Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Show Time!

The Newport International Boat Show officially opens today at 10 am.  The opening is announced with the firing of what sounds like a cannon; the sound is still fading when the gates open and a stream of boat-loving humanity streams in.

Before the festivities begin however, the KKY crew fortifies itself with Pat's phenomenal breakfast.  They don't call the Spring Street Inn a B and B for no reason.  Pat's freshly prepared breakfast selections of hot things (crepes, waffles, french toast, omelets, scrambled eggs, sausages) and baked goods (croissants, biscuits, muffins, coffee cake), cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit would be reason enough to jump out of our Tempur-pedic equipped bed (no backaches from this bed)!

A crystalline sky and warm day greeted us as we walked the mile or so to the show.  The boat gods were indeed smiling on us (as they continued to do for the entire 4 days of the show).  I'm told Serenity brought good luck to KKY since it usually rains during this show.  Good thing too since the cleaning crew spent 4 hours cleaning her outside and another couple of hours cleaning the inside.  I found out later that she was cleaned every day of the boat show - wow!  This is the view that greeted us as we left the inn and headed for the show.
After waving our exhibitor's passes at the security staff, it was off to the boats.  I must confess that I stopped to do the merest bit of shopping in the quaint shops lining Thames St. as I walked to the show.  Actually the shopping wasn't so mere, but the captain may read this blog, so mum's the word.

Since Serenity was with the other trawlers and trawler wanna be boats, I had the opportunity to visit other boats.  I hopped aboard a 2+ million dollar Grand Banks 53 and a $395,000 North Pacific 39 - boats at either end of the cost spectrum.  The North Pacific is a nice entry-level boat and the Grand Banks is a lovely boat for weekend cruising.  Neither of them could hold a candle to Serenity though.  Yes, you could say I'm a bit biased, but the workmanship, lines and creature comforts just speak for themselves.
Between the boats of all types - both power and sail, boat equipment, boat stuff and things to eat, the show was overwhelming!  Huge tents were stuffed to the gills with every imaginable engine, thruster, compass, chair, mattress, first aid kit, ditch bag, and a thousand other things.  I smiled as I first walked into the show - tables advertising boat loans were the first thing one saw!  They're not dumb.

As I walked to where Serenity was waiting to meet her admiring fans, I was quite taken with her display.   KKY's blue and white flags fluttered on either side of Serenity.  The KKY folks waited on a nice-sized float covered by a tent, carpeted, with lovely chairs in which to sit.  There were large easels displaying their boats, including the new 52, a wood podium emblazoned with the KKY logo and 2 huge pots of fall mums.  Very classy!  Nothing but the most elegant surroundings for our elegant girl!  That's Shannon who orchestrated Serenity's showing and arranged for all the "furnishings".
The next few days found Serenity the center of much attention.  The KKY folks conducted countless tours and answered endless questions.  When I wasn't off shopping in the tents, I was on Serenity with Tom doing our best to help with some of the questions.  We were like proud parents, quickly offering that Serenity was ours at the slightest opportunity to boast.  There is something incredibly wonderful about hearing people exclaim over your boat and hearing them tell us how lucky we are.  We are indeed lucky and feel very fortunate at the same time.

In addition to enjoying showing Serenity off, Tom and I had some nostalgic moments in Newport.  We visited the Black Pearl for lunch and the White Horse Tavern for dinner.  Both places were visited during our first visit to Newport as newlyweds.  Tom was sailing on tankers at the time - one port of call was in Fall River, MA which is just across the river from Newport.  On one of my visits to meet the ship, Tom and I visited Newport and found those 2 places.

Forgive my photography.  I think I inadvertently had the camera set on something I shouldn't have.  Since I never have time (or the patience) to read owner's manuals, this is the result.

Tom and I enjoyed the show more than we initially thought we would.  Every day was like being at a party.  We met so many wonderful people, saw neat boat things we never knew existed, had dinner with KKY folks, and just enjoyed being in the moment.

