Bad news: Zarafina very poorly; Good News: We sleep in real beds

Melvyn Brown
Fri 29 Oct 2010 17:59

38: 57.70N 76: 28.93W


The boatyard was a hive of activity by 8.30 with two lifting slings in constant use, either taking boats out of the water or putting them back in.  Melv commented to one of the employees that it was very busy and he said it was nothing compared with a few years back when they had much more work and many more boats in the yard.  Besides repairing boats they also store them for the winter – many of them totally encased in cling film. 


(Not Zarafina)




In the event it turned out Zarafina’s problem was not a bearing – as Melv had thought – but a little bit more crucial and a LOT more expensive.  The boat needed a new propeller; however they were still confident of getting a replacement, fitting it and getting the boat back in the water on Friday as scheduled.  All the to-ing and fro-ing took up most of the day and it was late afternoon before we came to arrange a hotel and we opted for the upmarket Hilton DoubleTree, partly because they offered a shuttle service anywhere within 5 miles.  Actually that was stretching it a bit given the boat yard and hotel were at opposite sides of the town, but to give them their due they picked us up without complaint.


On the Friday morning we asked for a courtesy shuttle back to the Boat Yard for Melv whilst I elected to be dropped off down in the historic town centre.  It is often said the Americans never walk anywhere…well how about this for a guided “walking” tour of the town….!



Historic Annapolis is exceptionally quaint and many of the shops exceptionally expensive!  Upmarket antique shops, art galleries, jewellery stores, boutiques and (in keeping with the maritime theme) a Helly Hensen clothing store sit cheek-by-jowl with shops selling the usual embarrassing tourist toot – a lot of the stuff emblazoned with the GO NAVY logo in deference to the Navy Academy and (presumably) the families who visit the town and return with the mementos.   I took a bus out to the Westfield shopping mall (same developer of the Westfield mall in Shepherd’s Bush) and happily spent a couple of hours window shopping.  I asked a lady in downtown Annapolis if she knew where the bus stop was and she looked a bit bemused and said she had personally never ever taken the bus but she thought it might be over the other side of the road.


Then came the bad news.  When they had come to fit the propeller the nut was the wrong size and although there was some frantic internet searching and phone calls to locate the original supplier and get a replacement, because no one worked over the weekend the boat wouldn’t be back in the water until Monday.  Melv assured me the good news was he had found the sturdiest ladder in the boatyard and it was presently tied to the side of Zarafina awaiting my return….


When I arrived at the boatyard I found the ladder was indeed sturdy – at the bottom – but inexplicably the rungs got narrower as they went up and culminated in a 9” square platform which you had to balance on whilst lifting your leg over the rail and onto the deck…. and all this 10/12 ft from the ground.  There was NO WAY I was going to be able to get on the boat (and if I did manage to get on, there was absolutely no way I was going to get off).  A quick phone call established there were still rooms back at the hotel, at highly inflated weekend rates, and the shuttle again trekked over to pick us up.  But on the plus side I got another miniature bar of soap, shampoo and conditioner to add to my collection…….!