Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We made it!!!

After 4 days, approx 425 miles we are rounding Montauk Pt, Long Island!!!! Whoohoo!! 

Today we'll anchor on the west side of Fisher's Island, get some rest and then tomorrow head to Port Jefferson. 

Details to follow! 

Hard to see but across the way in the haze is Montauk Pt Lighthouse. 

Happy, happy!!!! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Highs and Lows... Point Lookout Marina, Ridge MD to Fishing Bay, VA - 48.9 NM

Day 1 of our adventure north and it has been filled with highs and lows.

First Low…..   We left the dock under power and something seemed a bit off with the position of our wheel when we were maintaining a straight course – we were a couple of spokes further over than we normally are.  Jason dove on Tango about a month ago to liberate the running gear of a fine batch of barnacles and to replace hull and prop zincs, so it hadn’t been long since any growth had been removed.  While this was odd, it didn’t alarm us - there was no shimmy in the wheel, engine temp seemed fine and we had full steerage; she just didn’t sit where she normally does.  However, once we put up sails it seemed to be a bit better so again, we weren’t overly worried but it was something we definitely planned to check out once we got to Norfolk. On a positive note, this resolved after a couple hours of upwind sailing, which leads me to…
First High…  The morning started off lovely!  We had a beautiful sunrise to see us out of the Potomac River and into the Chesapeake Bay with apparent winds of 10-15kts.  For the first half of the day we were sailing along, beam reaching and close reaching, and making between 5.5kts and 7.3kts SOG - it was wonderful!  We got ASSWOP set up and proceeded to take turns between watching for tankers and monitoring the helm, relaxing, and taking naps while ASSWOP did all the work :)

Second (small) Low…The wind gradually decreased until we found ourselves in 1.9kts of wind making 1.0kts over ground at which time we decide to fire up the iron genoa.   Because of the sweltering heat (had I mentioned it was the hottest day we’ve had yet this spring at 95F) and lack of wind, we decided that instead of motoring all the way to Norfolk, and arriving sometime after 2200, we'd divert and spend the night in Fishing Bay, which is off the Piankatank River in Deltaville, VA.  This would allow us to top off our fuel, get out of the heat (read crank the air conditioner), and finish up a few small projects. 

Second High… While entering the Piankatank River we saw a spectacular pod of dolphins.  Sean spotted a couple of fins in the distance and maybe 30 seconds later you could see them popping up all over the place!  This pod had to have at least 75 dolphins in it – it was amazing!  A few of them decided they would show off - rocketing out of the water and entertaining us with repeated tail splashes.  I managed to snap a couple of photos but, unfortunately, I never use the video feature on my Canon, so when I thought I was recording, I actually wasn’t (oops). I did manage to get a bit of video, but by the time I figured out that I wasn’t recording, they were a good ways off our stern, so not sure how good they came out.   I’ll share some of those pictures once we make it to LI as I still have to download them from my camera.
Third Low…  We pulled into one of the marinas to fill up our fuel tanks.  We’ve been having some issues with a small fuel leak in our starboard fuel tank at the low point drain for a while now, but we thought our recent repair did the trick.  Not so much…  We put in about 5 gallons so we could see if the repair held, then filled the port tank.  Upon inspecting, we didn’t see any diesel leaking out, so we thought the repair was good. We put in an additional 35 gallons or so, paid up and then gave it one more look…  Sure enough, leaking like a sieve….  Grrrr!  We went through a few options, but none of them worked.  We were able to slow down the leak slightly so we lined the locker with trash bags and fuel diapers and planned to get up to the boat yard office first thing in the morning to see if they could help us out. 
Thankfully the yard was available and they came down yesterday morning to take a look.  No problem and he sounded pretty confident about fixing it for us.  The downside is that he couldn’t get to us until yesterday afternoon.  So J spent the AM doing schoolwork, I did work-work, and Sean did some writing. 
We attempted to get our fuel polished before we left our marina but the pump wasn’t working properly so we took this opportunity to get our fuel polished as well.  Yesterday afternoon two guys from the boat yard came back with the fuel pump, polisher, and tools and we got to work.  We were able to drain our starboard tank into a clean 55gallon drum, remove the plug, and inspect the damage. Sure enough, the threads were damaged which was allowing fuel to seep out.  One of the guys went to go see about getting a new plug while we got to work polishing the fuel in the port tank.  45 minutes later, as a crazy storm rolled through, our fuel in the port tank was polished and done! Side note on the crazy storm, lightning struck the Oyster 66 next to us – talk about scary!  All you saw was this bright light, heard this horrendous crack, then saw smoke coming off the top of his mast…No Bueno!  

Starboard Fuel Tank - the leaking tank. 

Port Fuel Tank - Located under aft berth. 

Anyway, back to the fuel saga….No joy on the plug, which means we couldn’t leave this morning. The good news is that they had the plug on hand at 0730, when one of the guys from the yard knocked on the hull.  

They were able to clean the threads on the tank with a tap and reinstall the plug that had been slathered in pipe dope.  They waited until this afternoon for the dope to set up, then waited, holding our breath, as they pumped the diesel back into the tank…NO LEAKING!  This means we will be casting off tomorrow morning (in showers and thunderstorms, of course) with a destination of Long Island - YAY!

