Archives for posts with tag: Paul Tunnicliffe

unnamedLast Friday, people at the marina were adding extra mooring lines to their boats and with good reason. It was a little like the preparations made as Hurricane Irma approached last year. It felt rather deja vu’ish. Winter Storm Riley was working itself into a frenzy off the east coast.

unnamed-1Although we didn’t get rain, we did get winds gusting in the 50+mph range and instead of a tidal surge, we had a tidal suck. The water level must have dropped a good 6ft. So much water left the area that the boats closest to shore and the first finger docks on all three main docks were high and dry. To our advantage this time, we are docked on the inside side of the dock so we don’t get the full brunt of the wind and the waves. There were no free-drifting boats either which made the whole experience a lot less stressful.

unnamed-2During conditions like this – sustained winds 25kt+ the swing- and drawbridges close and remain so until conditions improve to a safe level which meant that there was no ‘tall’ traffic in or out of Trent River for 2 days.

unnamed-4The nor’easter storm that caused our gale force winds, moved up the east coast of the country leaving in its wake, floods, heavy wet snow and many downed power lines. Fortunately here, we had none of that. I understand that the UK has had similarly strong wind conditions and consequent damage. Thinking of you.

What we do have are cold temperatures. OK, I know it’s not as cold as it is back home in Pittsburgh but even so! As I am typing this, I have on two pairs of trousers, two shirts and a sweatshirt. I just took off my beanie but am still wearing my thick socks and slippers. I’m not really complaining; well, yes I am but as with most things on the scale of life, it’s survivable.

IMG_7387Still exploring the National Forest down the road from us. The dogs found a tortoise on the trail the other day though it didn’t want to say ‘hi’ to them.

I took them on Sunday when the winds were still high. Now, they love the beach but on Sunday, neither of them wanted to walk on it, at least not into the wind which was the way we needed to go. The sand was being blasted horizontally at us. So we took the scenic route through the trees.

The dogs are doing quite well on the boat with regards to toilet arrangements. Bella will pee during the night and sometimes during the day if encouraged. Ebba, with whom we thought we would have no problem, is proving to be a little more stubborn. Only once has she peed but I think, if she would perform if it was really necessary – such as if we were at anchor.

unnamed-5Yesterday, Paul spent most of the day just hanging around … up the mizzen mast. He was mounting and wiring up the new radar and also adding our wifi booster arial so that when a marina says it has wifi, we will be able to pick it up on the boat rather than having to go ashore to the ‘club house’ to use it.

unnamed-6Now it’s raining.

Am rather excited for this coming Saturday. David, Bekah and Toria are coming to visit for the whole day. Hopefully the weather will be somewhat warmer and drier and not windy. Would like to take them on a little cruise but obviously it is all weather-dependent.

And now, last but not least – 18.2 and 18.2a 2018 Reebok CrossFit Opens

Yes, we burned a mega hole in our cellular data allowance on Thursday evening as we watched the live announcement from R.A.W. Training. And it was another workout that both Paul and I looked forwarded to. Even the clean after the workout didn’t sound too bad. Neither of us lift heavy so we rather thought we would quickly reach our max and then just sit and watch the others complete the rest of their max lifts.

Once again, we signed up for Friday Night Lights at CrossFit Burn. We got our warm ups done and our required equipment laid out. Our judges were primed (Paul’s to keep him on track with me apparently) and 3…2…1…Go!  we were off, DB squatting and burpee’ing over the bar. Because we are doing scaled in the old farts’ division, we had an empty barbell and were allowed to step over it rather than having to jump.

We raced along and out of the corner of my eye I could see Paul always pulled ahead of me on the squats and I caught up on the burpees. We really were both neck and neck so in round 8, I decided that I needed to step up the rate of squats which I did. I kept pace with him then and then  pulled ahead. I beat him by 2 seconds. He says that if he hadn’t done the extra burpee in round ?, victory would have been his again. Haha. Not.

