We’ve been reading up on the Bahamas… we have begun some of the legal processes to ensure we could go to the Bahamas AND make it legal to return to the United States when we’re done!

Gene is loaning us his chart books.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has sent us this sticker so we have a chance to be able to be re-admitted into the USA if we decide to go “overseas!”
When a foreign vessel sails within a couple miles of a port like the Bahamas, it is often required to fly a solid yellow “Q” flag for “quarantine” which means the vessel has not cleared customs yet in that country. Only the captain is permitted to go ashore to get clearance for passengers and crew to obtain all the proper clearances.

We are learning a lot about the process, and are jumping through the hoops in case we decide to ‘go for it!’

Splash Day after a full month on the hard…

January 6 is famous for many things:

– Twelfth day of Christmas, aka “Little Christmas”

– The Epiphany

– 2nd anniversary of the attacks on the US Capital

But for Shelly and I, we’ll now remember it as Splash Day after being hauled out December 6, 2022 for a bottom job and some fiberglass repairs.

Being high and dry for a month can dry out the packing material in the “stuffing box” which is keeps most water from coming into the boat where the propeller shaft comes through. This seems to happen to our boat, so there was a slow but steady stream of seawater coming in around the shaft.

The fix is simply to tighten the stuffing box so the material compresses a little tighter around the shaft. That’s what we did, and it worked! The next time we haul the boat out, we’ll have new packing material in the stuffing box.

Jacksonville Jaguars stun the Jets!

Locals here are going crazy over tonight’s upset over the NY Jets 19-3.

Jags top their Division! AFC South…

Shelly and I are starting to feel like local Jaguars fans!

The Texans beat the Titans today Dec 24, so that puts Jacksonville at the top of their division!

Can they hold on? Well, the Titans host the Cowboys in 5 days for TNF… we’ll see what happens. (Jag+Texans on Jan 1…)

This third strait win means Jacksonville could make it into the playoffs!

January 7, 2023 Addendum

The Jags beat the Titans on January 7 to make the playoffs and secure their division!


Addendum January 14, 2023

Amazing comeback playoff game! Coming back from a 27 to ZERO deficit to win. It will take a lot of talent and luck to beat the Chiefs this Saturday January 21, but we’ll be rooting for them will all the locals around us here in Jacksonville.

OK… Sat night (Jan 21, 2023) addendum:

So the Jaguars fell to the Chiefs 20-27 today. The Jags had several chances to win this game that they could not materialize. But they played a good and respectable game that they can be proud of. We hope Mahomes heals up.

Everyone agrees that the QB, Coach, and whole Team will be one to watch in the next season! Nice job to the locals… nice job Jaguars!

San Marco…

We had a great BBQ lunch with Patty and Gene at the Bearded Pig part of this San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville FL.

Musicians were setting up for a few sets under the gazebo in Balis Park.

What a great part of Jacksonville. Just south of South Riverwalk area. Our hotel is nearby (while the boat is getting worked on.)



Holiday lunch with Gene and Patty of Galene was great! We’ll come back to this place so close-by us.
… a great village in Jacksonville!

Project Day

With a boat, it often feels like most every day is a project day! But when your boat is on the hard, you gotta find someone else’s project to work on!

So today, I assisted Gene Rutkowski of Galene splice the “good end” of his anchor line to his chain. Splicing 8-Plait anchor line is a good skill to acquire; today we got more practice together!

We tested it thru the electric windlass, and it went through just fine! I found that his 5/16” chain went thru his Lewmar 002 gypsy very smoothly. So what I learned is that the 002 works perfectly well with 5/16” chain. Whereas my 3/8” chain worked “rough” thru my 002 gypsy; the 003 gypsy that came with my new V3 windlass (installed last fall) works much smoother with 3/8”.

The other ‘well worn’ end is now tied inside his anchor locker.


Today’s project: install a larger Accumulator Tank!

Finding a place for a new component is always a challenge. This is in the port engine room looking forward where the fresh water supply valves and pump are. (The port fuel tank is to the left.) The valve underneath is the port fuel line shut-off for the equalizer fuel line between the tanks.
Proof of Concept & testing the new tank and improved fresh water system. There was no accumulator tank when we bought the boat in 2020. We added a 1-quart accumulator tank, but we’ve never been happy with it. So now a larger 4 gallon tank smooths the flow for our fresh water system. It should improve the longevity of our fresh water pump too. We’ve had to replace that twice?!? In as many years.
Looks like one drip to fix in the morning!

