Showing posts with label AIS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AIS. Show all posts

16 October 2016

Missing Mathew and Sailing the Southern Chesapeake to Virginia

After some time in Baltimore and Annapolis, we explored some serene anchorages and the lovely little town of St. Michaels.  We hunkered down in Solomons, Maryland while Hurricane Matthew passed far offshore.  Now, after a couple of long legs we're in Hampton, Virginia awaiting a weather window to jump off to Bermuda!

Bob Damiano

Annapolis - Drinking Town with a Sailing Problem[tm].  

We spent a few days in Annapolis on the public dock right downtown.  This was about a week before they would begin staging boats for the immensely popular Annapolis Sailboat Show. We had a bit of weather while we were there with some sustained wind in the 20s and gusts to 30 and absolute torrential rain at times.  We pulled bow-in to these little finger piers between pylons because otherwise, we would have had all that blasting into the cockpit.

Argon tied to a tiny fixed finger pier at the public dock in Annapolis bracing for the wind
The harbormaster had offered us a chance to move further in and tie up against the sea wall.  We had such a complicated tie-up on the pylons that we didn't want to bother undoing all that to move.  That ended up being a bad decision.  The next day, we were blown so hard off of the fixed finger pier, that we could not get off the boat for most of the day.  Tide was well above normal high tide all day.  The downtown parking lots were flooded. It was nasty.

Extra high tide and pouring rain

The two BMWs on the right were stranded in this deep water.  The tow truck got a two-for one special that night

But Annapolis is awesome.  We went on several long walks exploring and even hiked the 2 miles to the grocery store and back. There are endless restaurants and bars in Annapolis. There are thousands of sailboats in marinas all around the city. Two or three power boats too.

One of the many, many restaurants, pubs and music venues in Annapolis

After things calmed down a bit, we took a mooring ball from the harbormaster over in Back Creek. What an amazing place! Marina after marina after marina absolutely packed with sailboats.

Back Creek in Annapolis

Why the Wye?

After Annapolis, we were looking forward to a free night or two at anchor.  Linda found a great spot up in one of the nooks off the Wye River on the Eastern Shore. This is birder's heaven.  Herons and Eagles all over the place.  Quiet, peaceful and beautiful. 

That's Joe Walsh in the middle there

A few neighbors in this Anchorage

On the wing

Blue Heron

If you lived here, you'd be home by now

The only slight issue is that we had very little connectivity over there and I really needed to get some work done.

Always monitoring the 4G signal strength (or lack thereof). Here we just barely have a weak LTE (4g) signal.

For that reason alone, we decided to get back to civilization and St. Michael's, MD was not only on everyone's list of suggested destinations, it was also very close by.

That Windlass Project (take II)

A few episodes ago, I was ranting about the cheesy switches that Quick used for windlass switches. I replaced them with some more robust ones I found on Amazon. Well... one of those failed too!  While in Baltimore, we went to the West Marine and I got some really heavy duty blue sea brand switches ($30/ea).  These had a narrower shaft so once again, we had to fill the holes with epoxy and re-drill them.  While I was at it, I also over-drilled all the mounting holes for the covers and filled them with epoxy too.

New switch mounted in fresh new hard epoxy. Mounting holes ready to be drilled into new epoxy as well.

New switches mounted and wired up.  So far, so good.

Again, the switch failure mode was stuck ON.  This time the UP button stuck.  So, we are very much now in the habit of turning off the windlass breaker when not in use - especially while the anchor is down.

Anchoring at St. Michaels and watching Mathew

We did manage to keep to our goal of "free anchorage" in St. Michaels.  There is room for a handful of boats just off the north and south sides of the main channel.  This is not a very protected anchorage from east wind (and that's what we had), but it was just fine.

It was here that we started to really worry about Hurricane Mathew. At that time, the projected track was not looking good for the Chesapeake Bay. We talked to the very nice folks at Higgins Yacht Yard and they told us that they were planning on hauling all of their customers and they could probably haul us too, or put us in the Travel Lift Dock.  We decided to leave the final decision until the next morning.

The next morning, Mathew's projected track began to curve it around to the east (offshore) before it got as far north as us so we were a little less worried.  As the day went on, the track looked better and better for the Chesapeake. We told the folks at Higgins that we for sure did not want to be hauled and in fact by that time, they had decided not to haul anyone anyway.

