Countdown to Leaving

Wave coming over the breaker at the marina

Waves coming over the breaker at the marina

My friend, Adair, says untying from the dock is the hardest part of beginning a cruise. Come tomorrow morning, I will probably concur but at the moment waiting to leave has been tedious.  We’ve been in Charleston over a week now and have almost forgotten that the plan is to leave!  Friends keep asking why we’ve not left and to explain is not simple.  The list is long and varied:

  • an assortment of last minute repairs and maintenance on the boat (everything from the sails, engine, hardware,canvas, etc.)
  • provisioning (food, toiletries, and assorted sundries)
  • organizing, cleaning, purging, and storing items on boat
  • purchasing dinghy motor, and too many items from West Marine
  • registering dinghy and motor (in South Carolina is no easy feat)
  • sorting out issues with our new computer
  • rigging a system for lifting the dinghy motor from the dinghy Ragtime (along with testing-fortunately works well)
  • watching for leaks (Sunday was the perfect day for this activity.)
  • fixing leaks (today)

We might could have left today if we had pushed it but with winds howling at a constant 20-25 knots at the marina and gusts up to 35 and 40, the matter was settled!  The plan is to leave in the morning.  It will be cold and still breezy, so we’ll be motoring down the ICW and wearing our long underwear. 😦  Thanks to all of you who convinced James we needed to go south and not north!!!

Installing water filter which led to needing a new line

Installing water filter which led to needing a new line

New courtesy lights...yay!

New courtesy lights…yay!

Numbers for our dinghy at last

Numbers for our dinghy at last

Not Left Yet

We have been on Ragtime for three full days and are seeing progress towards leaving…maybe Saturday. Mallory, our “boat guy”, has been finishing jobs for us: rebuilding a wench, modifying storage drawers under our v berth, water filter installed, and flushing the AC unit hoses. Aaron, our engine guy, came today to change the oil and discovered we need a new water pump! I have been sorting through food and toiletries….cleaning, throwing away and making shopping lists. We bought a dinghy from Defender and had it drop shipped to the marina. Yesterday with the help of our slip mates, James inflated it and stored on the bow of the boat. It fits nicely. Of course the first store we went to yesterday afternoon was West Marine to purchase a motor for the dinghy. Now we have new toys to play with and emptier pockets :-(. I’ll let James detail the toys along with his multiple phone calls to South Carolina and Florida boating government agencies. It’s amazing how difficult they make it to be law abiding citizens! When we arrived on Sunday the boat had a funky smell. Late yesterday I found the source…head lines in the forward berth! Yuck! Today we flushed the head lines and pumped out. Tomorrow new line to be installed. Also today the repaired jib was put up. James handled all this while I provisioned. Good grief…I was gone over 5 hours and only bought a smattering of food. More shopping tomorrow along with finding more crevices on the boat to store things.

Aaron Vickers, our wonderful engine man

Aaron Vickers, our wonderful engine man

Our jib sail had to be repaired.

Our jib sail had to be repaired.

 

Three Days and Counting and Musing

James and I decided that the wait is the hardest part. We are mostly prepared to leave town, but we can’t until Saturday. James has been working long stressful hours at work trying to complete projects or at least leave them in a reasonable manner. Contemplating whether I have packed all we need or have taken care of those last minute tasks at home finds me imagining one more item to either pack or do. I am also doing the hovering mother over leaving Tyrus. He will be staying at his favorite kennel, but he’s a senior dog and is so very attached to me and me to him. I worry about him being ok, but once he’s there it will be fine. Don’t feel too sad for him…he sleeps in their bedroom! The weather reporters are hinting at another touch of winter. It’s time to go!

Planning, Preparing and Packing

Experienced cruisers will tell you that the hardest part of beginning a sailing cruise is to untie the dock lines.   My cruising mentor and friend, Adair, says the second hardest part is clothes packing and I concur!  I have been mentally packing since January but started in earnest last week.  Laying out shorts and tank tops truly conflicts with snow flurries outside my window.  I know from experience on the water and from Adair’s advice that we will need all types of clothing.  It will definitely be chilly when we leave Charleston but as we head south, we hope to peel the layers.

Besides the clothing issue, I have decided just being away from your home for an extended period time takes a tremendous amount of foresight.  Just a sampling of what we’ve done in the last few weeks includes:  renewing car tag early as it will expire while we are gone, arranging for Tyrus to go to kennel along with a vet visit to check him out, stopping the newspaper, instructing Jacob on taking care of our mail and the house,  getting 2 month supply of prescriptions from the pharmacy, digitalizing my recipes, last minute appointments (hair, dentist, doctor, etc.), ordering a dinghy, setting up hotspots on our cell phones, etc.

At this time we are less than two weeks away from leaving Kingsport to drive to Charleston, SC where Ragtime sits at the dock awaiting our arrival.   We are hoping to be on the water heading south by the third week of March.  As I write this it is snowing so Florida is looking really good!  Our plan, and if you know anything about sailing it is only a plan and not written in stone, is to sail all the way to Key West and maybe even the Dry Tortugas and back to Charleston by the beginning of June. We are packing out passports “just in case” we decide to cross the Gulf Stream and go to the Bahamas, but ultimately our goal is to just sail south and enjoy the scenery, weather, and water.

packing