We finished in just over 6 minutes so had a good 5 minutes left for lifting. We both hit more than we had anticipated. I had put out plates to take me to 100# not really anticipating using the last 5#. Last time I had done heavy (for me) cleans, 100# eluded me every time. However, in the heat of competition, I got that bar up and stood tall. Was quite proud of myself. I had time for one attempt at 105#; failed. The clock ticked over the 12 min and we were done.

Paul 1 : 1 Joanna. Bring on 18.3

Thank you for reading.


IMG_3011It happened. Couldn’t stay away any longer. Paul and I bit the bullet and visited CrossFit Burn – it’s about 1.5 miles south of us. Even though I had signed up for the Opens, I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to do them. It’s not the same, completing an Opens’ WOD at a visiting box. However, Steve Jassett and all the members we met made us feel so welcome that I decided I would have a go. And after the 18.1 announcement on Thursday evening, Paul signed up too.

Before I get into the Friday Night Lights workout, though, life has been plodding on quite nicely. The weather has been glorious (right now though it has taken a turn for the worst) and we have been able to wear shorts and t-shirts.

IMG_7383The blossom is out in abundance along with the daffodils and the pollen. Both Paul and Ebba are suffering.

David and Toria came down last week for the day. Had a wonderful time. Walked across the bridge, met with several of the New Bern bears, had lunch, played on the swings and ate cookies. A great day.

I have been taking the dogs the ‘new trails’ we found and have extensively explored a small portion of the forest. We also were able to walk along the beach even though it is blocked in many places by fallen trees. The water is shallow enough to wade out around them. The dogs love this and come back to the boat absolutely exhausted, which we love. Except that the boat is full of sand. But, hey!

IMG_3001Paul, and me sometimes, are still working on the engines. Had the injectors off, cleaned, tested and we have now refitted them and put the engines back together. Again. Well almost. The starboard one still needs a couple of finishing touches before we can start it. The port engine went back together perfectly and all the other bits Paul changed worked just fine.

However, the starboard engine proved to be a different kettle of fish. Maybe, more likely probably, because I was the one who put it back together under Paul’s guidance. I gave him a running commentary as to which screws/bolts went in easily and which proved to be tight/awkward. Anyway, to cut a long story short, apparently #2 injector, which I had said didn’t feel right when I tightened it up, proved to be the one that was the problem. Somehow, a washer didn’t seat itself properly resulting in a ‘miss’ every time the engine turned over. Fortunately no damage was done and Paul managed to put it back together and now it works.

IMG_2997The next problem proved to be the ‘new’ water pump on the engine. It doesn’t work. So tomorrow Paul will replace it with the old pump until he can actually get a new one. (Paul had found the ‘new’ pump in one of the lockers when he was clearing out/tidying up. Should have known.)  Update on the water pump: apparently the new pump, when it was put together at the factory, was put together back to front. A common occurrence. Not. It works now though because Paul took it apart and put it back together the correct way around. I guess it was sucking instead of pumping.

IMG_2999Have to say, wriggling around the engine in a space that is 4 ft high and about 15 inches wide is a workout in and of itself. I think between us, we have managed to use almost every muscle we have. Functional fitness?!

But to 18.1 Paul and I got to the gym around 4pm thinking we were early but had to sign up for a heat at 6pm. Obviously others had similar ideas and got there before us. It was OK though. Gave Paul the opportunity to take some photos and for me to judge one heat.

IMG_2998And then it was our turn. I told my judge my goal and asked him to keep me on pace. Paul told his judge, “That’s my wife and I want you to keep me ahead of her.” Or words to that effect. We were both doing the old fart’s scaled WOD – 8 sit ups; 10 DB clean/STO; 14/12 cal row. He rowed 14 cal and I rowed 12.

Although I didn’t get ‘no repped’ I did once stand up too quickly from the sit ups, having only completed 5 sit ups rather than 8. My judge was on it immediately so I didn’t lose too much time. However, I rather felt it would come back to bite me at the end.


