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It's a Boat Blog, not a Home Repair Blog

You are probably thinking something like "Wow, it has been a hot minute since Allen and Norma posted to their blog." Well, since December we have been working on the house and getting moved in, and we did not want to change the nature of this blog. In brief, we had an awful lot of work to do on the Seattle house, but we were very happy with the state of things when we left on March 23rd. (AG)


We would be remiss, if we did not at least mention our wonderful friends in Seattle. Of course Jackie Goldstein, Allen's Mom, who put us up and put up with us for six weeks while we waited for our household goods to thaw out somewhere in Montana. Mom is also a wonderful painter and gave us many of her paintings to adorn our home. You can see her work at this link.

Then there is our son Adam, who generously agreed to live in the basement apartment we built while we are away. After a decade of renting and having strangers living in our lovely home, Allen has a new motto: "Never a Landlord nor Tenant Be."

Next, we must mention our wonderful friends Jamie and Londe Richardson, who invited us for meals practically the moment we arrived. Londe loaned Allen tools while Allen's tools were stuck in the frozen wastelands. They are also members of our (Seattle) International Dinner Group, and Jamie is in Norma's Seattle Book Club.

The Seattle branch of the International Dinner Group met for a Soup Exchange. Laura and Helen, Jamie and Londe and our new members Irene and Tony got together to enjoy four courses of soup and each other's company. Norma made an appropriate bread to have with each soup, and we all had a great time. Thanks to Connie Guerra of the Maryland dinner group for the idea of a Soup Exchange.

After a decade, Norma's Seattle Book group is still going strong, and they allowed Norma to rejoin. They met for a fabulous potluck at Susan Matalon's apartment and discussed The Lost Apothecary. It was great seeing Susan and Karen Conner and other book friends again. While on the boat, Norma will be attending two (!!), virtual book club meetings on April 30th: 7 and 10 pm Eastern, one on The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone and the other on Word by Word by Kory Stamper.

With adventure in our hearts, we wanted to make sure everything, including our bodies and medications were in line with our sailing plans. Having lived in Germantown for the past decade, we were both more comfortable with our Maryland dentist and doctors than those in Seattle for the time being, and so made a few appointments on the same day, rented a car, and stayed overnight with our Germantown buddies Connie Guerra and Tim Campbell for a few days. Boy, can Connie cook Tex-Mex to perfection no matter what meal, and we celebrated our return at a sumptuous happy hour with oysters, fantastic beef burgers and fries--something Norma rarely serves. Then they invited our Book Club friends Steve and Mary Ann Nichols over for dessert.

This hiatus from cleaning the boat was soon followed by a group of Allen's friends (DJ Anand, Cuong, and Debbie) from NIST visiting us on the boat for wine and snacks and eating out at O'Brien's in Annapolis. Their Bloody Marys with bacon made all very happy.

This soon was followed by a glorious sunny day luncheon of wine, beer, crabs, salads, and seafood with our international dinner friends (Connie & Tim, Deb & Walt Gundaker and Don & Pat Sauer) at Jimmy Cantler's by Mill Creek. It pleased us to some degree that both our work mates and dinner mates drove so far just to be with us before we took off on our sailing journey north.

This fantastic time was soon followed by an invitation to dine at Main & Market in Eastport with Nancy and Arnon Garonzik, some of our friends from "Knot A Yacht Club" who talked about bringing their new powerboat from Florida to Chesapeake Harbor. Allen's prime rib and Norma's salmon were followed by a chocolate wonder that we all shared. All this camaraderie balanced the stress and tensions we had working on Afterglow. Thank you, Friends and family!!!!!

Today we head to Baltimore to join DJ and Devi Anand for some music, food and a sleepover. What fun in store!


