The life on the hard finally ended

It took much longer than anticipated to get the bottom copper coated. First the bottom should be lightly sandblasted to get rid of old antifouling, then two coats of epoxy barrier, a thorough sanding to get a good surface for the copper coat to stick to. Then 5 coats of epoxy with copper powder, that should be done wet on wet all in one day, they did half bottom one day and the other half the next day. All this has to be done under dry condition, and we had some rain now and then. After three days of curing the props could be shifted and the part that they have covered could be treated. All this took its time but, what I did not know and not the yard was that the epoxy with the copper powder needs to be sanded VERY thorough to get activated, it took them in total 30 man hour to sand. I’m very happy I did not do this myself a very tough job as a big part of the bottom is above the workers.

Initially we thought overoptimistic that everything should be ready by June 25, but finally we came into the water the July 6.

When the “grinders” took a break Kerstin did polish the water line and as high on the hull she could reach, Kerstin complained it was hard work, but nothing compared with the guys sanding.

So wat did we do in the mean time?

We enjoyed the environment that was very beautiful and remains a little bit of Sweden with the green pine trees and the brown brackish water. A lot of different birds that sang beautifully and very loudly, and of course they sat on our mast and did their dropping on the boat and bimini top, not so nice, a lot of job to clean up after them. Several types of predator birds, we saw one with a rather big fish in his claws flying not far from us. Squirrels in abundance they were very common in Sweden when I was a child but now we do not see them so often. Very nice wild life indeed, but all paradises has it snakes, and at Yankee Point Marina there where three. Flies a lot of them, they could easily have fixed that by not mixing food trash and trash from the yard, all went in to a dumpster, a paradise for fat nasty flies. By having lunch and dinner by the waterfront we escaped the worst of them. Then we had the mosquitos, two types one “big” the same size as a normal Swedish mosquito, but striped, is it not those who transmit Dengue fever and now also Zika? They were not too bad but the other mosquitos called “no see” because they are so small that you can’t see them, a lot of them and they do bite and it itching for many days. I got so many bites that my arms became knobbed.

The third snake was the heat and moister. We often had ca 35 C in the boat, not worse than in the Med but much higher humidity, which in combination with itching make the nights very uncomfortable.

When we did not admire the wild life or fighting bugs we did some maintenance of our own. A lot of spare parts were ordered on line from Amazon and Defender, a retailer of boating equipment that we have been recommended. They needed to be installed, such as new anchorwash pump, multimeter for shore power and generator power, new impellers etc etc

Boys do love knifes, one very big and one very small, one of them is for Kerstin, can you guess which? It’s a cliff hanger I tell you at the end of the blog.

The prop shaft busing together with three lip seals need to be replaced every two years or 800 hours, we were close to 1000 hours so definitely time to change.

The lip seal springs are made of mild steel and does rust, this time I ordered extra stainless spring. Well I hope it will take two years before I found out if it was a good decision or not.

Bow thruster needed new seals as well as a new propeller

The surface for sealing looks very uneven so tried to fill with epoxy, again time will tell if it helped.

The propeller got greased and coated with Velox anti fouling paint for propellers, hope it helps.

More fun job was to put name on our tender some “who knows” says never put name on your dingy, cause then thieves know that you are not on your boat. But the best way to know if there is no one aboard is to look if there is a dingy behind the boat.

After the rough passage from Bahamas the solar panels on the bimini needs new Velcro, it was ordered but it was for indoor use so we never bothered to change, but with hindsight, indoor probably better than nothing at all as seen on the picture

But all is not work, there were several initiative from the marina to make people come and enjoy

One such event was the Veterans Day they have annually, unfortunately not so many came

Not very crowded and they had three different band playing bluegrass and rock.

Else we made our own dinner by the waterfront, we found good meat at the Walmart store.

When the sky looked like this witch it did frequently during evenings we know rain and thunder will follow, so eat fast.

