Monday, September 30, 2013

Trawler Fest

When you live at a marina you see everything related to events, from setup to crowds to cleanup. Harborview Marina hosted Trawler Fest this past weekend and the I and K docks were filled with boats for the show.
We were out of town most of the weekend but I had a little time to talk to vendors.
And I had to scope out boats. This catamaran was definitely my favorite. I didn't get a chance to board her but I heard she had four staterooms! I've never even lived in a house with four bedrooms.
Doug and I attended Trawler Fest in 2010 when we were first starting research for a live-aboard boat. Back then, we wanted the following amenities in our boat:
*2 1/2 staterooms: one for us, one for guests, and one for storage. Go ahead and laugh, but if we are still working while living on a boat, we can't just live in shorts and t-shirts, we need room for work clothes. We were successful here. Our Carver has a Master Stateroom, Guest Stateroom, and Kids Stateroom (which we use for storage and the cat's litter box).
*2 separate living areas: an example is a salon and a helm station with extra seating. We love each other but we also need to be able to get away from each other. Success here, too. We love our salon and helm sitting areas.
*A decent galley. One of the boats we looked at has a full side-by-side refrigerator! No side-by-side refrigerator but a huge galley (at least for a boat our size).
*A patio: we want an outdoor living space that is close to the water level. We had to compromise on this one. We couldn't find a boat with a "patio" and a suitable inside layout but we do have an aft deck that we like to call our Florida room.
*Ways to go green: how fuel efficient is the boat? is there a potential for solar panels to run the electric? We haven't looked into this very much yet. We believe there is the possibility for solar panels on the hardtop in the future.
*Something we can actually afford!!! Phew - so glad this one was true.
So, while we didn't end up in Trawler we were on the right track back in 2010.

This week, MTOA is here and we are looking forward to the Powerboat Show and our annual clam bake.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Surprise Neighbor -- the SS John W. Brown

After returning from a quick run this morning, I saw an unexpected site -- the SS John W. Brown was docking next to Harborview. We pass by this historic ship all the time as we leave the harbor but never expected to see it on our side of the city. According to the Harborview Marina website calendar of events, the John Brown is being used as a "primary training facility during Trawler Fest and Trawler Fest University" which means it will be here all week.

Take a look at this historic World War II ship:
Her length is 441 feet, 7 inches.
Her beam is 57 feet.
Two tug boats helped maneuver her onto the seawall in front of Little Havana:

Multiple people were needed to handle each line:
Look at the size of the cleat and line needed to hold her in place. I added my foot into the picture for scale:
For even more perspective, here is a picture of one of the cleats and lines holding our boat in place:
I could get accustomed to this view from my aft deck:
And from the top of my dock:
And lastly from the main dock (the arrow points to Luv'n Life IV):

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sparrows Point Country Club

You would think after 14 years of boating together on the Chesapeake Bay that we had been everywhere within a 3-4 hour ride, but just as we all get into dining ruts by going to the same restaurants over and over we tend to visit the same places on the Bay. September has bucked the trend by being a month of firsts for us. We visited Tolchester on Labor Day Weekend and ventured to the Sparrows Point Country Club this past weekend.

This new destination is a quick 45-60 minute ride via boat from Baltimore and close to Hard Yacht Café, one of our lunch cruise destinations. So why haven't we been there before? Well, in our defense, Sparrows Point is not a public marina. Since it is a country club, you have to know someone that is a member in order to use the facility. Lucky for us, we have a couple of friends that decided to join in order to use that as their marina home base. Many thanks to C-Dreamer for opening up the invitation a while back - sorry it took us so long to take you up on the offer.

