Saturday, August 2, 2008

July 31, 2008.

It was time to bid Baltimore adieu. Visiting Baltimore was a lot more fun than I had imagined it would be. The town fathers really have done a good job of revitalizing the city. If they could just clean up the water, it would be perfect.

The forecast was for 10 to 15 knots out of the south but we decided to leave anyway. We were headed south but with that much breeze we figured we’d be able to sail even though we’d have to tack back and forth as we made our way down the bay. The tide was also supposed to be in our favor for much of the trip so that would help too.

It took 10 minutes to haul and clean the ridiculously dirty anchor. As the chain came up it was wrapped around one plastic bag after another. Finally we were on our way back towards the bay. Technically, Baltimore was the northern most destination we had planned for the Chesapeake so now we’re officially on our way back to the Bahamas. Of course we still have several stops to make but I like the way “last cruiser headed north, first one headed south” sounds. It’s definitely a half full kind of thing.

On our way out the Patapsco River we came to a buoy that was painted a very patriotic red, white and blue. Fort McHenry was the fort that was being bombed by the British when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner.
He was on an English prison ship behind the British lines and watched the bombardment from there. Thus the relief illustrated in his words as dawn broke revealing that the American flag still flew over Fort McHenry. Anyway, there’s a special buoy in the river that marks the alleged spot of his prison ship, front row seat to the battle.

As we make our way down the river we realized that once again the weatherman was wrong. There was absolutely no wind whatsoever. The only thing that was right about this mornings predicted conditions is that indeed the tide was ebbing. We usually motor at 6.3 knots but with the tidal flow working for us we ran the entire 42 miles to Herrington Harbour in just under 6 hours.

On our approach we were directed to tie up on M dock near the travel lift well. It was a straight forward and easy approach. We’d been told that they’d lift us in the morning so we set about washing down the topsides, filling the water tank and removing the dinghy motor. It was brutally hot with not a hint of breeze so it was nice to be on a dock so we could run the A/C for the evening. Phil stopped in on his way home from work and it was nice to catch up with him.

This morning we got up early so we would be ready when the Yard Dogs showed up. They have a real nice set-up here at Herrington Harbour. They have 4 different size travel lifts and we’re due to be taken out in the 70 ton lift. We’ve been hauled by 50 ton lifts in the past but our radar arch along with the wind generator on top makes it a bit of a tight squeeze. It’s not the weight, we only weigh about 14 tons, it the physical size of the boat and its appendages. We usually have to back into the lifting well but the 70 ton lift is so big that they can lift us out, bow in. It made things much easier for everyone concerned.

After a thorough power washing of her bottom Veranda was carted out to the yard and blocked up. We spent the afternoon cleaning the hull, scrubbing the waterline and cleaning the propeller and its shaft. She’ll stay here for about a month while we complete our list of boat projects. We’ll also use this time to rent a car and head up to Jersey to see our people and keep some doctors appointments.

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