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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

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!

Buying a Boat

We just were notified that the Seller of the boat we’re interest in has accepted our offer.

<faint>

Ok. I’m better now.  Time for a survey.  Surveyor is notified, will get back to me shortly with possible dates.  I’ll get back with probably flight and hotel information.

 

With luck weather won’t be horrible.  We’ll likely waive a sea trial.  Too late in the season.  Speaking to both insurance companies and the surveyor, they can do the best job on the hard anyway.  Short of ensuring the boat doesn’t sink, or masts don’t fall off in waves.  Anyway, at this point, I’ll take it. Spoke to a mechanic at the marina who worked on the boat when the boat was hauled.  Said he took care of tightening bolts, checking some hoses and clamps and then winterizing the engine and it starts and runs fine.  He was not sure of the oil changes or any of that.

I’ll personally check that stuff out.  No responses on any maintenance logs, and I doubt I will find any.

On the good side, I’ve spoken to several people who have been on this boat, seen it and even know the owner.  He gets high marks for being picky about the boat and caring for it at this point.  But thus far, I’ve seen only pictures and pictures might be worth a thousand words in the mind of Confucius, but I prefer seeing something in real life, living color.

Stay Tuned.

Headed for a Dock

Well, kind of.  We’re headed down soon to Florida to look over some boats.  Since I’m a little wary about putting travel data out I won’t say when or exactly where yet.  But we’ve got a bunch of boats lined up, one confirmed appointment and the type of boats are all falling in line with our basic requirements.

Each of the boats will be between 34-41 feet long.

Among the top choices were:

Allied Mistress (a 39′ full keeled ketch with an aft cabin)

Morgan Out Island 41 – similar to above

Hallberg-Rassy 35

Morgan 36

O’Day CC

Westsail 32

Those are our absolute top, go-to boats right now.  Among the second place was a Formosa (Actually it’s a CT 41, but based on the same designs as the Formosa 41), a couple of different Irwin models, another Hallberg-Rassy (33′), a couple of larger boats (a 45′ and a 44′) and too far away to look at, but would be on the top of the list if closer to our destination, would be two Gulfstar sloops.

We’ve been aboard a Westsail 42 in the past (if you watching the banner pictures, you’ll see the actual boat, the Kataboo eventually) – but not a 32.  We’ve clambered all OVER a Morgan 41 in the Bahamas that was for sale at one point.  The owner wanted too much money, and we didn’t want to fiddle with trying to get him to drop the price at the time.  The boat was sold later, I hear, to some folks who wanted it to move Haitians off their island, most likely, illegally.  He didn’t get anywhere near what he was asking originally.

I’m partial to a slightly smaller vessel – perhaps 35′ in length.  She is looking for something a bit larger.  We might, or might not have extra crew join us (family members) from time to time and for unknown lengths of time.  There is nothing set in concrete for that and we’re honestly not sure when this might happen, for how long or if the persons in question will do this often or not very often.

Thus we’ve been torn on buying the larger boat and ending up spending more money in repairs and maintenance, or going smaller, more budget-minded and have the extra crew “make do” with the space we allot them.  We feel like they really should come along – they are young and could be helpful, but also at the same time this is really for me and my wife, not to accommodate others.  Don’t get me wrong, we love them dearly and would welcome them.  But you know… decisions, decisions.  Oh their part and ours….

Anyway, truthfully, if we locate a boat that is 34-35 feet long and still has an aft cabin (we have a couple of those) to allow my wife and I privacy and a larger cabin area for the galley and an extra space or three for sleeping, it will be fine.

I really, really, like that Hallberg-Rassey we’re looking at.  I also really, really, really like the Allied Mistress.  Boat good boats, both of them are in our price range.  Both of them have the things already on them we want.  One is a bit much on asking price, the other has some work that is required before you can sail off.

But, we’ll figure it out.

The Broker we’re working with has told us several times to “sign a S&P” form… basically it’s an offer letter.  I don’t want to do that until I SEE boats personally, touch them, look inside, sniff around and do my own mini-survey.  Once I do that, I’ll be in a better position to determine if we’ll have a surveyor come out and do the rest of the job for us.  So – not getting pushed into making an offer on a boat sight-unseen, not buying a boat JoAnne and I both don’t have 100% agreement on, and won’t buy one that isn’t really what either of us want.  We each can veto the others final say on a vessel.

From a practical aspect this is about to be our new home.  We don’t want to live in a camper.  We don’t want to be “camping”.  We want to have some comfort, a nice place to sleep, a dry boat, places to store food, a water maker (eventually), extra power (solar panels and wind generator) and a way to move the boat without an engine (sail, sculling oars, outboard) and a dinghy.  HF radio is part of our lives now (we’re hams) and we’ll take our radio gear with us when we finally leave Colorado.

She has another doctor’s visit in October.  We’re waiting for that appointment to make the final decision on the house.  We’ll likely put it back on the market at the end of October if all works out.  If not, we’ll continue on, regroup as we have in the past and continue keeping on….

Fair Winds!