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Date: 21 Nov 2010 23:37:00
Title: A good day on the water

38:57.687N 76:28.881W Sunday night

We're back "home" in Annapolis again, with Saxon Blue alongside the Service pier at Bert Jabins waiting for more work to start tomorrow morning.

We were woken up sharply this morning just before 7am by the engineroom fire alarm going off. It was a false alarm, thank goodness, and it happened last week as well so maybe the smoke detector is too sensitive. We'll have to keep an eye on it. Anyway, I wanted to get up at 7am to get ready for the day so it wasn't too bad. It took two cups of tea before I could pry Andrea out of bed, though. And that was after I'd had the heating on for half an hour. It was bitterly cold in the boat so I don't blame her.

We had our breakfast and I actually put my all-in-one Arctic suit on again before going outside. It was a lovely clear morning but the breeze was decidedly fresh. The wind was blowing us onto the dock and we had precious little room either end. I wanted to spring the bow out but that would have meant flattening an electricity bollard with the tender and the helpful dockmaster may not have been too impressed with that so we had to get the stern into the wind and go out backwards. It's a funny maneuver because it starts gently as the spring takes the tension, then you build the power slowly to get the boat turning. When it's time to go, though, it's flat out to get her away from the dock without dragging the bow along the piles. Then judge when we've gone far enough but not too far as we only had half a meter below the keel, then into ahead with the helm hard over and off she goes. Saxon Blue is predictable in these situations so I can trust that she'll do what is required - just as well as we had a fair size audience.

Andrea and Kali had to work hard putting all the fenders and lines away and then we were motoring along though the buoys on the way back towards the main Chesapeake. The wind was about 10 knots so we got a sail in at one point, mostly because I wanted to see if we could catch another boat sailing in front of us. We did, in no time atall before he used first his local knowledge and then his engine to get ahead again.

After that, we recalibrated the autopilot system. It's been telling us we're going 10 degrees away from our true heading for ages which isn't a huge problem but can be annoying. We went through the full procedure and it now seems spot on so that's a good feeling. After that, we did some long overdue man overboard drills. It was a good bit of teamwork and we all learnt something about stopping the boat quickly and got our system honed. Hopefully, we'll never need it but it's good to know we can do it if we have to, especially now we're going to be heading offshore and away from outside help.

We were all famished after that so had our lunch as we dodged the angling boats in the main channel. There can't be any fish left and I think that's why they all tow multiple rods. Some even have 10 meter outriggers with more gear. Even more common is to tow two tiny mini-boats, one off to each side and each of them loaded with angling gear. It doesn't look very sporting to me and it's hard to avoid all the lines in the water.

We ended up getting back to Jabins at about 3pm and then sorted Saxon Blue out so the guys can start work tomorrow. They're removing the starboard side toe rail so we've moved the fenders away from that part and de-rigged the lines. Kali went into Annapolis in the tender to collect some things to take back to New Zealand leaving Andrea and I to walk around to Sams bar for a drink. On the way back, we saw three deer staring at us so that was a lovely moment. There was a massive full moon this evening, hanging over the trees with their last remaining burnished red leaves.

We've had a lovely dinner of bean stew, cooked by Kali. She's off to New Zealand to her brother's wedding tomorrow morning so we're certainly going to miss her. Now we're waiting for X-Factor videos to stream from YouTube so we can keep up with the important cultural events back home. Then it will be Battlestar Galactica and by the time that's finished, it could easily be 9pm so a late night for us.

Harvey

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