Thursday, January 31, 2013

Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back...

Guess who is 10 mos today? No matter what setbacks we encounter, this happy little person makes it all okay*.
Sigh.  We're here again.  Yesterday morning we were dusting off our charts to the Bahamas and by yesterday afternoon, we were ripping apart the v-berth to discover the source of flexing on the foredeck.  What a difference a few hours makes. Such is life on a boat, I suppose.

Turns out our baby stay deck fitting doesn't have a backing plate and/or is not properly set up to withstand the loads of a full sail.  This is a very big deal and a huge oversight.  We could blame the rigger, we could question how on earth he would attach a stay to our deck without making sure the fitting was secure but blame doesn't get us anywhere.  The truth of the matter is we know better and we have no one to blame but ourselves.  We should have checked the fitting because (lesson time) assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME.

But here's the thing; we can choose to look at this relatively minor setback in one of two ways:

1) This is yet another problem that we have to fix and now we'll be delayed further, this sucks, boats suck,  wah, wah.

2) This is a blessing in disguise, thank God we found it now as opposed to later when we might have unfurled the sail and blown a hole in the deck, lucky us!

As one blog follower said on our Facebook page, "Two steps back now will save you 50 steps back in a gale.  The universe again conspires to help you succeed in your venture!" And he is exactly right.  If Scott hadn't been in the v-berth securing Isla's bed to the hull yesterday, he never would have heard our boat neighbor talking to a friend about our stays'l and mention that it probably had a "huge backing plate".  Overhearing that conversation caused Scott to take pause, question and check just to "make sure".  Lo and behold, our staysail was simply screwed into the deck and -upon further inspection - the deck was actually bowing under the pressure of the stay.  Our deck was literally one mast pump away from blowing a hole right over where Isla sleeps.

So, really, we are very lucky.  We'll make this right and hopefully it doesn't set us back too far.  Those Bahamas charts are still out, and we're eager to use them.

* Those are all natural veggie dog pieces Isla is eating amongst her veggies, not hot dogs.  I feel compelled to clarify that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Defacing our Outboard

We love our new-to-us Yamaha 2-stroke 15HP outboard motor.  Apparently, so do petty thieves in the Caribbean.  Dinghies and dinghy motors (particularly the 15 horse) are hot ticket items down island these days and we knew several cruisers who got theirs stolen right off the back of their boats and heard cautionary tales of many others.  In order to make our new outboard less of a target, we were advised by a friend to take the "Yamaha 15 HP stickers" off the motor.

As Scott was peeling away the stickers and removing left-over residue with Goo Gone, I had the (literal) bright idea to paint the whole cover canary yellow.  Yellow is the most visible color to spot on the ocean and my thinking was that a thief would be less likely to steal something so...loud.  They say that most petty thieves are simply opportunists.  If that is the case, it is your job to make stealing less of an opportunity and more of a chore.  Give those bad guys a reason to pause.  Most thieves will pass up the tricky jobs.  After all, we're talking about thieves here, they are lazy bottom feeders by nature.  "Work" is not something they enjoy.

So we did it.   We spray painted the cover and it. is. bright.  It will not be hard to recall or spot someone cruising around with this motor.  The addition of the skull and cross bone stickers on either side were last minute details we picked up from the flea market under the influence of afternoon beers.  Arrggggh...

So what to you think?  Did we make our outboard less attractive or more attractive to the thieving set?  And what do you do to make your outboard less appealing to the bad guys?  We got lots of other great ideas and suggestions from friends on our Facebook Page, from painting girly pink to covering with duct tape.  What's your line of defense?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Simple Solutions are Sometimes Best

Isn't it funny how sometimes the cheapest, simplest solution is often the most evasive?  When we put our new anchor on our boat, it became immediately apparent that we'd need a way to prevent it rocking side to side when we were underway.  Tying it off prevented any up/down and forward/back motion, but regardless of how much we tied and how tight we pulled, the side to side rocking could not be quelled.  It might not seem like a big deal to those of you who aren't boaters, but a 73 pound anchor rocking to and fro and banging against the bow roller over and over is not only dangerous, but would make a tremendous ruckus in our boat.  We needed a better way to secure it before we left.

