We even ran into one of our nice new “neighbors” at the marina at the anchorage, which was a lovely surprise.

The kids all report that they “love sailing!” We suspect they really love finding secluded beaches, swimming off the boat, and staying up late looking at the stars, but we’ll take their enthusiasm.

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Sammy made his famous Sammy Sandwiches for breakfast one day. (Bacon + mustard + bread) I’m afraid they were nearly all wrong, though, as I only had the wrong kind of bread and the wrong kind of mustard.

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The weather was lovely all weekend and we all enjoyed having a bit more room to spread out.

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One of the habits we’ve fallen into that everybody especially loves is spending the evenings cozied together with blankets and pillows on the bow as it gets dark and the stars appear. As it turns out, we still don’t fit very well on the bow of our new boat. Darn kids just keep growing. But we have a nice wide stern that we all fit in nicely. And Sunday evening, sitting in the back positioned us perfectly to catch a surprise fireworks show. That’s summertime perfection right there.

And now, a random shot that partially shows inside the boat… because I just realized that a couple people mentioned wanting to see pictures of the inside and I still didn’t really take any.

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First sail

First sail

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were dedicated toward getting Tipsy Lady moved from Annapolis to her new home at Stingray Point. I was packed and ready to leave right after church for Deltaville, where I’d meet Alan so we could leave a car there. The day began in the tradition of many a great adventure – my car wouldn’t start. After charging the battery for a while and a previously unplanned trip to Autozone, we were back on schedule.

I drove to Annapolis, provisioned the boat, then down to Stingray Point to wait for Alan. Then we rode back up to Annapolis together to spend our first night on the boat. We were both so pleased that it is much more comfortable than our sleeping arrangements on Green Eyes. We both slept like we were in our bed at home.

We got started sailing toward Deltaville early Monday morning. The getting out of the slip bit made me all kinds of nervous, as usual, but we got off without incident. It was a chilly but  beautiful day, a nice day to get to know our new boat. We are so incredibly pleased. It handles so well, and requires so much less effort than the other boat. I hardly felt like Alan even needed me there to help.

We enjoyed a bit of champagne while the boat sailed herself.

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The weather was just beginning to turn a bit, with showers and the wind picking up, when we tucked into Smith Creek off the Potomac for the evening and enjoyed some hot chili for dinner. We were given a hint of what the next day would hold as we listened to the wind howl all night long.

Tuesday was long, cold, wet, and rough. The wind was a fierce 30 knots, gusting higher, and the waves were awful. Our one relief is that it wasn’t raining all day also. We went through showers here and there, but no real sustained rains. We still got rather wet between the splashes and sprays from the huge waves and the rain showers. I forgot my foul weather pants, so I wore a pair of Sammy-sized rain pants Alan happened to have with him. They stretched around my waist fine, but only covered halfway down my calves. I looked ridiculous and was grateful that my tush wasn’t soaked.

I was terribly seasick most of the day. After a few episodes of this, although none as bad as this last time, I’m finally learning that I really need to take precautions for that possibility when the weather isn’t good.  All in all it was a rather miserable day. I was so sick I couldn’t do much to help Alan out, and unlike the day before,  he could have used some help. He looks like he’s got it all under control though, yes?

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We did learn two fantastic things, though.  Firstly, our boat handled the awful weather nicely. She handled pretty well and we made decent progress all day long, even when we were fighting into the wind. We discovered a few things we need to work on before we get out in any bad weather again, but all in all we were very pleased with how she made it through.

Also, Stringray Point Marina is amazingly well protected. The weather was just plain nasty. The whole way from the Potomac to Deltaville, we never saw another recreational boat out on the water, just a few commercial vessels. No one else was foolish enough to be out, it seems. But once we got up into the marina, it was hard to detect the slightest hint that it might be bad out. The only clue was the wind still howling in the distance if you really listened for it. It was perfectly calm tucked up in there; we had no trouble backing into our slip – well, no more than normal, anyhow.

After getting settled and introducing ourselves at the marina office (where we could not possibly have been made to feel more welcome), and stopping at Lowery’s in Tappahannock for dinner,  we began the long, late drive back to Annapolis to pick up the truck and then all the way home. It was fun, it was trying, it was exhausting… already looking forward to next time.

I’m especially eager to spend a day going through the boat and figuring out how we want to stow things to really make it ours. It has so much storage space, it’s incredible. I’m used to not knowing where to put things because there’s just no space to work with. Now I have plenty of space and I actually have to figure out what spaces make sense for keeping particular things. Amazing.

Tipsy Lady

Tipsy Lady

It is a time of transition. I have used this space (when I have remembered it and made the time to use it at all) largely as a means of recording and sharing our family’s sailing adventures. We have been sailing on our beautiful Bristol 32, Green Eyes. She has been a wonderful boat for introducing us as a family to sailing.

I confess now to leaving some slightly unpleasant details of our trips out of my accounts. It’s not that I’ve been misleading, I’ve just left a few bits outside the frame of the picture I’ve presented. Bits like…

Sorry, you’ll just have to get used to sleeping with somebody’s feet in your face. There’s nowhere else for her feet to go.

And no, you can’t go up or down the stairs at the moment, I’m trying to prepare dinner and the steps are my only available “counter space.”

Sorry, you can’t get any toys out now either, the cooler is blocking the toy drawer and there’s nowhere to move it.

Also, sorry you can’t pee until we tack because there are loads of bags blocking the bathroom door and I physically can’t move them yet.

And ohmygoodness is there any way possible to find a space where you’re not physically touching me when it’s this ridiculously hot? No?

In short, there have been more than a few moments of please can we take a dinghy ride somewhere, anywhere just to get off this boat and have a bit of space? It’s truly been wonderful, but we’ve outgrown Green Eyes.

We have found a new boat that we think and hope will be perfect for our family for many, many years to come.  On Sunday, we officially renamed her.  We had a short de-naming and re-naming ceremony, complete with champagne, sparkling cider, a bottle broken on the bow, and gifts of new boat shoes for the kids. Allow me to introduce Tipsy Lady, the 43’ Gulfstar, which is now officially our new escape, our home away from home, our adventure.

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