31 October 2011

L-l-livin' th-th-the D-d-d-dream

We have SO got to get out of here!
...I betcha Milwaukee didn't have a snowstorm on Saturday.

We hired another boat yard to take care of our repair/upgrade list.  To that end, we had to do a bit of shopping, which is the only reason we were out and about in this (we don't even own clothing for this kind of weather anymore).

It wasn't all bad, though.  We did start of the day with donuts and coffee at Carlson's Donuts and Thai Kitchen--not kidding.

I never had a potato donut before...interesting concept, weird texture.  Jane reports that her apple fritter was the best one she's ever had.

The big news is that we made our first passage yesterday.  On our own, in our boat, we made the nearly 10 (statute) mile trip from our Marina on the South River to the Hartge's Yacht Yard on Tenthouse Creek.  And I'm happy to report that it was technically hitch free.  It was rather ironic having to navigate our way to the yacht yard where our gps will be installed.  One of us was sure we could manage it by going from buoy to buoy as listed on a paper chart.  The other one of us was sure that that was a recipe for disaster.  Not that we wouldn't get here eventually, but that it would be dark and even colder and we would be divorce court ready by the time we did.  We were just about to purchase a hand-held gps unit for over $500 when One of Us had an inspiration: There must be an app for that.  And sure enough, thanks to our $9.99 Navionics chart plotter and gps program for Android, it was smooth "sailing" (with only 1.9 knots at best, raising the sails would have been pointless) all the way.

On top of this victory, we managed to dock--at pilings, no less--on the first try, partly thanks to a guy who saw us coming in from his boat and ran to grab one of our lines.  Either we look amateurish even from afar, or else sailors are always just there to help. (The Slacks tell us it's the latter.)  So there we were, basking in the glory of our fledgling competence when no more than two minutes after I shut down the engines, a good quart of fuel spewed out of a through-hull in the starboard engine compartment (I'd wondered where that through-hull went to.)  I felt a little foolish opening the hatch and jumping down to see what was wrong as I was sure I wouldn't know what to look for once I got there.  But in fact I did figure it out...at least I think so.  A hose had come unclamped and the fuel was trickling out of it.  Given that it stopped gushing out of the through hull after an initial burst, I suspect it was a connection in the fuel return line (not its technical name).  I reclamped the hose, but now we have about a pint of diesel in our engine compartment bilge and the fuel system will need to be bled.  But, hey, we're in a boat yard.  No problem, well, not for me--this time.

And for our crowning achievement, we figured out how to use the propane grill.  That is to say, we figured out how to load a can of propane and get it to light.  Steak for dinner as our, may I say, well-deserved reward.

Yesterday's tiny taste of cruising has gotten us more excited about getting underway than ever.  I'm pretty sure we won't last much past Friday in these here parts.

29 October 2011

Snow in the Forecast

STILL in Annapolis...

Thanks to a combination of our reliance on the professionalism of the technician recommended to us by our broker, and his complete lack of same, we have spent nearly two weeks here and have yet to get any work done on our boat.  This now includes a new nav system, as we have decided to upgrade the one installed on Joy when we bought her.  The other items on our list have been either imposed on us by our insurance company or (a far shorter list) are things that will either make life aboard more good (like an hdtv antenna) or less bad (like a deck pump out for the holding tank--use your imagination--on second thought, don't).  However, the longer we are here in the cold, the shorter that list becomes.

At the recommendation of another cruiser (Cap, we'll let you know how it went), we have made an appointment with a different firm and we are scheduled to arrive at their yard on Sunday, sans GPS.  Well, not exactly--there is an app for that, of course.  They predict it will take two weeks to make all the repairs/upgrades we've requested.  Jane is determined to be on our way by Friday (her birthday), however, so we'll see what we end up with.  Really, as long as we have a navigational system, we can get to a boatyard further south to complete our list.

Jane getting the transom ready for "Joy"
We, did make some progress on other fronts today.  We got the name and hailing port on on the transom and the name on the starboard side.  The port side will have to wait until tomorrow as it plans to rain and/or snow today.

Kudos to Jane who pointed out that had we still been on our original schedule, we'd still be in Milwaukee, where it is colder, mostly, dreading the oncoming winter.  So all in all, this is still an upgrade in our lives (a sentiment I could enthuse more sincerely if I weren't typing with cold fingers despite sitting near our beloved space heater, which, incidentally, we cannot crank all the way up because it cuts the circuit.)

Ah, but it wouldn't be an adventure if everything went right.

More news...and hopefully joy...to follow.

