Category Archives: Cruising on Autumn Dream

Winter is coming….

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and readers in the USA, and a warm hello to everyone who does not celebrate the holiday.

And a special BULA! to our fellow Fiji Princess 7 day stayers… when are we doing something like that again?  We are definitely willing…

The juncos have returned, the summer geese and the cormorants are gone, the winter geese are here.  The leaves are off the trees (and thanks to the other day’s south west winds, they are not on our property either 🙂 ).  Our stupid rose bush insists on still blooming, so I can’t prune it yet, but everything else says that Autumn has a firm grip, and winter is on its way.  Fortunately, no snow yet for us here on the south coast, but we certainly aren’t having one of those wonderful 70 degree Thanksgiving day’s when you go for a walk in your shirtsleeves after eating too much.

The heat had to be turned on near the end of October.  There is this Yankee thing about waiting as long as you can before you turn on the heat.  Everyone starts to ask each other if they are still toughing it out, or if they turned it on yet.  We held out long enough, but there is a point where you just have to do it.

I’m sorry we have been away from the blog for such a long time.  I know that for some of you who don’t use Facebook, this is your way of keeping track of us.  There have been a few changes, and you can feel free to get in a chuckle at our expense if you like.

The move to Florida is no longer going to happen.  We have a saying (and so do many others): ” the universe will unfold as it should”.  The forces in the universe were apparently conspiring to prevent our move from Somerset to Yulee, and after 10 months, we just had to read the signs and make a decision.  The largest issue, of course, is the fact that we just could not sell the house.  No one was interested – no even to look.  There is a clear message there.  Then a few other things happened, and after 10 months of trying to make this work, it was time to move on with our lives.

In contrast, when we decided to purchase this house in Somerset, we put the Ashland house up for sale after we left for a vacation in Hawaii.  We had a signed P&S in less than 2 weeks, before we got back home – obviously, that change was meant to be.  Everything was just “too hard” and working against us for this move to Florida.

We are very happy with our decision to stay here, and to get back to living in the now instead of floating in limbo, waiting for the ‘later’.  And if you know of anyone who is interested in purchasing a very nice lot in Waterman’s Bluff at a great discount, send them the information please.  We now are trying to sell this land.

Once we made the decision to stay, we started shopping for a boat.  We had sold Autumn Dream to a really great guy, and so we started looking at sail boats.  Kevin kept looking at Pilot House sail boats, and we were trying to decide what was the best option for us.  We mentioned to the new owner of Autumn Dream (when we were helping put the cover on) that we were in the market for a boat, and he asked if we would be interested in buying her back, due to some changes in his life.

Wow.  After a few days of discussion, we decided to buy her back.  This is when you really can start to laugh if you choose.  Yes, the blog will stay as M/V Autumn Dream, because she is back in our lives, and we are staying here in Somerset.  All is right with the world, and the universe is unfolding as it should.

Future posts will include boat work (of course) and changes we are making around the house, now that we are staying put.

Hope this post finds you all happy, and well.


M/V Autumn Dream has a new owner!


Well as many of you know we have had Autumn Dream on and off and back on the market.  She went back on the market back in Feb of 2016 for a new and improved price after we completed some repairs to the engine, transmission and running gear.  Oh yea the water pump also.  Well a few weeks ago we had a showing with a local couple who really liked her, but they never came back.  Next another guy wanted to see her and told the boat broker that he was looking for a boat with soul.  So I showed this new guy the boat ( and her soul but he could see that she had a ton of soul)and he fell in love with her.  By the end of the showing we basically had a deal.  He had to formalize this with the broker but soon the deal was inked and we had a deposit.  If you’re smart when buying a boat you try and find a good marine surveyor to do a survey.  This guy was not new to boating and scheduled both a land survey (Pre-launch), and a sea trial, including engine oil and transmission fluid chemical analysis.  The survey was scheduled on a Friday and when the surveyor showed up he was not overly happy as his experience with boats this old is not good.  And to have one of these on a Friday could make for a long day.  However he did not know Autumn Dream.  He started his survey by sounding the bottom with a hammer and testing for moisture.  Typically with old boats the hulls can become saturated with water and since the hull is a fiberglass laminates they can de-laminate.  However after about 5 minutes of the 60 minutes of hull inspection he was starting to see that Autumn Dream was not a floating wreck but an exceptionally maintained vessel.  As he moved to the topside after finding zero issues with the hull he was now thinking that the deck could be soggy plywood under the fiberglass coating of the deck.  Once again the deck was found to be sound.  He and I were talking about Autumn Dream and he was telling me that he typically looks at 3 year old boats that are saturated and ready for major repairs.  This is not to say Autumn Dream is 100% perfect, but so close to it that he said if the perspective buyer changed his mind he would buy her!  No he was not kidding.  He actually told this to the buyer.  So the on-shore survey went off with only a few very minor issues.  Next up was the sea trial.  About a week and a half after the shore side survey we launched her and did the sea trial.   The only issues found were a clogged shower sump pump and the spotlight was not working.  I rectified these two issues in about an hour.   The spotlight connection was a little corroded quickly cleaned and the shower sump had some hair plugging the drain line!  They also ran a fluid analysis on the engine oil looking for Chromium which is a sign of piston ring ware.  Everything came back as in very good condition.  She ran well on the sea trial and the surveyor once again commented that he would buy her if the deal fell through.  Well to make a long story short the deal closed last Friday July 2nd.  So Autumn Dream has a new owner.  He is the kind of person you would want to have bought the boat that you loved.  I know he will take good care of her and he has offered us use of her if we ever want to take her out.  We really like the new owner and we look forward to seeing her sail by our house as he takes her into the bay.  The new owner has a few boats.  This is not his first rodeo.  He currently has a 29 foot sailboat in the Sea of Cortez that he has also offered to us whenever we want to go there!  Exceptionally nice guy and we look forward to a new friendship!  We wish the new owner safe cruising and smooth seas!  We know Autumn Dream will take care of him and he will take care of Autumn Dream.  Yes we are a little sad to see her go, but we look forward to our new life in FLA if we can ever sell this house!  Typically the house is the easy thing to sell not the boat!


