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November 2010

At sea

In a few moments I'll wake EW for the midnight to three shift. The moon has given it up for the night, dipping down to the west while we still have four hours of night. The stars are on watch with me.

No wind. The main snaps with the roll of the boat. "Pine Top" and "Casey" haved done the heavy lifting for this watch.

Sent from my iPhone


The winds tonight have not met expectations. Motoring. EW took 6 to 9 and I'm on utility midnight. Clear skies, nice moon, no company.

That's a good thing. I messed up the route outbound from the bridge tunnel and a tanker captain wasn't pleased with me. Virginia Pilots however are unwaveringly polite. We altered course. All is good.

Sent from my iPhone

Leaving Virginia

Greetings. We are sailing in 18 knots of wind, heading to the bridge tunnel. This wil be my longest passage ever - a bit over 4 days at least as we hope to go all the way to Cumberland Island. There we - particularly my hero EW - will rest and relax and play tourist.

"Gramps" the new wind generator is spinning, "Max", the new navigation software is plotting our progress. This is a perfect moment under sail

The winds and waves may be in the 20's and teens, respectively tonight and are supposed to drop tomorrow, easing our passage around Cape Hatteras. Please let that be so. One of the comments on my blog this morning mentoned his joy in going around Hatteras with spray from the waves reaching as high as the spreders. Our lower spreaders are about 25 feet from the deck. Waves that high would not be a good thing in my opinion.

I can't yet post from sea but will write when I have a signal on this Iphone. That will not be often. So don't expect any word until we are anchored within site of palm trees.

For those of you wondering - we did top up with fuel and water.

Fuel me once ... No that is fool me once ... Well you get the idea.


Sent from my iPhone

Wind Power

We have wind power. EW successfully completed the installation of our new Air Breeze Wind Generator today. Yippee. And the wind is quite strong so we are giving Gramps (Great Amps) a good test. 

I will post photos and a story about this. In the meantime. EW is going to finish tying off wires and pick up his tools. I'm going to take cardboard garbage to shore, fill up the dinghy gas tank, and shower at the town dock facilities. 

A cigar and a Scotch are in EW's future this evening. Perhaps a trip to the Air and Space Museum this afternoon. Winds at Hatteras are still at 28 with 17 foot seas through most of Saturday so we will leave here Saturday AM.  Winds are expected to start dropping tomorrow and we should go around Hatteras with 10 knots of wind. (Crossing fingers here.) It'll take 20-24 hours to get around Hatteras and a bit over 4 days to get to Cumberland Island. We'll leave tomorrow morning. With wind power. 

EW is my hero.  

Boating Friends

Finally. Finally we met and spent an evening with brand new boating friends.  Most of you know -- or even if you know me only through this blog you will have surmised -- that I am a tad out-going. Pretty far off the scale for extroversion.  If you don't know us, you may assume that EW is shy and retiring to counter my tendencies. You would be wrong. 

When we lived on the dock I started an email list, arranged dock parties and boat tours and generally continued my life as a "neighbor lady". On the mooring in Maine this summer, we still made sure to meet and visit with other boaters who were on the hook or on the dock.

In the past three weeks we've had one young Canadian sailor over for coffee and had a pizza dinner on a catamaran last Friday. We knew the male half of that couple as he had sold us our heating system 8 years ago. Last night we had wine (too much for me) with a delightful Canadian couple, Paddy and Steph and their beautiful dog, Jenny. (Jenny didn't have any wine.)

We so enjoyed meeting them. They are interesting and fun and smart -- and they are house-boaters. Their 65 foot Fantasy is amazing. Huge. Comfortable. Hot tub on the top deck. (It was empty.)  Totally not the kind of boating we do. 

They never anchor out -- so far. Paddy is aware that the anchor they have isn't strong enough for that boat. They have a wide screen TV, a bathroom -- not a head-- and normal kitchen appliances and cupboards in the galley. Check out their boat and their story on their blog .  If for no other reason than to see that beautiful and smart, Jenny. She's half Golden Retriever and half Pyrenees -- a white Golden with a generous butt and a huge heart. This boat is so big that Paddy had to post signs at every entry telling folks this was a private vessel and asking them not to board. Everywhere they went, folks thought is was a party boat. r

This photo is from their blog -- here is Jenny on their bed. Remember, this is a boat bed. Now I need a heart pillow, too.

