Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Stingray Point Boat Works - On the hard, last post until October 1st

Fleetwing is airborn!
It's the end of the season for us. Fleetwing is out of the water and on land for some refitting. She needs her iron keel sandblasted and painted with barrier coat and bottom paint refreshed elsewhere. The poor genset will get some care to make it active once again. All it needs is a gasket but I also want to check on the output voltage. It used to always put out 120v for some unknown reason, it suddenly decided to only put out 113v one day and it's been constant ever since. Something is not right there.

Fleetwing blocked higher than ever in the past to allow room to sandblast the bottom of the keel, It looks a little strange to see it so high but that's what's needed. I turned the dehumidifier on just like last summer. It was the first time ever we had seen no mildew inside upon returning in the fall. The dehumidifier worked just right. For that, you need electricity and we were able to get a spot that supplied 120v. The dehumidifier only draws 4 amps, not a big deal and I connected the drain to the seacock for the A/C unit which is nonfunctional out of the water anyway.

The view out the cottage - nice
The yard is packed with boats! It's the most I've ever seen and I guess it's mainly due to the coronavirus and the resulting impacts to marinas, restaurants, and sightseeing in general. We are somewhat concerned about the fall but we are hoping the virus will fade but nothing is certain. We'll see.

This is the last blog of the spring season going north. I hope to restart the blog October 1st when we return to head south once again. Be sure to rejoin us then!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Stingray Point Boat Works - in the well

They have boats of all kinds here, lots of wetted surface on this one but a classic
Stingray Point Boat Works made room for us in the well overnight so we would be ready to be first out in the morning. Ann backed Fleetwing out of her slip with aplomb and then I took over since Stingray wanted the boat backed in.

For those who are fans of The Expanse on Amazon, here's it's namesake (or Don Quixote's horse)
The channel is rather narrow between the two marinas and as I was tooling along, Ann motioned for me to get over to port - unfortunately, I ignored her and Fleetwing abrupted stopped! I was headed to the well for lift out and was keeping the reds on my port side as if I was going up the ICW - wrong decision! I should have kept the reds on the starboard side (red, right, returning...) . So I backed off and shifted over to the green side and all was well.

The car is thinking, "enough of this, I've been ignored long enough - let's go!"
It was a major workday with me doing the oil change, oil and fuel filter changes, and getting tons of stuff off Fleetwing. It's amazing what you accumulate after months afloat! What's left if for haul out Wednesday morning at 7:30 and then taking down the bimini and dodger, no small task in itself. After that, we'll retire to the Waterway Guide cottage nearby and rest up for the trip north on Thursday morning.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Dozier's Regatta Point Yachting Center in Deltaville - at a dock

Leaving Hampton, we were greeted by a submarine - standoff 500 yards!
We have some work to do before taking Fleetwing out of the water so we docked next door at Dozier's. I need to change the oil, oil filters, fuel filters, and more on the Volvo to get it ready for summer storage, then we have to pack. We will be loading the car for the trip north and staying at the Waterway Guide cottage nearby Wednesday night to leave at first light on Thursday morning.

The first cruise ship we've seen on the water (not tied up)
The trip north was very calm with winds less than 10 kts. We saw a submarine leave for the ocean, accompanied by a tug warning everyone to standoff at least 500 yards. We thought about that for a millisecond and decided that we would abide that request, we were much farther away anyway.

Dozier's has some covered docks for us but many were empty
The marina here is very nice with ipe floating docks, a clubhouse, pool, loaner car, loaner bicycles, and more. We may very well launch Fleetwing in the fall and move over to this marina to provision for the trip south. We would have our car with us for the provisioning, a plus.
I've included a photo of Fleetwing just to show the docks at the marina

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Hampton at Bluewater Marina - at a dock

It was do it yourself at the locks today - no help from the lockmaster
We were in no special hurry so we left on time to make the 9:00 am opening of Great Bridge and the associated lock. In the age of the coronavirus, there's no help in securing lines to the cleats alongside the bulkhead. Normally, you would hand up the fore and aft lines to be picked up by the lockmaster and you're good to go. Not anymore. Now you're told to secure the midcleat first and then the fore and aft lines. That technique secures the boat to the bulkhead and then you can fish for the fore and aft cleats on land. It's a little awkward but it works. The lockmaster stood by and watched all of us.

