On my way home. Life is good!!!

It’s Saturday as I write this post and I am aboard Amtrak to Stamford from Williamsburg VA.  I am always struck by how long it takes to get anywhere by boat and how quickly I get back home via a “normal” route.  However, Amtrak is another story with what sometimes seems like “glacial” progress.

Today’s run will take ten hours and that assumes that we are on time.  However, it’s comfortable and I have WIFI all the way, well most of the way…

It will be good to be home with a normal routine for the next two months and will be a nice break from the chores that I find are always needed on Pandora.

Yesterday I met with a mechanic who will take care of an exhaust leak that has reappeared with the engine.  Funny how some problems seem to persist on boats, even when you get them “fixed”.  I “dealt” with this exact same problem a year ago.  Let’s hope that this time is the charm.

I also decided to have an “adult” deal with the leaking cabin ports.  I knew that time was short until “surgery” would be needed on the large Lexan ports on the cabin side but had hoped to put it off till next summer.  However, after the “sporty”  and resulting “drippy” run to Hampton from CT, I decided that “enough was enough” and brought in a “specialist” to fix the problem once and for all.  Well, once for sure.  We’ll see how long “and for all” part lasts.  The problem is that the Lexan ports are nearly 8′ long and while the actual window opening are much shorter, the expansion coefficient for the Lexan means that when it’s cold, and most of my long runs tend to be in cooler weather, the plastic windows shrink and they leak.  And when they leak, it makes me sad.

The solution, I was advised by Roger Martin, the designer, is to put an “expansion joint” in the middle of the Lexan on each side.  That will allow for the material to shrink without pulling away from the outside opening as much.  Let’s hope that this works.  Wish me luck…

So, for the next two months I won’t have to work on Pandora myself.  I’ll just write checks. Personally, I’d rather not go the “check route”.  Let’s hope that things go smoothly.  I was pleased when I met the folks that will be doing the work in Beaufort.  The plastics guy, well he just does plastic and the engine guy and electrician.  Well they seem to be “multi-taskers”.  Fingers crossed…

So, while my trusty check book is helping to get some last minute updates completed for Pandora, I can focus on when and where we will head out from Beaufort.

Our plan is to catch a weather window in mid-January, after the holidays and Brenda’s birthday on January 15th (mark your calendar) to begin our run to the eastern Caribbean.

We don’t know yet if we will head directly to the British Virgin Islands or clear in in St Martin.  I very much look forward to spending time in the BVI but from there, once Brenda joins me in late January, is to head further south. The problem with this plan is that the run from the BVI to St Martin, the next island on our way south, is 90 miles east into the strong “Christmas winds” that blow hard from the east.  To have this be the first run that I make with Brenda won’t be very appealing to her and could very well end up being a “career limiting move” with her, as my son Rob often cautions me when I come up with some lame idea that involves Brenda and unpleasant conditions afloat.

I guess I can only say “details to come” on that score. However, I have to be sure that we end up somewhere that’s easy for my crew to get out of and for Brenda to arrive.

Speaking about the BVI, this video is a good primer on what to expect if we end up in this very popular island chain.  Oh yeah, if we land there in January, we’ll be arriving at the peak of the charter boat season and we aren’t very keen on mixing with what some call “sailing amateur hour”.  That boat is anchored how close?

Anyway, here’s a nice video about sailing in the BVI. Brenda and I expect to head “down island”.  Perhaps we will see the Classic Yacht Regatta in April in Antiqua.  Beautiful boats.And, of course, there’s always the St Barths Bucket Regatta and the Yacht Marie. Brenda and I sailed aboard her in Newport two years ago for three days of racing.  “Would you care for a lobster roll?”.  Yes, indeed.  What a beautiful yacht and she’s really, really big.Wondering how we ended up aboard such a magnificent yacht? Well, I wrote this post three years ago and somehow the owner ended up seeing the post and invited us aboard. Who knows, perhaps we will end up aboard her again this winter. Something to wish for and as Brenda once said, “Bob and the dog, ever hopeful”.  Yes, that’s me.  Can I have a cookie?

I guess that’s enough for now but there’s sure a lot to look forward to in the coming months.  Oh yeah, did I mention that we will soon be grandparents?  It doesn’t get any better than that!  Boy or girl?  Who knows. For now we just call him/her “Nugget”.

And… drum roll please, the bathroom is FINALLY done.  Brenda says that took WAY TOO LONG.  Ok, ok, I agree but it’s done now.  Whew!!!

Tomorrow I present about Cuba to about 100 at the annual meeting of The Corinthians at Beach Point Yacht Club.  It’s a spectacular location to have a lunch on a sunny day. Brenda and I have been members of The Corinthians for many years and I am very much looking forward to sharing our story.

Yes, it’s good to be heading home to Brenda and to thinking about our coming winter of cruising together.  life is good…


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