(NG) OMG! We are finally getting time to blog again on the boat. Between house and boat upkeep, we almost forgot that this is supposed to be a sailing blog. That’s why you have not heard more from us for the past few months. Inside the home took all of our attention for four months: Allen made a nice apartment (new tile floor, new wiring for VR (virtual Reality), new lights, new paint, and a door that locks between our son’s apartment and the main part of the home). The 6-weeks-late moving van with our stuff allowed me time to paint and clean all the rooms (Yes!). The hired workmen finished painting and repairing the outside of our Seattle home two days before we flew back East. NOW to the boat!

Relaxing and repairs at AMCYC

T.S. Eliot once wrote that April is the cruelest month, and it almost seemed that way for us. Our first week was rainy and a 63-knot wind gale kept us wide awake for much of the night. Allen and a neighboring boat captain noticed that the wind had unfurled the jib of another absent neighbor’s boat, and they spent a good hour trying to tie it down in the 3:00 AM darkness and wind. It was particularly hard since the sailors for that boat did not know how to tie a proper cleat hitch, and the furling line for the jib did not have enough wraps to completely furl the jib in the high wind. In any case, he and Mike from the trawler Encore have become buddies of a sort.

Broken Vacuum cleaner: Mike then loaned Allen a soldering iron to repair our wonderful little vacuum cleaner. What he did not know is that we walked to True Value Hardware and purchased a really nice one that heats up better than Allen’s old soldering tool. The little cleaning machine works but still conks out periodically, so Allen knows that the next step needed to really re-fix it. (By the way, he could easily have ordered a new vacuum cleaner, but Allen prefers to play Mr. Fix-it-Myself no matter the cost of time or money or sweat equity. Meanwhile, I was religiously hand picking up flakes from all the matzos we have been eating.) (Allen: It was more about spending the money on the proper tools to fix it rather than buying another that would die in another year anyway.)

Bad Batteries: The boat’s batteries were not doing well after the cold but snowless winter. Last season we finally installed a decent battery monitor and solar panels, but I dare say the batteries had been abused a bit over the past few seasons. So Allen has spent a lot of time and money getting new AGM "house" batteries, including keeping characterization logs of the new set of batteries. Allen's advice to cruisers: Have a good battery monitor and learn about the condition and state of your batteries!

THE CRACK: Now to the big scare: While trying to store bottles and cans in a handy place on the boat under the ladder in the salon, we saw a 6-inch crack and some water around a keel bolt. Allen tasted it and said, “Saltwater, the boat has a serious leak.” To make this story short, we walked around Annapolis and went to 5 different boatyards, explained the situation, showed them pictures of the crack. This is when it got dark. Each boatyard explained that they would probably have to remove the keel to fix this leak. “By the way, you also have to remove the mast as well to balance the boat,” they each reported. (The keel weighs about 7 thousand pounds on Afterglow.)

At this point, Allen’s heart started sinking, and Norma even saw some sniffles in his despair. But he got right to work, called around, and we got hold of Marty from Osmotech from Liberty Boatyard in South River, one of the top experts on fiberglass boat construction in this part of the country. As busy as he (and everyone else here in Annapolis) is this time of year, he was intrigued with the problem and soon came over with a colleague to check the tightness of the 12 keel boats and check out the crack.

We were dazzled when we watched them struggle with these very tight keel boats and when they chipped away at the fiberglass around the keel bolt the boat only to find that the "leak" was actually old bilge water worked into the fiberglass layers between the hull and interior framing. The salt taste was actually chemicals that had leached out of the fiberglass. Some repair is needed but not the keel drop nor mast removal. Allen was in tears of relief when Marty showed us the issue. It does need to be fixed but not urgently. We plan a 3-day or so haul out to dry everything out an get the fiberglass work done to get it done later this month. After that, we are back on Plan A!

Plan A was spelled out in our first blog post. We still are on that plan. We are watching the weather closely. If it is good at the beginning of May, we will start heading North out of the Bay via the C&D Canal. We plan to go to Lewes, Delaware via Chesapeake City. If the weather is unsettled, we may head up the Chester River to Chesterton in Eastern MD. Stay tuned.

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Glad you are back on track. Keep posting. Miss you.



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