More pics will follow as this project progresses. So far, we really like the smoother water delivery and the pump seems much happier with its less frequent cycling.

Lambs Yacht Center, Jacksonville FL & nearby Huckins

Week 2 here at Lambs Yacht Center, Ortega River, Jacksonville FL. They moved us to a new slip under cover! We had been getting bombarded by lots of free fertilizer from the Canada Geese who live here. It is much better inside! They will be hauling us on Tuesday Dec 6 for some work. We’ll move to a hotel near our YMCA during that time.
Our neighbor on the port side is a Huckins Fairform Flyer. This well-loved yacht manufacturer is located just east of Lambs … walking distance from us. Reportedly, they are the oldest boat builder in the US still in business.

Founded in the mid 1920s, Huckins built PT-Boats during World War II, but are now known for finely appointed pleasure yachts. I was first introduced to them a month ago when we were tied up beside one in Norfolk. Its octogenarian owner was very proud of how well cared for it was, and for good reason.

See more about the history here, including a downloadable book:

Shellerina enters St Johns River FL!

My brother Russ was waiting for us where southbound traffic on the ICW on Sisters Creek empties into St Johns River as we passed into our hailing port!
Jacksonville’s key bridges (two of many) if going “up” St Johns River… which mainly flows from south to north!
Fortunately, this CSX Railroad bridge is normally open to boat traffic, as only the smallest of boats can pass when it is closed. (FL bridges monitor VHF-09).

112 statute miles this weekend…

After a five-day hiatus ashore on Skidaway Island and “The Landings” with friends Marlyse, Phil, and [hurricane] Nicole, we hit the “road” and put on over 112 miles.

7.5 hours today!

We are keeping our eyes peeled on the shoreline of Cumberland Island, where a few score of wild horses live.

We may come back by ferry if their tourist season is still open. The ferry at St Marys is a short drive from Jacksonville. Russ is driving our car down from Maine and he’ll meet us Tuesday at Lambs Yacht Center, our home for a month or so.

We still keep a logbook.
It looks like we still have enough 2022 logbook pages left for another seven weeks of adventures aboard Shellerina!
A look off our stern on a bumpy, windy night: the moon is rising in the east and the Cumberland Island “Sea Camp Dock” is fully illuminated. There are nine other boats anchored in here tonight. Most of us wishing we selected a more protected anchorage.
This also shows our relative position.
Even more anchored in here tonight (Monday night addendum). Lots of anchor lights off the bow and stern.
You may need to zoom in on this one.

Shore Power Cord fix

Poor connections can cause this type of dangerous situation in one’s shore power cord. This was on the dock end, but still!
The female end of the ‘Y’ adapter was also pooched.
The fix.
Strip the insulation, tin the ends, and join the two ends together, as shown.
Mastic tape and heat shrink tubing with adhesive inside makes the finished product, saving hundreds of dollars in replacement cords. All this came in the kit.

“The Landings” Savannah GA, we are guests of the Libbys.

Shellerina in Slip A3 at Delegal Creek Marina, part of the famous The Landings residential community. In the foreground: Shelly, Marlyse, and Phil Libby. We will stay here for several nights until Tropical Storm / Hurricane Nicole blows by.
A few hours later…
I have the feeling this harbor will be getting rougher in the days ahead.
We escaped this one with no damage or discomfort thanks to the Libbys and the Delegal Creek Marina facilities.

Church Creek to Beaufort SC today.

mm 501 to 504 very shallow. Here a sailboat, aground, waits for some tide to come in and float her. Probably a 3 hour wait. “If you are gonna go aground, best to be doin’ so at low tide!”

Only inches to spare…
Another tricky spot at mm 511.4. Give that red nun some distance.

Bald Eagle on ICW today
I guess this is why we’re heading south! 85°F in November!
6.3 hours, 46 nautical miles. No dings in the prop! Saved today’s route for next spring!
Tonight we are trying out Gene’s Anchorage (Gene of Galene).
So far, so good for ~8 boats.

New Inlet Creek, aka “Church Creek” anchorage…

The moon’s reflection enhances this pic of our anchor-mates here tonight.

We made it past Charleston SC and thru Elliot Cut and anchored nearby as planned at Buzzards Roost Point, Stono River. But then Gene of Galene suggested Church Creek mm 488. Taking that time off today means shortening the longer trip tomorrow, plus the suggested creek appeared as a favorite to many fellow reviewers, including Gene and Mac & Deb of Janthena.