Jenny on bed1


Meeting new folks and learning about them is one of the reasons I wanted to do this cruising thing. In addition to just liking them and their dog - both EW and I were impressed with their boating savvy. It isn't a vessel we'd like to have as it wouldn't take us where we want to go. But this is an coastal cruiser and they have taken it outside and through the Inland Waterway from Sarasota to the Thousand Islands. They are good navigators. Work well as a team. And enjoy the journey as much as they enjoy the stops along the way. 

Their boat is nothing like ours. But we share a common bond. We are cruisers. 

I love this life. 

Leaving Hampton

I've been giving myself a crash course in learning to find and read wind forecasts with . We are not leaving Hampton before Friday unless things change drastically. Just heard from friends that 50 boats are waiting in Newport, Rhode Island. Portland, Maine Live-Aboards endured a 40-50 knot Northeaster last night. All in all, I'm happy to be here in Hampton. Helping EW and getting things done.

That Leaving Thing??? Not so Much. Still in Hampton

We didn't leave today. The weather didn't look good yesterday and the boat looked worse. It's all good, though. EW is on the far end of installing the wind generator. So far along that it has to be done before we go. The weather prediction yesterday was horrible for heading around Hatteras today and tomorrow. At least I felt it was horrible. They were predicting 8 - 12 foot seas (which means individual waves may be twice that height) and 24 foot seas were predicted for Thursday. 

Other individual boats and the Caribbean 1500 decided to set off yesterday and today to around Hatteras or across the gulf at the best possible time available this week. We elected to stay:

1. We are just two people and I don't have the experience EW has.

2. We aren't on the same deadline as other folks who have to get their boats to the south and get themselves and crew back to day jobs.

3. The boat wasn't ready.

We felt that we had done well making conservative decision thus far and would continue to do so.

This morning the weather predictions had changed. Not a 24 foot sea in sight on PassageWeather, WindFinder or NOAA. Hmphf! So we may leave tomorrow. EW has me on watch to help him whenever he needs it. In between that I'll do what I can down below to get ready.

Down Below  No photo because it is embarrassing and EW is very apologetic. You just can't do a major boat project and not mess up the living area. In this case the living and sleeping area. I actually purchased more mayonnaise so I wouldn't have to take everything off the settee to access the food storage area. We each have a place to sit. We have a bed at night. And the galley is mostly unaffected. (Though I came back from laundry the other day to find parts on both counter-tops.  The drawers from under our bed are stacked in the shower. New food items that go in the under settee storage are stacked next to the sink.  It's a mess. But it's progress. I'm not complanin', just sayin'. 

Was My Face Red!  (A new category to share the things that make EW laugh.)

    Remember the trek for propane? So two days later I'm in the shuttle to West Marine (I'm on a first name basis with 5 of their staff people -- and know how old their kids are.) In the shuttle are three guys -- one of whom is J, from Maine.  We were chatting about how nice folks are in Hampton. I mentioned -- just mentioned - the help I had gotten when I walked for propane on Thursday. J turned to me with eyes wide, "You're the Propane Lady?"  "There's a Propane Lady?" I squeeked. "Yep. We heard about you at the cocktail party." Guess I'll go down in history with the boating community of Hampton, VA.

Before we got here I had to fill the flour bin in the Galley due to all the baking. Afterward I made banana bread, which was 'meh', hot dog roll biscuits (to be described later), and finally pizza dough. We ate the banana bread but didn't like it much. It had been a highly touted recipe. The hot dog rolls were something I made up. It worked OK and I was/am planning on perfecting it and telling you about it. The pizza dough did not rise. I made two batches with three and a half cups of flour each before I realized that I wasn't using flour. I hadn't marked the vacuum bag that the masca tortilla mix was in. Take if from me, you can't bake with that stuff. 

Finally -- you may be able to teach a middle-aged boater new tricks, but it takes a while. I've had trouble with the dinghy motor since we started. The motor is fine. Now that we are not in our territorial waters we are unhooking the little safety clip from the dinghy and stowing it on board. I've yet to leave the boat with that darn thing. I've yet to realize it before practically yanking my arm off trying to start our easy to start four stroke Tohatsu. On shore I've repeated the process with the darn thing in my pocket. EW finds it amusing. 

