Breaking up with the world

Hello everyone! Here in Rock Hall, Maryland, we’re finally getting a chance to update you about our first few weeks on the water. Basically we left Philly, went down the Delaware to the Chesapeake/Delaware Canal, stopped in Chesapeake City, and have been very slowly exploring the Northeastern Chesapeake Bay since then. We’ve broken up with “the world”; that is, the world of working a job and living in one place. But it’s misleading, because really we’re off to see “the world”.

Since it would be a lot to try to describe everything that’s happened in the last two weeks, I’m trying a new narrative style for this post; it’s called lots of pictures with descriptive captions in chronological order. We’ve been slowly getting our sailing act together, learning a lot each day. It’s hard to take pictures while actually sailing, so most of these are just places we anchored and visited.

I’m assuming it will be acceptable since I have an inkling that not all this rambling text gets absorbed anyway….

Some of our pictures got lost, so we will update if we get them back. here we go!


Us leaving Philly, courtesy of our friend Liz. That’s the Ben Franklin bridge.


Slightly farther down the Delaware.


First sunset of the trip, off of New Castle, Delaware on the Delaware River. After some stressful moments resulting from me not knowing what I’m doing, we got the anchor down and the boat out of the way of container ships.


More New Castle.


Kasy in Chesapeake City. We were relieved to get out of the Delaware and into the C&D canal, where Chesapeake City is. There is a free dock and protected anchorage basin here.


Me at the dock in Chesapeake City. This is a pretty cute place to hang out for a couple of days, and there were a lot of people from Philly who had come down for the weekend to escape the papal visit. We made some awesome new friends, Andy and Sarah, who brought down their boat Schrappy from Philly. If only we had known they were there earlier!


Chesapeake city boat pizza: pita bread filled with tomato sauce, topped with tomato sauce and cheese, and cooked in the broiler. (We don’t have an oven.)


Happy camper.


Most of our pictures from the few days preceding this are missing, unfortunately. But after leaving Chesapeake City, we anchored in the mouth of the Sassafras River. This was the foggy, cold, drizzly morning we left for Georgetown, which is at the end of the Sassafras.


Stout on her mooring ball at Georgetown Yacht Basin, where we were stuck for 5 days waiting for hurricane Joachin to go away. For the record, Georgetown is not really a real town… i.e. there is no grocery store. All but 4 houses were destroyed during the war of 1812 and now there are three marinas and two restaurants and not much else.


They did have an awesome boat supply shop at Georgetown Yacht Basin, however, with free coffee and tea and donuts for people staying at the marina. We hung out there as much as possible.


This describes the weather most of the time during our stay.


So we did mostly this. One day we couldn’t even leave the boat to row into the dock, because of the wind and rain.


Our plant and some condensation.


One day when the weather was less bad, we walked to a neighboring town, called Galena, where there was an awesome produce stand with the most beautiful squashes.

Galena also held another great surprise in store for us: our new friend Donna Lemm. We met Donna at the post office, and when she found out we lived on a boat she offered us immediate and generous hospitality. It turns out that she and her former husband built the boat in this picture and sailed it around the world for 20 years. The boat is Le Papillon, a 68-foot steel hulled pinky schooner. Needless to say, Donna had incredible stories.


This is Elvis the rooster. Donna introduced us to him when she showed us around the barn where she takes care of her horse.


Kasy and Elvis.


We also got to groom a beautiful horse that day. You never know what life will bring you.


Kasy rowing Hell’n, our dinghy, during a rare warm day in Georgetown.


After 4 days in Georgetown we couldn’t take it anymore, so we hitchhiked to Chestertown, which was 14 miles away. To my great surprise, we got picked up twice within 30 minutes. Chestertown was awesome, and they have a used book store and a real coffee shop, and all sorts of other stores that sell things like the thing in this picture.


What most buildings look like in Chestertown.


There are these huge rhododendron trees everywhere.


When the weather FINALLY cleared up, we sailed away. After practicing tacking for a few hours, we anchored just around the corner from the Sassafras River in Still Pond. What a beautiful place.


Kasy at Still Pond


Still Pond sunset


And more rowing around Still Pond. It was so gorgeous here.


Last one I promise


Leaving Still Pond… you can see our new hydration strategy: keep full water bottles swinging around on deck so you get annoyed, drink the water, and throw the bottle down below.


One of these mornings Kasy noticed that there were TINY LITTLE SEEDLINGS that sprouted up next to our plant!!! We don’t know what they are or what they’ll turn into but we will keep you abreast of any exciting developments!


You can see them better here! They are just hanging out, reaching for the sun! So cute


The next night we anchored in Worton Creek, a very protected anchorage with a tricky entrance. Here I am sailing the dinghy around in the morning, looking for wildlife.


I know, all of these places look the same. Honestly I don’t know which one this is.