The wind is blowing stern to bow as the tidal current usually wins when the two are opposed.
ICW MM 488 New Inlet anchorage. 5:30pm EDT.

I need to remember to change the boat’s sundial tonight as Daylight Savings Time ends.

Returned to South Santee River anchorage…

We enjoyed the staff at Wacca Wachee Marina Thursday night, and transited to an anchorage we stayed at last spring. Three large sailboats had the same idea, two of which I scouted the depths thru a tight spot exiting Winyah Bay on the southbound ICW. It was low tide and they draw 6 and 6.5 feet. I was able to assure them they’d find a minimum of 8.6 feet there. Their electronics agreed as they braved that shallow spot. I neglected to take a photo of a strange floating swing bridge there. Maybe next spring. It is a hairy place to pass thru with current, so the camera does not always take priority.
Arrow points to strange floating swing bridge. Normally open… but a narrow opening.
“The Turn” on ICW at Winyah Bay.
The current changes with the tide in this river anchorage.
Underway Saturday morning… to Charleston SC. We’ll anchor on the far side of Elliot Cut, and time the tide thru that area!

Denise & Jeff!

We had a blast having dinner with Denise and Jeff Thursday at Kreas Waterway Grill, the restaurant at Wacca Wachee Marina. Then they got the nickel tour of the boat. We waved the $0.05 fee, as they were kind enough to pick up some meds for us on the way over. Of course we had the boat all cleaned up and organized for them ahead of time! ( reports: No. It was actually a mess.)
Each of them told Shelly and I separately that they would do the Great Loop if their other half was up for it!!! LOL. We’ll see what they do! Yes, that is M/V Shellerina in the background.

Creech’s Porch NC mm 308… on Halloween even!

What could be scarier than Creech’s Porch on Hallween? Well we could not imagine, so we had to come see!

Robert Creech, Honoree Looper, Harbor Host, and PIRATE! (Love the ear ring Robert!). He took off the eye patch for this picture.


Creech’s Porch NC might not show up on many charts, maps, or cruising guides, but it shows up in hundreds of log books of Loopers who have come through Southport NC. Pull into the Provision Company’s free dock and walk a block or two to the head of the harbor where Kay and Robert have lived for a few decades.

Trick or Treaters braved this path up to Creech’s Porch this evening, as did lots of other friends whom Shelly and I got to meet.

Not to be outdone, Kay had her costume hat on! … a bit less intimidating for the little munchkins seeking candy.

Cape Fear and Bald Head in the distance, Southport NC in the middle, and a scary front lawn was our view this evening from “Creech’s Porch NC.”

Thank you for helping us re-provision, Kay and Robert!

Spooner Creek – 2 nights

ICW mm 210.5 Spooner Creek – Morehead City NC

We entered with ease at low tide with 6.5 feet of water, and a 2.0 knot cross current in the ICW‘s Bogue Sound,. We’ll stay here again.

We arrived here Friday night with the intention of staying only one night. But the fresh water pump failed, and so a dinghy ride and Uber adventure ensued to get a replacement. Fortunately West Marine was less than a mile away, and they had several in stock for me to pick from.

Dinghy dock at NW corner of Spooner Creek. Condition: rickety but useable. I could have beached the dinghy if I had to. “What do you want for nothin’, your money back?!”

The Walmart was a safe walk from here, but West Marine was on the opposite side of US Rte 70, and there are no pedestrian crosswalks. So Uber got the call, and a couple of other WM customers gave me a ride back to the dinghy dock. The day was shot after putting away all the tools. So, we stayed another night… it was blowin’ Saturday too. So, less hassle to leave on Sunday’s better forecast.


Rendezvous with Janthena’s crew!

Deb and Mac of Janthena came to meet us in their home port of Oriental NC, aka “O-Town”.

Crews of Shellerina and Janthena squish in for a selfie at Silos, local’s favorite.

They also came with forwarded US Mail and Rx prescriptions that we had filled at the not-so-nearby CVS.

This old pic show where Silos got their name.
Artwork adorns the concave walls of Silos much like art does in the Guggenheim, near Central Park NYC.

The food was a great surprise to Shelly and I, but not for O-Town locals Deb and Mac. It comes highly recommended to all Loopers passing thru Oriental.

