OK, Not Quite…

We had a good weekend in Essex, CT with the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA). There was rather too much classroom type stuff for us – and it focused on the US East coast and Caribbean/Bahamas, rather than straying further afield – but we met some interesting folk and had Mike and Jane stay aboard Toodle-oo! with us.

Unfortunately we found out that our generator based charging system is NOT operational and after various email messages back to New England Boatworks, it’s decided we should return to have the large capacitor in the generator replaced – and if that doesn’t work, we’ll swap out the charger for a different make…

This made for a rather boring delivery type event back to Portsmouth – 11 hours mostly under engine…

Today, instead of having NEB replace the capacitor, I had to do it because they’re short staffed. – sounds easy, but involves taking the generator off it’s mountings in order to get to the bloody thing! So I rigged a block and tackle to the boom and used the winch to raise the boom – and the generator… In the end the capacitor is good so it was a wasted effort. New charger is on it’s way… Then I noticed the bilge pump was not operating – so spent the rest of the afternoon in the bilge installing a new one and it’s switch!

Meanwhile… shortly before we left for Essex,  I took our VW GTi to the dealership to fix something that wasn’t broken(!), then drove the 3 miles to Carmax to sell it. In those 3 miles the engine light came on – the turbocharger needs replacing! So that’s what Laurie was doing all day today! We just don’t seem to be able to catch a break!

Tomorrow will be hectic – picking up the car, selling car, finding a way to get home(!), replacing chargers and testing them out – along with a whole slew of other things we’re supposed to be doing – like getting ready for the OCC’s Southern New England Cruise that we’re leading!!!!

This is harder than work by a long stretch!


On Our Way!!!

So we finally left the dock behind! Problems with wind generator, diesel generator and 220V charger that held us on the dock for the past week are all remedied, and we set sail!

Autopilot is great!

Autopilot is great!

Blue Sky, 10Kts across the beam! What a way to start retirement!

Blue Sky, 10Kts across the beam! What a way to start retirement!

This weekend we’ll be attending a Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) in Essex, CT – a 2 day trip – and here we are anchored at the halfway stop, Fisher’s Island – after a great sail on a warm sunny day with 10kts of wind mostly on the beam with which Toodle-oo! managed to eek out 7 knots! Not bad considering how much stuff is aboard!

Home for the night. Posh Fisher's Island - complete with unlocked WiFi to poach!

Home for the night. Posh Fisher’s Island – complete with unlocked WiFi to poach!

Finally, we are living the dream!

Moving Day

You know how you ‘Find Stuff’ when it’s time to move…? Well, Laurie found her massively expensive GoreTex Dubarry boots – which she’d lost for months and had decided someone in England must have stolen them – eat your words Honey!

But then… rooting around in one of the several ‘Billy’s Memories’ boxes, I come across a folder with some old papers in it… A regular treasure trove… I can understand that for memorabilia I

A letter from my Brother? Is that his EKG - along with his Birth Certificate???

A letter from my Brother? Is that his EKG – along with his Birth Certificate???

picked up my parents Birth certificates – interesting reading with one from China, the other, India. But somehow I also have my brother Steve’s birth certificate… How come??  Then, who’s is this EKG from???? He doesn’t look too healthy…

Then get this: an air mail letter from my brother! – My brother actually wrote to me??? Bizarre!


Anyway, the U haul is all packed up and ready for disbursement tomorrow, car is ready for sale and we’re ready to leave the dock if NEB is finally finished with her on Wednesday or Thursday…

First week of retirement has proven to be somewhat more hectic than we imagined…


WE ARE RETIRED!!! Potter’s Cove

We decided to take it slow on our first non weekend… We got in our new (old) dinghy – a little green thing with a 2.5HP outboard on it. Planning to sell the sailing puffin – just didn’t quite cut it… Wechugged out to Toodle-oo! with a plan to go to Potter’s Cove, just a couple of miles across the bay at the top end of Prudence Island – and we’d be by ourselves, with no reason to get off, so we decided to leave the dinghy on the mooring… We left at 4:30pm.

Nice little sail with no need of engine and we anchored in the busy cove – surrounded by countless power boats and the odd sailboat. We were pretty certain the power boats would leave before dark – which they did, leaving a nice quite spot. It was nice to decompress in the cockpit as the sun went down.

The evening was rather foggy and by morning it was wet (as expected) so before the heavy stuff set in, we decided to high tail it back – arriving at the mooring at 11:30.

The dinghy was there – but no engine! Some bugger had raided the dinghy in the past 20 hours! We’d only owned the thing for 3 days! When we stopped in at the Harbormaster’s office – they said they’d seen the motor on the dinghy at 9:00am that morning – commenting that neither was registered! So someone had filched the thing in less than 3 hours! Bastards!

