Hi everyone. Thought I’d try to get in one more blog post before the end of the year.
It’s been a long, challenging year for us. In fact, two challenging years. (I already posted a message for Christmas on Facebook, and will probably restate a few things here so if you think you’ve read it before, you might have).
In 2009 we decided to learn to sail, and eventually to become cruisers. JoAnne and I have read literally a couple of hundred books over the course of time since that day we made the decision. While all of them were helpful, some were stories, fiction, true adventure, and books about storms. All of them helped prepare us for everything we have encountered and a few things we’ve yet to (and don’t want to) encounter.
Last Christmas we were sitting in Colorado with our kids and Grandkids after JoAnne’s back injury. We thought more than once we wouldn’t get back to the boat and would have to sell her. But, things didn’t turn out like that.
We’ve traveled back and forth across the country about five times since July 2015, for medical appointments, visiting and due to injuries.
This season we moved the boat to Cole’s Point Marina, where we worked on the boat. We added solar panels, repaired the refrigeration, I had already added a new stove, refurbished the sails, repaired many little things, added a composting toilet, removed a broken electric toilet and replaced it with a Jabsco pump toilet. I’ve added strip LED lighting to the main cabin area (and will add some to the forward cabin in time, along with some new wiring I’ll pull in when I have an opportunity). We’ve eliminated a few things (not enough). We’ve picked up an inline water filter to remove the bad tastes and to take water aboard. I’ve made a water catchment device to collect rainwater, picked up a propane heater for the cabin, as well as an electric heater. We’ve worked out how to make the wood stove work properly. I’ve rewired the nav station, radio gear (neatened it all up and added a special power strip for DC radio gear. Eventually all the radio gear will be tied there). Oh, and I varnished about 80% of the woodwork aboard Adventure. I have been testing some varnish.
I certainly am missing a few jobs we did. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.
A few weeks ago we ran into some more alternator problems (which I documented) and had that repaired and discovered a LOT of other issues on the engine which we also had taken care of. During the work, I had the mechanic teach me a few things since I was paying and arm and a leg (I know why pirates have hooks and peg legs now…).
We paid up our bill here through 6th January and decided to stick out Christmas here. One of the folks sailing down from Canada we’re friends with (Rosemary and Joe, aboard “Winds of Change” were coming down and so JoAnne invited them to dinner. Turned out other boats were traveling with them. We thought two, then it was actually four boats total.
So the dinner turned into a pot luck. Then more cruisers and liveaboards near by joined into the dinner. All told, on Christmas Eve we had about 15-18 people (I never counted them up), and one boat’s couple left to visit relatives so they missed the dinner. Others joined in and everyone brought food, drink and stories.
Over all, a grand success. JoAnne was worried about putting something like that together. I’m not sure why. She has always fed an army (usually doing ALL the cooking herself, raising five children, usually having boarders in the house, and random neighbor children who ALWAYS were there for dinner almost every night). So, whatever trepidation she had vanished as she turned on her “Chef Skills” and made a giant pot of stew which likely would have fed everyone in the marina that day with a side of rice. Fortunately, there was plenty more food than we could ALL eat. Everyone brought something, from sloppy joes to stew, to small “sub sandwiches” to enchiladas and bottles of wine and rum. I was shocked at the amount and quantities. I tried a little bit of everything and had two full bowls of stew.
“Winds of Change” happens to have been the name of our first boat, our Macgregor Venture. So when we saw the name on the group, we had friended them on Facebook immediately. After all, we share a connection. The boat name, and now the Leaky Teaky boats, ours the Transworld 41 and them the Formosa 41. It was wonderful to get to meet them in person finally!
I have to say that I still like our center cockpit a bit better, though I think sailing from the aft of a sailboat this big might have a few advantages over the CC. I can’t tell you though, what those might be.
All in all, this year traveling from the Potomac in late October to here has been relatively uneventful compared to last year. Although, we have gone aground a few times, we’ve bumped some pilings, and I have some small damage on the port side where I caught a pole in the water, the engine conking out…. we haven’t really had major issues.
Yes, it was stressful coming down the ICW. I was at ease going outside and motorsailing at night, but I always worry about all the things that can “go wrong” out there. I worry for JoAnne’s safety much more than mine (because, quite honestly, I’d done some really dangerous things in my life and while the majority of them I wouldn’t want to repeat, I understood what I was doing, and knew I could die). Sailing in the ocean is one of those things.
