Blog Pages Updates

Hi everyone.

On the main blog there are a set of links at the top, just under the banner.  They are hot links taking you to other pages within the blog.

Since I had some time i figured I’d go through and organize things in a somewhat more logical manner.  At the moment things are in a slight disarray as I move pages about.

A page on this blog is a permanent page.  It’s not a blog entry.   Blog entries can be found under the “Home” button where you can read each entry in a backwards-chronological order.  If you want to search for something specific, look at tags, or categories (just other ways to organize the information I’ve posted).  Most people who read the blogs already know this.  A lot of you don’t know though, because you’re not bloggers.

If you hover over any of the hot links, they will usually give you a list of other things found under that page.  You can jump directly to a Page there.

I removed the old “Original Blog Page” entry and have either deleted some of the useless data (it was outdated and didn’t go anywhere) or I have moved it under the “About” heading.

Mostly, it is informational data that I wanted to keep for future reference.  If it seems out of order, it is.  I’m working on it a bit at a time, so just click on what you want to read and then move on.

Another thing you might note is that I’ve been lax about putting in images in the past, partly due to lack of image hosting, partly due to lack of being able to timely stick an image into place.  Sometimes I’m on the laptop, sometimes a tablet and sometimes the phone, making it difficult to have my images all in one space.  I’ve remedied that to a point.  I’ve got a hosting place, but it too is limited on space and I’m cheap and won’t pay for a hosting spot.

Unlike many sailors who also blog I have a bit of aversion to placing ads on the page, and asking for donations of money.  I might do something like that in the future, but not now.  I still have to pay for my domain name but it’s mine for almost five more years.  At some point though, I’ll have to spring for picture space and I don’t want to do that yet.  However, the point here is we’ll add in images as we can in the future.  Check the previous entry for a picture of Adventure sitting on anchor.

Lastly, I’m adding a section on Amateur Radio where I’ll post pages of things I find interesting, important or helpful to cruisers.  Not necessarily in that order of course.

Bear with me while I clean the blog up and make it easier to navigate.

Happy New Year – 2016; Year of Success

send2tqLast year for us was “Year of Adventure”.  And such an adventure it was, from purchasing our new home, s/v Adventure to moving aboard and sailing the boat south.

We had a lot of fun, and a lot of problems.  We had engine issues, we got stuck a couple of times, but mostly we were caught by surprise by some of the weird problems we didn’t expect.  They say to expect the unexpected and while we worked diligently to do just that, we still found a lot of issues that needed repairing, replacement or just tweaking.

As many of you know, JoAnne took a fall on December 2nd (or maybe it was the first) while stepping from the fixed dock to a large trawler we were invited aboard, onto the trawler’s deck.  She managed to fracture two vertebrae in her spine, the T11 and T12 and it took weeks to verify the fractures.  We knew within a few days about the T12 fracture and I made the decision to remove her from the boat for safety reasons.

I moved her to a local hotel in Norfolk for a few days while prepping the boat to sail;  we thought we’d be leaving by the 12th or so.  When we confirmed the first fracture I made the decision to bring her back to Colorado to get rested and heal up.

Because she couldn’t fly (running through the airport with a broken back is not a good idea) we rented a car, winterized the vessel and packed a few things including our electronics and some clothing, coats and the food that would spoil.  The boat was secured, put into a slip and we crossed the country in about five days.

Since then, we’ve been staying with our daughter and son-in-law and the grand kids.  JoAnne has seen a couple of doctors now, including our personal doctor who told us about the second fracture.  We still didn’t know about the T11.  Last week on Wednesday the 30th, she saw Dr. Bee, a bone doc.  She has been in a brace that was prescribed by our doctor and he told her she’s likely be in it another 12 weeks or so.

She’s still in pain on and off, but on the mend.

At this point we’ve got about five or six various plans on getting back to the boat, when to go, where to go, how to go, and where to end up.  I’m not going to detail them, but suffice it to say we always have a lot of different ideas on how to do things and if one goal falls through, another one is in place to aim for.

The main plan is to head back in April and move the boat down the ICW to arrive in Florida in May time frame, find a “home” (marina with a slip that isn’t too expensive) and then travel to the Bahamas and further south.  When Hurricane Season hits – late June, probably heading down the chain to visit further south and get out of the path of hurricanes.

Failing that, we’ll head for the Keys.  Failing that, Tampa Bay.  Failing that, we’ll find something further north (and given all the nonsense about anchoring in Florida, we’re rethinking our whole idea of even ending up in Florida, though we do hear the west coast of Florida is more welcoming, hence the idea of going to the Tampa area).  Anyway, that’s the nutshell.

JoAnne is doing ok.  Slight pain on and off.  She can’t work on the boat, so we’ll be here until she’s healed enough to travel back and live on the boat.

If anyone wishes to reach us, you can do so by going to the contact page at the top of the blog and copying the email address for our boat.  We check that daily.

Happy New Year to all our cruising friends, our family and our non-cruising friends alike.  May 2016 be all you hoped for and more.

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Just an update. JoAnne and I have had a few rough weeks. First a Nor’easter beating us up, then fuel clogging the filters, rigging that needed tightening, sitting in a marina awaiting some maintenance, getting hit by a big power boat, fighting with the insurance company, having to hire a lawyer to deal with the insurance company, finally, finally getting everything ready to go, including the rigging repairs, bow platform, railing and all the damage done from the accident.

On the night the mast went back on, we were invited over to a friend’s boat for a drink. JoAnne fell that night. Since then she’s been in a lot of pain, as she pulled some muscles and finally we got a diagnosis of a fracture in her T12 vertebra… After xrays, an MRI and a doctor’s visit she’s going to have to see an orthopaedic surgeon for a “cure”, whether it is surgery, a brace or just some physical therapy, we’re not yet sure.

So things have been going along routinely, except for her pain I took her off the boat and put her into a hotel temporarily for her back pain, to prevent her from climbing in and out of the boat, walking long distances and so forth.

So we’re awaiting phone calls to get appointments at this point and I’ve winterized the boat in a slip where we were stopped in Norfolk.

This will be my last entry on the blog for a few days until we figure out what is going to happen next.

At this point we’re expecting to keep the boat in Norfolk through the winter now, and perhaps start over in March or April time frame as weather permits and JoAnne heals up.

6-12 weeks is the time for healing fractures (I know, I’ve been through that a few times, ankles, ribs, bones in my hands, and open heart surgery), hence the “March” time frame. I’ll post an occasional update over the next few weeks to keep folks informed, so don’t forget to check the blog on occasion.

Also don’t forget it you’re on Facebook to friend JoAnne and I – and I’ll probably set up a page for Adventure as I have time to do so. The blog also allows you to click a link to get email updates when I update the blog, so if you do that you will know when we’re back at it.

In the mean time JoAnne and I want to wish all our followers (all three of you!), our family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We will see you on the other side of recovery.

Bad Luck?

I’m the most not-superstitious person ever to live on the planet.  I don’t believe in Black Cats being bad luck, and in fact think Black Cats are pretty cool cats.

I’ve walked under ladders.  I’ve broken mirrors, and even cut them (doing glass cutting).  I’ve spilled salt and the only time I ever had bad luck was when I took the salt shaker and tossed some over my left shoulder like you’re supposed to do, and the lid of the salt shaker came off pouring an entire shaker full of salt down this biker guy’s neck behind me.  He laughed about it, when I explained, just before he was about to kill me dead…. But… bad luck? No, it’s BS.

Or is it?

JoAnne and I have been having a run of bad luck.  We’ve had engine troubles, gotten beat up in the Bay, lost our engine, had sail and rigging issues, toilet problems, stove problems, heat problems, cold problems, electrical problems.

A logical, non-superstitious person would say its par for the course.  Until Tuesday night, 4 days ago.

On Tuesday evening, the boat’s mast went back up.  We had met Pierre and his wife Anne-Marie from France and because the mast was going up, they invited us over to had a drink and celebrate the boat being put back together.  That evening, we walked over with some cake to meet them and go aboard their boat, MiHiwad  (An acronym for “My Home is where anchor drops”) .

Unfortunately, it was not going to be a great evening for JoAnne.  When we got to the dock, it was the old, rickety dock that is being replaced.  The tide was out.  The difference between the dock and the boat deck was between 18 inches and 24 inches.  No problem for me, but JoAnne wasn’t happy with it.

My job as Captain is to help people.  To improvise.  To adjust.  To give a way to accomplish a job, mission or objective.  To make things work when they can’t work.  To give people encouragement.

I gave JoAnne encouragement, I said said, “You’ve got this…” and stepped aboard to show her how easy it was.  I took her hand, handed off the cake and watched as she stepped forward, lost her footing and fell.  Both Pierre and I tried to catch her and failed.  I kept her from falling harder, but I didn’t stop her from falling so hard she pulled muscles in her back.
She stepped with one foot and her other foot (the one on the dock) slipped causing her to fall forward.  I feel terrible.

At this point, there is little we can do now.  She’s not really capable of doing anything on the boat, not even standing around and cooking, let along pulling lines, or driving for any length of time.  She can’t stand for very long and she can’t really lift anything.

Xrays say no broken bones.  According to the ER doc.  However, this morning they called her and told her that a technician (or perhaps a radiologist) said there is a good possibility of a hairline fracture and they now want an MRI.  Might happen Monday, or maybe not.

Either way, I refuse to put her at risk.  As of this minute she’s no longer travelling with the boat without other crew members to assist me.  I can send her back to Colorado to rest and recuperate there rather than subject her to chilly nights, windy days, bouncy waves and shaky cockpits.  We’re going to wait until Monday to see if they call us to do the MRI. If not, I think she’s going back to Colorado.

I’m going to remain with the boat and move it south alone, or find a crew member to assist me.  At this point our destination has changed to Marathon Key or Tampa Bay. If neither of those, then at least Green Cove Springs.  (I have a friend near that that is recommending the Green Cove Springs Marina, and I’ll determine the location based on phone calls later).

So… good luck, bad luck or no luck at all.  I’m not sure, but JoAnne’s life and health are the number one priority for me.  I know she wants to be someplace south and in the warm, but it’s probably not going to happen for another few weeks, if not months.

I’m open to suggestions for locations, ideas on how best to move the boat, and/or medical information.  MRI will come soon enough.

 

 

 

The other Side of the Rainbow

Somewhere there is a rainbow waiting for us to see.  We’ve been stuck in this marina now for over a month.  Tomorrow will be one month since the accident and we’re JUST getting our rigging repaired.

At this point, I’m absolutely certain the marina has been dragging their feet to get us out of here.  Suddenly they are trying to push us out before Thursday.  It’s Thanksgiving on Thursday.

We’re sitting here being a cash cow to them.  We’re going to be out over $10,000 dollars to the marina and to contractors for the damages suffered to our boat because a man thought better of himself and his shitty driving than to let marina people assist him to prevent an accident.

Then, he hit us, destroyed the front of the boat, exclaimed “I don’t see any damage” and left (according to witnesses).

There were roughly 12 witnesses.

I have copies of his insurance paperwork proving he was covered at the time.

Insurance adjustor is jerking us around telling us to “proceed as if we’re not going to pay out”.  I told him that wasn’t possible as I have liability only and my company isn’t going to pay on the damages. That the marina won’t let us leave until we pay the bill… so we’re stuck here.

I’m done playing games with insurance people.

And there WILL be a pot of gold on the other end of that rainbow.

I guarantee it.

New Galley Stove

So about two weeks ago now we ordered a new stove.

The old stove was a Shipmate, and I’ll be darned if I can locate a model number on it.  In any case, the inside was pretty rusty.  The stove top worked but the oven didn’t work hardly at all.

Basically, the burner tube is a steel tube with holes, sealed at one end with a pipe fitting being fed from the gas line on the other.  The insides of those parts are so rusted that the gas would barely come out of the tube.  The thermocouple was fouled up pretty badly too.

I messed with it for a couple of weeks on and off, but stopped short of attempting to remove the rusted bolts and brackets for fear of breaking the inside of the oven, venting propane inside the cabin, and/or losing use of the stove top.

Eventually, I decided to do the prudent thing and order a brand new stove.  We looked over several but settled for a Force 10, 3 burner stove with oven and broiler.  I do like broiled fish.  I like baked fish.  I like raw fish.  I just don’t like it immersed in oil very often…. but I digress.

Friday last week we rented a car and retrieved our new mattress and new stove (two trips to the Virginia Beach area to deliver the stuff back to the Norfolk marina area we’re currently stuck in (due to the accident a few weeks ago).

Yesterday, I removed the old stove and stored it topside in the cockpit until I can determine what to do with it.  The new stove was sitting below in the way constantly for the past few days.  So, I started measuring, moving, fiddling, doing this and that, eventually figuring out that the catalog dimensions didn’t match what we bought, nor the space we have to put the stove in.

The old stove was 20 inches across.  The pivots on the gimbals were about 2 inches on either side, and almost an inch in diameter, with this massive brass bracket on each side.  Wouldn’t work for the new stove.

New stove was 19 inches acr0ss with these little, tiny 1/2″ pins sticking out.  When we did our measurements, we measured the front of the stove.  The catalog took into account the extra inch for the little pins, thus we found ourselves with a 19″ stove in a 24″ slot.

So, problem mostly solved, except, as usual, I didn’t make all the measurements and after I added the blocks to hold the brackets.  I “missed it by that much”.  I needed another 1/2″ on the block extending to hold the gimbals.  I also found that the stove is taller than the last one and I’m going to have to both raise the blocks, and move them forward in the space.

Ok, so I said “I’ll get that figured out soon, right now I need to make sure we can even connect the propane tanks”.

I pulled the old hose off the stove, and then realized an old steel pipe system was inside the stove, and attached was an elbow, and then an adaptor.  Upon looking over the hose connection, and the adaptor I found the they were inverted flare fitting on the male adaptor and a female hose connection.  And the threads were reversed.  Wrong twist.  Not American apparently.

So, I tried to rent a car yesterday morning.  Which soon turned into afternoon waiting for them to get back to me.  It didn’t happen.  At 4:30 PM I called and simply said “Have a car for me at 0900 in the morning and I’ll get it then, pick me up.” (It is Enterprise, they are nice that way).

All was going relatively well with the stove in the evening, I was discovering it wasn’t going to mount right, etc.  This morning at 0900 I called.  They were “on the way” in 15 minutes.  An HOUR later, I’m calling trying to find them.

They claimed the young lady was in the parking lot looking for me.  I saw her pull up 5 minutes later and drive through the gate.  She was not at the right marina apparently.  So, now, it’s an hour later and I already know the day isn’t going to go well trying to find parts.

But we set up, hit Lowes and I dig through all the brass fittings and am not finding the right part. Next we headed Comet Plumbing, then Ray Johnson’s Fireplaces, then to West Marine.  At West Marine I started realizing I has probably not explaining things correctly to the other folks because they were sending me all over Hell’s Half Acre.  So, I bought a 2′ propane hose extension with 3.8″ male fittings so I could extend what I knew would be a short hose on the back of the stove.

West Marine sent us to Snyder’s RV up the road.  The man there was about as unhelpful as one can get.  He wouldn’t at first even look at the adaptors, I assume because he wanted the work of installing it or something, not sure, but sent me instead to a gas company, Amerigas.

The lady was somewhat incredulous for me even walking into the door to ask a stupid question. She send me 5 miles away to A&B Propane whom I called before driving over.

By this time I knew all the right connections, the terms, what I was trying to explain and said “I need x”.

He said, “Come over, I will get you set up.”  I was sceptical.

True to his word, I walked in, he took one look at what I was doing and said, “One minute”.  Walked back out with exactly what I needed.  Then took the old adaptor, cleaned it up for me, showed me where to put my teflon tape, and where NOT to put Teflon tape.

He charged me $1.25 for the part, wished me luck and kicked me out the door.

So – the car was about 30 bucks, $5 for teflon tape, 20 bucks for the hose, and 10 bucks for gas.  All to find a $1.25 part that I probably could have gotten at Lowe’s if the people there would have taken a second to listen to me instead of trying to rush off to do non-work.

Then it’s really my fault for ordering a stove.  And not running all over creation trying to find parts for a stove as old as me almost. Or spending more money to have someone else install it.

Guess I got off pretty cheap.

Oh, here’s the stove.

Of course, it’s not properly mounted in the space, but it is sitting there fine and at least we can brew coffee in the morning and cook breakfast for the first time in a few days (between painting our quarters, the stoves being in the way and disconnected, we’ve had to eat out in the mornings if we ate anything at all).

Tomorrow I take back the rental car in the morning and come back over to the boat to start the rest of the stove installation.

Rainy Days, Beer and Winches

So, it’s been raining pretty much for two days straight. Three if you count Saturday a little bit.

I’ve been dealing with internal leaks since yesterday when the rain started coming down steady. Think I have the leak narrowed down to the cock pit seating, which is the only deck teak left on the boat. I’m going to clean it up, clean the surrounding area, dry it and caulk around the seat, then seal the wood at Kurt’s suggestion.

Speaking of Kurt, he drove down from his home area yesterday to collect a sail I gave him. A spinnaker, which in my humble, novice sailor’s opinion, will NEVER be used by me alone on this boat and I don’t foresee a need with a crew (if we’re crossing the Atlantic, I doubt seriously if a light sail will be necessary at any time). I can’t see me using it in the South Pacific, because as much as I’d like to go there, I don’t see that happening for a lot of years now. haha

So he brought us an air conditioner unit we can use at a dock or without generator if necessary when we get to Florida. I can promise it will get use much more than a spinnaker would be used.

Mean time, JoAnne decided to make beer. Not regular, just any old beer that we’ve made before. She decided to make ginger beer! I can’t wait to try that stuff out. However, I was working in the cockpit earlier and had to yell down that she was breaking a cardinal rule for beer making. You’re supposed to be making beer while drinking beer. I never got a beer, and I don’t think she bothered either.

On to the Winches (I’ve already discussed Beer, so it’s time for Winches). Yeah, you caught the spelling too, huh? Not THOSE kinds of Wenches. The WINCHES.

