We installed a radar dome on our mizzen mast to help us sail in the dark and fog without hitting things. Justin used Spiderman moves to shimmy up our mast and install the dome and in this photo, he’;s grabbing a part from Brian with his toes. Being an excellent teacher, he purposely left the screws unsealed, so Brian and I were forced to learn how to hoist each other up the mast and finish the job.

Hauling out three weeks ago, we’d braced ourselves for a painful and boring stretch on the hard. Instead, we stumbled into a routine of work and play with comrades in the boatyard who taught us many new things and inspired us to be better and more self-sufficient sailors. Brian, myself, and our boat are forever changed from this experience.


The last big cosmetic project was polishing the boat and buffing out all of the black marks we’ve racked up from fuel dock mishaps. Justin helped us mix an effective ratio to buff out the problem spots and wax the hull.

During our final days in Deltaville, we’ve thrilled to see the fruits of our labor as we wrapped up projects one by one. With Counselor Justin here to school us, we largely got over our fear of messing up our boat, rolled up our sleeves, and worked our asses off. By the time we splashed back into Jackson Creek, our hull was freshly waxed with a sexy navy boot stripe and a new coat of bottom paint. Repairs to the broken rubrail and a new gate for the Pudge were complete. The new batteries and alternator were properly installed. Solar panel gussets were sewn and mounted to the bimini and dodger. New VHF, radar, and correctly tuned rigging to help us be safer at sea. Nightingale Tune has been transformed and is ready to cruise.


For the polishing project, we rigged up scaffolding so we could work without running up and down the ladder. Here, our friend John, who is dressed in a hazmat suit for painting his own boat (and not for keeping bees, as it might appear), and I schlep a support across the yard.


Sanding off the scum around the waterline before we applied bottom paint.


The day the Sailrite sewing machine arrived, it was the talk of the yard. Here, Emily and I assemble the machine under the hull, until Counselor Justin came out and yelled at us for getting it anywhere near dirt. Sorry Counselor.


Brian grabbed this shot of me working on the solar panel project. Apparently I look ridiculous when I’m concentrating very hard. I love the Sailrite. I can’t wait to make more things!


I took this shot of Emily right after our daily morning coffee pow-wow on Justin’s boat (pictured). Rico, the marina dog, is in the foreground. Our friends here have been like family, and we were crushed to leave Emily in Deltaville. We will see her soon enough though, when she visits us in the Bahamas!

on the hard

Nightingale Tune, with new boot stripe, sanded cove stripe, new bottom paint, waxed and ready to splash.


Here Brian adjusts the wiring for the solar panels that I mounted on the bimini and dodger.

NT from above

Justin grabbed this shot while he was up on the mizzen mast. The solar panel project took me nearly three days to complete. It was the first thing I have ever sewn on a machine (except for a bib I sewed at an Etsy baby shower once).

hoisting brian

Justin insisted that Brian and I learn how to service our own mast, so I hoisted Brian up on the bosun’s chair so he could finish the radar installation.


One of many dinners aboard s/v Jasaru. Here, Brian and I make rolls for sushi night, to celebrate the splashing of Jasaru after over a month on the hard.


There’s not much to do in Deltaville, but we did go out to dinner once at a terrible restaurant called Cocomos. It was their last night of service for the season and I think the entire staff was drunk.

rafted aft

The three boats that make up the “Rico Ralley” from Deltaville, VA to St. Augustine, FL. For our last night in Deltaville, we rafted our boats together to make final preparations for the trip. We are excited to be making the passage alongside s/v Jasaru and s/v Hecla of Uist.

Best of all, we have a newfound sense of empowerment when it comes to taking control of our own boat, and we’re ready to embrace new challenges. After much discussion, we’ve decided that the time has come for some offshore experience, and we have the perfect opportunity to try it out in the company of other experienced sailors. Alongside s/v’s Jasaru and Hecla, we’ve formed a flotilla bound for St. Augustine, Florida. We’re staging for departure in Hampton, VA, and tomorrow we will do our first overnight sail, just before we round Cape Hatteras, bound for Beaufort, NC.