Good news! Common Sense has been surveyed and put through a successful sea trial, and, as soon as some complex financial and insurance matters have been settled, we'll be moving aboard. We got to meet the owner, Dave, who bought his first boat at the age of ten with money earned from digging clams and retrieving golf balls. He's a tough 73 year old with a voice like Jimmy Durante (he's from 'Noo Joisey'). Dave obviously loves his boat and she has been very well equipped and cared for. His previous boat was named Nonsense, and he reckoned he's learned a bit since then - hence, Common Sense.
Here are all the particulars of the yacht for those interested:
Don't imagine for a minute that I know what all those things are! However, the in-mast furling mainsail is great - very easy to manage - and the bowthruster minimises the chances of an embarrassing encounter with the dock. Various other smart fittings and gadgets should ensure that we can manage her safely and live in reasonable comfort. And it's good to know that all the weeks we've spent in small apartments and motels have been a helpful transition from living in a big home to the simplicity of life aboard.
We're looking forward to exploring the Chesapeake Bay, with its beautiful forests and farmlands, its extraordinarily rich wildlife on land and sea (every marker has a huge, fully occupied osprey nest with lookout!) and of course its history of human occupation and conflict. The Bay has witnessed it all, from Native American settlements, the explorations of John Smith, European conquest, religious strife and persecution (of Catholics and Quakers especially), the rise of tobacco barons, pirates (including the notorious Blackbeard), the infamy of the slave trade, the Wars of Independence and 1812, Civil War battles, emancipation, nation-building, the fishing industry ... all of these have left traces; there is so much to see and discover.
The loose plan from here is to base ourselves at the marina in Grasonville until September/ October, doing short trips and getting to know the boat. An option on the pen came with the purchase - it's a really nice little marina on Kent Island*, so we're very happy to use it as a base for the moment. Once the weather starts to cool, we'll head south down the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida and the Bahamas. Before next hurricane season starts (July), we'll hopefully be ready for the Atlantic crossing to Europe.
It's a great place to be, but we do miss our friends and family every day, and Terry is just about ready to kill for a nice bit of vegemite on toast!
* I always wanted to live on an island!