Monday, April 25, 2011

Dog on!

This Sunday our dog Ramona took her first steps off of dry land and lept (in all honesty was carried and shoved) into our world of sailing. Our day at the boat began as usual with some boat improvement and maintenance. Once again, Brent totally surpassed all my expectations. He was able to dive under the boat, find the spot on the keel to attach a cable and then find the tiny hole in the bottom to shove the cable into so I could attach it to the wench. Presto! We have a working retractable keel!
Once the chores were completed, we shoved off of the dock,and off of another dock, and off a boat, and off another boat and headed out to open water. Apparently the change in the keel also changed the response time in the steering. Oh well at least we didn't damage anything.
The weather was perfect and Ramona handled the wind and the waves like an old salt. She wasn't a huge fan of heeling over but gained confidence over time and best of all she did not get sick. Our little boat was flying on a broad reach the whole way home, taking half the time to return as it did to go out. Brent took a turn at lowering the sails and then skippered us into a perfect landing back into our slip.
After settling our boat we headed out to the deck for a beer and Ramona met a fellow boat dog named Amber. After Ramona got her land legs back they ran and played and swapped stories of the sea. Well maybe not stories of the sea, but they did take turns smelling each other's butts. I think she will make a fine sailor!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Taking out the 'rents

A lot of progress has occurred within this last week. We have done some sanding, painting, sleep area modifications, and most amazingly, Brent has given us POWER! Also we had our first passengers on a sail and have met many fellow boaters at the marina. Yeah us!

Last Sunday we took my parents out for our first passenger sail. I was a little uptight about the whole deal, knowing that my mom tends to be a worrier and my dad is a bit of a control freak. I could just imagine the stress ramping up in blood pressure and vocal volume if our parking shenanigans go the way they have been - mainly bouncing into every boat (softly) on the way back to the slip with the two of us debating about which way to push the rudder while holding the reversing propeller in the water. Add the 'rents and we have a recipe for disaster! Fortunately (miraculously) we had perfect sailing weather, had a fantastic time and were able for the first time to back into our slip without any problems. After getting the boat put away, we headed to Scuttlebutts for a drink and a snack. From the animated conversation I could tell that Mom and Dad had a good time.

This weekend we concentrated on getting our boat into condition. I spent what felt like 20 hours polishing all the metal and sanding the teak. I now know why Popeye has such big forearms! I also did some interior painting and helped Brent cut boards for the sleeping areas. Brent really impressed me by getting all our battery power working like it should. We celebrated by staying out on the boat way after dark for a game of cribbage.

Our next goal is twofold. Brent wants to take the next electrical step and get shore power working, and I want to try sailing out of the pass into the gulf. Hopefully between Brent's charity pancake breakfast, Easter, work, and my Dad's bday we will have a chance to even look at the boat this weekend.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

We are sailing!

This weekend we got our first taste of the sailing lifestyle. Saturday Brent went out and wrestled with the electrical on the boat and then picked me up for a big evening marina style. Pillows and blankets in hand we went out to the boat, dropped everything off and headed to the marina bar to take advantage of the 2.99 oysters and 2.00 beer. I have to say, people near water are a lot nicer than people in general. Brent and I had the chart of St. Andrews Bay out to learn the water depths near us (you will find out later which of us actually looked at the chart) and everyone who walked by asked us where we were headed and offered advice. We met a few folks that kept their boats at the marina and ended the night at our new friend Adrian's boat for a little live music.

Sunday morning we awoke to the sound of waves lapping on the hull and jumped into action. We ran home for a little breakfast and to let Ramona out and pick up some Subway lunch for later. The weather was warm but overcast but no rain in the forecast. By 11:00 we were back on the boat, motoring out.

We started out one step at a time. Mainsail up,back and forth across the bay. The wind and tide were working against us and we seemed to be making absolutely no headway. Brent and I both took turns at the tiller with about equal success. On my turn we finally got a break on the wind and picked up enough speed to do a smooth tack. Suddenly we just seemed to stall. As I am looking at Brent trying to understand why the boat isn't turning, he gives me the fantastic info that yes, I have managed to run us aground. No problem, we have a retractable keel! Unfortunately when Brent went to wind it up all that came up was a broken wire. Note to self: sign up for Sea Tow Monday! Luckily the tide was in our favor and we were soon on our way.

