More Work in Maryland

20 May 2019   Herrington Harbour North, Virginia
We were up early again and rushed around tidying away our bedding and the various covers that we use to cover the upholstery.  At 10:20, we were still polishing woodwork, when Roger rang to say that the prospective buyers had arrived early and could they come around in 10 minutes?  The boat was in chaos, but we said yes and quickly pushed all our cleaning materials into shopping bags and into lockers.  Five minutes later, we had a pristine looking show boat.

I must say that after all our hard work, Alba looks terrific, I’m amazed at how well the interior woodwork has survived 8 years and 40,000 miles at sea.  The upholstery is spotless and even the 19 year old carpet looks great.  The teaks decks and the hull look fabulous even though we’ve only done a first pass at cleaning everything.

Show Boat

Roger spent an hour showing the punters around while we kept out of the way in the air-conditioned resident’s lounge.  The showing went well and they were impressed by the super condition of the boat and how well it had been maintained.  Roger later said that there were no negative points raised on the boat, so we don’t have to do any extra work in the remaining 9 days - we just need to finish off my job list.

DHL arrived at 13:20 to pick up our five boxes, but the T-Mobile signal has been dropping out all day and we missed his call.  The marina office even rang us, but they didn’t get through either.  At 13:30, I checked our messages, but by the time that we got to the marina office, the driver had already gone.   Glenys rang DHL, but has had to reschedule the pickup for tomorrow - it’s so frustrating.

It was a boiling hot day, so we declared a work-free afternoon and spent time planning what to do when we finally get to the UK. 

21 May 2019   Herrington Harbour North, Virginia
It was a cooler start to the day, so I painted the rest of the anchor locker using a paint brush taped to the end of a long pole.  I then ran fresh water through the outboard by placing a large bucket around the lower end and filling it with fresh water.  The idea was to flush out the corrosive sea water and it worked well.  I then poured in a load of antifreeze so that the pump and system are now winterised.

Meanwhile Glenys plodded on with the administrative nightmare of sending our belongings to the UK.  She received a notification from DHL that we’d been charged £30 import duty and taxes for our previous consignment, so it took nearly an hour to find out why.  It seems that if any items in a consignment are listed as originating outside the EU then VAT is due and the UK customs simply slap the charge on the whole consignment.  Our consignment was listed as being worth $100US, so they hit us for 20% and DHL charged us a £12 admin fee. 

Taking dinghy to storage

This meant that Glenys had to redo the paperwork for today’s consignment, stating that all goods originated in the UK.  Unfortunately, the custom’s value has been set at $500 and we can’t change it without cancelling the pickup, so at worst we’ll get hit for 20% of $500. Fingers crossed, it will all go through without any charge.

The DHL guy rang Glenys twice and she confirmed that she wanted him to come to the marina office.  The pickup went okay and by 14:00, Glenys was a mellow person again.

After lunch, I paddled the dinghy around to the dinghy dock and we pulled it up to the dinghy racks.  I removed the wheels from the transom because they are too easy to steal.  Glenys went back later and gave the dinghy a good cleaning.

I did a few more jobs in the afternoon and fitted a new bilge pump switch.  I’ve been carrying the switch around with me for two years and had a bracket made in Trinidad, which was 8 months ago.  I’ve been putting the job off, but in the end it only took an hour.  Amusing to think that we haven’t had a working automatic bilge pump for over two years and I finally fit it the day before we permanently haul out.

22 May 2019   Herrington Harbour North, Virginia
It was haul-out day.  We pottered about in the morning until 10:30 when Enterprise Car Rental collected us from the marina in a monster pickup truck and took us to their office about 20 miles away.  We went through the normal registration process and then they told us that we’d been upgraded to a better car.  

My hopes for a BMW M3 were dashed when he told us that we were to have the Monster Pickup Truck.  I was not happy and expressed my dismay.  The guy seemed really surprised that I was not pleased to have a gas-guzzling, huge vehicle and said that they didn’t have anything else left.  Eventually, after a few words, they gave us a smaller pickup truck, which had not been valeted and they promised to deliver a proper car tomorrow.

Alba being moved to haulout

We high-tailed it back to the marina and, after a quick lunch, the haul-out team arrived.  Herrington Harbour has a haul-out procedure that is very different to anything that we’ve seen.  They are obviously used to hauling out and launching boats without the rich owners being present.  The team has a small tender with a 25hp engine, which they tie onto the back of the boat to be moved.  This provides the propulsion and someone steers the boat using the normal steering wheel. 

It’s a very good method because they don’t need the erratic owner to be present or the boat engine to work.  I’ve been watching the team for the last two weeks and they are incredibly proficient at manoeuvring boats.  The team leader asked if I wanted to drive the boat around to the haul-out dock - I politely declined, mostly because we were on a falling tide and I was terrified of going aground.  As I watched them push Alba away from our berth, I sadly realised that I will never sail on her again.

I watched the team lift Alba out of the water using a large 85 tonne lift, which was controlled by a guy using a remote control box.  I thought at first that it was a bit of a gimmick, but the guy was able to move around the travel lift and make sure that the slings were in the correct place.  After pressure washing, Alba was trundled to her final resting place next to Free State Yacht Brokerage. 

Meanwhile, Glenys was washing the dinghy and I went to help her lift it onto the storage rack.  We covered the dinghy with a tarpaulin (Americans call it a “tarp”) and the dinghy will stay there until the new owner collects it.

We headed back to Alba; cleared stuff out of lockers and the fridges; loaded it into our pickup truck and shot off to our AirBnB.  We just made it for the appointed time and settled into living ashore.  The house that we’ve rented is not that special and we feel a little sad to have moved off Alba - our home for 8 years.