Archive for August, 2008

Entry for August 24, 2008

August 24, 2008

On Thursday we completed our second charter for a couple who got engaged on the boat.  It was very exciting for us to be a part of this special occasion AND SHE SAID “YES”!

The charterboat business is going better than we expected and we booked charters #3, 4 and 5 over the past two days.  My goal was to have 10 charters by the end of this year and we look to be ahead of that schedule.  YEA!

We spent a little of the business money this week and purchase vinyl lettering to put our website on the boat’s main-boom.  We think it came out pretty good – see picture above.

I am very much enjoying running the business and especially talking to potential guests on the phone.  I’ve never thought of myself as much of a salesman but now I find it very easy because it’s something I really believe it.  I guess that was the key!

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Entry for August 17, 2008

August 17, 2008

It’s a quiet Sunday morning and Laura is “sleeping in” to catch up on having to get up early for work all week.  Yesterday was a BIG DAY for us as we completed our first paid charter for a very nice couple from Philadelphia.  We thought our first charter was going to be on 8/21 as we had that date booked for several weeks.  But, I received a call on Thursday afternoon from Veronica in Philly who was interested in doing something “different” for their wedding anniversary.  It didn’t take her long to decide and she booked the charter just a few minutes later.

As we had been planning on having the boat ready for Thursday, we were very rushed to have everything ready for Saturday afternoon.  The weather didn’t cooperate as it rained on-and-off for most of the afternoon right after I brightened the decks with SoftScrub.  I had been working on getting some lifeline stanchions repaired at a local welder for the past 2 weeks and he finally completed them on Saturday morning (nothing like the last minute!).  We picked up the two stanchions and drove across the river to a Laundromat / dry-cleaner in Hudson.  On Wednesday we had dropped off all of our cockpit cushion covers for dry-cleaning which were still pretty loaded with sea-salt and grime from our 2 years of cruising.  They looked awesome!

There were still a few things on our list so we stopped at Wal-Mart, Price Chopper and a couple Dollar stores.  We left the last store in the middle of a rainstorm hoping the storm had missed the boat because we had left many hatches open to air everything out.

The boat was dry but it was just starting to rain as we unloaded everything from the car.  I re-bedded the stanchions and attached the lifelines between rainstorms while Laura baked fresh bread and started the Shrimp Bisque which had to simmer for an hour or more.  I then spent the next hour trying to get all the seat covers back on the seven cushions.  Just as I finished the Sun came out and I was able to put them all up in the cockpit and arrange everything nicely.

On Wednesday and Thursday I painted the complete cockpit with new white marine paint and it looked awesome with the cleaned seat covers.  Laura had fresh-cut flowers out in a vase and we were finally all ready at 3:30 pm.  15 minutes later I saw two people get out of a car in the parking lot and told Laura, “I think there are here!”.  After introductions we welcomed them aboard, chatted for awhile, I gave them a short safety briefing (life jackets, fire extinguishers, life raft, “don’t fall off the boat…”, etc.).  We waited for some dark clouds to pass over the marina and hit us with a few sprinkles before backing out of the slip and motoring the creek to the Hudson River.

The skies were clearing as we headed north and there was just enough wind to roll out the mainsail to make it look like we were sailing.  Veronica and Gary were very impressed with “sailing the Hudson” even though we were really motoring with the sailing flapping around in the small, 5-knot breeze.  We motor-sailed under the Rip Van Winkle bridge, past the Athens – Hudson lighthouse and around the island before turning back south for our dinner anchorage.  We anchored in our favorite viewing spot just south of Catskill and served dinner to our guests while they watched the sunset over the mountains.  The few clouds that were left after the storms showed some beautiful reds and oranges to a perfect end of the day.  We couldn’t believe how great everything had gone on our first charter!

