Saturday, January 21

Strictly Sail

Strictly Sail is a boat show in Chicago that is ALL about sailing; sailboats, sail gear and equipment, sailing seminars etc. etc.  There are no power boats, no ski boats or fishing boats….just sailboats, big and small.  Yippee.  This is supposed to be the primo sail show to attend.  So we hear.  The other awesome boat show is the Annapolis Boat Show.  Strictly Sail is 4 days of touching and feeling the gear that we have only seen in magazines and on the computer screen.  We can talk to the experts and ooh and ahh over their products and expertise.  We'll be like kids in a candy store.  And since we'll be boat owners soon enough, we will be able to see some of the products we actually need (and perhaps some that we don’t need but rather want).   This show is also all about the free seminars.  These seminars are presented by experts in the sailing and cruising community.  The very authors of the books and blogs we have been reading and researching.  We will literally be running nonstop from one seminar to the next.  There are sooo many cool topics (like cruising the Bahamas, galley essentials and weather) and sooo many not so cool, but necessary topics (like diesel maintenance, plumbing, seacocks and thru hulls).  In fact, there are so many seminars worth going to that Craig and won’t be going to the same seminars together.  I think we may have to put together an elaborate spreadsheet to keep it all straight.  Just kidding. We will have to divide and concur though.  And even still, we won’t get to them all because we have to save time to walk the floor with all the cool stuff.  Is there a point in which ones brain stops absorbing because it’s too full??

We are also taking our off shore cruising seminar while at the show (this one is not free).  It’s 9 hours jam packed with information we’ll need to know to stay safe and be comfortable.  John Neal of Mahina Expeditions will be presenting key topics like Boat Selection, Outfitting for Offshore, Piracy & Security, Communication, Medical Emergencies, Cost of Cruising, Storm Survival Tactics, Insurance, Anchoring, Rigging & Sails, Weather & Cruise Planning.   Not only that, but our very own boat broker, Pete, will be presenting as well as Jimmy Cornell (who has written many sailing books including the infamous World Cruising Routes, which we own).   

We are leaving the kids behind with a sitter and flying to Chicago on Thursday morning.  We signed up for this course months ago and have been anticipating it ever since!

Thursday, January 19

Back to the drawing board....

Or the internet rather.  Our boat deal fell through.  It’s a long, strange story that needs to be reserved for sharing over a rum drink with a little umbrella.  We will just say that the owner of the boat decided he didn’t really want to sell his boat.  We are incredibly disappointed and feel a little defeated.  However, there are lots of fish in the sea, as they say.  We will have to find another great boat.  It may take a little longer because there just isn’t much on the market right now.  

Friday, January 13

And the Work Begins....


Now that the boat buying process has begun and will take another several weeks for the boat to be  "officially" ours, we have much work to do.  We must start compiling a list.  I love lists!  I can't function without a list.  I have lists all over the place and take great satisfaction in crossing things off my lists.  Here is a list of things that need to be repaired, replaced or added to our boat:

  • Replace Knotmeter paddle (located at the bottom of the hull and records our speed through the water)
  • Replace and Reseal Through hull fittings and ports
  • Replace or Fill Broken bolt in stb hull swim ladder
  • Repair or Replace Shorepower cord
  • Replace salon starboard forward window that is cracked
  • Replace Wind generator broken blades
  • Repair Tachometers
  • Replace Port engine key switch
  • Repair or Replace Electric bilge pumps in auto mode
  • Add Fuses to all wires at Port engine start battery
  • Repair or Replace water heater 
  • Repair Starboard hull hand bilge pump
  • Repair or Replace Starboard engine alternator
  • Replace Salon GFCI outlets (2)
  • Recertify fire extinguishers
  • Add Ships Bell (USCG requirement)
  • Replace any corroded hose clamp below or close to the waterline
  • Replace kinked hose in port shower drain pump inlet hose
  • Clean out Racor fuel filter bowls and housings
  • Adjust big hose clamp on port engine muffler so it’s on the metal end fitting
  • Tune up battery terminals on both start batteries.  Replace wing nuts with regular nuts and washers.  
  • Purchase spare watermaker membrane and plenty of prefilters
  • Cap off unused hose at outlet of air conditioning circulation pump just forward of stb engine
  • Install “gravity discharge overboard valve” on stb holding tank
  • Purchase pare hanks for jib
  • Fix leak in hydraulic boom vang ram
  • Shim boom vang to mast bolts to remove excessive play
  • Replace Tides Marine Strong tack on mainsail luff 
  • Replace the missing foredeck light
  • Service winches.  Clean and grease both winches on the cabintop
  • Consider getting an AIS receiver and chartplotting software for your laptop/I-pad
  • Repair broken rivets holding stb bimini top nonskid plate to bimini frame

This is just the beginning.   We asked the seller to complete some of these tasks and Craig will do the rest.

Wednesday, January 11

We are Buying the Boat!