Our first idea was to modify our bow roller to accomodate our specific anchor.  That seemed simple enough.  We called a local metal working company and after they presented us with a quote for over $2,500.00, the decision to go a different route was very easy.

It became comical, actually, how many people were putting their heads together on this thing.  Even guests here at the building we are docked behind came over to offer their two cents on how to rectify our issue.  With each new idea the solution snowballed into something more and more complex.  I'm all for brainstorming, but this was getting out of hand. One afternoon, when Scott and some of our friends were on the bow talking about new rollers, drilling contraptions into the deck, raising the windlass, the addition of a pulley system and god knows what else I said, "We need a block to fit around the top of the anchor, essentially wedging the anchor into the roller, and then we need a hole in the top of that block to lash it down to the roller".   The guys looked at me, looked at the roller, scratched their heads and after a pause replied, "That could work".

And it did.  The very next day Scott fabricated my solution with $25 bucks worth of parts, and a little modification of his own.  What we did was make a block out of pieces of starboard, with a slot down the middle for the anchor shank to fit in.  Scott made the block sightly larger than the bow roller, and then routed out the sides of the block (with the new router I got him for Christmas!) so that it fit in the roller exactly.  With the sides routed out (Scott's brilliant modification) the block will not slide fore or aft, and all I need to do is lash it down to the bowsprit with some line through the hole he drilled though the top.  Make sense?  I'm sure there are other solutions, but we think this will work for now.

It's strangely easy to overcomplicate things on a boat (we've done it time and time again).  But usually, there is a very simple solution for just about any problem.  You just need to clear the table, clear your head and find it - it might mean the difference between $25 and $2,500!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nautical Flea Market

I'd always wondered what a flea market was all about, so when we got wind that there was one that was "nautical" themed this weekend, we figured it was worth a trip to check out.

Beacause our days are still full of boat work, we only caught the last hour of the Nautical Flea Market in Pompano Beach, but despite the time crunch, we managed to find a few treasures.  There are lots of good deals to be had and if you have the patience to hunt for them.  We walked away with a package of bungee chords for $4 (because you can never have too many bungee chords!), a new LED bulb for $18, a pair of sporty Sperry deck shoes for $30 and a bunch of other small fasteners and what not.  It was a fun little family outing.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Solid as a Roc(na)

Our anchor is laughably huge.  It is 73 honking pounds of galvanized steel and looks positively ginormous on our bow.  This is just the way we like it.  On our 35 foot Hallberg Rassy, we had a 55 pound Delta as our primary anchor.  It, too, was huge.  People commented on it all the time, " an oversized anchor there, huh?"  Why, yes.  Yes we do.  While there aren't too many places on a boat where "more is better", I think your ground tackle is one such place where you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't round up.  You do not want to be the dude in the anchorage with the dinky anchor.  We don't want you to be that dude with the dinky anchor.  People with dinky anchors make cruisers around them really nervous.

So why did we go with a Rocna this time?  Word. Of. Mouth*.  There's really nothing more to it other than the fact that we met many cruisers between Chicago and Trinidad who had them and nary a one had a bad thing to say about 'em.  In fact, most used the word "love" to describe their anchor and would spontaneously launch into an account of some storm in some anchorage where every boat dragged but them.  We heard story after story of Rocna's being put to the test** and passing with flying colors.  Call it the cruising version of "keeping up with the Jones'", call it covetousness, but we wanted one.  Bad.  The fact that they agreed to sponsor us made the deal that much sweeter.

When cruising, you put an insane amount of trust in your anchor***.  There might even be a time when your life depends on it.  Picture this: You are sleeping in your cabin when all of a sudden you hear the wind start howling and something feels different.  You check the GPS.  It is pitch black outside but you know there is a reef behind you now because the wind has unexpectedly shifted and repositioned your boat.  You will be fine as long as you stay put.  Your boat begins to aggressively and erratically lurch and pull at the anchor chain as the wind builds.  The rain starts.  Sheets and sheets of water turn your cabin top into a drum making it difficult to hear anything else.  You turn on the instruments and see the wind is now gusting to forty knots.  It is shrieking and whistling through the rigging and again, there is a reef behind you.  Dragging and re-setting anchor at this moment would be horrible.  Definitely boat threatening and possibly even life threatening.  You, however, are confident you won't budge because you know you set your anchor properly (you dove on it) and you trust your ground tackle (perhaps it's a Rocna?).  Despite this, you decide to do anchor watch shifts anyway because a) you are a prudent mariner and b) you can't trust the folks (the ones with the dinky anchors) around you.  A couple hours pass and by the time the sun rises, the storm has cleared and it's a beautiful day in paradise.  You have a fresh cup of coffee in the cockpit, share a chuckle with your partner about how annoying last night was and jump in the water for a snorkel.

