Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Merry Christmas!

What a year this has been!  There is so much to be thankful for!

With any luck - this time next year we'll be hanging with THIS Santa!

Merry Christmas to all - and may your New Year be filled with love, health and happiness!!

All our love,

Brittany & Scott

Monday, December 21, 2009

If I could have a moment on a soap box...

Scott, my sister Chelsea and I watched the movie "The Cove" last night.  It was incredibly powerful and devastatingly sad.  There is a mass slaughter of dolphins (yes, "Flipper") happening yearly off the coast of Japan and it is wrong on so many levels.  If you are passionate about the ocean, keeping its ecosystems intact, and these magical, magical creatures - you need to watch this film and support this cause.  The synopsis says it best:
This riveting documentary (winner of the Audience Award at Sundance) follows a group of animal activists to a scenic cove in Taijii, Japan, where they use surveillance equipment to capture footage of a secretive and heavily guarded operation run by the world's largest supplier of dolphins. As the daring group risks their lives to expose the horrifying truths behind the capture of dolphins for the lucrative tourist industry, they also uncover an environmental catastrophe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rules of the, water...

I just started reading William Seifert's incredibly dense and informative Offshore Sailing:  200 Essential Passagemaking Tips Having just barely scratched the surface of this book - I can already tell it is going to become a "bible" onboard Rasmus - meaning we will reference this daily for information, inspiration, and solutions.  It's laid out like a text book - but reads more like an interesting "how to" guide.  He lays things out simply and clearly, like these basic rules that will pretty much ensure you have a good (and safe) journey:

1)  Keep the water OUT of the boat.
2)  Keep the crew IN the boat.
3)  Know where you are and where you are going.
4)  Keep the rig in the boat (for all you non-sailors, the "rig" is the mast, sails and all that fun stuff).
5)  Keep the keel on the hull and the deck intact.
6)  Be able to control the vessel's direction.
7)  Have enough experience or crew with experience on board so that passages are pleasant and not terrifying.

He then goes on to say "If you can do these seven things, the rest - with a little effort - will generally take care of themselves".  However, exactly how EASY are these seven things to do?  There are SO many unknowns in nature.  I read an article the other day about a race to Mexico where a J105 ran into a pod of whales, got hit and sank within 5 minutes (everyone was fine).  How the heck do you prepare for, let alone aviod, a pod of migrating whales!?!  There are horror stories of all sorts of flotsam and jestsam lurking a just a few inches below the water's surface - waiting to put a hole in your boat.  Then there are rogue waves, microbursts, and all sorts of other "freak" weather phenom. While these thoughts are unnerving - statistically speaking, we are in significantly MORE danger driving our cars to and from work every day.  Sobering.

The main point Mr. Seifert drives home is, essentially, to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  Control what you can and don't waste too much energy trying to control what you cannot.  Important lessons to heed both at sea and in life.

Brittany & Scott

Monday, December 14, 2009

The ocean is calm and serene...UNLESS...

Sigh.  Nothing like video simulation to really bring the point home.

Brittany and Scott

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

On Planning...

Sigh.  Oh plans!  I have always been more of a "fly by the seat of my pants" type of girl.  I like to dive in head first and just get downright and dirty with what I'm gettin' into.  I have found the chances of backing out are significantly less when you are, well, immersed.  A toe in the water is easy to take out - but a whole body?  Now that is commitment!

I have lots of examples in my life of this working.  Backpacking in Europe at 18 with a few ripped out chapters from a Lonely Planet and a Europass...running a marathon with no formal training save for a weekly phone call to my cousin (who WAS formally training) asking "how many miles you running this week?"...moving to East Africa with nothing but a hope, a dream and 3K in travelers checks...travelling solo through South East Asia for 3 months with little more than wanderlust and a grin from ear to ear...hopping off a sailboat in Argentina and travelling around that neck of the woods for 5 weeks solo...oh, and I bought a 35 year old sailboat just to get the ball rolling on THIS plan.  All of these things I did with very little (if any) planning.  Sure, I had a rough "skeleton plan" of what I wanted to do, accomplish and/or see.  But I didn't slave over maps, guidebooks, and travel forums - I just don't have the patience or energy for all of that, to be quite honest.  Not to say that planning is bad, but if I've learned anything - it's that plans change.  Especially when it comes to travel.

Which brings me to THIS next chapter.  Sailing around the world.  It really does people's heads in!  They always want to know exactly where we are going and when (some even reach for the nearest map or globe) and we always just laugh and say, "we don't really know" - because, we really don't (if you want our loose itinerary see this post).  We are approaching this journey as a runner does a marathon.  You don't start a marathon and think "here I am at mile zero of 26.2" - you break it down into little segments.  Mile by mile.  Piece by piece.  So we most likely won't ever know our "exact route" - we will chip off one leg...and then plan the next.  And when we get to that destination, we'll kick back with a few cold (or warm) ones, chat with other cruisers, consult our myriad of crusing books and guides, and come up with the next leg of the journey.  There are SO many places to see, and SO many different ways to go. We know the how of the journey - and we want to remain completely and totally open-minded about the when and the where.  I know this might seem careless, but I assure you it is not.  There is a difference between planning and preparation.  We are preparing for this trip, little by little - the way we see it, it's impossible to actually plan it.

All that said, there are obviously two different schools of thought on "planning" - as illustrated in these two quotes:

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon
He who fails to plan, plans to fail - Proverb

Hmmmmm.....What side of the fence do you fall on?  I always liked John Lennon myself.

Brittany & Scott

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ladies and Gentleman: The Gate Valves have Left the Boat!

To say we have been busy these last couple of weeks would be an understatement.  Not only were we thrwarted into wedding planning bliss (insert large, toothy, purposefully strained grin) but we had the holidays, family parties, out-of-town guests and - well, lets face it - our upcoming July 24th nuptials took precedence the end of November.  Wedding planning, FYI, is not for the faint of heart!  Did you know there are brides out there that book venues BEFORE they get engaged?  Yeah.  Enough said.

Anyway, this past couple weeks of wedding induced chaos has put a monkey wrench in boat work.  HOWEVER, we have hired a wedding planner (hooray for me and my sanity!) and now, boat work can commence!  And boy oh boy did it ever on Sunday.  First of all, we arrived at Canal Street and the magic elves at the marina shrink-wrapped our little beauty so we can work on her in rain, sleet or snow (sounds fun, right?).  Our boat is now a super-cool fort! It was great timing really, as it was rainy on Sunday - and there we were, working away on deck completely dry.  Sigh.  Luxury (Not quite, but it's all relative).

The big news is we removed 4 of the 5 seacocks in our boat!  What is a seacock you ask?  Well - it is a valve on the hull of the boat that can either allow liquid to flow in (for engine cooling intake, for example) or out (from the bilge, for example).  Our seacocks are of the "gate valve" variety and have been on the boat for 35 years.  They are old and need to be replaced before we shove off.  It is incredibly important to have your seacocks in top condition, for if and when they "break" you have either a VERY wet boat (at best) or a very sunken boat (at worst).  We're not taking any chances.  We're replacing them all.

Using a huge pipe wrench, a sledge hammer, a phillips head screw driver and a LOT of elbow greese and brut strength, we finally got all those tricky buggers off!  Now they can be replaced with shiny, new ball-valve seacocks!  Hooray for small victories! One item down, 2,624 more to go!!


Brittany & Scott
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