Saturday, January 22, 2011

All Good Things Come to an End

As I sit in the cockpit at night after work, I notice that the days are getting shorter.  Though I hate to think about it, I'll soon have to face the fact that For Us will need to get into her winter pajamas and take a much deserved winter nap.  Though I relish each new season, this season will be especially hard to say good-bye to this year.  Having a boat to play with has made this past summer one that will never be forgotten.  The new friends made, new vistas and trips experienced and the sheer joy of looking up at a clear blue sky have given a new meaning to life.

Towards the end of September, Tom and I attended our first TrawlerFest, held in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.  You remember that in June, 2009 we were a day early but still got to see the boats.  This time we arrived in time for the whole event.  Though we were anxious to see what other trawlers looked like and how they performed, we made a beeline upon arrival to the Kadey Krogen trawlers participating in TrawlerFest.  What are they doing at this event you're wondering, right?  During the course of the summer and after the many wonderful hours spent aboard For Us, Tom and I began to get a feeling that maybe we needed a bigger boat.  We loved to have friends aboard and sometimes there just wasn't enough room for everyone at once.  Let's just have a look the captain and I said quietly to each other (we didn't want For Us to overhear this plan).

Well, we looked, and we looked - and we talked to the Kadey Krogen folks and sat on their boats - and during the long drive back to Long Island, we made the decision to trade up to a bigger boat.  Though we initially thought we would purchase the newly designed (and yet to be built) 52, we soon realized that we couldn't bear to miss a boating season while waiting for our boat to be built.  Once we arrived home, a barrage of phone calls between us and Kadey Krogen folks ensued - and I mean a barrage!  Not only one call a day, mind you - many, many calls a day.  Not only was everyone helpful and very, very patient, they were excited and genuinely happy for us.  The saying that timing is everything is not trite, not in any way, believe me.  As it turns out, Kadey Krogen was just completing hull number 4850 in Taiwan; the boat was due to be placed aboard a freighter bound for Seattle where it would be offloaded and appear in a boat show and hopefully be sold in a matter of a few weeks.  Time was of the essence if we wanted the boat diverted to Florida instead.

When all is said and done, it all comes down to money and time.  If we wanted to purchase this new boat, we had to do a few things, none of them quick and easy.  The most difficult of the choices was to put For Us up for sale or sell her back to Kadey Krogen - and soon.  When this idea was first presented, I cried a river of tears.  How does one just say good-bye to a dear and trusted friend?  I felt disloyal, ungrateful and selfish - all at the same time!  I knew selling her would not be a problem, either by ourselves or giving her back in trade to Kadey Krogen.  It was the severance of a true bond that I couldn't face.  As the days moved on, we were faced with a decision that had to be made.  True to their reputation for both business acumen and fairness, the KKY folks helped us along as best they could.  On November 15th, a year and 10 days after we bought For Us, we decided to purchase the 48 North Sea and give our beloved girl back to her original family.

To illustrate how quickly things happened, get this... That Monday, November 15, For Us was scheduled to be shrink wrapped.  She had already been professionally winterized, her dinghy's outboard removed and stored.  "Oh no" we said to each other after hanging up with the KKY folks, maybe the shrink wrap team was delayed.  After all, didn't our dock neighbor wait 10 days?  Tuesday morning, I frantically drove to the marina and tottered onto the dock all dressed for work (today's outfit necessitated heels) only to see the specter of For Us replete in her winter pajamas!  Since this blog is within public view, I can't tell you what I said when I saw that, but needless to say, the air above my head was blue!  We just tossed many hundreds of dollars overboard, so to speak.  As if that wasn't crazy enough, when I got to work a message from Tom was waiting - For Us was leaving us that coming weekend!

That week passed in a blur of phone calls, emails, text messages - every form of communication known to man.  I guess you could say that neither the KKYFor Us.  On Saturday, the captain who would take her to Annapolis was arriving and it would be time to say good-bye.

On Saturday November 20th, I cleaned my already immaculate boat, took lots of pictures and walked slowly around the entire boat, reliving the most wonderful summer of my life.  I made a promise that I would never forget my sweet girl and would be sure she was adopted by a loving family who would enjoy her and love her as we did.  Soon thereafter, the captain arrived with his crew, my husband following close behind.  They were properly impressed with For Us and said all the right things.  After touring the boat and becoming acquainted with all her systems, it was time for us to leave.  Luckily we were all heading to a nice dinner in town, so I focused on that as I dragged myself out the aft door, onto the back porch where I had enjoyed many wonderful times and off the boat for the last time.  My eyes were filled with tears as I looked back to take a final glimpse of the most wonderful boat bobbing innocently in her slip, not knowing what the next day would bring.