The many boats in for upgrades were impressive in Norfolk
The rest of the trip north to Hampton was uneventful. All the railroad bridges were up and the Gilmerton bridge opened on request. We arrived at Bluewater Marina around 1:00 and found our slip without a problem. It's a nice marina and appears very secure. Normally we would dock at Downtown Hampton Public Piers but there is no security there other than the occasional policeman walking by so we thought it was better to be at Bluewater Marina, at least this time around. 

We were looking for the name of the boat but all we could see was, "No Smoking", a strange name for such a large ship
On Monday, it's north to Dozier's Marina at Stingray Point. We will haul Fleetwing on Wednesday and we need time to get the boat ready for the summer which we will do on Tuesday. Time to head home.
This bridge looks to be too slender and too high, but pretty

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Free Dock by Great Bridge - at a facedock

Woods to explore - right off the ICW!
We didn't feel like pressing for Hampton so we stopped at the free dock just south of Great Bridge. It was far enough for us today and there was only one other boat at the dock. Later on, two more came in but there was still room for several more. The docks are very sturdy and they are by a wooded area with hiking trails. There is a 24 hour limit on docking and there's no electric or water but otherwise, it's fine.

A nice bottle of wine in appreciation
As has been the custom, several people stopped by to say hello and to meet Bob423. One bought a bottle of wine, the third such person on our trip north. It's all very much appreciated, we do like wine. We have no taste for hard liquor but a fine bottle of wine is always nice.

The docks are sturdy - 24-hour limit
There is a park here with many hiking trails and I took Hoolie along on several this afternoon. We plan on reaching Hampton Sunday night to stage for a trip up the Chesapeake on Monday morning. We are reaching the end of our journey north but I still have a lot of work to do to get Fleetwing ready for a summer layover, Tuesday will be a major workday before haulout on Wednesday morning.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Coinjock - at a facedock, really packed in

Coinjock knows how to pack them in!
The morning was to be relatively mild in wind but it was due to kick up in the afternoon so we got an early start. Sure enough, even though the winds were 8 to 12 going across the Albemarle, it started to increase to 15 to 20 as we entered the ICW off the Albemarle. If anyone was going south today in the afternoon, they were in for a wild ride.

Every other table was not to be used, they were still full
Coinjock texted us along the way to double-check that we intended to dock there. It turns out that they were full and had to turn boats away. We were fine since we made our reservation several days ago. We tied up with the usual Coinjock efficiency in saving space (no gaps between boats on the facedock).

Our treat for the night, a Coinjock prime rib dinner
We treated ourselves to a Coinjock prime rib for dinner, the 16 oz size apiece for each of us. It's really too much but we make it last by having roast beef sandwiches the next day. I always order it rare since it usually turns out medium-rare after it gets from the grill to the table. The restaurant itself had every other table roped off, their form of social distancing but the bar was elbow to elbow, oh well.

A nice bottle of wine from
George and Rachel Lipscomb
In a crowded marina like Coinjock, we tend to get lots of visitors that drop by to say thanks for all the ICW information, some even bring a bottle of wine. The biggest regret is that we can't socialize due to the social distancing we are still practicing. We haven't been in a supermarket since January, just mostly on Fleetwing except to walk Hoolie.

We plan on stopping at the free dock just north of Great Bridge for the night and move on to Hampton the next day.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Alligator River Marina - at a dock

The familiar lighthouse is still there. That's us on the left.
We had some high winds of 15 to 20 kts but they were all behind us so the going was easy. We have the same forecast for Friday so we're hoping for the best. The roughest part of the ride into Alligator River Marina is always the last part paralleling the bridge. The wind is always either out of the north or south, never across the width of the river, so the waves hit you broadside. That direction induces a lot of side to side rolling, at least on Fleetwing. We always wait until we get across the entrance before putting out fenders, it's too rough otherwise.