We have been very well received by the Americans, many of them came to us asked about our boat and trip, asked if we needed transport to buy groceries or other things. From one of them we got the most fantastic home grown tomatoes, tastes divine together with the home farmed onions. On happy hours in the club house we never felt alone always some to talk to.

Most boats at the marina were real boats, plain good old boats.

But despite all the nice people the nice scenery we wanted to get into the water and sail away

And finally the 6 of July we went into the water and everything went well, at least in the fairy tale, but in real life shit happens. First as soon as I started the engine the alarm went on, engine off and down in the engine room. My new original VP oil filter has fallen off and all new oil in the bilge. To make things worse I had no spare filter that fitted (Kerstin had told me not to throw away the old filter until we were totally sure the original VP filter would work, guess what I did with the old filter?). I had asked before in the Marina but they did not have any for VP. But I went in there again and they found what third party filter that could fit our VP, find out where to find one and send someone to pick up, that is good service. When I had cleaned up the mess they delivered a filter that fitted, “Jabba dabba doooo”, I asked if they could fix five more filters before we left and they said no problem, so now we will not have filter problem for a while. But the ordeal was not over by that, when I have put back the head stay tensioned as hard as I dared, connected the cables for the furling motor the furlermotor only unfurled, but did not furl the head sail. Nothing happened when trying to furl the sail, I measured the volt but nothing wrong. I do not know much about electrical motors, but at least I can have a look so opened up the motor cheeked the brushes but found nothing strange, disconnected all cables and put them back again, put everything together again and a miracle it worked. All this on the hottest day ever, after rivers of sweat, bruised knuckles and a lot of nasty words I could conclude that I had not have time do anything of what I had planned for the day.

The next day most things went rather smooth and we were ready before the Happy Hour ended and could finally cast off saturday July 8.

Some really nice sailing brought us to this very beautiful anchorage called  Mill creek just south of Reedville.

Fantastic sky

Solomons Islands

We had been recommended to visit Solomons Islands, 40 nM to the north, head wind so the engine hade to work.

Solomons Islands are more upmarket I guess, it looks very prosperous. Several marinas and very nice water front properties, but not to surprise one, the anchorage and marinas are very sheltered.

Kerpa at anchor at Solomons Islands

Garage for boats I have never seen that in Sweden or in Europe.

We very seldom visits museums but today we made an exemption from that and visit the “Maritime Museum” in Solomons

It was this light house who attracted us, we both like to visit light houses when possible. This is very typical for The Chesapeake Bay area.

The light house keeper lived in the light house and it did not looked bad at all

Nice kitchen

Given the time at the turn of the nineteenth century the bed room must have been rather luxuries. The salary was 500 $ per year not bad at all, free coal for heating opportunity to fish and farm.

They had an interesting way to build boat, they took several logs dug them out and put them together to a boat.

But they did more sophisticated boats as well, obviously these was for crab fishing, and crabs we had the day before

Kerstin enjoying the “Crab Hammer”

Oyster fishing was a very big business especially during the end of the nineteenth century

A Bushels is roughly 25 kg so ca 37000 ton oyster per annum during a short period, not so much now, man never learn.

The oyster were put into large cans of maybe 2.5 kg, what do you do with 2.5 kg conserved oysters? We did not found out.

But a lot of shell that’s for sure

Interesting Museum don’t miss it if you come to Solomons Islands.

Finally some boats

An Albin Vega a very popular Swedish boat, it was made over 3000 of them during late 1960 early 1970. Several have circumnavigated with them and a crazy Norwegian even visit Antarctica with one. But one does not expect to see them at a posh place as Solomons islands.

Another classic Swedish boat an Albin 25, a rather popular motor boat in the 70-ties. sold in the hundreds but not thousand  A very few were sold as motorsailer and to find one in Yankee Point Marina was unexpected.

About every 15 to 20 odd years one can read in some of the yachting magazine someone trying to introduce a new rig. They are usually not very successful, one never see them in real life. Well now we have seen one of them.

Finally who got the big knife?