Clearly this place is also loved for its local entertainment. So, add that to all your other passage-timing criteria next time you are coming thru these parts!

Another gift from Deb was a handmade desert treat which we had back on the boat.

Sliced almond encrusted fig-shortbread treats. Light and unbelievably good.

Deb “warned” us that this was a new “experiment” that she cooked up. No warning was necessary. “Deb, you can experiment on us anytime!” Thank you.

Henry Boyd… finally captured on ‘film’

Henry Boyd, owner of River Forest Manor & Marina, Belhaven NC ICW mm 135.8

If you are cruisers and Loopers like us you read forums and cruising guides for reviews and advice. Many of those helpful posts mention this guy whom we just had to meet!

Direct quotes found online, from customers about Henry:

– Henry Dockmaster and owner is very cordial.

– Probably the two nicest things about this marina is Henry, the marina owner and Spoon River restaurant close by.

– Our first time here. Henry is fantastic and makes you feel at home right away.

– Great place and Henry is the best.

– Henry was helpful, and set us up with a guidebook to the area. I used a golf cart to reprovision at Food Lion. The restrooms were SPOTLESS, and the free laundry was very much appreciated.

– Henry is a great guy and makes you feel welcome.

– Henry is a character and wonderfully accommodating.

– Henry and dockhand were terrific.

– Henry and Eddie do a great job helping you get in and assuring your visit goes well.

– Dock Master had the weather for the sound.

– Dockmaster will even arrange a private tour of the fabulous old Manor House.

I cannot add much to all that!

We got an AGLCA discount on everything, as Henry is a very proud AGLCA sponsor.

A great choice in Belhaven NC: River Forest Marina

Let’s face it, there are a lot of good choices when coming through the Belhaven area on the ICW. This, our second time through, we hoped to stay at River Forest. We succeeded!

Lots of Looper’s excellent reviews and positive comments about this “Henry” character made this our first choice for our fall migration.

Henry Boyd, Shelly, Mike Dunn on the docks of River Forest Marina.

Owner Henry Boyd was competent and responsive at talking us in on VHF from R10 and calling us with his weather observations hours before our arrival. He and Mike were there to catch our lines and help us feel welcomed to their spot in this great port.

Shellerina appears in the background along with the first SUN these parts have seen in almost a week. Finally, (after some arm twisting), actual photographs of Henry Boyd and his crew are visible online!

Once we took one of their golf carts into town, Shelly met Teresa Van Staalduinen co-owner of the famed Spoon River restaurant. It was a Wednesday, which means the restaurant was closed for the day. But she and husband Mark are expanding into retail in this town. Shelly visited their Artworks & Market.

Teresa explained how much they LOVE Loopers, the two “girls” connected and Teresa proceeded to gift Shelly with a red wine she though we would like!

… all while I was getting more exciting stuff at the ACE Hardware store next store.

Then we went to Food Lion for other essentials which we figured out how to fit on the golf cart for the ride “home”. Guess what we found there in addition to food. A fly swatter! We’ve been trying to find one for months!

Once back at River Forest Marina, my brother Russ and his wife Kim pulled in, driving a small RV that they are delivering to Ft Lauderdale FL. We had arranged for this rendezvous weeks ago, and fine tuned the time and place a couple days ago.

Kim and Russell Sirois of Edgecomb Maine in Belhaven NC on their RV adventure!

Russ has “been there” for us on multiple occasions in the past 18 months! He helped us pack and released the “last line” when we first pushed off for our Loop in May 2021. He joined our crew for the overnight Gulf crossing months later to Tarpon Springs. It was great to have him and Kim aboard Shellerina again!
Great service and succulent seafood dishes were enjoyed at Fish Hooks Cafe, as Spoon River was enjoying their day off. Mike said the Tavern is good and, “You can’t miss with Fish Hooks.”

Belhaven and River Forest is certainly achieved “favorite” status in Shellerina’s log book and blog.

“Special Thanks” to Henry and Teresa! They both expressed their LOVE for Loopers. River Forest is an AGLCA Sponsor and gives a discount when he sees the AGLCA burgee!

A Shellerina Sunrise. Pic by Kim the next morning!

The RV Van framed up with Shellerina Thursday before both “vessels” depart their berths here at River Forest.

From this same spot we could take in a beautiful sunset last eve to the right, and now we are soaking up a sunrise from the same spot. This phenomenon won’t be possible during the summer months, but it should last from now till February 20th or so. ((Equinoxes plus 1 month on either end.))