25 October 2011

Congratulations, it's a Girl

This evening it dawned on me that "Joy" is our version of having a baby.  I suspect we are like that
couple who discovers they're pregnant unexpectedly. We bought and moved onto our boat before we really knew as much as we should about any aspect of cruising and like expectant parents, we reassure ourselves that there really is no perfect time and that we'd never be as prepared as we think we should.  And here she is, this boat that I love but also live in dread fear of. Every unfamiliar sound it makes might mean something that needs attention, maybe something serious.  What will I do when--not if--something breaks?  Will I figure out how to fix it myself?  Will I have to call in a specialist?  Will one be available?  Am I already remiss in taking care of her?  Is there something I should be doing that I'm not and will this have deleterious consequences in the near or distant future?  Any moment of every day something could go bad.  Eventually something will.  Sooner or later, she'll come down with something.  What then?

Oh, sure, fix it or get it fixed.  But what if we (and by "we" I really mean I) suck at it?  I thought I'd be good at home remodeling and what a hash I made of that.  What if I just can't figure anything out?

There's really only one way to do this and remain marginally sane (an aspiration I frequently hear both new and not-so-new parents utter): Learn not to expect from us more than a day's worth of good intent and honest effort each day.  So at the end of days like today, when I nearly burnt out the fresh water pump because I was preoccupied with other matters and only peripherally aware that the washer had been on the same cycle for three and and a half hours because it kept calling for the pump to send it water which the holding tanks had none left to deliver, and then later dropped the BRAND NEW tool we bought to get the old name off the boat into the river before I'd finished the job, I have to console myself with the fact that at least we didn't sink our baby, so all in all, we're doing OK.

That, fortified by a good cigar and a few shots of JD (moms and dads, don't try this at home) helped me commit to put in another day's worth of effort and intent tomorrow.  Let's see how that goes...

22 October 2011

Sailing One-oh-whatever

[Update: This post was actually written by Ean, although Jane's picture would lead you to believe otherwise.]  So we've been on our boat, our new home, our seaworthy vessel for nearly a week now.  We've pretty much figured out where our migraine strength Excedrin should go and our warm weather clothes and our cold weather gear and even the cat scratching post.  All in all, we've gone a long way into settling into our new home.
Tommy, Sail Away Catamarans

Just one major thing left to do...operate our home which is, after all, a boat.

We confess, we hadn't once turned on the engines because, despite my four-day diesel mechanics course, we were, truth be told, afraid of them.  We hadn't done a vhf check, hadn't run the generator, hadn't even raised the sails.  In short, hadn't treated the boat like a boat...until today.

Enter our awesome broker and now also equally awesome instructor, Tommy Smith of Sail Away Catamarans.      Awesome because he spent four hours with us today teaching us about the particulars of our sails and the lazy  jacks/bag that they are set in, and about our rigging (our spreader lights are really tractor headlights--who new?!) and then we took "Joy" out for a spin.

Fast forward three hours...

19 October 2011

Tuesday, but Not "a Year from Tuesday"

The rest of everything we own.
 It was anything but easy; a few things got done poorly or not at all.  but we did it.  15 weeks ahead of schedule, we are live-aboards!

...but how are we going to fit it all on?
First, we'll cut down our Tempurpedic.

checking out the boat...
checking out the dock...

"ok, mom, this was fun.  Let's go home now."

a well deserved rest
Watch our brave cats explore their new world at http://www.youtube.com/user/morejoyeverywhere?feature=mhsn

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The Monkey's Fist

09 October 2011

Boat Show(s)

We are back in Annapolis for the boat show.  Attending shortly after buying our boat was a decision we bandied about quite a bit, actually.  Would we feel we'd been too hasty in buying the one we did?  Would we come down with a case of  the dreaded "two-foot syndrome?"  Would we lose all restraint and spend untold sums on pretty things  for our baby?  On the other hand, if we weren't interested in any of the above, why go at all?  We did go, of course, because it's the largest boat show in the country and it's simply the thing to do.

On the upside, we did manage to escape without spending a cent...except for the ball cap that I bought because I pessimistically expected fouler weather and my bald pate was suffering for my presumption. I am now the somewhat sunburnt owner of an official Annapolis Boat Show ball cap with integrated cap clip.  Had it not been for that simple bit of brilliance, I would've regretted the twenty bucks I shelled out for it, but as a devotee of good design, seeing it (along with the opportunity to kick myself for not coming up with the idea), was well worth the money.

07 October 2011


Here in this very blurry photo (sorry, it was a low-light situation that my phone camera couldn't adjust to), is the "keep" pile from our four-bedroom house-worth of stuff.  Actually, only the bottom half of the stuff in this closet is ours.

Despite having a hunch that it would turn out this way, I am still amazed  by how much more stuff we had than we cared about.