Monday, August 14, 2017

Dylan and Dee Dee's Ride

Dylan and Dee Dee love dinghy rides. It is the perfect example of both the journey and the destination being the reward. While a dinghy ride means they're going someplace fun - beach for a swim, to shore for a walk, or just a visit on the dock - they also enjoy the wind in their faces, the smells, and the sights on the ride over.

For Mom and Dad, the dinghy is the "car." A dinghy ride is often how they do their shopping, visit nearby friends, and get to where they want to go. It's a critical part of any cruising boat.

The Red Head crew has had several different rides over the years. On aCappella it was the 13 foot Caribe inflatable. She was great. We had hoped to move her to Red Head but she was too big for the well-deck.

So Mom and Dad bought the kids an 11 foot AB inflatable for Red Head. They've certainly put a few miles on her.

But maybe the whole crew's favorite ride is the 13 foot Whaler, Bada Bing, that we used in Castine. She's big, she's comfortable, and it's easy for Dylan and Dee Dee to jump in and out.

When we sold the house, she was turned over to our good friend Larry for care and feeding. He's done a great job. He brought her out to meet us when we arrived back in Castine and left her for our 2 mile ride to and from town.

Truth be told, the kids have loved all their rides over the years, just as long they eventually lead to swimming.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Maine Homecoming

We all have places that just feel like coming home. The Red Head crew finally pulled into Castine where we will be staying for a spell.

It's been two years but the old feelings were there. We watched through the fog for the first glimpses of Dyce Head Lighthouse.

Then the Castine Harbor bell buoy.

Even the State of Maine training vessel which sits beside the town dock.

Good friends Larry and Bill were our escort back to our mooring where we will sit for the next few weeks.

And then they made sure we were safely secured.

On this beautiful Maine day, it's good to be home.

Monday, July 31, 2017


The crew of Red Head just completed over 2 weeks in Boston. They stayed at the Constitution Marina which turned out to be the perfect location. Why?

Mom and Dad loved visiting the many restaurants and sites nearby, and spending time with dear friends. But for Dylan and Dee Dee it was all about...


The dog park!

Just a short walk away was one of the best dog parks the kids have ever visited. And this crew knows dog parks. 

It was a beautiful setting. The dogs and people were friendly.

Dylan and Dee Dee are already planning their return trip.

Located at the Paul Revere Park, Dylan and Dee Dee give it a solid five paws. Definitely, a not to be missed destination in Boston.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Our Two Goldilocks

If you have followed the blog for several years, you probably remember there was an episode in 2014 involving little Miss Dee and dolphins.

Let's just say Dee Dee is the only member of the crew who experienced Swims With Dolphins.

The near catastrophic failure of her harness as her dad tried to pull her back onto the boat led us on a multi-month search for the "perfect" harness for cruising dogs. If you want the whole story, you can find the previous blog entries here:

Swims With Dolphins - Lessons Learned
Crew Safety - Let's Get Started
Crew Safety - Size Matters
Crew Safety - Putting Them To The Test
Crew Safety - What We Learned

We tried numerous options but none of them satisfied all of our requirements. We never did find the one that was just right. There were problems of fit, questions about the integrity of the fasteners, and issues with metal components rusting in the seawater environment.

What we have settled on over the 2 plus years since Dee Dee had her big adventure is a combination of harnesses, some while underway on the big boat and some for use on the dinghy and for swimming. A big problem being that any harness with metal components quickly rusts if used for swimming.

Currently, we are using a walking harness when the dogs are on the dinghy and going swimming. They have all plastic clips that don't rust and offer a handy way to lift the dogs in non-stressful situations.

While under way, we put them in more substantial harnesses with lifting loops and belly plates for support. Dylan's has not rusted as long as we keep it out of the water.

As Dylan and Dee Dee's harness are showing wear, Mom decided it was time to launch another search for the perfect harness. The crew would like to get the whole ActiveCaptain community involved - well, at least those that have canine crew. With a cross posting on Facebook, we're hoping to generate discussion and suggestions. Maybe we could even build enough excitement to convince some of these manufactures to create a marine harness. Mom tried to convince them before but was told the market wasn't big enough - really?!?!?

Below is the crew's list of requirements:

1. A belly plate to support them should they need to be lifted.

2. A large loop on the back, often referred to as a traffic loop, that offers an easy target for a boat hook and a good handle for lifting.

3. A comfortable fit. Yes, we know that the safest option is a life vest for the crew and we do carry them onboard. But the crew finds them uncomfortable. The harness needs to offer enough adjustments to allow for a comfortable yet snug fit.