Our captain Ian, was not only professional and capable, but understanding of how Tom and I felt about our boat.  We received daily updates as they made their way south and heaved a collective sigh of relief when Ian informed us they had docked and all was well.  And so this chapter of our new lives as boaters comes to a close, leaving us the better people for having loved For Us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

...and What a Party it Was!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ever since our early August trip on Long Island Sound, Tom and I have become insatiable cruisers.  Luckily for us, our dock neighbors are just as insatiable.  During one of our regular Friday night food and drink fests, we cooked up a raft up trip to Oyster Bay Harbor for the end of the month.  Needless to say, there were many jokes about our speed, with a suggestion made that we should leave on Wednesday to arrive by Saturday night.  Funny, not!

I think more time was spent on our menu and choice of cocktails and wine than the actual course of the trip.  The Thursday night before we were due to leave, I was on the boat alone when I realized we had no idea where this cove was.  Luckily one of our neighbors was aboard his boat and was willing to show me the way on the chart.  The next day, I very importantly showed the captain where we had to go (remember, men don't ask directions).  Since I didn't feel like winding up at Sandy Hook in New Jersey, I had no trouble asking.  To be fair, Tom is an excellent navigator and reads a chart brilliantly, but I didn't want to miss a minute of this trip.

Ironically, For Us was first on site (okay, so we left 2 hours ahead of everyone else, but they had to stop for fuel, ha ha).  After convincing Tom that we were in right place, we circled around for almost 45 minutes until I spotted one of our neighbors.  Now the chatter on the radio began to get us all into position.  Tom and I were both a bit nervous - we had never done this before and there was a lot of expensive real estate at risk here.  True to their generous ways, the others decided that the best position would be for us to be on the end of the raft.  Everyone was on our starboard neighbor's boat to guide us alongside and help me tie up to them.  The second our engine was turned off and last boat tied up at the other end, the party began.

As a group, we held our noses, yelled "geronimo" and jumped into the water from our swim platforms.  We splashed and paddled around like toddlers, having the most wonderful time.  One of the boaters who wasn't in the water brought chilled shrimp onto his swim platform so we could paddle up for a quick snack.  Once our fingers were properly shriveled, we went back to our respective boats to "dress" for dinner (dry bathing suits and tee shirts).

Dinner would have put many Thanksgiving celebrations to shame!  Every available space on our neighbor's boat was occupied by a bowl, platter or some sort of serving piece.  Wine bottles and other forms of drink were lined up wherever they would fit.  We ate for hours, laughing and enjoying our wonderful lives.  When we could eat no more, we brought out dessert and after dinner libations.  While we were happily engaged in this activity, the town of Oyster Bay celebrated our presence in their harbor with a wonderful fireworks display!  Somewhere around 2 in the morning, I reluctantly announced that it was time for bed.  Since we're all of a certain age, no one disagreed. 

As I climbed into bed that night, I whispered a reverent "thank you". 

As we untied from each other under a drizzly sky the next morning, we profusely thanked each other for sharing in a night that was one of the summer's highlights.  For Us was the first to leave (no surprise).  As we watched the group recede in the distance, I hugged myself with sheer delight.  We had survived our first raft up, managed not to hurt anyone's boat and still had many more happy boating experiences ahead of us.

Carpe Diem!

Setting Sail for our Last Port of Call - Port Jefferson

After a not too leisurely breakfast (once the captain decides we're ready to leave, we ARE leaving!), we were on our way back across the Sound to Port Jefferson (locals refer to it as Port Jeff).  I was delighted to be able to help Tom plot our course (actually in the right direction - AND around the obvious sand bar)!  This was going to be a long ride, so I got set up on the flybridge with music, food, a good book and lots of pillows.  If the captain noticed that I was not in "co-captain" mode, he was smart enough not to say anything. Though we did have 5 ft. seas for most of our trip, our trusty trawler kept us comfortable and safe.