Hurricane Mathew's projected track heading offshore and curling around south. We were relieved to see this. We are at the yellow dot upper right section of the storm.

Since we had a couple days before whatever Mathew would bring, we decided to make some southerly progress (you know, closer to the hurricane) and make it to Solomons Island (still in Maryland) off the Patuxent River.

Patuxent River - Our Hurricane Hole

Zanhiser's Yacht Center in Solomons, MD is a great facility. We anchored just outside of their mooring field and went ashore.  The dinghy dock welcomes anchoring guests but they do ask for a $3 landing fee.  We went to the office and they managed to up-sell us to a $40 mooring.  This gave us access to very nice showers, laundry, free bikes, and a courtesy shuttle for grocery shopping.  Great deal!  It also allowed us to be on a mooring when the outer winds of Mathew hit us the following night. I asked the dockmaster about the ground tackle on these moorings and he said they were 500 pound mushrooms with 3/4" chain.  Sounded good.  I didn't ask when they were last inspected. Maybe I didn't want to know.

Sleepless Night

The effects of Mathew were going to be felt over most of the weekend. Saturday Night was forecast to have the highest winds slowly tapering off through Monday Morning. We decided to do watches overnight Saturday and keep an eye on things, so we both set our alarms. This was unnecessary as neither of us could sleep a wink anyway.

Linda trying to sleep on the settee where it is less bouncy and a bit quieter compared to the V berth

Adding to the insomnia a bit, Mathew had stopped following his clear instructions and started heading more North and less East. I was beginning to wonder if leaving St Michaels was really so smart.

Mathew taunting us with a couple Northerly turns. A day earlier, Mathew was supposed to be way south of this track.(We're the green dot on that cold front)
Overnight Saturday, winds were sustained in the 20s with gusts well into the 30s. You try not to think about the integrity of the mooring, but you do anyway.  It was very noisy inside the boat with wind howling and that mooring line straining while stretched like a guitar string. I had tied an additional mooring line with a blake hitch to the main mooring line to make something of a bridle. I went up on deck a couple times overnight and we were dragging the mooring ball completely under water. We were very happy to see daylight the next day. The wind was still blowing hard, but it always feels less scary when the sun is shining!

Date night going to the restaurant Saturday Night - we were in for a long night that night.

 Short clip from the go-pro of the winds at our mooring

Lets' Go!   Nope - too soon!

On Monday, we decided to head out into the bay and make our way more south toward Virginia. We motored out into the Patuxent and the winds and waves built. We started sailing with a reefed main and jib and the closer we got to the open bay, the heavier things got. We poked out into the bay a little bit and things were just nasty.  Remnants of the impact of Matthew were still very strong and would make for an uncomfortable and adventurous sail. So - we turned around and beat our way back into the Patuxent and some relative shelter.

Our track for that day - out... and back!

We motored back up into Solomons but this time decided to try an anchorage up one of the other creeks in the area.  Here, we had a very humbling anchoring experience.

Drag Race

The mud in the creek beds around the lower Chesapeake is very, very soft.  It's like dust! It's so fine, that your anchor comes up clean - but dark colored. The chain looks almost anodized after it sits in this stuff.  Anyway, we set the hook deep in a cove that had some houses around it where the wind was very light. We started getting some food out and Linda noticed that we had dragged almost 100 yards!

Whoops! - ok we hauled the anchor, motored back up and dropped it again.  This time, we really did a good tug to set it and I put even more scope out.  Back to lunch and.... we're dragging again!  Amazing - we have never dragged before and this wind was so light in the protected cove.  We decided to head back to the anchorage by Zanhisers.  We anchored there without any problem and were able to take off early the next morning for another attempt at heading down the bay.

Lets Go (again)

The next day, we set off early and conditions were beautiful.  This was one of those sailing days that non-sailors probably imagine every day on a sailboat is like.  Great wind behind the beam, flat water and warm, clear skies.  The only downside is that I had to work some while underway.

Yeah, it's always like this
Along this leg, we were in the company of many other boats taking advantage of the good weather and heading south.  There was an AIS target up ahead called "Ancestrial Salute" that was always just 0.1kt faster or slower than us. Eventually, the wind softened up and we got a little advantage over her and overtook her (briefly). We snapped some photos of this lovely 56' ketch and next thing we knew, her skipper Stephen was hailing us.  "Hey Argon - I've got some great pictures of you".  So we emailed our photos back and forth.
Playing tag with this beautiful Ketch from Canada "Ancestrial Salute".