M/V Autumn Dream waiting for her new owner!

As far as this blog MV Autumn Dream I’ll finish as few entries about the trip but then we will see.  This blog will end but watch this space so we can direct you to the new blog if we decide to write one!

Cruising, Tomatoes, and the next project….

All good plans are wiped out by Mother Nature.

This weekend the marine forecast looked good.  We planned to leave Friday, anchor in the Kickemuit River, and spend Friday and Saturday nights there,  chill out, kayak, read, nap…  you know, boating.  I provisioned on Friday morning at Au Claire’s Market, made hamburger patties, packed everything up, and we headed downriver on the end of the outgoing tide – But boy was it shallow in a few spots!

Friday night was lovely – cool but not cold, bugs weren’t biting, and the sunset was spectacular and went on for hours.

Where we WOULD HAVE Kayaked...

Where we WOULD HAVE Kayaked…

Woke up Saturday morning, made breakfast (chocolate chip biscuits), listened to the revised forecast, and that was the end of the weekend.  Remnants of Tropical Storm Bill headed our way, with rain expected to start Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon, ending around 2pm, with potential thunderstorms.  Not quite the idyllic weekend we had planned.  Not a big deal with windshield wipers, radar, and GPS to get home, but the row back to the dock in the pouring rain was not too appealing.

So, after breakfast we cleaned up, stowed everything away, and headed back to Dighton.  Stuffing box is still leaking more than we would like, but not abnormal for many boats.  Of course we had two NEW issues: 1. the oven would not get hot enough – thanks to Dr. Google I think I found the problem and will check next cruise (the steel ‘floor’ above the burner needs to be pushed against the back wall of the oven).  2. The fuel gauge suddenly went from almost full to negative.  Kevin is conferring with Dr. Google on this one and has quite a few things to check.

Kevin and I are working on our next furniture project – a ‘rustic, industrial’ component rack for the stereo, dvd player, etc.  This will replace a very large console that is taking up too much floor space.  The TV will get mounted on the wall.  Here are some of the parts getting their primer coat before assembly.



Shelves, sides

Shelves, sides

And finally, yes I have tomatoes on the vine.  They may be small, but it is a promising sight.  Homegrown Salsa, here we come!

some tomatoes

some tomatoes

one tomato...

one tomato…

Pepper Sighting

The Serrano chili plant is flowering and starting to produce some peppers 🙂

I am waiting for the first one to ripen a bit more before harvesting.  I have plenty of cilantro growing, now I just need tomatoes!  they are flowering too.

First Pepper

First Pepper

Peppers with flowers

Peppers with flowers

For those waiting with bated breath to hear if Autumn Dream has sunk, the answer is NO. We rowed out yesterday evening to do a few things (put on the windshield wiper and protective sleeve, for example) and checked everything. The stuffing box drips have slowed significantly – the pump didn’t need to run at all while we were on board (about an hour). The bilge did not have much water in it.
So far, all is good. We will see what happens when we take her out this weekend.

While we were enjoying just hanging around on deck, we watched 3 osprey fishing.  One dove over and over and didn’t seem to catch anything – which was odd as the fish were jumping all around us.  Maybe he needs more practice.

First Cruise of the Season

Sunday was a beautiful day – and we took our first cruise of the season.  A relaxing 4 hour ride out into Mount Hope bay, over to Swansea, and back to our mooring in Dighton.

Autumn Dream performed flawlessly, running happily at 5-6 knots.

