Friday, October 14, 2016

Annapolis Day 2 + Cruiser's University

The Annapolis Boat Show was a lot less soggy on Sunday, and a lot more windy too was we got the doublewhammy of a passing cold front and inflow into Matthew, which had turned and was heading offshore. We called Charleston City Boatyard at 10am and got the good news that all the boats were still standing and undamaged...that wasn't the case at some of the marinas downtown. Dawn and I arrived at the show before it officially opened so we went to Pussers for coffee and mapping our strategy. Well, we only had to visit a few electronics vendors before pretty much everyone said go with The GPS Store for the best wholesale prices. So we did. I ended up ordering the Garmin 7607 chartplotter, 18xHD radar, GHP Reactor autopilot corepack, a wind/speed/depth bundle with Gmi20 and Gnx20 indicators plus another spare Gnx20. All this came to a discounted boatshow price of $5800, not bad as retail was over $7k. Then we headed over to Defender and ordered a Vesper XB-8000 AIS transponder + wifi multiplexer at a $140 discount. And I wrapped up my electronics shopping by ordering a new Blue Sea VSM-422 on

Finishing the electronics shopping so early gave us a lot more time to goof around checking out all the boats. Judy Handley alerted me that her good friends Kevin and Claire were at the boat show and would like to meet, so we got in contact and set up the rendezvous. I "knew" Kevin and Claire from Judy's blog - they have a long history with Windbird as they were Judy and Mark's liveaboard neighbors in Boston and were there to cast off the lines when they took off around the world. Later they joined Judy and Mark for a sail around Thailand, and then it was Kevin that helped them do the emergency 5-day delivery from FL to SC in February. They're not much older than Dawn and I, and I thought we hit it off. After checking out the new boats we went over to Brokerage Cove to check out some used ones, and then they went their separate way while Dawn and I resumed shopping, this time for foulies. Judy texted the previous night saying that Mark had received a brand new Henri Lloyd jacket at the Massachusetts General Hospital's America's Cup Experience fundraiser last year, and he'd only worn it once, it was my size, and I could have it - but she didn't know which jacket it was. She sent a pic, though, and the helpful folks at the Henri Lloyd booth immediately identified it as the Ultimate Cruiser Jacket (now called Freedom Jacket). That's perfect as I had been considering buying that jacket. And in fact at the show they were selling Ultimate Cruiser salopettes for a very good closeout price, so Dawn and I both ended up buying a pair.

On Monday through Thursday we attended "Cruiser's University," which is four full days of seminars on topics relevant to prospective liveaboard cruisers. My knowledge level in a lot of the areas of my chosen classes was already a lot higher than when we signed up, but most of the classes were still pretty useful, especially for Dawn (we took the same courses maybe 1/4 of the time and otherwise split up). We met a lot of really great people - including a few that'll be doing about the same thing as us, at the same time - and enjoyed the nights out with classmates in Annapolis immensely. It's a great town, and we hope to spend some there with Windbird next summer.

Yesterday I dropped Dawn off at DCA after class and she flew home, while I drove overnight to Charleston. I stopped at a truckstop to nap between about 2:30 and 6am, and arrived here at the boatyard just after 8am. I'm happy to report that Windbird did indeed weather the storm very well. The boatyard is almost back to normal and work on Windbird will commence next week. I got some boatwork done today (boom vang bail is fixed!), will be commuting to Atlanta tomorrow, and then fly my first Atlanta-based trip, a 5-day to Lagos, Nigeria. Finally on Wednesday Oct 19th I will get home to MN for the first time this month. It's been a crazy couple of weeks, I miss my dog a lot, and I really cannot wait for us to all just be living on the boat.

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