The next night we anchored in Fairlee Creek, which has another crazy entrance, you have to head straight for the beach and then turn sharply to starboard in order to avoid going aground. It was worth it!


Fairlee Creek had this awesome little sandbar with some woods on it and a small patch of beach, full of beautiful round colorful stones.


Relaxing on the beach with a huge bag of popcorn.


Looking tough


Sunset at Fairlee Creek beach.


I know you didn’t think we were capable of awkward beach selfies, but we are.


Sunset and cooking dinner in Fairlee Creek.


Stout tied up to the free dock in Rock Hall, where we are now.


Sunset in Rock Hall.

Some other highlights I didn’t get pictures of… I ate a bowl of delicious crab soup. We saw a bald eagle in Still Pond, and even saw it diving into the water to catch fish. We’ve seen great blue herons, lots of ducks, turkey vultures, and an OTTER in Fairlee Creek. Yes, an otter! We must work on our wildlife photography.

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Cheap Jersey Water Ice

We are off on our adventure! We left Thursday from Philly and now we are tied to a mooring in Georgetown, MD. However, we never got to blog about what we did in the boat yard in Riverside, NJ for three whole weeks, because we were too busy binge watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and that’s what we chose to do with the free wifi there.

Lucky you, now you get to find out (the highlights of) what we did… and I will post more about our first week at sea the next time we get a good signal!

We started by going to Riverside from Philly, and packing a shop vac, two bikes, a bike trailer, a ladder, and several other tools in the V-berth. It was kind of like a clown car.

Then we were hauled out of the water and put on jacks next to her big sister Merry, a Bristol Channel Cutter.

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Shortly we realized that our ladder was too small, so we had to make a ladder. The bike trailer was the only option for hauling those 10-foot 2×4’s from Lowe’s. That’s an experience I don’t need to have again.

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After checking her out to find any unanticipated problems to be solved, we got to work scrubbing all of the grey wood on deck to prepare it for painting. This hadn’t been done in three years, so I will just say that we killed a lot of spiders doing it, and any good luck you want to send our way would be welcome.


Then we set to work peeling and scraping off all the old varnish, paint, and adhesive on the wood.

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Then we sanded all the wood and taped off all the nooks and crannies…THEN we finally put on a coat of primer! And started to paint!

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The paint went much slower than anticipated, in part because it kept raining. One day between coats, the rain created water bubbles in the tape and also cemented the tape to the boat in some places, so we had to remove all of that ugly stuff and re-tape the whole thing.

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We also painted the whale stripe black. This had its share of difficulties too, because paint is incredibly frustrating. But Kasy taught me a cool skill–the technique of roll and tip, where one person rolls on the paint to get it in an even layer, and the other person immediately follows by brushing out the paint with a wide brush. If done right, it should look like one long, even brushstroke.

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Fine, I will give you a break from paint. There were a lot of interesting problems with the rudder that needed to be solved.  One problem included reattaching the auxiliary rudder for the self-steering gear. If you’ve read our earlier posts, this smaller rudder was cracked off by ice in January, and in August Kasy scuba dived to the bottom of the marina and miraculously found it.


So after drying it out and epoxying the cracks, the rudder was bolted back into place and Kasy wrapped it with fiberglass to secure it.

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Another rudder issue was that the bearings on the rudder and the auxiliary rudder for the self-steering gear were worn and ovalized, so when you tried to rotate either of them, there was a lot of play.

The coolest thing about fixing this is that you can MAKE A BEARING using epoxy and graphite powder.  What you have to do is mix up a bunch of epoxy with graphite, squeeze it in and around where the bearing needs to go, and then put a coating of wax on whatever needs to turn inside the bearing (to keep the epoxy from sticking to it). Then, you squish the waxed thing inside the hole with the epoxy and let it set overnight. Since graphite is a natural lubricant, the epoxy will cure to make a tight seal, but the graphite lubricates the bearing and allows movement.

Not sure if any of that made sense, but it’s so useful I had to explain. Hopefully the pictures below will give you more context.

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The one issue with this method is that sometimes there are gaps in the epoxy when it cures, so those have to be refilled and you have to wait another day until the bearing is complete. But it’s worth it because it’s so cheap and easy!

Back to paint real quick: We painted the rudder cheeks, that white part on the upper part of the rudder. I included this mostly because I like the phrase “rudder cheeks.”

That puts us late in the Riverside Marina journey, and the last thing we did was complete the bottom paint. We evened out our old water line and taped it off, and then spent a whole day sanding the hull and the rudder and putting a coat of thick viscous black bottom paint on.

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Then we were really tired of working in the boatyard so we got some cheap Jersey water ice…. making Kasy a happy camper.

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The transformation is sort of complete… even though it’s never complete… as they say… So then she was ready for water! We were launched and then headed back to Philly for two days to say our byes and head south.

