Category Archives: BreakOutAnothaThousand

Cat Maudy to Reedville for the winter

Cat Maudy sails (or tries) south for her winter ‘home’. Home this year will be Reedville VA. It’s a dot on the map just south of the mouth of the Potomac. She’ll be getting some work done – on the hard. Departed from Baltimore on a beautiful fall day – temps in the upper 50’s. The weather window would be 3 straight days of basically ZERO wind…with light breeze from the south. South breezes mean warmer temps, so we are OK to sacrifice the sail (this time only!) for warmer temps! Three hops…day 1 to Annapolis, day 2 to Solomons MD, and day 3 to Reedville VA.

Photo and video gallery

Hubub at the LMC

The Lauderdale Marine Center boat yard is filled with the largest yachts you can imagine. Well over 100 feet in length. Most of these yachts are larger than a 3000 sq foot home – 4 and 5 stories tall. The yard is a buzz with hundreds of contractors and servants – to the owners of these mega yachts. And then there’s us. Itsy bitsy Cat Maudy – compared to these monster ships. Cat Maudy is hauled onto land to fix her leak. We sat next to a yacht called “Barbie”. My barbie doll fishing pole felt right at home.

Keith, the expert from Yanmar (the engine folks) – started right away working on the leak. He had the engine and our sail drive out of the boat within the first hour. And, he found the leak. The “seal” that is supposto SEAL out the water….had a huge gash. Looked like a knife wound. Before the end of the day, Keith had the problem fixed…and all of the parts were put back together. Nobody knows WHY the seal was gashed. It just is.

Paddy is convinced that each and every time Cat Maudy is hauled out of the water – we have to paint the bottom of the boat. “Bottom paint” – is some really nasty black or blue paint that is designed to prevent growth of sea organisms on the bottom of your boat. Bottom paint smells bad, gets all over you …and is toxic. I’m really looking forward to this.

We rent a car and spend the afternoon picking up all paint supplies (tape, paint, stir sticks, paint suits, shower caps, goggles, gloves….) and prep the boat for two coats of paint. I’ve got this down to a science. This will be the 4th time in 3.5 years that we’ve painted the bottom of Cat Maudy.

The remaining 2 days on land at the Lauderdale Marine Center are a blur. Two coats of bottom paint. A road trip back to Miami to pick up mail left behind. Provisioning as if we will not get to a grocery store for the next 3 months. Including, stockpiling Starbucks coffee. Paddy needs his coffee.

The New River

The New River in Ft. Lauderdale is touted as the American version of waterways and channels in Venice. If this is true, then I will scratch off my bucket list any attempt to ride the river boats in Italy.

The New River is not designed for mega yachts, sightseeing paddle boats…or even catamarans for that matter. It is best suited for rowboats and kayaks.

Ok. I will concede. It’s a beautiful weekend. It’s Easter weekend. Which means that everyone who owns a boat in Ft. Lauderdale is on the water. Prossibly not the best time to attempt navigation up the winding, narrow, hairpin turning, waterway through downtown Ft. Lauderdale called the New River. But, we had no choice.

We did all the right things. Kindof. I plotted the 4 bridges I needed to hail. We put out all of our fenders (bumpers) around the boat. Just in case of a little collision. I scratched out a picture of all the hairpin turns and highlighted them in yellow. Yes yes yes…we have GPS. I didn’t need to draw a picture.

We waited for slack tide. I made 3 “Securite” calls on VHF Channel 16. Um. That would not be correct. A bunch of captains started yelling at me to use Channel 09 for the New River. Otherwise, nobody hears you. Such details.

So, I switched to VHF Channel 09 and made 5 more “Securite” calls alerting mariners in the opposite direction that we are a wide-load catamaran inbound on the New River. It didn’t matter. Between the Carrie B and Jungle Queen sightseeing paddle wheel boats, and the mega yachts that practically consume the entire width of the narrow “river” – it seemed as if Cat Maudy would soon become a monohull sailboat.

You could not see boaters coming toward you around the hairpin turns. I didn’t hear anyone else making “Securite” calls. So, you basically had to peek your nose around the corner…hope for the best….hit the throttle hard if it is clear….or back down just as fast and hope that the boaters behind you will notice.

Despite the supercharged stress level of navigating the New River — we eventually made it to our destination. Lauderdale Marine Center. We tied up to their dock….and stepped onto land. It was a glorious moment.

Pon pon pon pon….Cat Maudy is taking on water

When Captain Paddy broke the news that Cat Maudy had sprung a leak…and water was coming in — I admit my first thought was getting OFF the sinking ship.

