Cape Fear River, North Carolina to Annapolis, Maryland

May 7th to June 2nd

Well, it’s already been a month.  We are totally consumed with land life and boat projects, but I’ll try to remember the passage.   We left bright and early Saturday the 8th, with a very short weather window to get around Hatteras.  It was cool and cloudy, with wind on the nose, so more motoring.  We were able to motor sail for some of the passage, but because of the weather window, we didn’t have the luxury of sailing slowly.  I did have some excitement for my Sunday night watch off Pamlico Sound.  The Coast Guard got a report of an Airbus 320 with 121 souls aboard down in the water off Hatteras.  All boats were asked to keep a close lookout, and advise of any unusual sightings.  One boat did call in to say they thought they had seen a plane flying very low, in the reported vicinity.  Navy boats called in to start a search grid but the coast guard said they had it handled with their boats and a helicopter.  That they didn’t want the navy to help made me wonder what was up.  Two days later I googled and learned it was a hoax.  At the time though, it kept me wide awake.  The very specific head count had made me think it could be real.

We were thrilled to get out of the big ocean waves on the nose and into the nice peaceful Chesapeake.  We were low on fuel after motoring for almost 2 days, but we really didn’t want to go in at Norfolk, because it was hours out of the way, and once the waves stopped, we did not feel so tired.  We were able to do some slow sailing and kept going until sunset, when we pulled into the Wicomico river just south of the Potomac for the night.  It was so still, we never stretched out the anchor chain, and I think the water moved less than land normally does.  Fabulous.  We were now just a long day’s sail from Annapolis.  We got the anchor up by 7AM, and took off.  It was slow going in light wind in the morning, but all afternoon, we had the spinnaker up, coasting gently up the bay with just 8 knots behind us.  We ghosted along at 6 knots, and picked up our mooring in Spa Creek for sunset.  The fleets of racing sailboats of all sizes going in and out, the Naval Academy that politely waits until 8AM to do reveille, and a big schooner called Lynx, in town for Commissioning Week when the current batch of cadets graduate, where all great entertainment from the cockpit.  After being pretty much alone in the Cape Fear River, it was a pleasant shock.  The sun even came out.

The Blue Angels flying in tight formation over the Naval Academy

The next day, we went and got our first doses of the Pfizer vaccine (and two weeks later the second).

After 2 days on the mooring, we moved to the South anchorage, which is in the middle of the action during the day, quiet at night, and just a short dinghy ride to Ego Alley (the block long canal with Town Dock at the end, where people go to show off their boats).

On Sunday, Claire came to join us from Virginia.  She enjoyed two nights on the boat before we had to go to Jabin’s to haul out.  We are currently in our second AirBNB.  I couldn’t keep the same one for the whole time, because everything was booked for commissioning week.  We are now in a great place a short walk from everything.  I’ve become addicted to Rise Up Coffee every morning, and we are doing the tour of Annapolis Restaurants.  We’ve enjoyed Level, Luna Blu, the Boat Yard, the Market Café, Pussers, Jack Fortune, Roccos Pizza, Vin 909, and the Point over in Arnold by our friends house.  We especially enjoyed our good friend’s restaurant, the Broadneck Grille.  On the list, but impossible to get reservations last week was Preserve.  Two reliable sources say it’s the best restaurant in town.  We also have made friends with a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club, so it’s not impossible we might get in there too.

Renegade gets hauled out
On the hard in “Hylas row” at Jabin’s Yacht Yard

I think I’ve been stalling writing this blog, because I don’t like to think of all the boat projects we have going on.  The big one, that everything revolves around, and scares us both, is our brand new engine.  Our trusty Yanmar now has 6,000 hours on it (5,000 when we bought her) and it needs a ring job.  This means the huge time and expense to get the motor out of the boat, and then a fix that may or may not be perfect or the last thing to go wrong.  For double the price, but hopefully improved resale value, we decided to install a brand new engine.  It will be more efficient than our 20 year old engine, and slightly quieter.  Plus, we hope a new engine will help us sell the boat someday in the distant future.  That’s basically open heart surgery, a heart transplant really, for Renegade.  We are scared!  And not just for our wallets.  But that’s why we are here in Annapolis.  It’s like the Mayo Clinic for boats.  Of course, the whole drive train is caught up in this.  We even sent the prop out to be rebuilt.  I didn’t even know you could do that.

New diesel for Renegade

While we are out, we are working on every single major system on the boat it seems.  We are installing a new compressor for the AC (the part of the AC we didn’t replace two years ago.  We are rebuilding the water maker as some pumps and valves are failing.  Jeff is putting new gaskets and handles on 2 of the fridges because they aren’t sealing well.   A bottom paint job and new zincs, why not?

We’ve been out of the water 8 days now, and it seems longer.  The engine and bottom jobs are moving along, but getting someone to work on the AC is crazy.  There are 3 companies in town, and they all say call the other guy.  They are so busy.  It’s frustrating, we need to get back in the water ASAP.  Luckily, we have Claire to entertain us til Friday, when she goes back to Virginia to start her internship.  We also have some really great friends in town, so shouldn’t complain.  We’ve already played Mexican Train Dominoes twice, so there is some excitement in our lives.  We’re just missing our home, and sick of sleeping on dirt.  It’s too hard and unforgiving!

We are pushing hard to head north before July 4th, but it’s really not in our control at the moment.