Argon - as viewed from Ancestrial Salute

About to tick off another State

A lot of company migrating south

Let's go all the way

South of Solomons, there are lots of places to tuck in and anchor, but not a lot near any sort of civilization. I was craving data connectivity a bit and our ships stores were craving a trip to a grocery store pretty soon.  We decided to just head all the way to Hampton, Virginia and anchor in the Back River near Langley AFB.

Linda started spreading rumors of a BBQ place near this anchorage.  I was all over the idea of finding this.  We did - and what a gem!  The Bull Island BBQ is this funky little place in a corrugated steel building run by a very enthusiastic woman who cooks everything right there. You sit at a bar surrounding the kitchen which is full of crock pots loaded with her delicious offerings.  We're sort of kind of vegetarian but we definitely were not that night.

Bull Island BBQ - 5 stars

After a very lovely quiet evening at anchor, we motored through some very heavy fog into Hampton Harbor.  We had a slip reserved at Blue Water Marina.  Ah - electricity, free wifi, a real shower, endless water, washing machines, nice docks! Life is good.  The rates here are an amazing $2.00/foot/night. We met some people from Virginia Beach who were complaining about the high rates. I told her what she would be paying in Boston and she was shocked.

Settled into Bluewater Marina. We're on "D" Dock - just like home in Boston. Hello to our D Dock friends at Constitution Marina, Boston!

The Company You Keep

One of the coolest things about this experience so far has been the number of people we have met who are doing something similar to what we are doing.  There are so many great stories to hear and share and we all benefit from them.  Everyone has different ways of solving just about everything from how to rig a sailboat to how to break from a career to actually do this.

Our growing collection of cruisers' boat cards

Exploring Hampton and waiting to go

So, here we are in Hampton, Virgina.  We're going to sit tight until we make the big off shore jump to Bermuda in a week or so.  Ken McKinley from Locus Weather will begin to look for weather windows next week.  We have our good friend and extremely skilled sailor, Lance, flying down from Boston to crew with us for the Bermuda Leg.  Linda intends to write much more about preparing for that adventure.

A short dinghy ride up the river gets us to the main town. There is a lovely short restaurant strip on Queen's Way and so far, we have not found a bad choice.

Sushi and Yaki Soba
Besides restaurants, there is also a pretty nice Air and Space museum. We played tourist for a day and went all through that.  Pretty nice!

The public town docks are also here and we will be moving to them for the remainder of our time here. The public docks have a great deal for us cruisers.  If you give them $75, you get a $0.75/foot/night rate for a year. Not only that, but every four nights gets you a fifth night free. It's a great place for people like us to wait for crew and weather - and it's in an awesome location!

Getting ready for Bermuda... We AReGONe!!

14 June 2016

Tartan 4000 Becomes an Off Shore Sailboat

Captain Linda Perry Riera

Argon Graduates:  Converting a Tartan 4000 from a coastal cruiser to a sailboat suitable for off-shore and extend cruising

Argon, a 2014 Tartan 4000, was purchased as part of preparing to set off sailing on our first extended voyage (see the April blog post The Three Year Plan) and is entering her third summer sailing season.
Argon, a Tartan 4000, was chosen for her strength, performance, comfort, and pizzazz
Many of our friends, both sailing and non-sailing, have commented that they are surprised (or confused) as to why we are always so busy with boat projects considering that Argon is a new sailboat. Sailboats (well, boats in general) always have endless project and maintenance lists, however, in addition to the standard items, we have been busy converting Argon from a fantastic coastal cruising sailboat to a vessel suitable for the open ocean and extended cruising as we prepare to leave for a year or so excursion. Our sketched out itinerary includes at least several multi day open ocean legs sailing short handed (just the two of us) including Boston to Nova Scotia (July), Newport or Norfolk to Bermuda (October) and Bermuda to ~Antigua in the Caribbean (November) hence we will often be many days away from land and, when island hoping, will have unpredictable access to retail boat parts and marinas. We plan to anchor the majority of time in harbors and will be off the grid for long periods of time.

The key related projects as part of the conversion can be grouped in to the following three categories:
  • Safety
  • Sailing and extended cruising
  • Comfort
We endeavor to do projects ourselves but have employed professionals for a couple of the more thorny ones.