A scenario similar to this will happen to you at some point if you go cruising.  Do you want to worry about dragging?

Dragging anchor can, at best, be a nuisance and, at worst, be catastrophic.  Part of the allure of being on the 'hook' is how peaceful, calm and relaxing it is.  And it really is most of the time.  We chose a Rocna for when it's not.   Because we like a good night's sleep every night.

* As I mentioned in an earlier post, cruisers have strong opinions about gear ESPECIALLY anchors.  We strongly urge you to do your own research when selecting an anchor for your boat.
** An independent anchor performance test compilation consistently showed Rocna to be an outstanding performer. 
*** No amount of anchor can make up for human error.  If you don't know how to anchor properly, it won't matter what size and type of anchor you have, you will most likely drag at some point, possibly often.  There is no "magic" piece of gear in sailing.  Before you rely on a piece of gear (like an anchor) make sure you trust yourself using it first.

Friday, January 25, 2013

When the Universe Conspires...

At the moment of commitment
the entire universe conspires to assist you.
- Goethe

What a whirlwind.  You know when things just start to go right?  Like when you are driving toward a red light and it changes green before you even need to break?  Or when doors start flinging open (metaphorically speaking) and make getting where you want to go a little easier?  Sometimes, the Universe conspires to help you do whatever it is you want to do by placing the right person, object, or opportunity in your way at precisely the right time.  It's an incredible phenomenon and, if you pay close attention and put the right energy out there, it will happen more than you think.  My friend Melody said that this means you are on the right path, that when doors start opening, it's a good sign that you should keep moving through them.

The past couple weeks, I was worried we weren't on the right path anymore.  It felt as if the Universe was trying to tell us something.  That we'd strayed.  That we'd taken a wrong turn.  I wondered if we'd made some bad choices.  I considered re-evaluating our timeline and our plan.  We ran into wall after wall and the stress was so thick around here it was almost tangible (we were careful to spare Isla from it and judging from her perma-grin these days, we succeeded).  Yesterday, however, it became clear that despite the hiccups and mishaps, we are still in fact on the right path.  Phew.  Turns out, the Universe was just toughening us up a bit.

Yesterday was a really good day.  Scott and I got some fantastic news regarding our sales tax issue.  Turns out we qualify for a further extension after all.  You cannot even imagine how happy this makes us.  Once we got that news, we got a second wind.  We were unstoppable.  We got to work tackling projects and coming up with solutions for problems that we had been agonizing over for weeks.  We even got two new sponsors, one after another (more on these later!).  It's amazing how incredibly powerful and motivating good news can be.  Things start happening.  Then more things start happening.  Like a domino effect, the Universe gets on a roll.  Boy did we need it.

A couple of blog followers contacted us to let us know they would be in town yesterday afternoon.  Busy with new momentum and up to our eyeballs in work, it was very tempting to tell them "sorry, no", but they were only passing through this one day and I felt terrible turning them away.  I am so glad I didn't because not only are they wonderful people, but Dean helped Scott finish up a small project and worked with him to fix our refrigerator (which ironically stopped working the very day a technician came and serviced it*).  They even gave us their spare set of pressure gauges (which just so happened to be in their car) so that we could check and service our refrigerator ourselves in the future.  "Pay it forward" they said with a smile.  Karma is a big deal in the cruising world.  No good deed goes unseen by Poseidon.  If you can help, you should.  This is the unspoken code of sailors.  Imagine the world if this were the unspoken code of human beings.

We're not out of the woods yet, but we're moving forward with new vigor, energy and perspective.  We don't know how long it will last but we're going to ride this wave of good energy and fortune...hopefully right to the Bahamas and beyond.

