Saturday, October 20, 2007

That fateful day...

It all started on a cold, rainy November day in 2002 when Lynn woke up and said, "Let's go to Annapolis and look at sailboats". Little did I know that life would be dramatically altered when I sleepily uttered the reply, "OK". So off we went to wander aimlessly (or so I thought) around the Marinas. We happened upon a unique-looking boat called a Gulfstar that intrigued Lynn so we sought out the dealer and had a look aboard.

We were immediately impressed by the roomy interior that had lots of amenities not commonly found on a sailboat, like light and space. Not to mention the enviable sweet stuff like a separate galley and salon areas, a stand-up fridge, and best of all a separate shower in the aft head. Of course we continued to look at other boats, cause that's what you are supposed to do, but we kept coming back to the Gulfstar (kinda like searching endlessly for the perfect wedding dress and finally buying the first one you tried on). Anyway, Lynn searched the Internet and found a boat of the same design for sale in Georgia, which is quite amazing because there were only 17 of its kind built. Well, after numerous trips to survey the boat and much help from our broker Jack and Lynn's brother David, we purchased her.

We knew our new boat needed a lot of TLC because she had been sitting idle for many years. For example, all the windows leaked and we thought...that's OK, we'll just replace them, what could be easier?...more on that later. The first job was to move the boat from Georgia to Havre de Grace. For that we had a few crazy volunteers, including Lynn's previously mentioned brother, David, our sister-in-law, Gini, and our good friend Cindy. The trip took 11 days and turned out to be a blast. I was expecting long, boring days afloat so took along a bunch of books to pass the time. Not one was opened. The weather was great and the scenery and wildlife was varied and beautiful, from the serene winding marshland in Georgia to the forested shores in North Carolina. We also stopped in many nice places, if only for one night, including Beaufort SC, Charleston, and lots of quaint small towns and Marinas.

We quickly settled into our routine and crew positions. Lynn was obviously the Captain and his job was to bring the boat in and out of the dock and then sit at the bow smoking his cigar with David. He also occasionally stripped down to the buff while David splashed him with a full bucket of water to cool off from the hot Georgia sun (I have pictures for anyone willing to pay the price). David was the First Mate and took over whenever Lynn was otherwise occupied. He was also an experienced sailor so his advice was often called upon. Cindy and I were the navigators and helmsmen, using the handheld GPS to make our way from bridge to bridge and ultimately state to state. Actually, Cindy was officially classed as a helm hog as it was rather difficult to pry her hands from the wheel she enjoyed it so much. Gini was the galley wench and kindly made many of the meals and all of the 5 PM cocktails (OK, it was 5-o'clock somewhere:)). Thanks for introducing us to Vodka Gimlets...we may never be the same. She was also our resident naturalist and could be found most often with the binoculars spotting birds...I think she extended her life list by a few species. By the end of the trip we had all earned nicknames, like Dinghy, Backwards, Water Spout, and Lighthouse. I'll let you try to figure out who's who.

I will tell you that Lynn's nickname was Iceman, not only because he is addicted to massive quantities of ice, but he manages to remain eerily calm during moments of high approaching a closed bridge in 30-knot winds, a strong current, two marinas with boats launching, a small rowboat immediately off the bow, and loss of our dinghy off the stern cleat (clue to one of the nicknames previously mentioned)...all at the same time! I have never figured out why Lynn will utter a string of unmentionable and very creative curses when he does something like drop a screwdriver, but stay calm and focused when facing a seriously stressful situation. I, on the other hand, don't seem to sweat the small stuff (or so I think...Lynn might choose to differ), but can completely lose it when the going gets tough. Oh well, at least we aren't both crazy at the same time. But, I digress. In the end, after lots of laughs and camaraderie, as well as many mini-adventures (e.g, ending up backwards in a lock, spotting both real and imagined wildlife, dodging water spouts - another clue -, running aground temporarily and taking the wrong turn once, OK twice, to name a few), we made it home safe and sound to our first home port in Fell's Point, Baltimore...just in time for Hurricane Isabel!

Lucky for us our boat weathered the storm with only a small amount of damage (if you consider ripping off a portion of the rub rail small). We then pulled the boat out of the water in Havre de Grace for what we planned to be ONE SEASON of maintenance...but, that's another long, sad story, with a happy ending of course...

Monday, October 15, 2007


The boat is ready and we are about to embark on our high adventure!