Christmas 2016

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:

  1. Make a plan (Do you want to cruise full time, or part time? Do you want to just travel the Chesapeake?)
  2. Get your skill set together as you go, every day work on it (Can you sail? Learn! Wood work? Plumbing?)
  3. Study hard, study sailing
  4. Save your money.  Spend it wisely on learning, important books you need (Use the LIBRARY, it’s FREE!)
  5. Pay your bills.  ALL Of them.  Eliminate them.  If you use a credit card, PAY it off EVERY MONTH.
  6. 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!)
  7. 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)

 

 

Dinghy for sale

Alrighty then; the dingy was sold on Friday.  

So, Winds of Change is gone, and so too now is “Small Change”.

http://cosprings.craigslist.org/boa/3731292858.html

jgjrm-3731292858@sale.craigslist.org [?]

 

Posted: 2013-04-08, 3:20PM MDT

Walker Bay 8′ dinghy / sailboat – $800 (Colorado Springs)

This boat has been used as a sailboat dinghy and for local lake sailing in Colorado as well as just rowing and sailing on the lakes.The dinghy has a full sailing ring, rudder and other equipment to sail the boat. It is also equipped with oar locks, oars and flotation (to keep the boat floating if you tip her over). The transom is set up to allow for a small (2 hp engine MAX) or an electric trolling motor for fishing. It comes with a grapnel anchor, anchor rode (nylon), bailing bucket, all the standing rigging, mast and boom for sailing. There is a home built carriage to move the boat around though it is light enough for a person to lift alone. (Weighs about 75 pounds or so). There is a dagger board for sailing. A plug for the slot when the boat is being rowed or used in a configuration other than a sailing boat. There is a cover as well.

If you need a small lightweight fishing boat, a small sailing dinghy or just want a row boat this is the boat for you. Sorry, the sailing rig, boat and all parts go together, will not separate them. The price is firm. This boat new costs $900 and the sailing rig another $900.

If you’re interested, call to speak to me at  719-310-7576  any time after 3PM on Weekdays until 7:30 PM. All day on weekends after 0800.

Do NOT Text my phone as text messages will be ignored. Contact via voice. Serious inquiries only.

  • Location: Colorado Springs
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Posting ID: 3731292858

Posted: 2013-04-08, 3:20PM MDT

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Winds of Change

The Winds of Change are blowing… nope this isn’t a political rant for or against Obama… it’s about the Sailing Vessel “Winds of Change”.

We bought her in October 2008 after making a “Five Year Plan” to learn to sail, put away a lot of money, prep our house for sale and get ready to retire early to a life of cruising aboard a sailboat. The name of the boat is from a Jimmy Buffett song, “Growing older but not up” where he the winds of time and the winds of change blowing over his head.

At our point in life we’ve decided that a lot of time has blown over our heads and we’ve been in Colorado 23 years and raised our children, most of whom are now raising their own kids or doing their own thing.  It time for my wife and I to move on. This is the longest either of us have ever lived in one place.

We both LOVE Colorado and the Mountains and the beautiful views.  But the cold is starting to get to us.  For the past five or six years it’s been getting worse and worse for my old bones.  It’s time to move on and we have the Caribbean in our sights.  The world is a strange and wonderful place, and dangerous so we’re undertaking this with full understanding how dangerous things can be, and just how much more of the world there is to see.

After visiting 49 countries myself, and JoAnne has something like a dozen under her belt now it’s time to see as much more as we can before we pass from this planet.

We’re in the last year of our five year plan and everything, so far has gone well.
It’s not only satisfying, but amazing when a “Plan comes together”.

Our sailboat, Winds of Change is for sale.

I have two or three internet Ads up for the boat.  But I’ll post some data here in case anyone reading is interested or others link here to get the data.