* Note to any boaters getting work done down here:  DO RESEARCH.  Get referrals. Check references. There might be a lot of people working on boats down here, but those who are doing very good work seem to be few and far between.  We've fallen victim to trusting simply because we're in a boating capital and that must mean working people know what they are doing.  Not true.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

Our beautiful Brewer 44.  More boat, more money, more problems.
The late philosopher poet Notorious B.I.G once said, "Mo money, mo problems". I've been thinking about that line a lot lately, not because I'm a fan of classic rap, but because it's a refrain I have been hearing in my head over and over the last couple weeks, although mine has been slightly modified.  My little mantra these days is: "Mo boat, mo problems".

Lin and Larry Pardey, arguably the greatest and most prolific cruising couple of our time, are famous for saying "Go small, go simple, go now".  It's really great advice because, really, the three go hand in hand.  It's much easier to go "now" if you go "simple" and it's a heck of a lot easier to go "simple" when you go "small".  I'm not saying there are large boats that aren't simple or small boats that aren't complex, but they seem to be the exception and not the rule.

Take us for example.  We're still at the dock largely because we got ten more feet of boat and with that extra real estate came more work.  I'm not complaining - this was a calculated choice we made - but it is a fact.  When you get more boat, you get more problems.  There's probably even a law of physics to prove it.  Asante has about two or three times the systems that Rasmus had.  We've now got refrigeration, air conditioning, and even a freezer (crazy, right?).  We have a breaker panel with twice the number of switches on it and a honking generator.  We even have a bow thruster for crying out loud (yeah, we think it's cheating too).  We've got more lights, winches, lines, deck hardware, sail area, sail options...more EVERYTHING.  With all that comes more opportunity for stuff to fail, service, repair, maintain...and more opportunity to get dock-locked.
Rasmus, our 1975 Hallberg Rassy Rasmus.  A smaller, simpler boat.
The big question that I know a lot of you are wondering is:  would we do this again knowing what we know now?  Well, I would be lying to you if I didn't say I haven't cursed this boat a couple of times (like, 'F' bomb curse).  I would also be lying if I told you I haven't cried for our beloved Rasmus and her ready-to-go status.  Have we considered the fact that if we didn't buy a bigger boat we could be cruising right now?  Have we thought about the fact that Rasmus was about as close to perfection as we needed?  Of course.  But you know what?  Rasmus was not the right boat for a family with a small baby.  It just wasn't (in our opinion).  There are many reasons for this, but suffice it to say we would not have been comfortable.  We would have longed for more space.  We would have craved an easier single-handed setup.  For two, Rasmus was perfect.  But we're no longer two.  We now have a bright eyed, smiley little deck swab to think about and her safety is numero uno.

We should, however, be a cautionary tale to any people in a similar situation.  If you already own a boat and want a bigger boat, really consider why.  Consider the time it will take to shop for and purchase a new boat.  Consider how much work you will need to put into the new boat (it will be much more than you think) and how much money that work will cost (it, too, will be much more than you think).  Can you learn to be happy with what you have?  Adjust your expectations to make your current situation work?  We are very pleased with our new boat, but could we have made do with Rasmus?  Sure.  It was after careful consideration we decided not to.  We have no doubt Asante, in the long run, will serve us better than Rasmus would have.  There will be hiccups, curve balls and unforeseen problems, we know that for certain.  We'll learn as we go, just as we did with Rasmus.   There might be mo problems, but we'll deal with them in the relative comfort of mo boat.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

There are no Shortcuts on a Boat

Scott removing the leaking track and 5200 with Debond 2000, in order to re-bed it properly with UV4000 so it does not leak.
"There are no shortcuts on a boat, only quick ways to more problems" I wrote to our friend Willie, who, after reading Friday's post emailed to express his serious concern with the stays'l track solution I outlined.

It wasn't our rigger's fault.  He's a really good guy who's been at this for a long time and he and Scott had formulated the plan for the deck together.  But at the end of the day, Scott and I were uncomfortable.  Something didn't sit right.  We knew what we were doing was not right.  It was a half-baked solution and felt rushed.  On Rasmus, we didn't cut any corners.  This time, however, we were up against the clock, under a tremendous amount of stress, and hastily decided to go with the fastest, easiest solution.  We were taking a short cut, and we all knew it.  