It's just a gas station with docks but they are located at a very convenient place on the ICW
The marina changed hands last year but there's been no perceptible change in the marina. It's the same docks, the same dockhands and the same restaurant. One thing they do have is great ice cream cones but we skipped that treat due to the virus social distancing, maybe next year. We used to always get a Christmas card from Wanda, the previous owner but no more. The new owners did not continue the tradition.

The docks are fixed but sturdy. Be carefully when coming in.
Our Friday destination is Coinjock and a prime rib dinner! Tonight we had the last of the lump crabmeat from Dowry Creek marina - outstanding! If you're ever in the neighborhood,  be sure and drop by to buy some, it's very worthwhile.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Dowry Creek Marina - We have Jacques Pepin's crab cakes

Tonight's entertainment
One of the unusual items in the quick market they have on-site is lump crabmeat from a local market. We were offered a 1 lb package to try out and Ann had a recipe we've used in the past from Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way book which we loved.

It's the best recipe we've ever found and the crabmeat itself was fresh as could be from a local source.  We only used half of the 1 lb container, it was all meat, no fillers. I had the enjoyment of two crabmeat patties and it was wonderful. I understand the crabcakes will be featured at the restaurant they are building on-site and hopefully to be completed by the fall although that may now be in doubt due to the virus delays.

The docks here are fixed and look very sturdy - very new
We did our wash using the free laundry. They had three washers and three dryers and they looked pretty new. The laundry room was air-conditioned too, always a plus in southern climates. We are headed to Alligator River Marina on Thursday and then Coinjock. We now have formal reservations for a haul out on June 10th, a Wednesday- if the weather cooperates. We plan on driving home the same day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Dowry Creek - at a dock

The view from the swimming pool
The winds were light on the Neuse River. It can be a really nasty piece of water with high winds but today it was tame. We had intended staying at RE Mayo for the night but when we reached the docks there at 1:30, we figured we might as well go on to Dowry Creek Marina. We made a whirlwind stop for fuel, just like a pit stop in a race and took on 40 gallons - a lot for a sailboat.

And the pool is inviting too
The wind picked up as we headed north but the run across Pamlico Sound was short and not too bad. We were headed for Dowry Creek Marina which had changed hands since the last time we were there. There are many new docks now and they look very sturdy. Ann glided us in and we were secure within minutes.

Dowry Creek has added a 7/11 type store with supplies of milk, eggs, butter, ice cream and other stores. For refreshment, they offer beer and wine, it's quite a complete shop. They have three dryers and three washers and recently renovated the showers and restrooms, all air-conditioned. Throw in the heated swimming pool and a refilling station for propane tanks and you have a great stopover for boaters. Of course, they sell fuel and pump outs are available at every slip, not just at the fuel dock. I'll cover more of what they have to offer in tomorrow's blog.

We will probably stay another day before heading to the Alligator River Marina to rest up from today's long run. We"ll get north eventually.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Homer Smith Marina - Lift bridge is gone!

Home Smith has become very popular
The lift bridge is gone between Home Smith and Beaufort. In fact, it was gone last year but we still like the "backdoor" entrance to Homer Smith. We were hoping for shrimp but the shrimp boats had not gone out yet this week due to wind. I guess the shrimp nets don't work too well in windy conditions. They will probably go out Tuesday but we will be gone by them.

Matt and Tony are here to make sure your stay is enjoyed!
Today I had to wash off all the salt that accumulated on your trip through Bogue Sound with the occasional wave over the bow. I was also hoping to finally get the parts for the genset but alas, they were not here. In a call to Hinckley, I found that they had just arrived today there. I told them to hold the parts until I can find a place for shipment, it's been a long story on the genset.

The most beautiful sight for a sailboater - a lift bridge that's been removed! It used to be right here!
We will head down the Neuse River to RE Mayo on Tuesday and hopefully, find a dock there. I'm looking forward to some shrimp and fish, although it will be frozen but it's still very good. After that, it's onward to Dowry Creek the next day, we're moving steadily northward.