50 nm day to cross Albermarle Sound

Two markers like this one mark the 15 mile trek across the sound. Perfect sea state for a big crossing like ours today!

From our 2-night anchor spot on ICW mm 26.4 we are now anchored in the upper Alligator River area, having crossed the Albermarle Sound. Seas were calm and wind was under 10 mph going with us, so the overcast skies were of no concern.

Albermarle Sound is about 15 miles across. Tonight, we are anchored near ICW mm 82. St Johns River FL is at mm 470… so we still have a ways to go.

We are looking forward to meeting my brother Russ and wife Kim in Belhaven Wednesday! Then we get to meet up with Gold Loopers Deb and Mac of Janthena at their home port of Oriental on Thursday! So its a big week for us.

Our “routes” are programmed into our auto pilot… read from bottom up. All are easier/shorter passages than today’s 50 nm run.

Interesting Note: Our boat is still all set up for nm or nautical miles. Whereas, all the ICW mile marker (mm) references are in statute miles. So, this January 1, 2023, we will be converting all our navigation system units to statute miles, which is not only what the ICW uses, but also what the Erie Canal, and western rivers are standardized on.

Anchored on the ICW… “North Landing River” MM 26.4

Video looking aft.

Up forward, this shows the first boat to anchor here today, and the second sailboat who came in after us.
Then two more boats came in and anchored behind us, for a total of five! In the morning the ICW traffic started, most slowed for the pass. But still it’ll make your Admiral get up for coffee!
There was room for all of us, and the three sail boats didn’t complain about the 8 feet of water.

A productive Saturday!

It started with changing out our fuel filters. We have two: a Racor 30 micron, and a CAT 2 micron on the engine.

6.5” of mercury recorded on this vacuum gauge. So, as it is starting to approach the yellow, it is time to change out the fuel filters.
If you don’t have one, get one. Every time I check my oil, I take a picture if this with my smartphone. It simply screws into the top of your Racor filter housing.

Old Racor filter element shown below. (It was new Feb 2022):

New Racor installed today:

The first thing you do when changing fuel filters is close the fuel shut-off valve. Today I learned that after changing the filters, it helps a lot to re-open that fuel cut-off valve before trying to start the engine. <wink> The engine ran like shit, until I realized my mistake! LOL

2 micron CAT secondary (attached to port side of engine.)

After all the work was done:

We exchanged hugs and kisses with Colleen and Tony of Lady Kadey, then headed down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) from MM zero, Norfolk VA. We knew we had a chance at a couple of free walls and Atlantic Boat Basin at MM 12. But we also knew there were anchorages within 12 miles further down, if needed.

We missed out on diesel fuel for $5.02 /gallon at Top Rack (MM 8). Gene of Galene told me about this place, and Mac of Janthena told me he scored diesel for UNDER $5 just last week here!!! Alas, our tank’s needle still pointed to “F”. So we did not stop.

Addendum: I just realized that where we filled up at Chesapeake Boat Basin, in Kilmarnock VA, had diesel at $4.86 per gallon beating this price!

Then we got to Great Bridge VA, where there is a lock. So gotta take a lock pic of Shelly!

Shelly manages all the lines for docks and locks.

This lock and four bridges that had to open for us (read: we had to wait) made the 26.4 miles take a bit longer than expected.

The sun was getting low, so we simply pulled over along the ICW at MM 26.4 where a sailboat had the same idea. Three others have since joined us here.
3.5 hours, 21.5 nautical miles

There is a Gale Warning out for these parts tonight and tomorrow. So we may be here for a bit. Friends we made along the way today anchored a bit close and directly upwind of us. So we politely asked them to move which they did.

Nice people that moved when we asked. I love the name of their boat. Rambunctious was a word that was frequently used in my childhood home! They are from Long Island too!
All secured! How’s this sunset for a finish to a productive day!

Tomorrow? Stay put and hunker down OR make a play for Coinjock NC (MM 50.0) where we have never stopped (yet).


Deltaville VA

Fishing Bay, Deltaville VA You can see the very narrow alternative entrance to Deltaville to the right. If we needed protection from a storm, we’d brave the narrow inlet. But the forecast doesn’t show anything too exciting for the next few days. The north entrance to this port is also quite narrow. (Not shown)
Color-coded Army Corps of Engineers’ contours for the other entrance. (The magenta boat symbol on the left is us.)