The starboard jib sheet winch wasn’t right for some reason and I’d noticed it was not turning by hand easily after the accident. I didn’t really consider it, but the sheet was wrapped around the winch when the accident happened. The thing was jammed pretty badly and when I removed the cap from the top and tapped on the winch drum, the device “popped” loudly and everything started spinning again.

But, since I was already taking it apart, I grabbed a bucket, some rags, mineral oil and some other items and tore into the winch, disassembling it all the way down. Took me a couple hours to completely clean it and put it all back together with oil in the right places, grease in the other right places and man it works well now!

Too bad Wenches and Winches aren’t spelled the same, this might have been a better story. 🙂

Insurance, anyone?

We have liability insurance at the moment and want to increase it to a full coverage policy.  In fact, I’m talking to my own company about that.

Yesterday though, I had a long conversation with Reeree from the company whose client hit our boat the other day.

After a 30-40 minute conversation, I’m being assured they will pay for all the damages (I don’t believe them, because frankly I don’t believe insurance companies) and they will be paying for most of our stay here due to the delays in getting the work done.

But, I’m hopeful.

Howdy Bailey ran into me yesterday at the marine store and told me Monday they should have the steel back together.  I spoke to Linda yesterday as well and she should have the platform repaired by then.  Bob and I finished rewiring the mast, and the surveyor (Rick M.) is coming back today with a second set of eyes and an expert in rigging to look over the forestay that appears twisted.  They are trying to determine if the insurance should pay for that as well.

The marina folks have been helpful, except they told me “We will present you with the bill and you will have to deal with the insurance company” and the insurance company is telling me they will pay them…. /sigh

I’m strongly considering having a lawyer have a chat with everyone involved to arbitrate this so I don’t have to be the middle guy.  Since when do victims have to do all the dirty work?  I spoke to my son last night, who happens to work at a law firm to get his take on things…. I won’t go into details of what he said, but he certainly seemed to think there was a good cause to have a lawyer involved.

For now, I’ll let the people do what they are paid to do and see how this goes.

We’re starting to feel the need to get south.  If this goes beyond the 10th of the month, I’ll be reconsidering getting a delivery skipper and that bill might just go to the insurance company as well.

Mast Work

Today they pulled the mast off our Adventure.

It took a couple hours to do all the work, to de-rig it, remove the boom and a few other things.
The mast is currently sitting on the hard and I went over it to check for problems.  Didn’t find any.  Tomorrow though, the surveyor is coming back to pull the boat out of the water to look for problems under the water line after the collision by the power boat the other day.

The wind gear was hosed badly.  Even though all the wires were cut at the bottom by a previous mast removal, we pulled in new wires today and new wing gear has been set up and will be put back in after the mast goes back up.

We are renting a car tomorrow and we’ll hit West Marine for a mast head light, spreader lights and a steaming light for the mast.  The guy doing the wiring has given me a list of things to get for him (it’s cheaper if I do it) and I want it all done by Monday.

I’m not sure that will be the case either.  I’ve authorized the work to start on the bow of the boat and since the mast is down it should be easier.  Hopefully Mr. Bailey will get on it right off.

The boat sure looks funny without her front mast.

Did a video and it can be found on FB.  So if you’re friends with me you can see it, if not, friend me.

Random Blog Entry – 27 October 2015

Today is Tuesday, 27 October 2015.  JoAnne and I thought we’d be in Florida by now.

She and I have had a pretty rough time and at times we take it out on each other.  We yell sometimes and get mad over no reason.

Turns out though we still like each other a whole lot 🙂

We’ve been married over 38 years now and have known each other about 40 so as much as we get on each others nerves at times we still know we love one another.

My job, besides making this boat move, is to take care of her.  To keep her warm, to keep her dry, to keep her from getting seasick.  I’m a miserable failure in those things.  She’s gotten sick, drenched, dripped on, spray washed over her, and she’s been cold since August.  But, I keep trying.

Today the insurance surveyor is coming by to examine the damages on the boat, and I’ve completed my statement, collected names and numbers of witnesses, provided the police with information for their report, organized the paperwork and will email it to the insurance adjustor this afternoon.  I’ll let the surveyor do his job before I limit my options.

Tomorrow morning sometime they will pull Adventure up to the other dock, get the crane out and hoist our mast out of it’s traditional place on the foredeck, laying it down on the hard where I can inspect the upper mast and mast head, lighting, rigging and probably install a new halyard or three.  (I need a new main halyard, and at least one on the spreader for things like courtesy flags and such.  I’ll add two or three because I see there are places to add them).

I’ve asked the boat builder in email if he can start work almost immediately.  I’m not waiting for the insurance agent to say “ok”, because I want the front repaired so we can get out of here.  I’ll let him and the insurance guy worry the small stuff.  Not my circus, not my monkeys….  The damage is obvious, the work is clear, the guy that hit us admitted he did it, the insurances have been notified.  So, get ‘er done….

Sunday morning Dave from USA Fuel Services came by and “polished” the fuel.  He ate through 5-6 filters on the coarse pump out which at first I considered surprising.  Then I thought about it.

Dick Stapleton, the former owner had met with us on August 5th for dinner at Sheerans, in Stony Point NY area, and we went over a lot of things on the boat.  He had said he’d cleaned one of the tanks.  Wasn’t 100% sure which.  The other tank he was unsure of the quality of the fuel.

When we started out, we began using the forward tank, starboard side filler.  Neither fuel gauge worked so we never knew how much fuel there was.  When we got here, towed in, because the engine shut off, it was due to the fuel having gunk in it. Water, bacteria, and who knows what else.

Dave discovered a LOT of crap in the forward fuel tank and cleaned it out.

Dave also found that the back tank was clean.  In other words, that tank would never have done what the front tank did had we been using it.

He pumped out close to 25 gallons of bad fuel and we’re down that much.  But we have roughly 55 or 60 gallons at the moment, and I’ll top off the tanks before we leave for the ICW (soon I hope).

A mechanic is coming down to check the engine, help me replace the filters, drain the fuel lines and get the engine started today as well.

Things are coming together (again) and with luck we will get the mast back on in a couple days, rigging adjusted properly, engine running, JoAnne happy, warm and dry and us on the move again.

We decided to take the boat south ourselves after that rough day on the Bay.  It was a long conversation and various “What Ifs” bandied about, various options, ideas like JoAnne going on to Florida by plane and me bringing the boat down alone, getting a delivery skipper, me travelling with a delivery skipper to learn and other things from selling the boat and giving up to trading for something different.

None of those options except sticking together and travelling down the ICW, together, worked.  Or will work.  We do this together, or not at all at this point. (I won’t rule out a delivery skipper later if this becomes any more ridiculous though).

Speaking of ridiculous.  We’re in a place we came for minor repairs.  We ended up getting hit.  We’ve had the engine shut down because of fuel problems (because we were TRYING to get here after they called us and rushed us, and then didn’t even bother to really help us until a week later) and it’s getting cold, it’s raining today, and I’m still working my ass off.

Yesterday, I tore apart the binnacle, galley, electrical panel and the radio shelf over the navigation station searching for wiring that was causing the short, and subsequently taking out the chart plotter.

I never found the actual short, but I found the wire and where it disappears into the wall someplace over behind the electrical panel and nav station.  I cut it loose and reconnected the stuff I have to have working.  I know forward, there’s no power being supplied to the auto bilge pump and toilet.  So, I suspect that is the problem somehow.  I have repaired the bilge pump by rerouting power from another location and adding a switch to make sure the two pumps don’t power up at the same time.

1315: Surveyor is here.  More in a minute.

13:45:  Surveyor, Rick Milner was here.  He went over the damage and checked it all out.  His assessment pretty much agrees with mine, except he wants a rigger out to check the rake on the mast, the stays from the bowsprit, and a few other things.  Time to email my statement and pictures over to the insurance adjustor.

Looks like it’s gonna be awhile before we get out of here.  If we get out of here.

Transworld Formosa 41

If anyone out there has a Formosa, specifically we’re looking for the 41 center cockpit version, we’d like you to get in touch.

You can write me at Adventure.Rick.JoAnne@gmail.com and let us know. We’re on Facebook in a group started by Kurt Seastead for the Formosa.

Kurt has done an awesome job of pulling together people who own the TW Formosa and we’ve been helping each other with information, pictures and stories.

Kurt is also a fun guy. He likes to make memes too.

So if you see pictures of me with a meme, you can be sure he made it. 🙂

meme

Still here – Norfolk, Cobb’s Marina

Yesterday about 4 PM, JoAnne and I were sitting about 3 blocks away having a burger and beer when the phone rang. It was Peggy from Cobb’s Marina. Peggy is the marina manager.

She said, “I take it you’re not on your boat, right?”

I told her we were having lunch. She then told me my boat had been hit by another boat. Instead of freaking out, I asked “Anyone injured, and how bad is the boat hurt?”

She said a 55′ power boat had hit us pretty hard. We returned to the marina and checked in with Peggy. They provided the insurance information for the power boat operator and we heard several witnesses accounts of what they saw. All of them matched.

Big boat, one engine out, trying to turn around in a tight area, wind caught him, out of control, bam…

The damage to the boat pulpit is pretty significant. However, the bowsprit was my biggest concern. It holds the main mast (and by default through a triatic backstay, the mizzen). It also allows the jib to furl and unfurl. Without the bowsprit the boats functions would have to moved backward and be less efficient. You can lose your entire rigging if something goes wrong. So it is imperative the bowsprit be solid.

I examined it this morning and to my untrained eye I saw cracks. I assumed they were all new. I’ve taken pictures of the whole thing, all the damages and that I think might be damages caused by the hit.

This morning I put any work on the boat on temporary pause until I could get a good determination of the status of the bowsprit. Speaking to some of the marina folks, other sailors and a special couple who stopped in to visit us today (Tom and Barb Björkholm of s/v Mörsan), we were considering fixing the fuel issues and heading south under engine alone. I truly want to be out of here before the cold sets in which is the reason I stopped work.

This afternoon a carpenter from Howdy Bailey come over to examine the boat a few minutes ago. He stated clearly that the bow sprit was NOT damaged in the attack of the evil power boat (lol) but is suffering some aging issues, and aren’t we all.

He recommended against having it pulled and “fixed” and that there is no structural damage to the boat, fiberglass or the sprit itself. The stainless steel is another story and it must be repaired, along with the platform/walkway. The pulpit supports a couple of pulleys in a block and tackle used to haul in the jib sail, therefore it could not in its weakened condition function without possibly damaging the pulpit further. He suggested getting that fixed.

Howdy Bailey (http://http://www.howdybailey.com/ Howdy is a boat designer I understand and a pretty famous one in these parts, though I’d not heard of him before a few days ago) is coming by personally to look over getting a wind generator installed and giving me an estimate. I’ll ask him to look over the steel at the same time and give me an estimate of repairs for that as well, since I need it for the insurance company.

Bob from Trident Marine Electronics is going to rewire my mast.

Monday I’m having the mast removed and placed on the hard to do the work. I’ll inspect the rigging at the head then, along with lighting and wiring connections before Bob gets to it. I’ll replace bulbs and connectors and inspect the lines going up there, and so forth myself.

If this all works well, we ought to be on our way sooner, rather than later.

Intracoastal Waterway – or bust

JoAnne and I had a rough few days. Yesterday, after the delivery skipper wrote us back and told us he’d have to beg off, because he had family commitments we discussed our situation.

She is cold a lot. She gets cold in the summer time.

She got seasick in the pounding surf, but loves roller coasters (I do not).

I got worried, but mostly for her. I knew the boat could handle what was happening.

I wasn’t scared, I didn’t have time to be frightened.

After a long discussion we both came to the conclusion that we bought this boat, we are going to get it to Florida and beyond, we’re going to live aboard and we need to learn to handle it… which we’re doing pretty well actually. Seasickness is a terrible, but fleeting thing. Fear, except for spiders, is also only going to last a moment or two.

We contacted the “backup skipper’ who wrote me yesterday after the first one said no, and told her “We’re doing this on our own. We might have been over our heads at first, but we think we have this now”.

We decided that the ICW is the right way to go, until we get past Hatteras, and perhaps Frying Pan Shoals. Maybe.

So, once we get the engine, fuel and rigging repaired, we’re heading out of here. We’re shooting for Jacksonville. And doctors for JoAnne. After that, Marathon Key is calling to us.

We have several reasons to visit there, but it is a jumping off point to Tampa, Puerto Rico. the Virgin Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. Bahamas, not so much… but oh well. There are also “jobs” there, so I hear. And we’ve been offered a kind of “floating boat broker” job of sorts already. And I have my electronics skills (and people have asked me already several times if I would look at this or that, so far, I’ve turned them down because I’m not ABCY certified yet…. I’m considering that though).

Not that either of us want jobs. It’s something to consider though.

Anyway, we’re shooting for 1-10 November to be out of here. Today is “Back to the Future” day, 21 October 2015, and I love science fiction. That means the future is not yet written, and we make our own.

I plan, along with JoAnne, to make our own future come true, where ever and whenever it happens to be.

Norfolk, the Hard Way

Yesterday morning we woke up and it was downright cold. It was in the high 30s or low 40s and JoAnne was cold and complaining about it. I hate when she’s cold, I feel sorry for her because I can’t keep her warm enough.

At about 10:45 we received a phone call from Cobbs Marina in Norfolk area and told me if I could get there on Sunday evening they could look at the boat first thing on Monday morning (today is Monday) so we made a dumb decision.

We decided to go late in the day without doing a major weather check. We did a cursory check on the winds and such and it looked fine to leave.

And it was.

To leave that is.

Getting there was going to be quite another thing.

It was so chilly and windy that JoAnne couldn’t remain in the cockpit so I told her to go below and stay warm. We used the ham radios to talk to each other until her’s died.

I actually raised the main for a bit but kept jibing so it was not a good situation alone. I finally took down all sail and motored. But the swell was coming in from the fetch the wind had over the water.

I did NOT know about the cold front moving through or the wind speeds at 18-20. Then I measured 18.8 knots and it wasn’t slacking.

I knew the wind was going to cause bigger and bigger waves over the next few hours and I was 5 hours-plus at 5 knots away from the destination. It was going to get rough before it got better.

I warned JoAnne it was going to get choppy, and I expected it. What I didn’t expect was that the swells would be as much as four feet every so often, hitting us on the stern quarter.

It was getting pretty bad.

Finally, about 5 miles out of our destination to Cobb’s Marina, we got hit pretty hard. The boat got picked up and slammed hard tossing anything lose about the cabin. The things I use to navigate, like my binocs, my calipers, my charts and my pencils got shipped to the floor. Followed by me.

JoAnne was dealing with crap flying in the cabin below, including her. She was so sick she couldn’t really function well.

On top of ALL of the incessant pounding the swell is doing to us, even with me trying to change course to take it on the stern, we get slammed again, and my chart plotter goes out. Dead, blowing the breaker. I go below, grab my hand held to get my exact position to plot on the chart (mostly because I’m driving the boat near to markers and have a good idea, but not exactly where I am and now I want to be dead on accurate).

I got the lat/long, find the spot on the chart, find a buoy and start looking for it. Then the boat starts going up and down in the swell and the engine is freaking out.

I am concentrating on not getting killed, thrown from the cockpit and checking on JoAnne below, who is now puking her poor heart out. I felt bad for her but I couldn’t help right then.

So, we’re getting our asses kicked, I’m working on getting my precise location because the chart plotter is out, but at least the depth finder it working and I know the direction the wind is blowing – from dead behind me at the moment.

Finally I spot the buoy I’m looking for, and now I can get a pretty good idea on the chart where I really am. By the way, the little Gamin hand held is cool, but it sucks at trying to find your course and a few other things. I can ascertain my location, but not necessarily which way I am going at the same time, or for that matter the bearing on an object. Or much else. I don’t know why I even have it now.

Anyway, it did help verify my location. I was two miles from the shore, and way too far to the east for getting into the entrance of the marina (and Naval station and other marinas, etc) without a lot of trouble.

I tell JoAnne “It’s about to get really rough for a few minutes, I need to change course!” I shouted.

She can’t hear me, she’s sitting below, door mostly closed, engine roaring, wind howling. Damn, the sun is shining and it should be a beautiful day, but other than my poor wife whom is the only beauty I see around me at the moment, and she’s throwing up, I can’t figure out what the HELL I am doing there.

I turn to my starboard and head for a compass heading that ought to bring us close to the entrance of the marina. Hell, Warships go in and out, I can’t miss it!

I make a 35 degree change, and get hit once, twice then three times by breaking waves on my starboard side and the engine roars once, coughs and quits.

I hear JoAnne yell, “What happened!”

“Engine died” I mutter.

“What?”

I respond with trying to start the engine. Nope. I’m looking a mile off at the shoreline. I look at the water depth, 30 feet. I glance at the gps, 2 knots over ground. South. Right at the shore line.

Yikes.

“JoAnne! Get BoatUS on the phone as fast as you can!”

She begins working on that. I look up at the rigging. The back stay is pretty loose but I decide this is it. In less than 30 minutes we’ll be sitting ON the shore, not looking at it if I don’t do something.

I debate internally what to do. So, I do what any sailor would do. I grab the outhaul on the main (ours is a Seldon in-mast furling system) and I crank out about 4 or 5 square feet of sail. Tighten the boom to dead center and watch as the wind grabs the tiny amount of sail and we take off at five knots. I slowly turn the boat to starboard, the direction I want to go, and we start doing almost six knots.

Wow. Now we’re sailing. Not quite what I envisioned when I took this job on. I measure the wind. 18.9 knots.

JoAnne has the BoatUS people on the phone, hands me the phone and goes to try to fix up things below. I give my coordinates, tell them we’re in a bit of trouble, and I don’t think I can sail us in with the rigging issues, we have no engine and they connect me with a Tow boat driver.

He tells me “Get an anchor out, asap”. So I tell him I will, turn the boat into the wind, drop the sail and tell JoAnne I’m going forward. The boat is pitching like a bucking bronco, up about four feet, then back down.

I hook my tether to my makeshift jackline and head forward. I note the only boats I see now around me are giant ships, one is passing just past a marker buoy I’d passed minutes before. Where he came from, I’m not sure, but I had not seen him before. Either that or I was so preoccupied with my predicament, I failed to see him previously.

