Great to Be Home in RH

After 12 weeks and 1,100 sea miles, it is great to be back in our home slip at Rock Hall, MD. (this Great Blue Heron was on a piling in our marina) You can get spoiled easily while in dock. Unlimited WATER, POWER, a CAR and no rocking, life is EASY at the docks! For 12 weeks we have carried all our water to the boat. We walked for all our food and carried it back to the boat. We managed our electrical usage and conserved power because all power has to be made via solar panels or an alternator. We slept on the anchor for over 79 nights and some nights were sleepless as we were up on deck for anchor watch due to high winds.

Now at the docks life is S I M P L E and we are living large. Driving a car is a real contrast because we have not driven a car for 12 weeks and we have not moved faster than 6-8 miles per hour for months. So getting in a car and speeding down the road at 55 MPH is crazy fast!

Water, endless amounts of water, long showers, hot water, water heater, no solar shower, bath house, and non marine toilets are also real treats as well. Life is simple at a dock.

So it is wonderful to be home and great to be back at our dock. Here is a video of our home dock area. You will see why we enjoy our spot.

Video: Great to Be Home:

Canvas Work Annapolis MD

We spent the day in Bert Jabin’s Yard as we had Chris Ford of Yacht Canvas redesign our canvas roof. The original design sloped from the high bimini down to the low dodger. This sloped canvas prevented us from standing up in the cockpit and was a real pain. We have put up with this for 7 years now and that was enough. So back in June, before we headed out, we hired Chris to design a new and improved roof, making this sloped piece raised and horizontal so we could stand under it. He made the new stainless steel bows and canvas while we were gone and now it was time to have the new roof installed and fitted. Chris is the best and his work and canvas designs are always perfect. The guy will settle for nothing less, and that is why we like his work. This canvas job is a two phase project where phase one is fitting and installing the new roof, and phase two is making and fitting new side enclosure pieces and a small windshield. So, Chris fitted the new roof and it is BEAUTIFUL as expected. Next week, we will get the side drops fitted and the canvas work will be complete.

C & D Canal to Annapolis MD

Welcome to Annapolis, MD, where you will always see one of the best sailing cruises in the world, the mighty fine WOODWIND II. (see photo) Woodwind takes people out on day sails from the Marriott docks and this photo was taken as we sailing into Annapolis MD and Woodwind was sailing out. Someday I hope to be a crew member and work as a deck hand on this sailing vessel. That would be a great summer job!
Today was a long day as we pulled up anchor just outside of the C & D canal and headed for Annapolis, MD some 50+ miles away. Unfortunately the wind was blowing directly FROM Annapolis so we had to motor directly into the wind. With the bow rising and falling 3 feet each time due to the wind blown waves and the tide running into the wind, we were taking bow waves OVER the bow and into the cockpit ALL morning long. This is a real mess because the salt spray blows into your face as you sit at the wheel some 35 feet away from the bow. What a wet damp ride it was for the next 5 hours! This is always the problem when you have to be at a certain place by a certain date, you go when you would normally NOT go. So go we did.

Lucky for us, when you get to the Annapolis Bay Bridge the course turns to the right, starboard, by 30 degrees and we could sail in. We had a reefed mainsail up all morning, so out came the full 135% jenny and off went the motor. We had another GREAT SAIL moving along at 7 to 7.5 knots with the boat happy and the crew much happier. We sail into Annapolis maybe 10 to 15 times a year, and we never get tired of it. The Chesapeake Bay is HOME to us and we know the waters so well. It felt odd sailing right past our home of ROCK HALL, MD, but we did. It has been over 2 months since we left home as we sailed New England. It feels good to be back HOME., nome on the Chesapeake Bay.

Sailing into Annapolis, MD:

Sights and Sounds of Sailing (no narration)

Cape May NJ to C&D Canal

What a perfect sailing day, no threat of storms, clear skies, a building wind from the stern! We left the Cape May, NJ anchorage, just off the Coast Guard Station, at 10am and made our way out the canal and into the Delaware Bay. I must be getting use to this leg because the RR bridge did not scare me this time for the first time in 5 years! Passing the ferry terminal we entered the Delaware Bay around 10:30 and rolled ou the jib. The wind was on the stern at about 7-8 knots and with our forward speed of 6, there was only an apparant wind speed of 2 knots, BUT THIS WOULD CHANGE!

