Dismal Swamp

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By Anne Clement

Oct 26

Multi tasking is the theme for today. I am sailing, navigating, writing, cooking, fishing, and we both are figuring out where and how to install the new windlass. Nev is sitting and working or running around fetching tools and materials. I am running around checking sails, peeking into galley, and watching out for crab pot floats. It must look kinda funny to our friend following us on the trimaran. The sun is out for the first time in ages though it is cold enough to keep fleeces and thermal underwear on still.

Oct 27

We keep remembering all the people we met at the PCA meet in Oxford, Maryland. I don't know why, but Wharram folks are always so much fun and non stuffy, full of ideas, and energy!

We are back in pelican country with Nev delighted to see them.

Oct 28

The new windlass works fine attached to the side of the forward mast case. It is designed to be installed with a vertical shaft rather than as we have it on its side, but our need is this way. Nev intends to buy a ratchet unit only (3/4 drive) and an adaptor, so he can operate the windlass with an extra long handle while standing up. This little windlass is relatively light weight and, though capable of doing the job, small size so it is not in anybody's way. It is an Anchorman manual from West Marine and looks fine. We lead the anchor chain around the mast with a huge fairlead from the used boat parts store and that works fine too. Now we are really set up properly. Perhaps one of these on each side might work out if you were starting to outfit a boat from scratch, but we still find the big, bronze ABI windlass we have for the starboard anchor (similar to a Simpson Lawrence Sea Tiger) to be truly excellent and easier than any other. It came off a dear friend's boat and we would never part with it. But two of those ABIs would be too heavy for a catamaran for sure! A lot of multihulls use just the minimum chain, but we prefer 100 feet chain for each anchor, and that way we sleep better at night.

Oct 30

Heading to Bellhaven where Clifton Thompson will meet us. He is building a Tiki 46 with plans he bought through us so we feel an extra concern that he have all the help we can provide. He lives in North Carolina, so we will visit twice a year, and we are happy with his phone calls and emails. Now that he has started, I expect the visit will be all about keels and lower hulls, building materials, etc. It is fun to be in on somebody else's big project and dream coming true.

Oct 31

Leaving Bellhaven in pleasant 10 knot winds, jib up only doing 4 knots on a reach. We have a short day today so are taking it easy for maximum enjoyment. Let the others rush.

Clifton's visit was great fun. Under consideration for plan modification was moving the galley hatch just a little bit aft so it would be easier to hand food to the cockpit while still easily reaching the foredeck. This seems a good idea to us and maybe a few shelves could go in the space between the ladder he plans and the bulkhead at station #5. Or else hooks for foul weather gear. There would be no need to change anything else in the galley then. Another change under consideration is moving the port side forward berth aft one station and building storage into the foot of the bed there. That would be quite useful for winter stuff once you get south and still keep it handy for chilly night watches. The result would make for a huge bed...! Then maybe they will put the shower and toilet aft in the port hull. Sounds roomy and lovely for a couple with only occasional guests over in the starboard aft cabin. We are eager to see his progress when we come by in the spring on our return trip.

While we were in Bellhaven, the boat did her usual shameless attraction spell on Paul who came out in his tidy motor cruiser that has loads of character, and he came aboard, later took us to grocery, returned with wife for supper, and made this town even more enjoyable for us. Paul left us with a superb article he wrote about the history of the Scotia - a paddle wheel steam ship.

The entire rest of the day was spent sunning, reading, napping, and then Nev nearly finished his cleaning of the brass lamp. It glows in the dark even though it is not lit!

There are untold numbers of bright yellow butterflies on migration here. Somehow they know the way without GPS and manage to flutter along keeping body and soul together while traveling probably as many miles as we do. It is humbling and inspirational to think about.

Weather reports are starting to be encouraging about an offshore sail from Beaufort to Florida. We plan to sstay along the coast well out of the Gulf Stream which has currents running in the opposite direction to what we want. But it may provide back eddys that would be quite helpful.

I guess that's all the news for now. So it is time for you, if you are an American, to go out and VOTE and offer rides to anybody who needs one, and phone up everybody you know to be sure they actualy voted.

Love, Ann and Nev

Peace Four

© Anne and Neville Clement, 2004