Friday, November 28, 2014

Last Trip of the Season

Unlike southern liveaboards, there comes a time when we must winterize our engines in preparation for the cold season. But we made sure to get one last trip in last weekend.

We watched the weather closely all week hoping that the rainy forecast would change. By Thursday the weather looked promising and we finalized plans for Luv'n Life IV and Grand Passion to make the trip to Annapolis for the weekend.

The first half of the trip was relatively uneventful. Then we hit the Bay Bridge and it was like a completely different Bay. We are accustomed to things getting a little rough around the Bridge but this time was different. The tide was coming in. The wind was coming up the bay. We were hitting waves and throwing water over our helm canvas. The worst part -- both cats were very unhappy. I spent a majority of the second half of the trip cleaning up after the cats. We slowly motored at 7 mph for the remainder of the trip.

Ego Alley is full with winter storage/liveaboards so we made a reservation at Annapolis Yacht Basin. We radioed in for our slip assignment and they told us we would be pulling bow in and tying off on the port side. Bow in? This was new. But we were too exhausted to argue.

Once we got to our slip we discovered why. The slip was HUGE! They could have fit three of us in that one slip and they figured we would want the view off the stern.
We don't look too bad from the stern.
Then again, maybe we are super tiny in this slip.
The Marina is on the opposite side of the Marriott and Pussers from Ego Alley. In other words, it was still very convenient for our needs -- one last round of Painkillers from Pussers, one last round of oyster shooters for Middleton's, and a bit of shopping on Main Street.

The ride home on Sunday was just about as perfect as it gets. The seas were calm -- almost like glass. No kitties got sick. It was the best possible way to end the season.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Avoiding Wardrobe Malfunctions

I have been living without a full length mirror for a year-and-a-half. That's right ladies, I apologize to anyone I have offended by wearing the wrong shoes with the wrong outfit since moving aboard. This has been something that has been driving me bonkers since April 2013. Installing a full length mirror has typically been one of the first things I have done in any place I have lived. It's simple -- I go to a chain hardware store, buy a mirror, hang it on the back of a door, and presto! I have an instant outfit checker.

One of my hanging locker doors is the ideal spot for a mirror onboard especially since I have a few feet of unobstructed floor space in front of it. Unfortunately, the door is only 14 1/2 inches wide and I have struggled with finding a mirror thin enough for the door. Instead I have made sad attempts at using two other mirrors on board for assessing outfit choices.
This is the mirror at the head of my bed. Even without the pillows I can only see how my top fits.
This mirror is in the guest head. It's a nice large mirror but I can't get far enough back to see my whole outfit.
After a year-and-a-half of complaining, I finally did something about it. I contacted Mirror Crafters, Inc. and asked if they could custom cut and install a mirror for me. I immediately liked them when they asked for more clarification about the project in relation to the boat -- they wanted to know if there would be a time constraint? Would this be a situation where the boat pulled up to the dock, they did a quick install, and then the boat pulled away? I liked that they seemed to know at least a little about boats.

We took the door off the hanging locker and I drove it to the mirror place. I then found out they have worked on glass and mirrors in boat heads. My confidence in them increased. I left the door with them and was told to come back the next day for the finished product.

I am thrilled with their work!
The price was right. The quality is wonderful. They even drilled holes through the mirror to re-attach the door pull.

The best part is the mirror is glued on. It's not going anywhere. In fact, he told me it would ruin the finish on the door to try to remove it and I'm perfectly fine with that. Seriously, if we ever try to sell this boat why wouldn't someone want another mirror? The install is much better than anything we could have accomplished on our own.

From here on out, any wardrobe malfunctions are completely my fault.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Boats, Buses, and Running Shoes

How often do you get to boat under, ride over, and walk on the same bridge in a 24 hour period? That was us last weekend when we moved the boat to the Bay Bridge Marina in order to run the Across the Bay 10K. Sure, we could have drove to a parking lot like everyone else. But where is the fun in that?

This isn't the first time we've traveled over water for a race. In May 2012 we took a group to St. Michaels for the running festival. This trip was a bit colder but we had the best possible weather for a November trip and race.

We left Saturday afternoon with a crew of four (three runners and one cheerleader). From Baltimore we ventured south on the Chesapeake Bay and under the Bay Bridge.
Here we are directly underneath the bridge we would be running on the next day.
We had a fantastic view of the Bridge from our slip.
We were also very close to Hemingway's where we shared a delightful meal of multiple appetizers. I'm sure their outdoor seating area gets really packed during the summer months as this restaurant has an amazing view.
We spent a quiet evening looking at the Bridge.
And watching planes land at the Bay Bridge Airport.
We loved being on the outer edge of the marina for the view, however, I have to admit that I wasn't planning to rock around so much. There are break walls but they seemed to funnel all of the waves right at our boat. Not an issue - just an observation.

The race ran from the west side to the east side of the bridge. The race organizers were thorough and thoughtful in the logistics. There were shuttles to the start line from both sides of the bridge. The closest race shuttle to the marina was 6 miles away but Kent Island Transportation rescued us with a very early morning taxi ride. From there we boarded a school bus to the other side of the bridge.

In 10 waves, separated by 15 minutes each, we ran across the bridge with 15,000 other hearty souls. The only "spectators" on the bridge were the police officers stationed along the way for safety. A big kudos and thanks to the pair of officers blaring Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" about halfway across. I highly recommend this race. It was so cool to run across a 4 mile bridge that I have driven on so many times.

The finish line was a short mile from the marina. We were able to cheer on those still running as we walked back for our trip back to Baltimore.

Perhaps we should coordinate an Annapolis trip around a race next year?

Before you ask -- no, we are not moving the boat to Bermuda for their marathon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Living on a boat isn't all sunshine and bikinis. Sure, there is lots of that. There is also real life and that means laundry. I'm one of the lucky ones. I have a washer and dryer onboard.
Yup, that's it. My washer AND my dryer. It's smaller than a typical home washer, perhaps a bit more stackable apartment-style size. It washes just fine. As for drying, well, not so much. It can take one hour to dry two dress shirts. Even if I ran the dryer 24 hours a day I don't think I could ever dry all of our clothes.

So, we go a bit old school. Bed, Bath and Beyond carries these fantastic clips.
They are just the right size for holding towels or sheets that are hanging on the bow rails.
Everything else dries on a rack at the helm station. With all the isinglass up there it turns into a greenhouse and everything dries quickly.
A few added benefits:
  • It's more eco-friendly to dry clothes this way.
  • Clothes last longer and don't shrink.
  • Sheets hung out to dry are soft and fresh.
The Boat Galley has a post on clothespins if you want a few more ideas on drying laundry.

As the weather gets colder life will change a bit. We don't carry enough water in our tank to do laundry onboard during the winter. So, it will be back to the marina office for laundry. But I will relish these last few weeks  of "easy" laundry.