Today we took a quick 2-hour hop south and anchored in Fishing Bay, Deltaville VA. There are three ways to get into Deltaville, from the north (narrow, shoal-ly), from the south (same), and in this bay that is risk-free. About 20 boats came in here to anchor before and after us. There is plenty of room for all.

The blue dot is us. Norfolk is the major port shown about 40 nautical miles to the south.

Today’s jump shortens our next hop to Norfolk. We are trying to minimize the long days of 50 miles or more. There are not a lot of good stop options between here and Norfolk (40nm) that are on the way.

Mile Zero (MM 0.0) of the American Intracoastal Waterway AICW or ICW, starts in Norfolk and continues all the way to Plantation Key FL (MM 1153.4). (It is tracked in statute miles.)

St Johns River FL, our “hailing port” intersects the ICW at about MM 740. So that’s where we hope to be in about a month, (mid-November).

There is also a Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GICW) that goes all the way to Brownsville, Texas.

Anchor lights around us after sunset.

And later…


Anchored off Chesapeake Boat Basin in Kilmarnock VA…

Well protected harbor in Indian Creek, Kilmarnock VA
Brand new transient docks at Chesapeake Boat Basin.
We tied up temporarily on the new transient docks to await our turn into the fuel dock. The sail boat only took on 4 gallons of diesel! … ensuring there was some left for us! LOL
Sailboat fueling up ahead of us. $4.86/gallon diesel
It appears that they used all FRP pilings for the new docks?!?! It will be fun to see how they hold up in the years ahead.
Looking over towards the office, Ships store, and swimming pool.

See my other posts about this port which we like… and we’ll be back again.

Finishing touches to the solar project…

Perfect cruising day: light wind, waves, and current on our stern. We arrived in Kilmarnock VA, took on fuel and ice at Chesapeake Boat Basin. Nice to see them selling diesel for under $5 / gallon. We got fuel here for $3.999999 last spring! Well under the norm both then and now. It’s all self serve here. They have completed construction of their transient docks and transient shower house and laundry. Very nice.

Well, they also have a decent Ships Store that had a few key items that I needed to finish our solar project. They even had AWG 2/0 cable and crimp ends, ANL fuse block and fuses, and other ancillary electrical stuff I needed to finish up this project right! I was very excited.

This final step was to add a DC-DC Charger to keep the main bank charged up when at anchor. The main bank is a traditional flooded lead acid bank of Interstate batteries. The new charger didn’t have a “preset” menu option for charging lead acid batteries?!?! Odd! “Consult your battery manufacturer,” is what the manual said to do. So I called and left a voice mail to Interstate seeking that information.

Shellerina’s Starboard Engine Room, looking aft.
This piece of plywood atop our 540 AH Lithium LiFePO4 bank is now fully utilized by the new DC-DC Charger, the fuse blocks, and Smart Shunt.

I got a call back from “Jeff” in Engineering at Interstate Batteries. He directed me to use 14.4 VDC for both Bulk and Absorption stages of the charge cycle, with a 6 hour maximum time limit. He further instructed me to use no more than 13.3 VDC for the Float stage. This is very helpful information indeed… which I could not find anywhere online. Thanks Jeff!

Interstate Battery’s specified charge profile settings for their Group 31 and 8D flooded wet cell batteries, shown as programmed / configured into our new DC-DC Charger.

This DC-DC Charger is the only connection between the new solar system and the rest of the boat’s electrical system. Two different chemistry battery banks require this type of interconnection (if any) as the optimal charging profile is different enough between the two. Charging and using two different types of batteries will do damage to one bank or both over time.

The reason for us selectively interconnecting the two is because our (lead acid) main bank on the starboard side still has some house loads on it (e.g. anchor light, cabin lights, etc.) These drain the starting battery bank when at anchor. Changing that would require a wholesale rewiring effort to move those loads off the main bank to the LiFePO4 bank on the port side.

So, now we can use this DC-DC charger; the solar system can charge both banks as want… whenever needed.

Solomons Island MD

We got a slip at Beacon Marina in Solomons again this fall like we did last spring. Reasonable dock rates, walking distance to West Marine, and a spirits store, and an on-premises restaurant were all taken advantage of again.

Last night we dined with Vitaly, a single-handed sailor who is good friends with Christian and Heidi of Aurora whom we met early on out Loop last year on the Erie Canal. Aurora just crossed their wake in Boston this week.