4. Secure, rugged fasteners that won't rust in the marine environment. Maybe we're wrong but Mom worries that plastic clips may fail when lifting a large, panicking dog. Yet every metal fastener we have tried rusts. We need good quality stainless steel fasteners.

5. Fasteners on both sides. Many harnesses require that the dog step into at least one side of the harness. One of the things we loved about the Kong harness (other than the nice large loop on the back) was that the chest strap had fasteners on both sides making it quick and easy to put on the dog.

6. Fasteners should be quick and easy to use. The fasteners on the Kurgo Pinnacle harness are the same ones used on their crash tested harnesses for cars. While, they are sturdy, they are also more difficult to use. Is there something that can incorporate both security and simplicity?

7. The harness straps must not stretch nor the fasteners slide when they become wet and undergo stress. We are fairly certain that the ultimate undoing of Dee Dee's harness was that the plastic clips slid on the straps after a half hour in the water with a dog frantically swimming.

Do you have a harness or harnesses that work well for your canine crew? In what situations have you used them? Does your crew swim and does the harness hold up in saltwater?

We believe that together we can find a better solution. Help Dylan and Dee Dee find their next safety harness.

Oh, and Dee Dee says something in a nice hot pink or purple would suit her quite well.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Long Island Sound

The Red Head crew has finally made it to Long Island Sound. First, they passed through New York Harbor.

It was Dee Dee's second time and Dylan's third. Dylan's first was with Dyna by his side - Dyna was always smiling. We still miss that sweet girl.

As always, things were hopping as Red Head passed through the harbor and on up the East River.

Good thing Dylan and Dee Dee were standing watch.

The real fun started when we snagged a mooring at Seymour's Boatyard in Northport, NY and the kids got to go .... wait for it... swimming!!!!!

The beach has "No Dogs" signs posted about but at 6:30 am no one seems to mind. Dylan and Dee Dee think they're a lot like Bonnie and Clyde - little outlaws.

There's one more morning excursion to the forbidden beach and then Red Head will continue her journey north. After all, there are more beaches to conquer!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Good Morning!

The crew on Red Head keeps pushing the envelop on wake up time in the morning. They don't care 'bout no clock. They says it's morning whenever they see the sun. While that's becoming a little problematic as we head further north into earlier sunrises, Mom did get to witness an amazing sunrise when we anchored at Cape Henlopen.

While we wait out some nasty weather in Atlantic City, NJ, this morning Dad decided to make a Coconut Date Smoothie for breakfast, a favorite with Dylan and Dee Dee. Not the smoothie so much but the bananas and dates that go into it. You may have guessed, Dad likes to give a taste.

Then, as if the crew isn't being spoiled enough, Dad decided to take a couple of the marrow bones out of the freeze to thaw as a treat for later.

Mom finally convinced him that maybe they should be put a bit more out of the way. It worked as the kids finally left the galley for their morning tussle. But later this morning there will be some real fun times...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Boatyard Dogs

Red Head pulled into Yacht Maintenance Company in Cambridge, MD last week to have a valve cover replaced on an engine along with getting an estimate for painting the whole boat. The crew was greeted by the two boatyard dogs on staff, Moose, a yellow Lab, and Bo, a Lab Beagle mix (adorable). This was Dee Dee's first encounter with a boatyard dog and she was enamored by the two "bad boys."

Moose pretty much took up residence outside Red Head crying and pacing until he could be with his new found love. It was shaping up to be a true "Romeo and Juliet" romance.

But Dee Dee quickly rebuffed his "advances."

So Moose turned his attentions to Dylan. The two appeared to be evenly situated on the dominance scale so they spent their time trying to figure out who was on top - as only dogs can do.

Much fun was had until Dylan and Dee Dee decided it was darn hot and they wanted to go back into the air conditioning. These two spoiled dogs wouldn't last long as "boatyard dogs"...

While Bo found other things to do, Moose kept his vigil outside Red Head.

Mom feared he would get heat stroke - it was blink'n hot - and was happy to see him finally take up his post a bit away in the shade.

But all it took was opening a door or even looking out the window and Moose was back. A very sweet boy.

The crew had three days of romping and fun with their new friends. Dylan and Moose mainly worked on the "who's the top dog" thing.


While Dee Dee and Bo chased the ball.

Bo loves the ball.

Then Dee Dee discover "boatyard toys." Mom wouldn't let her bring it onboard.

Bo still wanted to play with the ball.

It was finally time for the Red Head crew to continue north. We left early but not before Moose had taken up his post.

It was so sad to leave. Faithful Moose cried to his dad. Mom was a bit afraid he might jump in to follow.

He ran down the docks following us until we were out of sight. Don't worry Moose, we'll be back.