CrossFit Burn : 18.1 Standards Briefing

My judge did a great job of pushing my pace, to the point that I completed one more round than I had hoped for.  In the background though, I could hear Paul’s judge letting him know I was off the rower and he had to get a move on. His judge obviously did a very good job because he beat me by 6 reps.

IMG_3007Looking forward to 18.2 announcement tomorrow. Good luck to all at T2 CrossFit. Bring it on.


Was it that boring?

Thank you for reading.

From Paul:


Working on the starboard engine gearbox etc

Now we have settled into somewhat of a routine at our base in New Bern NC, it is time to get into the bigger jobs we had left for this time.

The engines had been given the once-over in Stuart, FL however we knew there was other work required.  This week the Port engine got the ‘works’ (or part 1 of the works).

The damper plate between the engine and the gearbox was original and should have been changed several years ago.  To do this the prop shaft has to be uncoupled and pushed back out of the boat about 5”to make room for pulling the gearbox.  To get access to the gearbox, I removed the exhaust, the hydronic controls, wiring and finally drained the gearbox oil using an oil pump. The gearbox is held on with 6 bolts and once they were undone, we manhandled the box back the few inches needed. Certainly dropping the gearbox off was quick. Some may say too quick.  The bell housing was next (15 bolts) and behind that can be found the damper coupling.

IMG_7320The old unit was tired but came out easily and the new unit was bolted to the flywheel and the splined gear greased.  With the bell housing replaced next came the fun bit – getting the round non uniform metal gear box off the bottom of the boat and aligned so as to mesh in gear and butt up to the engine.  Joanna and I tried lifting it – nope!  We rigged up some coal miner levers with 2×4’s and with webbing straps, long bolts, significantly modified sumo deadlifting in the 4’ high space, managed to wiggle the gearbox into mesh and snugged it down. Seven hours into the Sunday job and feeling pleased with progress we took the rest of the day off.


Now you see me – now you don’t. Just after taking this pic, Ebba fell over the front of the dinghy.

After a round of Tylenol, hot showers and a good night sleep, I got back on the next step of the project: to replace the water, oil and transmission heat exchangers, the raw water pump and associated hoses.  Although not technically difficult, it was a physical day and after coupling everything back up, refilling the gearbox with oil and the engine with coolant, the engine was started and run with everything working.  We have also realigned the engine with the prop getting run out down to a tolerance I am now happy with, so hopefully no more wiggle on the prop shaft.

IMG_7321We have the same work to do on Starboard engine. That should be easier in some respects in that I have learned a couple of tricks during the first rebuild. However, the majority of the plumbing is on the starboard hull side of the engine which means access is more challenging. After that the oil and filters are to change and fuel filters to check/change and we should be ready for the next phase…In a couple of weeks we plan a quick trip back to Pittsburgh and I want to get the fuel injectors overhauled whilst we are there.  We did this job before and although it is not that difficult to do it is challenging due to the confined space of the engine room.  This is the part II and last big job we should need to do I hope for a while.

We can then focus on the interior refurbishment and lighting upgrades.

From Joanna:


How to pass the time while waiting for the draw bridge to close – stick you head through the bridge railing and watch squirrels.

What more can I say. Well actually, I can say that I was rather slow with publishing this and we have now completed both engines. Did the second engine in 3 hrs. Learned lessons from the first. Built a ‘proper’ hoist system to lift the gearbox this time so not so many sumo deadlifts. The injectors still need to be done. And yes, redoing the plumbing on the starboard engine was a squeeze. Thank goodness for abs.

IMG_7314The dogs and I try to stay out of the way as much as possible and to this end, we have found a new place to walk/run. There is a National Forest 12 miles down the road so we go there. It is wonderful. I imagine it will get very crowded when the weather turns warmer (yes, it is cold again today) but for now, it is just perfect.


A wind sculpture – inspired by the lotus flower

Thanks for reading.