Now I am crawling forward, grabbing bold as the swell comes in and back out. Three more times before I can get there.

I untie the line on the anchor, remove the windlass wrench from the slot by the windlass, loosen the clutch and kick for the anchor… and miss as the boat makes a nose dive into a wave. The wave drenches my feet all the way to my waist. My face takes a lot of it. My ears are ringing from the water that hit me so hard it was like a cold punch in the face.

When the boat settles I regain my feet, grab the stanchions knowing they will throw me overboard if I get hit like that again, and I kick the release. Out goes the 50 lb CQR and chain. Lots and lots of chain.

In 30 feet of water my math told me I needed 150 feet of rode. The other night, we dragged our anchor in lesser winds than this, 300 yards and I didn’t catch it until it was almost to late.

Not today, Mother Nature, not today.

I let out 280 feet of chain before it bound up under the deck in the locker. I grabbed my snubber line and tied it off and cranked 30 feet back in, then connected the hook and was hit by another swell, but this time, we yanked to a sudden stop by the chain.

I sat down and slowly let out the snubber line with my feet braced against the windlass. When it was nearly out, I tied off the last of the line, and let out some more chain to give us a little bit of slack.

The wind howled, and the swell kept coming, but the bouncing was lessen a lot.

I made my way back to the cockpit and called out that I was still alive. She acknowledge I was there, but was busy being sick again.

And I waited. The driver said “an hour, at least”. This was going to be a long, long hour.

I turned the rudder to the swell which was no longer coming directly from the wind now, to help guide us into the swell.

True to his word, the tow driver, Captain Byron, called me and said he was there to start pulling the anchor. I looked but did not see him. We communicated back and forth several times and even through binoculars I could not spot him.

I told him I would NOT pull the anchor until I could get a visual on him. Suddenly, like the cavalry in an old movie, there he was, flag flying and everything. Just not bugles.

I ran to the front and sat down and started trying to get the windlass to haul up almost three hundred feet of chain and a fifty pound anchor, a foot at a time.

It took me fifteen minutes. I signaled for him to drive in font and block the swell several times, but he wasn’t hearing me or understanding me at all. Finally, something clicked and he powered up hard, drove in front of me and the swell stopped.

I gave him a thumbs up and the last 50 feet came aboard in record time, but not without breaking something in the platform. He threw me a messenger line, and I hauled it in, then got the bridle and we were hooked together in a couple more minutes. The tow in took almost an hour.

But we’re alive tonight and that’s all I care about.

Tonight, I’ve gotten the electric working again, the chart plotter is back online, I know why the engine died (fuel and gunk in the fuel) and we’re having maintenance done on the mast, lights and rigging in a few days, the diesel “polished” and we have a plan to get JoAnne down to Florida to get her doctor check up she needs, us to have insurance for medical and I’m putting full coverage on the boat in the next day or two.

I’m also likely going to hire a delivery skipper to help me, and train me, to deliver this boat to Jacksonville, FL in the next month or so.

And, tonight we finally wandered away from the marina and got some food and beer outside.

This last part is for Kurt Seastead, who did the video the other day and likes making these little memes for me. The foregoing story is a true one, the meme is not. (But it IS funny!)

meme

From Solomons to Sandy Point to Fishing Bay near Deltaville

We left Solomons on 14 October early in the morning headed for Potomac River, with some place marked on the chart to stop. As we were getting close to the Potomac, we made the decision to go on to another area simply because we’d not gone too very far to begin with.

We ended up heading to the Great Wicomico River near Reedville area and anchoring in a bay behind something called Sandy Point, at Kurt Seastead’s suggestion. Not sure if he’d been there before but he seemed to know it so we stopped.

Turned out to be a very cool place with only one other sailboat there. We dropped anchor and spent a night there enjoying the silence. Location was in 18.5 feet of water at 37 degrees 49.346 mins North and 76 degrees 18.686 minutes West.

I’d noticed several issues over the past couple of days with the forward sail, not the least of which was the fact it was not working right and had changed to the genoa a few days prior to this. Well, turns out the car carrying the sail up is adjusted incorrectly (and I still need to fix it as of today) but also I couldn’t get everything working right. The sail is not going high enough, it’s not letting out all the way, the inhaul wasn’t doing it’s job correctly either. I needed to add more line around the drum… so I fixed all that stuff only to find out my line is now too short to let out the entire foresail. Grrrrr. I’ll have to change out the line on the drum soon.

The following morning (15 October 15) we sailed off the anchor, with the engine running just in case. Ended up needed it since we were leaving is a pretty narrow channel going out and didn’t have enough to room to tack back and forth. As usual, I ended up giving up on sails after we has very little wind.

The boat is literally so heavy that 6-10 knots of wind barely fill sails, let alone make the vessel move at one or two knots. With a time constraint, this is not good. So, engine power it is.

Our destination was Fishing Bay. We intended to catch up with Kurt (S/V Lo-Kee), and Barb and Tom Bjorkholm (S/V Morsan) – other Formosa 41 sailboats.

Arrived at 1445 and dropped anchor in 21 feet of water and put out what I thought was just enough scope to keep us situated in the same spot over night. I dropped just under 100 feet of chain. Because, you know, weather reports said “calm” and “5-6 mph winds”. No big deal. So, a little less than 5:1 scope.

It was almost our undoing that night. More on that later.

That evening Barb and Tom came by and picked us up, gave us a tour of their beautiful Formosa, Morsan and took us over to a small Mexican restaurant. Since JoAnne and I LOVE Mexican food, it was heaven. Ok, well, it was alright anyway! We went back to the boat that night and headed for bed.

Later in the evening, the wind picked up and began to whistle through the rigging. I wasn’t concerned. At midnight I was still checking things and we were fine. I finally dozed off and at 0400 the next morning, JoAnne awakened and told me to check things – which I did. Not one fraction of an intergalactic declination or sidereal hour had we moved, or a latitude and longitude either.

I fell back asleep. At 0630 I woke up and something didn’t “feel right”. I got one of those weird feelings, in the pit of my stomach that something was very wrong. I still can’t figure out what the feeling was or why I thought there was a problem but I opened the curtains by my head and looked out and saw a house. Closed the curtains and lay back down, then sat bolt upright.

I looked again. Yup, definitely a house, I wasn’t sleeping and dreaming either. Next to the house, or more accurately, next to US were several very large, very strong and sturdy telephone poles. Right outside my window.

(Note, these were pylons. not telephone poles, but my mind saw them as telephone poles because they were big, they were close and they should NOT have been there). I finally came to my senses and woke JoAnne telling her to get up, I needed her help. I pulled on my pants, rapidly climbed the ladder, removed the boards, the hatch and started the engine.

We were less than 40 feet from the shore and I was SURE, three feet of water at the edge. I ran forward and started pulling the anchor up. The windlass of course, was not on, so I yelled for JoAnne to enable it and ran forward again. She came up, took the wheel and I pulled the anchor up, as she drove us away from the dangers of the shore and the giant posts – and from what I am guessing, the kitchen of the folks that lived in the house whose yard we’d nearly invaded.

Somewhere in there is a lesson.

Never trust the weather report, never, EVER believe your anchor is secure, and ALWAYS drop a few extra feet of rode.

A few hours later I was dinghying up to the fuel docks and filling diesel cans, to fill my tanks and a couple from Canada and I started chatting. When he realized which boat I was driving he got agitated and said, “Oh my God, you must have missed me by less than 200 feet!”

I won’t repeat the entire conversation, he was not horribly mad, but was perhaps a little miffed at it all… 🙂 I did promise not to anchor anywhere near him if I saw him again though. haha

Actually, he was a pretty good sport about it and when I told him what amount of chain and so forth, he implied he didn’t have any more out than me and I could see his anchors were similar. So why’d I drag and he didn’t? Not sure.

But, we’ll get to more about anchoring later.

Fishing Bay, was a nice place. Enoguh room for about a dozen or so good sized sailboats, good holding if you have the right amount of rode out, and your anchor holds… 🙂 but still pretty. The showers (or rather use of the facilities) costs 10 bucks a person. Meaning, you can use shower, laundry, bathrooms, and the “Captains Lounge”. We paid our money and took our chances. Worked out pretty good because we got a total of FOUR SHOWERS (YES! We’re shower pirates, lol).

Over the course of the two days, we visited with both Barb and Tom and Kurt came down too. We gave Kurt a tour of the boat and he made a video. The video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-KIv8m-VZo

We left on 17 October for Chisman Creek at 0930.

Solomons

Left this morning at about 9:15.  No problem getting out of the harbor, except for the massive number of crab pots everywhere.  JoAnne was complaining at first then said something about “I shouldn’t complain, I really like crab!” lol

We tried to raise sails after we were out of the harbor but there was almost no wind, and what we did have was on our nose.  It was more efficient to motor (again).

About an hour or so in I checked the charging system.  It wasn’t.  Charging that is.

The damned alternator quit AGAIN.

We motored all the way down, for about 9 hours without worrying about it.

I hoped I wasn’t cooking the batteries, but they are holding up very well. I ran the generator when I arrived, after getting the anchor light up (another thing to be repaired).  As I was putting up the anchor light, JoAnne started screaming for me below. Sounded bad.  As I fell down the ladder into the companionway (I never make a quiet entrance it seems) she was screaming something about a leak.

And it was.  She’d turned on the water pump and water was spraying everywhere under the sink.  Fortunately, it was an easy fix.  For the faucet, not my back.  I had to reconnect the copper pipe to the sink (yep, copper pipes in this baby).  Anyone ever mention copper isn’t good in some things?  Boats for instance?  Anyway, 20 minutes later she could cook dinner, I could complete my clean up on the deck and finally sit for a few minutes.

We aren’t leaving first thing in the morning.

I have to replace the alternator.

Again.

The trip down was great until the last couple hours when the wind was doing 15 knots off my nose, I was down to 3 knots, so I started tacking (I had the mizzen out partially so I used it alone).  By the time I could actually USE the sails we were under the gun to get here before dark.

We barely made it onto anchor before it was so dark I couldn’t see.

A young man named Dan rowed over on his paddle board to ask me anchoring questions.

When we came in I circled the area once, slowed, asked him how the holding was and stopped the boat, kicked the anchor lock out and loosened the clutch and set the anchor in about 3 easy steps (I’m getting pretty good at it, along with ensuring it’s NOT going to drag me anywhere at night).

Dan apparently had trouble with his catamaran last night.  They drove to the boat show in a rental today and came back and found their boat a mere 10-15 feet from the pilings.  Bad.

They moved it back and dropped anchor again, but were unsure what was happening.  Apparently not enough rode after he said they had about 20 feet out.  So I explained to drop anchor, let it hit, add a couple of feet, maybe 5-10 MAX, back the boat down on the anchor to set it, then let out the rest of the rode.  I also told him 5:1 here would be fine, unless it gets really windy, then let out more.  Except I’m near so not so much he swings into me.

This is a really small place and there are a lot of boats, and three rivers converge here.  Cool place.

Tomorrow I’ll replace the alternator.  My back hurts tonight, and I’m tired.

West River, Galesville, MD: Time to move on

We’ve been here eleven days, arriving 28 September. Had no intention of staying that long, but we go comfortable I suppose. The hurricane was coming, that never came. Then I was preparing to go last weekend and we found another engine issue with the same alternator.

So, finally, yesterday after messing with the marina here, and waiting again, for days on them, I took the old one in, found some one who fixed it, and the same place ordered me a spare.

We are planning to get out of here on Sunday if the weather holds a bit longer.

We will try to get to Deltaville for a day or so and visit with friends and after that, we’ll head for Florida, one day at a time.

Last night I put up the genoa and checked it. Awesome. We’ll be cruising with that sail for sure. The old one, the working jib is junky, and while it was ok, I couldn’t really coax much more out of it.

Between the main and genoa we should be able to pull 6 knots out of the boat without the engine. The mizzen sail is hopelessly stuck, and I’m going to need help getting it out of the mast. But, it is an ok sail.

I’m considering replacing both main and mizzen at some point in the future. Probably not new, but likely used sails. Then again, it will depend on the cost of new and used.

Refrigeration is not, and never has worked. JoAnne was good with that at first, now it’s a complaint. I guess that will be on our list to fix next or very, very soon.

With refrigeration we will need significantly more power than we have. That means more batteries, and a way to charge them. That means solar and a wind generator.

We have a small, 2kw gas powered Honda. It’s quiet, so it isn’t very noisy from a short distance from the boat. I had it running yesterday and couldn’t really detect the noise it made from a couple hundred feet away. So I can continue to use that as long as I can get gasoline.

The toilet in the back works. The Y valve is broken and everything always goes to the holding tank. That means pumpouts, docking, paying the costs, etc. The forward head toilet has a bad motor.

Electric toilets aren’t any fun. They are pretty new, but I’m either going to replace them, remove them, or make it so they can be both manual and electric or something. One more headache.

The former owner doesn’t know the size of the holding tank, but it seriously can’t be more than 20 gallons at most… if that. One more complaint JoAnne has.

Finally, there’s the bed.

The existing mattress is old and pretty much done for. It’s a closed cell foam of some kind. We bought a 3″ memory foam mattress I could modify to put in, and it worked. Now that is not so good. JoAnne spent the day at the boat show looking for some solution.

Priorities I guess.

Anyway, we will be moving on Sunday – I hope, or Monday at the latest.

We’ll figure out our plans for the boat as we go.

On the bright side, we met Linn Pardey today. She was nice and allowed us to have a picture taken with her.

We met Kurt Seastead – he’s the owner of the Facebook group for the Transworld Formosa 41s. Very nice man. We all walked around the boat show looking at things, kind of wandering around.

JoAnne and I had gotten there about an hour before him so we rushed over to purchase some headsets we need for anchoring. Neither of us can hear the other usually when trying to anchor the boat, so we got the headsets specifically for that job, though they are bluetooth and can be used on our tablets or computers for Skype too. They are charging now, we’ll test them before we actually need them.

Kurt went back into the show to look at boats. We moved on to get JoAnne out of the sun, and off her feet. We eventually came back to the area, stopped at Thursday’s for a beer, then came back to the boat.

Tomorrow I have to collect the new, spare alternator, get gas and diesel for the boat, prep a few things and take back the car we rented. Then we can leave.

That’s it for this update.

Hurricane Joaquin

We arrived at Galesville, MD at the Hartge Yacht Harbor marina a few days ago to meet up with a friend of ours who took the time to drive up from Woodbridge, Va. It was much closer for us to stop here and him to drive than for us to head down to the Potomac and hope we could get far enough up river to make it convenient for him.

Instead, Phil went out of his way to drive up and deliver equipment we had left in his care, all intact and ready to go.

Thank you Phil!

In the mean time… a small tropical depression started developing off the coast of Africa, moving slowly westward, building in strength and speed until he was named Joaquin.

Personally, I feel the name is both ridiculous and laughable. In fact, I’m not even sure what the name means in whatever language from which it comes but it’s not even pronounced well in my opinion. But that’s just me I reckon. (Actually, none of that is terribly true, and I know that Joaquin is the Spanish version of a Hebrew name which has something to do with Jehovah – but none of that is here, nor there when I am writing.)

What Joaquin DOES mean to me is that it is currently a Category IV hurricane beating be the bejuzus out of the Bahamas at the moment. It’s also a storm that has been damned difficult for meteorologists and hurricane experts to tie down to any one particular path.

I’ve seen a dozen different models of the storm’s projected path and NONE of them coincide with a second one. This has been most unusual and strange for over the last few years I’ve been watching hurricanes with interest and studying them.

Apparently I missed the course on “stupid hurricanes with stupid names who won’t follow one stupid path”. Or something.

Joaquin, as of tonight is projected to slam into Bahamas some more tonight and tomorrow (and please keep those folks in your thoughts and prayers because the islands where it is centered are low islands and could be swept clean of life there…..)

Yesterday at 6pm the center of the storm was projected to come right up the center of the Chesapeake Bay and go right over our heads. Yikes. Eye and all. Tonight, as of the moment I copied and pasted that image above, it will miss us BY THAT MUCH.

Now, something you should all understand that cone is a cone of uncertainty actually. The eye can fall ANYWHERE within the cone. Including as far left as the edge. So, theoretically the eye/center could wind up coming to landfall anywhere from the Carolinas to Nova Scotia. Yuk.

Me not being an ancient mariner – ok, let me qualify that by saying my kids and grand kids think I am ancient, and technically I AM a mariner, but I’m not THE Ancient Mariner – I have little knowledge except book learnin’ about what to do in a hurricane. Most books say “Run like hell puny humans!”

Unfortunately, I’m both puny in comparison and stuck where I am sitting right now.

JoAnne is scared, a little bit. I’m calm, cool and collected and have faced many dangers in my life, but nothing quite like this. So, technically. I’m only “semi-petrified” at this point.

But to put things in perspective, JoAnne spent her day doing laundry, in a nice, warm, dry room up at the marina. Me, I stood or sat in the dinghy, sometimes with water over my ankles today (as it is raining like cats and dogs here) while I put rubber hose over all the lines connected to the mooring ball to prevent the lines from rubbing through.

I’ve added three lines to the ball in three different places, in the hopes that if one snaps, the other two will hang on for dear life, and if two go, that last one is the last, best hope for the boat.

I have two 50 pound anchors sitting there which, at a critical moment may be kicked off the boat into the water to hold us against a tidal surge.

That brings me to the critical moment. I’ll have to be on the boat for that.

I have rented a Jeep and JoAnne can flee. If it is looking bad, I’ll send her off to some place safe and I’ll stay here with a radio to run the engine if I have to drive it at a stand still against winds.

However, I do NOT foresee any of this happening.

When it comes right down to it I might chicken out, but I don’t think so. This boat is really all we have. I trust my luck (I dunno why, I’ve never won the big lotto….) to help the boat. The boat is our home. I can’t let the boat down and I can’t let JoAnne down.

I believe that John Casey once said of sailing that it is 90% boredom, 10% terror. Or words to that effect. So far, I’ve had my few moments of sheer terror when not one, but TWO ghost trawlers (not little ones mind you,. giant assed, Deadliest Catch boats with rigging extended to look like evil Transformer-Terminators who click on their lights after passing silently me 4 miles off the coast of New Jersey at 2 AM or so. I think they were being asses and saw me on radar and did what they did to scare me. They did.