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Ah, Philly… land where the Phillies mascot attends neighborhood barbecues and rides bike share bikes. We will miss you.

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Those are real pictures taken by me, by the way.


Last Philly sunset. There will be much more soon, as we will be marooned in Georgetown for a few days waiting for hurricane Joaquin to blow over.

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Fish out of water

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We’re almost leaving!

Oh my goodness it’s almost time to go!! We are sort of in denial about leaving… but we’re hauling out a week from today…

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epoxy, vape, beer. an apt description of life these days

At the end of July, we moved out of our studio. So sad. Im going to miss that little classroom. On a positive note, we had a pizza party once we had cleaned out the whole space.

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Now we’re just winging it on the boat to get stuff done. But here are a few things we did before we moved out. We removed the rails form the boat and Kasy epoxied the cracks in them and then rebedded them with new hardware.

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Also replaced all the hardware on the self steering gear…

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…And installed a bulkhead to block off the space in the bow where the anchor chain goes. It’s that little triangular space in the picture below… The chain sits in the very forward “corner” of the boat, and blocking off that little triangle made it easier to store stuff in the space next to it without the stuff getting wet/dirty from the anchor.

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I made mosquito netting for both hatches. The way this works: it’s basically two rectangles of mosquito netting with tubular webbing sewn around the edges. I filled the webbing with sand to weigh the netting down, so now you can just drape the netting over each hatch and it stays in place. (more pictures later)

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I also made myself a fanny pack, otherwise known as a utility belt.

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And the coolest thing that happened… over the winter, the auxiliary rudder got snapped off by ice. It’s just a piece of wood, about 2 feet by 8 inches. Kasy thought it might have sunk down in the marina, because it’s heavy wood and was waterlogged. I thought it was just lost somewhere in the Delaware. But Kasy decided to try to find it, so he borrowed scuba gear from our friends and dove down about 20  feet in the marina. AND HE FOUND IT, within 30 minutes, on the third descent. I always knew he was good at finding stuff, but this was too much. It seemed like the rudder found him.

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the auxiliary rudder that could

In other news, I’ve now tried and failed twice to make lacto-fermented pickles. It’s just not working for us. And also there was a massive spider in one of the portholes (it’s in the upper right corner.)

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Here’s a night shot of the inside of Stout, with Kasy making salad. And a patron (cat) hanging out in a bar.

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The Transformation

We are dripping sweat into our varnish.  Last week the heat drove me to take a swim in the Delaware River, a decision which I immediately regretted. But now that I am thoroughly rinsed off, I’m glad to report that the transformation of our humble vessel is nearing completion.

I will start with some important announcements. We’ve found a new use for the tool (beer) holder, and also our plant is getting super large.

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We have lots of projects to talk about. Again, I won’t go into great detail with words here so as not to overwhelm you, but I will try to make it clear what you are looking at.

Firstly, I just finished making a ladder for climbing onto the boat from the water. At first the rungs were just simple planks threaded onto a rope, but when I tested it out, my toes were squished between the rungs and the boat.
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So, I attached spacers to each rung, and that created a space for toes to go. I also cut the end of each spacer at an angle, so that the rungs would sit against the curve of the hull.
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Next…the magnificent DECK BOX is finished! You may remember a preview that looked like this:
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WELL, now it looks like this!
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Here are more pictures for your viewing pleasure.
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To continue the trend of the boat’s exterior, I will introduce the forward hatch cover that Kasy made. It’s got plastic sheeting over the prism to let light in, and snap closures to secure it onto the hinges.
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And now for a laundry list of projects, because it’s raining on the awning I’m under and it’a starting to leak.

I made a new bag for the anchor line….
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Kasy made the hatch boards all shiny and new looking…
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I made us some simple messenger bags out of our extra fabric..
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And Kasy climbed to the top of the mast!
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I have to end here because the rain is splattering onto my computer. As has been the trend, I will do this post in two parts, so stay tuned!

What an incredible transformation!!!

What an incredible transformation!!!

I would have to agree with the prince.

