Friday, November 15, 2019

Apalachicola Cruise and Release of Ep.5 of the Transatlantic Trip

Apalachicola Cruise

It is November 15, 2019 and we are currently in the quaint Florida town of Apalachicola.  We came here as a "cruise" from Point Yacht Club.  Details of the cruise are below.  Unfortunately due to weather concerns, a few boats dropped out, but none the less, 4 boats made it to our destination.  We experienced a strong cold front which the weatherman called an "Arctic Front" bringing gusty winds from the north (we measured 22-34 kts).  But we bundled up, reefed the sails and had a great (and fast) sail.





Apalachicola Sailing!

All boats made it safely and we are having a great time!

Episode 5 of Transatlantic Trip

Episode 5 of out Transatlantic trip is now available on YouTube, or click on the image below.  In this episode, we take the boat from Cascais, Portugal to Funchal Madeira.


Cascais to Madeira - Episode 5




Thursday, November 7, 2019

New Midnight Sun III Videos of our Transatlantic Trip - Episode 3 and 4 Now Added

Episode 3 is now available showing our time in France and taking delivery of the boat.






Episode 3: Time in France

We get Midnight Sun III, take a sea trial, then load up and head out on our voyage.




Episode 4: Crossing the Bay of Biscay and Headed to Porto

We leave France and cross the Bay of Biscay, headed for northern Spain and Portugal.
\\\

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

New Midnight Sun III Videos of our Transatlantic Trip

I have started to upload videos of our transatlantic trip on YouTube.  I am planning to upload the entire trip as a series of Episodes each about 10-15 minutes long.  The strategy is that maybe this won't be long enough for you to fall asleep in them?

Anyway - here are links to the first two videos.  Episode 3 should be available after Friday, November 1, 2019


     Episode 1 - The Decision to Buy



Episode 2 - Planning the Trip

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Open Invitation to the next Apalachicola Cruise - November 10, 2019

Open Invitation

Point Yacht Club, located in beautiful Josephine, Alabama is sponsoring a cruise to Apalachicola, Florida.  The trip has been designed to be cruiser-friendly for both sail boats and power boats with the option to travel either offshore or on the protected ICW (see controlling bridge heights below).  

I am currently serving as Fleet Captain at Point Yacht Club, and we would welcome both members and non-members to bring your boat and join us on this wonderful laid-back cruise.  We plan to leave from Ft. McCree, Pensacola following the Blue Angels Homecoming show, which is scheduled for November 8-9.  We are leaving our start as "flexible" based on weather, but the goal is to leave on or around November 10 and arrive in Apalachicola on or about November 13.  Below are some notes on the trip.  If you are interested in joining us, please let me know so that I can include you on updates.  If you don't have a boat but would be interested in volunteering as crew, please send your contact info, and I will circulate the information to others that have signed up.

We made this trip in July and had a wonderful time - see the post immediately prior to this one!

Point Yacht Club

  Apalachicola Cruise, 2019


Tentative Schedule

·       Assemble, Blue Angels Ft. McCree            - November 8-9
·       Depart Ft. Mc Cree                                      - November 9/10/11 based on weather
·       Optional Stop, Destin Harbor                      - November 10/11 (40 miles)
·       Optional Stop, Panama City/St. Andrews Bay- November 11/12 (42 miles)
·       Optional Stop, Cape San Blas/St. Joe’s Bay- November 12/13 (24 miles)
·       Arrive Apalachicola                                     - afternoon November 13 (25 miles)


Trip Notes

Offshore to Cape San Blas, ICW to Apalachicola – controlling Bridge height: 64 ft
Inshore – ICW from Pensacola to Apalachicola – controlling bridge height: 48 ft

Note: schedule is based on offshore transit in daylight.  For boats transiting via ICW, similar stops or alternative stops are available (e.g., Juana’s, Navarre Beach, etc.)