Well from now on I better behave else…..

 

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After a short trip to Sweden we are back in the USA

We have been in Sweden for a while to celebrate our two daughters who both graduated from University. A moment of joy, happiness and pride.

Emelie had her graduation (Master in Economics) party in Uppsala to which also parents was invited.

Linnea our youngest daughter got her master as Civil engineer in Biotechnology the same week.

A come together with family and close friends, The handsome man in the sofa is my son Kristoffer.

Well enough with family bragging

In Sweden we have a relatively new national day 6 of June, which media and official society want us to celebrate as vivid as they do in Norway on May 17,  in France on July 14 or USA July 4. But the swedes are quite lukewarm to the national day. Many swedes say that they should have chosen Midsummer instead, then we would not have needed any push to celebrate, on the contrary a majority of the swedes are rather happy to party in Midsummer. Pickled herring and snaps are in abundance and already at noon the atmosphere is high, late afternoon it could easily be to high…..

The Swedish national day offered good weather and the streets were not crowded but people enough to create a good atmosphere.

One day we were invited to sail on a friend’s boat and then of course the weather was as it can be in Sweden, cold, rainy and windy but we had a nice sail in his Amel SM named Nipe. Keep look up for him as he will start his journey next year to cruise the seven seas

Niklas a proud owner of an Amel SM his first sailing boat so a lot to learn, but he is a fast learner and next year his dream will commence.

The person below has waited quite some time for his dream to come through

The boat project is total overgrown with large trees

I guess the dream broke decades ago. I found this boat at the same Marina as Nipe was on and I could not resist to take some photos to share with you all

Back in the USA

Since a few days we are back to Yankee Point Marina, Kerpa is still firm on land and the yard are preparing the bottom for copper coat an epoxy based anti-fouling paint that is supposed to last up to 10 years, it’s not cheap so it need to last at least 5 years to break even, and hopefully save some diving to clean the bottom from growth.

Kerpa with two layers of epoxy barrier coat, nest step is to sand to get a good adhesion for the copper coat.

View from Kerpa, close to toilets and showers in the blue building, but we do long until we are in the water again

So what to do?

Well the first day back it was a lobster party the Main way. The owners of the yard are from Main, and once a year the fly in lobster and clams and serve it the Main way.

Modified Main way to cook lobster, originally one dig a pit in which a log fire is lit and on top of the fire one place a bed of seaweed. The lobsters and whatever you want to eat with it is put on top of the seaweed, and then covered with another layer of seaweed to steam cook. It is not a very friendly way to cook lobster, it reminded more of medieval Tudore style torture methods of wrong believers or witches.

Unfortunately we had bad weather with a lot of rain, actually we have had several days with heavy rain and thunder, and we feel like home in Sweden. So the party was held inside instead of outside in this marvelous surrounding.

The result is a lovely red lobster, steamed vegetables, hot dog and egg? all In a bag except the lobster

Kerstin enjoying the lobster together with the other boaters, US boaters are no party animals at all. Despite free beer and live music no one was remotely drunk and at nine o clock most people had gone home. That would never have happened in Sweden, by nine the noise level would have been very high and a few hours later most people who still could stand would be dancing.

Other days we utilize moments with good weather to enjoy the beautiful setting by

Having diner by the sea and a glass of good vine, or we have

Isterband a very Swedish dish, a soured sausage with grain and lard as the main ingredients, taste wonderful

Now it is ready to serve

With stewed carrots and a glass of cold milk, hard to beat

All this in a very nice setting, strange that there are so many free spaces in the marina, someone told me that before the 2007 bank crises the marina was full.

But all is not joy, there are time for work as well

Such as attending rust stain, note the rather severe stain on the deck,

but only a few minutes later it looks very nice indeed, how is it possible?

These two products work as promised or better. Mainly Phosphoric acid I believe and it makes miracle on stainless steel, it become passivated and the gloss remains much longer after treatment with these products compared with cleaner and wax. Highly recommended.

