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.

A bumpy ride and other challenges

(This will be the first of several posts about our family fall sailing trip.)

Sunday we and all our stuff left for Maryland and the boat. I’m not quite sure how we made it all fit into the car and find places to live on the boat. Alan is a great packer. I tease him about it, calling him a Master Packer, but really, he sure does master pack stuff into a space.

It’s funny how our perspective of living in that small space changes with the weather and our experience. In the heat of the summer, it felt way too close at times and made me feel anxious at times trying to walk without bumping into or tripping over the table or a child or whatever random objects were about. It really seemed quite cozy and homey this time around. The night before we set off, we got everything stowed, and set up the bunks for sleeping. Alan programmed our course into the chart plotter while the kids staked out their corners up in the V-berth. I wonder how long they’ll all comfortably fit there?

We set off in the wee small hours of the morning, into the dark while the children slept. They were all up by sunrise. They day started off beautifully, and we noted such sights as a bald eagle, a Navy ship, and the Solomon’s Bridge.

Once we got out into the Chesapeake Bay, we ran into a bit of a storm. Scattered rain showers and some fairly strong winds. The ride got quite bumpy. I actually rather enjoyed it as long as the rain was at a minimum. A pat on the back is always nice, and Alan used the word “fantastic,” not once, but twice, to describe my steering job through the waves as he reefed the main. (That’s right, using the lingo. Just don’t make fun of me too badly when I completely botch the lingo, please.)

A little choppy out, but all was well, until I had to go down below to do something or other for the kids. As soon as I got down there I started to feel a bit nauseous. My first ever bout of seasickness! Ack! From that point I was not good until the storm passed and our ride got a bit smoother. Any time I went down below, it got much, much worse. Yes, I actually vomited a couple times. I’m sorry to say we never did eat lunch that day. Alan was sailing the boat and I couldn’t bring myself to stay down there long enough to make something.

I’d never had any kind of motion sickness before so this was all new to me. Alan told me to keep my eyes on the horizon, but that didn’t really help any more than just being out in the open in general. I did find I felt better when actually steering the boat, which I attributed to the great power of distraction, but from what I read later helps your brain make sense of the motion.

It was perhaps an hour after dark when we reached our first anchorage: Horseshoe Bend, just off of St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s City. Ah, rest, relaxation, and DINNER! Although we munched down about a dozen individual size bags of pretzels in that last hour or so of sailing, we were still rather starved after missing lunch. I asked Felicity what she wanted for dinner. Miss Picky said tacos. Luckily for her, I’d brought the fixings for taco bowls – our word for what are basically individually fixed taco salads. Cozy in our little boat, we had the fixings all set out on the table, while a propane camping lantern provided light and a little bit of heat. It was lovely, until the gale blew in from the hatch. This ridiculous wind howled out of nowhere, rocking everything. Our dinner blew off the table, filling our bed with a whole jar of salsa as Sam screamed for fear the lantern would fall and set the boat aflame. I rushed to hold the lantern steady to minimize the kids’ freak out as Alan went out to check things and let the anchor line out a bit. The wind only lasted a minute or two and other than making a mess of our dinner, didn’t cause any trouble. Alan got up a few times during the night to check on things and make sure the anchor was still set well after that wind, but I slept soundly after our long first day.