Return at your own pace/schedule or in groups

Apalachicola

Plan to arrive November 13.  Options for dockage/anchoring
·         Apalachicola Marina – we can get a 150 ft side tie dock (850)-899-3675
o   $2/ft plus electricity($7)
o   4 power connections
o   Could raft cat +4 monohulls (rafted)
·         Scipio Creek Marina $1.50/ft $30 water/elec/week  (850) 653-8030
·         Water Street Hotel and Marina (850) 502-5134
·         Apalachicola Boat Slips and Ramp (850) 653-6279
·         City of Apalachicola  - no power or water, priced similarly to marinas – contact City Hall
·         Anchor in River – note, tidal swing

Activities in Apalachicola

·         Group Dinner, Apalachicola Marina – Bring a dish to share
·         Group Dinner, local restaurant – Hole in the Wall, Tamaras, Owl CafĂ©, The Franklin/Gibson Inn
·         Local Bars – Ice Company, The Bowery, etc.
·         Return home at your own pace!

Our Plans

·         Likely stay in Apalachicola until Saturday, Nov 16
·         Depending upon weather, may continue on to Dog Island or St. Marks
·         Return Home

The more, The Merrier!

Other boats may join us in Apalachicola, returning from the Pace Offshore Challenge
Offshore race from Pensacola to Tampa/St. Pete, leaving November 1

Reservations

Marina reservations are advisable in Apalachicola.  We plan to make a group reservation for Apalachicola Marina – first come , first served, 20% deposit needed
Contact
Neil Davies.   251-752-4133    ndaviesgeo@me.com
Fleet Captain

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Cruise to Apalachicola - The Forgotten Coast

The Forgotten Coast

This is one of my favorite places on the planet - no exaggeration, in my view it is without doubt the most beautiful part of Florida, and yet it has the name the "Forgotten Coast".  Few people visit here, especially cruisers and yet the coastline is wonderful.

The area was unfortunately slammed by Hurricane Michael in October 2018 (Category 5 Hurricane) causing devastation to the sleepy seaside town of Mexico Beach.  Serious damage also occurred in the town of Port St. Joe, and farther around the coast, damage and flooding hit Apalachicola.  Inland, the devastation from winds spreads back into Georgia.  Now a year on, this is still a huge issue for the area - yet people from outside of the area barely remember Hurricane Michael - a Cat 5 storm that hit the aptly named "Forgotten Coast".  its sad, but when its no longer a media magnet, we forget.  But life has gone on in the area and it is slowly coming back.

Our Sail

Ft. McRee, Pensacola
We took an easy coastal path with  lazy schedule.  First we anchored at Ft. McRee, Pensacola - one of our favorite anchorages when it is quiet (non-weekend).  From there, we sailed over to Destin, anchoring in the harbor.  This is a relatively short hop of about 42 miles.  From Destin we originaly planned another 40 mile hop to St. Andrews/Panama City, but we discovered that docks at the marina and yacht club that we love to visit were still under repair from H Michael.  So, we elected to continue on directly to Cape San Blas/St. Joe Bay.  This is about 62 miles from Destin - so a good day sail.  
Joined by one other Cat at Cape San Blas

Cape San Blas is a barrier peninsula that forms St. Joe's Bay, enclosing the beautiful bay on almost 4 sides.  The Bay has several nice anchorages that are typically remote.  On this occasion we shared our anchorage with one other catamaran -SV Brizo from Houston, TX.

We anchored near the end of the Cape. Its a sandy bottom with good holding.  We stayed for 2 nights, and then moved on to Apalachicola.

Cape San Blas
Perhaps the best way to get to Apalachicola is to go via the ICW.  We are not typically a fan of the "inside route", but after passing through the Gulf Canal, the trip is along the Jackson River, crossing Lake Wimico, and then down the Apalachicola River.  Its a wonderful trip with lots of opportunities to see wildlife (eagles, alligators, etc.)

We did find a few shallower than usual spots in the canal - presumably from storm debris, but we saw no depth less than 6 ft.  For the most part, depths were 8-18 ft.






Apalachicola

Band at Bowery Station
We were meeting family in Apalachicola, so took a dock at Apalachicola Marina.  Now this is not a typical marina, but a 150 ft long side-tie dock on the river with power and water.  That's about it for amenities, but owner, George was real friendly and the location is excellent for downtown, and the bars at the Bower Station and Apalachicola Ice Company - which of course we had to visit and sample their offerings.

Apalachicola Ice Company






We were in Apalachicola for the 4th July celebrations.  And with fireworks set off from a barge on the River, we had the perfect vantage point from the boat.

It was a good day - we had a day sail to Little St. George island and fireworks at night.  it was good to see the town busy, but as you can imagine, I think the crowds overwhelmed the restaurants that were open for the celebrations.