My radar isn’t working…. what can I say.

This hurricane is not something that one can easily wrap their mind around. I’ve been in two before. Neither of them were that close, probably passing center about 90 nm distant. We got lots of rain, but not a lot of wind.

If we’re lucky, this will happen with Joaquin. If we’re not we get to experience sheer terror. Again.

I’m hoping for the former experience, not the latter.

So, this likely my last entry for a few days. The storm is due to be passing here about Tuesday now (was going to be Saturday, but it has slowed down and hasn’t yet turned this way).

We will be sitting on this mooring ball a few more days.

Saturday or Sunday I will begin removing the rest of the stuff topside. Any lines I can remove, all the canvas I can take down. I’m not going to worry about the safety lines because the boat has enough freeboard that a few wires aren’t going to make a bit of difference in the resistance.

And that my friends is that for now. I’ll be around Facebook on and off as I can, and my kids and family can reach either of on our phones or text messages as long as we have power to the surrounding area. When the power goes out, the cell towers will go dark not long after, so please be aware if we lose electricity to the local area we lose internet.

If we lose the cell towers, we’ll be out of communication until we can get a message out.

Remember this though, we’re hams and we’ll get a message out. One way or another.

When all else fails, Amateur Radio. 🙂

See you guys on the other side – unless I can publish before the hurricane hits. Oh. Expect pictures if I can get them safely.

Rock Hall, MD

Rock Hall, MD

We pulled into the bay at about 6:45. Less than 15 minutes until sundown. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be and like an idiot, I decided to cut a corner. Gosh, what’s that green buoy doing on my right side, I wondered. Then I found out. 5 feet of water and one foot in the mud. Not my foot mind you, the keel, one foot deep in the mud.

Again. This was not the first time in the past three weeks and likely it won’t be the last in the next month or so.

I called TowBoatUS and had them on the phone when they put me on hold. The guy was being a jerk and wouldn’t listen to me and I was probably being a jerk because I was frustrated with myself, the keel and the damned mud.

I handed the phone to JoAnne to deal with and said, “Screw this, I’m not getting towed again.” A few minutes later, I had the boat free and backing up. I backed all the way into the channel and turned the boat into the middle of the channel markers and came inside at about .8 knots. JUST enough to give me steerage, but not enough to destroy anything in front of me that was hapless enough to stand still.

What seemed to be 30 or 40 minutes later we came into slight contact with the public “Wall”. The “dock” such as it is, was full of boats already. There was one spot and a guy asked me, “Do you need help?”

Who am I to turn down anything free?

“Yeah, I’m still trying to remember how to do all this,” I shouted back. He chuckled and said, “Me too.”

He rushed over and took a line JoAnne threw him and within minutes we were tied up, tied off and relieved we’d come in without wreaking anything again.

JoAnne reminded me to call back the TwoBoatUS folks to cancel the tow (Which she had already done with the tow boat operator anyway, but they wanted me to call them myself, so I did).

When I looked at the clock on the phone and the phone call, a grand total of six minutes had elapsed.

We both looked at each other and exclaimed “Six MINUTES” – it seemed like hours.

Truthfully, it seemed like a LONG time had passed from our entrance into the bay (after getting unstuck) to the time we tied off.

The sign says “15 Days”. I’m not sure if they mean the parking lot, the dock, the grassy area nearby or what, but, we’re here for a few days and I’m not planning on dropping lines and heading out into the Bay until I am sure the weather isn’t going to kick up a stink for us. I’d like to sail out of here to our next stop instead of using the engine all the time.

It was very late when we got everything ship shape and hiked over to the pub we could see from the dock area. I had a taco salad, she had soup. We had a pitcher of margaritas with more ice in it than rita. No salt. I don’t think there was any tequila either. The taco salad wasn’t as good as my own, and it wasn’t even as good as Jose Muldoon’s in Colorado (which sucks).

We walked back (walked, not stumbled, as most people do after 2-3 margaritas) and got back on the boat without falling into the water – there’s a gap of 18″ to 2′ and JoAnne was afraid to step over it. Me, I’m pretty nimble and only tripped 9 or 10 times.

This morning we got up pretty early (about 8) and decided we were going to do shopping. She had already scoped out a place for us. A small grocery store about a mile or so away. I called in my medications I needed to refill at the Walgreens in town as well.

We found the grocery with no problems, bought some eggs, a couple of ears of corn, oranges, greeeeeeeeeeen bananas, some cookies, canned foods and a few other things, then started for the Walgreen’s. On the way, they called me to tell me they couldn’t fill my prescription because I needed to get in touch with the insurance company. I don’t have insurance. I lost that when I quit my job. Duh. I called them and said, “Just fill it and and I’ll pay cash”.

They replied, “Ok, no problem, that will be $999.99.”

What the hell? Its some god damned pills. Turns out the BP medication is only $55 bucks. I told them to fill it. I’ll take an aspirin instead of the other crap the docs have me on. Screw that, if I die, tough shit. 1000 bucks for stupid pills. WTF do they think retired people are made of, money?

So, I did collect the BP meds, which I probably needed after the price check. And probably didn’t need before I heard the price check.

Anyway, stopped in West Marine (yes, there is one in this little place) and bought two sending units to the tune of 100 bucks for the set. (Rolling my eyes at the cost of a couple of pieces of stainless steel and a bloody little potentiometer, GOD!)

So, we got some shopping done, got a couple parts, found out I am going to die from lack of medication sooner rather than later, got some oranges and I got a Pepsi. I’ve been sipping at it since then and it’s almost 5 PM. Decided we weren’t leaving today and watching a storm moving up the Bay towards us. Supposed to blow like stink tomorrow, white caps and rain. I’m technically still a “Day Sailor” so – not quite ready for shitty weather.

I’ll suck it up enough, soon enough, right now, I’m trying to figure out how 900 bucks a month in insurance fees saves me for 999 dollars a quarter on heart medication.,

You know, screw the government regulations, screw the US medical system and screw the AMA. (Am I speaking with my outside voice again?)

I’m really unhappy about this stupid medical nonsense. Seriously, how can anyone justify the cost of simple medicines that help keep people alive?

Screw it, I’m going sailing in a couple of days and to hell with all that.

Rock Hall is a quaint little town. I’d move here, if it weren’t cold in the winter. Or in Maryland.

Or close to New York.

Seriously, this is a cool little town, nice little houses, nice people. There’s a Bait and Tackle store “right there” out of my boat. 40 steps away. But nothing I can really use, yet anyway. They did, however, have a case of Corona Extra for 23 bucks. Plus tax. That’s alittle over a buck a bottle so not too shabby. I bought a case. Going back tomorrow to get a back up (you need spares of everything aboard a boat I’m finding out).

The place we ate lunch was called Waterman’s Crab House. I think. To be honest I didn’t look at the name. It was good, albeit, expensive, like every other place on the East Coast we’ve been in. $30 plus dollars for lunch. Yep, that’s right. Oh, well. We’ll be going back to Colorado to work soon enough if our money runs out. Before my retirement pay kicks in. Sheesh.

Day after tomorrow, Sunday, I think we’re bailing out of here and heading for Annapolis or somewhere. I need to talk to some friends and find out where they are so I can set a course in their direction. I need to get close to my friend Phil, so he can help deliver my equipment and after that, well, we’re heading for Norfolk, then pass inside past Cape Hatteras, outside at Beaufort NC and on to Florida. Mostly then, I hope, by sail. Instead of engine.

JoAnne is tired today from our walk. She carried a backpack full of stuff from the store, but to be fair I carried the bulk of it.

In fact, I took 90% of the weight.

Who the hell needs heart medications?

Last Night in Summit North

We are bailing out in the morning.

Mike from Total Boat Works came by with our new parts (water pump) and some spare parts this morning and completed working on the boat.  The engine is purring like a really, really big cat.  NOT over heating, not even warming the cabin up now like before.

We did a lot (I say we, because I was helping most of the time, so I could learn).  And I think we got it now.

I think I have everything ready for tomorrow except putting away the hose, the electrical cables and the lap top here.  We’ll have breakfast and coffee and head out the canal to Chesapeake tomorrow and probably sometime in the late afternoon will find someplace to anchor.

After that, it’s on to the Annapolis area and meet up with some friends.

Engine- Still

So Mike came by this morning with some transmission fluid, and a couple of things left to do. He assisted in adjusting the tachometer to the right settings, but it was “by ear” so it’s not precisely accurate but I’m guessing it is closer than it was before.

The trans was low, like almost a quart… ack.

Then he had something niggling at him, it was that the over flow was still bugging him so he pulled the water pump cover and found a problem, again, one I’d missed. There is a severe wearing in the area where the water is pumped through. In fact, on closer checking, it’s broken.

After a few hours he called me back with several options. I chose the more expensive option. Pump replacement. $800 bucks for the part. He said it would be cheaper if we run down the coast and look again. And he could have just put in a new impeller.

I told him , No, this is my life and my wife’s life, and the safety of the boat. Get me a pump and spare impeller. He actually said “You can get all the way to Florida without bothering” but I think that’s a half-assed job.

Get me the parts I need, make the new parts work, get me spares. I’m good.

They won’t ship though until in the morning. If the part gets here tomorrow, I’ll be surprised. He is talking to the marina to get us a break on the stay because frankly, they are bloody hell expensive.

The saga continues…..

C&D Canal – Summit North Marina

Not the best place to be stuck (though we aren’t actually stuck now, we can leave when we’re ready) but other than have a good mechanic here and showers a 1/2 mile off, up a hill, through the woods and mosquitoes, it’s ok.  We have fresh water and electricity.  I’m taking advantage of that.

As it turns out, we have two water tanks.  I think I mentioned that before.  One of the tanks is on the port side and has a separate valve to control its flow into the water system.  It was off and I hadn’t found it yet, and didn’t KNOW it was off.

When we arrived I was looking over plumbing and locating things I still needed to find.  As it turns out, when I opened the valve (not thinking about what might be in the tank) I contaminated the water supply with antifreeze.

Stony Point Marina didn’t do ANYTHING to the boat without specifically pointing it out.  Zincs was my first real issue with them.  Then duct tape on the shut off.  Now this.  I’m sure now I’ll find other things.  Commissioning should have involved flushing the water system and filling it, should have involved checking and topping off the oil, coolant, transmission and making sure belts were right and things were going to go well.

They didn’t do anything of the sort.  If you’re a power boater up in that area, you might have good service, but I strongly recommend against sail-boaters using the place.  Even for storage.  I think the manager is a jerk after charging me for duct tape (he didn’t tell me that’s what it was) and just being an all-around slimy guy.

There was one young man there, I want to say his name was Darryl maybe, who was helpful and nice, offered advice.  Eric, their yard manager and mechanic was the one that had to have used the duct tape.

Avoid the place.

Back to Summit North.  You’re more than a mile from ANYTHING here.  It’s a 1/2 mile to walk from the office to the road and there is a small store up the road (No, I haven’t walked it, but have had people tell me how far it was).  The next closest stuff is several miles away.

There is a restaurant here called “Aqua Sol” which was ok.  But they are like a high end place for boaters.  Kind of expensive.  Beer isn’t bad but the food… well, the burger was ok.  I guess JoAnne’s food was decent, service was so-so, but it was expensive.  And there’s nothing else.

I feel like I’m back out at Schriever, AFB inside the restricted compound, one place to choose from at high prices because you’re in a captive audience.

Internet service here works up by the main office.  No in doors place to be.  Internet at the Aqua Sol doesn’t work and they made an excuse about the fire wall blocking the public/free stuff and “nothing they can do about it”.

T-mobile service is limited here.  Internet connections through my phone are limited because I can’t get a good signal.  So, they get a 1 on service.

The mechanic, Mike, of Total Boatworks was helpful and when he looked in the engine, in 30 seconds he said, “Found your problem”, and pointed out some kinks in hoses I’d not seen or would even recognize as being a problem.  Remember, I’m used to cars and trucks, I’m NO mechanic but can pick my way through an engine slowly if given time and not under stress.

The hoses in a car or truck are rarely if ever a problem until they split open. Some of the hoses had holes being worn into them from vibration.  We replaced them all, put some anti-chaffing around others, added some missing nuts and bolts, changed the oil, added coolant, added an overflow for the coolant, rerouted the shifter cable, rerouted the exhaust water flow so the hoses weren’t kinked up and in general cleaned up all the loose and vibrating parts.

I have one big job to do, to cut a bracket away from the engine block, which is being hit and vibrated on by the block.  I just need to cut away a corner…. not an easy proposition, but he said he didn’t want to do it and charge me hours of work for it.

The engine is running much cooler now, and in fact using the laser heat gun he had showed me it was running cooler than it had before.  Simple stuff.  I hope that’s all that was causing the issues now.

We were going to leave today, but we need to do laundry and I need to rearrange a few things on the boat to redistribute some of the weight a little further back in the boat, and manage the forward compartment better.  Right now we have it crammed full of stuff and no real place to put it, and of course no place for a visitor to sleep either.

It will be a few weeks before we’d be ready for visitors, but then the family members who might visit are in the middle of doing their own things at the moment and probably won’t come out for at least a few more months.  Which is ok.  We’re still learning anyway and I don’t want to stress them out!

Last night we were up by the office visiting the rest rooms and checking the bulletin board and I ran into a couple who were just coming back from Baltimore and heading home.  We got to talking and she asked us how they were treating us in the marina and I gave her the “ambivalent” answer.  So she checked on our “condition” – that is she started asking me questions of if we needed a ride into town to get food, how was our fresh food supply, etc.

They were very nice and at the end of it she offered us some strawberries which I kept refusing to take, finally she thrust them into my wife’s hands and said, “Please take them”.  It was a very heartfelt response to us “not having fun”, completely unnecessary, but very, very sweet of her.  It’s not like we’re indigent or something.

But, they were the best strawberries I’ve ever had walking down the docks back to the boat.

So for today that leaves laundry, boat cleaning, paying the mechanic and probably one more long, hot shower today….

Mechanical Issues

Somewhere along the way I never learned anything about engines.  Well, that’s not really true, I can tell you all kinds of things about how engines work, how they function, what this or that part is and I’ve even repaired my fair share of mechanical issues.

There’s something about a diesel motor though that just is daunting to me.  In the past three hours I have learned a lot.

I learned they are simple.  I learned they don’t break easily, but if they do it’s usually something simple.  I learned that an over heating engine can be due to any number of things, but in general it’s something obvious (assuming you’re a mechanic and used to looking for obvious things that someone not practiced in diesel engines wouldn’t see anyway).

Basically, we over heated because several hoses on this machine were hastily put in, are too short, are kinked here and there, are worn because they are bouncing badly off other items, and there’s no brackets, clamps or other things to keep this chaffing from occurring.

Essentially, everything the mechanic Mike has told me I could have found, IF I knew where to look and what I was looking for.  Since I didn’t, I needed a mechanic.  He’s going to fix all the weird issues, change the oil and we ought to be underway by sometime tomorrow, assuming I don’t decide to spend one more good night to sleep since I’m exhausted for some reason.

Anyway, I’m headed back to help him some more.   He’s back with hoses, clamps and parts.

C&D Canal – Almost there

I know that most other people who cruise and blog don’t put down most of the stuff they are doing, rarely write much or they put in a vast amount of pictures. Pictures are on Facebook with friends and family right now, and I don’t have the bandwidth or time right now to upload everything to the storage site and post them.

We left Atlantic Highlands the other day and did a 24 hour run overnight and made it as far as Atlantic City, NJ/ Turns out my tach is hosed on the engine so we were running at what we thought was 2500 rpm and it wasn’t even close. I’ve been testing the engine by ear and have had it up to 6+ knots now.

We arrived at AC at 9 in the morning (we’d left at 9 the previous day). We spend the whole day and then one night there and left the next morning for Cape May.

We arrived in Cape May and came into the channel – and a few minutes after I turned the corner, grounded the boat in the mud. After talking to some locals found out the mud bank hasn’t been dredged this year and so it’s further into the channel than the charts and markers show. Go me…

We left Cape May this morning after we deliberated about the channel out on the Delaware Bay side. As it turns out, I measured the mast and came up with 54 feet from deck to top, add in the wind gear and you get 55, add in the deck top to water line and you get 58. Doh! No bridges. My measurements might be off but I doubt it. I was not going to risk our lives or the boat going under a bridge at low water and hoping it would clear by two inches. Nope. We went back out the way we came in, through the Atlantic Ocean side. Did just fine going out.

I set a course on the autohelm and following my charts around to the far side, passed the channel exit and then headed for the C&D canal.

We had NO wind except in the early morning pretty much all day. In the evening we started having engine issues again (this time the prop shaft, I think it’s not getting enough dripping going on down there….) anyway, backed off the engine speed, raised the sails and was flying at almost 6 knots without the engine (it was in neutral and idling). When we go close to where I wanted to anchor the wind was at 12 knots right from our backs.

I had a hell of a time bringing the boat around to the wind and getting the main down! It’s mast furling, not sure I like it all that well.

Maybe I don’t know what I am doing too – that could be it.

We ended up anchoring 3 miles from a nuclear power plant and two miles from the C&D entrance.

Dropped anchor in 20 feet of water. We’re holding very well, and not having any issues.

Yesterday and interesting thing happened. We got a call from a legal authority in Colorado asking about our old Dodge Shasta. It seems that the asshole I sold it too never bothered re-register it, he kept my plates (which I promptly had canceled when he didn’t return them) and it appears SOMETHING like a crime may have happened.

She wouldn’t give details and hinted that they weren’t sure a crime HAD been committed.

But let me say this, the guy was a Serbian, Russian accent, so was the wife, they had two kids and they were sketchy from the get-go. I just wanted to sell the van, he gave me what I asked for it, I signed it over and he vanished into thin air.

I’m wondering now if there was a terrorist group involved or something because I didn’t like him to begin with. They were cagey over names, places, what they were going to do and they were very quick to offer me exactly what we were asking.

Anyway, I don’t know what happened.

Tomorrow, the weather will be ok, but windy on our nose, and it’s not going to be easy to navigate through the Canal. I’m pretty anxious over this. It was bad enough grounding in Cape May…. wish me luck.

