October 1-14 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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October 2 - We finished up our last day at Solomons, MD with trips to the stores, doing laundry and then moving our bikes back to the boat. Of course we then finished up by taking the engine off the dinghy in preparation for our sail up to Annapolis. The next morning we were up early, pulling the anchor by 6:45 am. We went over to the free pump out dock and then washed the boat and pumped out. Bill arrived about 15 minutes after we did by plan and they did the same while we went to fill up with fuel.

The winds were supposed to be from the east at 10-15 mph and for awhile, they were. After reaching the channel and aiming north, we were able to sail for about 2 hours. However, during the last 30 minutes we ended up at about 3 knots and at that speed we wouldn't make Annapolis until midnight. It was during this low wind time however that I played with the sails and rigged up one of my boat hooks to act like a sail pole. It worked pretty good but the wind continued to die.

We arrived in Annapolis at about 4 pm and found a number of boats that are anchored who will be in the sailboat show. You can see the monster cat in the background below and a Dean cat in the foreground. To our West were Bill and Christy and the mooring buoys of Annapolis which are being evacuated so the show can go in there. We saw docks being moved into place so I think we are in the right place at the right time.


To the left is another boat that will be in the show. They spent the time we were at anchor shining the boat.

The winds built during the evening and I let out a bit more anchor line to ensure we had the right spacing. With the slap on the bottom of the boat, it reminded us of Key West. The winds are supposed to die and shift throughout the week so lets just hope they come through as planned. We are really close to the show so we won't have a long dinghy ride as originally planned.

The picture to the right is exercise time at the Naval Academy. You can barely make it out with this picture, however you might see the football team also practicing too.

I was a bit shocked this morning when we awoke, we didn't here the exercises outside that we did when we were here in June. I guess that was a summer thing with the new people coming into the academy. Now if the wind will die, we will get a great nights sleep.

Today we will be off to see what they are doing to get ready for the boat show and I'm sure we will find our way to West Marine to buy something. After all, it seems like it is our entire life's purpose to keep them in bushiness.

 Oct 3 - Everyone is BUSY preparing for the Boat Show. To the right you can see some of the preparations in the tent area and setting up the small boats which are on land. However, the real excitement is on the water. After boats move into position, they continue to build docks in the area around posts which have been planted in the mooring field. Of course once you are in, you really can't get out. To the bottom left and right, you can see the area where they are continuing to build docks.

What also amazes us are the boats which are anchoring off of the wall with us. Many of them are waiting for their space to be constructed and for them to move in for the show. I'll try to get pictures as we move forward during the week.


 This is the big cat you saw in the picture yesterday anchored out. It was their time to move in to a dock space and in they went. I happened to be out riding around in the dinghy taking in all of the boats. So I watched as the captain turned the boat in the channel and then SLOWLY came up to the dock for them to attach the lines. I was actually impressed because I would have done it the same way. I wasn't impressed with him, just that my slow approach is the approach that others use too.

 One of the things I find as THE critical element on a larger cat is the clearance between the water and the lowest point of the bridge deck to the water. Of course I learned this from experience in Key West and was reminded last night. Based on that experience, this cat is not one that would be silent on an ocean crossing. Of course, I also can't imagine them building it any higher either. I guess I wouldn't buy this boat.

There are others however in the anchorage that fit my requirements. Now if I could only find someone who wanted to give me $350,000 for our boat or just give me $300,000 cash then I could pick one of them up this week. Of course there is the other option, which is to continue to be very happy on our boat as we are out living our dream! Don't you just love living a dream.



Not everyone happens to love cats. There are also a few of the "small monohull's" that might make a good place to live. This one is probably 90-100 feet long and I'll bet I could live there as long as the crew came free.

Can you even imagine the cost of having this boat hauled out. I guess if you have to ask, don't buy it.


 And then there is always the wonderful Gemini 105 which we own named Freedom. Here we are anchored along with Veranda in the background along the wall of the Naval Academy. Good thing we have a good anchor! I would hate to see what that wall could do to the side of our boat. Hopefully all these new boats in front of us have good anchors too.