After our friend emailed me with his concerns, I hit the internet and did some research.   It confirmed our fears: that our piece-meal solution was a one way ticket to Leaksville, USA.  I showed Scott what I found and we decided together to press stop and rewind.  We needed to do this project ourselves, a better way, even if it meant more time.  We needed ensure we would sleep well at night and never worry about our stays'l track leaking and rotting out the newly replaced deck coring underneath it.

It's scary, really, how much trust we put in people because of their titles.   This obviously doesn't only apply to boating, but to "normal" life as well.  Auto mechanics, contractors, doctors...etc.  We assume they know what is best and trust them implicitly with our cars, our homes, our lives.  Scott and I are by no means "experts" on boat maintenance, but we know enough to be dangerous.  We know enough to know when we see something that doesn't seem quite right, we know to ask questions and do our homework.  Such was the case with the stays'l track fiasco.  We were simply not comfortable with the work and how it was being done. 

There is a TON of subjectivity when it comes to all things "boat".  Some people swear by teak oil, some by Cetol, others by nothing (me by Honey Teak!).  Some people love their CQR anchor and others would using nothing other than a Rocna.  Some love catamarans, others love monohulls.  Some believe that a full keel is the only way to go on a blue water boat, whereas others believe a faster, fin keel is best.  Heck, the term "blue water boat" is up for grabs as well.  The list goes on and on and on... It's kind of like parenting, actually.  There is no right and wrong, just what's right for you and your child.  Same goes for your boat, no matter what your method or opinion, you'll find some out there who support it and some who do not, usually vehemently.  We're not a wishy-washy group, us cruisers.

For us, our first red flag with the stays'l project was the fact that it was being "bedded" with 5200.  Now I know there are those of you out there who believe firmly in this stuff, but Scott and I do not.  I'm sure it has a place somewhere on a boat, but in our opinion* it is NOT a bedding compound for deck hardware.  It is an adhesive.  A super strong, super permanent adhesive.  There is a ton of research online to support the notion that it really has no place on the deck of a sailboat.  I'm not going to go into it because this is besides the point.  What IS the point is this:  When it comes to hiring out boat work do your homework.  Don't simply trust an "expert" and assume he or she is doing things the way it should be done.  Remember, they don't care about your boat nearly as much as you do.  You need to question what they are doing, why they are doing it and how.  You also need to trust your gut.  As the old adage goes: if you want something done right - you'd better do it yourself.  We've hired help for many projects on this boat simply because we are short on time and man power (with me being more or less out of commission with the baby and all) - but we're always working alongside them to learn and observe as we go.  There is no doubt we're making mistakes and there almost certainly will be unforeseen surprises, but we're trying to limit them as best we know how.  At the end of the day, we can only do our best, right?

If you do decide to take that short cut, be prepared to deal with a potentially much bigger problem on the flip side because "if you take a short cut, you get cut short".

*Again, I'd like to point everyone to our DISCLAIMER.

Monday, January 21, 2013


One thing is for sure, blogs will not be going the way of the dodo bird anytime soon.  There are literally a hundred thousand blogs on every subject you can possibly imagine floating out there in cyberspace.  Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but you get my point.  There. are. many.  There's a good reason for their popularity: reading blogs (as most of you know by now) is an incredible way to learn new things, get inspired, connect with others and (lets be honest) kill some time.

Enter: Bloglovin'.

Bloglovin' is a portal for people who.. well... love blogs and the site makes it very easy for you, the reader, to not only follow your favorite blogs - but discover new ones - all in one slick place.  We have just joined and would love it if you could take a quick peek and follow us.  While you're there, settle in to discover and follow even more great blogs.  We are currently "featured" for the next week and they will be launching a new "travel" section in a few days.  Make sure to swing by and check out all the goodness, and don't forget to give us some blog lovin'!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

We can see clearly now, the rain is gone..
Wow.  Not gonna lie, the past couple days around here SUCKED.  We were stressed to the max and there were a couple of times where we both wanted to throw in the towel.  We were at each other's throats, morale was the lowest it has ever been, and I was on a crazy emotional roller coaster that could only be rivaled by that of the early pregnancy hormonal surge.  It was bad.  Very bad.