IMG_0107Yes, today, Saturday, 3 February 2018, we crossed the border from South to North Carolina. There was no big fanfare and to be honest, until Paul looked at the chart we weren’t sure. Unlike on the highways, there are no big signs that state, “Welcome to North Carolina” “Radar detectors are illegal”.

IMG_7249We have been to Georgetown SC; I thought this was the place Anna and David used to visit for sailing whilst at Old Dominion University but I was wrong. This Georgetown is a quaint, very historic town and as it turns out, has a great place for the dogs to run. Not sure if they are supposed to but it was so cold there was no-one else around to complain. The beach we found was oyster shell free and the water was clean. There is a lovely shop called “Sweeties” which sells homemade fudge (not too sweet) and handmade sea salt dark chocolate covered caramels which are almost half as big again as those you get from Whole Foods. Needless to say, fudge and caramels are all gone.

IMG_7240Thursday was windy and cold but dry fortunately. We planned the tides correctly and the current cooperated, ie it pushed us on our way. It did mean leaving at dawn though which was OK. Osprey Marina was our stopover place. In the middle of nowhere and really quiet except for the frog chorus. It is really quite tiny which made maneuvering tricky. We needed to fuel up and pump out.

IMG_7235 2

That bit was relatively easy – it was a straight shot in to that dock with a port (left) side tie. However, even if we weren’t docking for the night we still had to turn around. Yep, this boat turns on a sixpence/dime. Paul is getting remarkably good at moving the boat in close quarters. The only ‘problem’ with this marina was that from where we were docked to where the showers were located was about a quarter mile walk. Needed to really plan bathroom breaks.

IMG_7253Had four low swing bridges to pass through on Friday on our way to Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, North Myrtle Beach. We missed the really popular bit of MB; maybe next time. Again this marina was a challenge. The wind was blowing quite hard out of the marina, so to us it was a head wind. We squeezed our way between the different docks full of boats all the way to the most inshore bit and then had to do a sideways skid to park. Paul got the boat sideways and skidding but then a wind gust hit and we stopped. Hmmm. We eventually managed to crab sideways enough to reach the dock. Always a challenge.


After assessing the food supply in the fridge, I decided an Uber ride to the nearest Publix was in order. I had thought I might shop on Saturday (today) but I had called today’s marina and they said their nearest stores were at least 5 miles away. Unfortunately there is a distinct lack of Starbucks in either place. (Of course, we could just go to the Tiki Bar.)


The black blob in the water is a deer swimming across the ICW

We negotiated Pine Island Cut, more commonly referred to as Rock Pile. This cut is quite narrow with rock ledge edges, not the soft muddy sand we have had all the way up so far. The notes about one of the particular hazards, a rock pile, stated that “… never mind the fact that it is a no-wake zone, the pontoon boat came zooming past us and stopped … very abruptly and then proceeded to sink.” OK, let’s avoid that one.


Oyster beds

As I have already mentioned, today  we crossed state lines, at Little River Inlet. At the time we were fighting squirrly currents so didn’t notice. I called St James Marina as we approached on the radio – no response – and telephone (left a message). We decided, if all else fails, we would just pick an appropriate spot and ask for forgiveness later. Just as we were turning into the marina entrance channel, the radio chirped and the dock master gave us instructions. We are actually on the end of the T-dock right as you come into the marina so if someone forgets to turn the corner, we will be t-boned. Hope it doesn’t happen. Great wooded trail for the dogs.

On our predawn walk this morning, the sky was amazing. Over on the eastern horizon, the first loom of light was a deep blood red color; quite intense.

img_2903.jpgimg_2902.jpgFinally today, the people at St James Marina and condos are super friendly. As Paul was finishing off securing the boat, a gentleman came up and tried to present him with a buff folder. Paul’s first reaction was not to accept it as, for some reason, he thought it might have been a subpoena but then the gentleman explained that he had taken a couple of pictures of the boat as we came down the cut, printed them off and was now giving them to us.

