Update from a Pandemic-stricken World

Good thing Plum Island is just south of that state line so the ocean’s nice ‘n’ toasty compared to nearby New Hampshire.

Hey there,

Been a long time since I last checked in so I figured it was time. And as we all know, things have gotten a little strange since then…

Last post was in December when a friend in Maryland happened to be in the same marina as Further and sent a couple of photos. I visited Further three months after that (four months after I had her hauled out of the water) when I interviewed for a job in Annapolis (apparently didn’t get it). That was the first week of March. Two weeks later, the world shut down.

I’ve been hunkered down at the family home on Plum Island, Massachusetts, and truth be told, it’s been a great place for self-isolating. It’s a big house that had no visitors after Christmas so it was clean; the island was quiet so getting out the house for a walk or run was pleasant; the beach stayed open for walking; we even had waves every so often for surfing. All in all, I hunkered down quite comfortably, and for that I am very grateful.

What’s all that got to do with Further, sailing and the ocean? Well, this: I got a kick out of this recent forecast from the National Weather Service. As we’ve moved into late spring, things have finally warmed up — but, of course, the ocean takes longer. So while the air recently hit the high 80s (with high humidity, to boot), the water stayed in the 40s. And that prompted the NWS to issue the following Beach Hazards Statement:

...BEACH HAZARDS STATEMENT REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
EVENING...

* WHAT...Please check with state and local authorities regarding
guidelines for allowed activities. The warm air temperatures
around 80 may cause people to underestimate the dangers of the
cold water temperatures which are currently only in the upper
40s.

* WHERE...In New Hampshire, Coastal Rockingham County. In Maine,
Coastal Waldo, Coastal Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox
and Coastal York Counties.

* WHEN...Through this evening.

* IMPACTS...The cold water temperatures can quickly cause
hypothermia to anyone immersed in the water. Anyone on boats or 
paddlecraft should use extreme caution to avoid this threat.

Included in the warning was the photo that accompanies this post. What cracks me up about it all (and why I’m posting about it) is that the warning just stops at the state line. So…the ocean in Seabrook, N.H., poses a threat but just over the line in Salisbury, Mass., everything’s fine?! Hoo boy…

Anyway, I got a kick out of it. Hope you did too.

As for what’s next for Further ’n’ me, well, that’s TBD. My brother arrived here at Plum Island a couple of days ago after spending the winter in Ventura, Calif., and the plan is for us to do some work on the house (he’s a carpenter). I’ve spent the winter going through our parents’ stuff so that’s done. Our goal is to get the house ready to sell and then, well, who knows? It will break my heart and crush my soul to sell this house but there’s really no way to keep it so…

The Chesapeake is open again and friends have resumed sailing so…it’s time. And I miss Further and being on the water. So, I’ll keep you posted.

On The Hard

Golden sunshine on a cold December morning.

A friend and teammate at the yacht brokerage in Annapolis sent me some photos of Further in her winter home on the hard in Maryland. She looks good (to me anyway) in her winter attire, if a bit forlorn at being out of the water. The shrink-wrap job looks good, too, so that will help her weather the weather, so to speak.

Who knew the elf was a sailor?!

All things considered, it made me feel very relieved to get these photos. Sad, yes, which I’ve already documented. But I feel good knowing that my baby is safe and sound for the coming months, and that I won’t have to worry (as much) about her while I’m up here in New England battling the elements and figuring out what’s next for us both. That relief makes me realize I made the right decision.

 

Thanks to Susan Meredith for the photos. Check out her bio…Susan knows boats. If you’re looking to buy or sell a boat in the mid-Atlantic region, drop her a line at: susanm@sjyachts.com or call her at 443-995-0906.

That’s “Mr. Smith” to you…

The Onset of Winter

Chesapeake sunrise in November, as seen from the companionway of Further tied up at a dock about 20 miles south of Annapolis.

It’s a cool, rainy day here in northern Massachusetts. New England November in all its dreary splendor. To compound things, I just received a voice-mail message (I was in the grocery store when the call came in) that my beloved Further was hauled out of the water down in Maryland today. The message let me know where in the massive yard Further is blocked up and will spend the winter.

And with that, a two-year pattern comes to a close.

Twelve days shy of two years ago, I closed on the purchase of Further and spent the subsequent months living aboard in Annapolis, trying to upgrade various aspects of the boat to make her ready to sail home to New England. That trip didn’t take place until late July of 2018, mostly due to my inability to find crew to join me for the trip. I returned to Annapolis in late September, planning to head south to the Caribbean for the winter. A variety of factors combined to prevent that from happening, so I settled in for another winter of living aboard in Naptown. I also managed to find a contract-basis job with a yacht brokerage, a job that turned out to be both enjoyable and challenging in delightfully unanticipated ways. That seemed to be my future until some family drama appeared out of nowhere and prompted the current situation: Further on the hard in Maryland, me living in Massachusetts doing projects on the house that failed to get done over the past couple of years. C’est la vie, as the saying goes.

I never anticipated this step. I knew one day I’d have to haul Further out of the water, if for no other reason than to repaint her hull. But I didn’t expect to haul her out and leave her high and dry for half a year.

In a way, this will be a good thing. For starters, I don’t have to worry about Further when ever a winter storm rears its ugly head. And I hope to get some projects done on the boat, projects that will get her closer to being ready to go long-distance cruising someday.

The question that arises: when is that someday? And I don’t have an answer for that. I need to get back in the game, so to speak, and get a normal, 21st century American life going again, complete with a full-time job and do something productive and fulfilling. So I’m guessing someday will be at some point several years in the future.

For now, I’ll pack away my shorts and flip-flops, my thin wetsuits and my golf clubs, and I’ll unpack my flannel sheets, long johns and snow shovel, and settle in for a New England winter. On the plus side, that means plenty of puck, more frequent surf (with fewer people out) and, as hoped for, an opportunity to utilize my experience and intellect as I contribute to society.

A stripped-down Further — no sails, no bimini or dodger, everything put away and secured — waiting to be hauled out for the winter.

The minus side took place a couple of days ago when I locked up a stripped-down Further and walked away from where she was tied to a dock in southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland. I felt like I was leaving my loyal and trusty dog at a pound, her eyes pleading with me not to go as my eyes welled up, thinking about the good times that had been, and the good times that we just missed out on.

Time to hunker down and get to work so those times can be again.