I couldn't resist taking this picture of Serenity on my way back from one of my shopping trips.  It was nice to be able to stand back and take a full picture of her all dressed up for the show.
During the show, beautiful sailboats glided by adding to the excitement of being at a boat show in fabulous Newport.  I did a lot of pinching myself to assure myself that I was indeed at a boat show in which our very own boat was on display.
Sunday came all too quickly.  At 5 pm the final cannon shot was heard, announcing the end of the 2011 Newport International Boat Show.  The docks gradually emptied of people.  The sound of happy voices was replaced with people closing down their displays, forklifts going back and forth, shouts to move things along and the background noise of a closing show.  I sadly hugged my KKY

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 3 - Pt. Judith to Newport

Today we woke up in Pt. Judith at the ungodly hour of 6am.  Why would anyone get up at that hour while on vacation you ask?   Well if you anything about the Pt. Judith Marina, it's for the blueberry pancakes over at the Snug Harbor Marina!  I can tell you that when Captain Mike first suggested going over there for breakfast before our departure, I thought who cares about breakfast when I can catch another 1/2 hour of sleep?  Since I have a weakness for blueberries in any way, shape or form, I was easily persuaded.  Thanks Mike - those were the best blueberry pancakes (aside from my husband's) that I had ever eaten!  While we ate, we chatted with the owner who has been making wonderful pancakes and burgers there for the past 31 years.  The best part of traveling is getting to chat with the locals - imparts a special touch to the trip.

Fortified with those pancakes, we cast off and were on our way by 7:40, headed for Newport.  We had an uneventful departure and enjoyed glorious sunshine, a bit of wind and flat seas (yay and yay) for the first 15 minutes of the trip.  By the 16th minute, we entered a fog bank so dense that we could barely see ahead of the bowsprit.  Fortunately, the wind had calmed down and was now to our backs so that running Serenity from the flybridge was very pleasant (besides we could "see" a lot further if there was anything to see).  It was the first real fog I had ever experienced and let me tell you there is nothing more eerie than being completely engulfed by fog with only the radar to point out objects.  That beautiful radar was quite busy pointing out objects - we were obviously not the only ones out there that morning.  Talk about nerve jarring time - we needed to use the horn on 3 different occasions.  At one point, we were passed by a boat doing close to 20 knots - one minute we were alone and the next minute, we saw his rooster tail as he sped by us.  For the next 45 minutes, we huddled over the radar screen not saying very much to each other, except to comment on the fog and all the "blips" on the radar screen.  We actually passed by Block Island (our destination after the Boat Show) without ever seeing it!

Well all good things come to an end, and so came an end to the fog.  Once the fog lifted, we were treated to glorious sunlight.  At this point I asked Captain Mike to take the helm, took Serenity off autopilot and spent the next fabulous 45 minutes steering her to Newport.  If there is anyone out there fortunate enough to have a trawler, and even more blessed if it's a KKY, who has never been at the helm, you don't know what you're missing!  Serenity handles like a dream.  Since our path was clearly plotted (it actually looked like a helix), it was easy to keep her on course.  She responds to the slightest touch of the wheel like a sweetheart.  Once I overcame my tendency to oversteer (quite apparent when I looked aft and saw my path), steering became pretty tame.  Never mind I had not one, but 2 captains holding their breath behind me, on we pushed - until I encountered too many boats doing too many different things - all on their way into Newport Harbor.  I can't wait for my next opportunity to steer.

Our approach to Newport Harbor was breathtaking!   Yachts the size of hotels lined the harbor, while sailboats of every size and type glided past us.
Our arrival was greeted with a frenzy of radio calls, line handlers instructions and docking directions.  We were asked to tie up at a temporary dock so that the captains could be shown our show slip.  Good thing too cause when I saw where we were going, I thanked the sea gods that I was not at the helm!  The boats are put into the narrowest slips ever created.  We were put into a slip with a smaller boat's bow on our starboard side and a show float to our port side.  Once docked, we all heaved a collective sigh of relief.  Since we arrived 2 full days before the show's official opening, we were treated to beautiful sailboats coming and going and less fortunate boats needing to be moved several times.