Tomorrow, we will be passing Cape Fear. I think there is a movie set at Cape Fear starring Robert De Niro. Scared me silly; I didn’t watch the ending.

Thanks for reading.


Snuggling in the sun

Longish day today – 6hr 45min from dock to dock. Left Beaufort at 8:45am just in time for the 9:00am opening of Ladies Island Bridge and then it was mostly punching the current with a little push on a couple of occasions.


The view from my window this morning – Atlantic Ocean ahead

At one point we were about to turn into a cut that was reportedly shallow at low tide (our timing couldn’t have been more perfect) and we got a call on the radio from a boat behind us wanting to know how much water we needed to pass through safely. We told them and they said that they would follow our path unless we had a problem, ie ran aground. Fortunately there was plenty of water and space.


A guy collecting oysters

We had to take a huge detour down the North Edisto River, at the end of the day, 7 miles, to find our overnight marina as there are none closer to the route. However, it seems very quiet and the staff were very helpful, Bohicket Marina & Market. The fish and chips from Fischers Bar and Grill were quite delicious. There is a field to run the dogs so life is good.


White pelicans – apparently they are not common visitors

Oh and I nearly forgot. Both dogs peed on the boat during last night. You have no idea what a breakthrough this is. Mind, they wouldn’t use the turf/sod during today. But it is still progress of sorts.

Tomorrow’s destination – just south of Charleston SC.

Thank you for reading.


Dolphins come to play


Coastguard practicing


unnamed-3These last two and a half weeks have been a bit up and down for me emotionally. It’s been exciting taking on the new boat as a project but it is so over-whelming the amount of work that is needed to understand the boat and make her safe to move any distance. Also I miss terribly my friends back in Pittsburgh and at T², Anna competing at the CrossFit Games and then moving house and not being there to help or at least get in the way. I feel rather helpless/hopeless with regards to projects on the boat because by the time Paul has explained what he wants doing, it would have been quicker for him to do it himself. It’s way too hot during the day to take the dogs walking; Bella still won’t pee on the boat so it is a quick sprint ashore and back every couple of hours. Anyway, enough of my moping.

On the lighter side of life, stripping excess and redundant wires from the spaghetti network continues apace. Paul has managed, we think, to fix the main leaks in the cabin by chopping out lumps from the roof and backfilling them with West Systems. Unfortunately like most jobs on the boat so far, what should have been a simple cut-and-fill, turned into a major job because where the core was wood, it was rotten so all that had to be dug out before refilling.

I say the main leaks because it poured with rain two nights ago and there were still a few trickles running down from the toe rail area. We can’t get our heads around taking off the toe rail, resealing the gap between the hull and the deck and replacing the toe rail so Paul took off the stanchions, re-bedded them and re-bolted with new non-rusted bolts. Fingers crossed. It did, actually, pour with rain last night but I was too tired to stay awake to check.

unnamed-5unnamed-4I have found a great place to take the dogs for a walk that is not the beach, but unfortunately there is no shade so it only works if it is cloudy or raining. Each time we go, we find more trails to follow. The first time we went, Ebba and Bella met a new friend though the relationship didn’t last too long. Bella decided to try a local delicacy; not sure what these are – any guidance would be appreciated. They didn’t make her ill so she either didn’t eat sufficient of them or they are not poisonous at least to dogs. Fortunately they still haven’t managed to catch a lizard.

unnamedunnamed-1We threw out the old stove/oven with its 30 years of grease and replaced it with a lovely shiny new one. At least when this one gets greasy, I’ll know where the grease came from.

A few nights ago, I spent a sleepless night having waking nightmares about being trapped on the boat by fire. What would be our escape route? How would we get the dogs out? etc. I told Paul about it the following day so we went out and bought all new fire extinguishers and scattered them liberally around the boat. We talked about the most likely areas where a fire would start (aft: engine room and/or galley) and what to do if, heaven forbid, it ever happened.