Fireworks on the River



















With no particular schedule, I think we will hang out for a couple more days and see if the winds become more favorable - right now it would be a beat or motor back home as winds are out of the west.  And besides  Salty loves the beach!
Helen and Matt - Little St. George Island





Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Maiden Voyage Complete - Now what?

We have now been home over a month and I must admit, I am scratching my head and saying "now what?"  I thought it might be an interesting and worthwhile conclusion to this "episode in life" to recap the trip - the good, the not so good, and lessons learned.  Wow - there were quite a lot of those and I am sure I will miss the most important ones!  and for anyone who has stumbled on my blog and not read the last 6 months.....well this will be a quick summary.  I won't go into all the details of the trip - but if you are interested, look back over the past 6 months of posts on this blog and you will see the full story.

Reason Why we Did it

First sight of the Boat
We had decided to buy a new boat.  We had researched the used market extensively looking at other monohulls and catamarans.  For a number of reasons - largely comfort, our own agility, and at some point potentially a growing family (maybe grandkids), we decided that a catamaran was the next boat for us.  After looking at 2-3 year old boats, I found I could potentially buy a new boat for a similar price if I did it right.  For example, the delivery price component of a new boat is between $16,000 and $89,000 depending on where its going, and how its being delivered (on its own  hull or on a ship).  This in itself was a big motivation to "self deliver".......and it was a bucket list item for me to sail across the Atlantic on my own boat.  So it just seemed a no-brainer. We will sail it home.  We had actually decided to place the boat in charter for a year with Dream Yacht Charters in the BVI.  But for various reasons, we decided against this once we got to the BVI.  If you want that complete story, you will have to read a bit deeper in the blog, or contact me  by email.  So, our plan changed significantly adding about 1,500 miles to the journey and a new plan for the boat.  But that's how boat plans go - while its important to have a plan, you must have flexibility.

Recap of the Trip - Geography

We selected a Lagoon based on a combination of build quality,  sailing/handling, physical dimensions, reputation, and price.  I would perhaps say that those criteria were also weighted in about that order of priority.  The next issue was that Lagoon is part of Beneteau Group and are built in France - so logically, that was the starting point of our trip.  Actually, La Rochelle, France which is located on the Atlantic coast (Bay of Biscay).  I did a lot of research on cats in our price range and to me, the Lagoon was the clear winner.  Having now owned the boat  for 7 months and sailed it 7,100 miles, I am happy to say we made a great  choice!


Our Route from France to the US

While I did a lot of thinking, planning and research on our route, the basic idea was to follow the Trade Wind Route to cross the Atlantic.  Some sailors chose to depart for the Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands; others go farther south to Cape Verde.  We elected the latter - a little longer trip, but based on my research, a better chance of seeing consistent trade winds for the Atlantic crossing.  I had studied the wind data and statistics and January was looking like an optimal time for this leg.  Coincidentally, this ended up aligning great with our actual dates.

We experienced the worst weather in the early part of the trip - the Bay of Biscay from France to northern Span.   See https://midnightsunii.blogspot.com/2018/12/off-dock-on-to-spain.html  Things started to improve in the upper part of Portugal.

A quick recap of our route and the countries visited is below:

  • France (Atlantic coast/Bay of Biscay)
  • Northern Spain (a Coruna)
  • Portugal
  • Madeira (Portuguese island)
  • Canary Islands
  • Cape Verde
  • Antigua
  • St. Marten
  • British Virgin Islands (BVI)
  • USVI
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Bahamas
  • USA
We made one major change to our original plan.  We had originally planned to go from Cascais (Portugal) to Morocco, and then Cape Verde.  But we fell in love with Portugal and were encouraged to go to Madeira by many people that we met.  So we elected to go to Madeira in place of Morocco - and very glad we did so as Madeira was perhaps the favourite place for me and most of the crew.

Our total trip distance ended up being 7,100 miles from La Rochelle, France to the inlet at Pensacola, Florida.

So, as stated in the intro to this post, i am not going to recap the entire trip - if you are interested in that, please simply search down this blag as that has been the topic for the last 6 months.  What i am going to recap is the good, the not so good and some lessons learned.  Here goes,

Seas never look very big in a photo!

