A New Season on the David B

From a dinner cruise to a boat parade, we’re easing back into the cruising lifestyle.

Getting Ready for Opening Day
Getting the David B Ready for Opening DayChristine Smith

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity on the David B as we get ready for our 2013 season. It started with our annual haul-out the first week of April, when we painted the hull and pilothouse. This year was a challenge, as it rained every day we were in the yard. Luckily friends and family came to came to help us paint between rain showers. I'm not sure if it was pity, the offer of beer and pizza, or the chance to drive a rented scissor lift that got them onboard for a day of painting in the cool and threatening weather, but I was grateful for the help.

I continued to paint trim after we went back into the water, and Jeffrey finished building a custom refrigerator and freezer. In years past we had two chest freezers on the back deck. One was modified so that it ran at refrigerator temperature. They weren't the prettiest things, but they worked, and every couple of years we needed to replace them. Now, I have a new top-loading refrigerator and freezer built into the front of the pilothouse. It looks great and works wonderfully, and it's amazing how much it seems like a part of the boat that has always been there. If you are ever interested in building your own refrigeration system, check out Nigel Calder's Refrigeration for Pleasure Boats. It's been on our nightstand for the past few months and was the go-to guide for this project.

As April ended, the rain ended, too—at least for a little while. If you've ever spent any time in the Northwest, then you know we have fantastic spring seasons, which make for great boating. Our first outing with the David B this year was a dinner cruise. A repeat passenger had asked us for more than a year to do this trip. I've been reluctant to do any trips fewer than two days because it takes quite a lot of time to put on a four-hour cruise, and I admit that I was shy to let her know that it was going to be an expensive evening. It turned out to be a lovely experience, and she brought a wonderfully fun group that got to enjoy a fantastic sunset cruise around Bellingham Bay. It was also nice for me to get back into the swing of cooking on the boat and to try out a couple new recipes that I'd found over the winter.

Since the sunny weather was looking like it was going to hold and the David B was looking beautiful, Jeffrey and I decided to join in for the Bellingham Yacht Club's Opening Day of Boating Season festivities on May 4. Earlier in the week, my parents had offered to come help us load firewood for the cook stove and do any last-minute cleaning, painting or varnishing, so they were pleasantly surprised when I told them we were going be in the boat parade. I did let them know that it wouldn't be all fun and no work, as we still needed to go over to the loading dock after the parade and crane a pallet of compressed logs onto the boat.

My 76-year old mother-in-law learning how to drive the scissor lift.

The parade was fun with its Kentucky Derby theme, and several boats took things seriously. One had a starting gate and towed a plastic horse, and several boats were festooned with folks in big, floppy hats. We didn’t have time to do much more than fly our signal flags, but just taking the David B out for the day with family and friends was a nice way to begin the summer.

We leave on Friday for a 12-day Inside Passage cruise to Ketchikan, Alaska. I still have plenty of groceries to load, and Jeffrey has a couple of small installation projects to finish before our first passengers arrive on Thursday night, but overall the wild ride of spring outfitting is done, and I welcome a new season of cruising on the David B.