The vast majority of the projects (and spend) have been to maximize the odds of staying alive and just getting to where we intend to go. We have used the Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements (NBRSR) as a guideline adhering to the majority of the specifications. The NBRSR is an adaptation of the US Safety Equipment Requirements (USSER). Some of the safety related projects have included: 

AIS (Automatic Identification System):  
In addition to keeping tabs on the sparse traffic while short handed in the open ocean, AIS has proven a helpful add on for coastal cruising during overnight legs and bad weather. We also find AIS helpful while informally racing to keep tabs on our competitor's speed and bearing to anticipate wind shifts.
AIS is important off-shore to keep watch for traffic, especially large commercial vessels at night or during storms and poor visibility.
Satellite Communications:  
For weather downloads and communications - We went with a compact KVH Fleet 1 satellite system for data / phone through Cay Electronics in Portsmouth, RI. The dome is mounted on a custom bracket designed and manufactured by Edson to the unique specifications for mounting on the transom mast. The system worked perfectly and was very easy to configure. The data is very pricey and so this is only used for critical communications off-shore. The $50/month subscription gets you a whopping 10MB (yes, M, not G), with additional data costing $0.50/MB.  This is plenty to download a few GRIB files and basic text email and SMS with people ashore.

Running the wires up the transom mast and attaching all the parts one mild March day on the dock
Finished product - communication satellite atop the specially designed and manufactured mounting bracket, along with the radar and wifi router
This is what the cabin (aka our living room these days) looked like in the middle of the satellite project
Storm trisail from North Sails and track from Hall Spars & Rigging:  
Hall Spars and Rigging installed a track on the mast for the storm trisail sail and North manufactured the sail. We will certainly practice in good weather so that if / when the crap hits the fan, we will be ready.
Test hoisting of the new storm trisail while still at the dock; next we need to practice out on the water during a windy day

Jack lines (deck and cockpit):
We will attach ourselves to jack lines during rough weather or big seas to ensure we do not get thrown off the the boat. There has been controversy recently as to whether jack lines should run outboard along the sides of the deck or more inboard along the cabin top. We opted for the traditional configuration to be used with dual attachment tethers. A couple of added pad eyes in the cockpit enable easy attachment while at the helm.

Lee cloths: 
For port and starboard settees.
Bob testing out the new lee clothes; yes, we will need these to keep from falling off the settee in big seas off-shore
Expanded and updated paper and electronic charts:

One can never have enough charts - We have many handed down from other sailors who have finished cruising long distance and we have purchased many new ones.  New chips for the GPS were also secured to cover our expected range.

Safety at Sea Seminar in Newport sponsored by the US Sailing Association: 
This was a fantastic experience well worth the two days time and cost this past March. One day was packed full of safety related topics such as off-shore communications, heavy weather issues, crew preparations, crew overboard, etc. and the second day was hands on including pool time with PFDs and liferafts, practicing with flares and fire extinguishers on the beach, and damage control practice in a USCG simulation trailer. 

PFD and life raft practice including pulling an "injured" person in to the liferaft

The USCG had a damage control trailer to simulate a vessel taking on water and provide practice with various ways to control the flooding; it was quite stressful but incredibly helpful!

SOS Danbuoy (Man Overboard (MOB) device):
To be thrown in the case of a crew overboard situation to mark where they are to aid in retrieval.   We've had mixed success with this device so far. We have not needed it (yet) but it has already once spontaneously inflated in the cockpit while sailing. We may be swapping this out for a MOM device.

Edson manual bilge pump: 
Boat manufactures are required to equip vessels with automatic and manual bilge pumps.They tend to do the minimum, especially with regards to the manual pump. Tartan equipped Argon with a Whale brand plastic handle pump. We wanted to see if this very weak looking pump would keep up with an ingress of water. We poured 55 gallons of water in to the bilge and marked lines every 15 gallons (with nail polish). We worked the manual pump for a while and managed to get through about only half the water after quite a bit of effort. If we were taking on water at even just a moderate rate and lost our electric bilge pump, there is no way this pump would ever keep up. Check out the video we made of this experiment. We drained the second half with the electric pump. 

The video above shows our testing of the standard manual bilge pump that came with  Argon.  After this test, we quickly decided to upgrade to a much better pump.

We decided on an 18gpm pump through Edson. Stanley Boat Yard installed this pump under the port side coaming. This pump is a beast compared to the former Whale! (No video yet) .

