Saturday, 29 September 2012

No 33 Annapolis

Hi from Clare,                                          Friday 28th September, 2012

We departed New York on Wednesday 19th after spending an action packed few days, under the guidance of Matt and Mim, visiting the remaining things on our NYC bucket list. It was sad to set sail and bid farewell to the Statue of Liberty knowing that we were leaving a fascinating city and family behind.

We spent the next few days making our way to the city of Annapolis in the Chesapeake Bay. Our American cruising friends Mike and Marguerite on 'Ithaca' live in Annapolis. Earlier this year they gave us directions to their home and invited us to visit. They have now finished a fourteen year circumnavigation. Their home is on the water at the entrance to a creek and 'Ithaca' resides on their wharf at the bottom of their garden. As we approached their home, they came out to greet us, showed us to one of the nearby free Navy buoys and invited us to dinner. They also very generously gave us the use of their facilities and their second car. Apart from their overwhelming hospitality it was wonderful to see them settled back into a very busy and stimulating life surrounded by family and friends. They miss the cruising but for them it was time to stop.

Mike and Marguerite's house and boat ramp

Mike drove us into the city on day one so we could get our bearings. We visited the Doyle loft (we dropped off the new Genoa for a modification) and West Marine (because that's the first stop for every Cruiser). We looked for a Rigger because the goose neck on the boom has developed a squeak and is coming loose. Mike also pointed out the supermarkets and shopping centres before handing us the car keys and letting us loose on the city. The following day we ventured out and did a remarkable job of retracing our steps of the previous day without getting lost. One would have thought we were locals, except for the blinkers. Being positioned on the opposite side of the steering wheel, we turned most corners activating the wind screen wipers and Andrew saying "Hello, we're from Australia" it was pretty funny really!

We had a very successful time in Annapolis. We picked up the modified Genoa within twenty four hours. We found a rigger by enquiring through the Bavaria Agent. The rigger was South African and he connected with Andrew (being an Aussie) almost immediately, they talked sailing for over an hour. I was waiting in the car and wondering "how hard is it to buy a few rivets". Anyhow Andrew came out with a big smile on his face with rivets in hand and the loan of a rivet gun. No money had changed hands and the Rigger didn't want a phone number or any other form of insurance. So we did the job the following morning and returned the gun with thanks and payment; just an amazing amount of trust.

We called into West Marine in Annapolis and firstly met Bert from 'Exuberant' in the car park. Then inside the shop we met an Aussie couple we haven't seen since the Canary Islands last year. We felt like locals meeting friends whilst out on a shopping expedition; at times it's hard to remember that we are half way around the world.

A few weeks ago when in Port Washington we met Mary and Scott from a powerboat 'Egret'. We didn't recognize them until she said "our names are easy to remember just think of Mary Queen of Scotts." She used the same line when we originally meet in Turkey in 2006. We were new to cruising then and I think Mary and Scott were the first people to invite us to their boat for a drink. Since then they have been to Australia and back - a small world indeed.

We have recently joined the Seven Seas Cruising Association which is a good way to meet like minded sailors, make friends and share information. This current gathering is The 26th Annual SSCA Annapolis Gam and is over a three day weekend. The theme is self-reliance and covers topics like Solar and Wind, Charting, The Gulf Stream and Insurance just to name a few. There are a number of lunches, dinners, cocktail hours and other social activities. Today Andrew has gone to the talks so I am enjoying some quiet time on the boat. This evening we will attend cocktails and a pot luck dinner.

Rafting up for drinks at the Gam 

Next week we will attend the Annapolis Boat Show which is one of the biggest boat shows in the world. I'm not sure what to expect apart from huge crowds and lots of boats but I will let you know in our next newsletter. After the boat show we will make our way to Washington.

Love Candy

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

No 32 NYC Revisited

Hi from Clare,                 Tuesday, 18th September 2012

Our first few days in Port Washington were dedicated to maintenance on Eye Candy. We now have new sails and boom bag. We have replaced the safety lines along the deck, the clears in the dodger and toilet seats in both heads. We have repaired stitching on the bimini, replaced rusting hose clamps and dry cleaned the Turkish rug. We have cleaned and sorted all the lockers and restocked the boat in readiness for our trip back down the east coast.

Firstly we met up with cruising friends Ron and Barbara who we met in Maine. They live near Port Washington and they spent last Thursday showing us the highlights of Long Island with its lovely sea side towns, wooded countryside and magnificent houses. We stopped off at their lovely white timber yacht club situated on rolling greens lawns in a picturesque bay to see where their boat 'Our Whim' is moored. Ron then showed us a F14 Tomcat which he had worked on as a design engineer. We had lunch at their favorite restaurant, Claudio's, which has been owned by the same family since 1870, and then finished the day with dinner on the verandah of their home. Once again we were humbled by the American hospitality. The American's we have met have a very comfortable lifestyle.

