Although the forecast wasn’t promising for the long weekend, we headed down to the boat anyway on Saturday after Jeff got out of work. The forecast is wrong quite often, and we lucked out in that this time it was wrong again. We had great weather during the day, and on Sunday night after Cruiser’s Midnight we had some thunderstorms and hard rain which cleared out by Monday morning.
Jeff was greatly anticipating this weekend – the weekend of the mega-bed. I think his excitement matched mine for the Nature’s Head last weekend (which, by the way, is AMAZING!!!). We are members of the Bristol owners board (a Yahoo group), and a while back someone posted about how they had created a bed in the salon that they could break down each morning. Jeff studied it, modified the design for our boat, and promptly dubbed it the mega-bed.
The mega-bed involved drilling two pieces of wood along either side of the “salon” (a word I use tongue-in-cheek given the diminutive size of our boat), then resting three pieces of wood in the middle. Cushions from the boat are placed on the wood, thermarest mattresses go on the cushions, and a memory foam mattress topper is next. All of this should create a level base, and then we can sleep next to each other with our heads on the port side and our feet starboard. Most importantly, Jeff can completely stretch out.
The process went pretty smoothly, although we discovered that one piece of wood was a touch too wide. However, we then realized that our Yeti cooler was the appropriate height and we decided to use that instead. This has the added bonus of not having to move the cooler (which is really heavy) every night. We haven’t tried it out yet, but we’ll find out when we go back to the boat for vacation. Worst-case scenario we’ll just go back to the original sleeping arrangements.
In addition to making the mega-bed (which didn’t take nearly as long as installing the Nature’s Head last weekend), we took care of a few miscellaneous items to get ready for vacation. Hooks were installed in the v-berth along with anti-skid so everything won’t go flying around if we encounter rolly seas like last year, we filled up the water tank, took stock of how much booze and drinking water we needed to bring, etc.
The weekend wasn’t all about construction and preparation, however. On Sunday we went out for a fabulous sail around North Dumpling. North Dumpling is a small island off of Fishers Island that is owned by Dean Kaman, the inventor of the Segway. According to Wikipedia, after Kaman was initially denied permission to build a wind turbine on the island, he joked that he was seceding from the United States, and later signed a non-aggression pact with his friend, then-President George H. W. Bush. Kamen refers to the island as the “Kingdom of North Dumpling”, and has established a constitution, flag, currency, national anthem, and a navy consisting of a single amphibious vehicle. The people of North Dumpling are called “Dumplonians”, and Kamen is said to refer to himself as “Lord Dumpling” or “Lord Dumpling II”. This is obviously all tongue-in-cheek of course, but I think it adds to its charm. In addition to North Dumpling Lighthouse, the island features a replica of Stonehenge.
North Dumpling has become one of our favorite “quick” sails. It’s funny because last year we were hesitant about sailing around it because the passage between North and South Dumpling seemed so narrow. When we finally did it towards the end of the season, we felt like we had accomplished something. This year it’s obvious that the passage isn’t that narrow, and we’ve sailed around it at least three times, including once with friends. It’s nice to look back and see how our confidence continues to improve.
Anyway, the “around North Dumpling” sail is approximately 7 miles round trip. If the wind is from the southwest (which is the prevailing wind direction for the region) it’s an easy beam reach out and back, and I never get tired of looking at the lighthouse. On Sunday the winds were perfect – southwest at approximately 10 mph – so we had a great beam reach out, an easy jibe around the island, and an awesome beam reach back. Another special sail where it was “set it and forget it.”
All in all it was a fabulous weekend, and a great prelude to our VACATION (yay!) which begins on Saturday the 6th.