By the way, today we were able to purchase our tickets in advance for the big show so we can get right to busting the budget right off the bat on Friday. I'm actually using this show to also shop for some additional solar and a water maker that I will need before going to Mexico. Deb saw my list yesterday and wanted to have a serious talk with me. She estimated the list would cost 2-3,000 dollars. Of course I assured her she was wrong, because it would actually be 4-5000 dollars. But I left that part out, the portion we need before going to the Bahamas is only $1,000. She was happier but just wait until she reads this update!!!

 Oct 4 - You might remember the boat Bedazzle from our previous logs. The owners, Rick and Linda, owned the Lagoon 410 and didn't exactly have as their priority to buy a new boat, but that is what happened. They are now the proud owners of a Lagoon 420 Hybrid. Of course, being Star Trek fans, they named their boat Makeitso and I guess that is probably what they said when they said yes to the boat. They are in the process of getting everything installed they want and of course this is happening during the boat show which is a time when nothing happens very quickly. We were fortunate to go over to their boat a couple of nights ago for happy hour and we also received a tour. You can see part of the boat in the pictures to the right and below. I only took pictures of the owners suite in the port hull. In the starboard hull there are two more bedrooms and bathrooms.  

Linda is pictured to the left in their salon and I have to say it has a wonderful view along with a great kitchen layout. They were wonderful hosts showing all of us their new boat and answering the endless questions.

Below left is a picture of the entire crew, minus the photographer (me) on their rear deck. You can get quite a few people on this boat since it is 42 feet long and I think 26 feet wide. Rick is pictured at the lower left and Linda is at the lower right.

The picture below is one of the cover of Multihulls magazine and it is of their new boat at the Lagoon rendezvous. In the foreground is Kirby the wonderdog who is a partial owner of the boat as well.

As the night went on, I was able to slip off and get a picture of the boat show being setup. They have big spotlights so people can work as long ass they want along with providing plenty of light for protection.

Below left you can see that the dinghy dock started filling up. I'm sure we will have to walk over the top of other dinghy's to be able to get in starting today (Thursday) since this is the first day of the show albeit at a much higher price. Today is $30 per person day and we will be going Friday and Saturday when it is "only" $16 per person.

Of course we had to stop by our favorite "watering hole" Armadillos. We enjoyed their restaurant last time we were in Annapolis and once again we fell right back in with them. The assistant manager and our waitress were happy to sit in for a picture with us.

Linda and Rick joined us and we all had dinner as the evening went on. We talked to Brendan, the owner again, and it looks like I will be playing my guitar for happy hour tonight, Thursday. Hopefully we will have a good time although it looks like it will be totally acoustic unless he can find a small PA system. It doesn't matter, it will be fun regardless playing for a bunch of sailors.

I've also been busy loading my new navigation software. Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon loading the software and all of the charts that I didn't have. I selected Chart Navigator Pro for many reasons and one of the most important is it will read all of the charts I have on board. Another reason is it is receiving rave reviews from everyone who has tested it. So far it has been easy to install and it does everything they say it will.

 Oct 6 - Last night I had a great time playing at Armadillos. I played from 6 pm until 8 pm for the group and the place was filled. I had fun since I had my own cheering section composed of Deb, Bill, Christy, Rick and Linda. Of course it was always gratifying when the people at the bar were applauding too. The only problem was I was totally acoustic. Now for those that don't play, that means I did not have a P. A. to use for my guitar and my voice. My throat is still sore today from that experience but I had a good time however, that will be the last time I do anything totally acoustic with a full bar.

Good news was that Brendan, the owner, actually has our sandwich as the special for the boat show. I know you probably don't believe that but if you look to the left, I took pictures of the menu. Pretty cool I thought.


After wondering through the tents today at the show and buying too much stuff, I went out to the Gemini in water "booth." We saw Will, who we've seen several times before and he was showing the Telstar. This is a pretty cool boat because of the way it folds up so it can be trailered or berthed in a small berth. Of course he has the demo down fairly well and I know he really enjoys showing off the boat. This would be a great boat if you wanted to go weekending in a "hot rod" but still wanted to trailer it from place to place.