The Not So Good

A Coruna, Spain
Crossing the Bay of Biscay in December was certainly the not so good!  We left in 25 knot headwinds and 20-25 ft seas.  Why - because the delivery crews we had met told us that's about as good as it gets at that time of year.  Sure there were a few days better, but they were rare; and there were certainly days that were even worse.  That first leg to La Coruna, Spain was perhaps the worst.  In fact we cut it a little short and went in to Ribadeo, Spain.  We loved Spain and the people.  We were told things would get much better once we headed south along the cost of Portugal - past Finistere.  Well eventually, that was true, but rounding Finistere was awful.
At midnight we heard distress calls
from a 100 ft fishing boat, and saw helicopters and search rescue services.  Their deployment and efforts were impressive, but unfortunately, two men were lost overboard.  It was a very sobering thought that will stay with me forever - how easy it is to loose someone overboard.  it reinforced our rule that after dusk or in any bad weather, anyone out of the salon wears a lifejacket and tether.





Viana do Costello

The weather resulted in some short hops in northern Portugal, and a memorable stay in Viena do Costello.  A town I would love to revisit some time.  Red carpets on the streets for Christmas, and just a gorgeous and friendly small town.

The Good

We actually made it to Porto, Portugal for Christmas and this was a wonderful place to spend a quiet Christmas holiday.  Needless to say we took in several tours of port wine cellars and enjoyed the superb hospitality of the locals in the traditional fishing village called Afurada which is actually a very small suburb of Porto, located nearby the marina.  What wonderful people!.....and very cheap drink prices.  Porto was definitely one of my favorite stops on the trip.

We also enjoyed Cascais and Lisbon.  We spent New Year in Cascais and added additional crew - Ron, Julie and me son Austin.  Mike left us in La Coruna.  And since I am talking about :the good", I must say that great crew made the trip both a joy and way easier.  I should also put this as a "Lesson Learned", i.e., only take crew that can get along, and that you trust implicitly to handle the boat.  Our crew did exactly that, with Larry and Tracy being our "core crew" and best friends that completed the entire trip with us.  So crew selection - each one, was the best decision I made.  Thank you everyone!

Our other favorite places included the Canary Islands, Funchal, Madeira (I think overall, the crew voted this our best stopover); Antigua; Puerto Rico, and the southern Bahamas.  I am not going to go into detail on these, as I have separate posts on each that are not too far back down from the blog from this one.  So scroll back for more information on any of these.

Favorite Equipment

Under the general category of "The Good" I think its appropriate to mention some of our favorite items of equipment that we had on the voyage.  Notable items, with a brief statement as to why are as follows:
Rainman - coolest thing ever!
  1. Rainman Watermaker - for its simplicity and reliability.  We made water every day, especially when we had a crew of 7.  It was a vital piece of equipment and worked flawlessly.
  2. inReach Explorer +Satellite Communicator - we sued it every day as our preferred means of text communication and tracking.  We preferred this over our Sat phone, an Iridium Go.  We figured out how to "one way post" to Facebook.  Yes, I hate FB, but the rest of the world seems to need it.  One day I hope it will follow in the steps of bell-bottom jeans and just go out of style!
  3. Tool kit provided by DYC - a small compact tool kit that had 99% of the tools we needed in one location.
  4. Code Zero Sail - made for us by Schurr Sails of Pensacola.  It fit perfectly and worked well with the Lagoon supplied bowsprit and Facnor continuous line furler.
Fortunately, we had very few equipment failures, and those that we did have were manageable.  The biggest issues we had to address were:
  • Leaking window resulting from poor installation
  • Failed AIS resulting from incorrect factory installation
  • Chafing reef lines - we have addressed this through a  rigging modification
We love the boat.  The best attributes are: comfort, safety, visibility in bad weather (huge salon windows), general quality of build.

