Monthly Archives: May 2013

On the Hard – Sarah’s Creek, Yorktown VA

Sailing has always taken a special breed.  People who can go for long periods with little sleep, facing challenges that seem impossible, and powering through.  A very individual sport / adventure for those who love the history and the science of moving around the world powered only by the wind.

But it really isn’t an individual sport.  We are able to succeed only on the backs of the dozens of supporters that email us, read our blogs, and help us fix our fine yacht.  It’s to the last of these that this blog is dedicated.


Can you make her pretty again Eddy?

We are sitting on jack stands with the deck about 12 feet above the ground, nestled between two powerboats in York River Yacht Harbor. Several things needed the attention that can only be given when a boat is out of the water.  These little forays “on the hard” are messy and expensive “must do’s” in the life of any cruiser.  Fortunately, YRYH has really gone above the call of duty for us.

First there was Danny, who made sure we felt welcome – even anchored out before we decided to pull the boat.  He offered us prime space for our dinghy, and the ship store team not only worked hard to find what we needed, but also offered us a car to buy at West Marine the items they could not supply.  Like Dorthy said “we aren’t in Florida anymore”(sic).


Welcome to the hotel Country Dancer

And our neighbors.  Sailing is as much about the people as it is about boats and wind.  Next to us is Lee on his Grand Banks trawler.  Always ready with tools, workbench or help. Beside him is George and Karen on a Morgan 41.  They were “There” for us with a hose, grease gun, and even epoxy filler to help us out. The advise and the help were more than appreciated, thanks guys.

Then the yard.  Larry, Ralph, Ron, Danno, and Eddy.  Thanks guys.  Without question, working in a boat yard has its high moments, but it is overall a grueling, dirty, and physically exhausting job.  You are working on the craft that people have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for, and they all want it perfect and they all want it all cheap. Did I mention dirty.  The air is full of blue dust from sanding bottom paint,  the grounds are littered with the sundry masts, booms and rigging of boats stacked together in the gravel work area.  Any breeze sends the sticky grit into everything. Even walking through here is probably a bio-hazard, yet these guys continue to show up, working on the impossible, in conditions that no amount of care and cleaning can ever makes really pleasant. Yet there is something in their style.  They LIKE boats, they LIKE making things better and solving problems. THEY are the “yardies”, the “BN’s”, the “Wrenches” and the “Smurfs” that make Yachting what it is today.

in the ways

Trying to get straps under a grounded “Dancer.” We waited overnight for a high tide.


But this is  really about Eddy.  Eddy was the guy that worked for hours under our hull with a sanding board and DA sander held 2 feet above his head, sanding the nasty stuff off our hull.    Eddy suited up in his Tyvex suit and full face respirator, sweating profusely inside the impermeable plastic,  while the blue grit blows around him in the sun.  I  did some of this too, and know that 800mg of Ibuprofen just isn’t enough to take the ache out of your arms and shoulders after a few hours of this shoulder torture.  They affectionately called him “the Smurf” because of the blue hue that permeates his clothes and skin.

When they could not get us out of the water on Friday, Eddy and Danno were there Saturday morning to make sure we got out and blocked up so we could have the weekend to work.

We are not done as I write this.  The prop and shaft are sitting on a workbench and the bottom paint is still on a UPS truck somewhere coming this way.  It is Tuesday night and we have to be back in the water on Monday.  Will it all happen?  Can those rugged sailors continue to Ireland?  Not if Larry, Ralph, Danny, Eddy and the rest of the super rugged YRYH team can’t pull yet one more rabbit out of this grimy hat, it won’t.

We love sailing. The travel, the sights, the adventure… and we love the folks that drive themselves just as hard to make it possible for us.  Guys, you may not make it to Ireland with us, but our appreciation for all your effort will. Our most heart felt THANKS.

Gary, Jodi and Rio on S/V Country Dancer.

Work done:

2 coats of Micron 66 black bottom paint, re-faired keel and rudder
3 coats Pettit zinc prop paint on running gear
added “Spurs” line cutter to prop
replaced cutlass bearing
rebuilt PSS shaft seal
repaired about 40 blisters with glass and epoxy (about 100 to go!)
Cleaned, greased and reconditioned Autoprop
replaced 2 through hulls, lubed the rest.
added 100′ of copper strapping for SSB counterpoise
replaced SSB antenna cable
cleaned and repainted engine parts.



