High ZZ’s has come full circle, resting peacefully in her slip at Bay Point Marina in Little Creek, VA. When she left here in February, she experienced 9 F temperatures and 10 in of snow on the deck. She was trapped by the biting cold, snow and even ice in the very salty water. Upon her return, it was sunny and warm (78F), and there is no sign of snow shovels and melting salt. So much has changed! Not just the miserable weather and coincident attitude of her crew, but the experience and comfort level with what it takes to keep a 40 foot cruising sailboat afloat and its systems working. When she left, her crew cringed and their hold on the wheel tightened to a death grip whenever a new dock was approached or a narrow and shallow waterway was encountered. Now, although constant vigilance is still required, there is a calm planned approach and a considerable confidence that whatever is encountered, the crew has the experience and ability to weather the difficulty, and the boat the physical strength to endure our foibles. Not that the learning has ceased. We know how to change all four fuel and oil filters, equalize the house battery bank, trace down wiring and replace main electrical switches…but just as with other experiences, this is just the tip of the iceberg of cruising boat maintenance. On the “boat chore” and new experience schedule in the next few months are motor mounts, cutlass bearing and stuffing box replacements, not to mention rudder repairs, bottom paint…..as we said, cruising is just working on boats in more exotic places than your backyard.
High ZZ’s crew is looking forward to a summer of warm weather boating, starting first with a reunion cruise of the Pamlico Sound with our Claytor Lake Sailing Association cruising club. As there are four weddings to attend, we will stick around the Chesapeake and Pamlico, at least until mid-September. We know these waters well, but have not experienced them traveling in such luxury as High ZZ’s. Flip a switch, reheat your coffee in the microwave. Miss your favorite sitcom, fire up the flat screen and Big Bang Theory appears in living color. August too hot and steamy to sleep in, High ZZ’s AC unit will freeze the balls off of a brass monkey (it is a nautical phrase…not nasty… look it up). Life is Good!