Back Where it All Began

Back where our adventure with Mavis began in January. Deltaville Boatyard and Marina.
We are in Virginia!

After a full day of motoring down a calm Chesapeake Bay we arrived in Deltaville and docked at the Deltaville Marina.  We put 9.4 hours on the trusty Westerbeke and covered about 60 nautical miles on this run. In order to reach Deltaville before sunset and allowing for a few hours as a safety margin, we left our mooring in Solomon’s about an hour before sunrise.  The tidal currents of the Chesapeake Bay run generally north and south and can reach about 1 knot or more in places.  Because of the time and distance involved, I knew that we would have currents with us for most of the ride and against us for a few hours too. It all averages out though.  For a while we were hitting 7.5 knots and then for a while we were down to 5.25 but we made it in to Deltaville at around 4pm giving us plenty of time to settle in before sunset.

About an our after our departure from Solomon’s the sun began to rise as we exited the Patuxent River.

The day’s run was one of the calmest we have experienced since leaving New York but somehow Willow got seasick and vomited in the cockpit… Twice.  At least we think she was seasick. We can’t rule out the possibility that she ate something she shouldn’t have back in Solomon’s.  She didn’t eat her dinner last night and today she has no interest in eating dog food but was pretty interested in people food.  We are giving her the day for her stomach to settle. Hopefully she’ll be back to normal soon.

The captain enjoying the balmy 85 degree weather and sunshine!

Upon arrival here in Deltaville, we took on 10 gallons of diesel before getting into our slip and having dinner.  10 gallons is not a lot of fuel to move our home, and everything inside of it 60 miles. But it would have been nicer to sail.  Unfortunately the wind was not with us.

The crew is happy to be in our comfy slip in Deltaville.

It’s nice to be back in Deltaville.  Our adventure with Mavis began here in January when we sea-trialed the boat here and after we closed on the sale, we had her hauled out into their boatyard.  I spent many nights on the boat here on the hard in the middle of winter while I tackled the 10,000 projects that needed attention before the boat could be launched and sailed home to Long Island.  In that time, I got sort of attached to this place.  Deltaville is the kind of town where everybody knows everybody. There isn’t much here. Especially in the winter. But in the summer months the population explodes with boats and boaters.  In terms of shopping, there’s a 7-11, a grocery store, a fish market, a West Marine, a dollar store, a few restaurants, a gas station, a bunch of marinas, a sailmaker, a coffee shop, other marine services and shops and a liquor store. That’s basically Deltaville.  Situated on a peninsula between the Rappahannock and the Piankatank rivers, there is water everywhere.

Our amazing outdoor office at the Deltaville Marina.

We plan to stay here for a few days to a week while we wait out Hurricane Michael which is targeting the Florida panhandle right now.  After Florida, it looks like it will skip across to the Atlantic Coast and make its way through here and up the coast. I’d rather be cautious and tied to a dock than be out somewhere wishing we were.  Plus, we will take a few days to relax and maybe get a few boat projects done.  The boat needs constant attention to stay ship-shape.  And with all the motoring we have been doing, Mavis is just about due for an oil change. Perhaps I’ll tackle that before we leave here.

We are thinking about sailing over the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay to check out Cape Charles before heading down to Norfolk and entering the ICW.  Both of us are looking forward to heading further south than we have been with Mavis in the coming days.

Virginia is for lovers!

We’ll keep an eye on Michael and will secure the boat as needed for the expected winds.  Our floating dock here has finger piers on either side and everything looks very secure.  In fact, the dock is brand new.  I watched it being built in March and April before we left here. If we need to strip our sails and double up the lines we will.  It looks like Michael may still be a strong tropical storm as he moves through here.  The current path has the storm passing basically directly over us.  It’s always better to be tied to a dock wishing we were “out there” than “out there” wishing we were tied to a dock!

Stay Tuned.  Another video coming soon.

Capt. Frank


The Journey Continues

If you haven’t checked out episode 1 of our YouTube vlog, check that first here.

As I write this we are on a mooring ball at Zahniser’s Yaching Center in Solomon’s, MD. But let’s back up a bit because the last time I updated the blog we were in Chesapeake City. Not a lot has happened since our last update. Life on a cruising sailboat is fairly regimented. We wake up most mornings before dawn, fire up the dinghy and take Willow to shore and are underway before the sun is up. We usually run for 5 to 10 hours each day before putting in for the night. As we sail along I scan the horizon for other boats, ships, crab pots, floating logs, etc… I look at the chart-plotter to check our course, and I watch the miles to our destination tick down.  I look at our sails to see if any adjustments need to be made and, if motoring, I refer to the engine instruments to make sure all is well with our temperature and oil pressure.  This is basically what  I do all day.  On the ocean and here on the Chesapeake, I usually have the autopilot engaged.  This means I really don’t need to touch the helm at all. We adjust course using buttons on the autopilot. Sometimes I’ll listen to a podcast but it’s hard to get any actual work done because even though sailing can be as boring as watching paint dry, the ship does require attention. Recently I’ve taken to trying to stay somewhat fit while cruising. I started doing squats in the cockpit. When the seas are rolling you can get a really good workout this way. I also discovered that the furled headsails make a good support for doing handstand push ups. Basic body weight exercises are going to be the routine for a while.