Good Night all

Weather Windows

I’ve not got a really good, paid for, type of weather application. I’m doing my weather the old fashioned way, watching it, smelling it, looking at the clouds, and reading several sites for weather information.

Everything I am seeing says we’ll have a decent weather window Monday to head south. Winds are promising to be relatively light 8-15 mph it looks like (depending on who you look at) and the winds will primarily be from the west giving us winds on the beam. Nice for us!

We spoke to two other cruisers and they are confirming what I think, one has programs (I think) and the other was using someone else’s data from a weather service (paid for). One, a lady, said she would be going over the weather tonight on her computer and figure it out.

The other said he’s leaving very early Monday morning. I think we’re also going to bail out of here as early as we can, at first light, depending on the sea conditions then.

We turned around yesterday and I felt crappy for doing it. I thought I chickened out. Turns out it was a pretty wise decision. JoAnne and I think we made the best decision for us. So did others who watched us go out and come back in, lol.

I changed several lights inside – think I mentioned this already – but I took some car head lamps, LED replacements, and rewired the sockets for the LEDs set to Bright. Made a SIGNIFICANT difference on power usage.

Right now we only have two high amp hour batteries in series. I want to add two more in parallel (the two I have in there are 6v golf cart batteries at 215 AH). If I duplicate that, and parallel them I’ll have 430 Amp hours of energy. Plus we bought a nice little generator set. So we’re ok on power for now. I still have not connected the solar panel up, but it’s on the small side. It will only supplement the generator, and not replace everything we use over a day.

I’m looking over at another boat who has a neat little wind generator. It makes a “swishhhhhhh” sound as it spins, but I think I can deal with that noise knowing it is giving us power. I need to find one that will supplement the engine alternator and generator. Once I do that, add batteries we can get the refrigeration working and have cold food in the ice box. Right now, we’re on a no-refrigeration diet, lol.

Today we got up early and took the day off. We only took the dinghy into the docks, hiked to town (about 2 miles there and 2 back), went to the grocery, hardware store and stopped for coffee and a sandwich along the waterfront.

Then we came back and JoAnne unpacked the food, marked it, put it away while I cleaned up the dinghy and put away the propane cylinders, bag and other stuff I keep in there, and cleaned up the deck, stowed lines, set up the generator and ran it for an hour to charge the system, put everything away when I was done, Not bad for a day off, huh?

For those wanting to know our location, we’re at Atlantic Highlands (still, one week today) in an anchorage near the marina. We’re about 10 or 11 NM south of NY city and can just make out the Verazano Bridge at night, and the city when it’s not hazy, at least the tall buildings.

When we leave we have to sail north, tack right and head east, go off the coast a ways (3 miles maybe) and turn south and then we have about a 100 mile trip in front of us – perhaps a 20 hour sail, unless we can hit hull speed – which I doubt.

On a good note, I got the chart plotter working again, cleaned the connectors very well and got the green corrosion off the pins. I really don’t know how to use it well, which is ok, we can read/use charts, and really it will just help verify our position and nothing more. I can use the autohelm, which I can set to a course and let the boat drive us where we’re going so I have have to tend the wheel constantly. Unfortunately, the autohelm and gps/plotter uses a bit of power, so we’ll be motor sailing on and off too, to charge batteries as necessary.

My nav lights are incandescent lamps so at some point I’ll be changing those over to LEDs when I can find something that meets Coast Guard requirements. Energy saving….

That’s all for the update for now.

Didnt get out

Last night we were on anchor, they had kicked us off the mooring ball. I don’t sleep well when not absolutely certain of our status and I wasn’t 100% sure of the anchoring last night because we got a very strong wind through here, a thunderstorm and we were rolling and pitching pretty badly.

Boats were anchored all around and while I was pretty sure my own anchor was holding, I wasn’t sure about some others. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted this morning, and so was JoAnne.

But we left anyway. In the beginning we did well, but the winds picked back up and were blowing us onto a shore. I could NOT get the boat to come away, because we weren’t making much headway in the wind. Finally, I did the prudent thing, turned the boat around and went back to the anchorage.

We’re set securely tonight.

Our next window is Monday morning.

We’ll try then,

Sandy Hook and Atlantic Highlands

JoAnne and I came in, under tow to this area last Saturday. We were at Coney Island and the engine shredded the belt. We didn’t get the engine repaired until Tuesday, late. The Mechanic was Bill Lloyd of Lloyd’s Repair. He does “house calls”, as a mobile mechanic.

Bill was helpful, showed me a lot of things, gave us some advice and did the repairs – finding the correct parts. The adjustment bracket had broken before. Was the wrong size. The belt shredded, it was too long. The pulley on the alternator was too small. The engine stop was broken as well because was previously repaired by a couple of guys with duct tape…. no more comments there.

Anyway, Bill helped to repair all of that for us. His rates were very reasonable and he was very helpful. I STRONGLY recommend him if you’re in the area and need help.

The moorings here are $50.00 a night and there are showers, a launch to pick you up and drop you off.

The launch drivers are all very nice, helpful and give you directions and advice if you need it.

We have spent the time here moving stuff around, rearranging things to be more logical and I cleaned some of the deck finally. We added more water, I’ve rowed in and out a few times to collect water and gas for the generator. I needed the upper body exercise too. Speaking of which, they were really “worried” about me at the cardiac care and rehab place. Wanted me to stay on a “few weeks”. I laughed and said I’d be getting more exercise than just walking. While I am not getting as much cardio as I’d like, I’m damned sure getting plenty of exercise now. More than I could have hoped for.

I’ve not put on a lot of weight, but I’ve put on muscles. I’m almost back to 100% of where I was prior to the heart attack. By the way, I feel good – except the aches and pains from cracking my skull, shins, elbows, knees, chin, nose, back, front, bottom and top…. lol

Last night it rained pretty good. We had left the boat opened up and went up for a beer and met with Judy and Ron of Spartina, a pretty little trimaran, sitting in the harbor here. They are leaving tomorrow morning as well and heading south. We took their advice and waited through today because of the wind shifts. It did shift out of the north last evening though and is either North or North East right now (so it’s shifting still).

We’re hoping for a good run down the coast and hope to make 5-6 knots under sail… we’ll see. Wish us luck. This will probably be my last entry for a few days until we get back in close enough for cell coverage or Wifi someplace.

For those asking… Yes we’re hams. I’m N0NJY and JoAnne is KB0IRW. We do NOT have either VHF/UHF or HF up at the moment, those were not high priorities which prepping to get the boat out of Stony Point and right now it’s not too high of a priority (though it is coming up the list of things to do pretty rapidly) so we won’t have it up unless we get into trouble, then I’ll slap something together fast (it is what I used to do for a living, emergency communications and military tactical stuff….) so not to worried at the moment.

Sometime in the very near future though, both HF will be online as will the 2meter and 440 rig.

Atlantic City is our stop in point if we can’t make Cape May. Cape May is our current destination. Delaware Bay and the C&D canal is out tentative destination on the way to Chesapeake Bay. Once in Chessie we’ll look for a place we can anchor and explore a bit. We have to get in touch with our friend Phil and get him to meet us someplace.

Also, we’ll try to meet up with Bill, the broker to helped us purchase the boat (and sell for the former owner). Hopefully we can do all of this without any more giant issues. Then, from that point on, we’re aiming for Florida to go see JoAnne’s Brother, Paul. He lives in Tampa area and whether we drive across by boat in the ICW, or by car, or have them come get us is currently up in the air.

If we have to go across by car, we’ll look for a place to store the boat for a few days and maybe get some minor work accomplished. Otherwise, we’ll try to cross the ICW through Okeechobee – which we’ve had opinions about from several people, all of which are divergent… some saying ” no problems” and others saying “don’t do it”…..

Adventure Update

Yesterday was Saturday.  We had chosen to remain at anchor in New York over near Coney Island.  Except the night before we were getting whipped around by a combination of incoming tide, a current fighting the wind, which of course was in another direction.  So getting tossed about like we were in 8 foot waves (when they were barely 1 foot high) was not on our “want list”.

I decided it prudent to move the boat to a more protected area.  And there was no wind that morning.  So I started the engine.  We moved, dropped anchor and then I went to shut down the engine.

Back up a couple of days.  On our way down the Hudson River to Nyack we’d had belt issues.  I’d fixed them, so I thought.

On the way down the Hudson from Nyack to Ross Dock Park I’d tried to stop the engine and the engine stop cable came loose down in the engine compartment, requiring me to open everything up, rather quickly actually, trace the cable, find the shut down lever and find a tool long enough to reach the switch without burning the royal crap out of myself to shut down.  I could NOT fix that easily.

Back to present.  After anchoring, I went below to shut down the engine with my screwdriver only to find the belt has shredded itself.  Terrific.

I contacted a tow and we were brought south 9 miles….. to Sandy Hook area.  Could I have sailed? Yes, but there was absolutely zero wind where I was.  Did I need a tow?  Perhaps not, but, it puts us 9 miles further south and it was free, and they helped me locate a mechanic and parts.

Mechanic showed up at 2:30 after we were on a mooring ball at Atlantic Highlands Marina ($50 bucks a night, ouch)  and worked on things.

What he discovered was; 1) the pulley on the alternator was wrong, too small.  2) The belt was too long, 2) screws, nuts, bolts were missing in various places (I suspect strongly the marina where the boat was stored did the shoddy work at this point, especially knowing about the damned duct tape used to hold the stop switch).

Bill took my alternator to replace the pulley, find the right size belt, get me part numbers and to perhaps locate a replacement and/or spare alternator adjustment bar.  He’s due back here Tuesday sometime.

We’re planning a short, 16 hour haul down the coast to Barnegat Bay with a stop someplace to drop anchor to get some rest, then on to Delaware Bay – we hope.  We plan to sail.  The Mizzen sail is horked up pretty good, and jammed.  I’ll have to work on that as we go, but we can sail like a sloop.  Assuming the mainsail works ok.  We’re going to find out.

JoAnne and I have been rather …. well, scared of trying to head south, partly due to the medical issues we’ve experienced recently, and secondarily the fact we’ve not sailed anything this large in a long time – and in fact, we have not sailed in over four years.  We’re rusty.  Jumping to a 40 footer from a 25′ sloop wasn’t too bad when we did it last time, but, we did it pretty quickly.  For instance we sailed on a weekend before we left for BVI.  It wasn’t difficult to slip back into it easily.

This time though, we have nothing to give us the confidence we had back then.

So today we were talking (and last night as well) and have decided that we just need to go.

Cold weather will be upon us before we know it – it is, after all, September.  I for one don’t like the cold any more.  Not that the stifling heat of New York has been much of a blessing either, but at least I can feel my hands when working outside.

So, if we get the engine running properly on Tuesday, early on Wednesday we are heading out.  We have rudimentary equipment, but at least the autohelm IS functional (for now, lol) so it should be easier as it acts like a third crew member.

Here in Atlantic Highlands we don’t have Wifi or even phone most of the time.  We’re struggling to get through THAT little thing too.  I’;m writing this on my Linux laptop using a built in editor so I can just post it when I can, so forgive me if it is out of order or date later on.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve scrubbed the Starboard Side of Adventure with soap and water and found a beautiful teak wood surface under the grim and dirt.  Today, I oiled the wood that I’ve cleaned and the boat is absolutely gorgeous under there.  When I have time, the To Do list has the port side listed too.  I’ll get that done.

I have a list we put together today containing around 35 jobs, big and small.  Everything from working on getting the Wifi antenna put together to pick up and give us wifi aboard (using open access points) to cleaning the oil lamp fixture, converting the incandescent bulbs to LED, wiring a charging port in the aft cabin to working on hanging things up, moving things around to get the weight lower down, and the finding of things more efficient.

Some jobs will get done soon, some will get done someday.  No priority except on things like through hulls we need to ensure are closed when we sail.

Right now, we’re relaxing a little.  JoAnne is reading, as usual, and I’m doing the blog.  Trying to get the phone to pick up 4G is infuriating here, irritating.  And there it is, there it ain’t.  Aggravating.

We stopped in at a place called “Gaslight 33“ over on 1st Street here in Atlantic Highlands.  They aren’t a microbrew, but do have a lot of different beers, even some from Colorado we found.  Heck they even had Oskar Blues beers there.  But everything here, including beer is damned expensive.  5-7 bucks a pint from New York to here thus far.  Geez.

And with that, I’m done with the update for now.

Update: 2 September 2015


JoAnne and I arrived here on the 27th intending to spend a couple of days.  Those couple of days turned into almost a week now. 

However, we enjoyed our time here and meeting new friends.  Judy and her husband Stephen of S/V Bentaña were our hosts and we met with them several times.  Stephen went way, way out of his way to help me when we arrived to get the alternator repaired and a part welded, driving me all over New Jersey to find places that might have parts. 

On our way out of the docks at Stony Point, the boat proved just how slow to respond she is and I nearly bashed into the sea wall while trying to turn.  I gave us a little too much power and the boat didn’t move at first then picked up momentum.  Slowing her down wasn’t easy either.  Lots of back thrust of course.  Missed the wall, as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 would say, “By THAT much”.

We set a course for the channel and made that in good time, though some of the markers we were looking for we never actually located. We traveled in the middle of the channel at first then moved to one side to make sure we weren’t in the way of anything. A barge passed us, then what appeared to be a crane. As we got closer I suddenly realized it was a light marker, not a crane and it was marking a huge rock formation. I was driving us on the wrote side. Doh!

After checking the chart I realized my mistake and figured out we were further along than I’d thought.

The chart plotter isn’t working and I can’t get it working as it is too old and too broke I guess.

About two miles out of Nyack, we decided to come in and pick up a mooring. The day before we’d visited there and a couple of the guys sitting there told us that we didn’t need to call in to just pick up the mooring. We did that. We knew there was a $20 per night fee and have no problem paying it, but apparently some were concerned we wouldn’t 🙂 We did later in the week.

Today is Tuesday the 2nd and we were going to leave about an hour before high tide today to head across the river to get fuel, water and a pump out of the holding tank. About 5 minutes after I started the engine, I began checking the boat and found we were over riding the mooring for some reason. I backed the engine slowly to pull us off the mooring and something didn’t sound right.

Alternator, again. This time nothing was broken but it isn’t, or wasn’t installed correctly to begin with and when I put it back in, I put it in the same way it came out. Wrong. I took it BACK out, about 30 times, and had to add washers, a longer bolt and a few new nuts and stuff to make it line up correctly. Now I know why it broke in the first place.

Of course we were about 5 minutes from high tide and it will take us 20 minutes to cross the river, and probably an hour to get water, fuel and pump out putting us on the down side of the time. Not bad except that it gets shallow over there at low tide.

Most likely we’ll try again in the morning. High tide tomorrow is later, around 1 PM so we should try to get out of here early enough to motor across, give us time to get in, out and look for engine issues.

We haven’t sailed a boat this large in almost 10 years, even though it doesn’t seem so long ago. The last time we sailed anything was four years ago, so you can imagine the concern we have. This isn’t an ocean where we won’t hit anything, or a lake we know like the backs of our hands. It’s a busy river with a lot of traffic, some rather large vessels along with a lot of speeding boats who love to leave big wakes behind themselves. We are 1.2 miles from the Tapanzee Bridge where there is massive construction, a lot of construction barges and general construction traffic taking place. We have to pass there after getting fuel. So – we’re both a bit scared to do this.

But, the truth is we know we can do it. We just have to put one foot in front of the other…. or, water beneath our keel, or something.

We have enough little issues in the boat, piddly things mostly, to keep us busy for awhile. That said, I know we invited a lot of people to visit us and we still expect visitors, but give us some time to get used to the boat, get down stream, get south, avoid hurricane season and finish cleaning up and figuring out storage problems.

Right now our vee berth has become the go-to for storage. I currently have the shore power cables, solar panels, extra sails, loose items, extra lines, ropes, buckets, clothing, extra PFDs, tools and a few other things stored in there. The forward head has become my parts locker, or at least one of them.

So…. tomorrow we will do our best to head over across the river, get some fuel and make for either the 79th Street Boat Basin, or alternatively, find our way to Gravesend to drop anchor and figure out how to sail around New Jersey to Chesapeake Bay. If I am right, the Autohelm is working (I’ll test it tomorrow anyway to be sure) then we can do an over night if we need too. The moon is still pretty full.

That’s all for now friends. Hope you’re all doing well. As always, JoAnne and I look forward to hearing from you. Write us at Adventure.Rick.JoAnne@gmail.com

Fair Winds to all!

D-Day Approaches

Folks, I first apologize for not updating this blog sooner, but the truth is I have been working steadily since the last entry on various jobs and honestly haven’t had the time, nor energy left at the end of the day to sit down and write. Plus the tablet is a royal pain in the ass to use.

Yesterday our “unlimited data” became “limited” in speed. They FAILED to tell us that after so many gigs of data they reduce the SPEED. Bastards.

But, tomorrow is Thursday, the 27th. High tide here will be at about 8:53 in the morning. I’ve prepped everything to get out of the docks in the morning. I need to top off water, disconnect the hose, electrical system and undo a few of the dock lines.

Normally, I’d have three lines, but because of the weight of the boat, the flimsy dock fingers, the fact we’re sitting at low tide in 3 feet of water, I’ve decided that the wear and tear on the lines isn’t justified so I added extra lines. We bounce pretty good when a tug or a freighter goes by a thousand yards out, and the wake comes through the sea wall…. so I’ve been worried about ripping things apart since we go in this slip.

I’ll remove the lines, all but the last couple in the morning, and I’ll set them up to slip off so JoAnne or I can do it easily and we’ll be ready to go.

Our first trip will be a relatively short trip, down river to Nyack. It’s about 15 miles or so, perhaps 3 hours away. Not far as distances or time goes, but we want to make sure we can still sail, the systems function under sail, the engine runs well, the sheets, lines, sails and all the other items work correctly,

And that we float out, not sink in the middle of the marina.

And we can still remember how to sail.

Also, there’s a hurricane that will likely, by Saturday hit the southern US. We want to not go TOO far in case we need to run back up the river and find a hidey hole for a day or two.