Sure enough, all of the little seals that are used to keep the water OUT of the engine compartment – BROKE – and now water is sloshing in. Paddy’s thinks we need to sail Cat Maudy 30 miles offshore up to Ft. Lauderdale – to get the boat hauled out. Yeah right. I’m going to knowingly get into a sinking ship…go offshore for 30 miles and tap my heels together 3 times….repeating “there’s no place like home”. This is way above my pay grade.

After getting over the initial shock that we are suddenly taking on water, the next step is trying to figure out how to STOP it from coming in. So, we dried up the water as best we could, in the engine compartment and watched. Every little wave bounce…forced new water in the starboard engine compartment. The seals around the engine are breached. There is nothing we can do to stop it while she sits in the water. Now what?

Surely there is a boat yard in Miami that can haul out Cat Maudy? Yes and no. There is a boat yard up the Miami river, with a crane that could lift CM outta the water. Unfortunately, the guys are more interested in PAINTING Cat Maudy rather than fixing the LEAK….so we weren’t too comfortable with their expertise. We continue to talk to everyone we know – only to determine that the boat yards we need — are located in Ft. Lauderdale, and not Miami. Going offshore is becoming the only option.

Going offshore on a sinking ship is not on my bucket list. I double checked. So, we prepped for the worst, and hoped for the best. The prep part includes purchasing a submersible pump…that can pump out upto 1100 gallons per hour. I tried to imagine 1100 gallons – and this seems like a lot. Paddy spent the night wiring up the kick-ass pump – while I re-read the life raft/ abandon ship instructions, reviewed the weather conditions for the umteenth time…and prepared a ditch bag. A ditch bag contains your most important belongings, i.e. everything you MUST keep — in the size of a knapsack. It is used when you need to “ditch” the boat. i.e. Abandon ship. Soxy, our cat could not understand why I was trying to stuff her in a bag.

Offshore weather conditions were calling for 8-12 knots of winds from the east. It turned out to be closer to 20 knots from the east – and the seas were quite lumpy. My job, among other sail trimming and hoisting tasks…was to check on the water leak every 15 minutes. The routine went something like this: I felt around the compartment door for water….held my breath….opened the door….no water gushed over the doorway….whew…..checked the water level….discovered the little pump is working like a champ…more whew…..and shut the compartment door. Ft. Lauderdale cannot come soon enough!

By mid-afternoon – Cat Maudy entered Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale. She is still afloat despite taking on water. We anchor in Lake Sylvia, near the New River – and exhale a huge sigh of relief. We are within reach of the boat yard now and wait in the queue to get hauled out….and repaired.

One engine fails in the midst of strong currents and narrow waterways…

Somewhere near the Hillsboro Inlet, we noticed our starboard engine shaking violently. Not a good time to be down an engine – when trying to navigate in narrow waterways, wait for drawbridges to open…and contend with strong tidal currents. We were down to one engine, and I had my finger on the VHF ready to hail Tow-Boat US.

As Captain Pat tinkered with the throttle, the engine and all other “boy stuff”….I contacted the Los Olas Municipal Marina – to see if we might be able to afford a slip – while we get the engine situation resolved. Rumor has it that Ft. Lauderdale is very expensive. Miraculously, their rates were reasonable…so I signed us up. Guess we won’t be sailing to Miami today…time for boat repairs.

BUT WAIT, Captain Pat working some mechanical genius…got the engine fixed….and we are now back to TWO working engines. Should we continue on to Miami….or check out some Ft. Lauderdale. Opted to stay a night in Ft. Lauderdale.

Turned out to be a fabulous decision. Couldn’t have picked a better location – if I knew what I was doing! With temperatures for the FIRST TIME since departure from Maryland in the 70’s….we docked at Los Olas Municipal Marina….peeled off the winter jackets, 4 layers of clothing…and wool hats….and morphed into beach babe southerners.

The Los Olas Municipal Marina is located in a perfect setting from my vantage point. With jogging paths and bike lanes everywhere….and 2 blocks from the Swimming Hall of Fame….I could sense that endorphins would soon be running high!

We spent the next 5 days at dockside, soaking up the 70 degree temperatures, getting caught up on computer work and exercise …and bicycling to the grocery and boat stores – some 5 miles inland.

Cat Maudy gets her "steering on"!

The port side rudder was LOCKED into place. It would not turn – making steering Cat Maudy a challenge. So when we paid a visit to the St. Augustine Marine Center – (who were short on staff due to the December holidays) – we weren’t sure what to expect. Would Cat Maudy need to wait a week to get hauled out for rudder repairs? Could the rudder be repaired with Cat Maudy in the water by the skeleton staff?