Solomons MD on Chesapeake Bay

Also in-port with us this day was Laurie and Hal Goldschlag of Gemini. They bicycled over here to our marina to come visit us. I cannot believe we forgot to take a “team photo” together during their visit. Like us, they lived and worked on Great South Bay Long Island NY for years before starting their Loop. We never met until all of us were on The Great Loop together!

In lieu of a great team photo, all I have for pics of this marina is their laundry room.

Beacon Marina Laundry Room

Shelly often sends me on Recon Missions to check out the facilities of places we stay, to see if they meet her approval. This Laundry was a “go”. So, we have clean laundry again aboard Shellerina tonight!

FYI, Beacon Marina uses … for slip reservations. (We use it when we have no other choice.)

This may not be the most elegant marina in this popular port of Solomons Island, but it suffices for us. (+++ walking distance to West Marine). Plus it was nice for Hal and Laurie to be able to easily get through [non-existent] “Marina Security” to come visit us.

We hope to return to Chesapeake Boat Basin in Kilmarnock VA. CBOFS (Chesapeake Bay Operational Forecast System) shows us that an early start at sun-up will give us favorable tide currents all morning!

Here is what 10:00am tomorrow looks like. All the tidal current is going in our direction at our halfway point.

Mantus S2 Anchor Swivel-Shackle

I was all excited to finally deploy my new Mantus S2 swivel. I’ve been carting it all around for almost a year. The ol’ standard style shackle was working fine, but I figured this style would pull up more smoothly through the bow pulpit.

Then, this morning, the anchor cannot be brought all the way up due to this “wrap”. Fortunately conditions were flat dead calm this morning. So I could leave the helm to assist Shelly with this.
This isn’t supposed to happen!

The old one never did this.

If this happens again the old shackle is going back on!

While it IS true we had a 180 degree wind change last night, one would think that the shackle which could swivel would outperform the traditional style. Again we never experienced this before with the traditional one.
Traditional shackle
Our new Mantus S2, which is supposed to be better! It certainly costs more!

Addendum: six weeks later…

We‘ve anchored out at least a dozen times since this event, including in rivers with tidal current changes. Thankfully, this problem has not happened again.

Delaware City Day 2022

Click above to see and HEAR a 2-minute video of this concert organ.

Dennis Robinson of the Grand Master Organ Company has rebuilt over 200 self-playing concert organs like this one… which is trailer-able / portable. He brings it to the annual Delaware City Day celebration every year, and sets up at Delaware City Marina. He owns 15 of these in different configurations (mostly larger) in his personal collection. About half of those 15 units are somewhat portable.
Dennis (79) passionately explains how beautiful this older analog technology is to work with. The craftsmanship is remarkable. There are no speakers, amps, or digital music coming from this… it is all air, tuned pipes, with a little percussion mixed in! I think an air pump is the only thing consuming power here.

Donna Ratledge and daughter, Mary, show up at every public display of Dennis’s multi-media vocation, at special and annually-recurring events like this one. Mary, 20, is the indisputable #1 fan of Grand Master Organ Company. You should hear her describe the magic of the largest concert organ in Dennis’s collection!

This paper roll contains 25 minutes of music, typically 10 tunes per roll. In this “125 Scale Roll” in addition to “notes” as you might hear on a player piano, these contain the timing controls for physical cymbals and drums on the concert organs that have them!
One of the boxes that the rolls come in.

Above, Mary Ratledge’s favorite hat.

Dennis’s contact info…

Delaware City Day… every fall… definitely worth taking in by land or sea.


Delaware City Marina – AGLCA Sponsor of the Year 2022


We arrived here at 4:00pm today after a 9 hr long beautiful cruising day on Delaware Bay. It was our 3rd attempt in the past 2 weeks. The tidal currents in the Bay were opposite what we’d have liked. But we’ll take today’s sea state any day!

The ‘Compass Rose’ here at Delaware City Marina
Tim is 97% strictly business… he runs a function-side operation. But, if you look for it, you can see Tim’s artistic side! Both: “Form and Function”

See more about Delaware City & this marina:


About 2 knots of current
About 3 knots of current.
Tanker after unloading upriver.
An above average tow.
4 or 6 inch chain?!

New Lewmar V3 Windlass

New Lewmar V3 Windlass deployed on our 2000 Mainship 390.

Click below for a video.