You understand it. You know you can die. But you also, always, concentrate on the moment in time, staying alive, staying safe, staying on course, going there you’re going and knowing you have options to handle almost anything. Even, right down to closing down the hatches and doors after taking down sails and putting out a sea anchor, then hoping the boat will ride out whatever you hit. In almost all cases, a boat will do fine. It’s generally the crew who can’t handle it.
We have one issue on our boat. JoAnne isn’t really able to run the boat alone. I’m worried she will injure her back again and she has been prone to falling in the past so I won’t put her in danger. That means I tend to do everything on deck, though I have been letting her toss lines out, and put out fenders to get used to doing it again. So running a “shift” isn’t too easy, unless I set things up and let her stand watch, let the autopilot take care of things until the wind changes or we have to tack. Then she can wake me if I’m sleeping and I can do the work.
This basically means for us, sailing straight to Florida isn’t going to be easy. From here at five knots it would take us about 65 hours (give or take where we pull in). And just two of us doing it. Then we have to count on the engine from time to time to charge batteries if the sun isn’t out (solar, remember?)
Therefore we’ve come up with muliple plans to get south now. From here we are planning to sail straight down to Jacksonville area. And as we go we’ll make changes to our thinking based on the conditions we encounter and how tired we get. We’re going to try it in pieces as well. So, we’ve picked a half dozen distant spots to pull into if need be to anchor and rest. We’ve also planned part of the route inside as well.
We have many options from here, but the main goal, to “get south and to warm” is the priority. That and using the engine the least amount necessary, anchoring when we need to, and staying warm.
So as the year closes on us, we are shooting to be in Florida not later than about 3 weeks from now, whether we can move more quickly, or slowly will depend on a lot of factors including the weather and my ability to take us long distances on the boat.
To this day, I am not ready to lie down and sleep with the boat moving. So, I’m probably going to have to learn that skill next 🙂
I want to wish everyone a “belated Merry Christmas” as I’m posting this the day after.
And I want to give everyone something to consider for the New Year.
Many people make “resolutions” to accomplish or do something important in the New Year.
I made a resolution never to make resolutions a long time ago, so I don’t do that. But I do make plans, I do set goals, even if they are in my head and not written down.
For the cruisers, the dreamers and the wanna-be cruisers who’ve not quite gotten here yet, I’m going to give you a secret.
The secret to success is “perseverance”.
That is the secret ingredient to “success”.
If you have a dream to move aboard a boat and go cruising, you will have to work at it. You will have to plan. You will have to make decisions, some easy, some difficult. You will have to write your notes down. You have to learn to sail if you don’t know how. You have to work your ass off. You have to practice. You have to learn new skills. You have to travel a bit, you have to stay home a lot, you have to spend some money, and you have to save money.
With out laying out a map for you, I’ll tell you this:
- Make a plan (Do you want to cruise full time, or part time? Do you want to just travel the Chesapeake?)
- Get your skill set together as you go, every day work on it (Can you sail? Learn! Wood work? Plumbing?)
- Study hard, study sailing
- Save your money. Spend it wisely on learning, important books you need (Use the LIBRARY, it’s FREE!)
- Pay your bills. ALL Of them. Eliminate them. If you use a credit card, PAY it off EVERY MONTH.
- Have your goals written down and check them off as you go. Once you get one, check it off. (Then go back and pat yourself on the back!)
- PERSEVERE! Do NOT give up. Do it.
Adversity has a way of weighing people down, depressing them, making them believe they can never get up again and sometimes adversity will literally break your back, bones, make you sick and leave you in pain.
Pain is the one thing that tells us we’re still alive and we should be doing something else. Find a different route.
If you want to sail, do it. Start small if you have too (I didn’t, I am glad I didn’t. I started on a 30′ boat and went SMALLER to a 25′ boat for practice, and the 25;’ boat was like a part of my arm when I stepped aboard). Getting on to a bigger boat like this ketch at first will be daunting and probably stop one from sailing without a very good instructor.
I’ve been teaching myself how to sail this boat. She handles differently that a fin keel, from a sloop and from a dinghy. She handles much differently that my little Venture did. She has a mind of her own and I’ve had to learn to tame her, and make he go where I want her to go. It’s difficult to do with no books on the subject and only the meager knowledge I gained from an instructor and sailing my own sloop.
The point, though, is don’t give up. Continue. Persevere.
That, folks, is the secret to success. You just take that and apply it to your set of circumstances. YOU are the one to make it happen.
All our best for a Happy New Year – and I mean the whole of 2017.
We’ll see you in the Warm.
Rick and JoAnne
(PS I will add images into this a bit later, so check back when you have time)
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.
Somewhere along the way I got a chance to breathe and evaluate where we’re at.