What a way to start retirement!


Memorial Day Shakedown Cruise

So it was an interesting shakedown weekend…

The first sail of the season always involves blowing out the cobwebs – remembering how things are supposed to be done, remembering what essential thing you’ve forgotten to bring (coffee) and it was especially so for us – since the boat has had so many new systems installed since we last sailed her, nine months ago.

We arrived at our slip on Friday afternoon with the hope of getting everything stowed so that we could take off for Newport. Best laid plans… we had so much stuff to put away and things to ready that we ended up deciding to delay our departure until the morning. So instead of the rush to get out of the slip, we took the more leisurely pace and chilled in the cockpit with a drink or two – and some pizza…

A large part of the decision to delay was Ship’s Cat Bella, who was aboard for just the second time and who was obviously a little concerned about the floating environment. Her potty training went to pot – there was no way she was having anything to do with that tiny little crapper – forget it!

When the wind blew up at 2:00am, Bella was not impressed with the shake rattle and roll – and it’s amazing how friendly she can be when the need arises. Fortunately, the wind abated and we all managed to get some sleep but were up early so we could get to Newport in decent time. However, we had to wash the boat first – so there we are on deck at 7:00am waking up all the neighboring boats, swabbing the decks.

The job was done lickity split and by 7:30 we were ready for some breakfast and then we could go…

Where’s Bella?

The bloody ship’s cat had gone AWOL.

Clearly she was not impressed with pressure water being sprayed on the deck and apparently took flight. We searched all over the boat – there are so many nooks and crannies that an army of cats could find hiding places – but we searched them all. Damn cat must’ve got off. She’s an indoor cat – so I’m not sure she’d even recognize what land looks like vs. the sea…

Over the course of the next 3 hours we searched all the slips, the parking lots, the various marina buildings, had pages go out on VHF, enlisted help from a couple of kids… nothing! She must be still on the boat.

Cat's Eyes in the Electrics!

Cat’s Eyes in the Electrics!

Finally she showed herself – she’d got herself stuck behind an electric panel and couldn’t get out even if she wanted to!

With cat in hand, we slipped lines and made our way out of New England Boatworks and into the Naragansett Bay. Needless to say, we had countless teething problems getting the sails up, but it all basically came together. We had 15 – 18 knots – right on the nose – so it turned out to be a bit of a boisterous first sail, tacking our way down the bay – with the boat heeling considerably and giving the cat a real taste!

We made it down to Newport and anchored close by Lily (Ron and Ineke Heyselaar), Vulcan Spirit (Richard and Ali Drinks and Appetizers in the CockpitBrunstrom), El Vagabond (Roger and Vicki Mortimer) and Jule III (Bob and Ann Todd) all OCC boats and awaited the arrival of Jamin (Mike and Jane Eslinger – also OCC) and Elixir (Peter and Diane Sterret). A veritable OCC Meet!!!

Saturday evening saw us entertaining 10 aboard Toodle-oo! For Laurie’s best Lasagna with accoutrements and libations provided by all and sundry! The drinks flowed freely and I was not the only one referring to our new Portuguese flagged Toodle-oosh! By the end of the evening!

Dinner - Laurie (& Bella), Ron, Richard, Ali, Ineke & Mike

Dinner – Laurie (& Bella), Ron, Richard, Ali, Ineke & Mi

Unfortunately, one of the essentials we left behind were the oar locks for our new sailing dinghy. We were therefore somewhat trapped aboard Toodle-oo! – so decided it was time to see if we could rig the thing for sailing… Boy what an unstable boat! Countless times I was nearly in the water – but finally got her going. We’d purchased the dingy as we felt the need for a hard bottom, good rowing dinghy for when we get to Patagonia – engines are somewhat limited there due to the thick kelp and landing a soft bottom inflatable on the rocks may prove tricky… However, it was getting clear that this dinghy was not the solution as it’s relatively rounded bottom gave it no stability at all.

Peter Instructing Bill on Rigging

Peter Instructing Bill on Rigging

Not much good at going to Wind!

Not much good at going to Wind!










With a rotten forecast for Monday, Jamin and Elixir headed back to Tiverton, and we decided to follow shortly afterwards – destination Bristol. As we left Newport it became crystal clear that the dinghy was not a solution – we were towing her and water kept coming up through the hole for the centerboard, so we’d need to bring her on deck. By the time we got across to Jamestown, where we could take a mooring briefly, the dinghy was making excellent submarine impressions!

After bringing her aboard, we motored the entire way to Bristol where we grabbed one of the harbormaster’s moorings – as previously arranged – and settled in for the night.