Today, however, all is right in the world.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, we're smiling again and, most importantly, we have a plan.

We decided to suck it up and pay the tax.  This decision alone took an incredible amount of pressure off of us.  Trying to figure out a way to extend our exemption was making us totally crazy; the uncertainty of it all, the fear of "tax evasion" and the fact that we learned our tax doubles the minute it is late had us in a pretty desperate spot.   Once we made the decision to FedEx a check to the state, everything else began to fall into place.  It's only money, after all.  It can be replaced.  It's not ideal... not at all.  But it was  certainly better than the alternatives: jail or a 100% fine.  Everything in life is a gamble, but these were risks we were not willing to take.

Once we surrendered to the tax man, Scott and I got back into our groove as teammates and started making things happen.  We let go of the rigger who screwed up our stays'l track installation and hired a new guy to help Scott do it properly (more on this later).  I rented a room for a week so that Scott could work on the boat around the clock and not just around Isla's naps.  I made arrangements for a professional pest control guy to come and put the final nail in the coffin that is our minor roach issue, and our boat's interior will begin re-installation on Monday.  On Tuesday our modified swim ladder will be mounted and a marine refrigeration company is coming to help us service our AC and refrigerator (and to teach us a few things about maintenance/upkeep).  The proverbial fire has been lit under our butts and despite the fact that we can now stay in Florida as long as we want, we want to be gone faster than ever.

It's amazing the difference a day (and a little perspective) can make.  How quickly the pieces can fall back into place when you take a step back and make a decision.   Thank you to all of you who wrote us with ideas, suggestions and words of encouragement but the truth is, our own actions (or lack thereof) got us into this mess and we have no one to blame but ourselves for the fact that we cut a hefty check to Uncle Sam.  We learned some valuable lessons over the past few days and our boat - and family - is better for it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stress is at an All-Time High

There is nothing like owing the state of Florida thousands of dollars to kick a stress level into the high orbits.

I wrote about it before, but because we live and registered our boat "out of state", we had a 90 day exemption for the 6% sales tax that Florida slaps on boats.  Knowing that we would not be out of the state in 90 days, we paid $400 bucks or so for the further extension - 180 days - in the hopes that we would be gone by then and able to provide the Florida Department of Revenue the fuel or dockage receipt from another state, or customs form from the Bahamas that they require as proof.  We were certain we'd have the latter.

We will not.

Our "due date" is this coming Monday, the 21st which happens to be a holiday.   I'm guessing all my desperate calls into the Florida Department of Revenue will go unanswered until after our d-day has come and gone, which is incredibly nerve-wracking.  I sat on hold waiting to speak to someone in customer service for over two hours last night only to get an answering machine.  To say that Scott and I are stressed at the moment would be (to quote Tina Fey) 'the biggest understatement since the captain of the Hindenburg said "I smell gas"'.

There is a glimmer of hope.  We have been told that if we move our boat to an "approved" boat yard and fill out the necessary forms that prove our boat is "unfit for sailing" (which it is at the moment) we can get a further extension while we finish work.  The yard then sends the forms to Tallahassee, and then we wait and see if we're approved (I guess?).  If this doesn't work - we're not sure what we will do.  As such, we will be hastily leaving our beloved home here off Las Olas Boulevard and heading back to a boat yard on Monday hoping the tax-gods will have mercy on us, if only for another week or two before we can get out of here safely.

You might wonder why we waited so long, how this date crept up on us like this and we wonder this too.  We've been so busy trying to get ready that it literally slipped our mind until our broker sent a friendly reminder yesterday morning.  We wrongly assumed that because we were still working on our boat and not just living on it, we would be given some sort of clemency.  Surely they can't penalize a boat that is unfit to sail for not leaving?  Turns out they can and they will (duh).  Hence the stress tail spin.  Well, that and the fact that we have a total comedy of errors* going on on the deck of our boat and we're living in total chaos.

