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Becoming wary of repair crew….

After 6 weeks of being land-based in Maryland, I was looking forward to finally rejoining Pat and boat life on Cat Maudy. The weather on Saturday 1/12/08 was perfect for my 9 hour drive from Silver Spring MD. The original plan was to take the Amtrak from DC to Charleston – but due to a recent bout with the flu – I preferred to avoid more flu season on the train with a bunch of potentially ill people. Thus, I’m driving, solo.

My VW Beetle was loaded. Bicycle, computer, skates, food — soy, brown rice, quinoa & fruit….along with 5 bags of crew mate Derrick’s “stuff”.

Derrick, our last minute crew who joined up for the sail south in early November – was still on board. We had worked out an “arrangement” – where he did a bunch of work on the boat…in trade for food and board. He was trying to get his footing….and we thought we could help him get a fresh start – in Charleston SC.

But, all was not well with this arrangement. Captain Pat noticed discrepancies in Derrick’s stories…how he had worked on Tiger Wood’s yacht in Florida, why he left Florida, why his parents won’t have anything to do with him. I’m a sucker for a good storyline. Not Pat. Pat saw the fissures…and soon we would both be onto the “real” Derrick, the crack addict, who was living on our boat.

For now, I am southward bound on I-95….and all was going well until I decided to fuel up at Exit 181 in South Carolina at the Hess gas station. That’s where my trusted volkswagon beetle became possessed. While filling up the tank – and with keys, purse, cell phone resting on the car seat – the doors suddenly locked, locking me OUT.

This is what you call a PANIC moment. No cell phone, no keys, no money, no food, no water….nothing. I had to rely on the kindness of strangers to help me out. Borrowing a few cell phones…I managed to contact Pat – and he hopped in the Jeep for a 3 hour drive to Exit 181 – with a spare key for the Beetle. In the meantime…I needed food and water (a Wadsworth cannot go 3 hours without food!)… Waiting…waiting….waiting…. Now approximately an hour into sitting on the hood of my VW Beetle – I looked around for some South Carolina ex-con who might be able to break into my friggin’ car. Noticed a tow truck driver filling up on diesel. I asked him if he knew how to break into a car – in my best blonde impression. Whew….he did. Within 20 minutes of break-in magic — he unlocked the door for me (slightly damaging the door too – but hey – I didn’t care at this point!)….and I was back on my way to Charleston.

The car spent the next 2 weeks at the Mount Pleasant Low Country Volkswagon dealership – to fix the computer sensor problem that caused the doors to lock without notice. Moral of this story…don’t trust computer chips in cars…and keep your keys on you at all times!

A boat needs to REALLY go south for the winter….not Charleston SC — SOUTH. Now, I realize that Charleston was selected because it allowed me to easily travel back and forth to Maryland for work and family issues….but I can still learn from all of this. It would be nice if I was independently wealthy, retired or did not have a fear of flying – instead I need to work, and I travel only by land or water.

Sooo, going between Maryland and Charleston SC has been exhausting, and I have now lived out of a suitcase for over 2 months. The good thing, is that I realize how few items I really need in my life….a few clothes, inline skates, laptop and my health food (brown rice, quinua, soy….fresh fruits and veggies)….everything beyond that is EXTRA. The tough part…is when I’m not on the boat – I don’t really have a place to call home. Cry me a river.

With that said, I was looking forward to being “home” on Cat Maudy. Then, I stepped into our boat. And…proceeded to fall down the steps into the galley. A calamity-Jane at best.

Cutting & re-glassing the steps became a high priority project for Derrick. He needed to cut, and fix the steps so that there is enough room for a human foot before it slides off the edge. Thank you 😉

Next boat observation…the smell. Condensation, moisture, mold everywhere….temperatures outside in the 30’s and inside with 3 space heaters running in the upper 50’s / low 60’s. Monsoon style rains….wind….and wetness like you’ve never imagined. What’s up with that?(31 degrees outside…61 degrees inside)

The deal is — when it is cold and wet outside….and you are heating the boat inside….you never open it up because it’s too cold and wet outside. Then condensation forms everywhere….and eventually everything turns to mold…the walls, bedding. Clothing…everything! Now, don’t get me wrong — this is not a problem unique to Cat Maudy. Every boat owner at the City Marina that we came in contact with – is having the same problem. So, we have to just deal with it. Wipe down the inside of the boat with Simple Green or Vinegar…including all foot lockers and cubbies….and bag up everything not being used – in airtight vacuum bags to prevent further molding. A relatively monumental task.

Sadly, many items were trashed due to the mold….and on one of the 3 total dry days while I was in Charleston for my 2 week stay — I did approximately 25 loads of wash – with about a gallon of Clorox – to try to kill the mold and simultaneously turn everything we own into a tie-dye look. Oops…

A clothes drying day – everything is laid out on the hulls & bridge deck for some sunshine.After looking at ALL of these clothes…I realize more downsizing is necessary in my life!

Soaked pillows….taking in some rays and temperatures in the upper 40’s

Cat Maudy goes Healthy Eatin’
After 6 weeks of staring at land based TV in the evenings – watching the FOOD network, Iron Chef…and the Travel Channel….along with my own personal commitment to HEALTY eating….all of this had to be instilled onto Cat Maudy.