Sounds like Erika might head for Chesapeake…. which is precisely where we want to go. We’re not ready to try to run south and beat a hurricane coming nothing. Not yet.

Prudence….

Anyway, that’s where we stand tonight.

I’m exhausted and need rest, and so does JoAnne.

For the past few days we spent a lot of money on other things, including provisioning the boat. As long as we have water we have enough food to last about a month. Without refrigeration. Which doesn’t work.

We do have water, we have toilets, sort of and need to go do a pump out. But we have at least once bad valve in one head, which is closed off for use now until we can repair it.

We made a lot of mistakes of stuff we kept and sent home too. More on that another time.

We sent home about 50% of our belongings.

But we DID, eventually, find a spot for almost everything. I’m still messy on some things but it will work itself out.

We have NOT set up the HF rig yet.

Haven’t been able to use our printer.

Etc.

But we’re getting where the major projects are becoming smaller things now.

Soon…. we can get a few more things done.

But, one mystery to solve at a time, and each little adventure at a time.

Today, we turned in our rental car at 3pm and they brought me back to the marina. My friend, Mark showed up to visit and we had a good chat. He took some good pictures, and I’ll get him to email then so they can be posted later.

And that friends is that for the night. I’m done, tired and have to get up pretty early.

All of our best to everyone.

Living Aboard

Today is our first day.  Living aboard.

Sorta.  Had some big plans to get over here, get some stuff on the ship, JoAnne was going to arrange a few things, I was going to get the jib set up, finish working on the water pump and do a few other little jobs – but I digress since I haven’t mentioned the hell we’ve been through the last few days!

A few days ago, everything started going wrong.

We discovered bad house batteries, a bad starter battery, the water system was hosed up, the high pressure washer connections were very, very corroded, to the point of breaking parts off of them.

We met with the former own a few nights ago.  A very nice man, very helpful and sad to see his boat go – but happy I think, that we have her.

So over the last few days, I’ve been repairing this and that.  Our plan was to move aboard today.  We checked out of the hotel in Newburg and stopped at Walmart to get a starter battery, we had breakfast and were coming down here to  unload a few things.

We were excited.  As usual, I was moving too fast for JoAnne and she ended up tripping on the dock.  She landed pretty hard on the concrete and got some scrapes but the worst part was her glasses.  I couldn’t catch them and they went KERPLUNK next to the dock in three feet of murky water and a foot of mud and two feet of grasses.  I hunted for them for an hour but never got in the water.  I used a boat hook.  I was afraid I’d never get out of the muck again.

So we went to a mall over in Nyack and spent the next 4 hours (they said “Oh, just an hour!”) waiting on glasses.

Great.  We decided it was lunch time. We went to Joe’s Crab Shack.

The young lady waiting on us was Deborah.  A sweet girl with a New York accent.  We ordered our food and I asked for a substitute of cole slaw instead of fries.

I got my slaw with a side of rubber glove.  Gross.  Yuk.  Crap.  Appetite went out the door.

Deborah came over and I tried not to complain or anything, but I wanted her to let someone know.  I figured a manager would come out.  Nope.  Never did.  And in fact the young lady went to bat and ended up getting both our meals and the two beers comped.

We did, finally get JoAnne’s glasses and got back to the boat about 6pm.    I brought her to the bathroom since ours aren’t really working just yet and then we went out to dinner (since it was now several hours after the lunch fiasco.

Once we came back from dinner – no, our stove isn’t working yet, either, or more accurately, it’s not been completely checked out and isn’t yet safe to use so no cooking for us yet – we had to go out….. anyway, finally I brought down our back packs, pillows, a blanket or two, guitar and a few small things.

So, as I write this, it’s almost ten PM and she is laying on the couch area reading facebook.  I’m writing this at the table.  Below decks is a disaster.  We don’t have a bath room complete functional.  A storm is supposed to blow through tonight so I had to add an extra line to the boat and retie the dinghy off.

And we’re both physically and mentally exhausted.

But, we’re happy.  We finally, finally, seven years after thinking it up, spending those seven years planning, practicing, going through cancer for her, heart attack for me, and tripping and falling all over ourselves in everything we’ve done and tried to do – we made it.

We’re really, truly, here on OUR ship, Adventure, rocking to the waves coming in from the Hudson River, listening to some rigging making noises in the wind.

We’re here.

Tomorrow will be a new day, plenty of stuff to do, cleaning, repairs, and did I mention cleaning and repairs?

We’re supposed to leave here on the 15th sometime.  High Tide won’t be until early afternoon, so I’m not sure how that will work out.  I don’t think the marina manager wants us here for reasons I won’t go into details about right now, but we can ONLY leave at high tide and we are ONLY leaving on our terms, not theirs.  A sailboat (something they admit they know nothing about) doesn’t work like a power boat (most of what they have in this marina) so life is rough but we’re going to do this our way and the right way and not be pressured by someone who doesn’t know anything about sailboats.

Time to go topside and see what is slapping in the rigging.  I think it is the main halyard.  Gotta fix it.

Funny… it wasn’t OUR boat.  It was the rickety docks making the racket.  The wind is up about 15 mph or so, so everything is rattling in the marina.  We are the only sailboat here, riding the high tide right now and rocking like a horse ready to get out of here.  I think she wants to GO somewhere, anywhere.

Soon, very soon, we will.

Yes I am a pirate….

Because, you know I stole this….

I just want to say that even though JoAnne and I have not “truly become live aboards” we’ve definitely become (and always have been) travellers.  About a dozen of these things are already things that have happened to us.  Everything from borrowing a washer and dryer to looking for good Wifi signals. lol

How will you know when you truly become a live aboard?

If you’re living on a boat these descriptions may ring your ships bell?

  1. When staying in a house you always come down stairs backwards
  2. You find yourself bleeding from random places at random times.
  3. You and your wife define “taking a break” as moving about six feet apart and looking in opposite directions.
  4. You avoid telling people you live on a boat just so you don’t have to explain to them you actually sleep on it as well… again.
  5. You think butter only comes in soft or liquid form.
  6. You only have 3 cooking pots.
  7. When invited to dinner at someone’s house you spend all night turning unnecessary lights off.
  8. When invited to dinner at someone’s house you ask if you can do your laundry.
  9. The doctor assumes your body covered in random bruises is a sign of physical abuse.
  10. You are the only one who doesn’t want to win the big screen TV at the charity raffle.
  11. You think “Game of thrones” is something you do when two people need the toilet at once.
  12.  Kids think you’re the coolest person on earth. Adults think you have lost your marbles.
  13. When you don’t like the neighbourhood you just move.
  14. You are content knowing that sailing is code for boat repair in exotic places.
  15. You can assemble a gourmet dinner using only one pot and mouldy cheese.
  16. Doing laundry involves a net bag, a moving boat, and 50 feet of line.
  17. When asked for a piece of paper, you ask if they want course or fine.
  18. You don’t want anything for Christmas that isn’t on a Kindle.
  19. Cardboard boxes, wrappers, and packing are thrown away before getting onto the boat.
  20. You define a good anchorage as one where you can get Wi-Fi.
  21. Your wallet contains more boat cards than business cards
  22. You know what a boat card is.
  23. When visiting ashore, you wake everybody at daylight screaming “We’re aground “when you open your eyes and don’t see water.
  24. You define an easy chore as one where you don’t have to pull everything out of the locker first.
  25. You covet new solar panels more than a new car.
  26. You can identify boats by the sound of their halyard slapping against their mast.
  27. Removing things from the refrigerator is like playing Jenga.
  28. In shoe shops you go straight to the flip-flops.
  29. You accidentally put your life jacket on when you get in a car.
  30. You walk in the rain all the way back to your boat, carrying a backpack, a load of laundry,  groceries destined to fall out of their bag at any second… all while thinking how lucky you are.
  31. Filling the water tanks is a full day’s work.
  32. The only thing you do religiously on Sundays is wonder what day it is.
  33. The first thing you do after setting the anchor is to see what other boats you know.
  34.  You talk to your boat and give parts of it stupid names.
  35. You understand and pay attention to the entire weather forecast.
  36. You spend weekends sitting in your cockpit with a boat hook beside you, waiting to fend off the next holiday charter boat.
  37. Every time you consider buying something you have to decide what you’ll get rid of to make room for it.
  38. When visiting ashore you look for instructions on how to use a push button toilet.
  39. A three minute hot shower is pure indulgence.
  40. You covet your neighbour’s engine more than his wife.
  41. Ice cubes are the ultimate luxury.
  42. You have to strap a bag full of water to your boom & wait a few hours before you can take a hot shower.
  43. You’ve googled to see if there are any companies that make triangular bed sheets.
  44. You know that duct tape was invented by God.
  45. You only bring out real cups for fancy occasions.
  46. Trying to find a partner to sail away with you isn’t being romantic, it’s kidnapping.
  47. Your computer homepage is the Weather Service
  48. You’ve spent mornings standing naked on the deck of someone else’s boat, adjusting halyards, lashing lines & freezing your ass off.
  49. You have given up trying to defend your lifestyle and are content with smugly thinking…..they don’t know just what they are missing.
  50. Having sex always rocks your boat.

(stolen from “Living on a boat” at http://www.cygnus3.com/living-on-a-boat-whats-it-really-like/)

Adventure Update for August 2nd, 2015

Note: I was going to put some funny title up there, but gave up because it didn’t sound right.  So, I’ll start this with a song for you….

I’m on the highway to hell
On the highway to hell
Highway to hell
I’m on the highway to hell

AC/DC

Day 16:  New York.  If anywhere in the world can be described (besides Canning Highway in Australia where AC/DC takes the nightly road trip to the pub at the end of the road) it could be ANYWHERE in New York.

New York drivers are the most aggressive, horn blowing, tailgating, cut-you-offers I’ve ever had the pleasure of not-quite coming into contact with. Thus far anyway.  That is the “coming into contact” with part.

On the other hand, the folks in the local pubs, stores and the marinas are some of the most congenial, nicest, kindest people you’d ever want to meet.

I can’t quite reconcile the differences between the two because I KNOW for a FACT that those nice, gentle, helpful smiling people turn into road rage warriors  and screaming, name-calling Hell Spawn the instant their foot touches the gas pedal in a gasoline or diesel, four-wheeled or two-wheeled road vehicle.  I’ve not yet had the pleasure of encountering then in a boat….

However, on land I’ve been cut off, tail gated, yelled at, honked at, flipped off, passed on blind curves, passed by people in the wrong lane, wrong side, and people coming at me from the other direction with their wheels and three quarters of their vehicle where I should be!   Holy crap, I can NOT WAIT to get out of New York or at least stop driving here. haha

On the other hand, almost everyone we’ve met with a couple of limited exceptions have been nice as pie to us.  Some wanted to hear our stories or tell us theirs.  The waiters and waitresses in eating establishments, in particular Applebies have been very nice, even sweet to us.

I’m thinking of writing a new book.  I think I’ll call it “Escape from New York” minus Snake Plisskin…

We’re easily more than two weeks away from sail date.  I might have to extend the hotel stay…. ack!

We’re staying 20 miles from the marina, the hotels closer are pretty bad.  The boat is missing its batteries.  The running rigging is all hosed up, I need to figure out the winch for the anchors, and do some minor sail repair.  We have so much junk that we’re never going to get it on the boat and if we do we will be on the next episode of “Boat Hoarders Goes Redneck in New York”.

We went through the locker and stuff that the former owner left for us/  There were hundreds of items.  More than we will ever be able to put on the boat.  However, JoAnne came up with a plan to use the settee area for storage of pots and pans and bigger kitchen items in the forward seat, and all the nuts, bolts and engine parts (among other boat parts) in the forward set locker).  It’s good because it works well.  There are small spaces under the seat on the port side both forward and aft with a large tank in the middle (I have to crawl under to work out which tanks are which and I’ve not had the chance to do that yet, but I think it is a water tank).

In those areas we can store a small amount so I’ll put things we rarely need in there, and she can use her end for kitchen items we hardly use.

Yesterday we managed to spend somewhere upwards of 6000 dollars.  Batteries, rope for rigging (two kinds, 1/2″ and 3/8″), a lot of smaller items, a pig tail power connector, a dinghy and of course an engine for the dinghy.

We didn’t buy a “cheap” dinghy, we got one that should last a couple (or few) years in the Caribbean Sun Shine.  Made of hapalon, it’s a RIB-310.  But know it wasn’t the most expensive one either.  And it was an inflatable, not a hard sided sailing dinghy like I really wanted.  We just need a dinghy, and this will do the job.  We’ll get our sailing dinghy along the way, or I’ll build one eventually.

We also bought a different kind of engine.  I’m not sure how it will work out though.  It’s a 5 hp engine, and runs on propane. Yep, propane. I joined the Green Crowd yesterday.  Don’t ask me why. Some reviews were bad on it, but we learned something about the engine – that you have to bleed the air from the lines after you connect your tanks, or the engine doesn’t run well.  I’ll reserve judgement.  The tanks are the small grill tanks you can buy at Walmart (or anywhere).  There is an adaptor to connect it to a regular propane tank though.  Again, I’ll reserve judgement for the time being.

On the bright side, we’re well under our projected “Refit Budget” bu a few thousand bucks.  Now, it’s just a crap load of work.  I probably should count the hotel bill into “refit”……

We are looking at extending at the hotel until next Saturday because the majority of our parts won’t be in until this coming Thursday, 6 August.  We’re NOT sure of the batteries, but if they get in Tuesday we could move aboard Wednesday evening or Thursday.  I don’t want to move us aboard until I have the battery system back in and rewired up.

We do have a power pigtail we needed at this marina.  One of the mechanics, Erick was nice enough to Frankenstein one together for me and lend it to us for the time being.  He said he needed one for his boat and would lend it to me until mine comes in.  Thanks Eric!

I’ll rectify the problem when my part comes in (yuk yuk – that’s an electrical joke, but 90% of you won’t get it, lol)

I’ve got one halyard that is completely toast.  The outer braid came apart due to, I’m sure, chafe at the sheave at the head of the main mast.  It’s all wrinkled and fallen down on both sides.  I need to change it soon, so I don’t have to climb up there.  I’ve got to check the lighting up there too, so if they are out, I can get someone ELSE to climb up there. lol

Other running rigging is all messed up because a lot of it puddled water around the lines and caused algae to grow, not to mention most of it has been in the sun so long it’s got UV damage.  So I bought several hundred feet of each type of line so I can replace the various lines.

Now, on to the Marina.  They’ve changed names at least three times that I can determine and possibly that many in a couple of years.  The current manager is not the guy I’ve been talking to on the phone the past few months, but a new one.

Old owner is still there.

Then I find out the entire staff has changed out.

The boat was put here, I assume because it was cheaper to store on the hard than anywhere else.  I still find that difficult to believe after paying my yard bill….

The old manager was very nice, is a sailor and seemed to know sailboats, but he apparently has cancer and isn’t managing any more. though I understand he is still here at the docks on his boat.  I wish him well.

The marina itself lost 70 plus slips and boats during Sandy.  And I suspect it really screwed up the water depths here.  I’m sitting in a seven foot deep slip at the moment, during high tide.  The keel is 6’1”. So, we settle into the mud every time it is low tide.

I have been checking the dock lines and my other lines I’ve tied off to prevent the boat from leaning very far over.  I’ll probably need to swap out my dock lines in a day or so, or add some more to prevent chaffing of the lines.  The water is 3-4 feet deep at low tide and I can see the prop.

Which brings me to my next gripe.  When the old marina manager was there, he said they’d take care of the zincs, put it on my yard bill, along with the paint job, boot stripe (which I really, really wish I’d NOT done) and nothing was accomplsihed until a few days before I arrive.  A boot stripe was put on, up on the cabin….. didn’t really need it on the hull, lol.

The paint was slapped on, the intakes were gooped up with paint and none of the zincs were changed.

When they DID change the zincs it was ten minutes before splash, and they only did the two on the back of the boat.  They didn’t replace the prop zinc.  Me, being a non-expert on sailboats (yet) I asked “Where’s the shaft zinc”.

“Ain’t one”, I was told.

“I know there ain’t one, where is it?”

“Ain’t there, no place to mount one….”

They mount around the shaft like a doughnut, I didn’t know that at the time.  Figured it out later.

On the bright side, the boat is sitting in 3 feet of water at low tide, I’ve got a dinghy on the way and I can paddle my little butt around the back of the boat, install the zinc myself by putting my forearms into the water…. so I guess I’ll add that to the list of jobs.

Oh, the best part of the marina came today.  It was 70-72 degrees this morning, tide coming in making it easy to get on the boat, so we drove there.  Gates were closed at 8:30 AM.  Hmmmmm  I didn’t have a code.

I do now.  They didn’t think to give it to me…..

Tomorrow is Monday.  Won’t be a lot of people in the marina tomorrow.  Everyone went home tonight (or is leaving in the morning).  I’ll have my choice of parking spots close to the dock that goes out to my slip. If all goes well, I’ll pull the chain in the morning, determine if I need to order any and get my call into West Maine (only place in the area I can find so far) for 300 feet of chain (if I need it) or clean what I have and put it all back.  Sure wish I had some muscle guys to help me with this part…. but oh well.  30 links at a time (lifting) won’t be bad, it’s the dragging through the boat and on deck that make me cringe. lol

Ok, I think that’s the update for today.  We ate at Lynchs pub for lunch (late, 3 O’Clock-ish) and found it to be nice in the pub part, but appeared a bit dressy for the dining area.

Last part of the update.

Wednesday is 5 August.  I turn 58.  We will be married 38 years on that day.  My eldest son turns 37.  So, Happy Birthday to him, and a Very, VERY happy anniversary to my darling bride, JoAnne.

We are also meeting the former owner that evening to chat with him and have a drink, probably at Lynch’s..

Wow…. spent some money now

I wrote this long, involved post on my tablet, and the damned tablet wouldn’t let me actually publish the article.

It said it was saved as a draft.

WordPress lies.

We spent a lot of money yesterday on a dinghy, motor, ropes of various sized, new batteries and a sundry other things.

I’m not going to try to rewrite the missing post now as I’m just too tired.

The trip across country

JoAnne and I have travelled several times across country in the last 38 years. But this time we’re doing it to get to our last, new home. The ship.