 We had a lovely ride across the Sound, smug in knowing we had secured a prime slip for the night.  During the course of all these trips to different marinas, I kept a journal about each location.  I decided to also make note of  slip numbers and whether or not I would ask for that slip again.  This information was invaluable in the case of Pt. Jeff since the marina shares the water with the Cross Sound Ferry between Port Jeff and Bridgeport, CT.  There are 2 ferries that criss-cross the Sound all day creating not only noise, but nasty washes.  During our July 4th stay, we were closer than I liked to the ferry dock, so I made a note to not stay there again.  This time our slip was perfect - just on the other side of the dock from a 120 ft. mega yacht.  For Us was not in least cowed by this behemoth, instead she just waggled her stern at the passersby who inevitably stopped to admire her.

We did have a small adventure during our approach to the marina.  As we were making our turn to enter the inlet, looming ahead of us was the ferry, looking like a giant cargo ship at this point.  To Tom's credit, he calmly held his course turning away enough to not get caught in the ferry's wash, but giving us enough room on the starboard side to clear the rocks lined up like a welcoming committee.  Though my knuckles were white, the captain was a cool customer.  Glad it was him at the helm!

As usual, our stay was lovely.  Port Jeff is a cute seaside town within walking distance of the marina.  It's streets are lined with wonderful shops and restaurants.  There is a large hotel affiliated with the marina that offers its amenities to those in the marina.  Just before sunset, Tom and I made our way to the hotel's back deck and secured a table with an unobstructed view of the western sky.  With cocktails in hand, we enjoyed nature's artistry and toasted For Us yet again.   Later that evening, I did what I do every night aboard.  After reading for a bit, I turned off the lights on the back porch, sat back in my chair and reveled in what had been given to me.  There is nothing more peaceful and gratifying than to be on your own beautiful boat on a warm summer evening under a starlit sky and be able to appreciate that very moment.  Though I was sad that this idyllic time was coming to an end, I perked up when I realized that this is just the beginning of everything.

The next morning we set off for home - planning our next trip along the way.    As we approached our home slip, our fabulous dock neighbors were there to greet us (and help me with the lines).  What a perfect ending to a perfect trip!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And the Beat (Engine) Goes On...........

Another glorious day in paradise!  We left Greenport to head across the Sound to Old Saybrook for the next couple of days.  Doesn't this sound incredible?  Unlike a land-based home with its annoying necessities, a trawler is a home with waterfront property, no grass to cut, no taxes to pay and neighbors who can be gotten rid of in a heartbeat.  So on this beautiful morning, we took our waterfront property to discover a new town, new restaurants and the opportunity to show off For Us to yet another group of admirers.  This time Plum Gut didn't scare me - it was its usual roiling self, but I knew our girl would go through it without even sloshing our morning mugs of coffee.  The cruise was magnificent, complete with a couple of quaint lighthouses along the way.

When we finally reached Old Saybrook Marina, it was early afternoon (we're a trawler, remember?).  The marina was quite a maze as we managed to nip and tuck among docked boats - down this row, around this corner - to our assigned slip.  Tom did an incredibly wonderful job of piloting us to our slip.  Since it was quite windy (and I must have sounded like a real neophyte when I called for dockhands), the marina manager himself arrived to help with the tie up.  Guess he wanted to be sure there were no mishaps or marine disasters.  He must have been congratulating himself on his wisdom after I tried to adjust a starboard fender.  As soon as I told him all was well, swoosh! and the fender fell off the flybridge rail - luckily onto the dock and not into the drink.  Those pesky clove hitch knots - they get you every time! 

Old Saybrook is a hotel and spa with lovely amenities.  Me being me, I had to scope out every amenity - of course after my chores.  There seem to be more of them each time we dock at a new marina.  I wonder if the captain thinks I'm not noticing?  Anyway, I spent some lovely time at the pool, arranged for a ride into town the next day and made dinner reservations at a beautiful restaurant (Terra Mar) overlooking the marina.  The next day I took myself into town for a shopping trip (the captain suddenly made himself very "busy").  The highlight of this visit was finding an antique sangria pitcher - for my Greenport sunflowers!  The pitcher and flowers caught the eye of everyone who passed For Us.  Imagine my joy at being able to gloat not only about my find, but how perfectly it suited the boat - and oh, by the way, let me tell you about the boat............  Needless to say, the captain became even "busier" during these interludes!  The two days at Old Saybrook passed way too quickly and we soon found ourselves planning for our final destination - Port Jefferson, back across the Sound.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ahoy Matey, Is It Land That I See?