So -- off to work with the new charting software. EW calls me to help whenever he needs a second person. I try to act smart. We now hope to leave Hampton tomorrow. (Though that will blow the lunch we have planned for Thursday with friends formerly from Maine.) That's cruising.

Leaving Again

We will say farewell to Hampton Virgina tomorrow around noon. The weather looks good for a trip around Hatteras and wind to Cumberland Island. We expect to be "at sea" for 4 or 5 days.

Right now, the boat looks nearly as messy as it did a few days prior to leaving Maine. 

EW has been running wire, fixing surprise problems (big huge one with the auto pilot), and installing what we can. I've been the runner. Going to town to get whatever he needs. Today I'm off to West Marine and Lowe's.

Everyone is nice in Hampton. Everyone. Kate, the Dock Master at the Town Dock said that a lady from the Carib1500 told her folks were so nice it was getting on her nerves. I love it. Have talked with a bunch of "natives" and been delighted. 

On Thursday, we thought the shuttle to West Marine was running and I had a list from EW and two propane tanks to fill. The UPS store is conveniently located next to West Marine. How cool is that? But .... they decided not to run the shuttle until Saturday and Sunday, so there I am in Hampton with on empty tank and one a third full. I asked Kate whether there was another place, close by and she gave me excellent directions, up Settlers Landing, Past Rite Aid and McDonalds. Left at MacDonals' Nursery, and left on Lockwood. She said it was about a "half mile" to the nursery. 

I can walk that far with propane tanks. B.C. (Before Cruise) I walked 3 miles a day 5 days a week. (Well, not that often since July, but I could have.)  So I set off. Rite Aid was just about a half mile, the tanks grew heavy, and no Micky D's in sight.  The Rite Aid clerk looked up the location in the yellow pages and said, "Whoa! You got quite a way to go! You sure you want to walk that?" Quite a way turned out to be another mile by her estimation and I decided to push forward and take a taxi back.

Just a bit down the road an older gentleman pulled over. "You planning on getting those tanks filled?" When I said yes, he confirmed the directions and said, "You should call a taxi." Turned out he owned the marina across from the Town Dock. "I'm Archie," he said, "you tell Kate she's all wet on that half mile thing."

I thanked him and set off. When I arrived at Arcan, I walked into a very nice commercial welding supply company with friendly staff. I had left the tanks outside and made my request. "Where are you parked, ma'am?" asked the youngest employee.

"Ah, I walked from Downtown Hampton. The tanks are outside and I'm going to have to ask you to call a cab for me when you are done." They all looked surprised but no one said anything. 

I sat and watched every one work and waited. 

A few minutes later a manager came from out back followed by the guy with my now full tanks.

'He said you walked here from downtown?!. 

"Yes, sir "(I'm getting into the vernacular here -- sir, ma'am) "I did." 

"I'll give you a ride back," he said. And two others at the desk offered to do so as well. 

I accepted. And learned that Hampton does, indeed have a rich history and did, in fact, destroy nearly all of their historical buildings. There are markers with where things used to be. When I commented on how friendly everyone is, he said, "Blackbeard didn't think so. The citizens of this town be-headed him and put his head on a piling at the entrance of the harbor." Cool.

Hampton has that carousel I mentioned. An Air and Space Museum and an Historical Museum and is exceptionally welcome to boaters -- even we cheap cruisers on anchor.  I'm ready to move on, but this has been a great stop. 

Small World

Coming from Maine, where the whole state is a small town, I'm used to running into folks who know my family or EW or me. This happened three times in Hampton.

1. A sailing cat was getting ready to anchor while we were on deck a few days ago when we heard the captain yell, Stew! Stew Hart! Turned out to be the guy who sold us the Hurricane Heating System we've had for 8 years. Had dinner with him and his wife last night. I made pizza since it was Friday night.

2. After the propane experience, I was at the Town Dock telling Kate to check her mileage when a guy standing there, asked me if I was Barb Hart. He's married to a colleague of mine from the Association for Consulting Expertise. He and a crew are taking their boat to Florida.

3. And my favorite. Got a comment to a post from a gentleman who is heading out with the Carib1500. He's been following the blog for a while. We're anchored within sight of his boat. 

