Our First Cruise

We were lucky enough to be part of a group of boats (flotilla) heading to Norfolk for the annual Grand Illumination Parade! We reserved a slip for the night at Waterside Marina, in the heart of Downtown Norfolk, and set to making plans.

Crewmate Susan, of Veritas
The admiral couldn't make the trip down, as she had to work, so our dock neighbors Capt Dave and his wife Susan were gracious enough to lend me a hand to get tenalach from Southall Landings in Hampton down to waterside. It was about a 20 mile trip, and took us almost exactly 3.5 hours. The wind was out of the south, which gave us some sailing time between the outer marker to our home channel and the turn toward the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, but we had to motor sail the rest of the way, as the wind was nearly right on our nose. We didn't have time to beat the wind to death on our way to Norfolk. We dropped the mizzen and furled the jenny, content to continue making headway and be in our slip before sunset.

The trip down was uneventful, which we love. We passed a large container ship from Hong Kong anchored inside the HRBT, which upon raising its anchor, found that it fouled in its own anchor chain. They dropped it again when we were about 200 yards off, and it sounded like a jet engine! What a roar!

As we were passing NOB Norfolk, where all the large navy ships are berthed, Susan broke out some delectable cheese and crackers, and I had a wrap that I'd gotten earlier at farm fresh. We had great conversation, and tenalach's  Perkins diesel purred right along. The air temp was about 50 degrees when we left, and steadily declined as we sailed toward the setting sun.

Capt Jonathan of Tempo, who organized the trip, coincidentally met up with us as he was departing Willoughby Bay. He hailed us and we laughed about the timing, and he let me know about 3 other boats that were close by and heading to Waterside to enjoy the festivities. Soon after, we got word over the radio that the S/V Blue Ghost was hard aground near the Norfolk International Terminals. Blue Ghost was sailing again before we got to her, and we passed her in the channel in the Elizabeth River. We ended up being berthed right next to her at Waterside, and her crew were good people!

Ah, the most fun part of the trip. It was my first time docking at a new marina AND in a floating slip that was two boats wide. Since we have to dock stern-to, this required turning tenalach around in very tight quarters and back her into a starboard tie up. Suffice it to say that I have not mastered prop walk. We ended up directly diagonal in the slip, tossing lines to the dock hand to pull our bow in. He assured us it happens all the time, and despite judgmental looks from our powerboat neighbor, we got into the slip and tied up without hitting anything. The admiral met us shortly, we took the stooges for a potty break and began the festivities! Several friends made their way to tenalach, and we made even more new ones! Lots of sailors came by to meet the stooges and see our home, and a good time was had by all.
Capt Dave of Veritas and our good friend Ginny!

A group of 7 of us went to Hells Kitchen on Granby St in Norfolk, then retired to tenalach  for the rest of the evening.

The admiral and I got an early start the next morning, so she could get to her pottery class by 1. At 0830 the engine was running and we were making the undocking plan to depart Waterside and head back to Southall Landings. There was NO wind, so despite being prepared and hopeful to get some sailing in, it was again a motor trip. The temperature was about the same as the trip down and rising, but Sunday was cloudy. It was a shorter trip without the wind on our nose and we arrived back at our home slip at 1130. After a couple false starts, I had tenalach lined up and moving into the slip without so much as kissing a rub rail! It was a nice change from the embarrassment the previous day. We tied up, cleaned up, and got the admiral off to class, while the stooges and I took a well-needed nap! All in all, a great first cruise with great friends, and we look forward to doing it again!

Admiral's favorite picture from the day!

Antibes to Tenalach

The Transformation

Many of you wanted to see some before and after pics of the work we've done on our home, so I'll detail some of them here. First, the biggest investment we made: fiberglass work on the keel and a bottom job. We had several blisters to take care of, which was not that big of a deal, but the area needing attention on the keel was more than we wanted to attempt ourselves. Craig from Coastal Fiberglass did the work for us.

 For the paint, we used Trinidad SR over a coat of Interlux Primocon. Since we didn't know what was on the bottom when we got the boat, we thought it was better safe than sorry. The bottom job was dirty, took forever, and cost us a month's salary, but the Trinidad paint is rated for 3+ years. We'll see!

The Headliner

You may have seen what the "ceiling" looked like when we purchased tenalach. It was, to put it nicely, a "hot mess." Imagine the original marine plywood, fastened to the underside of the cabin top, then a vinyl liner much like what you'd find in older cars, then a layer of household fiberglass insulation held up by thin plywood. Add to that years of a leaky mast, and what resulted was a moldy, smelly mess. We took it all down in the main cabin and replaced it with PVC wainscot tongue-and-groove paneling. It might sound like it was easy, but it took us the better part of a month to get everything out, dry, and hung. After some trim, it looks pretty good!
Rotten plywood from a leaky mast/deck joint
After removing what was needed, down to the fiberglass

The Deck

Since the stooges aren't exactly the most graceful things on the boat, and the admiral and I have our moments, too, we added lifeline netting around the deck. This was a bit of a pain, but not terribly expensive, and gives us all peace of mind. We also put some grip tape on the aft cabin trunk to help the stooges get up and down off the aft deck. 

The Forward Cabin

The forward cabin has dual functions as the guest quarters and the Stooge Cabin. They're quite comfortable in there, and we've fashioned a restraining door that has worked beautifully. Big thanks to my dad, "the Colonel," for his hard work designing and constructing the door. We keep the guest cushions in the aft cabin with us, so if you come visit, they'll be clean for you!

 The Floor

We knew when we bought tenalach that new carpet would have to happen. The existing carpet was in pieces, full of mold, smelly, and simply just ugly. We replaced with a remnant from Abbey Carpet in Newport News, and were lucky enough to get enough square footage, with enough padding for under $120. We're very happy with it, and since we plan to replace it every year, this is a price point we can be comfortable with. And now we have a pattern, so it will go much more smoothly next time!
The finished main salon

 There's more to tell....
We have not yet finished converting the head to a composting toilet, but we'll update you as soon as we do! We've also got our eye on a diesel cabin heater....

For now, we and the stooges are quite comfortable! Stay Tuned!