So a new week aboard begins as we make our way for Greenport.  As I mentioned in the previous post, Mitchell Park Marina, a town-owned marina in the heart of this quaint east end village, was the setting for our first sighting of a trawler.  On display was a 44' and a 48', both of which appeared huge and intimidating to us at that time (more on later much later).  We enjoyed a smooth cruise under cloudless azure skies (you might get bored with my descriptions of these glorious days, but when a trip is built around the weather, it can never be boring - or taken for granted!).  After a bit of a tough docking (our trawler backs to starboard and the finger was port side to), we were tied up and ready for adventure.  Oh wait, the captain reminded me that we have our chores and no one goes anywhere until the chores are done.  I reminded him not to deplete the town's water supply this time - a quick wash would do the trick.  We had a quick lunch at our little bistro table on the back porch and I was ready to go.  Since the captain despises shopping and shopping is what I was set on doing, off I went while Tom settled in for a relaxing read.

My first stop was a ride on the carousel right in the marina.  Though I didn't catch the brass ring, I loved riding my trusty steed with all the other passengers (none older than 5 years old).  Then it was off to the venerable Preston's where I spied the perfect print for our pilothouse.  After chatting with everyone who worked in the store (and the patrons who wandered in), I was off to my next stop - the farmer's market.  I simply HAD to have a bunch of fresh sunflowers for our back porch.  I was a woman on a mission!  So now I'm staggering along Main Street with a print under one arm and the biggest (and heaviest) bunch of sunflowers you ever did see!  Several people cast odd looks in my direction, but who cares, I had my treasures.  Back to the boat I went, excited to show Tom what I had found in such a short time.
Tom was more surprised at the brevity of my trip than with what I purchased, but his eyes lit up when he saw the print (not the best photo, but it's the best I can do).

 While he was still happy, I announced that I was heading back to town for more shopping.  After a very hot afternoon, I headed back to the boat for one of the best times of the day in boating - cocktail
hour on the back porch.  For those of you who don't understand my penchant for the back porch, it is one of most fabulous features of a Kadey Krogen yacht.  The back porch is a covered expanse of teak flooring and shiny capstrip where we placed 2 comfortable chairs that did all sorts of things.  Music streamed through speakers mounted on the ceiling, shaded sun filtered in, the water lapped gently against (a very clean) hull....all is well with the world.  After lobster and a fabulous Jamesport white
wine at Claudio's, we literally hit the sack.  The one thing about boating that takes a bit getting used to... sometimes the most wonderful evenings need to end sooner rather than later, especially when on a
 trip.  Dawn comes very early in the summer, believe me!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Big Trip

By the end of July, the captain and I had logged many hours aboard For Us, both on the water and at the dock (lots of hours at the dock).  We both agreed it was time to cast off the lines for parts unknown (well, not really unknown, just unknown from the perspective of the water versus land).  We decided that from Thursday, August 5th through Saturday, August 15th, we would cruise the waters off Long Island Sound and see where our wanderings would take us.  All the trawler folks we've met have stressed that the journey in a trawler is just as meaningful as the destination.  It better be, cause there's lots of time getting from point A to point B!

Our resolve to not over-plan was immediately tested on the day of our departure.  The day dawned stormy and windy, definitely not the type of day to start pursuing our dreams!  No problem we said through gritted teeth.  Tomorrow is another day, right?  Never mind the food we bought and carefully planned meals around.  Now that the freezer was defrosted and actually had room for 2 hot dogs and a steak, we would be fine.  This is how to embrace life on a trawler we're told.

Friday morning was gorgeous and well worth waiting for.  Within a half hour of arriving at the dock, we were off, bursting with anticipation for what treats lay ahead.  The day was warm and perfectly suited to running the boat from the flybridge.  According to Tom, every day is perfectly suited to running the boat from the flybridge.  In a later post, I'll tell you about a Sunday morning ride that definitely was not suited but found us up there anyway.

We spent the entire day getting to Mattituck, but it was worth it.  We entered a quiet canal that brought us to the Matt-a-Mar marina and the serenity we did not have at our home marina.  While Tom did his "thing" (using the town's entire water supply to wash down the boat), I explored Love Lane and its delightful little shops.  Later we had a wonderful dinner at Song of Venice (or was it Touch of Venice?).  In any case, we watched the sun set and complimented ourselves on being quite the mariners.