Next day, Paul was working in the pilot house pulling wires and accidentally pulled a wire across the bow thruster joystick and got the bow thruster all revved up. It went on for a couple of minutes before I realized that perhaps it wasn’t supposed to be on. (I thought he was testing something. He wasn’t.)

About 5 minutes later, he yells, “Can you smell smoke?” Yes I could. Oh shit!!!! Waking nightmare. And it wasn’t coming from where we had assumed, i.e. aft. It was coming from forward. There were clouds of smoke; no smoke without fire, right? F..K F..K F..K!

Turns out that there was, but no longer, a plastic hose resting on the motor housing for the bow thruster and said housing gets very very hot when the bow thruster is in use; hot enough to melt plastic hosing. Fortunately, this time there was smoke without fire. The boat just smelled of burned plastic but that I can live with. We went and got a few more smoke alarms too.

unnamed-2I have been to CrossFit Jensen Beach twice for a fix and both times it was shoulder work. Fried!!!! It was fun really.

And finally, it always seems to come down to the heads/toilets – the most used and least maintained piece of vital equipment on a boat. One of the toilets got blocked twice this week so Paul gave me the glorious task of investigating the problem (I was happy to do this). I did my job diligently and came to the conclusion that the blockage was at a two-way valve which was superfluous to requirements anyway but still part of the system. So we decided to take out that plumbing system plus the, I think, original system which had been left in when the ‘new’ system had been installed and replace it all with one hose to the tank. Simple right? Haha. No. It never is. Paul ended up having a shitty shower as he removed the existing hose from the holding tank. And little bits of calcified shit broke away as we removed the rest of the hosing in the system.

unnamed-6We knew when we bought the boat that the seacock in this particularly bit of plumbing was seized but with a little bit of gentle persuasion, Paul managed to get it to close. Good. Removed all the hoses and installed the new one. Just as we were tightening up the last few jubilee clips, Paul noticed a slight trickle of water coming into the boat from the shut-off seacock. As we watched it, the trickle increased to a steady stream and then a pulsing stream as the boat rocked up and down on the small waves that work their way into the marina. Oh good. Now what? The boat is going to sink? Somewhere on the boat there is a bag of wooden plugs just for this purpose – to shove into leaking seacocks but it is the bag that is always pushed around until you don’t know where it is. The plug that was next to the seacock was way too big. Eventually found it and banged in the correct sized plug. No leak. Phew. Crises over, until the next one.

Final final thought: have you ever noticed that the dogs always seem to be right where you need to be?  Love my dogs.

Thanks for reading. Safe boating with dogs.



Plan X

Where to start? (Rhetorical) I suppose I do know, the beginning. This might be a little long but I put off writing anything before because I didn’t want to jinx certain things.


You go back. No, you back. Your butt is too big. Ha, yours is bigger.

The last 8 years had a specific plan for the two of us – pack up the house, become liveaboards and circumnavigate the Great Loop in our worked-on for 8 years Grand Banks 42. Then we got two dogs who grew larger than we had anticipated so now our 42 seemed a little cramped but still liveable. The 2017 summer was when we were going. And everything was in place until …..

Paul found another boat for sale. A little larger all round than our present one, and designed to go blue water cruising but probably still suitable for completing the Great Loop. I was surprised actually because he had always given me the impression that his next boat would be a sail boat even though the GB42 was going to be the last one. But the one he was getting excited about was still a trawler design with 2 great big engines. It was a Kadey Krogen 54.

I am trying not to waffle whilst setting the scene for the last few weeks. While still intending to leave come mid July, Paul had two visits to look at the ‘new’ boat and I had one and we decided, yes despite the fact that she needs so much work doing on her we would make a bid. And guess what, that bid was accepted.

Oh shxt. Now what do we do? We are closing on the ‘new’ boat around 1 August, still leaving on a trip somewhere, and trying to sell our GB42 before we have to make the payment on the KK54.