Now, I realize Pat and Derrick were quite happy with fried foods, sweets, crackers and peanut butter…eating out at 5 Guys for hamburgers and fries…but those days are over now. New foods have arrived…and they include:
Spinach, yellow squash, mushrooms, zucchini,
Tomatoes, cucumber, onions, Tofu
Fresh fish (Tilapia, wild salmon, flounder),
Brown rice, sweet brown rice, barley, lentils, and quinoa (introduced to me by my friend Meryl!), Dried fruits and nuts
Fresh fruits – apples, pears, berries, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit…

I spent my first few hours upon arrival – purging the Pantry and Refridgerator of the “got to go” foods (heavily processed, high sodium, high sugar…just about everything!)…and then made a stop at the local grocery stores (Teeter & Publix) to begin the transition toward healthy foods. My goal is to eventually rid of all processed food…but we’re not there yet.

Art…and food — aka the presentation…the aura – is my new “thing”.

Chef Jane’s new entries include:

Pan grilled chicken in lemon pepper and sun dried tomatoes, leaf spinach w/corn & orzo salad tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Slices of pears and kiwi fruit to garnish….

Spinach salad w/ fresh tomatoes, red onion and fat free feta cheese – with a yogurt dressing

Pan grilled salmon cooked slowly in a low-sodium soy sauce served on a bed of baby spinach along with red tomatoes, fresh cucumber, corn, red onion, Bartlett pears and dried Michigan cherries topped with a drizzle of yogurt dressing garnished with slices of whole wheat pita bread and eggplant hummus

total calories: 315

Years ago I was thrilled to have a dinner of popcorn…followed by m&m’s….wow…what happened???

Rendezvous with sailor friends from Germany
We met Heiko and Jutta while at port in Baltimore. Heiko and Jutta are a lovely German couple – hard core sailors (live on the cheap, know how to fix everything themselves, extremely self-reliant, and sail everywhere). They noticed our German made anchor and thought we might be German (nope…but Cat Maudy is German built)….and the friendship began. They translated all of the words on our control panel – which are all in German – to English. It helps knowing what all of the buttons on your boat mean.

Pat noticed on Heiko & Jutta’s website that they were arriving into the Charleston area – and sent them an email. We hooked up and they joined us for dinner on Cat Maudy. We got to hear about their adventures up north in Newfoundland….getting close to icebergs….and how to use iceberg ice in rum & cokes. Cool!

Exercise in Charleston
My exercise regimen was somewhat limited due to the inclement weather. I did manage to get in a few skate workouts at the James Island County Park…and discovered the thrill of bicycling over the Route 17 bridge into Mount Pleasant. I also hit tennis balls one day in the local park with my friend Cindy.

In addition, my stepdaughter Emma talked me into doing the Columbia Iron Girl Triathlon with her (and I dragged my skate sista Jill into this mix as well!) The triathlon is scheduled for August…I don’t know how to swim. Oh my.

James Island County Park is just a few minutes from the City Marina — tho only accessible from a car. Once in the park – they have designated bicycle paths – tho I don’t really like these – so I just skate in the park roads. The park roads are nicely paved – and the loop is just under 1.5 miles. I have to figure out ways to challenge myself here and not get too bored with the small loop. Sometimes I skate the loop doing small speed intervals….and other times I try to work on my crossover technique. Or, I just try to avoid the dogs in the park…a lot of people take their dogs here. The coolest part of the loop is the section near the pond – which is lined by palm trees.
I skip the bike path section…go straight to the park roads for skating

Ever since we first saw the Route 17 (Ravenel) bridge when we arrived into the Charleston Harbor on Thanksgiving Day…I wanted to ride my bicycle over that bridge. The bridge has great architecture, and only in slow motion (bike or walking) can you really absorb it’s design and the view of Charleston. Walking is too slow for my taste — so it was time to figure out how to bike on that thing. The bridge was built in 2005 – and was designed with a pedestrian / bike way completely separate from the traffic lanes. How delightful. So, I biked out of the City Marina…along Wentworth Ave – over to East Bay…and up East Bay until…sure enuf — the bike way for the bridge appeared. It is a pretty good haul up the bridge – so the workout was wonderful. I stopped a bunch to take pictures – so the workout got ‘paused’ frequently — and the descent down into Mt Pleasant on the other side was high speed. Got to test out my brakes!

Just getting on the Bridge bike way from downtown Charleston

Work Life goes on…and on….

Despite all of boat life duties….and attempting to explore Charleston, exercise…eat healthy…working for our clients still consumes the bulk of our days. Generally, we are up at 5am…and work until 9pm…with all of the other activities taking away little slices throughout the day.Some people dread retirement…I always hear “what would I do with all of that time?” I can assure you…I would LOVE to have all that time to fill up with all of the stuff that I really prefer to do. Being self employed, the likelihood that I’ll ever retire is slim to none…so for us, it’s all about carving in everything that you want to do each day.A little philosophical perspective…

Restoration of Cat Maudy

Cat Maudy hasn’t left the City Marina dock since she arrived on Thanksgiving. That’s right — no sailing…nada. Derrick is currently living aboard — doing a ton of manual labor for us. Thus, Cat Maudy is undergoing a LOT of repairs — and the laundry list of Cat Maudy completed tasks include:

Dingy Davits installed
Solar Panels installed & wired
Pantry area designed / fiber-glassed and painted
Forward holds sanded and painted
Topside sanded and prepped for painting (waiting for better weather to paint!)

Hulls sanded and buffedTang – welded / jib rigging restored
Anchor arm extended
Rebuilt companionway steps
Installed new cushions in salon
Re-rigged the main sheet on the boomDe-molded everything!

And the TO DO list is just as large:
Get second refrigeration unit running
Re-install electronics at masthead
Reinstalling the water maker
Paint topside
Interior sanding / painting in galley and forward berths
Salon flooring (remove carpet!)

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