This Wednesday morning we came to the joint decision to withdraw our offer on the Grand Banks 32 in Maryland which we saw and surveyed before Thanksgiving. Cosmetically the vessel was first class, but the more we dug, the more problems we found, and many were not fixes that we can do ourselves or wanted to do.  Of course there is much more to it than that:

Since we returned to the USA last year we have missed the camaraderie of fellow long distance cruisers.  The weekend boaters are just that.  The memorable CCA summer cruise reminded us of just how important the cruising life is to our enjoyment of boating, and as we departed Maine, it was increasingly apparent that we should sell Cormorant.  It is a decision that we still feel was the right thing to do.  We thought a coastal/inland cruising boat would satisfy our boating wants and needs, and we fell in love with the Grand Banks 32.  But dealing with the legally careful brokers, the piratical boatyards and the superficial surveyors brought home to us that our boat-owning days are over.  Sixteen years ago when we did not know any better, we would have cheerfully signed on the line and started the non-ending flow of money.  Now, our hard-gained knowledge of what is right and what is not right  or reasonable has worked against us wanting to continue.  The crowning blow occurred when Harry awoke Wed. still wavering between making a counter offer and withdrawing, when he realized that every time that he thought about the boat, rather than being joyful and excited, he felt apprehension and anger.

We are happy with our decision, and once made, it was as if a heavy weight was lifted from our shoulders.  Now we have the opportunity to travel when we wish, rather than working it around boating season.  We still expect to do the occasional charter, rather than swallowing the hook completely.

Jane's hand is healing nicely, although she is impatient with the progress.  We are finally doing some gardening in our tiny yard.  Yesterday we planted a large camellia with many large blossoms in our small back yard.  The squirrels, birds and flock of not-so-wild-anylonger turkeys entertain us as they visit our back yard feeders.  Slowly, we are adjusting to life on land.

With this post we are "signing off" on this cruising blog, since we aren't going to be actively cruising. We thank all of our readers over the years for sharing our travels and posting notes. The stories and photos will remain on line.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and BEST WISHES FOR A HEALTHY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

 
 
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We had to have a car...

After days of driving from Rhode Island in our heavily loaded rental minivan, full of 16 years of accumulated "treasures" from our life on the boat, we arrived at our house in Jacksonville on Sept. 29. We unloaded and reoriented for two days and then started the search for a car. We had planned to not spend much and to buy a used car, but one days of inspecting and driving so very good options at CarMac ended that plan. Harry has smoke induced asthma, and with a used car it is just not possible to be sure it has never been smoked in. So we started on the rounds of the worst pirates we have encountered in our complete circumnavigation. Sitting at a table with these car dealers--several of them at various dealerships--felt like being back in Egypt. Finally, in desperation, I clicked on a link for the car we wanted, a Toyota Rav4, at Coggin Toyota. There was a block for comments on the request a quote screen, so I wrote: "I want this car and will pay X$ for it, plus tax and title". Total time spent, 30 seconds. Two hours later, as we sat on the porch enjoying a drink, the Coggin Internet salesman emailed back they they agreed! The next day, we had our car. We did have to sit through 20 minutes or so of suggested "additional options", declining each, but overall it was great. And now we are almost regular Americans. Not quite though, since we think one car for two people is just fine.

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Grand Banks 32

Of course we knew we couldn't go cold turkey on boating. We were in agreement when we sold Cormorant that she wasn't the right boat for our future, and we were also in agreement very quickly about the boat that was. We looked at several boats on the trip down from Rhode Island, and then drove around here in Florida. The boat that feels right to us is the Grand Banks 32 from the mid-1980's, and we now have a purchase and sale agreement on one in Sarasota. If all goes well at the survey and sea trial, by mid Nov. She will be ours and will have a new name, "Bessie". More to come on this!

One week ago today I had my right hand operated on for severe arthritis at the base of the thumb (CMC) along with trigger thumb. My left one was done in 2005 in Nee Zealand and the right has gotten to the point that surgery is the only option for me to continue to be active. So this whole post is one finger typing--with the left hand. The hard cast goes on Friday for about a month, and then weeks of physiotherapy. It will all be a distant memory next year on the water.

 
 
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Sarah and Keith at the closing--on their boat
The past month has been a whirlwind for us, and we are still catching our breath. One month ago, after making the decision that it was time for CORMORANT to go to new owners, we emailed friends and fellow cruisers with the news. We were still planning on getting the boat to the Chesapeake for the winter, then finding a broker, and so forth. Within a week of our email though, we got a note from Keith and Sarah saying "if CORMORANT still has the for sale sign in the window when you get back to Boston, we would like to look".  A week later we took a mooring in Scituate, MA and Keith and Sarah arrived at the boat about 9:30 the next morning. Together we tried to answer their many questions, show them the boat, and let them look at everything. Then, after lunch aboard we went for a sail. At the end of the day, exhausted, we all went ashore and had a wonderful dinner--celebrating Harry's birthday!  