We did have someone from our home marina very interested in our GB42, test drove it etc but then decided he wasn’t yet ready to leave sailing to become a power boater. So our next dilemma, with which broker should we register her to let the broker sell her?

The final plan ended up being, we would take the GB42 to NC to a broker there, rent a U-Haul van/trailer, drive it down to FL to the new boat. Load it up with enough stuff to get us back to NC to the same marina where we left the GB42 and live there for a while.

But once again, our best laid plans were disrupted.


Leaving Sandusky Harbor Marina for what we thought was the last time.

We set off from Sandusky heading east, the first night of our trip was going to be in Fairport OH. Just before we passed Cleveland OH, we got a phone call from a gentleman who said he was very interested in buying our boat. Hmmm. And could he come and look her over. Paul and I debated; the weather this week was not too conducive for comfortable cruising towards Buffalo and we had to pick our weather windows carefully, one of them being Sunday, the day this gentleman and his wife would visit.

Fortunately, we decided that we would take this last chance of selling her privately and altered course for Edgewater YC. Spent Saturday cleaning her from top to bottom and awaited our visitors with a little skepticism – how would this turn out?

To cut this part of the story short, they loved the boat, made their decision and said they wanted her. Gave us a deposit and discussed the next couple of weeks’ agenda for hauling her out to survey, who would do the survey, who to contact for transferring the title ……

So we have discarded plan A – do the Loop in the GB42; plan B – take the GB42 to a broker in NC and travel to FL from there; plan X – leave Cleveland, turn west, can’t go anywhere until we find out when the survey will be taking place, cruise a little in local waters until then, haul the boat out for survey, rent a car to drive to Pittsburgh, bring the truck back, with rent-a-trailer, empty the boat again, drive back to Pittsburgh to collect the rest of our stuff for the KK54, hope that we have actually closed on the boat by then, and then drive to FL and offload everything on to the new one.

Are you following this? Haha. Good job we are flexible.

That’s where we are at this moment in time – Plan X, a sort of limbo.

The above is rather the meat and potatoes of the story so far, now for the ‘sauce’ of the last few days that make it more interesting.

Anticipating that we would be on the GB42 for around 2 months we put together a huge amount of stuff to load on to the boat. Paul drove up on Wednesday with a truck full of stuff, food, clothes, dog food etc, all the tools we had taken off because we thought the first guy was going to buy her; now we needed everything back onboard for our trip to the east coast.

Thursday was L day from Pittsburgh (leaving day). With the truck full for a second day in a row with items we would need and probably some we could really do without, we drove back up to Sandusky OH.

But now we have a problem with what to do with the truck.

Somehow we needed to get our truck back home to Pittsburgh from Sandusky OH once we left for good (in hindsight, that’s a huge haha). Fortunately, even though I only gave 3 days to think about it, one of our members from T2 CrossFit very kindly said that he would ride with us to drive it home. Perfect.

The plan for Friday morning was to set course for Buffalo NY and stop overnight at different ports (first stop Fairport OH) just before sunrise. I took the dogs for a walk while Paul got the boat ready for the off. Halfway round our walk, I heard a ‘fshpoosh’ sound, then a yelp, then a very very smelly black dog trying to rub her face on my leg. Yes, Bella just got ‘skunked’. OMG the smell was overpoweringly bad. She wasn’t too happy either.


No-one wanted to pet Bella.

Back at the boat I soap-sudded her with Dawn dish soap but that did no good. But we were leaving so that’s what we did, smell and all. Fortunately, I was able to draw on other people whose dogs have suffered the same fate and I had more or less the correct ingredients onboard. Three days later, she still stinks but not as badly.

As already mentioned, our change of course took us to Cleveland and Edgewater YC. Through choice we docked right at the far end of the dock so had a good 0.15mile walk to the shore for anything.