Yesterday wasn’t that day though. I was finishing the kitchen counters, repainting a wall and preparing the house for going on the market. A few days ago though, I was able to, through wheezing and coughing from a horrible cold, to examine where we’ve come in six years.
Remember we had a Five Year Plan. In that plan there were certain things to accomplish and we did them all well before the five years was up. That included saving money, fixing up the house, selling things (including our sailboat, dinghy, my Jeep… I hate that I sold my Jeep so soon… but oh well, it’s just “stuff”). The plan included getting out from under debt (we did that), paid off and essentially stopped using credit cards. We moved all our accounts to a new, investment bank, and I was able to replace our hot tub (with CASH), paid off the house (ok, I still owe a few bucks, but it’s done too soon) and set up a Home Equity Line of Credit, like a revolving charge account against the house.
We used that to get some work done.
We also used it to buy our new boat.
As of a week ago, we have our Ship’s Radio License (Call sign: WDH8090), the boat is now properly registered in Delaware, the USCG paperwork was completed and we should see that soon, we have a notarized “bill of sale” until the official paperwork arrives.
So I have only one more important thing to do. Sell the house. It will be going on the market late this week or early next week. JoAnne had her 6 months check up since Chemo and she’s doing well. I’ve got a full physical scheduled for April. The boat storage is paid through the end of April at the marina.
I’ll be contacting the marina manager to arrange for a bottom paint job next week (to be accomplished when the weather is better there) and to have the name and hailing port repainted,,, then when we splash we’ll do a traditional renaming ceremony (no, I’m not superstitious, but you know, it can’t hurt right? :))
So, ladies and gentlemen, this is the home stretch for us. Or more accurately the “Selling the Home” stretch.
And before I close out, I just spoke to JoAnne. She is fine with getting the house on the market by the weekend, so I’ll shoot for next Monday to give the family members a heads up (we have a son, grand-daughterand a room-mate staying with us currently) so as not to shock them too badly, we’ll let them know tonight. I’ll contact the broker today and get him going, give him a date and see if he wants to come back by the house and look things over or not and go for it.
…Deep Breath…. JUMP IN!
I have in my hands the final closing statement on the boat.
The Transworld Formosa 41 formerly called “Duna”, now being called Adventure (and will be officially renamed in a traditional ceremony) officially belongs to JoAnne and I as of today. We’re awaiting word that the former owner has had his money transmitted to him from the broker, but at this point it’s out of our hands and in the escrow account.
USCG Documentation is being done.
I’ll be sending the paperwork to Delaware to register as soon as the title arrives (tomorrow probably).
I have one more form to send back to the broker tonight (for Maryland tax peeps, cuz, you know everyone wants all their pennies).
Other than that…. We now own a boat.
Next stop, the doctor’s office on 29th for JoAnne to have a check up and we’ll be insisting on a CT scan. After that we’ll put the house on the market and cross our fingers. We figure March to April time frame (maybe sooner, as we have people interested, we have a broker and everyone is just waiting for us to pull the trigger).
The plan after that is to go across country, visit friends, get to the boat, do some of the maintenance we need to do, paint the bottom, splash the boat and find something a few hours travel away to get to and go. Oh, and maybe sell our truck…or something. Hell, I might give it to someone. lol
Of course, it’s a couple months’ of groceries worth I suppose.
That’s where we’re at today.
Fair Winds Friends!
On Friday, 9 January 2015 I made my way through snow, ice and fog to downtown Colorado Springs. I had some issues doing my online banking.
I worked for several hours in the morning to get everything right, correct, all the T’s crossed, I’s dotted, signatures, dates and so forth.
But, the bank, God love ’em, screwed me again. Every time I’ve tried to get the accounts right, move money and keep things in an organized fashion, something weird happens. Friday, it was the final Wire Transfer I needed to make to complete the purchase of a sailboat.
Not just any sailboat, the very boat my wife and I have dreamed about for the last six years. In fact, she’s exactly the boat that has been envisioned by us both in waking daydreams and long sails in the Caribbean in our night dreams.
The old name of the boat isn’t really important any more. She’s lived her last year sitting on the hard in a marina in New York and therefore whatever she was before has been washed away by the tides. We knew her name a few weeks ago, right after I went up for the survey. JoAnne and I had discussed many things, but the name was not one of them.
In fact, as the blog is called we knew years ago we would call the boat “Winds of Time”.
When I returned from the survey I was talking to her about something and she said something about “going on an adventure”. JoAnne loves to say that when we get in the Jeep or Truck to go across country or explore something. In fact, she usually waits until the car is in drive and rolling down the hill from our home to say, “We’re on an ADVENTURE! YAY!” — or words to that effect. It’s always cute and makes me laugh.