We have ordered a lot of products now when we have an address in the USA, such as

New gas bottles and regulators for the US propane system, Anchor wash pump and many more things.

Interesting regulator for wall mount, one can have two bottles attached with two hoses to one regulator, at the regulator you can then switch over to the next bottle when the other is empty. But you need strong hoses as much higher pressure before the regulator than after.

As always when ordering things there is something wrong…

The locking mechanism for the hose connection to the pump was broken, the pump was also very dusty so I guess it was a display example they put in the box, now we have to see if Defender is as good as fellow Amel cruiser says. It’s when things go wrong you can judge the supplier, let’s hope.

While waiting for things to come and to be complete, we could now travel and plan with the new pilot books covering all the way up to Nova Scotia.

Yesterday I found to my surprise another Amel at the marina an Amel Santorini the little sister of our Super Maramu, They had bought it a few days ago and sailed it up from Florida

It was the owner’s first sailing boat and they plan to go cruising in two years’ time. Unfortunately the boat was in rather bad condition to put it mildly, a lot to fix.

 

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Now in USA

We left Spanish Wells 08:30 May 16 and we arrived Norfolk 18:05 May 22 after 898 nM, the longest passage we have made with only the two of us.

Spanish Wells, was the most prosperous and well taken care of place we have been to since probably the Canary Island. The community toke really good care of the village and as an example the “big supermarket” and the water plant was managed and owned by the community no outsourcing or privatization as they have done in Sweden with many public services such as schools and hospitals etc. which results in declining results. I think Sweden could learn a lot from a small place as Spanish Wells, which is strange it should be the other way around.

The trip offered nice gentle sailing, boring motoring, exhilarating sailing with good wind and following current, but also very demanding conditions with head wind and the current with us so very short waves and uncomfortable conditions. From Cape Hatteras to  Cape Henry ca 100 nM apart we had head wind of  ca 25 knots (true wind) for most of the time and definitely the toughest conditions we have encounter so fare, short and high waves constantly washing over Kerpa. Many times the water just disappear under the hull and we was falling down, sometimes with a gentle and soft landing, but rather often it was a hard landing , that night we definitely wanted to pass quickly especially as it was our 5:th night aboard, not very much sleep at all that night. In those conditions you are glad to have a solid boat. I’m also glad that I tuned the rig of the mizzen mast as it used to shiver earlier on hard landings going up wind, but not now.

We were very unsure about the procedures for entering US territorial water, so before entering US waters we called the coast guard to inform them of our intention, but they were not interested. But a boat going the Intra Costal Water Way, named Reflection with Georege and Pat Hospodar, who happens to be the editor of The Chesapeake cursing  guide heard our call. They ended up at the same Marina in Norfolk as us, we were invited for a drink on their boat, and Pat said I heard you call and thought I like to meet these people and hear how they coop with the harsh conditions out there, “it’s not fun out there with wind against current he said” we could only confirm.

Before arriving Norfolk we called US Border Control, we informed them of our ETA and that we were heading for The Waterfront Marina, OK we will send some officers to meet you, wow I thought?

But we had nice times as well, not often you make over 12 kn, having good condition both wind and current with us, we enjoyed the voyage very much at that time, but it came to a quick halt when we suddenly got a squall we thought, but it was not a short squall, just new condition that lasted the whole day and night, don’t thrust the weather man.

Soon conditions got worse

 Norfolk Virginia

We arrived late afternoon to Norfolk, it’s a huge harbor area with the largest naval base in the world we were told.

On the way in we passed this area with 5 big aircraft carriers, but there are numerals places with military ships being hauled and repaired.

Finally we arrived to the

Waterfront  Marina just beside Hilton Hotel and WTC. We got a little bit tricky place to moor at but everything went well. When tying up two men in uniform introduces themselves I said let me just finish tying up then you are welcome aboard. About 15 minutes later THEY have filled in all the papers, all I had to do was to sign, great service.