First time going ashore I didn’t bother to put on the dogs their zap collars because neither of them had ever jumped off a dock into the water. Oh my, I will never say never again because the dogs suddenly disappeared to the right down a finger dock. Then there was a yap, splash, quack followed by a huge ruckus. Two dogs, one duck pretending to injured swimming away as fast as their little legs would go. Fortunately both dogs came back as soon as I called. Hauled them both out and swore zap collars next time.

Sunday morning, I decided I would go ashore to use the facilities and I would take the dogs and just tie them outside to wait. Ignored my own advice and set off with the dogs with the thought that I would leash them before we got to the duck’s finger dock. More best laid plans went out the window. The dogs did not listen at all as I called them; they just made a bee-line to their launch pad. This time, Bella listened and came back but not Ebba. She glanced at me, stuck her nose in the air and continued chasing the duck (the same one as yesterday, I think). Again long story short, apart from making me realize how easy it would be to lose a dog and how unhappy I would feel if I did, she swam almost the whole length of the dock (remember 0.15 mile) and Paul hauled her out of the water by the boat. Bloody dog.

Lesson learned: dogs walked on the leash right from the boat.

We had a good time at Edgewater YC but it was very noisy on Saturday night so we decided to move. But where to? Again, we were in limbo because we didn’t know when the survey would take place. So we turned left (westward) back the way we had just come. (It reminded me of the first time I ever visited Pittsburgh and the Eagles song Hotel California – you can check out any time you like but you can never leave; that’s another story for another time).

The weather radar looked good – no storms in the forecast or at least not until after we would be tied up somewhere. And that’s another haha.

We departed the pier heads at 14:20hr with minimal wind and waves, partly cloudy skies and nothing threatening on the horizon. Set course for Sandusky Bay, turned on the auto pilot and sat back prepared to enjoy the ride.

And then of course, a blip appeared on the radar, the clouds darkened, black streak flowed out of the bottom of the darkened clouds and we knew the weather forecaster were not quite right; again.


The beginning of the initial storm – tracking SE @ 15Kts

We watched the track of the storm and adjusted our course accordingly to skirt around the top of the storm and this seemed to be working until another cell began to develop at the north end of the now very big storm. But Catawba Island did its thing and split the storm so we managed to push through between them both without getting wet. It did get very windy on the backside of both storms and with the change of wind direction to the north, the air temperature dropped drastically and the waves grew very rapidly.

With our altered heading, Kelleys Island was now a closer destination than Sandusky Bay; it was about 19:00hr by now. So that is where we ended up – Seaway Marina. I made a very rooky error though as we were coming alongside the dock wall – I got my hand caught between the dock post and the boat. Thought I had crushed it to pieces as it happened. Fortunately though, the bit that got caught was the fleshy bit between the thumb and first finger. I have to say, it is rather tender to touch and is a little swollen but I have no restricted movement with any of the fingers.

Not sure what we will do for the next couple of days. I do know we have to be back in Sandusky Harbor Marina by Wednesday night for the survey/haul out on Thursday.

And then we will be faced with the next dilemma – we have no car in Sandusky.

Bearing in mind we have almost 2 months worth of dog food onboard as well as all the other stuff we repacked on the boat when we thought we were going to the Chesapeake, one truck load won’t cut it. Also we have to go home to Pittsburgh to collect all the stuff there that we deliberately left off the GB42 but will need on the KK54.

But it all has a knack of turning out OK.

A little plug for the Edgewater end of Cleveland. For the two days we were there (over the weekend), the park was kept amazingly clean and the beach has a doggy friendly section. It was awesome. You have to walk past the people’s beach but then you can let the dogs off-leash and they have a blast – open beach and the lake.

Monday, moved on to a ball at Put-In-Bay. Going to watch some of Junior Bay Sailing Regatta and reminisce. Maybe a night at anchor on Tuesday and then back to Sandusky Harbor Marina. Who knows? We’ll see which way the wind is blowing.

Thank you for reading. It is rather long.