Lessons Learned

This really is a hard one because one of the things I love about sailing is that every day is a learning day - the weather, the boat, the crew dynamics to mention a few.  I will stress again that crew selection is the key to success, and this was one that I definitely got right.  I had the best crew for this trip.  In addition to being great sailors: 2 engineers, registered nurse, precision fabricator, adn great cooks. Very briefly, here are a few things that I would put down to "lessons learned" based on this trip:
  1. Spend as much time as needed to "learn the boat" before setting off.  What systems does it have; where are they physically located; where are the thru-hulls and points where water can enter or leave the boat; understand the electronics and have multiple back-ups.  Another vital thing we learned on a catamaran was to "learn the numbers", i.e., what wind speeds and points of sail do I need to reef at?  Without the feel of a monohull, it is very important to know when to reef sails to avoid becoming overpowered.  And practice reefing in good conditions first......make sure the crew can do it at night.  Find any chafe points and watch them very closely.  The loads on a cat can be far greater than a monohull and lines can chafe very quickly with small movements and friction.
  2. Communications  - have multiple communication systems.  In our case: VHF, Iridium Go Sat phone, inReach satellite tracker/text (2); EPIRB; multiple cell phones and iPads.  Of course each one has limitations, especially range for cell and VHF.
  3. Weather - we had multiple weather options: windy.com; a PredictWind subscription; local weather services (check marinas); and we used WRI Weather Routing for the atlantic portion of our trip.  WRI were excellent with daily check-ins via satellite email (Iridium Go).  Moreover, take time to teach yourself as much about the weather as possible.  I am not an expert, but i know a whole lot more now as a result of this trip.  
  4. Tools and spares - you can never carry too many, and if you do you won't need them.
    Packing the Pallet
    We carried lots of tools, spare filters, oil, impellers for critical pumps, line, shackles, blocks of various sizes etc.storm sail, without really knowing what would be provided with the baot, i did actually ship a pallet of "stuff" from the US.  As it turned out, the charter package from our broker was very well stocked.  The experience of shipping a pallet had its own issues from delays by the shipper to clearing customs in France.  I could write an entire article on this.
    Camping Gaz
    The other option would be simply to budget enough money to buy everything needed locally. However, this may not be a viable option for some things.  For example, the boat was built to US electrical standards, so we shipped a small TV and microwave (110v as europe is 220-240v).  Also, european "Camping Gaz"is a substitute for propane, but uses different canisters and fittings; so you have to be prepared with the correct adaptors.  Camping Gaz is also a mixture of propane and butane, so does burn differently, especially at low temperatures.                                                                                                                                                                                               
  5. Patience - this also goes hand in hand with weather.  Don't be in a rush.  No schedule should mean no schedule.  Wait for the right weather, or at least the best weather.  We did jump the gun by leaving a day or so early on a couple of legs, and paid the price either by having an uncomfortable passage, or more motoring than anticipated.  There were a couple of times when we thought we could "catch up to better weather" ....this simply didn't happen, you must wait for a  good window.  I will say that patience is probably the hardest lesson to truly embrace.  Someone is always ready and wanting to get going and its hard for the Captain to say no we will wait a couple of days.  Also, patience when waiting on services such as mechanics, technicians etc.  Europe has a different schedule and philosophy to schedule than the US, and there's no point in trying to change it - embrace it and enjoy the time. 
  6. Plan the Route - this may sound obvious, but when going to ports and countries that you are not familiar with, plan the route, but include flexibility.  Study charts and read guidebooks.  Reeds Almanac was an excellent resource.  Always look for bail-out options for bad weather, changed conditions, boat issues, crew issues.  What if a port entrance or marina is closed?  It happens quite a bit in europe in bad weather.  Also, on many parts of our route, anchoring was simply not an option due to depth, no safe anchorages etc.  Marina availability was only an issue in the Canary Islands - but that can be a big issue.  We did use a reservation service in the Canaries because every marina we called was full.  We carried basic paper chart coverage, and multiple versions of electronic charts, on multiple devices.
  7. Carry a cash reserve - there will be glitches with credit cards.  Countries that don't accept them, or banking systems that shut down for no apparent reason (e.g., Cape Verde).
  8. Internet - oh boy, don't rely on it being available or reliable  If you are a person that needs to be constantly connected - just stay home.  This isn't for you.  Internet frustration is something you just need to get over, and watch out for the charges.  Its far better to just accept that you're connections will be limited and sparse otherwise you will drive yourself crazy chasing electrons.
I know I have missed some obvious ones.....but hopefully these will give food for thought.  I am sure there are many more thoughts embedded in my previous posts on the trip, but I will end this article for now. by simply saying - yes, it was an amazing trip and experience of a lifetime.  Truly one checked off the bucket list!  But it does leave one thinking...."what next?"

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Last Leg of the Maiden Voyage - Home!

