A warm port on Thanksgiving: By Mitch of s/v Shadow Marie a DE32

Sunrise over the Chesapeake

It is cold out on the water of the Chesapeake.  On Monday, Nov. 22, the first day of my 48th year, the sun was shining and the wind and waves were blasting me in the face.  Hiding behind the dodger did nothing, I was soon shivering involuntarily thinking there were better ways to spend my life.  The cold literally sunk into my bones. At the suggestion of both Michelle and my boss, I turned into Deltaville, Virginia, for a rendezvous with shore power at a dock.  My electric blanket was looking pretty good.

I let a strong norther pass — it would have been a sleigh ride south but being a singlehander, it would also have meant going out on deck (and out on the fairly long bowsprit) to raise sails.  With the waves growing, I decided against it.  Falling off the boat would be A Bad Thing.  No one would even know until Shadow Marie crashed into some rocks somewhere.  That’s not a thought I like to conjure up.  Being frozen fish food doesn’t sound so great, either.

The winds calmed and I took off for Norfolk.  Of course what wind blew was on the nose and the cold was back with a flourish.  I was happy to emerge from a gloomy day at sea to see a large American Flag flying at Hampton Roads.  The electric blanket again sounded great so I decided a marina would be best over the anchorage I had planned.  Michelle began calling around but, being Thanksgiving, none were open.  She left messages, though, and one called her back.  David Briggs, owner of Rebel Marina, invited me to tie up at a floating dock in his marina.  When Michelle asked for the rate, he told her that he couldn’t […]

Clean Towels: By Mitch of s/v Shadow Marie a DE32

There is something magical about having a locker full of clean towels on a cruising boat. Not only does it mean that the laundry has probably been done recently – it means something far more important than that: It means that there hasn’t been a crisis recently.

The towels seem to come flying out during many boat crises – both large and small. It could be the refrigeration water filter gets clogged or perhaps there is a problem with the fresh water system. Or worse, there could be diesel or oil to clean up. Or, horrifically, there may have been a problem with the plumbing to the head or holding tank.

But having a locker full of clean towels – as I have right now – means that none of that has happened recently. Of course now whatever force in the universe that causes such problems knows I have a locker full of clean towels – and is plotting a way for me to use them.

The fuel dock at the Georgetown Yacht Harbor is an extremely convenient place – it is sitting out as a pier with the ability to dock for fuel on three sides. Apparently the hiring guidelines dictate that only cute young girls need to apply for the job as fuel dock attendant. Well, perhaps anyone can apply but it seems that only cute young girls are hired.

And that is a good and bad thing. It’s good because I’m a male and like almost all males, cute young girls are a good thing. It’s bad because the pump out station is also at the fuel dock. That means that all of the middle age men that come through, enjoying seeing a cute young girl, have to ask the cute young girl to pump […]

Cracking Skulls: by Mitch of s/v Shadow Marie a DE32

There must be something black hole-like about boats and places named Georgetown.

In the Bahamas, George Town, on Great Exuma, is the winter refuge for hundreds of cruisers. The harbor is large and reasonably well protected and the town offers pretty much everything a cruiser could need – including flights home, if necessary.

It is also known as “Chicken Harbor.” George Town, Bahamas, is the last stop in the protection of the Exuma Islands chain. To continue on from there, you are in the open Atlantic. Many, many cruisers sail in with dreams of heading south into the Caribbean but find their anchors stuck in the sand. The temptations and relative security of George Town overshadow dreams of new islands and new adventures. Life is easy there, if not occasionally annoying (due, of course, to a bizarro handful of the hundreds of cruisers).

Our anchor got stuck there for two months. In our defense, we were waiting for some friends to sail in. But we, too, found life easy there. Entire days spent enjoying the beautiful tropical scene – a beach bar, new friends, a decent grocery store, and so on. But finally we did leave – and I’m glad we did.

I’m now in another Georgetown – this one in Maryland. I’ve been here for several days now – I would have to look at a calendar to tell you exactly how many. I didn’t expect to be here still but here I am.

A few days ago I was clipped by a tornado or a funnel cloud or a microburst or whatever. In my mind it doesn’t matter – it came from hell. But that’s not the reason I’m still here. Earlier that day, it was hot and muggy and I had found an old Windscoop on […]

How to mess up a perfectly good and uncluttered Down East 32 cockpit: by Bill Amt of DE32 Saffanah

We purchased Saffanah with two purposes in mind. We needed a blue water sailboat small enough to be single handed while sailing the Atlantic circle, and secondly we wanted a beamy live-aboard, shallow draft boat that could motor the 1800 miles of European canals and rivers we wanted to explore. Further, we needed to stick to a tight budget that limited options, avoided purchasing stuff from a catalogue, and required us to do most of the work “for free”. A new Island Packet was out of the question.

So with the right price and a solid hull, a well worn and needy Saffanah became the hole in the water in which we have invested a bunch of money and few months of spare time. Some of the more substantial projects have included:

Reconstruction of the hull underbody including replacing the cutlass bearing, reworking the rudder post and brass bearing plates, replacing all through hulls, and completing a handful of hull bottom painting related projects. Overhaul of the 30 HP Perkins Parama diesel engine including injectors, water pump, exhaust Installation of pressure water, hot water and reverse cycle heating and a/c system Replacement of every hose on the boat – fuel, engine cooling and exhaust, fresh water, cockpit scupper drains, pressure water systems. Reconfiguration of the fuel tanks and installation of a continuous fuel filtration system. Replacement of all standing and running rigging including re-wiring the mast head navigational lights. Replacement of all sails and the addition of a cruising spinnaker, lazy jacks and Mackpak, and storm sails and the installation of new spreaders. Reconstruction of anchor platform, Sampson posts, bow sprit, windlass and the addition of various cleats and attachments to accommodate mooring anchors, sea anchors and drogues. (Also included the construction fender boards to protect Saffanah from lock […]