>Down to the home stretch to launch Pandora in Annapolis

>Well, I was supposed to be in Annapolis this weekend with Brenda but the weather conspired, for different reasons than excessive cold or snow, to keep us away.  It’s pouring both in NJ and down in Annapolis where Pandora is.  It’s quite amazing how much there is to get the boat ready each year and the number of upgrades are just overwhelming.  With the scheduled launch date of March 29th, I will have to be very organized to be sure that all is in order when she goes in.

Brenda and I will be headed down this coming Thursday to spend a three day weekend cleaning and doing last minute repairs and gear upgrades.

Last weekend I was there alone and put in a new holding tank, something that I have been meaning to do for several years now.  The old tank was quite small and also had seen some seepage so the bilge needed a bit of cleaning.  When I pulled it out I was stunned to see how much “soil” had accumulated under the tank in the bilge.  Now wonder that the boat had been smelling more than a bit “off” of late.  Having a good holding tank is really needed these days as the fines for not handling sewage properly can be quite painful.  No point in pumping overboard as we want to be as green as we can afford to be.

Speaking of “green” yachts, for some reason I have been getting several of those megayacht magazines sent to me at home.  I didn’t sign them up and am certainly not an owner of anything that would come close to be classified as “mega”.   Perhaps it’s my zipcode combined with a boat over 40′.  I will say that Pandora can feel pretty mega when she is being blown onto a dock and I am trying to fend her off.  Besides that, she feels decidedly un-mega. 

Anyway, I have been struck by how the editorial coverage in these magazines, and Yachting as well, has evolved since everyone has become so conscious of being environmentally correct.   Now, you can’t pick up an issue without seeing articles about yachts that are “going green” and the latest megayacht green technology.  The March issue of Show Boats International has the cover story “Top 100 Largest Yachts in the World”, and there’s even content talking about what’s in the works to make these behemoths environmentally friendly.  It’s quite amusing to imagine anyone suggesting that a boat that’s 200′ long with just a hand full of guests aboard burning tons of fuel per day could ever be green.  They write breathlessly about how how all black and grey water discharges are clean enough to drink once they go overboard.  I wonder how many tons of CO2 are being spewed out to clean up their waste.  It seems to me that the path to being more environmentally friendly should certainly include sails as opposed to engine only power.

In spite of my opinion on this I have to say that I would love to be on one of those monsters for a trip.  There I go, double standards again.  Oh well we all want to be green when it is…convenient.

Back to semi-green Pandora…

This shot is of the new custom tank and the one that it replaces.  Nice to know that we have room for a generous amount of *&%$ now. 

Once I took out the old tank I cleaned up the bilge to prepare if for the new custom built tank.  “Custom” means expensive, as seems to be the case of everything on a boat, or should I say yacht.

Here’s a shot of the new tank in place.  Now, that’s a really tight fit.  I have to say that I did loose some sleep the night before I put this tank in place as I laid awake wondering if I had tried to put in the biggest tank possible and had over done it.  Well, it fit.  However, it was a really, really tight fit and took nearly an entire day to get the hoses set and finish the installation. 

The mast is just about done now and looks just terrific.  I am particularly excited about the cell phone booster that I had installed on the top of the mast this year.  This antenna, that sits at the top of the mast will, according to the manufacturer Digital Antenna, boost my cell range up to 50 miles from a cell tower.  With our planned travels between Virginia and Eastern Maine this year, we should have good coverage most of the time.  I sure hope so as I have gone to great lengths, and mucho $$, to get this installed. 

This shot of the mast head shows just how much stuff there is up top now.  The big circle is a TV antenna.  How decadent.  We have never had access to TV on the boat before so this will be a treat.   Our plan is to spend more time aboard this year as I have left my job of 17 years and have formed a new medical education company with a partner.  While I intend to work full time, I have now set up Pandora so that I can work easily from on board and have great phone coverage.   When I have to go to appointments, I will just head home for a few days and leave Pandora where ever she is.  As things grow over time, I expect that the pull of the office will increase, but for now I am looking forward to being aboard a bit more.

All that nice shiny standing rigging.  Some of the old stuff had some rust.  Did it need to be replaced?  Who knows but a standing rig is better than a broken rig any day.  I know several friends who have lost their rigs overboard due to rigging failure and it happened in moderate conditions.  Perhaps it was reading about Jessica Watson’s knockdown and 180 capsize experience that made me decide to do the upgrade.

The rig is supposed to go back in this week so it will be fun to see how it looks when I get down on Thursday.  

As part of the rig upgrade I am putting on a running forestay to fly my storm jib.  That will involve putting a fitting a few feet back from the bow where the much smaller storm jib will be set.  Between that and my new 3rd reef, I will be able to handle winds in the 40kt range, I would think.   Let’s hope that Brenda’s not on board when the winds hit 40 as she won’t be a happy camper. She has sailed in 30kts but 40kts is a whole different ball game.

I am very hopeful that the weather will cooperate and Brenda and I will be able to get Pandora ready to splash as planned on the 29th.   We have a slip arranged up the Magothy River just north of Annapolis for the months of April and May.  From there we will head north to Mystic CT, to Wickford RI and on to Maine in August.  The plan is to bring Pandora back to Annapolis at the end of the season to begin the process all over again. 

I plan on writing about the ports that we visit and the sights along the way on a regular basis this year and will hopefully be able to provide some commentary along the way that will help you better see something in my coverage that you will find of interest and hopefully, inspire you to spend time cruising the Middle Atlantic and New England waters.

Here’s to a great summer of sailing. 

One response to “>Down to the home stretch to launch Pandora in Annapolis

  1. >When you get to Wickford Cove, our favorite place is Wickford Marina next to the yacht club. You can see some photos and video on our website. Free coffee and donuts on weekends and holidays, complete BBQ grill with tables and you have to give the outdoor hot tub a try. No, I'm not connected to them in any way, just a favorite spot for the wife and I. We keep our boat at Apponaug Harbor so it's only a short run to spend the weekend there.

    I'm a writer and work onboard. You'll love it! Can't see myself locked in an office in the summer.

    Fair winds
    George Boase

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