Off the Dock & Back Again (in Rose Haven, MD)

I thought it would take us around two weeks to get off the dock with Brio II.

So of course it took us two months! 😉

The last couple days were a special flurry of activity, as Jon replaced our battery bank, made all new battery and starter and ground cables (with the biggest most expensive wire crimping tool you’ve ever seen — if you need to borrow one, you know who to ask!), and got everything squared away so we could actually leave the dock.

My contribution was playing with Magformers with Zephyr in the vberth so he’d stop trying to throw lugs in the bilge or steal Jon’s tools. Turns out kids’ toys are really super fun so my “job” was no work at all.

Have I mentioned we hadnt been out sailing yet? We hadn’t.

So when the projects and the weather and the temperatures and the work-week all aligned with Zephyr’s nap… we LEAPED at the chance!

We left 15 minutes after his nap started.

Got out of our (stupid awful fixed piling garbage) slip, got the sails up, and got cruising.

7.3 knots in 10 knots of breeze? Gimminy cricket Jonny, I think this baby can cruise!

We immediately entered ourselves into a “race” with the sailboat ahead of us.

After schooling them, we very humbly turned around and raced back to our slip.

Docking was amazing (this boat manoeuvers!!!) and Zephyr woke up approximately 4 minutes after we tied the last line.


And in case you wanted a mini peek into what life on a boat with a toddler is currently like… Z’s finally figured out how to get onto the galley counter AND how to get down 😉

So now no snacks are safe 🙂


Two Months In (North Beach, MD)


Two months have passed?!? December 1st feels like a biggie — winter has arrived! Snow’s in the forecast!

Brio II has been awesome. We’re still in the “getting to know you” phase of our courtship, but I think we’ve picked a solid partner. Granted our neighbors mostly tell us stories about how long she sat here and how many cigars were smoked on her, but hey every lover comes with a past, right? 😉

Toddler life on a Sabre 42 CB Sailboat

Neighbors helped us solve another mystery when they offhandedly commented, “the ducks are probably sad they can’t nest on her anymore.” Explains the copious amounts of feathers and a single perfect blue egg that I found in a cockpit cubby… You can’t make this stuff up, people.

Lazarette life on a Sabre 42 CB

A few weeks ago the wind-up clock that we’d assumed was dead suddenly chimed 2:00pm. We joked that it was like Brio II had accepted these fools weren’t going to leave her alone, so she might as well come back to life again. Scared the heck out of me when it chimed though!

The projects… well, they continue. A memory popped up on Facebook recently, reminding me of our honeymoon in the workyard when I proudly proclaimed “the boat projects will be done soon!”

Ha! I was off a little on that one 🙂

I keep a little calendar where I jot down the day’s wins… sometime they’re small, like “scrubbed all the purple bird poop off the decks in the rain” and sometimes they’re big, like, “finished running all the damn ducting for the damn Webasto” (which will be *amazing* when it’s done but holy heck if you’ve never tried to run 3-1/2″ ducting from stem to stern, you don’t know the fun you’re missing out on!!).

On particularly bad days, I note the lows too – “accomplished nothing because the manual bilge pump hose was actually full of diesel which we discovered by accident and have since spent all day cleaning up”.

Note to future self: check the manual bilge pump before you buy the boat.

Cumulatively, progress is being made. I know I’ve extolled the benefits of marginal improvements before, but it’s a mantra we cling to often. Even when you can’t see the instant results of your efforts, as long as you keep making teeny tiny improvements in the right direction, you’ll reach the day where you look around and think *damn* we’ve done a lot of work here!

Boat "progress" - nav station opened up on the Sabre 42 CB to do a little wiring work

This also applies to health (eat marginally better, move marginally more) and finances (invest a little more, spend a little less) and love (show a little more kindness, practice a little more patience). There you have it folks – Leah’s life advice in one paragraph 🙂

While we’re bragging, I need to mention my most proud achievement of late — teaching Zephyr to answer “what does Santa say?” with a very measured and adorable “ho ho ho”.