To our amazement, the moment we arrived at dock – we were greeted by a team of repair specialists — who immediately determined that (a) they could repair the rudder without removing Cat Maudy from the water and (b) they would assign Ronnie to work on it right away. Talk about SERVICE!!!

Ronnie and Pat wrestled the rudder off the boat….and wheeled it to the Shop for repairs. The rudder was lifted, so that the shaft could rest on a vice grip….while the bearings and rudder could be dismantled. The end result? The shaft was not bent….the bearings were fine….but the aluminum shaft had corroded around the bearing….causing it to expand and exert pressure on the bearing…and locking up the ability to turn the rudder. Sheezz….a lot of details. I need to go for some exercise.
By 4PM (6 hours after we arrived)…the shaft had been cleansed of corrosive pixie dust, barrier goo applied to prevent further corrosion, the rudder assembly restored and returned back onto the boat. Cat Maudy has steering again!!!! Many thanks to the staff at the St. Augustine Marine Center. You guys rock!

The Big Cat House


Rich from Georgetown Yacht Basin, Galena MD worked on Cat Maudy’s saildrive problem.

He had the drives out of the boat a couple of hours after we were blocked on the hard.

Rich found that in addition to the rubber diaphrams we needed prop shaft seals and damper plates on both drives.

So while Rich was making things right with the saildrives Jane and I worked on our own to do list. (Jane was pretty excited about this!)

I cleaned and lubed the Variprops. We replaced all the engine control cables except one. We put the “Cat Maudy” graphic on the bows and put on some bottom paint. Jane painted the forward v-berths. Repairs went quickly and on friday 9/18 we were ready to go back into the water.

Finally, the fix is in and we leave the “Big Cat House” at Georgetown Yacht Basin early in the morning. Destination Baltimore MD.

Motor sail to Georgetown MD


Is traveling to Georgetown like time traveling into the past?
It is and it ain’t.. Georgetown Yacht Basin is the only yard able to haul very beamy cats. So in the mid-Atlantic region GYB is THE destination for big cats.

Cat Maudy comes to life with new sails!

Jane and I departed the dock at 1300 hrs. we had a very good 10-15kts from 045. close hauled we were making 7 and 8 until we reached the bay and the wind increased. We were nearly at the eastern shore and the weather was looking a little nazty so we turned back. This course change put on a starboard close reach to beam reach and we were making 9.5 to 10 constant. We were back at the dock before 1700. The GPS showed a top speed of 11.1 Many thanks to UK sails. I think we will be able to get after some regular 13s with these new rags.

Did I mention that we have a problem with our starboard saildrive? we’re waiting in the haul out queue so we can get this fixed.

Humpty Dumpty comes alive!

What started out as a minor “CLEW” repair, morphed into needing new sails. The clew, is the end of the main sail, that attaches to the stern end of the boom. It looked like the attachment had worn out…but apparently the entire sail had no life left in her.

So, while Cat Maudy was down with window repairs – might as well add new sails, to our list of where to spend dwindling funds.

We selected UK Sails in Annapolis as our sail makers – for a number of reasons:

1. They have a local LOFT where they do all of the work themselves. i.e. they don’t ship out the sail making work to cheap labor overseas or at caribbean islands. Every bit of sail making is done right HERE.

2. We can visit at any time, ask questions, and become completely familiar with the process. From selecting the sail material…to understanding how they will remake the sail to offer us maximum performance…we were part of the team.

3. They seemed passionate about making sails. Really passionate. It’s not just a “job” to them – they are sailors, and they want you to be delighted with their handiwork.

Shortly after the windows were installed…the sail making was complete. Dave, from UK Sails arrives to install the main sail. The sail installation was a success, but due to an intense afternoon thunderstorm, the decision was made to wait on installing the jib sail until a few minor maintenance tasks were done.

When friend Terry from NYC arrives for a visit, it seems like the perfect time to complete the jib sail installation. We hoist Terry up the jib stay to first LUBE the track….and tighten down some of the screws that were too loose. As we start the process now of hoisting the jib — we realize that the sheaves appear to be worn out – and are trashing the jib halyard.

Jib sail installation is temporarily aborted, while Terry and Pat rush off to West Marine for replacement parts. I take the opportunity to go for a swim. I realize this doesn’t sound helpful to the project, but I’m much nicer to be around when I’ve had endorphins. Nuf said.

The boys return with new parts…and these are installed. Finally, we are ready to re-hoist the crispy jib sail. Up she goes, flapping with crispy sounds, white as can be – and looking stunning. Soon, we will leave the dock – and see what she’s got!