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Captain Crunch Part III

More projects in the form of a photo essay! Kasy has been working on remaking all of Stout’s sail bags for a few months. We posted about the jib and staysail bags a few posts ago, but those had to be changed because the original closures we used (wooden toggles with loops) were proving ineffective. So they were replaced with zippers. We also put leather on the ends of the bag openings to protect the canvas from rubbing against the rigging.  2015-06-12 12.38.44 IMG_4075 2015-06-12 12.38.39 2015-06-12 12.38.29 Kasy also made this sweet looking mainsail cover. 2015-04-21 20.00.45 2015-04-21 19.45.00  2015-05-07 21.25.31 2015-06-12 12.38.15 2015-06-12 12.38.57 2015-06-12 12.38.24 After the sails were all cozy in their bags, the stern anchor needed a home. We didnt want to let it just hang out in the cockpit, or have it banging around in the lazarette. So Kasy repurposed some bronze fasteners to anchor the anchor (!) on the back of the boat. It’s a little hard to see, but if you look closely, you can see that the bronze pieces secure both the front and the rear of the anchor. 2015-06-04 21.19.11 2015-06-01 20.15.13 2015-06-04 21.18.55 2015-06-12 12.38.082015-06-04 21.19.04 2015-06-12 12.38.02 NEXT, this is just a preview, the project is not yet complete. But the DECK BOX. Last has been working on it since the beginning of the year, then was put on hold, now it’s almost done. This is going to be so beautiful and salty. It will be attached to the deck on the forward side of the cabin, right next to the aluminum propane tank holder Kasy made last year. This is just a picture of the dry fitting without the box’s lid, but it gives an idea of what the final effect will be: 2015-06-08 19.37.13 2015-06-08 19.37.00 Scrolling through the building process below, you’ll see how ridiculously strong this box will be. And how pretty! 2015-06-05 13.16.17 2015-06-05 13.16.12 2015-06-05 18.02.46 2015-06-05 14.24.27 2015-06-06 17.52.39 2015-06-08 19.37.37 Each time another piece was added to the box, the pieces were epoxied together for extra strength. Kasy then added planks on the outside of the box, which made it even stronger and more salty looking. 2015-06-05 16.30.24 2015-06-05 15.52.40 2015-06-05 15.52.49 2015-06-05 17.37.072015-06-05 17.48.29 2015-06-05 18.02.23 Thats all for now, stay tuned for deck box completion, more bags, and maybe one of these days I (Emma) will finish a project.

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Captain Crunch Part II

Dearest readers, I accidentally published an unfinished post last night! My apologies. Here is the first volume of the finished post, the rest will come later tonight.

We’ve decided that the amount of stuff we want to post about has reached such epic proportions that we can’t pepper the following pictures with very detailed descriptions. But I will try my best to create a compelling narrative using mostly images.

Stout is getting a new electrical system: batteries, battery charger and two solar panels. The system will allow the batteries to be hooked up to either shore power or the solar panels, so that we are off the grid and we won’t have to run the engine in order to charge the batteries.

Kasy magic turned this here pile of wood into a shelf to hold Stout’s new batteries.

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The batteries were originally stored in the lazarette.  This didn’t make a lot of sense because the batteries hardly ever need to be accessed or moved, and the lazarette is one of the most readily accessible storage spaces. There was also a much bigger chance that the batteries would get wet in a compartment right in the boat’s cockpit.  So the new batteries were to be stored on the new shelf, which was to be installed inside the bottom/middle of the aft bulkhead. This spot is hard to access, but since the batteries should almost never need to be moved, it made sense. The first two pictures here show the spot from the outside and from the inside.

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Shoving the shelf into place around all the pipes and through holes, bolting it securely, and transporting the 50 lb. batteries into place involved several forms of boat acrobatics.

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After the shelf was secured on the transom, it was time to rewire the batteries. For a couple of days, Stout looked like someone had broken in and thrown everything across the room just for fun.

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This shows the newly installed battery charger at the far end of one of the long cabinets underneath the cockpit. On the left, you can see a big square hole in the wall, which we made to install a new access hatch.

We haven’t installed the solar panels yet, but when we do, we will post pictures. At the moment we’re still hooked up to shore power.

The next project was replacing the cockpit vent with an access hatch. The vent looks like a vent but actually does nothing because there is a plate of plexiglass bolted behind it to keep water out of the cabin.  So Kasy bought a new hatch for this space, and now we can get to the contents of that long cabinet that is hard to access from inside the boat.

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 Sweet! Moving on to the next project! Once upon a time, the lazarette of the boat was a mess.  It was crowded with pipes for the bilge pump and the engine that took up far too much room and didn’t allow much to be stored in the compartment. So Kasy got in there with some 90 degree hose connectors, cut out the extra hoses, re-fastened the shortened ones, and moved some things around.

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Lengths cut out of unnecessarily long hoses in the lazarette.

Next, Kasy replaced the wood floor of the lazarette with a better one, with the plan of making a second floor above the first one. Both floors are removable.

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The second floor is made up of four interlocking pieces of protected plywood, which sit on slats bolted to the sides of the lazarette.

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The take-apart second bow anchor, the second bow anchor rode (the anchor’s rope & chain), plus 250 ft of 1/2inch rope fit underneath the second floor of the lazarette.

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I’m going to leave you with this, and will post the rest of the pictures later today. For now, can you find Stout in the picture below? Because she’s in there! Thats Philly from up on the Ben Franklin Bridge.

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First person to find Stout in this picture gets a mystery prize.

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