Thursday, October 16, 2008

So much to do!! prepping for "the dream" (as it has come to be known) Scott and I are constantly reminded of the HUMONGOUS list of things we have to do to prepare for this steal the very simplified version of "what to do" from our friends (okay, they are not really our friends, but they would be if we were in the same city!) Alicia and Mike of the yacht Sarabande; in our own words:
    1) Save Money (In Progress) 2) Buy a boat before summer '09 (DONE!!! WHA HEY!!!)  3) Sell our stuff and move onto said boat for said summer of '09 (We are now planning on moving onto the boat summer of 2010 - IF we get issued a slip by Chicago Harbors) 4) Save more money, fix up said boat (In PROGRESS) 5) Learn all the nautical things we do not know, such as celestial navigation...etc. (Does buying a sextant count?) 6) Learn how to maintain/repair/jerry-rig all electronics, motors, and equipment on boat (as the rest of the world is not as convenient as America) -SLOWLY BUT SURELY! 7) Learn the basics (and probably not so basics) of first aid 8) Save money - get PADI certified (DONE) 9) Learn how to cook with raw materials, meaning - simple foods from scratch (In PROGRESS) 10) Get the heck outta dodge! (ETD: September 2010!!)
Simple, right? Sigh...we'll get there!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tips and Tricks from some other World Cruisers...

Hey everyone....
As Scott and I inch closer and closer to turning our dream into a reality, we learn that there is so much to do with so little time!  We also want to chronicle the entire preparation of this trip so that others can see how something like this evolves ('cause we don't know either! And there is no "Dummies Guide to Sailing around the World"!) So, I continuously scour the internet for tips and tricks from other sailors who have lived or are living our are some great, practical tips from Scott, Mary, Timothy and Finn Malone of the fine yacht "Whisperer". 
  • Before setting sail, think about grab and go food. Cheese and crackers, peanut butter and crackers, anything so the cook does not have to be depended on. I get sea sick and it takes about 3-5 days before I feel like cooking. I often will cook a big roast, or something that can be used for quick sandwiches. I have everything in baggie ready to grab. Hmmmm...this one shouldn't be a problem, we live off finger foods!  However, not sure if I'll be cooking a roast at sea.  In fact, I'm very certain I will not.
  • Take US stamps, I wrote letters put stamps on them and handed them to tourists from the US to mail for me when they got home. Cheaper, and faster. People loved mailing them for me. Great advice!! I have learned in my many travels abroad that too often postcards and letters don't make it home in a timely matter, if at all!  And hey - lets not forget, a penny saved is a penny earned and we're going to need every penny we have for this trip!
  • We took $500 in ones and 5's stashed away. The debit card is the best!! It is taken in every small country- better than American Express(which we had and paid for- many countries would not even take it) In addition we had a Visa and Master Card. But debit was the one used most. We would pull into a country and go to the machine- get what we thought would be just enough to get us through, countries will not take back their money unless it's a big amount and you never get what you paid for it and they don't take back any coins.  Cash and carry! 
  • Get a boat stamp! Some officials want you to have one. Cheap and easy to have made. I don't even know what this is - so it's GREAT - here I come! I can only guess they do NOT mean a personal zed mailing stamp with our boat's picture on it...
  • Guest book, many boats have a scrape book/guest book for others they meet to write a message or sign in .It's great fun. Many Yacht clubs will ask you to fill out a page as well, great art project for the kids to get involved.Guest books are great logs of good times and a great way to chronicle experiences in a simple way.  We have one for our family boat - and it goes back years and years!
  • Boat cards, everyone exchanges them, cruisers will know you by your boat name, not your name and will want to keep in contact. I bought a card holder and as we meet boats put the cards in order and wrote on the back when we meet- we are still in contact with most of them. Blogs make that much easier now. Free boat cards at you can pay a little more and get your boat photo on it- the cards we liked the best had the type of boat on them. Vista-print, here we come!  See, this is the kind of stuff we would NEVER think of - but what a great idea! 
  • Don't worry about the pressure cooker- if you aren't using it now you won't use it sailing- you will cook just like you do now. Do you need to save fuel now- it's cheap, you can get it in all countries. Uh...what is a pressure cooker? (JK) But, yeah - my cooking skills are limited...We plan on working on easy, healthy recipes for at sea and the cooking bit is what I am least excited about.  But I am very excited to learn! 
  • I did not label, varnish, oil, Vaseline any cans of food. I did buy 6 months of extra food- on board at all times, just in case something happened. Every inch of the boat had stores of food. Food is easy to get here, cheap and better to carry than once you leave because you have a car. Provisioning is going to be VERY important...but "6 months of food in case something happened"!?!? YIKES! 
  • REMOVE ALL CARDBOARD FROM PACKAGES IN OTHER COUNTRIES!!!!! Do this at the store!!!!!!! People will look at you funny-- DO IT!!!!! No rats and bugs in our boat! Apparently roaches and creepy crawlies in developing countries lay their eggs in cardboard so best to NEVER LET IT TOUCH YOUR BOAT...infested boats (I hear and read) are a NIGHTMARE and cruisers should do everything in their power to prevent them...When I was sailing in Patagonia a mouse made it's way to the food stores by way of the dock lines and it was "all hands on deck" to make sure he was GONE.  Rest in peace little mouse. 
  • GET ROACH KILLER STUFF NOW- gross as it is you will get them, so be ready to act fast. Roaches. Ick. Hey, we're not in this for the glamor of it though!
  • Stainless welding rod on board, 6 or so, a must-- many countries can weld but don't have the rods. This would have been handy when I lived in Africa and my steering column broke and it took 3 days to find a village with a welding rod to haphazardly weld it back... that's another story completely, yeah, this one is close to my heart.
  • Nylons shorts for everyone- they wear nicely, wash quickly. You will be hotter than ever before, and the cost of laundry is unreal- I did it in the cockpit, nylon washes with little water dries quickly. Shouldn't be a problem...Scott and I have lots and lots of sailing swag!
  • Spare parts- lots of, you'll never get them cheaper than here and they are easy to get. Word. 
  • Take email addresses for all major part suppliers- much cheaper than the phone call home for the spare part and I assure you you will be calling home for parts.
    When buying parts now, see if the part has any substitutes, or other part numbers. Many countries do not use our part number system but have the same item- just under another number. Again, great stuff that we might not have considered. 
  • Extra long swage-less rigging terminals- would be great but we don't have them for all of our rigging.  This sort of goes along with the previous suggestion of spare everything... 
  • Don't forget the crew, its fun to have surprise packages for all on board. Simple finger puzzles, a candy bar, jokes, cartoons, a book about birds- wrapped & given for a special occasions- first rainy day at sea, crossing the equator, stuck in the doldrums, have fun, be creative. We are pretty creative between the two of us...seen as how neither of us can sit still for very long I'm sure we'll come up with all sorts of creative ways to pass the time.. 
  • MP3 player- I have the SanDisk because it uses an AAA battery which was important to me. This is a no-brainer.
  • Wildlife books. We enjoy keeping a record of what we see on the water and in the air. It was wonderful having resources to identify the creatures.Also a no-brainer. 
We'll keep you posted on the other lessons we learn along this way...this is going to be a journey TO a journey...we're learning, slowly but surely!  Thanks for the support!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ask and you shall receive...

