Brent, Mary, and baby Ember joined us in the afternoon on Saturday. Since this was our first time with a baby on board, we weren’t sure exactly how everything would work out, but it turned out her travel crib fit perfectly in David’s office, and the boat was actually surprisingly baby proof since all the cabinets have locks (to prevent them opening while we’re underway), so she was pretty much able to explore safely.
We had made reservations at the Annapolis Yacht Club for dinner that evening. Our waiter was completely charmed by Ember and kept bringing her things to eat.
We set off the next morning for St. Michaels. We had visited last year with David’s parents and enjoyed our time there. We went to the maritime museum there and I took a shot of Highwind in the marina – this time the marina was almost empty, a little different than last time when we visited on 4th of July weekend and there were no spaces at all!
We returned back to the boat for the evening and decided it was easier to cook dinner on the boat so we could accommodate napping schedules, which we would do for the remainder of their visit.
Our next stop was Baltimore, which neither David nor I had visited before. We went to the aquarium, which Ember really loved – I think it was her first time seeing fish!
After Baltimore, we spent one night anchored in our favourite spot on the Sassafras River, before heading to Chesapeake City. This was our first time visiting Chesapeake City on a week-day, and unfortunately everything was closed! We got takeout and had a lovely dinner for Brent and Mary’s last night with us.
Ironically, Mary had asked us at dinner about the “dark underbelly of boating”, since they had had a lovely trip with us. She was able to observe in full swing the downside of boating that evening… Unfortunately, I had earlier noticed that our dinghy platform had lowered by itself as I was heading to pick up our food. After dinner, we noticed that it had again dropped down. David went to top up the hydraulic fluid, but unfortunately we had a catastrophic failure and the platform could not be raised any more. At that time, the skies opened up and it began pouring rain with 360 degree lightening. Our plan had been to continue through the C&D canal to Delaware City and then our 2 day open water legs down the Delaware and up the New Jersey coast to NYC. That was likely going to change!
First we needed to get the platform out of the water so that we would at least be able to leave Chesapeake City. We struggled in the rain with the ratchet straps we had on board to try to manually lift the step and we were able to get it just out of the water, but no further. We decided to call it a night and in the morning we would reach out to the lift manufacturer.
The next morning, we said goodbye as Brent and Mary headed to the airport – thank goodness this issue happened at the end of their trip! David hopped on the scooter for a trip to Harbor Freight for more ratcheting devices and returned with some cable winches. We were able to get on the phone with the lift manufacturer who gave us some ideas about the potential problems. With the cable winches and new ratchet straps, the platform was lifted and secured in short order. David was able to remove the pistons and we identified that at least one source of the issue seemed to be a leaking seal.
At this point, we felt confident in the platform and with the weather predicting no wind or waves, we decided to press on north, rather than head back to Baltimore. We should be able to find a piston repair shop in New York and with any luck, the repair shouldn’t take too long. In the mean time, we have purchased a proper tow rig for the dinghy, which will arrive while we stay in NYC. This way as we head up to Long Island Sound, we will be able to use the dinghy despite not being able to lower the platform. It’s always an adventure while boating!