Scenery was lovely.  Lots of folks out enjoying the water, or just the day.  Fish were jumping.  We saw our local Ospreys out fishing, and also sighted a bald eagle with a fish in its talons flying overhead.  Plus the armadas of swans, Canada geese, and ducks.  Lots of fluffy gray goslings out with their parents.

Everything was wonderful until after we were back at our mooring, shut the engine off, and then Kevin did his round of checks.

I mentioned the other day that the stuffing box is always a concern.  For the non-boaters, I didn’t describe what this was in the other post… The Shaft has to exit the boat… and you don’t want water to leak in through the hole in the bottom where the shaft goes through.  To prevent the water from leaking, there is a stuffing box.  This ‘box’ includes a bunch of fittings, and most importantly (for most boats) a packing gland- this is a fitting with packing inside that allows the shaft to spin (if it doesn’t spin, you don’t go anywhere) but stops MOST of the water from getting into the boat.

You want a LITTLE bit of water to go through the packing, because this keeps it lubricated and prevents it from getting too hot from friction.  Typically you expect a few drips per hour.

Autumn Dream has a bilge for the stuffing box, and a bilge pump that is “always powered’ so that even with the main panel turned off, if the float sensor tells it to pump, it will run.

Well…. after our cruise the bilge was filling more rapidly than we like, and the pump was running every 20 minutes or so (for about 30 seconds).  In the past we have NEVER heard the pump running – and would occasionally put some water in the bilge to make sure it was working (and it always did).  Kevin fought and swore with the locking nut for an hour, trying to loosen it up so he could tighten up the packing gland, with no luck.  The flow did not increase, but it didn’t decrease either.

As much as we hated to, we packed up, closed up the boat after making sure the batteries were fully charged, and went home.  We did replace one of the batteries in the last two years, but there is always a worry about enough charge to keep the pump going.  We do have the solar panels to recharge, but of course it was dark and raining all day Monday.

Monday morning much research was done on how to free up the lock nut and tighten the packing gland.  I picked up some penetrating oil for Kevin at El Walmarto.  In the afternoon the weather cleared a bit and Kevin rowed out…  Still couldn’t loosen the locking nut but the drip had slowed down considerably… and the pump was running about once an hour instead of 3x per hour.  Charge was good on the batteries.

Today much more internet research was done on packing glands, stuffing boxes, etc.  We will watch and wait to see what happens, hopefully we can make it through the season without issues.  In the fall, it looks like we may have to pull it all apart and replace the packing.  We have no idea when it was last done.

Launch Day

Yesterday was launch day for autumn dream, for the 2015 boating season.

We finished the last of the painting and prepping, topped off the tanks, and got her ready to go.  Pulled out the fenders and dock lines, and hung a fender off the bow (that is the code…).  Kevin called the boat yard on Wednesday to tell them she was ready.   On Thursday we drove over at lunch time, and she was sitting pretty at the dock.

at the dock

at the dock

At the dock

At the dock

at the dock

at the dock

We checked the important stuff – like is there anything filling up with water? and everything was fine.  A little water in the bilge where the stuffing box leaks – but that is expected  – and not enough to worry about.  Everything else was dry including the thru-hull we re-seated earlier this season. – Again for non-boaters, a through-hull is exactly what it sounds like – it is a fitting that goes through the hull – either below the water line or above the waterline – that is used to either bring water into the boat (like engine cooling water) or drain water out of the boat (like the sink drain or the bilge pump outlets).

After work we picked up some chowder and clam cakes from the Somerset Grill, drove over to the boat yard and had dinner on Autumn Dream.  Then the important stuff – first thing open the engine cooling water seacock (that is the valve for you non-boaters) and start the engine.  This engine is just awesome.  Turn the key and it started right up; cooling water coming out the wet exhaust and all was good.

Kevin ran the engine for a while to make sure all was well.  Then he rowed out to the mooring to make a little adjustment to our pick up stick.  Again, for the non-boaters, this is a float with a long rod on it that you grab to pull up the mooring pendant (rope) that you attach to the boat.  If you don’t have a pick-up stick, then you need to use a boat hook to grab the rope attached to the float, and that is not easy when your bow is 5 feet or more above the water!

After that was all set, we put the dinghy on her snap davits (these are hooks on the swim platform – with eyes attached to the dinghy – that allow you to attache onto the boat, then swing up so the dingy is out of the water and stored against the stern).  Everything was checked again, the engine started, the dock lines released, and we headed over to the mooring.  After we were all nice and secure, we shut her down and just enjoyed some time in the pilot house before heading home.

It is now boating season!

New paint in the cockpit!

New paint in the cockpit!

Lanolin on the Shaft and Prop

You may recall that we decided to try using anhydrous lanolin applied to the propeller and shaft to prevent barnacle growth this year.
How well did it work? Did it work?

