What Happens on Land, Stays on Land

We are back on our home turf and from the instant our feet touched land we have been spending every waking moment, and many should’ve-been sleeping moments, among family and friends.  We parked Rode Trip on a mooring ball in the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, NH and said, “Be good, boat!”  We were off!

Brian and I are blessed with incredible families and friends whom we love tremendously.  We simply couldn’t live this lifestyle without their ongoing support.  It was wonderful to spend quality time, in-person, with those who know us best!

In New Hampshire, we had many wonderful happenings to celebrate…weddings, engagements, new babies, job promotions, new homes, expanding family businesses, triathalons completed, open-water swims conquered, thriving gardens, pocket Oreos, and yet another season of fantasy football!   In Pennsylvania, we had many wonderful happenings to celebrate…new babies, new homes, new jobs, retirement, floors installed, and the invention of the Reese’s Cup S’more.  Of course all of these successes hadn’t been obtained without some hardships along the way and we shared our support, this time with hugs instead of emails, and were grateful that everyone is healthy and eagerly anticipating their next adventures along their lifelong journeys.

Though I cannot begin to express the gratitude Brian and I share in feeling, I do think a few words of thanks are in order.  Thank you for driving us all over in your zippity cars, it seems one cannot survive on land without one.  Thank you for feeding us.  Thank you for letting us sleep on your beds, and on your couches, and on your floors.  Thank you for letting us use your laundry machines, over and over again.  Thank you for letting us indulge in insanely long, hot showers (or was that just a good friend’s way of hinting).  Thank you for welcoming us home!

Home Base

It was 9:00am in Rockland and we (yes, I did let Brian take a turn at the anchor rode) hauled the anchor with some disinclination. We were truly enjoying our summer in the Penobscot Bay area and frankly, we weren’t ready to leave! But yet ahead were more summer adventures and reunions…and so we were off, heading south, with a very light wind forecast. “It’s only 100 miles…” we’d told our friend, Darren, when we called him and told him to expect us in town the following morning. Darren chuckled and reminded us, “Remember when 40 miles was a long day?” We had a good laugh about now setting out for a, “…quick overnight,” to Portsmouth, NH.

There was nothing quick about this overnight. As it turned out a bit of wind would have dramatically improved our trip. When a breeze kicked up mid-day Brian hastily hauled up the genoa, but it was just taunting us and soon it died and we were motoring once again. Can you tell how much I enjoy windless travels? Yup, this was the beautiful face that my husband viewed from the galley while peering out as he cooked our dinner. It was a long night at the tiller!IMG_6165

“Goodnight, Maine. Farewell!” At each two hour shift we crossed our fingers that we’d not snag a lobster pot in the darkness.


Fortunately, no lobster pots hooked our keel and we navigated safely through a fleet of fishing boats and around several passing ships. As dawn approached a fog was lifting from the New Hampshire coastline. Soon we viewed familiar sights as we approached the mouth of the Piscataqua River; the Whaleback Lighthouse was our first warm welcome.


Our timing could not have been more perfect; 22 hours after we’d departed we turned into the Piscataqua at slack tide. We motored ’round the Portsmouth Lighthouse and tucked ourselves out of the way behind the port side mooring field to make way for the USCG ship that was exiting the river. IMG_6174IMG_6182Thank you, Mike, who once again allowed us to moor Rode Trip on his mooring ball just off Pierce Island. We picked up the pennant, no problem, on our first go at it and true to Mike’s caution it was indeed “pretty fouled up.” Thank goodness I’d thought ahead to put on my sailing gloves so that I could grip the slimy pennant that was entirely encased in seaweed and topped with creepy, crawly, unidentifiable sea critters. Yuck! Brian and I set about cleaning the pennant and within minutes were moored back at our good ‘ol spot. We ate breakfast in the cockpit while enjoying the view of Portsmouth’s NEW bridge. IMG_6189 The afternoon consisted of napping and packing as we awaited our friend, Darren, who would pick us up after work so that we could spend some quality time at Home Base.

Rode Trip’s New/Used Main Sail

Since the BLOW OUT! we’ve been sailing Rode Trip with our repaired main sail. In the meantime, we (“we” a.k.a. Brian) found an appropriately sized, used main sail that we purchased through Pacific Sail Traders via E-Bay. Why used? Well for starters we received several quotes for brand spanking new mains and, WOAH, were they expensive. We weren’t surprised that a new main ranged from $2,000-$4,000 depending on the sailmaker and not including shipping or battens. Used sails ranged from $500-$1,200 not including shipping or battens. So when we found a sail at the right size and the right price we said, “Sold!” Our new/used main cost $700 plus $70 for shipping plus $70 for new battens. Our new/used main was made for a Beneteau 38′ and we hoped that when it arrived it would be ready to sail off into the sunset.

As described the new/used main was in excellent condition. One major difference, however, from our current main sail was that this main has full battens. After consulting with a sail maker, we agreed full battens were the way to go for a cruising sail as they’d put less wear on the sail. Knowing that we couldn’t use the new/used main until it had battens, we were still anxious to get it rigged on the boat and see how it fit. I was thrilled to have something new aboard because it seemed there’d be no boat project involved and no searching for random parts. But the trade-off for cruising is saving money by using our own time and ingenuity. With the introduction of the new/used main, a project was born.

We could not raise the new/used main to see how it fit because the track cars were too small for our mast track. Brian set to work changing the track cars by sewing our webbing and track cars onto the new/used sail. I was completely supportive; fetching twine, needles, webbing, etc.



Once the track cars were replaced, we fitted the new/used main into the boom track but the outhaul was too short to reach the clew. Brian set to work again removing the fairlead that was preventing the downhaul from adjusting. I was completely supportive; ignoring the upturned cushions and opened compartments in the cabin and quietly stepping over the extension cord and power tools while browsing Facebook to see if something more interesting was happening that afternoon (nothing more interesting was happening as it turns out).


At last, the new/used main could be raised! I heaved on the halyard while Brian fed the track cars into the mast track. Ah hah! A lovely fit. Hmmm, we wondered how many people we could fool into thinking that Rode Trip is a Beneteau. Decidedly the decal must be removed.


The new/used sail is a good fit, but we still weren’t ready to sail it. We needed to add lines to tie down the reef points and we had a small snag. The reef tacks had been made using blocks and our previous reef tacks were hooks.


One trip to Hamilton Marine solved the reefing snag. I found discounted rope, the end of the spools, in various lenghts/colors/sizes that we could use for the tie downs on the reef points. Brian used webbing on the reef tack blocks so that we could continue to use our hooks by attaching the webbing to the hook. And so our reefing system was back in order.

To complete the new/used sail we contacted Pope Sails in Rockland, Maine who came highly recommended. Pope Sails provided the full battens that the new/used sail required. Doug Pope was prompt and even accommodating; upon realizing that we’d walked the sail to his shop he offered to deliver the sail to the town docks for pick-up. We were pleased with his service, fair pricing, and hospitality.

Finally, Rode Trip is ready to sail off into the sunset with a new/used main sail! The first voyage will literally be into the sunset was we travel from Rockland, ME to Portsmouth, NH. Brian is already looking forward to increased speed and better handling from our new/used main sail which is much crisper and flatter than our vintage main.