Sarah Creek on the York River

May 22nd Wednesday

Pulled anchor after 2 nights at Norfolk VA – headed to Sarah’s Creek.  We left early afternoon for a very pleasant sail.  Met another sailing vessel Summers Breeze via the VHF radio.  He is single handling his boat which is 38′.

We arrived safely at 6:00 pm at a nice quite anchorage in Yorktown River.  DSCF0053We dropped the hook out side the yacht club in Gloucester Point VA.  This marina has 315 slips (most of them have boats), a pool, restaurant, boat yard and library.  I was able to exchange the books I read on board for a whole new selection.  We dinghied up the river to find the Food Lion store and auto parts, a 15 minute boat ride and 1/2 hour walk one way.

After being at anchor for 2 days we decided to have the boat pulled out of the water and have the bottom paint done, replace the dripless shaft seal and add a “spurs” line cutter to the prop.  Since we left we have put on over a thousand  miles and we knew we needed to repaint the boat so now was a good time.  Bottom paint has a life span of about 2 years.  When we arrived at the boat yard to be lifted out, it was low tide and Gary and I had to “PLOW” our way in as the depth was 5′ 8″ and we draw 6′.deep in the ways  Once in the slip, the yard crew were unable to get the straps under the boat to lift us out.  The keel and rudder were sitting on the bottom.  They tried everything from weighting the straps down to pushing a plastic bottle tied to a rope under the boat and hopefully pop up on the other side.  No go!  So after 2 hours we were tied in the slip for the night with the winds blowing up a storm.  For those of you who have been following our blog, remember the couple we met in Wrightsville with the 470 Catalina, who tracked us down, they had their boat in this same yard.  What a small world.

Okay back to getting the boat out.  hotelCountryDancerEddie and Danno returned Saturday morning at 10 and pulled us out. We were floating, an hour later we were up on stilts and a ladder tied to the rail so we could get aboard.  It is now sitting way up in the air.  With the use of a tote bag on a rope we could pull Rio up and down along with other items like tools. Otherwise we had to carry everything by hand.  This was so much easier.  We worked on the blisters that had started on the bottom all weekend.  The neighboring boat a Morgan 41′ owned by George and Karen, similar to our friends Sally and Brian’s boat were also working on their bottom.  We hit it off as friends and began to help each other with different items that needed to be done.  George had some left over epoxy that he applied to a few of the finished blisters on our vessel and Gary went up their mast to attach a new wind indicator for them.

The Marina had a courtesy car that I was able to use while on the hard. It has been 2 months since I last drove. I remembered how.  First stop my favorite Wal-Mart!!  Got some fabric to cover the new jerry cans we picked up at the previous port, then on to the Big Lots, Food Lion and West Marine.  My second trip was to Lowe’s for lumber so we could attach the new jerry cans to the top of the boat.  It was so nice to have a car to gather all the items we needed.  On my final trip to town I did the big shopping for the crossing, 12 cases of coke, 3 cases of beer, canned soup, chicken, steaks, hamburger, pasta, chips, powdered milk, etc.. I was amazed at how much food you need to buy for a month to eat. No running to the local store once you leave port. Again everything went in the tote bag to go up to the top of the boat.  Once I had it all packaged and back down the ladder, the restaurant put it in their freeze for us.  It takes ours quite a long time to freeze that much food.

We had Eddie and his wife Ello over for dinner, to thank him for all the work he did and the fish he added to our coffers.  George and Karen came the next night and we talked for hours about sailing. They brought fixings for rum drinks to go with the taco salad we did.  I even made the taco bowls..

While on the hard we can not use the AC because it needs water to cool the unit, so there we sat in 80 to 90 degree weather, had every fan on and port hatches open trying to keep us cool.  I even went to the pool one day.

I polish the stainless steel on the topside of the boat while Gary was working on the bottom.  We got everything done in the week we were in the yard.  The boat was splashed on Monday early, fueled up and we are off again.

We did a layover in Cornfield Harbor, then Solomon’s Creek and finally to Annapolis.