The next day, we left early and headed for Montauk.  From the direction we were heading, we needed to negotiate Plum Gut.  Judging from the look on Tom's face as we entered the Gut, I had a feeling that now would not be the time to pick up my book.  One thing however made the Gut a memorable run - I actually saw double digits on the Garmin speed indicator!  There was a point where we were making 12 knots!  I was hoping our trusty engine wouldn't blow up!  Our stabilizers worked overtime to keep us comfortable and soon we the Gut was behind us.  Remember how I said we were trying to embrace the cruising life?  Well only now did I think it was time to make a reservation at the Montauk Yacht Club.  So very confidently I called.   And very confidently was told that they were sold out through Labor Day.  Okay, so the folks who told me about the cruising life don't live on Long Island where summer reservations are made on New Year's Day! Star Island Marina was recommended - I was thrilled to get a reservation.  The thrill dissolved when we arrived to find ourselves in the middle of a shark tournament.  Fish heads and guts littered the dock and never mind the smell!  Not our idea of an elegant marina to spend the night.  Oh well, cruisers make the best of adversity, so we managed to enjoy ourselves (with the AC on high, the door closed and our music playing to drown out the fishermen's language).  Our neighbor was kind enough to ask our forgiveness in advance, since he (and nearly every other boat in the marina) would be departing the next morning at 4:30 am.  Another of Star Island's joys!
We spent the next day reading, took a swim in the pool, did some dock walking.  The day was glorious - brilliant sunshine, not too much humidity and breezy enough to cool us without chilling.  We watched the most incredible sunset from a table in the wrong restaurant (we made a reservation at a restaurant (Inlet Cafe) that sounded like the one we showed up at (Inlet Seafood Restaurant) and since it was a $16 cab ride one way, decided to stay).  I can honestly tell you  that if we were home, we would NEVER have waited an hour for a table.  The captain  is not good in wait mode, so we try to avoid it whenever possible.

Since we were planning to head to Block Island the next day, I didn't think I was being too Type A by calling a day ahead for a reservation.  Well I may not have been Type A that day, but everyone else on Long Island was Type A on New Year's Day (as I mentioned before).  Both places I called were booked solid.  Champlin's told me that they could raft us up.  When I mentioned that to the captain, you would have thought I suggested having him walk the plank upside down.  His look of horror was enough to quickly launch Plan B.  I was beginning to admire our sense of adventure and actually enjoy being flexible, something neither Tom nor I excelled at.  With the help of a cocktail, we studied our charts, distance tables (essential on a trawler) and decided to go to Greenport.  After all, Greenport is where this entire saga began, remember?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Not Just Any Old Day at the Dock

Okay, so by now we're becoming pretty familiar with the boat.  What's to get to know, you ask?  Well, if you've ever been on a trawler, which is designed for long-term cruising (good thing too cause they are not speed demons), you would know that they have storage and gizmos everywhere, even places you wouldn't think to look.  There is storage under just about everything, the bed, settees, steps, counters - and even the floor.  While one can never have enough storage, there does come a time when there is so much that you can't remember where everything was stowed.

In addition to storage, there are creature comforts with limitations - namely the freezer compartment of the refrigerator.  While it's wonderful to have a nice size frig on a boat, our particular model was not frost free.  As a member of the baby boomer generation, I never saw a freezer that was not frost-free, let alone own one!  So imagine my surprise when I stuck my hand in the freezer only to find it jammed between the top of the freezer and the shelf!  What's this I thought?   Oh, oh, looks like really bad ice build up to me.   What to do now?  Well,  I do what I do in every case involving some skill I don't have - find someone else who has the skill that can be conned into doing the job to demonstrate their fine talents.

After peering a bit frantically up and down the dock and finding no one, I did the next thing that usually worked - I called a friend.  Isn't that what's done on that millionaire show?  This friend happens to work with Kadey-Krogen, the company behind our boat.  My mother always told me it's important to know well-placed people.  One call to my friend Laura was all I needed, short of having her fly up from Florida to do the job for me (I couldn't think of a thing quickly enough to get her here)!  With cell phone in ear, Laura talked me through this ancient process, including reminding me to turn off the frig/freezer from the master panel in addition to the usual place inside the frig.  Luckily for me, my friend Vicki was aboard that day, another product of the baby boom generation.  Though Vicki knew as much as I did about freezer defrosting, she was another pair of hands - and comic relief.  After many trips to dump water over the side, sliding around in the melting ice and refreshing the pan of hot water in the freezer, we were done.  Never mind that it took over 2 hours and 3 soaking wet bath towels to do this - it was dark by the time we finished.    Vicki and I were quite pleased with our efforts - until she reminded me that this wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime happening!   I came to realize that this defrosting ritual would have to be undertaken at least every few weeks, more if we spent a lot of time on the boat eating and drinking (after all what else does one do on a boat)?   At least the next defrosting ordeals were accomplished with a minimum of effort - and mess. 

