A Weekend With The Murrays

On Friday, we made it safely into Portland, Maine.  Since we were arriving in time for the weekend, we decided to pick up a mooring ball and ditch the boat so we could maximize our time with the Murrays.

It was our first time picking up a mooring and Mitchell got it on the FIRST try!  He claims it was due to my steering, but I’m not so sure about that.

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After getting everything stowed and packed for the weekend, the Murrays waved us ashore for the second night in a row.  We headed back to their place and then went out for some seafood and local brew!  Mitchell and I were extremely impressed with Portland.  It feels like a mix between the Short North, German Village and San Francisco- very cute and quaint.  We are excited that the Murrays ended up in such a great little place.

After a good night’s sleep and plenty of coffee, we headed out to Scarborough Beach State Park.  Andrew tried to get us all to do some body surfing, but we all chickened out after setting foot in the freezing water.  That evening, Andrew made pasta and mussels.  He used his mother’s recipe from South Africa.  It was some of the best we’ve ever tasted!  Needing a little after dinner exercise, we headed out for a walk and ended up catching a live band at one of the local pubs.  They were an eclectic bunch made up of 2 guitars, 2 violins, a banjo, a stand up bass, and a mandolin.


The following morning, we rallied early and headed to Wolfe’s Neck State Park for a little hike.  It was a beautiful mix of shore and forest trails.

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Around lunch time, we made our way to Reid State Park and found a grill right next to the water.  We ate a late lunch and then headed to the beach for a walk.


Our weekend then came to a close drinking sun downers on Sea Major while charging up the batteries!


Land Ho

Last night, after 4 straight days of being on the boat, we finally went ashore in Cape Porpoise Harbor, ME.


After anchoring, waiting to see if the anchor was going to hold and getting the dinghy ready, we headed to the town wharf to meet up with the Murrays.  They just moved to Portland, ME and decided to make the 45 minute drive to Cape Porpoise to meet us for dinner.   As we approached land in the dinghy, Andrew and Elizabeth waved to us from shore.  We tied up at the overcrowded dinghy dock and climbed into the other two boats in front of us to get to the dock.

Once on land, we ate at a restaurant called Pier 77.  Elizabeth and I ordered the mussels, while Mitchell and Andrew ordered HAMBURGERS.  They must not have realized that we were in Maine and surrounded by amazing seafood.   After dinner, we headed to the lobster shack next door for one last beer.  Then it was time to say goodnight.  Mitchell and I headed back to the boat in our dinghy (wishing we had brought some kind of flashlight) and the Murrays head back to Portland.  (Unfortunately, Natalie forgot to mention that, in spite of my worst fears, the boat was still floating at anchor where we left her!)

Today, we will sail the last leg of our trip up to Portland.  Once there, we will spend a few weeks working on the boat and touring Maine with the Murrays.

Anchors Eh-Weigh

Bon Natalie finally got her Valentines Day gift this year.  Better late than never!IMG_4658

So, what do your anchors eh-weigh??  We now have a 55 pound Rocna and a 45 pound CQR and an undersized chain to match!

Now off to Maine…

Monday morning, August 19, we set off down the Sakonnet River headed toward Newport.  We were being battered by winds that registered a 2 or 3 on the Beaufort scale.  But we continued on under full sail knowing that the Murrays had couch surfers waiting for us at the end of our journey.   After 2 hours we were spit out of the river into the unforgiving North Atlantic Ocean for about fifteen minutes before making a u-turn and heading for the sheltered waters of Buzzards Bay.  After 6 hours of sailing on a broad reach with a 3-4 foot following seas, we took refuge in Clark’s Cove, MA for the night.  (click here)  It was a harrowing experience.  I mean besides the extremely pleasant day of sailing, we did run out of beer!  I don’t know how we managed to survive.  

The next morning we weighed anchor and set the iron genny for the Cape Cod Canal.  There was no wind at all and we had to motor the entire way.  We arrived at the ebb tide so there was a 5kt current running against us in the canal and we could not proceed.  (click here)  We anchored in Onset to wait a couple of hours for the flood tide and made excellent time through the canal into Cape Cod Bay.  There was still no wind so we motored to Plymouth, MA where we are anchored for the evening.  (click here)


The Little Things

When living on a boat, there are numerous things that can make life a little easier and more enjoyable.  Here are few of our favorites…


This is the computer shelf that Mitchell made so we could watch movies in bed.

