Monthly Archives: October 2014

Weighing Anchor

Beating across the Chesapeake

Beating across the Chesapeake

To weigh anchor is to pick the anchor off the sea floor. I before E except after sea.

We left Olverson’s Marina in Lottsburg, Thursday, October 16 at 5:15 pm. We left so late because we just wanted to get moving. and we also figured if we needed to turn around for any reason, we wouldn’t be too far away.

Stayed a nght at Lynch Point, VA, a night at Mill Creek, VA, and two nights in Fishing Bay, Deltaville, VA, and now we are on our second night in Portsmoth, VA.

This is the most sailing we have done on Whisper so we are doing a lot of “figuring.” The sail to Deltaville was AWESOME! We flew the main, mizzen and staysail, and I had many AHA moments. Whisper sails beautifully.

On our sail out of Deltaville we actually had the rail in the water a few times under genoa, main and mizzen. I was feeling a bit underseasoned to be at the helm, and I finally convinced Dave to reef the genny a bit. The genny is 120% and when the wind picks up it is the first to make my heart start beating a bit too fast. Ended up motoring into the wind with 3-4 ft waves to Portsmouth, which kind of sucked, anchored in Willoughby Bay next to Langley Air Force that night.

Nearing the area, we saw low flying huge military helicopters, fighter jets flying so low and close over our masts one could not help but imagine the poor creatures that might be on the receiving end of their annihilation. We woke up to the Reveille at Langley Air Force Base, with a pod of 20 dolphins dancing on our bow.

Next morning we made it to Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth, VA. Dave wanted to get a second opinion on the humming engine noise he had been hearing. I was hesitant for him to have it looked at because Dave knows a bit about diesel engines. Not OUR Westerbeke 40, but he has done some time under many hoods of VWs. Often when he has things “looked at”, we spend $200 only to find out what we aleady know.

The guys at Tidewater really knew there stuff. First of all, they were able to see us licketty split, Ralph and Gaston first greeted us, listened, commented, chatted, laughed, advised- not just on the engine- but on the new rigging we installed ourselves (Gaston knows a lot about rigging), the Bahamas (Ralph worked down there for 2 years), etc. Then after all their expertise and knowledge they sent in Rick. He is musician. So that noise that Dave could hear that I coud not (probably because HE is an musician), Rick could also hear. Rick had a big screwdriver- he would put on end of the screwdriver to a part of the engine and another part to his ear. He found an oil pressure sensor that was not working. In the end, he said that Westerbeke 40s are loud- even when they are new. And the sound may be a bearing in the transmission that was worn, and basically that we should just keep on sailing until she blows. And it could last 8-10 years.

So, even though it wasn’t great news that there is a worn bearing, it was great news that the trip would go on!

I am a big fan of bedside manner. Not that I always have it, but when folks are gentle and nice and kind for no reason but because they are, it is hard not to also be gentle and nice and kind. These guys at Tidewater Yacht Marina are “dabomb”. After we had our engine looked at, they let us stay at the service dock overnight, we did laundry, took showers, had drinks and food at the bar/restaurant. We walked the docks and looked at all the super fancy boats with people that have too much money or too much time or both.

This morning, October 22, we had planned to go through the Dismal Swamp. We woke up early to a weather report of high winds and rain. Since the Dismal Swamp is a wee bit of a ditch that is just deep enough for us to plow through in the deepest part we decided not to take the chance of getting “blown” off course and grounded. So we are staying another night. Ralph at Tidewater gave us the green light to spend another night at the service dock.

We are getting into the swing of the “be here now”-ness necessary for this trip. When weather is good, we take advantage and move south, when it is not, we surrender to what is and make the best of it. Pleasant surprises arise again and again.

We will be getting Ava caught up in her homeschooling, including a field trip on a paddle ferry to Norfolk and going to the Nautical Museum.

We cannot thank the staff at Tidewater Yacht Marina enough for the kindness that they have extended to us. They have really “made” our entire experience in Portsmouth.