Since I can never sit still, I decided to see how the port berth actually became a bed.  Looking at the picture, would you know what to do?
Well, that makes two of us, actually three, since Vicki couldn't figure it out either!  So guess what?  Right, I called a friend - and yes, I called Laura.  I should point out that by this time it was 9 pm on a Friday night - talk about customer service!  Again Laura patiently walked me through this process.  Let me tell you, it's not a no-brainer.  It took many brains to figure this one out.   The cushions come off in weird ways, then some knobs have to be turned a certain way to release the platform that becomes the bed.  Once that's done, these little chrome legs have to be found (of course in a storage place) and attached FIRMLY so the bed platform doesn't fall down when one gets in.  You can see where this is going, right?  So, I found those little legs and firmly (so I thought) attached them to the bed.  I forgot to mention that while this was going on, the aft cockpit door was open and our dock neighbors were arriving to begin their weekend fun.  Well, I jumped (mistake) into the bed and yes, no suspense here anymore - those little legs gave way.  The platform pitched up at one end, down at the other and I rolled onto the floor - in full view of the gentlemen in the boat behind us!  Poor guy, he wasn't quite sure what to do.  When he saw we were convulsed in laughter, he ran for a bottle of wine, some glasses and we were ready for our Friday night fun!  And so ended another day at the dock, never "just any old day".

Monday, January 3, 2011

...and the summer that was continues....

Despite the sagging economy, this was the season to buy a boat!  While many of our friends thought we had lost our minds by buying a boat, we were quite smug with our decision.  This summer's weather was about the best we've had in a long time.  The days were sunny, winds light and temperature searing - perfect for boating.  Tom and I spent many idyllic days enjoying For Us - and not always away from the dock.  She is so homey and warm - with every creature comfort, how could we not love every minute aboard?  We made instant friendships with people who share our love of boating (I'm not so sure they're as in love with their boats as we are though, but shhh on that).  Many a summer night was spent in the company of these people, sharing food and wine, boating tips and boating stories.  I wanted the summer to go on forever!  For the first time in many years, I was content (and took the time) to just gaze at the stars and marvel at their number and brightness.  On a boat like For Us, very little is needed to be thankful to be alive and live in the moment.  Again I say Carpe Diem!

What a way to celebrate a birthday!

Fast forward from the Memorial Day debacle to July 4th weekend.  Mind you, we've been enjoying For Us without incident since that day.  I can now tie the clove hitch in record time (though still need the book for the bowline), know about how deep the water is in our travels and know how much chain length (called rode) we have.  Tom and I absolutely love this boat!  She is supremely comfortable - like a floating condo - and handles like a dream.  Rarely does anything move around during our rides.  Granted we haven't ventured into the ocean yet, but Long Island Sound is not a swimming pool either.

Somehow, we convinced my daughter and son-in-law to spend the July 4th weekend with us, not only aboard, but traveling to Port Jefferson for the weekend.  After man-handling enough food and wine to feed the navy aboard, it was time to go.  This time we made it out of the harbor and into the Sound like true pros.  The boat handled the way a boat should when there's a steady supply of fuel to the engine.  What a revelation!  We had a wonderful cruise on glassy water under sunny skies doing all of 7 knots.  The captain docked us in our slip at Pt. Jeff with the help of 2 bored dockhands and we were there! 
It was a fun weekend spent exploring the town, visiting quaint gift shops and enjoying cocktails and dinner both on the boat and in the restaurants.

The highlight of the trip was the fireworks.  Now we've seen firework displays before, but never from the back porch of our beloved boat, complete with cocktails in hand and comfortable chairs.  Now, that my fellow boaters is THE only way to watch fireworks.  It gives an entire new dimension to the beauty of a dark summer sky come alive with multi-colored lights in amazing patterns.  Before going to bed that night, I patted her capstrip and thanked her for bringing us this new look at life.