Lewmar’s 003 Gypsy seems to be much smoother than the 002 Gypsy we had before with our 3/8” chain. The V3 is normally spec’d for 40-50 foot vessels, so this represents an upgrade for our 39 footer. The 22 year old Lewmar “Concept” windless seemed tired and underpowered. So when it failed we wanted to get the next size up.

The most important thing to note is that the V3 “fits” in the anchor locker where the old one was. The V3 is about 1” longer. No modifications were needed to make it fit, except as noted below.

The old… begging to be replaced! ((Motor only: Lewmar Model number: 60000189))
New next to old. The 4 (8mm) bolt holes match up with new and old. The hole for the shaft itself needed to be enlarged about 3/8”. No modification for the hole where the chain goes thru the deck was needed. So, this was mostly a good match, old to new.

The wiring was identical. So, I did not replace any of the switches, relays, wiring, or anything electrical. I simply hooked up the new unit the same way as the old one was wired in.

Newly installed V3 electric motor and gear box mounted under the deck, and wired up just as the old one was.

The biggest challenge I wanted to fix was the elongated mounting holes (below) and to counter the torque / rotational forces that caused them.



This very soft, weak, Balsa Core sandwiched between 1/8” fiberglass decking is inadequate, strength-wize, to support a cleat or a windlass.
I did use some fiberglass “filler” epoxy to fill the oversized holes, but I still questioned the strength, especially considering the vertical shaft hole in the middle still had to be trimmed larger… reducing the material between the center shaft hole and the four mounting holes (which are only 3-1/2” apart). “There is too much torque on this windlass system to resist re-elongating these four mounting holes thru the balsa core deck.

Thanks to my friend George Menezes for his advice on fiberglass repair & construction.

1/8” thick, 1-1/2” angle aluminum stock was used to fashion a custom “Torque Bar” which would be mounted to the aft two mounting bolts beneath the deck. It would ensure both: the windlass would not be pulled up thru the deck, AND, more likely, it would increase the rotational mechanical advantage from 3-1/2” on this deck construction to 15” apart. Basically, it makes it impossible for this new windlass to rotate in-place.





This pic shows the new windlass’s backing plate with the “Torque Bar” both of which will be backing the windlass from beneath the deck. The torque bar will be bolted at its ends so it prevents any rotation of the windlass in its mounted position on-deck.

This shows how the backing plate AND the custom torque bar are combining to back the windlass under the deck. (Starboard side).
Port side
Another view of Starboard side
This picture of the windlass shaft coming down thru the deck was taken a couple days ago, before the electric motor and gearbox was installed. It may help to show you what I am trying to accomplish more clearly. (The hole at the top of the pic is where the chain / rode comes down thru the deck.). Aft is towards the bottom of this pic.
Several inches out from the windlass, the torque bar is also bolted (on both ends) thru the deck. “There’s no way that windlass is going to rotate now!”
The blue arrows show the bolts that go thru the deck and thru the “torque bar” below, essentially making it impossible for the windlass to rotate in its mounted position over time. Larger washers may be changed out on these bolts, and a new Mantus S2 Swivel will soon replace the shackle shown above.

Of course, working in tight spaces in this anchor locker made the whole project very challenging. The torque bar only made that part of this more difficult. However, my confidence in this new system makes the extra effort worth it!

Lewmar model V3 with 003 Gypsy (3/8” chain, 5/8” laid rope, or 3/4” 8-plait rope. 2248 pounds pull, 85 amps @ 12 VDC, (1000 watts). For 40-50 foot boats. Defender part # 013385 2000 Mainship 390.

Rocna 25kg – 55 pound Vulcan (anchor)

Rode: 200 feet of 3/8” G4 chain + 250 feet of 5/8” nylon laid rope.

Related posts: (snubber article)

The windlass should be “baby-ed” on your boat. Use a “snubber” as shown in the link above, to take the strain off the windlass when at anchor in any moderate wind or current.

Never use the windlass to “pull” your boat up to the anchor against a wind or current. Use the main engine(s) to position the bow above the anchor so the windlass only has the weight of the rode and the anchor-in-mud to lift.

Windlasses are expensive and they are a pain in the arse to repair or replace. So, Baby yours!

002 vs 003

Lewmar stamps their gypsy part number on the gypsy as shown. Again, our 3/8” G4 chain fits the 003 better (smoother) than our 002 ever did.

Final touch (October 8): Mantus S2 Shackle upgrade is installed.