Do any of you out there have any experience with this?  Can anyone out there shed light on this boat yard tax exemption extension?  We would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, we're working as fast as we can.  This has really lit a fire under our butts!

(really, the appropriate term would be - pardon my French - "s**t show")

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Just Get Off the Dock and Go"

Boat projects tend to work like this.  Image found here.
This is the advice that so many would-be, wanna-be, and soon-to-be cruisers get from people.  "Just go".  So simple, so Nike...It's good advice, and I think we've even given it to folks before...but now, I am biting my tongue.  The fact is, it is much easier said than done.

I mentioned that we've had a couple of "small" projects morph into much, much larger projects (I mean, our boat's interior was literally removed the other day to install some deck hardware).  Yesterday we learned that the easy "fix" for the "small" project (that had turned into a "large" project), is actually not going to be that easy at all.  In fact, it now involves more deck work and four times the time we had allotted for it.  For those of you boater folk who are actually curious, this entire scenario involves our new stays'l car track.  Not twenty-four hours after it was 5200'd it to the deck, it began to leak (hooray for rain), leading our rigger to believe the foam core deck and headliner is compressing and therefore preventing a good seal, letting water in.   After making that diagnosis, he concluded that our deck is not strong enough for the track as it is.  So now, we need to re-do the whole track with a backing plate twice the size, inject epoxy in the space between the headliner and coring and, of course, use a LOT more caulking before we put the paneling back together.  Hidden leaks are the enemy.  Sigh.  Better to find out now than later...

And that simple notion, the whole "better now than later" is the very reason it's so hard to pare down our to-do list(s) with "essential" items and get outta dodge, as it were.  It's so hard to be here in Ft. Lauderdale, a city literally teeming with anything and everything 'boat', and not take advantage of it.  How can we ignore the fact that parts, work, services and more are so much more plentiful and cheaper here than down island?  We have fallen into the dreaded habit of adding projects to our never-ending list because there are just so many resources.  It is so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of boat projects when you are in a place practically designed to accomodate them.  The problem, however, is not that we keep tacking on projects (okay, yeah, this is the problem - it's just so tempting) but that the projects themselves seem to uncover more and more projects like Russian dolls.  Which is why the interior of our boat is not back in today like we hoped and why we are still living in a disaster area that resembling a dorm room/daycare/worksop with a mess of take-out containers, bins, baby toys and tools lying all over the place.  Sounds fun, right?

But this is life on a boat.  We should know better than to be surprised by this.  We've been down this road before and anyone who has ever worked on a boat knows that once you peel back one layer of the onion, there's another one underneath it.  News flash to those of you who are not here yet:  The work is never, ever finished.  Which is why we will, in fact, just pick a date and go (weather permitting, of course).  In the meantime, we'll just keep ticking things off the list...and eventually, in the next couple of weeks, we will "just do it".  SWISH!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's All About Perspective

"All great change is preceded by chaos".  This was the quote that our friend, Mike, reminded me of after yesterday's post.  It could not have come at a more perfect time, because as I read that on our Facebook Page the interior cabinetry of our boat was literally coming out of our companionway in segments.  Down below, it looked like we were back at square one.  "Chaos" was definitely the appropriate descriptor.

Sometimes, though, when things get a little overwhelming I find it's best to step away and take a little break from the madness.  So instead of stewing around the construction zone that is our boat, I decided to go get a pedicure.  That's right.  I got a little foot massage and someone scrubbed my toes all clean.  It was heavenly. Scott and Isla met me afterwards and we had a nice late afternoon walk down bustling Las Olas, stopping for an early dinner at one of the quaint Parisan sidewalk cafes that expensive boulevards never fail to offer.  When we returned, we put Isla to bed and Scott and I curled up in the aft cabin to watch "Ted".  Nothing puts things in perspective like a movie about a living, breathing, pot-smoking teddy bear.  It was an evening free of lists, research, projects, emails or delegation and it was wonderful.  

This morning we were back at it; the stays'l tracks were mounted in their proper place and it looks like tomorrow the boat will be put back together again.  Scott even started installing our life-line netting and we have now joined the ranks of thousands of boater parents that have come before us by turning our boat into a veritable playpen that screams "we have kids on board!".  It is, in fact, a great change.
The unofficial insignia of boats with kids on board.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Messy Boat Means Progress, Right?

