The weather has suddenly become cold! This has been a bit of a shock as we have been in shorts for a year, but the trousers still fit and socks, shoes and a jersey are not so bad. Julian has bought a new winter hat in preparation for coming home in a couple of days time and I have found my favourite woolly hat. There is a wonderful hat shop in Annapolis which just had to be visited.
We have had a trumatic time during the last few weeks. Julian had a detached and torn retina. This involved eye surgery and exposure to the US medical system. Paying up front for emergency surgery is definitely culturally different but our experience was that the system was quick, efficient, and caring and the eye is healing well. Our insurance should pay up. Poor Julian had to spend a week looking down which is tortuous. Thankfully at the time we had a hire car, but this did involve me having to drive hundreds of miles around Washington, on the wrong side of the road, having not driven for a year. Anyhow we all survived but thank goodness for Mrs Google maps. She is a star!
Before the eye incident we did some walking in the Shanandoah National Park. We stayed at the Skyland resort which is within the park in a little cabin. We did feel a bit packaged but it gave us excellent access to the walking without having to drive miles. The walking is good and the views must be magnificent, but sadly yet again the Virginia weather was against us, and there was thick fog. The Skyland resort is just off the Skyline drive. This is a magnificent road through the park which was one of President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs in the 1930’s.
Our main reason for being in Annapolis was to visit the Annapolis boat show – the largest sailboat show in America. Our boat was also being used by the American agents to show perspective purchasers around. It was a busy few days and great fun talking to fellow yachties and/or potential yachties. Julian’s paper on batteries and power use has been well appreciated by those who worry about such things.
And now for the boat bits. The other reason for visiting Annapolis was to have all the essentials systems checked ready for our next trip south and on to Panama. The engine has had a service and the pre filters cleaned, drained and refitted. All the sails and canvass work has been removed and patched as appropriate. The rigging work has been checked and some modifications have been made to the forestay. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the American contractors, and they have been generous with their knowledge, but as always seems to be the case, such projects never seem to be quite finished. We are awaiting some fittings, which are being sent from France, for the base of the mast and the zip on the boom bag is still not right. Keeping the boat in good shape is an expensive and never ending job but we are now much more knowledgable so hopefully we can do more ourselves the next time. Next time is hopefully New Zealand so that is an exciting prospect.
We are planning to go south via the ICW (inter coastal waterway.). The bridges have an clearance of 65ft and our very carefully measured mast is 63.5ft. This will be a tight squeeze so we have now fitted a new whippy VHF antennae. It has been quite an effort but going down the ICW should be a lovely interesting trip and much less scary than Cape Hatteras and the Gulf Stream.
Only one significant boat show purchase – a new asymmetric spinnaker plus snuffer This will allow us to go downwind in light winds at reasonable speed, essential for the long Galapagos to Marquesas trip. Pictures to follow but it is very colourful.
Today we arrived at Herrington Harbour North. This is the most enormous boat yard we have ever seen. It comes highly recommended. The boat will be lifted out tomorrow for a bottom clean and anti foul. The damaged rudder will be mended and a new ropecutter fitted for the prop.
We return home on Thursday and are, of course looking forward to seeing everyone but also hopeful that on our return the boat will be “good to go” as they say here.