Of course we had to go on the 1,000th Gemini 105MC. On board we saw Sue Smith (below right) who actually remembered us. Deb liked this boat much more than she has the other newer boats. It seems they have really come into their own. Of course we love our boat because of the additional wood and we really love our extra storage and additional seating area. However, there are many things to say about the new Gemini that make you consider them as one of the best purchases available on the market today.

After starting to spend too much money we met up with Gavin and Liz. They own a Gemini and are wanting to go cruising in several years once their children are in college. We had a great lunch together and discussed everything from the changes that occur once you decide to go to the boat itself. We had a great lunch and we appreciated the hospitality and wonderful opportunity to discuss cruising with fellow Geminites.

After we parted, of course I went on to spend more money and ensure we would be over budget in October. So far, I've picked up a new software package for charting, a new Garmin chip for the Bahamas, Latitudes and Attitudes subscription,Seven Seas Cruising Association membership, sunglasses, pricing new insurance for our boat and on and on not including lots of literature about watermakers and other wonderful things we just can't do without before we go to Mexico in about a year and a half. Of course we can go to the Bahamas with a bit less.

By the way, we found out today from a person in one of the booths about a bird passport and guess what? Deb is on that like a woman possessed tomorrow. We hope that will solve our problems for the bird especially when we visit Mexico.


 There are a few boats here. We really haven't gone in any except the new Gemini and I also went into a Lagoon 380. Today, Saturday, I will finish up busting the budget and then I will probably stand in a few lines to be amazed at the other monster boats. Probably I will stick with Cat's just because that is my passion.

 Oct 10 -  One of the projects for the boat show was to pick out new navigation software for my computer. After trying several and reading the reviews, I settled on Chart Navigator Pro by Maptec. It is similar to my old Offshore Navigator however with a bunch of improvements including the fact that it can read the electronic chart formats that I own but couldn't be read by Offshore Navigator. I installed the software and found I had a problem. Of course, the problem was that I have a new computer and the Vista operating system. Since I was at the show, I stopped by the Maptec booth and found there was a guy there, Jeff, who did support. He gave me some tips and I went back to the boat to try them out. They didn't work because I had hidden files and some other junk that I didn't know about. So, I simply took my computer to the show the next day and Jeff fixed it for me. Now the start up time is wonderful and everything works great. Jeff is going to write up the fix and post it on their help site for others with the dreaded Vista O. S. All I can say is thanks to Jeff and I love the new software.



I took this picture of the Tom Cat 9.3 at the show for some of the Gemini people that are currently engaged in a debate about the outdrive and replacing with one or more outboard motors. I thought this design was simple and would work very well albeit differently on the transom of the Gemini. Who knows?

So far, we are now just topped 2,300 hours and haven't had a problem with our drive unit. (Know on a computer screen) So I doubt that we will consider the exchange even if we do have a problem.

To give you an idea of how many people were using their dinghy to get to the show, I took this picture. There were boats anchored all over the place that we could see and many, many more were in the creeks where we couldn't see them. This dock filled so fast that we would go in a half hour early to ensure we could find space to dock.

Below left is a picture of the Eric Stone Band. Saturday night, We went to the Latitudes and Attitudes party. It is a great party because it is free and that admission price includes pizza and beer. I took a bit of wine and enjoyed the pizza and music. The band sounded great tonight so it was well worth the trip over. Thanks to Rick who brought his car over to pick us up. To the lower right you can see Bill, Christy, Phillip, Linda, and Bill of our party. We all had a great last night at the show together.

To the left is a picture of Eric Stone (with the hat) and his lead guitar player. We call him the kid but boy can he play. It would be nice to be that young and flying all over the country/world playing guitar everywhere you go.

Below left is a picture of Bob Bitchin, yes that is his name, taking a picture for a later issue of the Magazine Latitudes and Attitudes. Bob is a big guy and we were talking how one of his shirts might make a great spinnaker He didn't think it was a funny as we did when I told him about it. Oops, I may not get published again.....

Sunday we left bright and early and of course one of the first things we see is a container ship out of China. Seems we have to get all of those toys here in time for Christmas. Hopefully the season will be filled with great merriment and of course everyone spends allot of money so the stock market will continue the upward trend. Also, it would be great if they got the lead out of the paint too.