Well, the answer is, we think it worked “a bit”.

The propeller may not have gotten as fouled and full of growth as in previous years. Kevin had to dive on it only once this season, in September, when he noticed he wasn’t’ getting as much speed at the same engine RPM any longer. And he said that it didn’t look as bad as in previous years (from underwater of course). He was able to clean it up (underwater) reasonably well, except for having the scraper disintegrate and fall off the plastic handle.
Note: must try and find stainless steel scrapers instead of the mild steel- they rust and fall apart mid-use every time.

After Autumn Dream was hauled, further evaluation was that, maybe, yes, the shaft and prop were not quite as bad in previous years. Kevin scraped most of the calcium off this Sunday (when it warmed up above freezing!), but more cleaning will be needed.

So we aren’t really 100% sure. We may paint the shaft with the copper-free bottom paint next season, but haven’t decided yet.
We will try the lanolin again – maybe put a thicker coat on (if that is possible!).
The good news is that the anhydrous lanolin is not expensive, and it is not harmful to the environment, so at worst case, my hands get a nice “moisturizer” effect during application.

On the Hard

Yep.  Autumn Dream was hauled about 3 weeks ago.  October Weather becomes too unpredictable around here to leave her in the water much longer than that.

Last weekend we had some stunning weather, but last night we had Torrential downpours, lightening, and extremely gusty North East winds.  We also have had a mild freeze this past week.

We were happy she was safe and secure.  All bottled liquids and food have been removed, linens brought home for washing, systems drained and blown out.  The engine has been flushed with Fresh water and purged.

She’s had her decks and house scrubbed and inspected for any issues.  The new eco friendly copper free water based bottom paint worked very well, there was almost nothing stuck after the gentle power washing when she was hauled.  However some areas were worn away down to the bare hull, right thru the red bottom indicator coat (rubbing against the mooring line).  I have touch-up painting to do in the spring.  I need to take a few photos before we put her cover on.

The use of anhydrous lanolin on the Prop and Shaft was not as effective as we had hoped to keep the barnacles away, though when Kevin dived on the prop in September he did say it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  We may have to paint the shaft with bottom paint next season.

Kevin double checked his winterizing list to make sure all the various spots were drained and any zincs removed inside wet areas for replacement (and draining).

Kevin has greatly improved many of the winterizing processes – including how he uses compressed air to blow out the water lines, and the special gizmo he created to enable us to run the engine with a fresh water hose to flush out all the salt water.

Kevin and I are preparing our winter project list.  This weekend we will put up the frame and canvas cover.  She is in a much better location this season and the solar panels will get sun all day – and she will be much warmer on the inside from the solar gain as well.  Photos of the bottom job will be posted soon. I promise 🙂


I really like a good cup of coffee. Dark Roast, properly brewed.
Kevin says I am a coffee snob, and that I have turned him into one too…

My college boyfriend is the one to blame. When he graduated and started working, he had lots of disposable income and was working in the first computer boom in the early 80’s, so coffee was another way to, well, in all honesty, be a poser.
This was before the days of Starbucks. They probably existed in Seattle, but they hadn’t swallowed up every independent roaster or cafe. They weren’t known on the east coast.
We bought Fresh roasted beans from the Coffee Connection in Newton, ground just before brewing, and used either a french press or a Chemex or Melitta cone filter coffee maker.
Life changed, times changed, income changed, coffee making and drinking became less important, more of a “Mr. Coffee” approach.
Later, I started enjoying good coffee from Starbucks as a treat, but didn’t get so involved in coffee at home.
Then Kevin and I went on a SeaDream Yacht Club cruise and had great coffee from a super-automatic machine they had, and met some people who also had a super-automatic at their furniture show room, and love of coffee was reborn.
We are on our second Super Automatic coffee maker, and most brewed coffee just isn’t good enough. When on Autumn Dream we have a Thermal Insulated French Press.
We were buying dark roast beans from Starbucks, but really not thrilled about supporting the business that ate all the independent cafes. And we knew their coffee wasn’t really fresh.
I found a company on line – Fresh Roasted Coffee ( that had reasonable prices, sells fair trade coffee, and appears to roast “fresher” than anything you could buy at the supermarket or Starbucks store… and jumped right in and ordered 5 pounds of “The Black Knight”. YUM. what a good cup of coffee!
We are working through our second 5 pound bag now….

Looking back on the Delivery

We were contacted on Trawler Forum by Conrad- turns out he was going to take a look at Pannonia (now Autumn Dream) but we did him a favor (just kidding!) and bought her before he could make the trip.

Here’s a link to the old blog entry with photos of her delivery (on the truck) to Fall River MA.

Interesting Note:  The Elevated highway in these photos no longer exists- as Fall River is in the midst of a major highway project.

Here’s a link to Trawler Forum- for those of you who are curious…