It was starting to get cold, so the very next morning we headed out early to catch the current in the Cape Cod Canal and get moving south. Then about 10 am we got a text. "Check your email. Sarah and I are ready to start the process".  It was all a wonderful experience and both couples feel really happy with the sale and the purchase. It has truly been a win-win situation. For 2 weeks we worked pretty much non-stop to clear out and sort through 16 years of full time live-aboard gear and hidden treasures, making trips up to Keith and Sarah's house in Foxboro to store things in the garage. The survey went smoothly and it was a satisfying pat on the back for Harry and Jane's meticulous maintenance. The surveyor said he only has surveys like ours once or twice a year at most. He couldn't find anything wrong!

On Monday, Sept. 23, Keith Duncan and Sarah Winsor became the 4th owners of Cormorant. They plan to keep her name and change her home port to Boston. The only definite now about their cruising plans is that they are going cruising. That's the proper cruising spirit--all plans set in Jello. We wish them well, and to our cruising friends:  when you see Cormorant out there, stop and visit. The welcome mat will be out. 

As for us, we are driving a heavily loaded rental mini-van south, stopping on the way to look at small trawlers. We had a wonderful 16 years on Cormorant and we feel very happy letting her go to new owners who will be using her as she should be used. We are certain that we are not finished with boating, but our next adventure will be on a small trawler (right now we are looking at 32 feet). We will write more as we figure things out, but the name of the blog will have to change. The voyage of CORMORANT continues, with Sarah and Keith aboard. 
 
 
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At anchor, Rockland, Maine August 23, 2013

This cruise up the East Coast, and now in Maine, has been wonderful. We know that we still love cruising, but we also have decided that CORMORANT is not the right boat for our next adventures. Since we completed our circumnavigation and then brought the boat back into US waters in April of 2012, we have been thinking a lot about "what next". On Monday afternoon we each sat down with a blank sheet of paper divided into 4 parts: (1) reasons to keep the boat (2) plans for the future still with CORMORANT (3) reasons to sell, and (4) plans for the future without it. When we looked at them together, we just had to laugh. We both had the same things in every box. Clearly we love CORMORANT, but we want to do more coastal cruising and even the Great Loop on the Great Lakes and rivers. We still want to cruise, but for shorter periods of time. CORMORANT is the perfect live-aboard boat for cruising anywhere in the world. We hope that whoever buys her will see that potential and love her as much as we do.

Our cruise continues and as we head back west and south from Maine we will keep up the blog. We have lots of places we missed on the way up, and on whatever boat we have next year, we plan to cruise the Cheasepeake and up the Potomic. More to come...

 
 
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Harry & Andrew at Southwest Harbor, Mt Desert Island

We met up with our good friend Andrew at Buck's Harbor and joined the CCA cruise for the opening party in Rockland on the 6th. There are over 250 people in the group and we knew only Andrew on day one. But it is a friendly group with impressive sailing experiences, so conversations flow easily. Having Andrew aboard has been a real treat. We first met him and Corky in 1988 in what was then Yugoslavia. We were on a charter boat and they were on their beautiful Bonnie Doone. They have been our heroes ever since.

Today we are again sitting in dense fog, waiting to see if it will lift enough by noon for us to make the offshore run to Roque Island. It is a long way, so if the fog stays later we will make new plans. That's cruising.

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Dense fog at Boothbay Harbor
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Victory Chimes entering Castine in heavy rain. We watch it all from our cockpit, warm and dry behind our clears.
 
 
For over a week now we have had no ATT connection, so we can't update the blog with photos until we do.  Meanwhile, we just want to let everyone know that we are having a wonderful time in beautiful Maine.  After lots of fog, lots of rain, and cold temperatures, we now have had 4 straight days of sun!  So things are looking up.  The SSCA gam in Isleboro, Maine was last weekend.  Over 65 boats came and one of those was Maggie, with John and Gail whom we had not seen since 1999 in Trinidad.  The cruising community is small and one never says good-bye.  Then we picked blueberries in Buck's Harbor and picked up our good friend Andrew to start the CCA Maine Cruise.  That will fill all our time until after August 16, where it ends in Roque Island, fairly far "down east".

A note to all:  if you leave a comment on our blog and would like a response, there is no way for us to get back to you if you are not already in our address book.  Instead, use our email address on the home page (lothhung@gmail.com).  Do this only if you want a response.  We love getting comments.
 
 

All season we have been saying "we're headed to Maine". We are just over the border now and our next dilemma is deciding which of the wonderful places we can fit it. But first, a short recap of the last 2 weeks.

This is CORMORANT, dressed for the 4th of July, in Newport by the Beacon Rock Mansion. That night, we were treated to traditional fireworks.

Cuttyhunk Island was our next stop. Right at the tip of the long chain of islands leading to Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard, it is a popular weekend destination for the 1000's of sailors in the region. On the Friday of the long weekend we thought there might not be room, but we arrive midday and it was easy to find a spot in the large outer anchorage.