Bella was getting more brave by the minute. Coming up to the cockpit somewhatMonitor Wind Vane - or Climbing gear for Bella? warily but with purpose… She was intrigued by the water lapping at the transom – and fascinated by the climbing frame we’d installed at the back of the boat – clearly as entertainment for her – though
she did nearly end up in the drink when she found the self-steering gear to be rather  slippery!

Monday dawned wet. Very wet. Very moody. All rather nice as we had a very leisurely morning… but…

Moody Bristol...

Moody Bristol…

We now had a problem – the dinghy (with no oar locks) was not an option for getting to land. The harbor master does not do taxi rides to the moorings – as they have an agreement with Bristol Marine (a marina at the head of the harbor) – and Bristol Marine clearly disavowed all knowledge of said agreement… Stuck!

Fortunately, the harbormaster relented and came and picked us up – and then Mike and Jane met us at Aiden’s for lunch and then brought us back to Portsmouth to pick up the car.

Parked - right opposite Aiden's!

Parked – right opposite Aiden’s!

The highlight of the weekend was certainly Bella’s acceptance of the boat – we’ll start working on her potty training again when we move aboard full time in just a couple of weeks.

Now I have to get on – I have 3 1/2 more days of work to do before RETIREMENT!!!!!

Finally – after 9 months…

Finally we get to sail Toodle-oo! again this weekend. Memorial Day weekend!

Just heading down to Newport to rendezvous with the Tiverton Crowd – Mike and Jane on Jamin, Peter and Diane on Elixir

The Tiverton Crowd!

The Tiverton Crowd!

Ron and Ineke Heyselaar on Lily will also join us – will be interesting to see if they can keep up!

Ron and Ineke

Ron and Ineke

We’ll also have the Ship’s Cat with us – Bella.

Ship's Cat - Bella

Ship’s Cat – Bella

Yes a new addition this year, Bella is one smart pussy and we’re hoping that the past 2 months of potty training won’t desert us… Yes, Bella has been trained to use the toilet – no more litter – however, the boat’s toilet is somewhat smaller than the house toilet, so it’ll be interesting… Check out the link below – for some reason it’s rotated 90 degrees, but you’ll get the jist…


Retirement Looms! :-)

Toodle-oo! is nearly ready for the off – following the extensive repairs required following the lightning strike – which have been going on throughout the winter and are just finishing up now with various sea trials remaining to hone all the details.

Can’t say enough about Markel Insurance – represented by Al Golden at IMIS – they’ve been very supportive throughout and provided interim payments to (almost) keep up with the outflows of cash – which is amounting to over $125,000…

All the electronics have been replaced with new Raymarine equipment, the electrical gear – chargers, inverters, lights, etc., have been replaced and the standing rigging which seemed to bear the brunt of the strike has also been replaced.

There are just a few more items for NEB to sort out – an Espar heater that’s pumping CO gas into the salon(!), a generator that needs a new riser and a fix to the wind generator that doesn’t seem to be contributing any power despite turning like crazy and generally looking very busy.

The whole repair program has gone very smoothly thanks to Ian Mackechnie at NEB who has managed the whole thing beautifully. Jim Van der Hey at Cay Electronics has also been great and Phip Hallowell at Rig-Pro has been solid too. Couldn’t have asked for better folks than these to put her back together.

Teak GrateMeanwhile Laurie has re-varnished the floors, the companionway doors and the galley fiddles and we have loaded the bulk of the stuff back aboard – it’s getting real now! We even have a new teak grate for the head!


But even though she’s been in the water for a month now, we still haven’t sailed her! That gets remedied on Thursday with a sea trial with Cay (to do the electronics) and possibly Rig-Pro (to check the rigging). All just in time as we’re hoping to get off the dock and out of NEB’s billing range by the end of this weekend!

We’re headed up to Bristol to either hang off a mooring or possibly our own anchor for a few weeks… Never parked a boat on an anchor for that long…

2 weeks to go…



Plans Afoot!

Still a Working Stiff

Still a Working Stiff

It’s been rather difficult to keep this blog going – we’re still working stiffs and we know that some folk at the companies occasionally (no doubt mistakenly) stumble across the blog and well, there are certain things that it just wouldn’t be right to share prematurely… but now we can… :-)

We have given notice of our intention to retire!    Laurie and I are cutting our respective chords – just when we’re making decent money(!) – in order to pursue a life of layabout cruising gypsies! Scary times, but we can’t wait!

Transitioning to CRUISERS!

Transitioning to CRUISERS!

Our last day at work will be June 3rd – so we’ve given tons of notice, so that the companies can plan accordingly (in my case, the celebration party that they’ve finally gotten rid of me!) – and which also gives us some time to make final preparations without having to hide the details… It all works out with our landlord too – who announced to Laurie just a couple of weeks ago, that they intend to sell – so timing couldn’t be better :-)



So, where to from here?