Waterfront  Marina

The weather was rather poor and cold not only the last days of the trip but also the whole stay in Norfolk. A lot of rain and really gloomy days, but we had nice time there. First we needed to fix a cruising permit, the office who arrange that was just across the street, again swift service and ca 5 minutes and 19 $ later it was fixed.

We were invited for dinner on a Belgium HR 43 named Pollux, a very nice couple who also just arrived  Norfolk. Their strategy was to stay at marinas and not on anchorage, the reason for that is, it makes it easier to make contact with other cruisers. We must give them right in that conclusion, but it is a rather expensive strategy. About anchorage in US, they seems to anchor on the most strange places, in our guide Active Captain which so far seems to be excellent for this waters, indicated several anchorage in the harbor some very close to the naval bases, and they were rated as good or even excellent scenery.

An anchorage is indicated half way across this water, it was rated as good scenery, it was one behind the Aircraft carriers on the earlier picture that was rated excellent, I would never think of anchoring in a big harbor like this.

After three days we left Norfolk when we had sorted out all important issues, Internet, Cursing permit, and a potential place to leave Kerpa during a short trip to Stockholm to meet our family and especially our two daughters who graduates from University.

Our first sail in The Chesapeake Bay

Unfortunately not very much wind and very cloudy so we mostly motored, to Upper River a part of York River.  The most surprising issue was all crab pots that was everywhere, we sig sag to avoid catching any of the floats. Then in the river we saw small sticks here and there, what is that? is it shallow? Or some fixed fishing equipment? Later we learned that it is oyster beds. We found a sheltered place with the help of Active Captain a web based cruising information that works very well together with Garmin Blue chart and IPad, not on Android unfortunately, so we had to invest in a new IPad in Norfolk.

As said earlier American seams to anchor at odd places, earlier when we have been traveling this area by car we have seen a lot of signs about “do not trespass”, “trespassers will be prosecuted” not so nice for a Swede who is use to the “all man’s right” i.e. you can walk almost anywhere and camp as long as you are not seen from a house or a garden.

But now in US one anchor right in front of people’s houses, I would not do that in Sweden for the privacy of the owner, not illegal, more impolite.

Our first anchorage (recommended by Active Captain) in Upper North River as you can see just in front of a private home, but as it was private homes all along the river there was no alternative.

The rating of Scenery was excellent that I can understand better than the Scenery rating in Norfolk harbor.

 Next stop Yankee Point Marina

We had no time to stay long, we need to find a place to haul out Kerpa, and so we headed for Yankee Point Marina in Rappahannock River. One surprising thing is that mobile coverage is very poor in the rivers so we could no call the marina to discuss the details of when we could be hauled out, if we could stay on the boat when it was on the hard etc. We just had to assume it will work out well for us.

We arrived YPM after office hours so we anchored on this recommended anchoring spot just in front of the Marina

The marina is in a very beautiful spot

The next morning we took the dingy in to the marina, discussed if we could stay on the boat and work on it when on the hard, it was not any problem at all, they asked us if we would like to come up right away, yes we said, and the responsible person came and had a look at our boat and found it might be a problem. The solar panels are too high we will not pass them with the traverse crane, you need to dismantle the two forestays. UH not so easy the turnbuckles have probably not been turned for 17 years, they might size fast when turning, need to locate the electrical cables for the furling motors etc. But two hours later it was fixed so by high tide 12:30 we motoring to the dock, and half an hour later we were on the hard.

Had to empty one of the bow lockers, Kerstin asked me, do we need all those ropes? Well I said this not all ropes!!!!

Kerpa on the way, you can see the low bar on the crane that has to pass the solar panels if lifted the normal way with the stern towards the bar.

People are very friendly and helpful, it will probably be a joy not only to work on Kerpa in this Marina, but also cruising around, we really looking forward to this part of the journey.

It’s very beautiful here, reminds us of Sweden in spring, similar green color pine trees, a lot of bird song and cold & clear air.

