Crew & Boat Position: 26°06’N, 80°10’W – Riverbend Marine Center, Fort Lauderdale
Once again, crew and boat are back together.
Saying goodbye to the last of the relatives in Washington DC, we boarded the last flight of our holiday in the USA and returned to Ashling in Fort Lauderdale. There was an initial moment of panic (read: Skipper almost had a heart attack) when we arrived back at the boat yard to see an empty space where Ashling stood when we left her three weeks ago. How could someone steal a 35-foot boat on dry land? A quick chat to the yard manager and we found her tucked away in a corner, away from the main thoroughfare where she could be kept clean and dry.
While we had been away enjoying the delights of the East Coast, Ashling had no shortage of visitors and we returned to find her in ship-shape again with a new spray dodger, signage, rigging and water tank. Together with the hundred and one other things which we have ticked off on our to-do list since arriving at the yard, she now feels like a whole new boat. It hasn’t come cheap and there have been some healthy withdrawals from the bank account but it has all been worth it.
|No more sea spray with our new spray dodger|
|Repaired water tank|
Later this week we will cast off the lines again and set sail on the final chapter of our adventure, an estimated 4,000 miles and 40 days across the Atlantic. It has been some time now since we’ve been at sea and we’re quietly excited and scared, all at the same time.
The last few days will be filled with the usual stress of preparing for a blue-water passage – provisioning for food, water, fuel and gas; availing of the last hours of precious internet access; securing clothes, tools and books so that everything doesn't tumble out of cupboards when the first wave hits. Already the predictable Murphy's Law has taken effect with last minute problems of topping up gas for the fridge and killing a computer virus, while waiting for fibreglass foam to dry.