Bill and Christy were heading south in a hurry to make Christy's parents 50th wedding anniversary in 15 more days. We on the other hand had a rendezvous with another Gemini owner who had been following our website. After staying the night in Solomon, MD for our last time, we made our way up the Great Wicomico River to their dock. Of course one of the first things Deb wanted was to beg a shower. They took her to the guest bathroom and within a couple of minutes I heard her calling me. "Jim, I need to talk to you right now." I go there and she looked at me with almost weeping eyes and said "I'm in big trouble Jim, I'm in big, big trouble." She was holding her hand out with parts of the knob that turned on the shower. Oops. Ended up they had a problem with that shower and thought it was fixed. We had a great time with that for the next few days. So far, we won't let her around anything else plastic.

We had a wonderful dinner with each other and Bernie and I ended up talking about everything from Gemini's to recipes. Bernie is a great chef and I picked up a number of great pointers.

To the left, you can see part of the family. Me on the far left, Deb, Pat, and Bernie. Of course they had to pose for the obligatory website photo. Bernie and Pat actually have 3 dogs and they all are lovers once they get past the protective state.

Bernie and Pat were the most gracious hosts. I think they watched the movie Paying it Forward and certainly did their good deeds for Deb and I. They gave us a car to use while they went off to work the next day as well as directions to acquire everything we needed. Of course I started out the day by washing the boat, and it needed it, and then we were off to town to pick up the groceries, propane, and some parts from the hardware store. We got back and I went back to work taking apart the dinghy and cleaning up the bottom of it. I didn't know it was a dirty as it was and it was good we got the junk cleaned off of it before we loaded it on the boat for our trip south.

Below you can see a picture of both of our boats in the daylight and also at night. Bernie has a great lift he keeps his in and I know that will help it keep it's value. Ours is 10 years older but they sure look similar don't they.

Tuesday night we were again treated to another wonderful meal and we were able to meet their son and daughter in-law. What a great couple. Once again, we appreciated everything and more than anything else enjoyed the wonderful company and hospitality. You made us feel like we were at home. Thanks again and perhaps we will see you in two or three years when we head this way again.

We left on Wednesday morning and headed to an anchorage just north of Hampton, VA. Thursday we leave for Cobb's Marina where we will stay Thursday night and get some website work done for Peggy's avian website and then on Friday we are having a survey of our boat completed. I am trying to get new insurance that will cover us offshore, in the Bahamas, Mexico and the Caribbean. I'll let you know how that all goes.


 Oct 13 - After we left Bernie's dock, we headed south and anchored off of Langley Air Force Base. We just didn't know they would have an airshow to honor our arrival. It was amazing, I think it was and F22 as seen to the right, that was showing all of the maneuvers that you would expect from a high performance airplane. I have seen lots of loops and rolls so that didn't impress me much. What did impress me was when he went up and essentially hovered in place about 3,000 feet above the ground until he pointed the nose over and went off horizontally. Pretty cool I have to tell you. All I can say is that I was sorry a few days later when I found out an F-18 went down off of the coast. The pilot survived but what a bad day.

Lower left is a picture of a Coast Guard ship that passed us entering Little Creek on the way to Cobb's Marina. We had sailed all morning in 20 knot winds and just before we got to the pass, I decided the best thing to do was to move off at 30 degrees and let this guy pass. I'm sure he would have won anyway. They waved back as I gave my hero's of the sea a big thumbs up.

Lower right is the picture I've been waiting to take. My old camera is back. I just had to put it in. It has a new lens assembly, new software, and has been brought back to new condition. Not bad for a $49 warranty when the work was done at Fuji!


At the boat show, I began pricing new boat insurance. Our Boat U.S. insurance will not cover us in a year when we go to Mexico so this was as good time as any to find out about new insurance. We ended up going with IMIS insurance and without the final quote, I went ahead and arranged for a new survey of our boat. To the left is Val Lippa our surveyor. He has lots of certifications and was recommended by Peggy Duval at Cobb's Marina. Ended up, it was a great decision. He went over our boat with a fine tooth comb and we came out with flying colors. He found a few things that I will fix but none of them should be issues with getting insurance. I'll fix them anyway. Items like - I need 2 clamps on the fill hose for the diesel even though our manufacturer only put on one. By the way, that was the big find. Pretty easy, 4 clamps and I'm done. We'll see if he has anything else when I get the report.