Continue reading “The Journey Continues”

Watch the vlog

Nothing major to report from here.  We are still docked at the lovely Baltimore Boating Center we’ve been kayaking and taking the dinghy out around Sue Creek and getting lots of work done and making the $$$ neeeded to finance this adventure.

Check out the first installment of the SAILING MAVIS VLOG on YouTube!

And please like and subscribe so we know you want more.

We’re in Maryland!

Welcome back and thanks for coming along for the journey.

Our stats for today… Today was the 3rd day of our adventure at sea.  We have traveled 210 nautical miles since leaving Long Island at an average speed of 5.2 knots.  I consumed 1400 calories of peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets today(with a whopping 2300 mg of sodium!)

So long, New Jersey…  Buh Bye, Delaware… We are now in Maryland!

We left our slip in Cape May at 7am and motored through the Cape May Canal into the Delaware Bay which greeted us with a 15 knot breeze and some rolling lumpy waves.  But the sailing was amazing!  For a few hours we were flying up the bay with speeds up to 9 knots but after some time, the breeze died down to about 6 knots and after a while of moving at less than 4 knots I decided we needed to motor sail to ensure that we would make Chesapeake City by sundown.  So for a few hours we cruised up the bay burning diesel and making noise…  But at least we were moving along nicely.  Mavis has a single 28 horsepower diesel engine for propulsion that sips about three quarters of a gallon of diesel per hour at my cruising RPMs.

After about 2.5 hours of motor-sailing the winds came back and we were able to sail the rest of the way to the C&D Canal.  It was during this sail that Mavis got another flying visitor.  A huge dragonfly flew into the cockpit and landed on my camera.  I picked up my camera and brought him to Cindy who played with him for about an hour before he flew off, unharmed.

Heading north up the Delaware Bay you enter the Delaware River…  You really don’t “enter” the river… The bay just sort of “becomes” the river.  There’s lots of commercial traffic here including huge tanker and container ships heading to and from Philadelphia.  Today we were passed by the Maersk Winnipeg and the SCF Provider.  Needless to say, we got out of the way.  The shipping channel is a narrow lane that runs generally north and south but there’s plenty of water for boats like Mavis in the rest of the wide bay.  So that’s where we sail, leaving the deep water channel for the big boys.

The Maersk Winnipeg
SCF Provider
PSEG’s nuclear power plant on Delaware River. You can see it for miles and miles. We passed right by. Why am I glowing?
The charming little Ship John Lighthouse on the Delaware Bay

The C&D Canal runs between the Delaware River and the Upper Chesapeake Bay and today it was probably transited by 100 or more sailboats all starting the fall migration south.  This was very different for me because the last time Mavis did the canal (in the opposite direction) we literally saw ONE boat during our entire trip.  The canal is about 14 miles long and sailing is not permitted while in the canal… So more motoring.

We arrived in Chesapeake City and were pleased to find only a handful of boats in the little anchorage here.  We dropped our hook and Willow jumped in the dinghy for a much needed visit to shore where she found REAL GRASS to run around in and to do her business.

Speaking of business…  We had a bit of a hard time today getting things done while transiting the Delaware Bay because there was no mobile data signal for long stretches.  We’re hoping for better connectivity on the Chesapeake and the Intracoastal Waterway.

That’s all for today.  I wasn’t feeling very much like writing but lots of people are asking to be kept updated…  So I sort of forced myself to get some news out.  I think it’s a good practice to write everyday.  So keep reading and I’ll have to churn out more.  It won’t all be exciting, or funny, or particularly inspired or meaningful.  But hang in there with me and I’m sure there will be some gems.  I promise.




Heading South – Our First Days

September 30, 2018
Cape May, NJ
Days Aboard - 2
Nautical Miles Sailed - 146
Moving Average Speed - 4.9 kts
Trip Max Speed - 12.5 kts
Birds Killed - 2

We left our slip at the Oakdale Yacht Club yesterday “morning” at 3:45am. Let me just say that there is nothing “morning” about 3:45. We knew we had to leave at this hour in order to slide comfortably out of the the Fire Island Inlet with the outgoing tide so we spent the night on the boat in our slip on Friday night. I probably slept less than 10 minutes the whole night. The excitement of the trip ahead had my mind reeling. I kept trying to silence my monkey-brain but the thoughts kept coming. A non-stop stream of barely connected thoughts and worries. Mostly worries. Lots of worries. It’s part of the responsibility of being the Captain. I do the same thing when I fly. The responsibilities of the Pilot in Command or the Captain are awesome and I take them seriously. I’m confident but I’m always thinking about what could go wrong. Can you worry too much? Probably. But I guess its good to consider the problems that could be encountered in advance…

My thoughts were like…

Continue reading “Heading South – Our First Days”

Almost Time to Sail South!