An F14 Tomcat and Clare with Barbara and Ron

We left Eye Candy on a mooring buoy in Port Washing and took the train into the city. Andrew's son Matthew gave us detailed instruction and a map to find their apartment in Manhattan. We only made two mistakes. Firstly, we caught the wrong train and had to retrace our steps, then towards the end of our voyage I managed to delete the instructions - good thing we had read them a few times. As soon as we arrived, Mim whisked us off to the Museum of Modern Art. We spent a few hours there looking at all manner of objects but the highlight for me was a collection of art by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and Andy Warhol amongst others.

Mazanine in the MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum

Matt was working in Boston so we caught up with him later that evening at home. Mim prepared a delicious dinner and over a few soothing wines Matt told us about his recent 800 kilometer bike ride through some fairly mountainous countryside in France. He said he wasn't sure if he could last the distance and was pleased with his accomplishment. Mim said after he got home he had had enough and his bike wasn't unpacked from its travel bag for well over a week; I can understand that!

The NY Stock Exchange (rear entrance) and Mim outside her prospective employer 

George Washington and one of the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center

The next morning (Saturday) we all went into the Metro Museum which is rated in the top three museums in the world. A huge place which would take numerous trips to explore. We spent a few hours there and for me the highlight was the Arm and Armor section which had the finest collection of Japanese armor outside Japan. How a Samurai could fight in all that gear is a mystery to me and it was good to see it close up. King Henry VIII's armour was there too.
After lunch we went to Manhattan to see Wall Street, The Stock Exchange, Ground Zero, World Trade Center Visitor's Gallery and Federal Hall, which is on the spot where George Washington was inaugurated as America's 1st President. We also went past the spot where Mim has obtained employment but can't start until she gets a work permit, see photo.
So we then stopped for a much needed refreshing ale by the waterfront before walking across the Brooklyn Bridge with magnificent views of New York Harbour and the Manhattan Bridge. We went to dinner in a cozy restaurant in the fashionable and trendy area of Dumbo (Down Under Mahattan Bridge Overpass) and then made our way home to a much needed comfortable bed.

Sunday morning we went to Harlem which is an African American area of New York. We went to the Mount Calvary Baptist Church to attend a very spirited Gospel Service with much congregation participation with "Halleluiahs" "Yes Sir" and "Praise the Lord" amidst singing, arm waving and swaying. Twelve people in the African American choir sang up a storm accompanied by an organist and a drummer. They had a number of ministers in attendance who in turn whipped up the audience into elevated participation. The ministers told jokes and laughed and the congregation were encouraged to laugh and rejoice along with them.
There are churches in Harlem that have tourist services and if you want to attend the 11am service you have to start queuing at 9am. We decided to pick a church with less profile and more authenticity. The people were dressed in their Sunday best with hats and gloves, shirts and ties. The lady in the seat in front of us keep turning around to show us the right page in the bible; we had to pay attention; thankfully she fell asleep an hour later. All in all it was a very happy cultural experience.

Views from Brooklyn Bridge

So we returned to the boat and spent yesterday getting organized to leave. We invited Ron and Barbara for drinks and dinner last night on Eye Candy. We had perfect weather and a brilliant sunset. The three days we spent in NYC were also magnificent sparkling days. However today we are experiencing rain, 40 knot gusts and we are being jerked around on our mooring to the point where we cannot walk around inside the boat without holding on. We expect this will continue for most of the night.

Clare brings home the shopping and the new lifelines, windows and sailbag

Once the wind calms down, we will head for the Chesapeake. We are looking forward to the Annapolis Boat Show in early October. It is one of the biggest boat shows in the world and just about everyone we have spoken to is going to attend.

Love Candy xx

At 3:16 PM18/09/2012 (utc) our position was 40°49.73'N 073°42.54'W

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No 31 Port Washington

Hi from Clare,                                      12th Sept, 2012

We haven't had time for sightseeing this week. We have been busy taking the boat from Newport to Port Washington. We arrived here late Monday afternoon and further busied ourselves with boat maintenance, sounds boring doesn't it? But it's great when it's done.

We had a chance to try out our new mainsail with a brisk 50 mile sail, at 60 degrees apparent, on our last leg into Port Washington. Andrew was impressed with the sail but felt it needed a little more chafe protection around the three reefs. Our new boom bag also looks marvelous but the zip is on the wrong side. So the sail and boom bag have been taken to the Doyle loft in Port Washington for modification. At this stage we can't speak highly enough of Doyle's. They have also taken away our dodger to replace the clears, our bimini to repair poor Turkish construction (no big surprise) and their rigger is supplying new white life lines along our deck. I have taken 'before' photos and so next week I will take 'after' photos and bore you all with the detail.

We are also replacing a number of fixtures around the boat which are showing signs of wear after eight years of salt water use. It's funny actually, last night we watched the DVD "The Perfect Storm" which is based on a true story that occurred in this area. All lives were lost but all I could think of while watching the horror was "this boat will never be clean again" but in the end it didn't matter as the boat sunk - probably a good solution!