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Vacuum bags come in SUPER handy on a boat.


The ‘breeze booster’ funnels wind down into our cabin.


I made hanging citronella candles in mason jars that can be put up and taken down.  We also LOVE the cockpit table and cup holders.  A big step up from our last boat.


Fishing pole holders- made and installed by Mitchell and Natalie.


Hanging towel made by Megan.  Feel free to make us more for Christmas!!!


Our hanging fruit basket not only serves a function; the fruit adds a splash of color to the brownness of the boat.


Our newly installed coffee pot shelf and paper towel holder.


Art work created by KTB and Jen McD.  Thanks girls!


Personalized life ring given to us for our wedding by my high school friends- Lara, Carrie, Jennie, Caroline, Molly, and Melanie.  Thank you girls!


My new dinghy seat- made by Mitchell.  He is going to have a hard time convincing me to drive the dinghy now that I have a comfortable seat.


We are quickly finding out that everything takes longer when living on a boat.  Our plan was to leave for Maine this past weekend, but here we are… sitting on the boat… waiting for our outboard motor to be fixed for our dinghy.  It needs a new carburetor and water pump.  We have been told it will not be finished until tomorrow at the very earliest.  Yuck!

In the meantime, we have been chipping away at more boat projects.  If you are wondering what ‘boat projects’ really entail, click on our ‘improvements’ page at the top of the site.  Once there, you will find a list of how we have spent the last month.

While waiting for the outboard and a boat part to come in from England, we decided to join our new friend Joe (from the marina) to do some more clamming.  On Monday, Joe took us clamming at his favorite spot (which is on the other side of a sand bar from Dave and Cheryl’s favorite spot).  This time we used handheld garden cultivators to dig through the sand/rocks/mud.  This saved our fingernails from numerous scrubbings.   The three of us found about 130 clams in a few hours.  Joe had us over for spaghetti and red clam sauce later that night.

After soaking the rest of the clams overnight, we steamed them and Mitchell made clam chowder.  It was wonderful.  While he was doing that, I grilled the remaining clams and then put a squirt of lemon and dash of cocktail sauce on them.  Also delicious!



I guess there are worse ways we could be spending our time waiting….

Not So Happy Clams

A few days after Mitchell and I arrived at the marina, we made friends with Cheryl and Dave.  The two of them invited us over for cocktails on their boat.  During the conversation, they told us that they had gone clamming that afternoon.  After seeing our excitement, they promised to take us one day.

‘One day’ turned out to be this past Thursday.  Mitchell and I were busy working on the boat when Dave came over and asked if we wanted to go clamming.  I quickly blurted out ‘yes’ before Mitchell had a chance to say that we had to stay and keep working on boat projects!

We gathered our water-shoes, mesh bag, life jackets, oars, sunscreen, water bottles and jumped in the dinghy.  Dave pointed out the way to get to their favorite spot in a little cove close to the marina.  We tied the dinghy to a big rock and were ready to find dinner.

Dave showed us how to find clams and what size they had to be in order to be kept (one inch across when turned sideways).  He explained that you dig your hands into the mud/sand/weeds/rocks and feel for the top of the little guys’ shells.  (My sister Megan would HATE clamming.)  Once you feel something that you think is a clam, you pull it up (and are usually disappointed to find out that it is a rock.)  If it happens to be a clam, you then put it into the floating basket that was tied to Dave’s waist.


Two hours later, the basket was full with about 100 clams.  We headed back to the marina with our loot, but it is always an adventure on the high seas and nothing is ever easy.  A quarter of the way back to the docks the dinghy engine decided to die.  Pulling up the cover we found it was flooded with gas!  So, we did what any self-reliant mariners would do and paddled over to the first boat with people on it and asked for a tow.  And let me tell you that it is just a bit embarrassing being towed back into dock while the Sunday afternoon crowd is out to see!

Back at the dock, Dave explained that we needed to let them soak in the salt water overnight.  During the rest of the evening, every hour or so, we pulled up the mesh bag and got to see them spit out the sand that they had in their shells.  In the evening, the bio-luminescent algae would settle on the mesh bag and when you pulled it up, it glowed bright neon green!  It was pretty impressive.

