Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Preparation & Anticipation

Next weekend I will enjoy birthday festivities with some great pals in the Keys. There will be swimming, sailing, adventures, drinking, and Key Lime Pie.

On Monday or Tuesday, I will begin the big cruise from Islamorada to Titusville with Alex as crew. I've been pouring over charts, anchorages, marinas, and beaches. I've charted routes both inside and outside (protected waters near shore vs. offshore where big seas can happen). There are benefits for both.

The greatest benefit for sailing outside is the fact that I would actually get to sail. Inside it's motoring all day long. Another benefit outside is that we wouldn't have to wait for all of the draw bridges to open as we cruise north. This could mean a lot of time saved.

Of course, if you're in Florida you know we've been having BIG thunderstorms nearly every afternoon over the entire state. I don't relish weathering some of those heavy winded storms offshore in big seas in my old boat.

Mapping my route has been fun. I've marked anchorages, marinas, and parks along our possible routes and want to be prepared to resupply and have fun as we journey north.

Look for updates, pictures, and videos in the coming weeks.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wing On Wing

After several days of sweat and grime in the control deck / engine room, we sailed.

Moments after the bottom was cleaned, including a propeller coated in barnacles, Tonya and I motored out of the canal.

The difference in performance was staggering. At a very low engine rpm, she glided at 4 kts. Without any smoke from the engine. Once clear of the island, I hoisted the main and cut the diesel. Next I unfurled the headsail and we shot out into the turquoise bay.

Tonya loves sailing, and is especially fond of going fast with a rail on the water, which means the boat is tilting sideways as is speeds along.

The sky was overcast but wind was excellent. We turned to sail with the wind, and I moved the jib into the Wing on Wing position. Very fun.

We briefly saw a few Atlantic bottle nose dolphins just as we came clear of the channel 5 bridge and hit a new top speed of 7.7 knots per hour.

All the hard work paid off. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

On Fear

I decided to take a few days off work during this holiday week to prepare Ms. Marisol for the impending journey north to Titusville.

I brought Fiona with me to Islamorada so she could get some time with grandparents, and sequestered myself to the humid and sweltering engine room and controls deck. This was not a pleasure cruise. I've been here for a day and not left the dock.

Everywhere wires crisscross below the cockpit hatch. I very barely squeeze into the space, which is on the starboard side of the boat, and perch on the slanting walls just beyond the transmission and diesel fuel tank. I stare at the rats nest of wires for nearly an hour and cannot make sense of them. That's when I decide to ask the Internet for help at SailNet, and reach for the 12 Volt Bible.

The electrical system is daunting. I am daunted. I need to hit the books and find a level of comfort.

Eventually I walk away and concentrate on jobs I can complete. With T Maw's help in the engine room, we replaced a broken drain in the cockpit. She was a hero for her efforts and will be mentioned by name in the ships log.

Tomorrow I plan to scrape the barnacle riddled propeller at White Marlin Beach. I may even go to the top of the mast using a new Bosun's Chair. If I do, I will take a point of view photo to share.

I received a lot of encouragement on SailNet today. It represented the best of forums and the Internet. Strangers wrote lengthy instructions and helped keep me on task. Thank you!

I lack experience but I believe I am capable and can overcome my fears to learn everything this boat will teach me. I don't really know how to overcome my inability to take things apart without knowing the outcome. I am not that person, the one who breaks and fixes devices for fun. I want things to work, the way they were designed to work.

It's a leaning process, I hope.