South Florida to Alabama

Well all good things come to an end, but its more important to think of them as just the start of a new chapter I think.  I am going to group our last legs as one since we have made this trip numerous times now, and this one was perhaps the quickest Gulf Crossing, at least in terms of time.

We were ona  schedule - yes, something we try never to do - but it was a schedule with some float in it.  Nonetheless, we were trying to get back in time to surprise oldest daughter Helen on her 30th birthday (May 2).  Helen has done so much for us on this and other trip - she truly is "land support".  If we need anything doing while at sea - an inReach message goes to Helen and we get an immediate response.  She pays critical bills for us, dog sits when needed......the list is  just too long to recount.  So being there on her special day was an important consideration.

Than in mind, we were planning a quick crossing of the gulf missing out a number of the yacht club stops that we typically make.  Our route ended up being:

  1. Rodriguez Key to Marathon YC - 2 nights at Marathon because of a front coming through the area.
  2. Marathon YC to Little Shark River in the Everglades
  3. Little Shark River to Naples YC
  4. Naples to Destin Harbor
  5. Destin to Pensacola
All of these were "day sails" with the exception of #3 which included two nights at sea.  Unfortunately, this longer leg was almost void of favourable wind, so we did a lot of motoring.  But here are some notes on a couple of places from this leg relative to places we have not stayed previously.

Little Shark River

We have often thought about making a stop here, but have been put off as we had our dog Salty with us and were told there is no place to land with a dog.  Well, I can confirm this to be true - it is certainly up there in the mangroves, but a beautiful stop - located just north of Cape Sable.

We were anchored by mid afternoon and this gave time for some dinghy exploring.  We went several miles back into the everglades adn it was truly beautiful.

We did however, make an exit back to the boat before sunset for fear of the reported bugs!  Thankfully, they were not too bad.  Except that the following morning I had to sweep hundreds of love-bug type insects off the underside of the cockpit roof -they were very lethargic and not up for moving.  The good thing was they didn't really get into the boat through the screens.  No-see-ems were thankfully not a problem (April 2019).

I can confirm for any pet owners that we did not see a place where it would be possible to land Fido.  In the past, we have only been able to do this at Cape Sable on the beach - but watch out for the saltwater crocodiles!  (see a previous post of mine on that!)

Destin

We had not planned on a stop in Destin, but a line of storms was accompanying a front seemed due to hit Pensacola about the time of our arrival.  We had a choice to make - St. Andrews or Destin.  I really didn't want to have a bad storm experience on the way in to our home port, Pensacola!  We picked Destin - on our last trip in there, the entrance had been vastly improved and this was the deciding factor.  Destin is not easy in bad weather - the entrance is in my mind confusing and often the inlet shoals and moves around.  But as stated, last time about a year ago, this had been dredged and improved.  

We came in as the storm started to hit.  Thankfully the winds died but the rain came on.  We made it in no problem, an dropped the hook in the harbor as 20 kt winds hit - just in time!  We stayed aboard and did not leave the boat that night, ready for a reasonably early departure the next day.

Destin to Pensacola

What a wonderful sail home!  We had about 188 kts on the beam, and MS3 liked it!  We were making in the high 7s most of the way to Pensacola pass.
It was glorious!

As we arrived - we of course had arrival champagne, and watched our trip counter turn over mile 7,100 as we lined up in the Pensacola inlet for the entrance to the ICW.


Our timing was great - we were greeted on the VHF by friends from Pensacola YC that had spotted us on AIS.

So we joined the raft-up in Ft. McRee - one of our favorite anchorages.
MS 3 at anchor - Ft. McRee, Pensacola

Isn't that What Moitessier said?

It was tempting not to go home......almost there.  I could not help thinking about the story of Bernard Moitessier, a famous French sailor that should have won the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race - the first non-stop, single handed around the world yacht race. Instead of finishing the race in England, he elected to continue on to Tahiti.  Now, I'm not saying I had the urge to continue on several thousand more miles, but there was a strange call of the seas to continue on rather than end this voyage.  I must say, its a strange feeling.   

Arriving Home

But still, arriving home is still a good feeling!  And yes, the,new boat did fit in the entrance of the canal and in its slip - phew.......that would have been a long trip to find I could not get it home!

What's next?  I don't know.  Some local things for sure, but after that......still considering.  Watch this space!