Lower left you can see that we are hauling the boat again for a "short haul." I had several people email about me having the boat splashed before seeing the bottom in August. Well, I saw it on Friday and the bottom was VERY clean after 2 months in the water as you can see in the picture on the lower right. Thank you Cobb's Marina for a great job and Interlux for providing the paint to do the job again. I will use Interlux again because they stood beside their product.

The marina lift is pretty cool. Everything is remote control with wireless. The guy you see in the picture is running the lift with a wireless remote control. I thought that was really cool because you don't have the hand signals for the operator. Both guys are looking to ensure nothing will happen. Also, in the old operator station is a halloween bones guy just for fun.

Lower left you can see Val doing the inspection. What also impressed me is he used his hammer and sounded our hull. He had not seen a Gemini or many other boats without blisters and ours had none. I explained the hull work and Interlux 2000 I had used previously and he was duly impressed with the quality of work. Of course while it was out I took the opportunity to change the outdrive oil even though it was early. I figured I didn't have too many opportunities to change the oil with the outdrive straight down since I normally change it while at anchor. I was happy, the oil looked like new. It was a great day.

Lower right, they are putting the boat back in the water after all of our work was completed.

Saturday, we are off for the south. We have really enjoyed the Chesapeake and all of the places we have visited. In addition, the people we have met have been wonderful. We will probably be back this way in 2-3 years after Mexico.

We will be going through the Virginia Cut after we leave Norfolk, VA because we received a report that the Dismal Swamp has low water and there is LOTS of green stuff growing in the water because of the drought. When our friends Bill and Christy went through, there were two boats that had to be towed because the green stuff plugged up the cooling system. One of the boats was a Gemini too.

We haven't been through the Virginia Cut so new pictures as we move south. I know, you can't wait for new pictures...... We hope to be in Oriental in 2-3 days and probably stay a day before moving on to Beaufort, NC. Hopefully everything on the boat will keep working well and we will keep having the time of our lives living our dream.

Deb spent the day working on paperwork. She is applying to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for a "Passport" for Jimmy Buffett. We talked to a person at the boat show who had done it and what a great tip. It should take two months and we are trying to get all of our paperwork completed so we can send off the application. Getting in and out of the Bahamas wasn't the big deal, it was Mexico and we didn't want to give up our bird. So, paperwork it is and Deb is attacking the problem with vengeance. I can't wait to put the picture of Jimmy Buffett's passport on our site. Of course it will be on his up and coming webpage because evidently that will help us to prove Jimmy is our bird.

We are still relying on free wi-fi sites so updates will depend on connections.

 Oct 13 (evening) - We left Norfolk, VA on Saturday October 13, 2007 and will not be back this way again for at least two years and probably three. We have had a great time exploring both shores and I can't really tell you the absolute high spots of the trip. We loved Washington, D.C, and all of the towns on the east shore. Of course you probably already know we very much enjoyed Solomon's Island and Annapolis. In addition, it is always a great feeling when you can find a family owned business who prides themselves in their work. When we hauled the boat out at Cobb's Marina for the survey, the people who painted it were proud of the fact that it didn't even need a wash for the surveyor to see the bottom. By the way, thanks again to Interlux.

As we were leaving, an aircraft carrier was leaving to go to sea. I don't think they actually knew we were leaving that morning but I'm sure they would have provided us the view if they did know. It was probably good that we didn't leave much earlier and get any closer because they have a security zone around the ship and I really didn't want to get shot out of the water.


As we rounded the point and headed into Norfolk to head south, the ship on the left passed us. Of course all the sailors waved to us as we waved to them and pointed out the name on our boat which of course is Freedom. We do appreciate everything the people do for our country who volunteered for the armed services.

Below you can see two pictures I took of the front and the rear of two different aircraft carriers. By the way, you can probably tell that I'm loving having my camera back!