Now, you know everything doesn’t go exactly the way we plan, right?  Earlier in the cruise some people on shore in an isolated place were waving to us.  Veronica innocently asked how we would know if they were saying, “hi” or asking for help.  I mentioned that the usual way to wave for help was to move both arms up and down at your sides so it wouldn’t be mistaken for “hi”.  Just as she was finishing her Seafood Stir-Fry, Veronica said, “I think I see another boat doing that HELP thing.”  I looked up and, sure enough, there was a small (28 foot?) boat anchored just north of us waving their arms up and down at their sides.  We watched as they got closer to us because their anchor was dragging.  As they approached I walked out on the bow and asked if they needed help.  The guy asked if we had a battery charger on board because his engine wouldn’t start.  I said I did have one but didn’t have any way to run it on their boat.  I suggested he let out more anchor line because he was drifting.  He looked around with a funny expression and said, “oh”.  I was wondering if he thought we were motoring forward or something instead of his boat moving backwards.  I would have thought our anchor chain sloping out forward would have given away the fact we weren’t moving forward. 

He re-anchored and finally stopped his boat about 50 feet away from us.  He then tried to flag down another small powerboat for a tow back to the marina.  The other powerboat came about 100 yards from us then turned around back out to the middle of the river.  He yelled back, “It’s too shallow over there!” as I looked at my depth-sounder which read 29 feet of water under us.  Our guests asked why the other powerboat (with maybe a 2 foot draft) thought it was too shallow when they could see that a big sailboat was anchored in that spot.  I just shook my head and said something like, “Not everybody on the water is as experienced as some of the rest of us…”  The other powerboat left saying he had called 911 on his cell phone and the police were coming to tow the powerboat with the dead engine. 

There were two couples on the 25 foot powerboat with the dead engine and while the owner told me, “Don’t worry about us.  We’ll be ok.” I could see that his wife wasn’t pleased.  I couldn’t leave them there (even though we were on our first charter) so we pulled up the anchor and slowly motored over as I instructed them on what lines they should have ready (bow, stern and 2 spring lines which took quite awhile for them to find).  We approached slowly and Laura very quickly tied them up to the side of our boat for the tow back to the marina.  After quick introductions I started motoring back 3 ½ miles to Catskill Creek. 

The tow went very well even though I was a little worried about having our guests back to the dock so late and having their “perfect cruise” interrupted.  I shouldn’t have worried though as they were just impressed about the whole deal and how we now had two boat tied together motoring up the Hudson.  Veronica was very excited about the whole thing and told our “new” guests all about their fantastic anniversary charter.

It took us about 1 ½ hours to motor back because we were against the current and going a little slower than normal with the tow.  Right after we tied up to the other boat it started getting dark and a short time later a beautiful full moon rose over the eastern hills. 

It was easy to see the marker lights on the river and I could also see the lights from several other boats.  I gave a “Security” call on the marine radio to let other ship traffic know we were towing another boat and our approximate position.  This turned out to be a good thought as there was a tug and barge coming up the river that slowed down for us.  We had a gorgeous evening, a beautiful calm river lit by a full moon and the people in the boat we were towing all went below to drink.  Go figure….

We motored into the Catskill Creek around 9:30 pm (our charter was supposed to end around 8 pm) and the first marina had a long dock that was empty.  The guy in the boat we were towing suggesting he jump off at the dock and hold both boats there while we untie.  I tried not to laugh out loud because I knew there was no way he was going a hold a 40,000 pound sailboat to the dock by holding onto his boat.  Instead I had everyone get ready to release the towlines as I VERY SLOWLY motored up to the long dock.  When we were about 5 feet away I put our boat in reverse and told everyone to take off the lines.  Just as Second Wind started to move backwards the guy easily stepped off his boat onto the dock.  Veronica turned around and looked at me with her mouth hanging open.  She said, “How did you do that?” as we slowly motored the last ¼ mile back to our marina.  I just stood up a little straighter and said, “We practice that almost every day” then we all had a good laugh.

Back at our marina we tied up quickly and were soon sipping Port while recanting the evening cruise.  Veronica and Gary left a short time later saying, “We’ll definitely recommend chartering with you to all our friends but their going to want that tow thing too!”  Maybe I’ll try to work that into future cruises …..

By the way, the sheriff boat never showed up during our tow back to the marina.  I wonder who the guy called?

The picture is our newly painted and “spiffed-up” cockpit prior to our first charter.