Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene who?

Yes, faithful readers, I survived Hurricane Irene.

She was, almost disappointingly, pretty much a non-event here in Baltimore. Almost being the key word there. Not so lucky on other parts of the East Coast -- I wish everyone good luck cleaning up and getting power back. Especially the folks in Vermont.

I stayed overnight at my friend Pascal's house along with boyfriend Greg and two other friends -- and we had a lot of fun. We made hurricanes and jambalaya. Yum achieved! We were having so much fun that we barely noticed a hurricane was happening and headed out to Ale Mary's for some middle-of-the-night tater tots and a drink. And to see if Fell's Point was underwater. It wasn't -- but we sure got soaked like we'd been swimming on the walk there!

Anyway, I checked on Misty Sunday morning after some corned beef hash at Jimmy's and the weather was beautiful. Would have been sailing weather if the wind hadn't been blowing so hard! ;) Misty was completely unscathed and I almost felt silly for worrying. But you know what they say -- better safe than sorry.

Hope you all had as fun and uneventful a hurricane as I did!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane shmurricane... right?

Well, folks, Misty Rose is all set to ride out Hurricane Irene. The forecast is becoming more favorable -- we're sitting at 80 percent chance of tropical storm force winds, according to the NOAA weather radio aboard. Yes, I'm still aboard. No, I will not be here once it starts hurricane-ing. I know I posted the other day that I wasn't that worried, but, well, I've succumbed to peer pressure.

In the end, the marina decided for me that I would be taking off my roller-furled sail, which Greg helped me do after work yesterday. It's folded up in my dock box. I also took an extra line and tightly tied around the outside of my sail cover.

Now, many of the boats in my marina came out of the water for the hurricane. I decided not to go that route. Tidewater, my marina, cited on their Facebook page an MIT study that found it is safer to keep your boat ashore than in the water during a hurricane.

I don't necessarily disagree with that. Or maybe I do. One of the ladies in the office here said to me a couple days ago, "but what if it comes up the Bay?"

Well, that's what insurance is for when it comes right down to it. If the hurricane comes up the Bay, you're pretty much screwed whether you're ashore or in the water in my mind.

I did, however, wake up at 8 a.m. this morning and decide, for no apparent reason that I wanted more fenders:

I called my dad from the car after I made the $143 purchase of one large fender, one smaller fender and two double-braided fender lines. His response?

"Good girl."

I also bungeed my grill shut. I suppose it's recommended that you take it off the boat, but it's not like I have a garage where I can put stuff and my dock box is pretty full of genoa just now.

The final precaution I took was doubling all my lines. I doubled the bow line, stern line and spring lines.

I think I'm as ready as I can be. I had crabs for dinner last night. I'm going to a hurricane party tonight. Misty will ride out the hurricane, just as she has ridden out hurricanes for nearly 30 years.

Either that or I'll be homeless come Monday...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anticipating the unexpected...

So it looks like Baltimore is going to be hit by Hurricane Irene this weekend. Weather reports are still sketchy, but at the very least we will get some high winds and rain, according to the weathermen.

I don't claim to be an expert on hurricane preparedness on boats, but when I lived in Washington, D.C., I was required to file a hurricane plan (including location of extra lines and fenders) which is what initially got me thinking about and researching hurricane preparedness. That and Ida, which hit the first year I lived aboard.

Here in the Chesapeake Bay we don't frequently see the effects of hurricanes beyond what's expected for this weekend: high winds, some possible flooding, high tides and lots and lots of rain.

Rain and high water aren't so much a problem for me since I am docked at a floating dock. The dock will just rise as the water rises. And so will Misty Rose. The problem comes with the high winds. High winds cause large waves, which if your boat is not tied up properly can cause serious problems -- like hull damage.

Tidewater, which is where I live, posted on their Facebook page today that they recommend boat owners consider taking their sails off and removing canvas coverings.