After I served the captains lunch (yes, I found my way to the galley and actually put together a nice lunch that didn't involve the stove), Mike and I decided to do a bit of exploring while Tom "protected" the boat.  We picked up our exhibitor's passes and headed to the shops where I had little difficulty finding the perfect gift for Christina and Tucker.

With my purchases clutched in my hand, we then went in search of a place for dinner.  We found 22 Bowen's which was recommended by a dock friend in Huntington.  After making a reservation, it was back to Serenity to watch more show preparations and slake our thirst with some fine wine.  I can't tell you how exciting it is to be in the center of such a prestigious show of which your very own boat is a part of!  Newport clearly turns out for this show!
After dinner consisting of incredibly delicious steaks and great wine, we headed back to Serenity to enjoy a serene evening at the dock.   The KKY folks, boat interior cleaners and a host of other people are arriving tomorrow, the last full day before the show opens.  Gotta get ready for show time.

We came across the most incredible, refurbished Boston Whaler.  Since Serenity is in need of a dinghy, I took a closer look.  My interest was so piqued, that I ran back to the boat, dug out a tape measure and took critical measurements.  Can't wait til the Whaler person is in his tent tomorrow to get the details!

The KKY folks arrived a bit before 4pm.  How wonderful to see our "family" again.  Luckily, the carpet installers finished installing the carpet in the tent seconds before the crew arrived.  In no time, KKY staff had their stuff ready to go.  Once everything was set up, it was time to get our stuff off the boat and head for the hotel.  Kinda odd to be spending a night on land, but's show time folks!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day Two - Point Judith, RI

Monday, September 12 was sunny but very foggy.  As we cleared the dock, we found ourselves engulfed in the most thick, pea soup fog I have ever experienced.  How weird to find ourselves surrounded by nothing but dense, quiet fog.  We fired up the radar, running lights and turned on the horn.  Little did we know, but we would get to use that horn on three separate occasions.

This is the kind of weather that every gadget we bought, every upgrade we selected, became worth their weight in gold.   Our very accurate radar identified targets uncomfortably close to us.  In fact, we never saw any of these targets until they were about 100 feet away from us, materializing suddenly out of the fog.  Mike blasted the horn in 2 burst intervals on 3 occasions, scaring me half to death.  It was more scary not to be able to see anything.

After about an hour or so, the fog began to lift, making the next 4 hours of this trip more pleasant.  I could pick out interesting things on the shore and could see the marina ahead of us.  Today was such a 180 degree change from yesterday.  I was able to eat lunch, enjoy the scenery (what I could see of it) and actually learn a few things.  In between all this learning and looking, we managed to have a very nice lunch on the flybridge (where we all wisely decided to hang out).

We tied up around 2:30 on a choice T-head dock at the Point Judith Marina.  Folks here were very friendly, including Little Mo (short for Monet), a gorgeous little white poodle who greeted us when we checked into the marina.  Mike recognized a KKY 42 at one of the slips, so off we went to say hello.  We met John and Liz, a liveaboard couple who were enjoying the boating life.  After exchanging pleasantries, we invited them over for cocktails - and of course a tour of Serenity!

Luckily we were assigned to this dock because the current was unusually strong (2-3 knots) and would have created huge problems for Serenity.  Now we had the whole afternoon to see the sights, have cocktails and just sit back and enjoy our lot in life.  We took a walk around the marina and returned to find Serenity looking just beautiful in the late afternoon sun.  I couldn't resist a few shots....

She's pretty from the front.... well as from the rear.

