Offshore prep

Annapolis!  I was so excited to get here and then I couldn’t wait to leave! Isn’t that terrible?  There is one thing about this new lifestyle that has definitely cultivated a weakness of mine, which is impatience. I have travelitis, moveitis, a ‘reluctance to stay in one place too long’ disease.  But that is all over now and we are on the move.

Refreshing drinks kept us cool while waiting in Annapolis
Refreshing drinks kept us cool
Shiney Ingomar
Shiney Ingomar
Trip # 12 to Fawcetts Marine Store in Annapolis.
Trip # 12 to Fawcetts Marine Store in Annapolis.
On anchor in Annapolis
On anchor in Annapolis
That is where our mast used to be.
That is where our mast used to be.

Yet we still loved a lot about Annapolis. The weather was fabulous, we were wearing shorts every day, we met great new friends and the food was really good.  Even when it turned a little chilly we cranked up our lovely Espar, evening and morning. So high at times that my lip balm is running our faster than planned!

We also had the pleasure of meeting some very knowledgeable people who helped us out with our rig. In particular, Steve Madden from M Yachts who was a pleasure to work with. His knowledge about rigs and his professionalism was welcome and reassuring.

Is that a thermometer?
Is that a thermometer?
Sweet Dr Miles
Sweet Dr Miles
Provisioning #1
Provisioning #1
Did you buy enough treats?
Did you buy enough treats?
Salty Dawgs argh!
Salty Dawgs argh!

So what, you might ask, have we been doing all this work for? We are headed offshore! Sailing 1,500 nautical miles to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

So for you non-boater types this post may be a little boring but here is a list of the improvements we have made to sweet little Ingomar:

  • Purchased alternator and new house bank battery to add to our house bank power to add to our reserve capacity.
  • Installed a new switch for the water and fuel gauges to reduce battery draw.
  • Installed all new LED lights throughout the cabin which make it very bright at night and use less power than a single 12 V bulb. It is so nice to cook with bright lights!
  • Hauled the boat and had her bottom cleaned, sanded, painted and her hulled shined to a mirror like quality. This will make us faster and when you’re covering 1,500 nautical miles that’s very important.
  • Replaced the zincs because they needed to be replaced.
  • Added a third reef in our mainsail and restitched it as well as rebuilt our jib to ensure both sails were up to snuff and could handle the winds and travails thrown at them during our offshore transit.
  • Had the mast rebuilt where the spreader bars go through the mast connecting the spreaders on each side to reinforce and strengthen the carbon fibre rig. We also had it painted and replaced the steaming and deck lights.
  • Installed SSB radio and insulators in the backstay for the antenna  so we have the ability to talk with the Salty Dawgss and get weather transmissions. While we were on the hard the backstays were removed and we had the 2 insulators installed.
  • We bought a Delorme inReach and set it up for offshore tracking while making our way down to the BVIs. Did I tell you we are going to the BVIs? But we only plan on staying there for a short time and then heading down the island chain exploring the Caribbean.
  • Relocated the start battery and built a new battery box for it so the house batteries could be grouped together and are of equal temperature for charging.
  • Overall maintenance including engine oil change and filters.
  • Bought passage charts from Virginia to the BVIs because as good as our electronics are we will never depend fully on them. Paper charts will always get you where you’re going and in fact, navigation is one of my favourite tasks on a long sail.
  • Acquired a backup chart plotter and instruments and may install during in transit if we get bored. Its convenient to have a second plotter in the cabin.
  • Filly’s import papers were finalized so that we have no surprises when we reach the BVI’s. A huge thank you to Dr Jens Martin (Filly’s vet) and Dr Karla Furey for getting that together for us.
  • Filled the boat with his favourite food and treats.
  • Cleaned the boat inside and out.
  • Got insurance changed to cover us for an offshore passage.
  • Provisioned including fuel, food and water which includes 20 jerry cans of fuel, three jerry cans of extra water and enough food to keep us for 20 days.
  • Acquired the best crew in town! We are thrilled to have Ken and Wayne,  two seasoned sailors on board for our blue water sail.

And what does all this mean? Well, essentially we are as ready for an offshore sail as we could be. We have learned so much in the past few weeks getting everything in place and we feel confident in our vessel. We will be getting great weather guidance from Chris Parker on a daily basis and he also offers one-on-one guidance if need be via our SSB.

mastout2

M Yachts coordinated our mast pull.
M Yachts coordinated our mast pull.
That dude has our mast!
That dude has our mast!

We will be part of a much larger flotilla of boats, 82 in total from the Salty Dawg rally, who are headed in the same direction. There is also another rally leaving around the same time as us so there will be approximately 200 boats heading for the same destination.

We are super stoked to be doing this trip! Filbert, maybe not so much but I will do everything I can to make him comfy and happy.

Sunrise
Sunrise
Sunset underway to Hampton.
Sunset underway to Hampton.

“My favourite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”
Diane Arbus