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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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!