Macgregor Venture 25

Year: 1979
Length: 24′ 11″
Beam: 7′ 11″
Draft: 5′ 8″ with keel down, 18″ keel up (Swing keel)
Keel weight: 625 lb
Weight: 2300 lb
Engine: Evinrude 9.9 HP
Sail area: Approx 230 sq feet
2 anchors (Danforth, Hall)
100′ nylon rode per anchor, plus 30′ chain on each rode
Two burner propane stove (2010)
Porta-potty (2009)
IdaSailor kick-up rudder and tiller (2009)
Depth finder

$4000 or best offer. Please no texts to my cell, I won’t respond. If you want a good boat for the next sailing season, you’re learning or new to sailing then this is the boat you want. It served my wife and I very well for our learning phase. She’s ready for a new owner. There’s still sailing time left in Colorado this year. All pertinent information below.

 Selling so we can purchase our long term cruising boat.

The interior wood has all been replaced. Blue bottom paint, red boot stripe. Standing rigging in excellent shape. Halyards and Jib sheets replaced in 2011 along with main sheet blocks. Bow mounted anchor bracket (for Danforth). Sails are older but work fine; Mainsail and working jib. Sail bag. Whisker pole. Boat hook. There is a gin pole and block and tackle to step the mast and I will teach new owner how to step mast and set up rigging. (It’s very easy to do.)

Interior white/red lights, new bow-mounted navigation lighting. AM/FM Stereo. Depth finder. Sleeps five in drop down table berth, Vee-berth and pilot berth. Two fire extinguishers, new life jackets, two 6 gal fuel tanks, life rings (2). Trailer tie down straps and other hardware. Cockpit cushions. Heel indicator (angle of heel). Wind direction indicator on mast. Interior flotation material in place in boat. Docklines and fenders.

Galley has sink, ice box, hand pump water faucet, and 2 gallon fresh water tank and gray water tank below sink. (We normally carry a 5 gallon tank for refilling on weekend trips) Two burner propane stove, mounted in galley. I have the manual for the Macgreor 25.

Boat on trailer ready to go sailing!

Vessel registered in Colorado.

This is fair warning… if you are interested in this boat the price just went to $4000 US dollars and  I won’t lower the price again.  If you think you might want her, better get here and look.  I will donate the boat to a good cause before I will lower the price again.  The vessel is worth more than I have been asking.  But if we don’t sell the boat by the beginning of May I will DONATE it and you will lose your chance to get it.

Contact: Rick’s cell @ 719-310-7576 (3PM-7PM M-F, Anytime after 8AM Weekends until 8 PM) leave message if I don’t answer and I will return your call.

S/V Winds of Change

We’ve had several calls about our small sailboat.  She is called “Winds of Change” from a line in a Jimmy Buffett song (just as this blog is titled from the same song).

So far no one has offered to buy her.

She was the perfect training boat for us.  Not too big, trailerable, with an actual keel (swing keep) as opposed to say, a Macgregor with a water ballast.

So far everyone who has visited has have nothing but nice things to say about the boat.  Hopefully someone will buy her soon so we can go forward with the next plans! 🙂

When the fires hit Colorado Springs, ash and soot fell all over the city.  People with any sort of respiratory problems were suffering.    Smoke covered the city on several days and there were 2 lives and 346 homes lost.  Thousands of animals fled the mountains, including bears and deer moving into the city to escape.

Thousands of people were evacuated.

The FBI and Homeland security, along with the local police and county authorities are investigating this fire but are being very closed-mouthed about it so far.  We have suspicions this might have been something even worse than simple arson but for now I’ll keep that to myself as well.  I hope they catch the person that did this.  I find it strange and scary though that there wasn’t just ONE fire, but three near major urban areas of the state, not to mention the other smaller fires that were apparently set in various places of the state.

This weekend I’ll be trying to finish cleaning out the over-stuffed garage (It’s about 1/2 done).  Next week – it’s the basement.  It’s time to start looking at a truck to start filling to take junk to the dump and stuff to donate elsewhere though.

That’s it for now.