Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gutted and Stuffed!

Last weekend, Scott and I "gutted" our boat to prepare for our engine haul-out which is going to take place November 7th (rebuilding an engine is akin to getting a BRAND NEW ENGINE - this is very exciting for us).  We drove over to Canal Street Marina in the morning and hauled out every cushion and rug (who doesn't have wall to wall in their boat!?); each bag, box or morsel of food, every article of clothing, and every single book, magazine and manual.  We then proceeded to STUFF (and cram, and jam) all of it into our (two door) vehicles.   We still have more too off-load, but due to the fact that we only had my VW bug and our dear friend's Saab - we   The point of removing all this 'excess' is to have a blank canvas in which to work (and to save our beautiful upholstery from damage), since - as I mentioned about 100 times - we have a lot to do.  Have you ever tried stuffing 14 boat cushions (plus gear, plus canvas, plus books..) into a VW bug?  I thought my little car was just going to bust open with foam and fabric! 

Though the photos don't *really* do justice to the "stuff job", you can definitely see the difference in our once homey and cozy interior! Stay tuned for "Engine Haul Out 101"!


Brittany & Scott

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Now that our boat is safely out of the water, Scott and I can breathe a sigh of relief.  But don't let this fool you folks, this is the calm before the storm.  I am and always have been a sort of "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of girl.  I put my trust in the Universe and I just *know* things will work out.  However, our boat will not "fix" itself.  I am not, and will never claim to be an expert on boats.  In truth, I am far from it.  This fact, I believe, is both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing in that it allows me (and Scott) to dream freely and without the contraint of "is this even possible", a curse because - as my dad says - "I don't think you fully understand exactly HOW much we need to do to this boat to get it safe and ready to go by next year".  And he's right.  I don't. He rattled off his punch list of things - half of which involved parts or systems I had never heard of. 

This past weekend I was in Arizona with my mom basking in the warm desert sun and I got a call (the resort, mind you, was "cell phone free"...Shhhh!).  I hid behind a friend by the pool and checked the message. It was Jeff, the boat mechanic at the yard calling to say he couldn't start our engine.  Grrreeeat.  I wasn't too concerned because I know our boat is one of those old "quirky" ones that take a little nudge here, a little kick there and voila! - it starts.  Sure enough he got it going.  But a little while later he called back.  This time with a list.  A nice, lengthy list of things he'd like to see fixed, tuned, replaced and removed.  Awesome.  Don't get me wrong - we'll take all the input we can get - and we appreciate it, really, we do.  The problem?  Can you say, CHA-CHING!?  As I whispered into the phone (again, this resort was cell-free) that I'd take note and get back to him, I began to realize the magnitude of what lies ahead.

People who have bought "fixer-uppers" probably can relate.  You look at a house and while it looks a little rough around the edges, you know that a little elbow grease here, a little love there and some dirty work in between will make your home worthy of an HGTV episode.  But then reality sinks in and you find a leaky crawlspace, an unknown mold problem under the bathroom tiles, insufficient heating...etc. etc.  And here, all you thought you needed to do was update the kitchen the bathroom and maybe do some landscaping.  PshhPuuuhhhleease. Well, that's where we're at.  All these little projects add up - and each of them take time.  From replacing the leaky faucet on our sink to "securing the wiring every 18 inches" to replacing every single hose to rebuilding the engine (this will be underway as of November 7th! Whoo hoo!) to fixing light switches to replacing instruments...the list, like the beat, goes on...and that's not even HALF of it.

But sweet little naive me just knows that it will all get done.  Because it will.  And we will do it.  We don't have a choice.  And I, being the "dive right in" type of person I am have learned that in life, when you have no choice but to 'git 'er done - you do just that. 

Brittany & Scott

Monday, October 05, 2009

Rollin' on the River...

I don't think non-sailors truly 'get' how sad and depressing it is taking your boat out of the water.  I have always said that there is nothing more heartbreaking to me than a cold, empty harbor - and nothing more exciting than seeing boats trickle in as the season opens.  Being from Chicago - you'd think I'd be used to this ebb and flow - but nope.  It's still so sad to say "bye bye" to summer, and specifically your boat...siiiiigh.

HOWEVER, if you are going to take your boat out of the water, why not temper it with some great friends, a fun trip down a historic river and about 1,000 mimosas?  YES PLEASE!

On Saturday Scott and I got up bright and early to take our boat to Canal Street Marina, where the Rasmus will spend her winter in hibernation.  We chose Canal Street based on both logistics (it's close and easy to do the multitude of boat work we'll be doing this winter) and reputation.  They are located on the Chicago River (in Chinatown - guess who'll be experts by the end of this winter?!) and as such, you need to navigate the river to get there.  This was my first "river" trip and boy oh boy was it fun!

We had to be at the first lock at 8am (Yes, the Chicago river has a lock due to the fact that they reversed the flow back in 1900 so you need to be "lowered" to the river level before you leave the lake) in order to make it to the first bridge by 9am.  If you are familiar with down town Chicago, you know how many bridges there are.  If you are not familiar - there are 25.  Yes, TWENTY-FIVE.  Because we are a sailboat, these bridges must be opened to accomodate us.  I'm not sure if it's lore or what - but rumor has it, there is ONE DUDE who runs from bridge to bridge opening and closing each. and. every. one.  Mulitply that by 25 and you get the picture.  It takes some time.  Lukily, we were well stocked with good company, good tunes and bad champagne...

What is also interesting is that, because the bridge schedule is so exact (each bridge opens only once a day, 2 days a week during the month of October) - there are a multitude of boats all going along at the same time together.  Which is fun, unless you are a boat like ours which a) doesn't maneuver b) doesn't maneuver and c) doesn't maneuver.  Did I mention we don't maneuver?  All these other little racer-cruisers with their fin keels and nice tight turning radius's zipping this way and that ASSUMED we were just like them.  Well - we are not.  We won't ever be.  And we're cool with that, really we are.  It did make for some good laughs (after we wiped the sweat from our brows) and we came to the realization that we need a sign that says:
In all honesty though - it was a fantastic day.  Just so much fun.  Sun, mimosas, laughter, home-made Twix bars (yum!), more mimosas, music and good peeps.  We had some wonderful friends join us (thank you Dana, Eric and Melissa - we love you guys!) and I can honestly say it was one of the best days this summer/fall!  I can't wait for the return trip in April!!


Brittany & Scott

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