With Relentless snugged up at Goat Island Marina for the week, we had plenty of time to move aboard and get organized. Steve worked very hard to unload the crate he built and shipped ahead of time. He did such an excellent job packing that everything arrived intact. We shipped most of our clothes, SUPS, and two Montague folding bikes, and then filled in the galley gear and tools with whatever else was needed.
Meanwhile, Kelsea and I set off on our first of many trips to Walmart, TJ Maxx, and Stop and Shop, the local market. We gathered provisions and any and all storage containers we could find. Our Uber driver was a bit horrified when he arrived to find us with three full shopping carts! I was so relieved Kelsea was with me because she is a master organizer and helped keep me focused when I felt overwhelmed.
It took several days before we felt slightly organized. We tried to figure out places to put things without knowing quite how the boat lives yet. Then, our challenge was remembering where we put things when we needed them later. We were thankful for the Marina Pub until we could cook meals regularly on the boat.
Next, it was time to learn all the systems and appliances on the boat. Some of the manuals were in French, so we downloaded what we could in English and began reviewing. Our days were full, our minds were taking in so much information, and we hadn't even begun to sail Relentless yet.
Steve rode one of the foldable Montague bikes back and forth to West Marine and the hardware store so many times that I lost count. Kelsea and I kept our sanity by taking long walks each day. We fit in whatever errands we had and found special places around Newport to get treats like ice cream, macaroons, and English toffee. She was a trooper!
Here's what our chaos looked like those first few days. Not a very flattering angle of me at the end of the video, but I didn't care...I was just so happy to be making our beds to stay our first night on board.
Kelsea's birthday on June 13th was my target to get all our gear stowed. We had a lovely morning breakfast to start the day. We continued the celebration with a delicious dinner at the Black Pearl, ice cream, and presents back at the boat. She put her new camera and vlogging equipment to good use while she was with us, and we're very thankful.
Happy Birthday to our beautiful daughter! We're so glad she could join us this first month.
A few days in, a local rep from North Sails visited us and helped Steve install the mainsail and self-tacking jib, which was not an easy task. Both parts had been removed for the transit.
Steve was also managing the electrical upgrade of our Integral alternator system, which was mostly on back-order due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a continuing saga in our story - he'll write a separate post later.
One memorable experience we don't ever want to forget was cleaning out the bilge after a black tank overflow. We are figuring it all out, piece by piece, but this was an especially hard lesson! Steve had the extra challenge of changing the charcoal filter at the top of the tank, too. Kelsea pitched in, well protected.
Finally, our good friends, Casey and Erin, and their two kids, Gunner and Paige, came to visit us in their motor home from Virginia Beach. (See our previous post about when we visited them in the Caribbean on their Catana 47.) Casey was invaluable to Steve – they got the reefing lines on the mainsail set, flushed out our very fluid electrical issues, put the outboard engine on the dinghy, and tested it.
Erin offered me guidance and expertise for additional provisioning and organizing. She had a truck, which we desperately needed to transport the larger storage bins we acquired for the bilges and hauling more supplies. The impacts of coronavirus were making it impossible to get a rental car, so we were a bit desperate. We definitely appreciated having wheels to use.
With Casey and Erin's support, we began venturing out for afternoon sails from Newport, upriver and out to the Atlantic. We felt comfortable handling Relentless after our training on the 4X and we were thrilled with how fast she was and how well she handled. Just on the mainsail and self-tacking jib, we easily got her up to 9 knots in 12 knots of breeze in smooth water. We knew our new boat was going to be very fun, but there was still so much to learn. As Casey repeated often, "there is a lot going on!"
Sailing under the Newport Bridge was a big first and very thrilling moment for us. While looking up, it was eerie not being able to judge how much space was above the top of our mast. With our 75.98-foot-high mast and the 135-foot-high bridge, we knew we were fine. But, oh boy, that was an experience!
We're so grateful for Erin and Casey's help and encouragement during our first week on Relentless. And, the classic '58 Chevy she was delivering for a friend was pretty cool, too!
Over the next week, we'll have some formal training and will need to leave our comfortable marina. Read on to find out where we go...