So the thought occurred to be after seeing the boat in person that her real name had come out and not only was it NOT going to be “Winds”.
Of course, yesterday was proving to be an adventure in and of itself. Bad weather, ice, snow, fog, cold and the bank couldn’t help me fix the problem. Thus I left work a bit early, jumped in my truck and set off to slide my way from the Air Force Base to home to grab a check book, and then slide my way south and west to downtown to find the bank. Ended up parking three blocks away from the branch office (this is a large investment bank and of course, there is only one branch here; and I’m lucky it is, otherwise I’d be driving to Denver, or Kansas City or some such place).
After arriving there, the young man that helps me with account information met me in the lobby and proceeded to help me get the wire forms together and eventually, late last night I received word from the broker in Annapolis that everything was finished. The official close date is Tuesday. Monday though, we will close as everything is in place.
USCG documentation is being worked for me by a nice lady in West Virginia. The Delaware Registration will be worked in a few days when the sale is officially complete (and the lady in WV sends me the MD title to get to MD — yeah, even the paperwork has been an ADVENTURE).
Today I awaken, a few dollars poorer, but richer for a beautiful sailing vessel.
The bank got things together. I got things together. The broker got things together. The seller got things together (in fact today he delivers a pallet load of equipment to a storage locker for me, spare parts and so forth). In fact, everything finally came together late last night.
Today, JoAnne and I proudly introduce our new boat, a Formosa 41′, full keeled, heavy displacement ketch;
The picture is from a few years back, with the previous owners I believe, sailing down the Hudson River. Yep, that’s the Empire State building in the background. With a bit of luck in a few months, we’ll add our own images as we sail past Lady Liberty further down river.
Picture of the interior, looking forward. That’s a wood pellet stove on the starboard side, a kerosene lantern in the port foreground. The wood is gorgeous. The insides need a good “clean”, dusting, wiping down and perhaps some oil for some of the wood. The companionway ladder needs a bit of varnish. Most all of the teak on the outside needs work.
The bilge needs a good pressure wash, a float switch needs replacement and the majority of the running rigging, in particular the halyards should be changed out. The sails need some work, but eventually we will replace them with a new set.
The standing rigging is in good shape – but I need to get a rigger to the top to do a close up inspection of the head (change lights, and a few minor things).
Obviously things like the zincs need to be replaced, some hose clamps changed out and a couple of lights and switches are broken.
All minor maintenance issues for me.
It was negative 10 degrees when we did the survey. The boat was on the hard. We really couldn’t run the engine up but my investigation with the marina staff says the boat ran fine when they put her on land and winterized the vessel. So, all that remains is filters, oil change, some fresh diesel to make her run.
The bottom should be painted and the boot stripe put back on properly. (The bottom has been soda blasted and was smooth, no blisters and the hull is very sound).
All in all the previous owner took decent care of her. He was ready to move on (and I guess away from sailing), and we’ll be ready to move aboard and travel as soon as we sell the house this spring.
Last night we received the soft copy for the survey of the vessel we are considering. As I mentioned before, I flew out last Wednesday and then spent Thursday with the surveyor going over the boat in detail. He’d already spent a good deal of time (I’d hired him as a consultant to act as my “eyes on site” before I decided to make an offer. He reported the boat in good shape with apparently minor issues and suggested I probably would like to pursue the purchase. He also suggested a “full survey” with me present.
As it turns out, he did almost the entire survey without me, charged me a couple of hours of his time and didn’t write the actual report. What he really did was spend more than two hours and had all his notes and showed me everything wrong he’d found. The survey reflects his work on both days and is thorough in detail. Being there in person is a highly recommended experience for any potential boat purchase – in particular larger vessels like this one. I personally can recommend being present. You can ask questions and they will explain things to you. The surveyor’s purpose is to evaluate the vessel and then place an appraisal on said boat.
So – as expected the images of the problems were in the report. A basic explanation of “adequate” or “outstanding” or “critical” by each item found is there to help the boat purchaser to make their final decision.
Needless to say, my wife and I had questions of each other mostly. None of the surveyor. All said, there is little in the boat that needs repair, and that which does is something *I* can do easily with a few hours of work. My time isn’t cheap at the moment, but will be soon enough.
We signed the acceptance agreement last night about 9pm EST and sent it on to the broker.
We go to close on 7 January 2015.
Anyone interested in a 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in Colorado Springs? Let me know. We’ll be going on the market in late January to early February.