Bob squeezing in the transom locker to do the final mounting work for the Edson manual bilge pump.  The small stainless plate above his right hand is the only part that shows in the cockpit.  A handle provided (or any winch handle) is attached and one can sit and pump at a good rate
While squeezed in the transom locker, Bob epoxied G-10 blocks to the underside of the coamings with threaded rod suspending the outboard side of the pump to add additional support to the very strong and heavy bronze pump body

AIS Beacons for PFDs:
We have secured Automatic Identification System (AIS) beacons to our inflatable life vests. These AIS beacons will send a "DSC" signal to not only Argon but also other nearby vessels to aid in locating the crew overboard. Of course we hope to never need these. The DCS alarm on most modern VHF radios will wake the dead.  We've heard ours go off once when a nearby cruise ship lost someone overboard near Gloucester.  For boats so equipped, it will also show the position of the victim on the chartplotter.

Inflatable life vests are activated by water pressure; in addition, our PFDs have a signaling beacon to aid in location of a crew overboard
Life raft: 
The four person Plastimo life raft that used to be stored in the bottom of a sail locker (difficult to deploy) was replaced with a six person Viking in a hard case deck mounted; an enhanced "ditch bag" was assembled as well. This included a handheld VHS with DSC (digital select calling), extra batteries, sea-sickness pills, basic medical kit, reading glasses, an EPIRB and a secondary PLB.

The viking bracket fastened down to the cabinhouse

The new Viking six person life raft attached to the bracket on the cabin house

Mast tie-down: 
In the event of dismasting (very bad), this will keep the lower part of mast from flailing below deck causing even more damage or injuring someone.
Mast tie-down is one of the less common safety features for off-shore sailing vessels but often a requirement for off-shore racing

Full medical kit: 
This is not the cute little pouch from West Marine with some band aids and gauze, but a fairly robust set of equipment that may be needed given the amount of time we will be out of reach of medical care for extended periods. The kit includes a variety of medications such as steroids, sea sickness medicines, antibiotics, etc.

Travel clinic visit at Mass General Hospital: 
Resulting in vaccinations or medicines for Hepatitis A, tetanus, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Malaria. And some preventative measure counseling.

Spare anchor and rode:
Our primary anchor is 35 lb Delta on a windlass with 120 feet of 3/8 inch chain and 200 feet of rhode. We secured a 15 lb Fortress anchor which will be our reserve. We also put together a new rode with some 5/16 inch chain and some 7/8 inch nylon line (the latter will double as our drogue rhode). This spare ground tackle is whimpy compared to our primary setup, but will hopefully do the trick as a secondary/backup.

A drogue is a sea anchor... to be used in stormy seas when we need to slow the vessel down. We went with a Shark Drogue by Fiorentino. The drogue can also be used as a steering device should there be damage to the rudder (in fact practicing this technique is a requirement for NBRSR).  We've reworked our secondary anchor rhode to double as the rhode for the drogue.  We also replaced our tiny danforth dinghy anchor with a 15 lb mushroom which will double as the sinking weight for the drogue. As with the storm trisail, we will be practicing using the drogue in the coming weeks before our first off-shore trip.


Sailing and extended cruising

We sold our home and became live-aboards more than a year ago as part of our logistical and emotional preparations for extended cruising. The following items have proven important or at least convenient given Argon will continue to be our home for quite a while longer and we will often be anchored in remote locations.

Solar panels: 
We opted for three flexible panels made by Solbian purchased through Cay Electronics (2 x 100W and 1 x 137W) with individual Genesun controllers. Kinder Industries fashioned zipper attachments and covers for UV protection for the wires for the bimini and dodger .

Two 100W solar panels lay atop the bimini and one 137W panel is secured to the dodger. Bob has unplugged from shore power many days to test out the solar panels which have kept up nicely with his high powered work laptop and the refrigerator nicely. Thus far in our northern latitude, we have seen 220 Watt output from the system.

The Genesun controllers connected up and ready for mounting

LED lighting: 
All internal and external lighting has been converted to LED. Some of the lights were LED as standard but we were surprised this was not throughout. Cockpit, anchor, and various internal lights were upgraded. We also went with a tricolor LED masthead light to serve as redundant navigation lights.  This makes a huge difference in energy consumption.