First, how to get there. Leave Baltimore and go under the Key Bridge:
 Go past Fort Carroll and turn to your port side:
Go under the Bear Creek Drawbridge (By the way, I captained us under the bridge -- my first time!):
Through the old railroad bridge:
Past Hard Yacht Café on your port side:
And around the bend to Sparrows Point Country Club on your starboard side:
Once we got situated, our friends showed us around a bit. Look at this cool table made from a boat's swim platform:
I'm sure the pool is quite nice when it hasn't been closed for the season. It certainly has a nice view of Bear Creek:
There is a great fire pit behind the main club building. Real fires are a rarity in my life these days and the smell and warmth were perfect Saturday evening:
There is a dinghy shed:
And a boat ramp:
Plus a golf course:
And driving range:
All in all, it was a relaxing evening on a very social dock. The only "drama" was when the boat next to us was fishing and they caught our bow line by mistake. I tried to convince them to take over the boat payments since they caught a big one but no such luck.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Labor Day Weekend - Part 2

Saturday of Labor Day Weekend brought a trip to a new destination. After leaving Seneca Creek, we started our trip across the bay and ran into a couple of friends.
Vida Boa
Almost Home
Rock jetties make for an interesting entrance to Tolchester Marina, but they also help to protect the quiet basin directly on the Chesapeake Bay.
This was our first time docking under cover.

While the cover over the docks has some positives -- you can hang out on the dock even when it's raining -- I don't think I'm a fan. These particular docks were pretty clean so I didn't see any insect or birds nests but there doesn't seem to be any way to keep the spiders away. Less sunshine means you can sleep late since the staterooms are darker but it also means no tanning on the bow. We thought to lower our antennas but many boats hit theirs before realizing how low the ceiling really is. And I really can't help but wonder what happened to the taller boats (like ours) when Hurricane Isabel hit.
The marina is out in the boonies -- no walking into town from here -- so we took advantage of the onsite amenities. There is a private beach.
But we spent most of our time at the pool.
Everyone was going to the bar and bringing drinks into the pool area so I couldn't figure out why the gate between them was chained closed. Perhaps the bar is open to the public, whereas the pool is not? Or maybe it's just for liability reasons?
With so many boating friends gathered together someone had to plan a contest. Behold entries in the crab dip/appetizer contest.

I don't believe there was a clear winner since everything was tasty and a little different.
A couple more fun scenes from the marina:
Lighthouse for remote control boats. :)
So much for those solar panels.
The price is certainly right at this marina ($1.75/foot on a holiday weekend!) and we heard 65 boats came in for Saturday night alone. I'm glad we tried out a new place but I have to admit that it's not on the top of my list of destinations.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Labor Day Weekend - Part 1

We managed to fit two destinations into our Labor Day travels. The first stop was a friend's shore house off Seneca Creek in Middle River. We planned to take a slow cruise over but the wind and waves were making the trip tough on the cats. I spent most of the trip cleaning up after them and really wish I could teach them to watch the horizon so they would feel better. At least this guy was having fun:
After passing behind Hart-Miller Island we set our course towards an easy landmark. I like to call it the candy striper power plant.
The dock at our friend's house is just the right size for us and it's good that we draw only 3 1/2 feet of water since the creek is pretty shallow.
It's the house on the right.
The views are a bit different from our normal urban landscape.

We joke that the amenities at this "marina" are lacking -- no pool -- but the "restaurant" is great. The crabs from Salty Dog's were meaty and delicious. I hear that you should call early because they are a popular crab house and sell out of the larger crabs.
After a quiet evening we set off for Tolchester Marina in the morning. More on that in the next post...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August Neighbors

Our August neighbors included friends that came to spend the night at our marina. (How often to do friends visit you and bring their own bed, sheets, and bathroom?)

"Durrano" - SeaRay 320 Sundancer
SeaRay 350 Sundancer (Soon to have a really awesome name.)
"Vida Boa" - Carver 350 Mariner
How about these other beauties that spent the night on our dock?
"AfterMath" - Nordic Tug 42
"Black Pearl" - SeaRay 300 Sundancer
Unnamed - Maxim 4100
"Excess in Moderation" - SeaRay 480
"Grillin & Chillin" - Chris Craft
"Roughin' It Smoothly" - Luhrs 41 Convertible
"Triple Play"