Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bob's newest restore project...

In my prior blog update I mentioned that my brother learned that he never wanted to buy a boat.

While we were wandering around Key West I found this new truck restoration project for him. Notice that there is an outboard motor for him to play with as well. Now he just has to get it from Key West to Ohio.

Champagne for the sailors

We arrive at about 5:00 PM eastern time and break open the Champagne. One was not enough and I had to open the second one. (Thanks Linda and Paul for the lovely Champagne!)

Furuno rocks...

As we get ready to enter the Key West channel I snapped a picture of our Furuno Chart Plotter…we have traveled for 937 miles in 6 days.

As one of our crew said earlier in the trip…the fastest way to Key West is to turn toward Houston and take a plane.

We found that the radar and chart plotter were instrumental in taking the worry out of overnight sailing. We could even track rain storms by watching which direction they traveled and sail around them. The last time we sailed this course with our friend John Hromadka we had neither and it made that trip a lot more adrenaline intensive.

Scruffy but happy

Here are the guys the day we arrived in Key West looking a bit scruffy though somehow Jerry managed to shave. My scruffy picture was edited.

Crocheting weather

The last day and night (it took 6 days to cross) were the calmest we had and I got some crocheting done. Please notice that all crew is wearing their SO Suspender lift vests and are tethered to the boat in all pictures.

Even on the easy day our motto was “Just because we are close doesn’t mean we can be stupid”.

Weather forcasts indeed

The weather forecasts we received were always a bit milder than those we actually experienced but the boat and crew were ready and able. There was never any danger but for some reason it seemed to get a bit worse as darkness came. We started to log ‘bell ringer’ waves – when the boat hit a wave hard, the fog bell installed in the cockpit would ring itself! We had many during the night and virtually none after early morning so we know it was not our imagination.

The moon was on a full cycle and came up an hour later each night. On the last night that David and I had the 8 PM to 12 AM and 4 AM to 8 AM watch (the hated one) we watched the moon rise for 15 to 20 minutes…it was beautiful.

Also because it rose late we got to see a gazillion stars and one meteor (David saw it but I had my back turned.) It was a particularly raucous night and we saw 9.3 knots (hull speed) on our meter before it was over.

Great bumpy weather

We had great (if bumpy) weather the entire way, unfortunately it was on the nose. We ended up having to motor sail 5 out of 6 days which just broke our sailor hearts. The watches we kept were 4 hours each, with two per watch over night 8 PM to 8 AM and one per watch during the day. This gave one person the ‘day’ off each day.
Sleeping was not easy and mostly done on the settee in the main salon or in the nav office.

A sailing we go – finally.

A sailing we go – finally. Need I say more? After almost 5 years of work we are doing what we intended to do all along...to go sailing.
All the work is not done but the important things are. We will have some chores left undone to keep us busy for a while in different anchorages.
Walt Whitman: 'Sail thou forth to seek and find, now voyager.' (Thanks Marty and Frank for the lovely gift.)

Dolphins wish us luck on the journey

And to wish us good luck the dolphins came by. We had a lengthy discussion about whether these were dolphins or porpoise and we wished not for the last time on the trip that we could check Google.

Now that I have the internet available, I just read a ‘Google’ article about the differences between a dolphin and a porpoise and these were probably the former versus the latter.

Out Aransas Pass to the gulf

The next morning after some important last minute chores we take off down the Inter Coastal Waterway to the Aransas Pass Cut. As we were turning to head across the gulf we had to give wide berth to an oil rig being tugged out. This was not the last one we saw on the trip but it was the only one moving…cool.

Second crew arrives and off we finally go

Our second crew arrives on Saturday March 7th (David Hayslip also a veteran sailor) and after some more chores we take off for the gas dock that afternoon.

We had originally delayed our departure until Sunday as some heavy weather had been forecast for Saturday. As it never came to fruition AND I had the forethought to check that the gas (diesel) dock was open on Sunday (it was not) we left in a hurry on Saturday throwing me into a tizzy. After fueling at House of Boats (nice folks) we were allowed to stay tied up for the evening.

Just for fun we were about 20 feet away from the fuel dock when we ran the boat aground…geeze! With the help of a wake from a power boat we were soon off and away.

The pawl bearing is retrieved

Here is the errant pawl…we took no chances and corralled it in a box. Fortunately the bearings were still in place and only needed a good cleaning.

Never use the 'e' word until the job is done...

Jerry was put to work the day after he arrived and started by cleaning and greasing winches. The one on the mast had never been cleaned or greased by us and was sorely in need of much attention. Then it was on to the ‘easy’ main sheet winches near the cockpit. Easy because they had been done before and should just need a check and a bit of grease.

WELL, beware the ‘easy’ word. The first one was done in a few minutes. When the drum of the second winch was lifted (by yours truly) all the bearing palls stuck inside the drum. No big deal until they all let loose and one of the three went into the ocean. I unsuccessfully tried to dive for it and in near tears of frustration told Mark he would have to do it as I could not (Rats!) Doesn’t he look cute in his (my) pink flippers?

Anchor chain and other deliveries...

And the anchor chain (for the second anchor) finally arrives. We have had major problems getting shipments into Rockport from our different suppliers….we have learned a lesson we hope to never need again. Things were not shipped when they were supposed to or they were shipped to the wrong address but after much angst this is our final delivery.

Lexus goes bye bye

The Lexus is sold the next day. Our last link to land and now it is on to the adventure (almost).

Crew begins to arrive

Time is growing short and our first ‘crew’ arrives. Jerry Hayslip is an veteran sailor and a wonderful friend. I picked him up at the Corpus Christi airport then dragged him around town on the last errands that needed to be run before we sold the Lexus.

Beer stroage problem solved

Beer storage has been a problem from the get go. I could find bilge space for about 2 cases (in the cardboard boxes) but given the prices in many areas it was not enough. At last I have an idea…the bilge under the table was little used after I cleaned out some stashed items. Bingo! Beer and drinks storage. I decided to unload all into grocery bags (seem to always have plenty of them) 6 at a time.

I squirreled away about 10 cases of beer, V8 and Red Bull and all thanks to Marvin as it was he who came up with the idea to mount the table underneath the floor allowing easy access to the space.

Hunt’s Castle Cocktail Hour 03

Hunt’s Castle Cocktail Hour

Hunt’s Castle Cocktail Hour 02

Hunt’s Castle Cocktail Hour

Hunt’s Castle Cocktail Hour

I promised the nice folks at Hunt’s Castle that I would have them aboard for cocktail hour after the work was done and the boat was clean.

Sewing and wine go together

When we needed to get into the ‘canvas’ locker for some snaps we also dragged out the Sailrite sewing machine….something I had not used since the dreaded windshields were completed last summer. I needed to re-stitch the canvas cover for the vinyl mast boot (keeps the water out) light duty in comparison.

David and I struggled (after he arrived) to get the mast boot in place and it was worth it as not a drop of water came through that spot.