Saturday night we spent at anchor in Onset, just at the entrance to the Cape Cod canal, and we were treated to even more--and better--fireworks! What more could we ask--good weather, a secure anchorage, pizza ashore, and a sound and light show. The next morning we caught the current to fly through the canal at 9+ knots.

Sunday was Situate, a cruiser's dream of a place. The laundry is a 3 minute walk and the grocery just a couple of minutes further. We will definitely stop here on our return.

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On the CONSTITUTION, Boston

Then Monday, finally, we were in Boston on a mooring ($50/night) at Boston Waterboat Marina, right off the end of Long Wharf. Lots of daytime wakes from the ferries, but the location can't be beat. We caught up with friends Marge and Don after too many years, and also had Keith and Sarah on the boat for dinner. We had not seen them for 16 years, but Keith always wrote when we send a Christmas letter or updated one of our web pages or blog. Now he and Sarah are part owners of a boat and dreaming of cruising!

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Gloucester Fishermen's Memorial

Thursday-Sunday were in Gloucester, where we were kindly loaned a free mooring by Tony and Louisa, fellow cruisers. We wanted the mooring because Sat morning John and Joanne picked us up to drive for a weekend in Maine at the Inman's place. Scott and Jennie are former Foxboro employees, like Harry, John, and Mark. It was a wonderful weekend with lots of food, drink and conversation all set with the Maine freshwater lake in the background. Here is one photo of that.

After a couple of days at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard marina for some commissary shopping (thanks to Harry for his 32 years in the Air Guard and Reserve) we are underway now to Biddeford Pool, ME. AT&T is spotty up here so updates will happen when possible, but not regularly. Stay tuned!

One note: back on the Delaware River I had a photo of this wild looking boat I called a UFO. It turns out to be a solar powered boat which has circumnavigated. If you Google solar boat you will probably find it.

 
 

Newport is known as the yachting center of the NE US, and probably of the entire country. The main street is called America's Cup Avenue and the harbor is full of boats. We are very lucky to be guests on a mooring right under the "Beacon Rock Mansion", in the most protected part of the harbor, Brenton Cove, and in a direct upwind location for the 4 th of July fireworks tomorrow. We will dress ship tomorrow morning, as we have every 4th of July for 15 years.

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Only in Newport--street trash receptacles with solar powered compactors!
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Right on the waterfront since 1910 for servicemen and seamen. We had a wonderful hot shower, with towel, for $2
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And for a laugh, Newport's kind of winery...
 
 
PictureHarry and the Essex Steam Train
We spent 4 wonderful days in Essex, CT, where the sun finally shone and the temperatures warmed.  The main reason we were there was for the first ever SSCA Essex Gam, organized mainly by Bob Osborn, and we had a great time meeting other cruisers, sharing our stories, and eating lots of good food.  Bob received 3 packages for us, took us to West Marine and the grocery, and shared information from his 15 trips to Maine.  To top off the whole Essex experience, Harry even found a steam train to ride.

After the gam we spent one night in Hamburg Cove on a CCA mooring.  Here in New England it seems to be the practice to just pick up a vacant mooring and hope the owner does not come back just as the sun goes down.  We are learning, but it was nice here to have a mooring officially available to members of CCA (Cruising Club of America).  As we were listening to NPR that Monday morning, we heard that the Wooden Boat Show was going to be at Mystic Seaport beginning Friday.  So Bob showed us where to find the one anchoring spot deep enough for our boat, and off we went on Tuesday.

When we arrived, there was only one other boat and we touched the bottom lightly as we motored around to find the deep spot.  It was certainly small, and we had to shorten scope so we wouldn't swing out of it, but the bottom is mud-glue so we were happy.  By the evening, 3 more boats arrived and by the boat show there were more.  By joining the Mystic Seaport, which cost less than 2 days of admission, we can enter as many times as we wish for an entire year, and we took advantage of it going every day for 6 days.  Just by luck, on our first trip ashore, we discovered that the Charles W Morgan, the oldest merchant vessel in the United States, was going to be moved to the lift dock and wetted after a 5 year major repair-replace-restore.  At cocktail time we were in our dinghy to watch as all the employees and volunteers who worked on her so long celebrated with a party.  Then there were 3 days of the wooden boat show too, with all the beautiful boats, restorers and builders there to talk about their projects, and booths and displays of all sorts.  Below are lots of photos.

 
 
What an incredible thrill for us to sail (really motor, as proceeding under sail through New York Harbor is prohibited) into New York, along the East River through Hell Gate, and out into Long Island Sound.  Pictures can only give a hint, but here they are:

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She greets all who enter
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The Verranzano Narrows Bridge from anchor the night before. Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
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Adverse current entering the harbor, throttle at 2200
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a closer view of Lower Manhattan
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then under the historic Brooklyn Bridge, under renovation
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Approaching South Manhattan's skyscrapers
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Same throttle, with the racing current at Hell Gate
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tourist boats can sail, but they always have a motor on too