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For many of the southbound cruisers, the trip south is a little bit of a race against the weather, and by the weather, I mean the cold. Insurance companies often define boundaries* which can not be crossed until the end of the hurricane season (H-season, windy season… take your pick). We have known all along that way before we reach the warm weather, it’s going to get cold. Well… it has started. I woke up this morning and the inside of the boat was hovering around 55F. Yes, this is balmy compared to some of the chilly mornings we had on the boat back in Canada, but it’s just the start. Fortunately (for us), like a bad rash that just keeps coming back, we are once again tied up to our friends’ dock in the Magothy River. And they have shore power… which means we currently have heat. Woo hoo!

We left Baltimore yesterday in the chilly rain, with winds blowing a bit over 20 knots. For once though the wind was on our back, so we were surfing on the waves instead of bashing through them. The downside to wind like that (why, oh why, does there always have be a downside?) is that the wind was then able to blow the rain into our cockpit, soaking us with chilly water. This is when we were really grateful for the good foul-weather gear that we have. The very first sailing-related piece of kit that we purchased, even before we did our cruising course, was a set of Gill foul-weather gear (pants and jacket). This, combined with some long underwear and gloves, saved from our snowboarding gear, helped to keep us from going beyond stage 1 hypothermia.

Aside from surfing some good waves at speeds breaking 10 knots, the only other excitement in the trip occurred right near the beginning when we were approaching a fuel dock to top up our tanks and get a pump out (yes, without a composting head we now need to once again deal with stuff like that). In the cold rain, Rebecca was standing at the bow like a trooper, watching our boat make its way towards the staff-less fuel dock, ready to step (jump?) off the boat to secure it with a line. I, on the other hand, was back in the cockpit, fighting with the #$#^% starboard engine which kept stalling when I brought it down to idle speed. That is not cool and is definitely something that needs to be looked at. There’s a handful of times when you really don’t want your engine to stall. Approaching a dock is one of them.

*Our boundary is the Georgia/Florida border. We can not go into Florida until November 1st.


  1. Or when you are approaching a bridge that hasn’t opened yet and the current is strong. Or when docking next to a luxury yacht. Or when trying to make a narrow reef opening. Not that these things happened to us… 🙂
    I can’t believe you guys headed out in the cold wet yuck yesterday. You deserve a hot toddy and a good rest today. Do you have a dodger? I couldn’t see one in the pics…

    Glad you are warm-ish. This is been the year of weather extremes here in the Bay.

  2. I had no idea that the insurance company wouldn’t allow you to enter an area before hurricane season was over. They’re always coming up with ways to save them money aren’t they? At least in 3 weeks you should be in warmer weather again.

  3. Mike…Plenty of time to meet me in the Spanish Virgin Islands

  4. Seems to me it’s time to put the windshield and sides back up!

    We actually made side extentions for ours, from tent fabric, that make a HUGE difference when it’s nasty. Nothing to it, but nice when it rains.

    The salon window covers were also a big success. On our last long cruise we never used the deck sun shade, because the white covers took so much heat off the boat. Look at your boat and you will see that the dark spots are the windows and that the deck has so much foam, little heat comes in.

    I learned that a big beach towel over the cabin door at night helps.

    • They ARE up (see comments above). 🙂

      Both of the additions you made sound like excellent projects for us.

      • Like rock and ice climbing, I never seem to get pictures of the really nasty stuff, only the tame stuff. Too busy, it seems.

        The light side curtains worked out well. Because they are light, rather than sunbrella or heavy vinyl, they roll up to nothing with velcro. I made them from some light stuff I had, just as a test fit, but I think they’ll stay as they are. Very handy for summer rain showers. I can’t imagine the full enclosures, though, unless I lived aboard in Seattle. Even in the winter, too little mobility. The side curtains can stay up while sailing; it is easy to reach around.

  5. Hi guys,

    We’ve enjoyed keeping up with your trip. Kudos for going out in that weather. I think I would have holed up for the day.

    We are heading to the boat show this weekend and the weather is looking good. Looking forward to it. We will probably run into you guys there – possibly at the Marriott sundeck happy hour 🙂 ?

    Have a great time!

    Dianne and Tim

    • Happy hour. Perfect, but isn’t every hour “happy” hour?


      PS: In retrospect, staying put would have been the smart thing. As usual, we underestimated how long it would take to get here.

  6. Brrr! I’m still not sure if I will try to get to Annapolis this weekend. Nothing like a last minute decision. Problem is, I want to come, but there’s my mother—-! Anyway, I’m glad you are headed to warmer weather. It’s been chilly here, too. Nights in the 40s and even the high 30s. I gave up and turned on the heat! My turn it off again, but it’s hard to tell. Stay safe!

  7. Ron and Kathleen from Toronto - Reply

    Hi Mike,
    We have been following you guys for a while. We are heading off to the Annapolis boat show this weekend. Looking forward to stepping aboard a few catamarans, and getting a few ideas for our trip. It would be a pleasure to meet both of you if possible while we’re down there. I hear the bash at the Eastport Yacht club will be a good one.
    Hope you have fair weather and a steady breeze.
    Regards, R and K

    • Hi guys

      We were told about the Eastport bash today and it sounds like we may be attending. Send us an email with your contact info if you like:

      zero to cruising AT gmail DOT com


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