We have endured a whirlwind weekend in Florida poking and prodding the Manta 40 Catamaran "Emerald".  To say it was an emotional roller coaster is an understatement.  We arrived in Miami on Saturday morning, rented a car and drove to Key Largo.  Once checked into our hotel we went across the way to see "the" boat.  Of course, it was anchored out so far we couldn't see anything.  Anything, meaning, we couldn't tell what shape it was really in, only that it was in fact a catamaran.  No problem, we went back to our hotel where we asked to borrow some binoculars.  The guy behind the desk said that I could get arrested for using binoculars.  I didn't care.  I thanked him and hopped back in the car to go get a closer look.  We just couldn't get close enough, darn.  Can you say stalker!  Never-the-less, we were happy to see it there and couldn't wait to climb aboard.  It felt so surreal.
Sunday morning, we picked up Pete (our broker) and headed over to where the owner would pick us up in the dinghy.  The moment had arrived, we were shuttled out to the boat and stepped aboard.  WOW!  She was a nice boat.  We spent the next several hours talking with the owners and going through the boat with Pete.  By the way, the owners were very accommodating and we enjoyed getting to know them.  We looked inside, outside, over and under every system, every cushion, every nook and cranny.  Everything seemed to be in good order.  We had to remind ourselves that the boat was 16 years old and there was going to be things that were not perfect and would need some attention.  Some of it cosmetic and some of it essential to safety and smooth sailing.  Once we got all that out of the way, the fun part was going to happen.  We were going to sail her!  Yep, that's right, anchors away folks.  We set sail on a beautiful sunny afternoon with light winds and crystal clear water.  It never fails to surprise me how beautiful it is to see the sails go up and the wind fill them.  It only made us more giddy with excitement that we were actually going to do this.  Yet another surreal moment.  We finally left the boat 8 hours later, enjoyed dinner outside at the waters edge and hit the hay.
Monday morning came very early.  We had to meet up with our surveyor and be back at the boat at 7:30 am.  We (the owner) had to bring the boat into the boat yard at high tide, precisely at 8 am.  Things don't always go according to plan when people are working on island time, if you know what I mean.  We got the boat to the yard, and hauled it out for a complete inspection.  I told you this is like buying a house.  The inspection went as we thought it would until the surveyor said that there was moisture in the hulls!  What?  What does that mean?  I tried to act like I knew what that meant, but I sorta knew that it wasn't good.  My stomach started doing somersaults and I suddenly felt like I was going to throw up.  I promptly found Craig and whispered to him, then he whispered to Pete, who whispered to the surveyor.  Soon, we were all whispering like children spreading a rumor.  I immediately thought that was it!  We are done for.  We can't buy this boat.  My heart was broken.  Pete, with his infinite wisdom, calmed me down and said we should continue with the survey and start doing a little research.
To make a long boring story, of how the boat is made, short, we found out it is not that big of a deal.  We can fix it and definitely plan to do so.  The moisture does not compromise the integrity of the structure nor will it cost thousands of dollars to repair.  So onward and upward, we swung another 180 degrees and started feeling like this could be the boat for us.
Right now, we are waiting for some final paperwork to be complete before we go into escrow and the boat becomes ours.  Yeah!

Craig (and owner) looking a the mast

Looking at the bridge deck underbelly 

Emerald being hauled out in the travel lift sling

Tuesday, January 3

We Found a Boat!

We are happy to announce that we have found a boat.  Her name is "Emerald".  I am a little hesitant to share the news because it's not totally and completely a done deal.  However, we are going to Miami this weekend!  We leave Saturday morning.  The boat will be waiting for us in Key Largo, FL.  On Sunday we are going aboard for a thorough look, a test sail and then if all goes well, we will have a survey done on Monday.  Our heads are spinning out of control trying to get all the paperwork together.  It is a lot like buying a house and then complicated by the holidays.  You need pre-approval from the bank (if you are borrowing money - which we are - borrowing a little, as to not drain our savings).  This is a process in and of itself.  Then we also have to find insurance for the boat (which has to be offshore insurance, not just run of mill insurance).  This is more difficult than you would think because we don't actually own the boat yet, but just like a house, they want you to have it "in place" when the deal is sealed.  We are learning so much from our Broker, Pete.  He has been walking us through this process, much like a realtor would.  We are grateful to him and his vast expertise.  Below is a picture of "Emerald" underway.  She is a 40 foot Manta Catamaran.  Hopefully we will get to call her home soon!

Sunday, January 1

Happy New Year!

It's a new year and an exciting one for us.  We have 6 months until the end of school, which means we have 6 months to get the plan into action.  Now that the holidays are over, we will hit the ground running! I have to admit that we are feeling a tad bit overwhelmed with all that has to be done before we can set sail.  Here is a sampling of our to do list:
Buy a boat
Secure boat insurance
Decide where to store the boat
Figure out how to get it up to Maine
Outfit the boat (equipment necessary to live aboard - this is a long list in and of itself)
Read, read and read some more
Attend our offshore cruising course (January)
Attend the Chicago boat show (January)
Homeschool research
Lease our house
Pack up the house and move it to storage
Pack and ship items that are going with us
Store cars (or sell the cars)
Send Schroeder (the cat) to California to Grandma
Test sail over spring break (if we buy a boat before then)