Our forward head is a storage closed for our boat cushions.
I am sitting here in my sister's hotel room while Isla naps, relishing in the relative peace and calm for another hour before we go back to the boat.  My sister left early this morning (sad face) after what was a positively wonderful visit, and now I am taking advantage of her room for a couple of hours until check out time.  You see, our boat is about to become a construction zone.  Again.

There is no such thing as an "easy" project on a boat.  In fact, if anyone tells you anything will be "a piece of cake" when it comes to work on your boat, I'd be leery.  The current "little" project that has morphed into something else entirely involves our stays'l.  It's 95% complete:  the inner stay is on and the pretty new sail is tightly furled around it but what we are waiting on are the car tracks for the new sheets.  They need to be mounted to the deck.  This was a "simple" and "straightforward" job that our rigger said would take a "couple of hours", at most.


Turns out we need to mount the tracks on a part of the deck that is not accessible from the inside of our boat without removing some cabinetry.  So we made a call to our woodworker guy, the same guy who fixed the wet core on our deck, and he is now on the boat with loud tools removing paneling so we can see what we're working with.  To do this we had to remove everything from all the cabinets and lockers in our salon area.  As such, the boat is out of sorts right now.  Call it OCD, call it being a neat-freak, call it what you will - but I am one of those people who respond to their environment.  If the boat's a total mess, so am I.   I feel stressed, I feel flustered, and I get overwhelmed.  I just want to tidy everything up and make it livable again and the fact that I can't has me on edge.  Ridiculous, I know,  but what can I say?  It's who I am.  I will never be the kind of person who can live full-time in a construction zone.  I know what you are thinking "cry me a river, Brittany"...I am not looking for sympathy because - let's face it - this is not a big deal at all.  I'm just telling it like it is (for me), because, well,  that's what I do.

In other news, Scott and I have come up with (yet another) master list of things to get finished before we shove off for the Bahamas (hopefully at the end of the month).  Not gonna lie, there's a lot on there and sometimes we wonder if it will ever end.  Then we remember that we live on a boat and that it will not, in fact, end.  But that is okay because at the end of the day, we live on a boat.  Our problems are of the "first world" variety.

In the meantime, I just need to keep reminding myself that a messy boat means "progress" and keep my urge to put things away at bay.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Boom Boat Name

We did a fun little project this weekend.  While it's pretty traditional to have a boat's name on the stern of a monohull , it's also nice to have the name somewhere on the side if possible since on a full-time cruising boat the stern is more often than not covered by the dinghy, hiding the name completely.  

Since we now have a roller furling main sail, our boom is the perfect blank canvas for such a thing.  After a little research, I found Captain John's Boat Lettering and created a set of heavy-duty vinyl stickers for it.  What's cool about this site is the name preview page where you can type in your boat's name in all sorts of fonts in all sorts of colors to see what it looks like.  Since I originally found the font we used for the stern (merlin) on this site, matching it was easy.

The application process is pretty simple and Captain John's provides great instructions. All you need are a pair of scissors, tape, a ruler and "application solution" (3-4 drops of dish soap mixed with 16 oz of water in a spray bottle).  Thirty minutes later we had our name on either side of the boom.  Looks pretty sharp, right?
First you clean the application area thoroughly (with acetone) and tape up name where you want it. 
Remove backing and spray "application fluid" liberally to stickers and surface
Smooth area with provided squeegee tool using significant pressure to remove any air bubbles 
Allow to dry for 10 minutes 
Peel off protective cover and let your name be known!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Reunited and it Feels so Good!

This morning I woke up to squeals and giggles of delight from Isla as Scott read to her.  It was music to my ears.  After a six week rotation in the Grenadines as captain of the schooner Diamant, Scott is finally back!  We are so happy to have him home, and looking very forward to getting our own adventure underway.  We're hoping to be heading to the Bahamas in the next few weeks (fingers crossed), and after that we'll make our way back to the southern Caribbean.  We've got our work cut out for us between now and then, but we'll get it done.  In the meantime, enjoy this little photo montage of our reunion.  Big thanks to my sister, Chelsea, for being our personal paparazzo.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...