Greetings from rainy and windy Maryland! Well, we really have not had that much rain lately, but I am writing this at about 9:00 pm on Thursday, Oct. 11, at anchor in Mill Creek in Solomon’s Maryland and the rain from hurricane Michael has just started here. We are supposed to get maybe 3 – 5 inches of rain in the next 12 hours, so it should be a wet night. It also will be a windy night as the winds are forecasted to clock to the NW shortly after midnight and get up to 28 – 30 knots in speed, with gusts up to 40. Thankfully we are in a very protected area with trees and land, particularly NW of us, that should help a lot. We did make sure all is secure on the boat deck this afternoon and let out more chain to increase our anchor scope, so we hope we’ll be alright. The anchor held so well in the bottom when we set it, and we reversed hard on it this afternoon as well just to make sure. We are in 10 feet of water and have about 110 feet of anchor chain out. Should hold us well!
We arrived in the Solomon’s area yesterday (Wednesday) after leaving Annapolis around 9:00 am. We were originally going to leave on Tuesday, Oct. 9, but didn’t, which I will fill you in on in a minute.
In last week’s post I had shared that we were excited to attend the Boat Show, and it was great! We went on both Friday and Saturday and wandered all over checking out boats and the many accessories and items for sale. Below I included a few pictures of the Show, but it was huge. Before the Chicago Strictly Sail Boat Show changed and downsized, it was big, but this was a lot bigger and had so many other vendors and boats there. We were not as particularly interested in going on too many boats as we had other things to check out, but the few we went on were very nice. There was a massive 51’ Neel trimaran which had an engine room which was probably the size of our salon! You could literally walk all around the engine – that would have been nice while we were working on our engine wiring last week! The new Beneteaus were also very nice! We like the more traditional wood on ours rather than the newer veneer looking wood on the new ones, but if you gave me a new 50’ Beneteau, I’d take it!
I should quickly add that we did get Max to the Animal Dental Clinic Friday morning where he ended up staying the day and getting two teeth pulled. He was quite groggy when Sharon picked him up, but the next day was quite chipper again.
After dropping Max off, and getting an Uber to the Boat Show, I spent most of the day looking at and asking questions of vendors about solar panels. I had wanted a company to install them but they never returned my calls for the past two weeks – something probably about being busy around the Boat Show, so I resolved to get the stuff and install them myself. I ordered the tubing last week and after much deliberation we ended up purchasing a great two panel, 350 watt system, and they are now loaded on the boat. The clamps and attachment rails will be sent to us at the marina we’re staying at in Oriental, NC, so that will work great. I don’t really know when I will be installing all of this, but at least wanted to have the parts I need so I can do it. I will most likely build the rack the panels will go on in the next couple of days, and then install the panels after Oriental, NC.
Interestingly, when we left our mooring ball on Spa Creek on Tuesday, Oct. 9, we stopped at the fuel dock to get fuel and water. We had fueled up when we arrived in Annapolis and over the past two and a half weeks we had run the engine 23.5 hours in charging the batteries up periodically. Because I run the engine only at 1500 RPM it doesn’t use much diesel, and we ended up only using $25.60 of diesel in those two and half weeks. (This was only 0.35 gallons per hour, whereas when we are underway we get anywhere between 0.6 to 0.9 gallons per hour, depending on the waves and current.) So not bad! Does make you wonder why we’re spending so much on solar, though…. Obviously for the long run and more sustainability the farther we get south. I should also add I had intended to add solar in Florida, but there were great deals here and now it should all be set when we get to Florida, maybe allowing us to jump over to the Bahamas a little earlier.
Friday night we had dinner with John and Diane, and Anita and Dallas, who had brought a bunch of stuff from us from home, and were taking a bunch of stuff back we no longer need for us. We had John and Diane to our boat for dinner Thursday night, and since they would be leaving early Saturday morning to return back home to Grand Rapids, it was good to get together.
Saturday, Oct. 6, was a great day at the Boat Show. Sharon and I wandered all over and ended up getting some things that will be really helpful in the future. It was still very, very hot and humid but was fun being in things all related to sailing.
Sunday, Oct. 7, was another busier day. Sharon went to church while I chased down a tire gauge. Ever try to find a place to buy a tire gauge without having a car? Walked to four gas stations and two convenience stores, with none of them having one. The lady at one of the convenience stores had no idea what a tire gauge even was!
What I needed the tire gauge for is I replaced our accumulator tank for our fresh water system onboard. It helps buffer the water pressure so the pump isn’t going on every time you turn a faucet on. The old tank was a bugger to get off, but I eventually got the fitting off and got the new one installed. Nice!
After the tank was installed I returned to the Boat Show to pick up the two solar panels we purchased earlier and I stored them in the aft berth of the boat.
We attended a Sail to the Sun Rally seminar on Monday, Oct. 8. This was our first chance to meet a bunch of the Rally people we will be traveling south with when the Rally starts next week. It was also our 35th Wedding Anniversary, so it was a great way to celebrate a special day! The seminars included talks on weather, hurricane preparation, anchoring techniques and tips for crossing over to the Bahamas. I did end up leaving for a bit to walk the three miles to Fawcett’s Marine store to get the tubing and clamps the solar panels will be mounted on. Unfortunately the stuff didn’t get ordered and the phone number they had for me was written down incorrectly, but they did agree to have the stuff overnighted to arrive on Tuesday. Brother! But at least they were willing to work with me to figure it out.
So we didn’t end up leaving to head south on Tuesday because we had to stay to get the tubing and clamps. We did, however, leave the mooring ball Tuesday morning to get through the drawbridge, got fuel and water and then anchored in the general anchor area in front of Annapolis. This allowed us to leave a bit earlier than had we stayed on the other side of the drawbridge as it doesn’t open in the mornings between 7:30 and 9:00 due to traffic. I then walked to Fawcett’s, again, to get the tubing and clamps and Sharon was able to get laundry done, so it was a productive day.
We didn’t leave on Wednesday until 9:00 am as we ended up picking up a package at the Harbormaster’s office at 8:30 when they opened for a friend of a friend as it had been shipped there by accident. It was the least we could do as we know if we needed help there would be others to help us.
I need to end this and go check on the weather! The highest wind gust I have seen so far has been 36.8 knots, and it has been raining like crazy! We had left our dingy down and just tied up to the boat but it looked like it was filling with water! So a bit ago Sharon and I raised it up on the davits and strapped it down tight.
The boat is moving around a fair amount on the anchor in the wind and rain, but the anchor hasn’t moved a bit. I’m sure I won’t get much sleep tonight, at least until 3:00 am when the wind is supposed to start dying down, but I feel very confident that the anchor will hold and we’ll be fine. This is probably the upper end of wind and rain and storms that we would want to anchor out in, but it’s a great experience for us to go through it to know all will be good.
We’ll be moving on to Hampton, VA, probably on Saturday. It will take us two days to get there but then the Rally will start on Monday. We’ll let you know next week how it all goes!