Small world.

Today's EW's birthday. He got a card and a candle on his breakfast burrito. He's happy.

Tune in a few days to see whether we really make it to Cumberland Island in one passage.

    Did they go all the way?

    Did they stop in Beaufort or Hilton Head?

    How did the new navigation software work? 

Find out this and more when we next post at Harts at Sea!

Pink Jobs, Blue Jobs, Dirty Jobs, Boat Jobs

blue job (n.) Boat jobs generally handled by the male, such as engine work, plumbing and electrical repairs.

pink job (n.) Tasks on a boat usually handled by the female, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and provisioning.

        From  Cruising Sailors Glossary by the folks on Moonshadow  

I'd never heard of "blue" jobs and "pink" jobs on sailboats until we had cocktails with a circumnavigating couple from Maine. When EW and I renovated our former home, we worked together (in a fashion). Each performing the skilled labor in his or her expertise. I am outstanding at space planning and designed the kitchen. I tore out sheet rock, laid brick sidewalks, painted, designed and made curtains, landscaped, and a whole lot more. EW created molding, handled a lot of the plumbing and electrical, tore off the siding, installed sheet rock, removed old windows and a whole lot more. 

Aboard La Luna, I do handle the provisioning, laundry and much of the cleaning down below. EW does take care of the more technical and more skilled labor. Even though we seem to fall into the assigned gender roles I don't prefer to think of it that way. Each of us takes the lead on the task he or she does best. When I tell you that EW provided breakfast on one of our passages and that breakfast was peanut butter on buttery club crackers you will understand why he doesn't plan the meals. 

So, as EW has wanted to do for weeks, we're devoting time to installing radios and wind generators and DSC antennas and I don't know what all.  He's made two trips to West Marine and has another planned for Friday. I've promised to provide any help he needs. I don't regret that promise, but I didn't like my first job. 

For days EW told me that I would be removing old wire and that it was "very important". Right. I did it but I still don't get it. Yes we had at least 5 or 6 lines of wire run from the navigation station to the stern that had no use whatsoever. Four of the five lines had been severed from their previous task and were just hanging out behind bulkheads or under the floorboards. The final line went to a radio that will be obsolete when this project is done. Most of my work was in the bilge. I didn't use to like the bilge because it was "gooky" and I don't do gooky. But I have cleaned the bilge numerous times over the past 8 years and it is only "gooky" under the engine. I made sure that nothing fell under the engine and didn't have to do "gooky". 

I did get dirty, and my hands got scraped, and I didn't like this job. Frankly, I still don't understand two things.

1. If this was so important why didn't he do it in the past 8 years?

2. Why is it so important? 

But, ours is not to reason why ... I pulled wires. For 4 - 6 hours a day for two days. I nearly filled a kitchen size garbage bag with old wire. If you want tips on pulling wires, just ask. There is a technique beyond brute strength. Though brute strength helps. There were a few times I had to ask for help and EW's willingness to endure discomfort and pain humbled me. (I actually thought I had a higher pain threshold than he does. Not true.)

Barb on Pine Top Getting at the wires in the engine compartment was the worst. We had to lay over "Pine Top", our diesel engine. It was a bit easier for EW because, how shall I say this?  Frankly, the "girls" were pained. They got in the way. I'm sure other women would have come up with a work-around. Or tolerated it. I bailed. Clearly laying across the engine supporting yourself with your chest while using both hands to haul wire is a "blue" job in this boat. 



I bruise easy. EW bruises, too. But he persevered. I love EW.  EW on Pine Top

It is done. The wires are pulled.  EW is drilling holes and running wire down from the deck despite working through little rain showers. Tomorrow is supposed to be a rainy day and his plan is to progress far enough today to work down below tomorrow. 

My Left Hand My plan is to get my hands and nails cleaned. 

EW is grateful and thrilled to have all old wires gone. I'm happy he's happy. I'm thrilled that he knows how to do this technical/skilled stuff and is willing to tackle just about anything on the boat -- even "gooky". I'm also glad he has a strong chest. 

One of us has to. Doesn't matter whether you wore pink or blue as an infant. If you cruise someone has to do the tough jobs. Sometimes you both do. 

I'm OK with that. Or I will be after my shower.