Looking back into Norfolk after about 2 miles you can see the rows of naval vessels that are in for repair or replenishment. It is amazing how much steel is sitting on top of the water. We also saw two subs along the way too but I didn't put their pictures here, sorry, it is a matter of National Security. (I made that up in case you wondered. The national security part not the subs.)

Below left you can see the Virginia tall ship along with a number of other tall ships that are in the harbor too. I'm not sure of the event or if there is an event but it is always very cool when you see these ships together.

To the lower right you can see the sign that tells you that the Dismal Swamp Canal is to the right and I don't think you can see it but the water level is 6 feet. The other sign shows you the way we are going this time. We are headed towards the Great Bridge Lock and Bridge. This is known as the Virginia Cut and this is the first time we are going this way.

Of course we weren't alone. It got cold a couple of days ago and that coupled with the end of the Annapolis boat show meant there are cruisers headed south. You can see the line waiting to get into the lock to the left.

To the lower left you can see that I snuck a picture as we were coming up to the side of the lock. I'm not sure who was driving but it must have been our bird Jimmy Buffett. He did a good job too and didn't hit anyone.

Below right you can see that Deb is actually pretty happy doing this lock. She didn't know it at the time but this is the only lock she will have to do until next summer when we are heading up the Tenn Tom again once we see a hurricane or tropical storm coming. I remember when we were coming down right at a year ago and she was petrified of locks. Now she is an expert and besides, she does a great job at it too.

You can get a picture of how many people were in front of us and most of them are wave makers or should I say power boaters. Nothing wrong with them, it is just that they throw out a big wake and then knock us around a bunch unless they slow down. Oh well, I guess they have to have something to show for the money they spent on the boat and fuel and that is big waves.

The lower left picture is one of One Mustard Seed. These are people on another Gemini who are also heading for the Bahamas this winter. For them, this is their third year going across so I guess they are experienced cruisers and crosser's. It looked like they had everything on their boat they would need.

To the lower right is a picture of the lockmaster. He didn't have that great of a sense of humor because I asked him to smile and be on my website and he just looked stern. I guess he has a reputation to uphold. Get em in and get em out by gosh.

And get em out he did. We all got out of the lock and got all bunched up so the Great Bridge would open. I'm not too sure what makes it great because it looked about like every other Bascule bridge I've been under but I guess because it opened, it was great for us.

After a few miles we began to see the scenery change a bit. This canal is wider than the Great Dismal Swamp (GDS) route and it is also different. The GDS has trees that line it the entire way. On the Virginia Cut (VC) we also began to see marsh grasses again. These grasses are different than the ones in Florida because they are taller. Now I don't know if they are different species or if the fact was that it was spring when we went through Florida's marshes and the grass hadn't grown as tall yet. Regardless, it was pretty cool having trees and marshes on the canal as we moved south even though we had only gone about 20 miles onto the Intercoastal waterway at this point. Just think we only have about 1089 miles to go at 7 miles per hour to make Miami. Don't you wish you were here?

Of course we have a GPS on the boat and in our case it is a Garmin 492. They include charts with the GPS and they give you the disclaimer that these are advisory and you should make your nautical decisions based on all information at hand. In other words, look out the window!@!@ To the right you can see a picture I took of our boat path today. The triangle in the lower center is our boat and you can see that according to the GPS that we are on land. Well I guess that is why we have to look out the window from time to time isn't it........

We are anchored tonight in a creek off of the Intercoastal Waterway in about 7 feet of water. We will get underway tomorrow morning and hope to make a few miles. I just really started planning our trip back today. After all, you get up, start the motor, pull the anchor, Deb goes back to bed then gets up later in the morning. Then we head it south whether offshore or inshore and drive all day looking at the scenery, wildlife, and think about the fact that we are able to live our dream and have had the opportunity to know all of the great people who have supported us. In addition, we also get to meet all kinds of new people who have similar dreams whether they can actually leave and do it or they think about cruising and read website's such as this to get the feel for the life and go out on the weekends. Regardless, we've thought about all of you and appreciate the fact that we have now exceeded 14,000 hits on our website. Thanks again to everyone who has checked up on us, we appreciate your support.

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