Our departure plan was straightforward:
- Sunday – finish final packing and house clean-up
- Monday – pack the car and drive final load to the boat, solar panel install and woodworking projects done
- Tuesday – grocery shopping, boat store, boat projects
- Wednesday – drop the car back in VA and Uber back, get ready to leave
- Thursday – leave the marina to officially begin the trip, a few days on the Bay, then north to Newport, RI
By Sunday afternoon, it was clear that we had more stuff than would fit in one carload. The plan was already morphing. Then when we arrived at the boat Monday afternoon with load #1, it was also clear that the woodworking project in Andy’s room would not be done. Woodworkers had removed the top bunk from Andy’s room, added new trim where the bunk was, and were building a custom fold-down desk. The desk proved more difficult than expected and it didn’t end up finishing until Wednesday. Luckily, Carey the woodworker was super nice and wasn’t fazed by our move-in activities as he worked.
On Wednesday noon, it still seemed possible that we would leave Thursday. Doug and Andy went home for load #2, but in the late afternoon as we were putting everything away our freezer temperature started rising. We already had the fridge serviced a few weeks back, so we knew a great marine fridge/freezer person to call. Nate showed up at 6pm on Wednesday to take a look. Marine fridge/freezers are notoriously difficult, and ours is no exception. It ended up needing a coolant flush and Nate couldn’t do that until Friday. It looked like we’d leave one day late.
On Friday the kids and I did some serious boat scrubbing while Doug drove the car back to VA. A heavy downpour started just as Doug returned to the marina. He ran for the boat in the rain and came aboard soaked. A minute later in the midst of the deluge, Andy pointed at the ceiling “there’s water coming through that light”. After some quick investigation, we realized that there was a massive leak where the solar panel wires entered the boat and the leak was draining into the ceiling and out through a light fixture. Doug took down the ceiling panel, cut the wires to the light and put a bowl under the leak. Then we realized we had another leak from the solar install, this one in the cockpit from a rip in the bimini canvas where the panels are installed. We were not leaving today.
Time for a family meeting to re-plan. When the rain stopped, we decided to move the boat to a nearby anchorage for the weekend, then come back on Monday. We (especially me!) were getting stir crazy at the marina. We dropped the anchor in Whitehall Bay and had a lovely weekend with swimming, dinghy rides, and starting to acclimate to living on the hook (boat speak for being at anchor instead of at a marina).
On Monday we were back at Bert Jabin’s marina. The solar vendors came immediately (both electrical and canvas) and fixed the leaks. By afternoon they were done, but everything still needed to dry. We were not leaving today either.
Doug got up early Tuesday morning and did “the deluge test”. He got out the hose and sprayed the heck out of both leaky spots. Not a drop of water! We made the boat ready for sea by late morning. We had an amazing sail up the Bay, under the Chesapeake Bay bridge and into the Magothy River. We dropped the anchor on Broad Creek off the Magothy for an amazing first night out with swimming, laying on deck watching the clouds, checking out the beautiful houses along the creek via dinghy, and sunset cocktails. We were finally off!