While seagulls, a swan and other wildlife swooped, flew and crawled around us, we enjoyed an on board dinner cooked on the bbq grill by the one and only captain.  Since it was quite windy, we retired to the salon which was sunny and cozy by this time of day.  Dinner was lovely as was the wine and after dinner treats.  Tonight we were treated to the most beautiful sunset.
Mother nature still had more in store for us as the moon rose....
Though the sea may occasionally be harsh, those times are soon forgotten when sights like this are enjoyed from your beautiful boat in a tranquil marina on a beautiful September evening.  One day after the tenth anniversary of the loss of our country's innocence, nature is there for us, healing those wounds.
To end a perfect evening, we watched the Patriots play the Dolphins on our 42" HD LED TV - way better than anything we have at home.  In fact, anything done aboard is way better than anything done on land.

Are you thinking about now that I love the boating life?

Tomorrow we head for our assigned slip in Newport.  But not before we have blueberry pancakes at a little place Mike knows............

Getting Ready to Go! Day One

Serenity is on her way to the Newport International Boat Show!  The show runs from Thursday, September 15 through Sunday, September 18th.  Our Serenity will be one of the show's stars as Kadey Krogen's sole entry.

Since everything I do is done with ceremony, getting Serenity ready for her show is no exception.  I grocery shopped until the folks in the store I usually frequent started to look at me suspiciously.  Three dock carts of "stuff" isn't that much for about 10 days aboard is it?  Never mind that 4 of those days will be spent on land in a B and B!  I have enough food to feed a small army and tried to cover every "what if" I could think of.

Once I got the food loaded aboard, it was time for the clothes.  If you think I had "what ifs" for food, you should see the scenarios I came up with for my outfits!  I actually had to sneak the clothes aboard, lest the captain become frazzled at the sight of countless piles of clothes.  The fact that I'll live in a pair of jeans and series of polo shirts doesn't enter into this equation.

So, the clothes are stuffed into the closets and drawers (actually Serenity has oodles of space), the frig and freezer are bursting and the pantry's shelves sagging; we're finally ready to go.  Oh, did I mention the magazines, book and crossword puzzles I brought?  We left Huntington yesterday morning and I haven't even looked at the Sunday Times yet!  These things sound good in theory, so are a must to include.

Sunday morning dawned clear and sunny.  The last line was cast off at 8:20 am and we were on our way to Newport!  A bit after clearing Lloyd Neck, the wind picked up and so did the waves.  By 10 am, I was considering calling the Coast Guard to evacuate me off the boat and finishing the trip in a nice car or train.  We left the flybridge for the comfort of the pilot house since the wind was making it impossible to stand out there any longer.   That was mistake number one.  I gamely sat in the captain's chair while Tom and our actual captain Mike, explained things to me.  Though I desperately tried to concentrate and drown out the little voice telling me I was about to lose breakfast, the voice won.  I rushed down the stairs - that was mistake number two - in those conditions, one rushes nowhere.  One crawls and hopes for the best.  I made it to the head just in time.  Not to be outdone by conditions, voices or any other distractions, I climbed, crawled back up to the pilot house where the two men were still chatting, seemingly oblivious to my dire condition.  I lasted about 5 minutes before I had to rush off again.  This time I was down for the count.  My ziplock bag and I made it to the aft cockpit where we spent the next miserable 6 hours.  Do you have any idea just how long 6 hours actually is?  It's a very, very, very long time, let me tell you.  As we were entering the scenic approach to Saybrook's Harbor One Marina, I began to feel better and was even able to help with the lines.  The scenery was enough to focus me on other, nicer things.    Who could be unwell looking at this sight?

Once we were tied up, the best part of boating began - cocktails on the aft deck, while watching the sun set.  My ordeal was soon forgotten as I reveled in the sight of the most perfect sunset.  We had dinner in a lovely restaurant overlooking the marina - the perfect ending to a perfect day.  We stayed up too late discussing the day and our plans for the following day.  Tuesday would find us traveling from Saybrook, CT to Point Judith, RI.