First plan is the OCC’s Southern New England Cruise which we are organizing again. 2016 SNE


The Cruise starts on June 24th in Newport and takes us through some favorite anchorages up to Boston for the July 4th celebrations and ends in Gloucester on July 9th.  http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ec335o6i8a3a0fac&llr=kp8hgejab

This handily poises us ready for a trip down east (feels north!) to Nova Scotia where we will join the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron’s cruise up to the Bras d’Or lakes and then go on to Newfoundland where we plan to spend August exploring the Outports on the southern coast – as well as the two little French (as in France) islands just off the Newfoundland coast, Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Summer Voyage

Summer Voyage

The summer cruise should be a great shakedown cruise for us – not too far away, but full time living aboard – plus it’ll give us some opportunities to practice some of the more unusual cruising methods (like using shore ties) which we will need for the next leg of our trip. Unfortunately it’ll probably allow us to practice our use of radar too – since it’s quite likely we’ll encounter significant fog up in Newfoundland.

In October we’ll head south down to New York City and Washington and then cross to Bermuda and on to the Bahamas for Christmas/New Year. We then plan to visit Cuba before heading Patagoniaacross the Caribbean Sea to Costa Rica and to Panama, passing through the Canal in February or March. We’re then heading south along the South American coast, stopping in Columbia, Ecuador and Peru on the way to southern Chile and the Patagonian Channels. With any luck we’ll make a day-sail rounding of Cape Horn in January of 2018 if weather permits.


It’s a stupid route – bucking both wind and current – but I would really like to see the Incan remains in Peru again (have been dying to show them to Laurie) and both of us have been itching to get to Patagonia.

From there…?  Who knows!



Sailing Season Planning

The season is nearly upon us – time to cast thoughts of broken boats aside and think about sailing…

Around this time of year, a group of us get together to sort out sailing plans for the season. This year was no exception so Mike, Jane, Peter and Diane got together for a really enjoyable evening at Peg’s house (construction site!) and ended with some dates to ponder – at least for the beginning of the season…

Anyone interested in joining us, the more the merrier!

  • May 14                                               Newport with the Squash Team
  • May 28 – 30 (Memorial Day)           Padanaram
  • June 4/5                                              Potter’s Cove
  • June 11/12                                          Open
  • June 18 – 20                                       Essex, CT: SSCA GAM
  • June 24 – July 9                 OCC Cruise
  •                        June 24:               Newport
  •                        June 28:               Oak Bluffs
  •                        June 29th:            Marion
  •                        July 2:                   Provincetown
  •                        July 4:                   Boston
  •                        July 6:                   Marblehead
  •                        July 9:                   Gloucester

That at least gets the season going – nice and early in light of the weather we’ve been having!




Repairs to Toodle-oo! have been continuing – as evidenced by new invoices arriving on a weekly basis!

All the eleIMG_1270ctronics appear to be in place, wired up beautifully. The electrical gear – chargers, inverters, and various controllers are also installed. A new wind generator is in place, along with new fancy control and monitoring system.

The Propeller and propshaft were removed and found to be OK – reinstallation turned out a little tricky – they couldn’t get the coupling to line up right so had to remove it – but in order to remove it meant taking the gearbox off – but to do that they needed to lift the engine off its mountings! Neat thing is, I got to replace the engine mountings as a consequence! All is back together now… Windlass

The windlass took quite a hit and was sent off to Lighthouse to be refurbished – it came back looking virtually new!

The mast has been painted and we took the opportunity to replace the mainsail ‘Strongtrack’ system and the mast boot (which seals the hole between the boat’s deck and the mast itself – hopefully no leaks…). New mast lights are being put on and the whole mast re-wired. Next week the mast will be dressed with its new standing rigging and furlers, ready for re-stepping.

The sails have been repairs – and washed – though we understand that some of the burn marks were not removable.

While this haImpeller piecess all been going on we have serviced all the winches and through hull seacocks, I’ve started fixing up the generator (taking all sorts of old impeller bits out of the heat exchanger!)  and back home we’ve been working on a new inventorying system as well as doing some sewing: New anchor drogue, a massive patch to cover the hull in case we get holed somehow, new lee cloth for the port side and various hold-down straps and jacklines. Laurie has also started to re-varnish the floors…

What next? Launch! Ian Mackechnie at New England Boatworks has been coordinating all this activity and has decided he wants to launch Toodle-oo! in the next couple of weeks! So there’ll be some mad activity for the next few days with bottom paint, polishing, and general finishing of the project to make that happen – followed by further evaluation of systems that can only be done in the water – both electrical and electronics related… Will be nice to have her in and with any luck take advantage of some of the early Spring good weather days to test her out.

We’ve also been working on our future cruising plans – all very exciting and I’ll fill in some detail in the next week or two…