Despite the punishing heat and humidity, we continue to move onto Dolce Vento. Instead of walking the apartment hall, we walk the dock. It’s not at all like camping in the woods for people who describe boats as recreational vehicles without wheels.
First of all there’s no dirt. Sailing is a clean avocation, if not occasionally a wet one. Also, Herrington Harbour North (HHN) marina, where we are living aboard, has a well-appointed exercise room to stay fit, a pool for swimming, a decent bar and restaurant for dining out, wi-fi for internet, marine experts to help, and, most importantly, a beloved West Marine store for parts, all within a short walk. With the car, we reach the grocery and hardware stores in two minutes. Annapolis is 20 minutes north, a short back-roads drive through luscious Maryland farm land.
The water views are spectacular, our dock mates are cordial and helpful. A calmness settles me every time I walk the dock, day or night. I’ve become a more patient person, a transformation of the Type A me. This is home until we start heading south on the Bay and the Intracostal Waterway in early October. HHN is a quiet place with big sky, whether looking east toward the Bay or west toward the land. As many of us believe, living on a boat is the cheapest waterfront property one can own.
We’re finishing a bucket load of small interior and exterior projects, including the last one that will make preparing to sail easier, requiring less stress on John’s part. Additional steps on the mast were added so he can attach or detach the halyard (aka rope that holds the sail up) at the top of the main sail, a good ten feet above the deck and zip or unzip its new stack pack cover.
To make boat handling easier for me, we’ve replaced most of the old stiff, heavy and bulky docking and sail lines (aka ropes) with new ones that my smaller hands can handle. This is all possible because new line technology enables smaller, lighter weight lines with greater strength.
Our planned Bay sailing with friends this week got shorted out, quite literally. We fried the second shore power line, the one that drives our air conditioners. The culprit was loose and corroded wires at the boat side connection. We could have run the air conditioner with the generator, but didn’t want to hear that noise all night. So, with the heat index at 100 degrees, we threw some cushions and sheets into the cockpit for a restless sleep, then headed home where it was repaired the next morning, making way (aka moving) by motoring, plowing through the glassy and windless Bay waters.
Dolce Vento’s 46 feet can be a bit intimidating as it’s the longest and widest boat we’ve ever handled. Like taking off and landing an airplane, a most dangerous time for boating, in my humble opinion, is getting in and out of the marina’s slip. It’s close quarters and even mild breezes can keep a slow-moving boat from doing what she needs to do. You need a deft hand and coordinated action on the wheel, the bow thruster and the gear shift. It’s easier when you have extra hands for the dock lines, but in our case, there is just the two of us. So, we are quite proud to report that we have successfully moved her in and out of the slip without assistance, bumping into the dock or having to ‘discuss’ what we were doing with the lines. The view at the bow (pointy end) is worth the effort.
This weekend, barring more stagnating heat, humidity and doldrums, we will actually get to sail Dolce Vento over to the Bay’s eastern shore to one of our favorite anchoring spots for a relaxing overnight on the hook (aka at anchor)– a respite before moving out of the apartment permanently next week.