Planning our next adventure

Aerial view of our eventual destination: Hopetown Marina in the Abacos

The start of any new adventure needs a tiny bit of planning, even for serially impulsive non-planner types like us. Especially if you have kids, a little plan is in order, lest it become a “real” adventure. Because you know what they say about adventure: it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong!! 

A favorite view of ours…heading out on a new adventure
Checking our google maps location somewhere between Bermuda and the Caribbean in 2014

Our basic plan is to bring Robin Hood to Hopetown Marina in the Abacos Islands of the Bahamas, where we have a slip reserved for the winter. If we had unlimited funds, and less tolerance for an adventure, this would be a matter of hiring an experienced crew. But part of the fun for us is the learning curve involved in doing things on the boat for ourselves, and of course doing them as a family, with our kids onboard as well. Neither of us loves leaving Robin Hood fully in care of a crew, no matter how experienced. Something always seems to go wrong…or maybe judgment calls are different when you are the owner and its YOUR boat on the line. 

Damage to the bow after hired crew hit a giant nun on their way into New York Harbor in 2015. With an owner on board, you can be damn sure at least one person will be on deck while entering one of the largest harbors in the world
One of several giant gashes from the same collision. Lesson learned!
Me with 2 of our hired crew on our most recent delivery–north from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard

Bottom line–we want to do the delivery ourselves.  Doing it ourselves means juggling schedules for the two older children who are in school, managing work schedules, and planning the legs of our route so that the littlest two boys aren’t doing longer stretches than necessary. This means we will probably slowly make our way south. Boston, to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, on to Newport, NYC, then Cape May. From Cape May it will depend on timing and weather. We could shoot straight to the Hatteras area of North Carolina, and wait for November 1st (when insurance companies give the green light to head farther south). Or we could explore a little of the Chesapeake area and hop our way south in shorter jumps.

Sunset in Nantucket Harbor…its hard to head North or South without at least a quick stop here…though “quick” is relative, we have a history of getting voluntarily stuck here
Liberty Marina–a wonderful spot with magnificent views of and access to NYC…hoping to squeeze in another visit to my favorite city on our way south this year!
Before the fun part begins, though, we have to make sure Robin Hood is in the best possible shape. Once we get to the islands, our options for repairs are distant and limited. Our initial list looks like this:

  • Battery issue with the starting bank
  • Oil leak at the crank case. It’s manageable but this is our biggest ticket item
  • Tachometer is intermittent 
  • Fuse panel at helm is old-ish and could benefit from an upgrade
  • Pins in jib sheet carriages are slightly bent and can slide back under load. We have them fixed in position with some spectra but best to fix
  • Check jib furler
  • Get longer furling line
  • Fix leaky window and wood damage (that was just replaced when we put in all new porthole glass last winter.  Nothing like fixing things twice!)
  • Forward AC check
  • New impeller on generator
  • Nav outlet switch at nav table is tripping. 
  • Replace the two 12 volt chargers at nav table which might be the cause of above issue. 
  • Inspect shower bilge pump. Slow to drain even though we just replaced it!
  • Clean bottom – hey it can get you an extra .5-1knt. That matters over 1600 miles!
  • Replace zincs 
  • Check bow thruster – the damn thing was installed new 2 summers ago and we’ve just never gotten it to “thrust” dependably!!
  • Discuss anchor (had it drag a couple times and after more research we think a heavier one could be beneficial) and double check chain and windlass
  • Check rigging 

Robin Hood (tall mast in center) at her home for the next few weeks while we work on her punch list
Daddy’s helpers helping pull the cart full of linens off of Robin Hood. May as well start our trip with clean beds!
What seemed like a few minor items suddenly looks like a long list that could really add up, dollar-wise. For this reason we decided to bring the boat to Yachting Solutions, a great spot in nearby Rockland, and somewhere that has done great work for us in the past. This way we can tackle any issues close to home at a trusted Marina, and then hop skip and jump our way south worry-free (haha right…knocking on wood, stat!) 
River helping scrub down the whaler, before storing it for the winter on Vinalhaven. just one on a long list of chores needed to close up Maine
Cannot believe we fit everything from our Maine cabin and what was left to clear off the boat into the back of the car…we are definitely getting better at nomadic lifestyle living in small spaces!!

Next up–the fun part! We cleared out all the food, clothing, linens, and toys, and will be restocking and reorganizing before we head south. We had galley cabinets half-full of our food and half-full of food stocked by previous crews. Our most recent captain was a gluten-free vegan*, with a crew that seemed to subsist on frozen jimmy dean sausage biscuits, so without being too critical of others’ dietary choices, I’ll just say that there was a lot to throw out! I love planning good boat meals and trying to get the freshest, healthiest combos even while on a longer haul. I’m looking forward to checking out some great blogs and websites, like The Boat Galley, and really getting a good system started. (Suggestions welcome!!)  

I’ve also been restocking a lot of the kids toys and books, really putting a lot of thought into good space-savers that also get their imaginations going. First purchases were Toobs toys and Magnatiles. Planning to do some fun reading of other family boat blogs to get some other ideas. With just this small amount of planning we will start our winter season well-stocked, well-prepared and safe. If planning still sounds terrible to you, here’s a secret: Rosé! Cheers! 

River playing some imaginary game with Toobs toys, while Van was oddly happy with the dregs of the toy cabinet. Cant wait to get them some new options for our tiny space!
*For the record…I think veganism is a highly laudable choice that is the best possible lifestyle for our planet. Alas it does not mesh with a lifestyle goals of world travel. That and I really love eggs. And ice cream. And actual cream.

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