Norfolk, VA by Jodi

May 19th Sunday Norfolk VA

Dozens of ships on our AIS Chart

After 30 hours of motor sailing we were ready to drop the anchor and get some badly needed sleep.  Neither Gary nor I slept well on this trip.  Not sure why. We had no wind and the seas were bouncy again.  As were arrive at the mouth of the channel there are several container ships already in the channel coming and going.  We have installed the AIS and are able to see the ships and their name, heading and speed. Suddenly  one of the ships radioed US asking OUR destination, and we responded with our heading.  They said they would take the outer channel and we were to go straight up the channel.  Once we out of the channel and headed to our anchorage we felt much better.  Those ships are big!!!

First thing on our to do list is Coke, we are out and Gary needs a fix.  He can’t live with out a diet coke.  So we head into town to a 7-11 and stop to ask a gentlemen for directions.  Turns out he is also a sailor . Martin offered to take us to the 7-11 to get the pop we were in need of.  After we returned he invited us to dinner.  Molly & Martin fixed pork loin, corn on the cob and salad and their daughter baked cookies.  Fabulous!  Rio got to play with their golden retriever and had a blast. Martin was delivering a racing sail boat the next day further north on the Chesapeake.

Norfolk Naval Airstation Anchorage

Norfolk Naval Air station Anchorage – less than 50′ above our mast top

While at anchor across from the navel base we were able to watch the helicopters fly all day long. It was a show.  They would fly over with their orange painted power poles as practice cargo, and do touch downs, hovers and pick up navy seals.

After two days we were ready to move on.  I did the laundry at the marina and hung them out on the boat. The next day we pulled anchor and head to Sarah’s Creek.  After 6 hours and a beautiful sail we arrived and dropped the hook out side of the marina. A wonderful location and the subject of our next blog.

Beaufort, NC

Wild Horses at Beaufort NC – May 11th

Our trip to Beaufort was exciting, we put our fishing pole out for the first time and after several hours we had a fish on.  Gary got the rod and I took the wheel to slow the boat down so we could land whatever we caught.  10 minutes later we had a Blackfin Tuna on board.  Gary cleaned the fish on the back of the boat, blood all over as the fish decided to flop around and splash it everywhere.  Tuna steaks in the freezer and 2 in the fridge for diner.

Wild horses and sailboats

Wild horses and sailboats

As we sailed into this pretty little town at dawn, on the island to the starboard/right of us are horses, it was a cool sight.

We rounded the corner/buoy and there is this seaside town with its old building and boats anchored everywhere.  It was so crowded a lot of the boats were in the channel. We found our nook and moored for the night.  The boat to our right was from Alaska, a sailing trawler – bright yellow, could see it for miles I bet!!  Spent the day on the boat cleaning her up after our sail.  The Alaskan boat left the next morning and we moved to their spot as it was a better anchorage.

May 12th, into town I go.  Gary dropped me off at the local dinghy dock and Rio and I head to the local hardware store a mile and a half away.  Got to the store and they no longer sell hardware, they direct me to Ace up the road a few blocks.  Ya Right, try another 1/2 mile, but there was also Piggly Wiggle’s, Family Dollar, Thrift shop and a gas station. Rio and I skipped the food store and went to the dollar store, dogs welcome.  After my return to the boat Gary was done with work so we all went to the island to find the wild mustang’s. The rules are:

stay 50′ awayrio horse
keep dogs on lease
clean up after yourself

We followed all the rules, though the horses did not.  Several of the herd walked right up to us and one even came within nose touching distances.  Rio barked, pony snorted and all had a great time.

We met a couple on Private Island, a Catamaran sailing vessel.  Paul and Kim had just arrived from West Palm, FL, they had sailed straight through to Beaufort and were quite tired. We made a date to get together the next day.

After walking the docks, a stop at the old cemetery and a second trip to the hardware store we stopped by the Catamaran for drinks and again swapped sailing stories.   Paul and Kim do charters and were on their way to DC to visit their daughter.

We stayed only 3 nights here.

Wrightsville, NC by Jodi

Our stay in Wrightsville, NC – 8 days

We arrived in Wrightsville on Thursday 5/1 after sailing through the night on a very bumpy sea.  Gary and I were headed to Hatteras NC.  Due to the foul weather we turned into port and found this quaint