We also go to the “whee” on a daily basis (the slide), frequent the nearby beach looking for “ibby’s” (itsy-bitsy-spiders) and scan the sky for “amas” (airplanes). Watching a kid learn to talk is incredible.

We’ve celebrated two Zephyr-month-milestones (18 and 19!), had an entire Thanksgiving dinner onboard (including the smallest turkey I could find and two pumpkin pies), and made a few friends around the marina.

All in all, I’d say life on Brio II is unfolding exactly as Leah-of-the-past could (should??) have predicted… slowly, with lots of projects, lots of memories, and a few story-worthy-detours along the way.

And hey, maybe one of these days we’ll actually leave the dock! Maybe-possibly-pretty please?


A new boat for the Brio II trio! (in Rose Haven, MD)

We bought another boat!

Yes, yes, I know you’re not supposed to own two boats at once. But when I decide I’m ready to do something, I don’t like to waffle for too long. I’m more of a jump-and-figure-it-out-along-the-way type… Build your wings while you fall off the cliff, change the wheels on the bus while you’re driving down the highway, that kind of thing.

So after over a year of waffling and boat-shopping, when we found Brio II, we knew. No waffling, no ifs, no time wasted — she was the one.

We visited the boat twice, let Zephyr try out an afternoon nap in the vberth, negotiated an offer, packed as much of our stuff into Jon’s truck as we could physically fit, drove 12 hours up and down and back up to the Chesapeake, and moved onboard before we’d even officially closed on the boat.

Can you tell we were just a little bit excited??

Sabre 42' CB sailboat - interior looking aft

It’s been 4 weeks of life aboard Brio II, and we are still so HAPPY to be here. Yes, our days are full of projects, and yes, we’d love to be on the move south again — but we’re focusing on enjoying the journey, and in this case — the projects along the way!

While I don’t personally know a ton about Sabre 42’s, I’m rapidly learning. I’ll try to put together a little resource page at some point, similar to the one I’ve been curating on Nor’West 33s.

What I do know is that Sabre 42’s are Maine-built centerboard sloops, with two cabins and two heads (!!!), a cored hull and deck, tons of light and air from 8 opening hatches, and so many opening ports I haven’t actually managed to count them all yet.

Sabres also have a nice mix of traditional-feeling finishes (like a teak interior that reminds us of Brio’s beautiful woodwork) with more modern touches (like a huge comfy cockpit and spacious shower area built into the aft head).

The 42′ of length and 12’8″ of beam don’t hurt either 😉

Brio II draws 4’9″ with the board up and 8’6″ with the board down — reportedly. We already know the ICW will help us confirm our exact draft!

She was repowered in 2004 with a Westerbeke 44B, which was a big draw for us. Having the new Beta in Brio was such a source of confidence and relief, we really didn’t want to deal with another 1980s engine.

Granted we discovered a leaking exhaust manifold within the first week of ownership and our alternator refuses to put out more than 5 amps at a time, but what else is new??

In other words — we bought a diamond in the rough. Eyes wide open, knowing we’d need to tackle some fairly large and potentially-daunting projects, we pulled the trigger on a bit of a fixer-upper.

We may regret this at some point 😉

But when faced with the choice of a boat loan for an “already refit” Sabre 42 or buying one that needed some love for cash, the answer — for us, at least — was easy. Sweat equity, patience and persistence are tools we’re very familiar with, and we hope they’ll pay off in this instance too. (Remind me of this when I’m whining about how much work Brio II is, okay? 😉 )

It also means that we don’t have quite as much pressure to get the original Brio ready to sell and listed. Our intention is to eventually sail Brio II down to Lady’s Island, finish moving off of Brio, get her listed, and then hang around the area for a few months while we (hopefully!) sell Brio and likely do more projects on Brio II (deck core replacement, anyone??).

Obviously plans are subject to change and random new whims by the crew 🙂 But that’s where we’re at currently.

More to come as we dig into our new home!


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