After a lunch break we got daring and put up the jib sail. Holy crap! We increased our speed by about 80% and both of us got our real first taste of the excitement of sailing. We had our little boat screaming thru the bay to the point we were a bit awed by the power of the wind-yeah right, we were more or less scared x!&*less! Still a ton of fun!

After 5 hours of fun we brought our boat safely back to the marina and wrestled the bitch back into the slip with both of us having the biggest feeing of accomplishment. I think this sailing thing might be for us!

Til next time!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

what a nice post!

Ah yes, the boat. I commend Fran for spending so much time and effort cleaning the boat. It really does look nice and we had a wonderful time last night. However, tonight, the eve of our trip to New Orleans and family vacation, the markets took it on the chin, and here I sit feeling very uptight. Now I know why pot is the drug of choice for stockbrokers. Worrying about other people's money is unnerving.

I will likely spend a lot of time on the boat over the summer because it is very relaxing. I think learning to rely on wind and water and your equipment will be much more fun. Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear unrest is not good for the soul or people's retirement plans.

The runup of the Yen, municipal bonds, government deficits, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, regional managers, rental properties, and non-profit fundraisers make sailing sound like a dream. And by the way, if I win the lottery, I want $2ook for the rest of my life and I promise to give the rest of it away to charities all over the world as I travel by sail.

Get it back together world. I want to enjoy sailing and seeing the world without so much stress.

first night

In my brain I have been imagining sitting on a boat, having a beer, and looking across the water discussing life's questions. After 5 hours of killing mildew and Kmarting for pop lights I got to fulfill that first ambition.
Brent and I hung out at the spiffy clean boat last night after dining on $1.99/doz oysters from the marina bar "Scuttlebutts". Holy crap! $1.99?!? Our bartender Sarah sp? was super. We sat in our boat till the dew set in and had a fantastic night dreaming and planning our Summer on the water. I think I might have a hard time getting Brent to leave the dock. He is a bit afraid to move onto the next stage of our adventure- learning how to sail. He is way too good at imagining the worst case scenario- out of gas, no wind, run aground, sea monsters, giant octopus- you name it, he's contemplated.
Fortunately he will have at least a weeks reprieve as we leave tomorrow for New Orleans and from there a cruise to Mexico with his family for a week. Maybe we will get a chance to sail some Cats to get his confidence up! Anyways I know I will be chomping at the bit to get back and test out our new toy. Hopefully I won't lose sleep worrying about her while we are gone.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We gotta boat and a dream

I know its been a long time. What can I say, we have been wrapped up in the mundane day to day existence that is living in my parents' guest house, going to work, and trying to save money for our next big adventure.
After about a 6 month debate on what we should do next - move to Holland, get a VW van and drive the PanAmerican highway, join the Peace Corps, live for a year in an all inclusive resort- we finally decided on buying a sailboat and traveling the world. I should probably let you know that neither Brent or I have ever sailed a boat bigger than a 12 ft dingy and have never been out of sight of land. Thats OK, if it was easy then it wouldn't be an adventure!
We decided to start our blog again to keep track of our progress toward our goal and hopefully entertain you guys while we are at it.

In the last few months we have put our preparations into high gear. Brent went to a boat show with my Dad, we got a subscription to the magazine Attitudes and Latitudes, spent way to much time on Sailboat looking at boats, and discovered that we need a lot of training before we will be ready to set sail.

Our first step was enrolling in Sea School (thanks Mom and Dad) to learn the rules of the road and how to read and plot a chart. After 2 weeks of intense study both Brent and I passed our class and qualified for our 6 pack captains licence. We will be legally be allowed to take up to 6 people out on a boat for money as soon as we take a drug test, take a cpr class, and the real stumper, get lots of hours of sea time. How do we get sea time without a boat?

In order to move toward our goal of living on a sailboat and sailing the high seas we need to get some time on a boat. After a search on Craig's List looking up everything from Hobie Cats to Sunfish, Brent found us a sailboat that seemed too good to be true- a 26ft 1979 Helms sailboat for only $1700! We found a slip in a nearby marina called Sun Harbor for cheap and our new "practice boat" arrived today. And so the adventure begins...