Day 20 to 22: Sailing from Key West to Provincetown

On Thursday June 6th, day 20, as you recall we had a thunderstorm blow a gail at us before we reached our anchorage. Well, after that, before we could get the anchor set, another thunderstorm threatened us with 30 knot winds and more lightning. Luckily there was no hail included, I think we were too far from the center of the storm for that. Lindsay lowered the anchor and the hook set immediately. We were safe inside from the storm before it started to rain heavily.

The second thunderstorm near Hampton, VA.

Last night was good for sleeping. We were tired from only getting a few hours sleep while sailing all night and the adrenaline from the gales when we arrived. Thankfully the anchorage was protected from the south, therefore the waves didn’t have a chance to get tall enough to move the boat. We slept in and drank tea. By 11am we had just enough time to sail 24 nm across the Chesapeake Bay to meet our friends.

Fort Wool on our starboard as we departed Hampton.

Helicopters everywhere.
Sailing across the Chesapeake

Lindsay soaked up some bandwidth in the middle of the Chesapeake. For some reason, we had weak signal near shore in Hampton and while docked at Cape Charles Yacht Center, our T-Mobile signal was non-existent. The wireless at the marina is undergoing improvements, but it’s still very slow going. We had to walk away from our computers and check back later because it was like torture to watch the progress. Not cool.

So on Saturday morning the marina manager walked down to our boat and asked me what our plans were for departure. I said, “we will leave tomorrow morning,” he said “are you going up the Chesapeake?” “Nope, going north,” I said. To which he gave me a look like I was a bit crazy. I immediately admitted I hadn’t checked the weather. He said we’d be staying for awhile and he wouldn’t accept any more reservations until we told him when we were leaving. I thanked him, checked my weather app and route planner software, then told Lindsay we have a day or two to wait for weather..

Lindsay almost immediately decided we had an embarrasingly dirty boat and we needed to get busy polishing the hull. Especially after the big shiny blue-hulled power yacht docked across from us and we could see our reflection in their gelcoat.

Our oxidized and algae covered waterline before sanding and polishing.

I tried acid, it didn’t clean the oxidation off. I tried Meguiar’s One Step polish, it didn’t work either. Finally, after a couple of hours of trying to get the red strip to look red instead of pink, I got aggresive and pulled out some 400 grit sandpaper and wrapped it around a sanding sponge and knocked the hell out of that oxidation. I had to lay on my side and sand back and forth down near the water’s edge. Now the red strip was red, but very dull. NOW it’s ready for the One Step compound with polish. That made it shiny again! My ribs ached from the edge of the dock digging into them. Our shoulders were burning. We were both making grunts and huffs at Makara and we were only half way down the 47 feet of waterline. We both agreed we need to do this more often so it doesn’t take so much time.

We finished the starboard side on Saturday the 8th and turned the boat around on the dock to finish the port side on Sunday the 9th. We worked about 5 hours each day. That’s 47 feet / 10 feet per hour x 2 people x $100 per hour = let’s just make it $1000 job if we paid someone else to do it.

Our shiny and clean waterline after wet sanding the oxidation off the red stripe and

Much better now, well the boat is, but our muscles are aching badly today, even with the ibuprofen. This may be the last marina we stay in before we arrive in Provincetown. It’s a good thing we took advantage of the dock space to get this very important maintenance finished before we start bringing friends and charter guests aboard! It’s extra difficult polishing the hull from the dinghy or a paddleboard, as you can imagine.

Tomorrow we sail for about 11 hours to reach a remote anchorage called Wallops island. Maybe we will be a bit faster with the algae removed? Well, a clean boat just FEELS faster.