As of today, starting in Colorado Springs and ending in a place called Reynoldsburg OH, we’ve travelled 1611.3 miles. That includes some side trips to Hermann, MO, a trip to Liberty, MO and some side trips around Cincinnati, OH.

We picked up some salmon over in Liberty at the Sprouts, and brought it to the Sause family for dinner one night, a side trip to a winery in Hermann to add some bottles to our collection for the boat and we had to travel back and forth in Cincy to meet up with Ryan, go to dinner, find out hotel (a couple of different times) and so forth. So the mileage isn’t all straight travel.

Tomorrow we meet up with Bob, our friend from WAYYYYY back in the White House days and his wife for dinner.

On Monday evening we hope to be in Woodbridge, VA to meet with another friend of the family, Phil at his place.

We are hoping to leave Wednesday and likely be in Stony Point NY around Thursday or Friday (taking our time, pulling a trailer, and then finding a hotel in the area… the latter being mostly likely the most difficult thing we have to accomplish, other than paying for the boat storage, painting and maintenance).

I did create a new photo storage area… if I can remember where it is, so we’ll post some images.

We have NOT taken any photos with friends. Most of them we aren’t going to post images of. Some, like me are rather reluctant to place images up, and for the protection of my friends I won’t do that 🙂 — There’s a good reason for this, which I will not explain on this blog, but suffice it to say the lot of us have had government jobs, held positions we would rather not go into details about or don’t want to have our faces all over the Internet.

Fortunately for those of you reading the blog, I’m one of those free spirits who simply doesn’t care all that much and my “enemies” know how to find me anyway 🙂

LOL

Ok, back to the regularly scheduled blogging.

Tomorrow we get to see Bob for dinner. We have not, to the best of my recollection seen him in 25 years, and JoAnne seems to think it was when we travelled from DC in 1989 moving to Colorado. That means that every time we move to a new home, we get to see Bob I think. Perhaps he and his wife will come see us on the boat next time? We shall see 🙂

The good old Ford F150 is hanging in there with 206467 miles as of tonight. The trailer is handling the trip well. I’m not so sure about my guitar which keeps getting shoved into the truck bed under the shell. It’s pretty hot so, I’m hoping it’s doing ok. I tuned it a couple of days ago and it was off a bit, but was holding it’s notes pretty decently.

Ryan – my friend Ryan whom I had never met until a couple of days ago, is an awesome young man. (I say that because I’m turning 58 in a few days and he’s significantly younger than me), He is, like we are, beer aficionados. While JoAnne and I like to make beer, Ryan likes to buy various types of beers, taste test them, and even post some reviews of various beers.

Before we left, he basically loaded us up with several bottles of various types of beers that he recommended to us. I’m currently enjoying a Bell’s Oberon, from Comstock Michigan. It’s a wheat ale, rather fruity, a little hoppy and a little spicy. Very good stuff!

JoAnne happened to run into a six pack of Root Beer…. ok, well, not really Root Beer. It’s “Not your father’s root beer” – a hard root beer, 5.9% alcohol by volume. I am NOT a fan of Root Beer, however, I tasted it and it was… very wonderful. I can see me making a hard root beet float with it, lol.

The weather, with the exception of a few night time thunderstorms through the travelling has been pretty hot. We’ve had a couple of 100 degree F days. We did have quite a storm come through in Kansas on the way to Missouri, but nothing too bad.

Let me see, what else. Wifi has been a bit of a pain in the behind a few times. We couldn’t get it on our phones more than once and even had to reset our phones a couple of times due to lack of data connections. T-Mobile said they weren’t sure what was happening, but helped me fix things. The idea of our phones is to be able to use them as a hot spot when nothing else is available.

We can’t stay in hotels forever – and we’re hoping to be to the boat by this coming weekend if not sooner.

I’ll write more in a few days.

On the Road Again….

On Thursday evening last week we received several calls about the Jeep.  The first person to show up with the money got it.

We got the full asking price we wanted from a very nice man who was an Air Force Retiree like myself.  He loved the Jeep and came in early Friday morning with the cash in hand (Friday the banks had already closed when he looked it over).

JoAnne and I had finished our packing and hooked up the trailer, and were ready to leave when he arrived.  All that remained was to give him the title, collect the cash, load our cooler and grab ice and snacks for the road – which we did.

We were finally on the road at 11:15, on 17 July.  We stopped in Salina Kansas at a Day’s Inn when we got tired.  We’d stayed in that Day’s Inn many times on the way to our normal destination (Mike and Cindy’s home in Richmond) but this was the last time we will stay there.  The clerk was rude, the place was a mess, the rooms smelled bad and the lights didn’t work in the room (most were out).  We complained but no one would listen either that night or the next morning.  They simply made excuses.  So… never again.

We arrive at Mike’s house on Saturday afternoon around 1pm.  We’ll stay here until Friday morning, when we will head out and drive to Cincinnati Ohio to visit Ryan from the Transasian Axis web site.  Ryan and I have never met, but have been friends for many years from the days when I helped run the Anomalies Network.  Ryan is the owner of http://www.transasianaxis.com site.  Yesterday he was grilling and a tornado passed right by him.  He posted a Youtube video of it.

After we depart Cincinnati we’ll head for Columbus Ohio to visit Bob (Another friend, like Mike, from our White House days in the 1980s).  Finally, we’ll stop in Virginia to visit Phil.  Another friend from the Anomalies and TAA web sites.  He’s agreed to hold on to some equipment we’ll be delivering until I can bring the ship down to Chesapeake Bay a few weeks later.

Tomorrow we drive back through Kansas City to the west side and down on 435 to visit a friend who owns a paddle wheel boat we’ll tour.  If I can, I’ll get pictures of the boat and post them here.

That’s all for now.  I’ll update in a few days.

Oh yeah, this little guy was waiting for me in the yard this morning to get his picture taken when I walked outside to go get gas in the truck.  If anyone is missing their pet bunny….. Probably not. LOL

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Rick

Retired – Finally a couple of years later than planned

We planned to retire almost two years ago, at the “end of the Five Year Plan”.  Then JoAnne was diagnosed with cancer, we had to pull the house from the market and regroup.  Which we did.  And JoAnne is doing very well today, one year later (yesterday) after ending chemo.

As you all probably know I had a heart attack on the 13th of May, went through surgery to replace a valve and have a bypass done at the same time.  The bypass was done “because we’re in there and it will cause you issues in the future”.  I didn’t want future issues.

On a tuesday about three weeks ago I saw the doctors and they released me to go back to work, and as of today I can go back to lifting weights, albeit slowly and carefully planning my training program to get my strength back in my upper body.  I went from 178 lbs down to 161 lbs at the lowest, but I never stopped walking and exercising as I could.

Last Friday was our last day at work – both of us left our jobs on the 10th of July.  Our house is sold.  Our belongings pared down to a small trailer with some tubs of kitchen items, some radio gear, personal belongings we can’t bear to part with yet and we’re ready to go.

Today I finished the paper work for our mailing address (St. Brendan’s Isle), and that will be mailed tomorrow.  Our last, and final step is selling JoAnne’s jeep.  It’s a 1999 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Edition.  She’s asking 7800 for it – KBB is listing it for our zip code at 8200.  Wish us luck.  Let us know if you’re interested 🙂  Adventure.Rick.JoAnne@gmail.com or click on the link on Craigslist!

We have nothing preventing us from leaving tomorrow (except the Jeep).  We were shooting for Wednesday this week, but might not be able to leave until Thursday or Friday assuming the Jeep is sold.  Either way… we are ready.

The bottom of the boat was painted last week, new zincs installed and a new boot stripe was put on.  I’ve asked them to stand by on commissioning the boat and splashing until we arrive – probably in about two more weeks, as we have stops to make across the country.  We plan to stop in Missouri, Ohio, and Virginia. Then off to New York we go to collect the boat, unload our junk and collect some other stuff from a storage container – all of that boat parts and such.

So here we are, 57 years old – and having worked collectively for over 80 years now… we’re done.  From now on the only work will be on our ship…. or if we run out of funds.  Which I don’t foresee any time soon.

I’ll document some of our trip.

What I won’t do is post exact locations or exact dates here.  Old security practices die hard 🙂

To my friends at the Agency, my co-workers, boss and the rest – all my best and thanks for 18 years of challenges, successes and friendships.

Here’s to the next 20 finding new challenges, new successes and new friends.

Departure

I’m hesitant to state dates and times and things like that, but my last day at work is this Friday the 10th.  JoAnne should be resigning effective that date as well.

During the next few days after we are through with work, we’ve got a few things left to accomplish like getting new tires, I’m having a problem with the truck that need’s fixing, and we’ve got to set up our medical insurance as well.

The trailer has been packed, unpacked, repacked, unpacked and repacked again.  Several times.  We keep eliminating things hoping to cut down what we’re taking.

We’re down to a few tubs of items for the galley, some navigation tools (like rulers, compasses, pens, pencils, some starting charts and cruising guides), some books and some random things we think we will need, but aren’t sure.  I’m positive once we arrive at the boat more stuff will wind up being tossed out or given away, but until we arrive, I just can’t be sure.

My tools have been gone through and I’ve tried to eliminate some, things I’m sure I won’t use.  But, I still wound up with a lot of tools.  Again, I’m sure I will get rid of more.

Sometime after the weekend, we’ll be departing.  I’ll try to document some of the trip, without every, single boring detail like where we stop for gas or to go to the bathroom, lol.

If we take cool pictures, which I am sure we will, I’ll post them here (or links to them).  I’m in the process of setting up an image hosting location so it might be a few days before that’s working.

That’s it for now.

 

Fair Winds!

Finally time?

I returned to work nearly seven weeks after a heart attack, six weeks to the day from my surgery.  I’m still on light duty, no heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, etc.  As of last Tuesday I was released from most restrictions, except the weight.

The lady who saw me said I looked wonderful and she wouldn’t have known I had a heart attack by listening to my heart, and not seeing the scar on my chest.  Which, speaking of that scar it really doesn’t look like a “zipper” because they put it all together from beneath.  In fact, the scar looks pretty decent, though it’s still a little off-putting if I have my shirt off, lol.

On Monday I told my co-workers and boss I wasn’t staying past the 10th of July.  I’ve come to the conclusion that at this time in my life (and in my wife’s life) we need to get going, we need to do this thing, we need to go sailing.  God willing, we will too.  Soon.

Right now the plan is simply to get going.  So we have a few people to see, a few things to close out, a few things to set up and a trip across country to plan.  We’ll be stopping to visit friends along the way and we plan on getting to Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and then to New York.  We have a long way to go…. and we’re doing it all with plenty of time still.

As most of you know (or might not know if you’re not sailors) hurricane season just started in June and runs through November.  We are trying to get to New York where the boat is located, commission her, change the name sign, and prepare to move to the Chesapeake Bay area.

What we hope to accomplish is to do some minor repairs, check out all the systems that have not been checked, and run the boat a few times back and forth around the Chesapeake to do our “shake down”.  Hopefully it won’t break much.

I have not checked all the navigation, radar and radio systems.  Just didn’t have time during the survey (which we were more concerned about safety of the vessel, whether the hull was in good shape, etc).  So those things I’ll be checking as we go.

We will probably spend most of August around that area, and then plan our trip south for September… of course this all depends on what JoAnne’s thoughts are, how much work the boat requires, whether we’ll have to have our sails worked on, and all the other little glitchy things that happen.

Never Give Up

Never, ever give up on your dreams.  No matter what happens.  No matter how many people tell you “Can’t do that”.  Naysayers do no service to themselves and others.  In fact, Naysayers are the direct cause of many failures in business and in life.

I say this all with the full understanding that many people believe me to be a severe pessimist in life, and to an exte t that is trueand accurate, but my pessimmism has always had a purpose.  Safey, avoiding greater dangers, avoiding a waste of time at work and ultimately protectingmyself and those whom I love.

But when you have dreams, whether they are to sail around the world  or to just go fishing on the weekend, never give up on those dreams for if you do, you re doomed to never complete your dreams.

In May I had a heart attack.

The year before, my darling wife  JoAnne was diagnosed with cancer and under went surgery, then chemo.

Weve never once given up on our dream of moving to our sailboat.

On Tuesday the doctors released me to go back to work on Monday.  They also told me that u less I had any issues, they don’t need me in again for a year.

JoAnne goes infor onemore checkup on the 2nd, and she’s having her port removed as well.  I’m considering departure in about three weeks  assuming my work accepts my resignation.  I can’t imagine them saying no at this point.

Wih all we’ve been through, it’s really time to go….

The boat should have been painted by now, with new bottom paint, boot stripe and zincs…. that means we need to arrive, unload our stuff to the boat and set sail… we’ll travel the ICW until we’re safe to head for the Caribbean after hurricane season.

Onward…. Adventure!

 

 

Update: Heart attack

I posted last I’d had a heart attack.  Since my last post a few weeks ago, I’ve undergone open heart surgery, with an aortic valve replacement and a single arterial bypass.  I’m now the proud owner of a new tissue valve, and an old vein from my leg used to do the artery bypass.

I’m going to cardio rehab on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at this point.  It will be three weeks from surgery on this coming Monday.  I’m walking about 4 miles a day, and my goal is 5.  Yesterday I got in 4.5 miles.  I’d really like to shoot for 8 weeks to be ready to head for the sailboat.  I wont be 100% but I should be building up my strength rapidly after my bone has knitted well.  Trying not to over do it, so no walk today, and because I have rehab this evening I’ll get my exercise then.  Just won’t get my 10k steps in.

Another Delay

Hi all;

Wanted to let you know what’s happening with me.  I’ve only posted normal stuff here for the past few days, but I’m sitting in the hospital.  On Wednesday on the way home from work I suffered a minor heart attack, but didnt realize thats exactly what it was.

It was minor enough they can descerne no damage in the tests I’ve had.  However, in 2012 I was diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis, narrowing of the valve between heart and aorta.  It wasnt too urgent at the time.

Today, it’s pretty urgent.

After a bunch of ultrasounds, an angiogram, blood tests and examinations it looks like I will be undergoing open heart surgery next week, probably Monday and probably not later than Wednesday.   JoAnne and I still have to discuss this, and we’re supposed to meet with one of the surgeons on the team tomorrow morning.

I wasnt going to post anything at all, but folks at work are asking about me and my coworkers were keeping it quiet so for everyone’s sake and sanity, and because I dont really have a problem with people knowing, I’m telling it here.

On the history, I was born witha bicuspid valve.  Normal people have three leaves in the aortic valve.  But people with two invariably end up in this condition.  As you age, your valves become calcified.  A person withmy condition ends up with problems intheir late 50s to early 60s.  Normal people see this kind of progrssive calcification at 70-80.  Statistically speaking, going two years without fixing the problem once you see symptoms will kill you in two or less years.

The next decision is to go with an animal valve or mechanical.  Mechanical means anti-coagulant drugs for the rest of my life.  A pig or cow valve means 10-15 years before it fails and I have to start over.  Given that we want to live on a boat, travel and enjoy what is left of our lives together, taking drugs that can make you bleed out from small injuries is simply outof the questio .

My company,  Coact, Inc, was kind enough to withdraw my resignation and retirement letter on Wednesday and for that, I am thankful.  It lets me keep my current insurance without interruption.   JoAnne’s job has also been very helpful in that respect as well.

So, we will be staying in Colorado a little bit longer.

Take care all.

Rick

House Sold; Resigning; Retirement

On the 16th of March we put our home on the market. At 1300 Mountain time on that day the house went live.  By 1430, an hour and a half later, we had four showings scheduled the first day.  Over the course of the week there were somewhere around 21 or 22 showings, there were five or six offers on the house and by Saturday we’d signed a contract.

On Thursday, 30 April 2015 we closed the deal at about 1400 local time.  We met the new owner (JoAnne had met him a couple times previously, but it was my first time).  He had some questions about the hot tub, and we eventually went over to show him how to care for it and so on.  Stopped by once for mail and met him again, and the wife showed him her garden.

Anyway, the closing went relatively smoothly.  Everything worked out for both sides.  He got a nice, completely remodeled house, we got money in the bank to fund our travels.

Yesterday morning JoAnne and I both turned in our resignation notices.  Mine to my company site program manager and her to her organization at the AFA.  It wasn’t a surprise to anyone because we’ve talked about this for so long as far as some are concerned we should have just shut up, lol.

My last day here is the 22nd of May, her’s is on the 15th.

We have some work on the truck to accomplish.  We need some front end work, new tires and the new topper should be here this week, probably later today or tomorrow.  This weekend we’re house sitting and going to go through our trailer (we’re down to a 8X4 single axle trailer) and hoping to pare down about 30% of the junk inside.  Nothing is going that we don’t need on the boat, or can’t easily replace at the other end.  We’ll take the trailer to where we’re house sitting and go through it in the barn there.

The week she takes off I’ll put the truck in for work, and drive her Jeep.

We’re going to sell the Jeep to the highest bidder after that. I also need to sell my mountain bike and my telescope.  If anyone needs a bike or a telescope, get in touch…. they aren’t cheap items though, so just be aware.

It has been raining now, pretty much for 3 days straight.  It’s appearing like it will continue through this weekend, so we’re hoping to do all our trailer work in a barn on the property we’re watching (as well as our weekly laundry) haha.

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a Face Book Group for the Transworld Formosa 41.  The folks have been very nice, and helpful as well.  Hopefully when we get to our boat we can be of more help to them than we are now, but we shall see.

With luck, the creek don’t rise and I don’t have a heart attack we should be on the road somewhere around 1-3 June.

Last note here;  Yesterday a lady here at work told me one of our former co-workers was doing the same thing.  Selling up and sailing out.  He contacted me today.  Jim M., is looking for a sailboat somewhere in the Florida area now, and his house too, is under contract.  He’s hoping to head East from Colorado sometime around July if all goes well.

I am looking forward to meeting up with him eventually down in the Florida area sometime later this year. I sent him all our contact information and spoke to him on the phone for a short time, gave him some information about what we’re doing and so on.  It is good to see others following the Dream.

And, we have had dozens of people contact us telling us that we have “inspired them”… whether they will follow their dreams, I can’t say.  I can hope though.
Fair Winds!

