The year, the decade…the fuck?!

I love this retrospective shit, it’s just so… I don’t know, everything! …And indeed the teens were everything! We started the decade off in Baltimore, Maryland, and learned some hard lessons about living aboard in cold climates. We were definitely up for the challenge but a challenge it proved to be. S/V S.N. Nomad was an awesome boat and Baltimore is a pretty cool place but if we were going to be off-the-grid in cold we were going to have to figure out our onboard heating system. Once again, the proof was in the solution. We discovered that living aboard is not about bringing your great big old life down to the water, it’s about the reduction of life’s needs… The smaller your needs, the more manageable the solutions. …So we went sailing! In retrospect, this decade was about the adventure of sailing for us! We logged countless nautical miles underway from the Chesapeake Bay to the wilds of Maine and south (eventually) as far as Hilton Head, and along the way we learned how to reduce our needs to suit our lives. In 2014, we became professional sailors as cruising editors for a publication called the Waterway Guide. The money isn’t enough to actually live on and we’ve had our issues with the publication itself but we love the work and it keeps us underway. We’ve edited the guide from Southport, North Carolina, to Eastport, Maine, and it’s kept us yo-yoing the Eastern Seaboard of the US for five adventurous years now. We went back to India twice in this decade. Once to get me (James) some new teeth back in ’17… …and then again this year to finish a co-written manuscript we started back in ’17. The writing turned out to be an incredible experience for us both.[…]

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Home again, home again…

We have definitely arrived! Our crew here in the MRE dressed our boat up like an Easter doll for us! The guys at Coastal and Bacon, and our very own Kate Bishop, took care of the nervous-parent checks and saved the boat from going down while we were gone. The news of several inches of water over the floor boards freaked us out when we were in India, but they make shit right. By the time we showed up, the cleanup was minimal and the to-do list consisted mainly of readying the boat for a sailing trip. After getting the engine running (replacement starter, air filter, and alternator belt), putting the boat back together was an awesome adventure. Like we’ve said so many times before, engine work sucks for us both so it’s always the most nerve-wracking part of our “returning-to-the-boat-after-a-stupid-long-time” duties. Now the engine runs fine and we decided to move forward on the “Twin-Primary House Battery System” (TPHB). Dena says, “I’ll buy an acronym for $400, Pat.” The TPHB is a battery system that we read about a few years ago. Morgan’s Cloud is a boat with rich people’s problems, but this is one area where we can adapt the ideas to our poverty-oriented version of cruising. The system allows you to draw all your 12 volt loads from an isolated 8D AGM battery until that battery is 50% depleted.  While you’re depleting one battery, the system takes all of your 12 volt charging systems (solar/wind) and dedicates them to a second, separate primary house battery that is not being drawn upon by your house loads. When you reach the 50% mark, you manually switch the loads over from the depleted battery to the fully charged battery. The resting battery will attain a higher state of charge than[…]

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Hook down, Annapolis

Hi, remember us? We’re the crazy boat couple that set off about 17 years ago on an adventure of discovery around the world in 80 years! Well, we tried to find employment in North Carolina right before that state’s government embarrassed themselves by telling the world that they hate everybody that doesn’t fuck like they do and left there right after. We really didn’t like it there! The job market is employer driven which means that they can pay very little, charge more, and watch their profits rise (along with the cost of living). They don’t seem to care whether or not their workers can afford to be customers or even live nearby. Ultimately we sailed away, which is what we tried to convince everybody we met there to do… It didn’t work very well, again, we sailed off alone like we always do. After discovering that we didn’t want to pay a government to hate queer people, we went to work readying the boat for the long trip back north. After 11 months underway the boat was more than ready for some upgrades. First on the to-do list was the dingy, by far the most used piece of equipment we have. She has been beaten and hammered from one end of this coast to the other and it was high time we did a stem-to-stern rebuild. Before. The entire rub-rail was so beat up that, when we pulled the plastic off, the wood underneath just came apart. So we mixed up some epoxy and some fairing compound and fixed her up. After. This was a James-heavy project. Meanwhile, I (Dena) worked on the deck. Scraping and sanding, priming and painting all the spots that got worn or where the paint let go of the substrate. The chartplotter had been[…]

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New London to Baltimore

…One Giant Leap New London was the perfect place to duck in, provision up, and sit out a powerful fall nor’easter that blew up the river Thames like nothing we’d ever seen before! Humbling is a good word for it. The winds were well in excess of 40 knots for the worst part of that three day weather event and on the second night the waves rolling up the Thames were as fearsome as any ocean growlers we’ve seen on this coast! It was incredible, then it was over, and we sailed away. The weather window was just about as perfect as any late-fall Long Island Sound weather could get, so we opted for a straight shot west down the Sound with no stops before Port Washington. There was nothing for me (James) to take pictures of really, just wide open flat water with a mirage of land on either side of us. Our course throughout the day was just as uneventful, it took us straight down the middle of the Sound using the mighty currents to blast us west as much as possible before they turned around and fouled the ride and of course, that happened after sundown. By 0230 we were shagged off a ball in Port Washington, New York. For me (James), overnight passages are truly an incredible experience, the ships that pass through the night and how the wildlife seems to flee and the way the world changes all around you as the sun’s light circumnavigates away from you… And the sounds of the wind rising and dying through the rig hypnotized me into the rhythm of the world. Up and down, in and out, breathing without the fear of moving a 6 ton vessel through blackness. We slept and ate good food and once again,[…]

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