After a fantastic first summer with Mavis on the Great South Bay, the chill in the air means it’s almost time to take her south.  Our plan, since before even closing on the boat was to sail south for the winter and spend time in Florida and perhaps the Bahamas. The summer flew by much faster than expected. It feels like just a few weeks ago that we were arriving at Oakdale Yacht Club from Virginia with our new (to us) boat.

One of many awesome sails with friends this summer!

We had planned to do some cruising over the summer and wanted to head north and visit Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod but it just didn’t happen. Business responsibilities, weather, and “life” kept us in the bay. This is not to say that we didn’t use our boat! We took her out quite a bit this summer and spent time over on Fire Island, and sailing to “nowhere” around the bay. We have really gotten to know the boat much better and have done lots of repairs and upgrades in preparation for this adventure.

We did lots of local cruising on the bay!


Our insurance policy limited our navigational area to the coastal waters north of Cape Hatteras, NC. It also required that the boat be laid up from November to March. When I gave our broker a call to expand this to include the entire eastern seaboard and the Bahamas, I expected our premium to double. Instead, I was pleased (and shocked) to learn it would only be about $100 per year more. There’s no longer a winter layup required and the only real restriction is that we remain north of Cape Hatteras between June 15 and November 1. This is a common restriction on many yacht insurance policies due to peak Atlantic hurricane season.

Speaking of hurricanes… As I write this, hurricane Florence, a rapidly developing storm, is barreling west toward the Carolinas where it is expected to make landfall in a few days as a Category 4 hurricane. We plan to leave in about a week or two to begin moving south. This storm will certainly impact our trip down in some way. It’s just not clear to what extent and how. Where it hits, and the damage it causes will dictate what needs to be done to get south of it. I have no idea what’s going to happen to the intracoastal waterway, the marinas, and stops for fuel and provisions in the area. It may be necessary to load up on provisions and try to bypass the entire area by running offshore around Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout and Cape Fear.

I think the boat is ready to go. I just completed an oil change and changed all of the filters. I removed and cleaned our starboard fuel tank. I replaced the DC diesel lift pump. I’ve replaced the genoa furling line and the genoa sheets. The house battery bank was made up of 2 flooded batteries which I changed to AGMs. We’ve installed a 265w solar panel and MPPT charge controller. I purchased a small portable generator. Before leaving from Virginia, I installed a new chartplotter and VHF radio with AIS receive capability. The only piece of navigational kit that we don’t have that I would like to have is radar. Our Garmin plotter supports it but I didn’t buy a radome. I didn’t want to make holes in our mast to install it, didn’t want to spend the $1200 and I was concerned about the power draw… So I skipped it. Hopefully we won’t find ourselves in reduced visibility. I encountered some fog on the trip up the Chesapeake Bay in the spring and it was pretty disturbing. We ended up dropping an anchor and waiting a few hours for it to burn off.

We need to pack our clothing. And while I believe that less is more, we will be gone for about 6 months… The seasons are changing, and we will be changing latitude. The weather can also be pretty unpredictable this time of year. All this makes it tricky to know what to bring, and what to leave home. My thoughts right now are to pack a few pair of jeans, some sweatshirts and sweaters, a few bathing suits and shorts and my foul weather gear. A nice thing about our Gemini is the fully enclosed cockpit. The isinglass makes the cockpit a cozy little greenhouse that some owners refer to as the Florida room. Sailing with the enclosure buttoned up makes it difficult to adjust sail trim and I personally like to sit on the cockpit combing a look out over the bow from the side, but this enclosure really increases the all-weather capabilities of the boat. It’s nice to be able to sail in cold or rain in shirtsleeves while other sailors are in their foulies.

We also need to do some provisioning for the first leg of the journey. Our fridge is a decent size and it has an awesome feature of being able to run on propane as well as electricity. This makes keeping things cool while underway easy and energy efficient. We will also have a small cooler that we can replenish with ice every few days if need be.


The Captain and Willow

We are bringing our salty pup Willow with us and a concern is how she will do being cooped up on board for days on end. While we plan to do this trip as a series of day sails, anchoring or pulling into a marina every night, there will be offshore passages that will keep us out at sea for 24 hours or more. We are hoping to get a small piece of astroturf and teach the dog to relieve herself on it before she explodes. She spends a lot of time on board with us and doesn’t seem to get seasick.

There’s so much to think about… I’m finding it hard to concentrate on anything but this trip. I guess it’s anxiety. I’m looking forward to being underway soon.

Capt Frank

s/v Mavis

And We’re Off!

Cindy takes the helm as we motor Northbound on the Chesapeake Bay.

After a long winter in the boatyard we are finally underway. Early this morning we cast off from Deltaville, VA with our good friend Robert (aka Babou) on board as crew. We covered 61 nautical miles on our first day from Deltaville, VA to Solomon’s Island, MD where we are tied up at the lovely Calvert Marina where we will spend the night.

The Captain is happy to be underway.
Cheers to the completion of our first day of travel!
Babou at the helm.