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The next night, Mitchell and I made red sauce and put most of the clams in that (after steaming them in 2 cans of beer, water and seasoning).  We had it over linguine with a side of grilled clams on the half shell.  They were delicious!


Getting blog updates…

As promised, Mitchell and I will try to post updates as frequently as possible.  Instead of having to check the blog daily/weekly/monthly for these updates, you can click the “follow” tab at the top of the website and wordpress will email you whenever we create a new post.  Pretty slick, huh?!!

The Process

The road to owning Sea Major has been a long one.  After looking at about 30 different sailboats over the course of two years, Mitchell and I made an appointment to see Sea Major a week after the school year ended for me.  On June 6th, we packed up the car and printed out another 48 sailboat listings (which we could afford) that were located on the east coast of the US.  We were prepared for the worst … a month of driving up and down the coast, searching for the perfect sailboat.  After Marcus James (our SUV) was packed with our clothes and camping supplies, we set out towards Rhode Island.   Since we weren’t able to see Sea Major until June 11th, we set up a few appointments in Massachusetts prior to that.  We drove the 12 hours in one day in the pouring down rain.   After staying in a few different hotels, exploring Salem, camping in Cape Cod and viewing three more sailboats (all in the rain), we were eager to see Sea Major.  [Mitchell and I had seen her “sister ship” in FL after Christmas so we had an idea of what to expect.]


seafood dinner over the campfire in Cape Cod

On June 11th, we stepped foot on Sea Major for the first time.   It was ‘like at first sight.’  She had the layout that we liked on the one in FL, but would need some work to get her looking as nice.  After spending about an hour on her, we decided to put in an offer.  Immediately afterwards, we made our way to Wildwood, NJ to see Mitchell’s sister who had just had a baby girl (Lucy) that morning.  After spending almost a week with them, we headed back to Rhode Island for the survey (similar to a home inspection).  While killing a few days, we drove around Rhode Island in the rain and camped out at a site near Sea Major.


camping near the sailboat in the rain

The survey took place on June 20th and went very well.  With only a week left before we needed to be out of our apartment in Columbus, we headed back to Ohio.  While there, we spent our time packing up everything and hanging out with my family.  After spending the week at my sister’s house and saying our goodbyes, we were finally ready to head out.  We piled all of our belongings (that hadn’t been sold at the 4 yard sales or at my school) into Mitchell’s dad’s pickup truck and his Grandpa Geno’s trailer and made our way to my dad’s lake house in Vermilion, OH.  Once there, we unloaded all of the stuff that we wanted to hold onto.


The next morning, we stopped in PA to drop off some of Mitchell’s things at his mom’s house.  A few days later, on June 30th, we were on the road again to Rhode Island.  We camped out in the rain again once we arrived.  Mosquito bitten and soaking wet, Mitchell and I decided to drive back to NJ to stay with his sister and trade cars with his dad.  We got to see the fireworks on the 4th with Mitchell’s sister, brother-in-law, new niece, mom and grandmother.  After wearing out our welcome a second time, we headed to Gettysburg, PA with Mitchell’s mom and Grandma Phillis for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.  At this point, we were on the phone almost daily with the broker trying to set up the sea trial.  Once a date was set, we made our way back to Rhode Island for the sea trial on July 9th.

Yup, you guess it… we camped out again in the rain and bug-infested campground that was near the sailboat.  Finally on July 12th, we closed on the boat.   Immediately after signing the papers (and grabbing our safety equipment), we moved Sea Major to a different marina (Brewer Sakonnet Marina) that was about 10 miles away.

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Once my legs stopped shaking from docking the boat for the first time, we chatted with a few of the guys at the marina.  They had thought it was funny that 2 girls were docking the boat.  Once they realized that Mitchell was a man, they got a big kick out of the fact that I was the one who steered her into the slip!


Since then, we have been at this marina for almost 4 weeks.  Our days have been consumed with cleaning the boat, working on the boat, moving our belongings onto the boat, and running to the store to buy parts for the boat.  We are hoping that the lack of fun will pay off in a few days when we set sail for Maine…

To read more about our travel plans, click on the “The Journey” tab at the top of the page.