This stop means we won’t get to stop over in Norfolk which is a total bummer as that would have allowed us to see our wonderful sailing friends Jeff and Shelley.  We met them last year on our Memorial Day cruise, right before we headed out on our honeymoon. They, too, were newlyweds having been married just a few weeks before us.  We immediately hit it off – it was like we had known each other for years. Even though we’ve only seen them once since then, while they were passing through Solomons on their new-to-them Catamaran, they are one of our closest friends - unfortunately living a state away :) We’ll be coming back through Norfolk on our way south in the fall, and definitely plan to catch up with them then, but still very disappointed we won’t be seeing them this time around. 
Third (small) High…  We feel like all this has been a blessing in disguise.  It allowed us an opportunity to get the fuel leak fixed properly and get the fuel polished.  It also gave J some additional time to complete his schoolwork for the week, allowed us to further troubleshoot the prop situation (read as Jason dove and scraped barnacles off the prop, rudder, bottom, and speed log), run our new stays’l halyard, treat the leather and zippers on our full enclosure, do some food prep for the passage and gave the weather some time to cool down.  We were looking at high temps and no wind in the Atlantic and now, after giving it a couple of days, the conditions seem to be changing in our favor, predicting 10-15 knot winds most of the trip and relatively calm seas.  Only down side is we’ll get a bit wet leaving tomorrow, but that’s a small price to pay for 3-4 days of smooth sailing.  Next entry will be from Long Island!!!





Meet Our Crew

Meet Sean….  We call him "Mongo"........... Just Kidding ;)

Sean is making the trip north with us and we are thrilled to have him as crew!  Complete disclosure:  this will be the longest offshore passage J and I have made. On our honeymoon we did just over 30hrs offshore and went out maybe 15 miles.  This time we anticipate anywhere from 3-5 days offshore and we’ll be out approx. 100 miles. So, while we are capable of doing it ourselves, it will be very nice to have a third set of hands aboard (read 6hr blocks of sleep as opposed to three – sweet!)
We’ve known Sean now for almost 5yrs, he is a fellow sailor, was the best man in our wedding and he and J are tied at the hip and he is a teacher so he’s off for the summer.  For these reasons, it only made sense for him to tag along.  

He’ll be with us as we make our way north and then stick around for a while sailing in and around Maine and up into Canada.  Hopefully on the weekends I’ll get to go out and join them as well - someone has to work!   

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cast Off!

Well, it's been fun Southern Md....  0525 this AM we left where we've (more so I've) called home for a long time. 

We had a beautiful sunrise to send us off.... 

1st stop, TBD. Right now we're getting a few more knots of wind than predicted, and we're making 6.7kts over ground. We may be able to make Norfolk today if these conditions remain, we'll see... It is the Chesapeake Bay so you never know ;) 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Message from the Trenches

So… We really need to be better about keeping this updated and we plan
to in the coming weeks.

Things have been very busy here so just a quick update. Since the
beginning of the year our lives have been CRAY-ZEE! We went from
looking to buy a house in Maine (yes, shocking and you’re probably
wondering where the heck that came from – long story…), to placing
offers on three different houses (all of which did not pan out – sign
perhaps?  We think so…), then ultimately deciding to move to
Pensacola, Fl. J resigned from his job, has been back in school full time finishing his undergrad, my job has been
super busy and lately has been in a state of transition and on top of
all that we are planning to cast off our lines on MONDAY!!! Yes, you
read that correctly – Monday, as in three days from now! So, our
plans as of now (cliff notes version) are as follows:

Depart the Chesapeake Bay next week and head to Norfolk. From Norfolk
we’ll jump offshore and make our way North to Long Island where we’ll
stay for about a week or so visiting family and some fellow Mason
owners. From there we’ll hop along the coast and make our way to
Belfast, Maine where we’ll stay for the summer.  Lots of fun stuff
planned for this summer!

Come fall, approx 1 October, we’ll start making our way back south.
Route is still TBD but we’re thinking the ICW for portions of the
trip, making stops in New Bern, NC and Charleston, SC to see some
family and friends. From there we’ll jump offshore here and there as
we make our way to Key West. We’ll definitely stop there :) From
there, the final leg will be to Pensacola, FL where we plan to stay
for the next 3-5 years. J is going back to Grad school full time and
I’ll be working from home. We own a house in Pensacola so we’ll be
living in the house while we are there but Tango will be at a nearby
marina and we plan to spend as much time on her as possible. While the
house is super cute and small (well, small for houses but palatial
compared to our current living conditions) part of me is going to have
a really hard time not living aboard so I think we’ll find ourselves
back on Tango quite often.

So, just a quick update on where we are and what’s going on. I will
try to make another post to share what projects we’ve been working on
and accomplishing prior to our departure but seeing as time is getting
very short, not sure if that will happen before we shove off.

We have SO much left to do before we head out (isn’t that always the
case?) but we are very excited for this next chapter and plan to be
better about sharing our adventures with all of you (well, all 5 of
our followers, hah!).