And the marina looks as a marina should look like, only one drawback, and rather big for us, it’s in the middle of no-where, how do we get to the airport. It’s 4 hours’ drive. Nearest car rental is 20 miles away. Conclusion Transport Company so what we save on choosing a low cost marina in a remote location is eaten up with margin by the local transport costs. So we have to enjoy the scenery and the very friendly people not only the marina staff but also the other berth holders.

On Monday 29 of May we fly to Stockholm and stay until 15 of June, then we will return and work on the boat for a week or two before cruising again

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It’s cold

Yesterday we was hit by a cold front, we know a front was comming, it was supposed to give NE wind 15 to 20 kn, for a few hours , then calm down. The cold front came suddenly, the wind shifted from 10 kn SW to NNE in a second and increased to 20 to 25 true wind, apperant was more 25 to 30 kn knots which remained all nigh. We sailed closed hauled from late afternoon to early morning , we hade to make a few tacks as well. The night gave us the roughest sailing so fare. The waves rose quickly and become very short,. Kerpa was occasionally bouncing heavily in to the short waves, water rushing over deck and over the sprayhood ( who need a few new sippers not to let water into the cockpit ). I’m very glad that i tensioned the lower shruds on the mizzen mast before we left, they where to slack to my liking before and earlier when bouncing into waves the mizzen mast was shivering, but not this time, felt much better even though we fell off some rather big waves and hit the wather with
full force.
To move inside one had to be very careful not to hurt one self. Therefore the one off watch tried to sleep in the cockpit, but first put on all cloth we had readily available and on top of that a blanket and still it was cold. Not ”wet and warm”, ” but wet and cold ”
At day break the wind eased a little and we are now motoring eta 1900 to 2000 to night.
Looking forward to reach a safe berth, a cup of tea, a glas of wine in an environment that not bounce you around.

An interesting observation; during a few hours yesterday afternoon before the wind picked up, we heard at least 5 different distress calls to the Coast Guard. Mainly fuel problem, lack of fuel or dirty fuel, but as the wind picked up the situation could quickly become hazardous. One boat had a leak and one call was maybee more serious, as the distress call was interrupted during transmission the Coast Guard tried several times during many hours to get in contact with that vessel but no success. The US Coast Guard seams to be very busy in real life not only on the television.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

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Day 4 soon within US territory

Yesterday was rather eventless, motoring all day until 04:40 this morning. In total we made 26 h and 20 minutes by engine and made 212nM, 8 kn average due to the strong current, motoring speed was more like 5.5 knots.
Now we are sailing broad reach 6 to 7 knots, but the forecast predict som potential head wind. We have 191 nM left so reckons we will be in Norfolk tomorrow evening.
Then starts the procedure to clear in. We have tried to seek out the propper procedures, but we found conflicting information. According to some official sources one should anounce to US boarder control by phone 96 and 24 h before reaching US waters. With our satphone not so easy as some delay in the communication,. However we called in yesterday ca 60 h before we expect to reach Norfolk and ca 36 h before we reach US waters. The response was, why are you calling now? call when you are close. Newer got any specification on how close is close?!.
This morning we called US Coast Guard on VHF and informed them that we where aproaching US territorial waters and will entering within 12 h. They asked for the size of our boat, then they got silent. A few minutes later they caled us and asked why did we called? My responce was we try to comply with rules and regulations for enetring The USA. THANK YOU HE SAID end of conversation. 1/2 an hour later the Coast Guard caled us on VHF and asked us for ETA Norfolk. I hope we have done what is expected of us and that the clearing in tomorrow evening or maybe monday morning will go smoothly.

Night watches has been rather easy so fare, very little trafic and no dramatic weather so we use and ”egg” clock on 20 minutes i.e 20 min rest then a thorough look out etc. But this night will be differet there are heavy trafic of fishing boats, a lot of freight ships and risk for head wind of up to 20 kn, probably no egg clock tonight. Reccon we will be tiered tomorrow.

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