Saturday, May 16, 2015

Plans In The Sand

I don't know how many times I've heard that cruisers plans are written in the sand, and I can't remember if I read it somewhere or if I added the "at low tide" myself, but the phrase in either form is definitely an axiom in cruising.  Plans are swept away as quickly as they are created just as impressions made in the the sand on a beach are swept away by the waves lapping at the shore.  Even the best built sandcastle will eventually succumb to the relentlessness of the sea.

And so have a dozen variants of my most recent plan.

The original plan...or as far back as I can currently remember as original...was that I would spend a little time researching good welders and perhaps a good fiberglass person to help me construct a hard top bimini to replace my soft top.  Oh wait, that wasn't the original...the original variant was that I would find someone over a year ago to construct one for I guess this is the original version of the latest attempt of this plan.  All I need is to find a decent welder, some space to work, and a helping hand (preferably with more glass experience than I have).  Depending on what I could find, I could alter the plan for the top to suit the ability levels and would still be happy with the result.

I knew of a welder in St. Augustine who was good.  I knew that the marina I've stayed at in Palm Coast has another property that is a boat storage and place to work.  I even knew of a couple people who know a lot about glass, and I hoped I could bounce a few ideas off of them and maybe even beg for help if it became necessary.  After arriving, I found that the storage space was reported to be having some theft problems and the welder had unfortunately had a stroke and the family was selling off the business at auction.  So, I guess that idea wouldn't work.

Then I figured I could look for a yard in the Chesapeake where I could execute the above plan.  I mean, there are a lot of boats up there and a lot of craftsman that build them too.  How hard could it be?  Well, unfortunately much of the Chesapeake seems to have missed the memo on the popularity of catamarans and don't have the ability to accommodate a boat that is over 21 foot wide.  Every time I seemed to locate one piece of the puzzle, I failed to find the others.  There is a dock at a yard, but they won't let me do the work, over there is a yard that will let me do the work but they don't have a dock I can fit at.  And my favorite was a dock with work space, and they only wanted double the rent that I'm paying where I'm staying now and they really didn't want me doing fiberglass work because it is too messy for their yard.

Nation's Capitol...some repair required
So, since we need to get the boat moving, I changed plans again.  I asked a friend of mine who lives in the Baltimore area if they could babysit a car while we figure out where we are going to end up in the Chesapeake.  They very graciously said they would keep an eye on it and so we spent the last two and a half days taking the car up to Maryland (many thanks Matthew and Janet).  We originally intended the trip to be two long driving days but then another thing came up, this time a positive one.  My friends at the Retirement Project were only 45 minutes or so away from where we were staying, so we made plans to stop by and say hi to them before heading back.  It was nice to finally meet them in person, after having interacted with them via e-mail and the blog for so long.  Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule TJ and Deb.

LOTS of driving.
We ended up visiting for a little bit, and as a result, we only made it back as far as Savannah before we gave up and grabbed a hotel for the night.  The next morning we completed the trip, with a little detour into St. Augustine for some provisioning and to check on a couple of parts...because you know something had to break a few days ago (fortunately nothing critical) just to mess with more of my plans.

South of the Border - You know it is a tourist trap when billboard advertisements start appearing 110 miles away.


  1. Hi Mike! When you get the boat up here, please let me know. I'd love to get a chance to meet you in person and talk more about catamarans. Currently My wife and I are biding our time until we can cast off for good. We have a Catalina 320 that we sail in the Chesapeake bay and someday we hope to upgrade to a Catamaran before we head south. I'd love to buy you a drink and pick your brain!

    1. I will try to remember...but if I forget, ping me in a week or two. I'm in Southport now...just got in. Not sure when we will be able to make the next hop(s).

  2. Good luck on your trip, looks like you are on the move. We are headed back to Florida now, from the Bahamas, and will be spending hurricane season at Dinner Key Marina in Miami and, dare I say it, working for a while again! Wish we were going to the Chesapeake instead, but, hey, gotta work a little to play a little. I hear the intercoastal is nice up that way, take some pictures!

    1. Thanks Chris. Unfortunately we are making a mad dash up to the Chesapeake, so not much intercoastal. We left Palm Coast just about 3 days ago, and are now in Southport NC. Went on the outside as much as possible. Didn't see land for most of the trip.