Unless the forecast gets a whole lot more serious, I won't be removing my sails. They are a lot of work to get off and get folded and I don't really want to have to do that. So without further ado, here is my list of hurricane preparations:
  1. Make sure genoa is tightly rolled to the roller furler and tied down. 
  2. Double bow line (mine has a tendency to rub in the chock and wear down).
  3. Check all dock lines. Add extra lines where necessary.
  4. Rehang all fenders so that they will stay between the boat and the dock.
  5. Pump bilge (yes -- I am still pumping the bilge by hand!)
  6. Dog down all hatches (it only takes one hatch partially open to cause a flood -- trust me, I've been there!)
And of course my final step -- head for the hills! When Ida hit I was incredibly seasick. I don't particularly have a mind to do that again, so I'll be heading over to the boyfriend's. Normally we split our weekends between his house and the boat, but this weekend we're definitely planning to hang out at his place!

SOURCE: Graphic from

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The trials of summer...

Well now that summer is drawing to a close and the weather has been cooler, things have been exceedingly pleasant on the boat.

Apparently not pleasant enough, though.

Yes. That's right. Melted chocolate-cracker stick things. Oh the humanity.

This is just the most recent in a long long list of lessons with a single moral: When in doubt, put it in the refrigerator!

Days without A/C on the boat mean that with the hatches closed, Misty gets slightly past toasty and into melty... And now I have a mass of melted chocolate-cracker sticks. Luckily they taste OK... but they are now one solid mass instead of multiple sticks. Oh summer...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Installing a new bow light...

Well last summer dad and I took a nice overnight trip to Annapolis. There was a nautical flea market I wanted to visit. It turned out to be a bust, but it was a nice visit and we got to eat at our favorite Eastport eatery, Davis' Pub.

As we were leaving Sunday morning, we stopped for fuel. Last summer, Dad couldn't much leave the cockpit. So he was steering and I was guiding him to the fuel dock.

This worked quite well. Until it came time to leave the dock and we scraped the bow pulpit on the pilings at the dock and, we discovered later, knocked the bow light off.

Yes. That's a very embarrassing story I just told the blog world. But, readers, you needed to know the pain.

Anyway, dad ordered a new light and I taped the wires left from the old light and we forgot about it until the next summer, when I put my foot down. I wanted to sail at night and I needed lights to do it!

Enter my computer nerd boyfriend Greg and my trusty Dad.

Now, please keep in mind that this fix, while completely workable, would get you dinged on a survey because instead of completely re-running the wires, we spliced the new light onto the old wires.

We're rebels like that.

Here's Greg splicing.

I should maybe mention that it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit that day. I hid in the shade under the ramp and held the boat when necessary. I am largely useless when it comes to matters electrical.

The new light was not identical to the old one. It hangs from the forwardmost rail of the pulpit. The old one was mounted to a plate hanging from the aftmost rail if the pulpit (there is a double rail at the top of it). The old plate was welded on. We despaired for a moment of getting it off.

Then I had my sole brilliant moment of that hot, hot day: Why not just hang it and leave the old plate? It looks stupid, but how would we get it off without making the rail look REALLY bad? So we bent it down and the wires from the old light were in position to be spliced to the new light. Dad needed to drill the holes in the new light to make them larger so the wires would fit through.

And then Greg held the lamp to the rail and screwed it in place and spliced together the wires hanging from the light to the wires hanging from the plate.

Yes. There is an exposed splice.

Yes. This is bad for a survey. Weren't you keeping up? I said that already.


Night sailing? Yes please!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A day late...

Well... it seems the worst of the worst has passed for summer. It's been much cooler lately and, you know what? I think I can easily make it through the rest of the summer without an air conditioner.

I think I will buy one for the future though -- but my strategy will be to let the a/c fund collect some interest and buy either just in time for next summer or whenever it happens to go on sale.

Anyone happen to know if these units typically go on sale post-summer? I mean... West Marine can't want them sitting around the warehouses all winter, right? Please advise.

And while you're advising, let me know what you want to read about! I haven't done any "exciting" sailing this summer, though I certainly should post some pictures. But what do you guys want to read about? This lazy boat owner has some time while Congress is in recess and is looking to do some reader requests!