So, Scott and I have been planning this "trip" pretty much since the day we met...being that we are both a significant part "dreamer" with a dose of "realist" in the mix (okay, me a little more than he) - we knew we needed the boat before much else...that, we figured, is the first step. But how!?! What kind of boat?! When!?! How big?! Where do we even begin!? Initial internet searches were daunting...

This summer we did quite a bit of sailing - both racing on our respective racing teams as well as "booze cruising" with our friends on other days. One such day, Scott and I were on the dock just admiring boats and waxing poetic about our future trip...we came upon a boat, "Sea Fever", on the dock. She's an old Ketch boat designed by Pearson Yachts in the 60's - fat as a pig and a little rough around the edges - but a sturdy and beautiful boat built for live-aboard and world-cruising...We both agreed, "This is the kind of boat to sail around the world in". She needs elbow greese for sure, but her beauty is not masked by her age. Scott, ever the optimist said "I'm going to write a note and see if she's for sale" he did.

Fast forward to a few weeks later and a frantically excited phone call from Scott ,"Britt!! The boat IS for sale!! The owner just called me back!!". And so it begins...the beautiful old ketch, Sea Fever, is within our reach...stay tuned as we keep you posted on our progress of making our dreams to travel the world by wind become reality!


The boat!… well, one just like it.

Countess - Atelier

We may have found the perfect boat… the Pearson Countess 44!

In the early 60s, Pearson Yachts asked their dealers to complete a survey regarding a motor sailer design they were tossing around. At that time, well-to-do cruising yachtsmen were growing restless with the cramped, spartan living quarters one could expect aboard a traditional sailboat design. These lonely gents wanted a boat with spacious accommodations that they could cruise with their families in comfort. Pearson, ever abreast of the modern-day sailor’s changing style, wanted to tap into this need with a boat that a couple or small family could crew in luxury, without leaving behind the amenities of home.

Based on the survey findings, Pearson employed the office of the famous naval architect John G. Alden to design their new model, slated to be named the Countess 44. A master of the art, Mr. Alden delivered Pearson a beautiful, seaworthy design that would sail like the devil, but also had the auxiliary power and spacious interior to rival a powerboat. This was not a boat intended for a hoarde of salty male crew, surviving on canned food and sterno, taking bucket baths and sleeping in narrow, cramped bunks while they tossed their way across an ocean. Heeding well the survey's results, Alden's Countess was a boat to be crewed by a civilized couple or two, an elegant little group who held high in esteem matters of privacy, comfort, hygiene and dining, but who still wanted to travel far and fast.

Alden gave the Countess a ketch rig to keep the sail area manageable for the hypothetically small crew, and a beefy 109 HP engine to ensure that the Countess would skip along whether a breeze was afoot or not. The open interior and picture windows in the deckhouse kept the cabin pleasant, ideal for entertaining, and imminently liveable. Pearson excitedly approved the design, and production began in 1964

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