Dinghy and davits: 
We purchased a new nine foot AB dinghy with an aluminum V bottom and a Tohatsu 6hp outboard last year. The davit installation project was featured in a blog post last year. We have been very happy with our custom Kato davits.
Kato manufactured custom davits; we did the install. Drilling holes in the hull is a bit nerve-wracking

Carrying our dinghy,  Neon, on the davits off the transom
More recently we practiced mounting the outboard on a rail mount homemade by Bob and rigged a lifting sling to enable hoisting of the dinghy on to the fore deck which is needed for off-shore passages.
For off-shore passages, we will have to tie down the dinghy on the fore deck as large following seas would make using the davits dangerous. We recently practiced hoisting the dinghy on the fore deck and figuring out how we will tie it down securely

First test mount of Bob's nicely designed and fabricated outboard motor mount bracket off the port side stern rail

Acrylic companionway hatchboards: 
These replace the very attractive teak ones but are much more practical / easy to slide in and store and the visibility a plus. These were custom fabricated by Custom Marine Plastics in Bristol, RI.

Custom  hatchboards - We never have these in while sailing along the coast.  However, when off shore, we will often have one or both secured in place to keep water from getting down below in the cabin when we take on large waves in the cockpit.

Spare Parts: 
Lots of stocking up on spare parts (e.g. macerator pump, bilge pump, fresh water pump, filters, belts, blocks, shackles, tons of fasteners and hardware, etc.). Basically, everything that's broken has been replaced with two items: the one that broke and an extra for next time it breaks. Where possible, we try to eliminate the root cause of the breakage. See the former blog post Water, water everywhere.

With so many parts and equipment, we endeavor to stay organized. In addition to many labeled containers that are stored behind the settees and in cabinets, there is a chart to label the contents of many of the more hidden spaces.

The bins as of a few months ago.  There's more now.

Comfort / lifestyle 

A few more features are mainly to just help us be more comfortable.

Full canvas cockpit enclosure:  Fabricated by Kinder Industries for cold weather sailing and for general living aboard while docked in the cool spring in Boston. The panels are easy to remove and store as it will quickly become a sauna as the temperatures inch up. 

Internet:  Unlocked hotspot with WorldSIM SIM card; bullet WiFi router on radar mast. Bob is working 25% during the voyage and needs decent connectivity for data and voice.  We will certainly try to hijack any free wifi we can find (perhaps when anchoring near a resort or other civilization), but the unlocked Alcatel hotspot will probably be the primary connectivity.  The data on the World SIM card is pricey and varies depending on which country you are in.  They partner with local carriers in 180 countries (the whole Carribean for sure). Because the hotspot is unlocked, we're also free to plug in any locally purchased pre-paid chip (if we find something cheaper than worldsim's data).

Defunded Projects

Perhaps as important what we did do, is  what we did not do. Below are a few items we discussed (often at length) but opted not to do:

Storm jib:  After consulting with North Sails, we believe a double reefed main or the storm trisail (mentioned above) and the ability to unfurl just a wee bit of the jib will provide appropriate sail plan options in heavy weather. We considered getting a "gale sail" that slips over an existing furled headsail, but our self-tacking jib has a very large clew-board (where the line attaches) and it probably would not work.

Single Side Band (SSB) radio:   The communication satellite was chosen instead but we also purchased a simple SSB receiver so we can listen in on conversations as another source of information.

Water maker:   It will be interesting to see how we manage filling our water tanks with the jerry jugs when dock side drinkable water is difficult to come by. Time will tell if it was the right choice to forego a water maker. Argon's carbon fiber "pocket" boom is also a pretty good water collector (as our passengers find out when we hoist the main after a good rain). We will definitely be collecting as much rain water in the Carribean as possible.

Windvane:  Although common for off shore boats to aid in steering over long distances, we are opting to use a combination of our autopilot and human power.

Wind generator:  We are fairly confident that with smart monitoring of energy usage and our efficient solar panels, we will have sufficient electricity so we opted not to also secure a wind generator.

As our departure date nears, there will surely be additional projects - there always are on boats.  But the above represents most of what we need to have in place for our big adventure. In addition, my last day of work looms near which also means my final paycheck. And Bob's 25% work schedule will start soon afterwards. Therefore it is a good thing that the money outflow will be easing up.

Lastly and importantly, one can have an ideal boat tricked out with all sorts of equipment, but good seamanship, judgment and situational awareness will reign supreme in keeping a vessel and crew safe and comfortable and getting us on to the next port.

Next stop..... Nova Scotia!!!