Rick’s Thoughts on Pirates

This is not about the sailor that hoists the Jolly Roger at the local raftup, or the Parrot Head Pirate.  This is about real, modern-day pirates.

A sailor I know (cruiser and actual “Sailor”, former Navy SEAL) posted a link to Facebook a couple of days ago and I just got around to reading about it.  The article was about a pirate attack.  Not off the coast of Aden, not East Africa, not by Somalian Pirates; but by pirates of the Caribbean.

Andy Wasinger and Loretta Reinholdt relax on the beach at Jeanette Kawas National Park shortly after being rescued from the jungle following an attack by pirates in Honduras.

Andy Wasinger and Loretta Reinholdt relax on the beach at Jeanette Kawas National Park shortly after being rescued from the jungle following an attack by pirates in Honduras. (Ciro Vladimir Navarro Umana)

A couple from Canada recently were learning to sail with a hired skipper off the coast of Honduras.  Two weeks ago, retired nurse Loretta Reinholdt, 54, and former computer programmer Andy Wasinger, 46, set off in a 17-metre hired boat with a captain, heading from Belize to the Honduran island of Roatan.  Their purpose for being there was to learn to sail.  Instead they wound up being attacked by four armed men who boarded the boat and took them hostage, threatening to kill them for money.

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“They were yelling,” said Reinholdt. “They were demanding more money. They didn’t believe we only had that amount. And the more angry they got, the more scary it was.”

“And,” she stated, “they actually had me, pulling my hair and a knife on my throat, demanding more money from the captain.”

Wasinger added: “I knew we had to comply with the pirates and not be heroes.”

The pirates then rammed the stolen boat into the shoreline of a remote beach in Jeanette Kawas National Park.

They cut the line to the main sail and tore out the engine wiring. They took the gasoline, the radio and the drinking water, leaving Reinholdt, Wasinger and the captain stranded in the jungle.

map of pirate ordeal

A map showing where the pirates grounded the couple’s sailboat in the Escondido Bay, and where the victims left SOS signals while they hid from the pirates in the jungle. (Google Earth )

The Canadian Government has put out substantial warnings about visiting Honduras.  The United States Department of State has at least one warning listed I could locate on the site:  http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/honduras-travel-warning.html

In 2014 a Canadian from Calgary was killed for his iPhone during a night on the town, bar hopping with a couple of local women.   While this did not happen on the water, the murderers are still “pirates” after a fashion.  Every country, including the US and Canada has it’s pirates.  Pirates are real.  They have no remorse or compunction about taking something from someone else, especially if they have this “perception” the victim is weaker, has money, is Rich, is Norte Americano.  Honduras, indeed many small countries in Central America, and islands in the Caribbean do not have vast sums of money to go around, and iPhones are like gold.  Many of these countries count on tourism and believe me, many of us have spent large sums on vacations in the region in the past.

Canadian Tim Vallee was shot and killed while on vacation in Honduras, October 2014.

The last time I was personally in Honduras, I was getting shot at from bad guys across the border of Nicaragua.  I seriously have no intention of revisiting that sort of environment in my life time – at least not with any deliberate consideration of doing so.  My thinking is that Americans, Canadians – and really anyone who ventures out on a sailboat into areas which have issued warnings about them are taking their lives into the hands.

The other thinking that many cruisers have is that “The world be damned, I’ll go where I wish….” and I can respect that.  I tend to think along similar lines.  But, when there are stories of “pirates” who actually attack people, your best bet is to be forewarned.  Praemonitus, praemunitus. Forewarned is forearmed.  Knowledge of the preexistence of danger in an area gives one the ability to logically determine if they wish to place themselves into a dangerous situation.

In general, most sailors I’ve met are relatively cautious individuals.  Absolutely so, the cruisers I’ve met.  They study the weather, fix broken things, watch the skies, the tides, reef before they should and so forth.  But many pooh pooh the dangers of the human animal believing that human beings are, at the heart all good people.

In my travels, not sailing, but flying from place to place, I’ve visited 50 countries.  I’ve encountered good, bad, evil and angelic people throughout the world.  No country in particular has any more of it’s bad share of people than any other.  There are concerns for places in the Middle East these days; and though I have been there in the past I won’t visit in the future.  The Caribbean has a long, storied history of Pirates.  Some countries, in particular those of a third world nature tend at having desperate people who take desperate measures, whether to feed themselves, or their children is irrelevant to me.   But, desperation at times drives good people to do bad things.

Cruisers should be wary.  They should not advertise “wealth”.  They should not wear expensive rings, and jewelry and in fact don’t even bring it to the boat with you if you can avoid it.  Leave it to your children if you’re traveling for extended periods of time, or leave it home if you’re going back soon.  Don’t flash your phone.  Wear cheap sunglasses.  Dress down, unless visiting the Port Captain of course….  separate your money.  Keep a small amount of spending cash in a pocket, anything extra hidden or plan better and don’t bring extra at all on the islands or into town.

Do common sense things; avoid people who look like they are trying to scope you out.

Finally, if you hear of, or know of attacks inform the local authorities if you can and warn other cruisers away if you can. However, don’t pass rumors, only get the facts, dates, times and exactly what you know or saw, or experienced.  Don’t repeat others’ stories as “sea stories” because they get blown out of proportion, the truth gets lost and eventually people discount what was told because it sounds just too outlandish.

For those who absolutely believe in the good in humans I wish you luck and hope and pray your beliefs hold true.

For the rest of us, there are other measures to fend off “pirates”.

Whether we have to use those methods… or die trying, is obviously, ultimately up to each of us to decide.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-couple-survives-pirate-attack-on-sailing-trip-in-honduras-1.3027545

http://www.cruiselawnews.com/2015/04/articles/crime/canadian-couple-attacked-sailing-to-roatan/

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-man-killed-in-honduras-over-iphone-1.1003267

Update:

There was one other blog entry on this subject on 6 April 2014.  This does not only affect people who are cruising sailboats, a crew member from a large cruise ship was also killed, for his iPhone as well.

http://www.cruiselawnews.com/2014/04/articles/crime/ncl-crew-member-shot-killed-in-roatan-honduras/

Begin Countdown….

Home Sale

Today is Good Friday, April 3rd, 2015. Today is “appraisal day” for the house. The buyer has an appraiser meeting with our realtor to go through the house today to see if it’s worth all this effort.

JoAnne met the buyer last week during the inspection, who indicated he was happy with the house, it was the “best” he’d seen in the price range, and he was sold on the view, deck and hot tub I believe she told me.

The inspection went well, but they found a couple of electrical items of which I was unaware. I can fix them, but he specifically requested a “licensed professional”. While I am a professional, I’m not licensed for electrical work in this state… so, no big deal. We accepted his objections and we’ll fix them, do an inspection and purchase a home warranty on the house for the next few months. Basically, the contract is still in force, and we’re moving on with it as if going to close on the designated date.

Hence the reason for this post. C-Day (Close Day) is April 30th. Twenty seven days. That gives us another week or so in the house and then we have to move out. If all goes well with the appraisal we will pack up and move.

I’m going over this afternoon to look at a small trailer in which to place a few tubs containing what’s left of our belongings. I mean “all the junk we collected over the years”. You can not believe how much stuff we gave to Good Will, threw out, passed on to the kids, neighbors and random people walking down the street, lol.

We have essentials left. Eating utensils, dishes, cups, cook ware, a small but useful propane grill, our ham radio equipment (and not much of that is left), our instruments and clothing. That is about all we have left. All of it has to fit in tubs, which then must fit inside a small trailer, which must fit in a tiny space beside my daughter’s house for the short time we will be with her.

After close, after the dust settles, after the money “is in the bank” and after we have a few days to decompress, we will set a final date, notify our respective companies of our departure and start planning our trip across country.

If everything goes well, by the end of May we should be leaving. We should be in New York at Stony Point by not later than the second week of June. If the Marina has painted and done the jobs I’ve asked for by then, we will be ready to commission the boat within a day or so of our arrival.

At that point we plan to have a short, relatively private “ceremony” to officially rename the boat, splash her and do some test sails, plan our trip down the ICW and our first 2-3 stops along the way.

That’s the general plan, everything is subject to change, there’s always a Plan B, C, D and usually E. We have learned to not set ANYTHING in concrete and be ready to improvise, adapt and overcome. So the count down begins.

Transworld Formosa 41 – Adventure

I had a rather nice surprise waiting in email yesterday (so did JoAnne). The person who runs a Facebook Owners Page for the Transworld Formosas contacted us via email and invited us to join the page (which we did). It is interesting that he had posted images of “Duna” on the FB site the very day I was writing checks, moving money and getting things in place for the purchase of said vessel.

Kurt is the owner of one of the Formosas and there are several others on the page who also have similar (not exactly alike ) vessels. I’m sure that we will all be hearing much more from one-another in the near future. If I get the chance, I’ll post some images of the various boats here.

Contact Page

By the way, the Contact Page (https://windsoftime.us/contact-page/) has been modified with a new email address for us at the boat (which may change one more time before this is over).

RV

Last notes, the Dodge Shasta RV we bought originally for the trip has become no longer necessary. We sold it last week at a loss just to remove it from the yard and give it to someone who can (and will) use it.

Free Book Day: 18 March 2015

Tomorrow my  book is free for the Kindle.  24 hours only.

Please if you get a copy, go to Amazon.com and write an honest review, go to https://rddonaldson.wordpress.com/ and post a comment somewhere under the book articles and let me know you liked it (or not, and why if not) at my contact page on the above site.

http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Survival-Communications-Skills-Aftermath-ebook/dp/B00Q3ZWRIE (Book Link)

http://windsoftime.us (this link)

https://rddonaldson.wordpress.com/ (Author’s blog and page)

http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Donaldson/e/B00Q514LD0 (Rick’s Amazon Author’s Page)

Please visit all of those if you have time, thanks a million.

Rick

John Titor: Time Traveler from 2036

Some folks know me as the Rick Donaldson from the Anomalies Network, back in the days when we had forums there.  I was the forum administrator and my friend, Olav Phillips was the site owner, archivist and all-around good guy who owned the equipment.

In late 1999 myself and some other members of the Anomalies Network frequented the Art Bell Post-to-Post forums and encountered an enigma called John Titor.  Several of us became interested in his story.  He sent information Art Bell and several of us interacted with the guy in those days, including Darby, myself, Phil F., and Pamela Moore.  With the exception of myself and Olav, I believe most folks were using aliases of some sort or another, though I have spoken to Phil, Pam and I believe Darby on the telephone myself.  We all exist.

John Titor, however, I’m not so sure about.

Eventually in late 2000 I think it was he “left”, not only taking with him his “pickup truck” and time machine, but leaving us questioning ourselves, science and whether or not he was real.

I’ve personally always been of the opinion he was a hoaxer, with some backing to set up the story.  I have questioned some of his science, and in fact, personally ripped apart a few things that came out much later from the “Titor Foundation” (or whatever they called themselves later) and in light of Darby’s discovery of Larry Haber (a Florida Lawyer who may have perpetrated or been a party to this hoax) I had written off Titor as not factual.  Some of the data I obtained later about the “Time Machine” included a lot of data about the amount of power it used, etc.

As a trained communications guy I noted some of the measurements of power use on the “manual” provided to us was somewhat sketchy.  Many of the units were “Coulombs” which is what caught my eye.  We measure power in Watts and electrical current in Amperes, and the “pressure” in Voltage.  A coulomb is a unit of measurement that takes into account a number of electrons in a storage unit such as a capacitor, and from that is derived amperes.

For instance, 1 C = 6.25 X 10^18 power electrons.  1C = 1A * 1S, or 6.25 X 10^18 power electrons moving one Amp of current in One Second.

It is never used to explain how much power is used, because mathematically it’s not directly related to an amount of current, because you need “time”, you need “voltages”, you need current flow, a completed circuit with a load (resistance) and so forth.  So, the short answer was the manual was a hoax.

Now, as to why I am writing this article today.

John Titor stated in a conversation on the Internet 15 (now plus) years ago and basically stated today (according to some interpretations of course) that today, 12 March 2015 nukes would begin falling on the USA.

Here is the exact communication, blue is the question, the bold below is his response:

You have said you will not participate in helping anyone avoid ‘death by probability’. Yet many things you have said could have caused an individual to do or not do something that will now result dying, or escaping death.


It would help if you could give an example. If you are referring to the conflict and war in your future, I’m not sure I’m specific enough to help any individuals avoid anything. Suggesting there is a war coming is a bit different than saying avoid Washington DC at 3:45 AM on March 12, 2015.

Now, if I recall (and I’m not sure I do precisely now) that was a question posed by Pamela Moore, one of our investigators at Anomalies Network, to John.  His response was somewhat cryptic and hence the reason for me stating “interpretation” above.  He did not specifically state that we would be nuked today, just mentioned that date and his way of saying this was “to avoid DC” would be different that saying a “war was coming”.  Subtle but strange.

Over the many ensuing years I’ve seen people call folks like me “Basement Dwelling Titortards” (among other things, which I laugh at) for those things aren’t true.  But what I find funniest of all is that people without an open mind, or perhaps it is imagination must deride those who investigate such things with an open mind.

Is Titor a true being?  Yes, SOMEONE posed as him.  Is his name really “John Titor”, no most likely not.  Was he a Time Traveler, almost without a doubt, he was not a time traveler.  Did I ever personally “believe in him”?  No, though I did question some of my beliefs at some point because… honestly, what is NOT possible?  In my mind, nothing.

America is going through tough times.  Our best and brightest are long retired, and those coming behind our generation are brain washed, indoctrinated people who some how believe that “Socialism” is the way to go, that “big Business” is evil, that the Russians are our friends.  Are these opinions?  No, they are facts.  The Russians aren’t out friends, never have been, Big Business isn’t evil for all the gyrations people go through to blame them for everything, and Socialism is the driving force trying to call out Capitalism in the first place.

America has not changed so much since I was a child that imagination is a bad thing to have, and our old Cold War Bogey Men never truly went away or went “straight”.  But it has changed significantly over the past 60 years…

Lenin said:

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted. –Vladimir Lenin

You tell me, honestly, be intellectually honest with yourselves now, how long has the Left/Socialists/Progressives “owned” our children and now our grandchildren.  The “seed” has been planted and is growing.  Robert Heinlein is turning over in his grave, as are the ghosts of Rod Serling, Huxley, and Bradbury, all of whom tried desperately to warn us all through Science Fiction.

Now, in your current state of intellectual honesty – what do you do about it?  Do you believe in “Titor” or our own American structure as it SHOULD have been, not has been fundamentally restructured to be today?

John Titor was a hoax, a well-built, well-considered hoax who has a lack of scientific background (which he used to advantage to disarm “disbelievers”) but he was a hoax none-the-less.  Lenin was no hoax, nor was Communism, the Soviet Union or the rise in greatness of the United States since it’s inception to the 1970s.  Since the 1970s our “Greatness” has been denigrated both from within and without, even until today with our own President himself stating “America isn’t Great” and we’re not “exceptional”.

America IS a great nation.  We’re not the Roman Empire (or the later, Holy Roman Empire).  We’re America, formed by a dispossessed people, men and women forced to live here in some cases (Blacks, Irish, Scots, Chinese, all slaves or indentured servants) and yet we strived for Freedom from an oppressive government, a Monarchy and won the day in the end.

Today, there are those who point not to the good of America, but to the bad (such as slavery) and call it “evil” (and evil it was, but it wasn’t the main cause taken up by most Americans).

Today, on the Internet hoaxes, conspiracy theories and hatred abound.  Various religions are hated more than others.  Christianity, something upon which America was founded, is treated as evil, while Islam, considered by many to be the most dangerous “War Plan” ever in existence is brought up as the “Religion of Peace”.  Lest anyone think this is a religious tirade against Islam, consider the source of the stories of Islam and the seven Crusades.  No, the Christians didn’t start those wars.  They finished them.  Yes, they went after Islam to force it back to whence it came, back to the oppressive Middle East.

Back to John Titor once more.  He was a “sign of hope” in 1999.  People wanted to believe in something imaginative, something “to be”, predicable, and for some perhaps even something to which to look forward.  But Titor was not all he promised, he wasn’t even a Time Traveler, just one more hoaxer coming through the pipes on his way to wherever waste moves when it’s done being used and becomes waste.  Titor will go down in history as a hoax.  Mark my words on that. But there was one plus coming from his story, however “made up” it was.

He wasn’t a star in which to believe.  He did, however, do one thing for many with starved imaginations.  He awakened that imagination in many and perhaps gave folks hope that somehow there was hope for a failing world.

Unfortunately, today, the world is still failing – and much, much worse, we’re failing our children with our over use of technology, cell phones, tablets, computers, taking away their imaginations, and letting them “Google” everything and BELIEVE in what they find.  We leave them in Public Schools to be further indoctrinated with “Common Core” educations where they “learn a test” rather than learn to think.  We stifle them by prosecuting them for pointing a finger and saying “BANG!” instead of knowing they will undoubtedly grow up like so many of us who looked up to the military and to our Great Country.

With that I leave you with this thought.  Do you want the government to control every aspect of your lives, to give you what they think you need, to offer you more while giving less and taking more from you?  Or do you want your children to IMAGINE, to LIVE through their imaginations?

If the your answer is the latter, then America is doomed.

If your answer is of the former, then introduce your children to READING.  History, Science Fiction, FICTION… anything except “Googling”.

For the Sake of the Children….

Basic Survival and Communications Skills – Free Book Day

Heads up friends, families, survivalists, preppers and ham radio operators, sailors and everyone.

My book will be up free on Amazon.com for the Kindle for one day only next week. Check the link on 18 March 2015 any time in that 24 hour period and you can pick it up for free.

Here’s the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Survival-Communications-Skills-Aftermath-ebook/dp/B00Q3ZWRIE/

Please do me the honor of writing a review after you read it. Thanks a million!

Here’s the Kindle Author Page as well:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00Q514LD0?_encoding=UTF8&cdPage=1&newContentID=Tx3UPV0IYKQ4K54#CustomerDiscussions

Remember that’s Wednesday, 18 March 2015 for 24 hours.

Posted on http://windsoftime.us – Sailing Blog