The highlights for the week have been social evening with Bert and Prue on 'Exuberant' and Neville and Glenys on 'Alba'. Thank goodness for the cruising community, we would go stir crazy without the company. Tomorrow we are catching up with an American cruising couple Ron and Barbara on 'Our Whim'. We met them in Maine but they live here in Port Washington. They are picking us up at 10am to show us around for the day and then we have been invited to their home for dinner. We are really looking forward to the day as we found this couple to be good company and as funny as. Oh! Another highlight for the week was catching two Blue Fish, never heard of them but they were excellent eating.

We are spending this coming weekend with Andrew's son Mathew and his wife Mim in Manhatten. We are looking forward to catching up with them, family time is always fantastic. We have plans to do so more sightseeing with them but we will tell you about that in the next newsletter, we're excited.

Love Candy xx

At 1:14 AM12/09/2012 (utc) our position was 40°49.73'N 073°42.64'W

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

No 30 Marthas Vineyard

Hi from Clare,                             Wednesday, 5th September

We are anchored in the harbor at Newport, Rhode Island. We are in front of the New York Yacht Club, and once again I guess this is a close as we get. The weather is windy, the sea is choppy and it's pouring rain. A great day for having our new main sail delivered to the boat. It's funny how we always picture events in perfect sunshine and flat conditions. I thought I would take plenty of photos and there would be smiles all round. Andrew has just gone ashore to meet the sail maker who is delivering the mainsail fully battened and assembled in the boom bag. So they will be transferring two men, our headsail and a 16 foot boom bag from the shore to our boat in a 9 foot dinghy - should be interesting! I'm glad I haven't been invited to join in this adventure.
Newsflash: They have just arrived - mission accomplished, Andrew said it was much easier than he expected. So now the guys are fitting the new sailbag and mainsail to the boom.

New Main arriving and being fitted

The Sail Maker (Doyles) had both our old sails while making the new ones so they could observe eight years of wearing and reinforce those areas on the new sails. The new Headsail will be ready next week and delivered to us in Port Washington. For the past week we have been without sails and we have motored some 100 miles from Salem to Martha's Vineyard and then to Newport.

Martha's Vineyard is a good stop for a few days. The excellent bus system makes traveling between towns very easy. Even when the bus breaks down, a replacement is just fifteen minutes away! We firstly went to Oak Bluff which is a famous US Methodist camp dating back to the late 1800s. Instead of canvas tents, hundreds of whimsical multicolored "gingerbread" cottages were erected. There are about 300 houses built around 1870 lived in today and as you can see by the photos, lovingly maintained even if at times a little over the top.

Some of the many "Gingerbread" houses

We went to the main centre of Edgartown, established in 1642. We visited the Vincent house (1670) which is the oldest unaltered house on the Vineyard and also the Fisher house. This rather grand Federal-style house (1840) was owned by Edgartown's most successful whaling entrepreneur. Edgartown has an appealing harbor and it's the place to see endless boutique shops and lovely galleries.

Vincent House (1670) and the Methodist Church (1843)

We pretty well circumnavigated the island by bus. We traveled through Chilmark where celebrities own large and private properties facing the Atlantic Ocean, the area of Aquinnah where many of the 400 year-round residents are descendants of the Wampanoag Indians, West Tisbury where many a sea captain once owned the largest houses in town and finally Vineyard Haven which is the busiest port on the Vineyard. We anchored in Tashmoo bay which was an easy fifteen minute walk into Vineyard Haven. We enjoyed very peaceful conditions and caught up with friends Monica and Fred on 'Sagitta11'. Monica (see photo) is the delightful lady who at the age of seventy ran rings around me scaling a mountain in Maine a few weeks ago.

The Fisher House

Bus broken and Clare, Andy and Monika

After seeing the island we spent the next couple of days doing boat chores. Andrew fixed an air leak in the water maker and a water leak in the engine sea water pump. He then sanded, cut and polished the blue stripe along the side of the boat and washed the slime off the bottom of the boat. I took all the canvas off and washed it in the bathroom and polished the stainless. The canvas is now spotless but it is no longer waterproof.

"polishing the silver" as Clare calls it, and that Bavaria Blue stripe

When it stops raining we will go the West Marine (some five miles away) and buy a water proofing agent for our canvas covers. We are anchored with Bert and Prue on 'Exuberant' and so we have good company and someone with whom to share stories and evening drinks. Bert has offered Prue's bike to Andrew so they can peddle to West Marine together. Yesterday the bikes were offered to Andrew and me for supermarket shopping, but as I haven't ridden a bike since I was a kid, I decided that amongst the traffic of Newport wasn't the place to reacquaint myself with the intricacies of push biking and balance - one can't carry enough band aids!
Tomorrow, weather permitting we will "sail" to Block Island. The new sail bag looks fantastic but so far we can only wonder what's inside - just like a Christmas present.

Love Candy xx

At 12:23 PM3/09/2012 (utc) our position was 41°27.31'N 070°37.50'W

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