The wind forecast was for 10-15 from the SE. And by noon, that is what we had. but by the late afternoon the wind was 20-23 knots with small craft advisories NOW forecasted. I love how NOAA seems to miss the forecast and then when the weather is HERE, they must look out the window and call it what it is. So, with the winds now at 20+ knots, we simply sailed on and sail we did! These Island Packet Yachts love to get up and go when the wind picks up. We were sailing at hull speed, which is 7.2 knots – the fastest the boat is designed to do -for many hours. Check the 2 videos below!

While I sailed the boat (was on watch from 10-6pm) Radeen worked on her Drexel University exam review. She has to take a 90 question exam with 2 essays by Sat 11 pm. We had planned to stop in Engineer’s Cove but the tides were flowing into the Chesapeake Bay so we pressed on for the bay. Last night, we dropped the anchor off Arnold’s Point about 8.5 miles beyond Engineer’s Cove at 8:30pm.
Video: Wing on Wing @7
Video: Wing on Wing @8

Back to School

NOT this Year, that is right we will not be returning to our teaching position this school year! We both have taken study sabbatical leave and we have returned to Drexel University to obtain current, updated and additional Masters Degrees. I am working on a new Masters in the Science of Instruction with an added certification in Information Technology. Radeen is working on a new certification in TESL, Teaching English as a Second Language. In order to qualify for a study sabbatical we need to take 24 graduate credits (12 per/semester) making us fulltime college students. Our sabbatical starts now, and we will return to our same teaching positions in September 2008. For now, we are college students once again but at the age of 50+.

This is a nice change, but as we tested out the course work this summer, it is a lot more work than first expected. We work on Drexel from 6am till around lunch time, which has become 1:30ish. Then we have lunch, pack up the laptops, shut down, and head off to the days explorations. We return to the boat around 5ish, hit the solar shower, make some refreshing drinks, share some snacks, and check back into the Drexel discussion boards where we chat and post reactions to the weeks readings. We enjoy a lovely dinner around 7pm, watch the sunset, pick up the boat, and do more reading. Around 9-10pm we hit the bunk, sleep and begin the day again with Drexel at 6-7am.

This sabbatical is a study sabbatical and with the new technology we are able to take all our coursework online via the Internet. We have full access to all the college libraries via online, we have an HP 5180 series all in one network printer, scanner, copier and a Verizon Broadband network distributed via wireless onboard. We have two Dell laptops which connect to our network wirelessly and Radeen works at the nav desk, and I work using the drop down table.

Power is a big issue since these laptops take about 8 amps of 12 volt power, so we have two solar panels mounted over the roof and they produce about 75% of the electricity we use. The extra power is made up from running the engine every 2 days to store back up the lost power in our 5 battery bank system.

We feel very fortunate that we can take this time to advance our degrees and at the same time enjoy living on the boat which we both love to do. It has taken some discipline because the boating life is really not a work environment but we are making it so. We have found that this IS a great place to read, study and write because there are no distractions for very long periods of time. We have a TV, but it has not been used since installed over 2 months ago.

Life is good aboard Island Spirit, our new college classroom, and college dorm room!

Links to our Drexel Online Programs:

Hayden’s Masters

Hayden’s IT Certification
IT Courses

Radeen’s TESL Certification
TESL Courses

Atlantic City to Cape May, NJ

Wea re currently sailing off wildwood on our way from Atlantic City to Cape May NJ and I had to upload this “Lazy Sailing” video! When we left AC NJ the winds were 20 knots from the NE so we simply launched only one sail, our jib and sailed downwind all day. We left AC NJ at 10 am and we are off Wildwood NJ with the wind dropping to about 8 knots, so it is calm now. This video shows the view and the waves. Very nice sailing day! Enjoy the video…

Lazy Sailing Video of ocean waves…

Here is another VIDEO…Beautiful Ocean Sailing….