Boat Life is busy life

I just realized that the last actual post I wrote was way back in October. The last update was that I got a job to support us, and the better half followed me out. She made it here just in time for Halloween.

There hasn’t been much happening since, right? I mean, 2020 seems like a pretty chill year, right? Right? Le sigh. I guess not. So give me a second to go back to October, when the world looked a bit differently than it does today.

I’m not going to do a recap with every post, but since I haven’t posted in a while, I am going to do so on this one. My goal is to write a bit more consistently, but we’ll see how important that winds up being to me. If I don’t keep the blog posts going, than I obviously decided not to worry about it.

Let’s go back to Halloween, 2019…

Xtine got out here, just in time for Halloween. I think it was a Friday. We grabbed the dinghy, and went to Sacred Wind. I hadn’t spent much time on her, and those nights I did were pretty horrible. Bare fiberglass is not comfortable, especially with no electricity in the Florida Summer heat. We decided that while it wouldn’t be great, we could move the boat to a marina. With access to electricity, we could make it work. So while I worked that first week, she scoured Craigslist for docks, called and visited Marinas. All of this was to discover that the boat needed to come in under her own power. Technically, we could sail in, but we didn’t know anything about how to do it. So we started looking for outboards. A 4HP could probably have moved Sacred Wind. But then the realities struck. We’d have to find and install a transom motor mount, install it while on the hook, buy an outboard, install the outboard, drive to a marina, and then start making this temporary home a bit more liveable. All while I’m working full time. We decided it wasn’t really tenable. Sacred Wind wasn’t necessarily part of the plan, and the effort we would expend could be better spent moving forward with our plan. I needed internet and electricity, and while I like to think I could manage without, Xtine didn’t want to deal with me when I didn’t have A/C, Spoiler Alert: She was right.

The next Monday, she dropped me off at work, and set out finding a place for us to live with 1.5 cats (Jynx is 21, deaf, and almost toothless, so he only counts as half a cat). Tuesday, she dropped me off, and kept up her search. When she picked me up, the car was full of everything I had, everything she brought, and two pissed off cats. We left from work, and drove to our new temporary home. It was admittedly a rough start. Nemesis (the other cat), wiggled out of his crate, and took off down an alley he had never been in, before setting foot into a house that he had never been in, but should now live. Hours of searching turned up nothing, so we put some stuff out so he could smell us, and hoped for the best. Sure enough, the next morning, his little traumatized ass comes showing up all scared. So that was good.

Then it was work. Saving money, researching boats, and going about things a little bit smarter. We joined the Gulfstream Sailing Club, learned heavy weather sunfish sailing, and that’s about it. Then things started to shutdown. Still working, only remote this time. It made it a bit harder to actually look at boats, but it certainly lit a fire under my ass. I made this move because I wanted to sail. I wanted to travel slowly, and I wanted to harness some of the violence of the weather to move me around. To me, it became obvious pretty quickly that this global pandemic was going to change the face of the world. Once that realization struck, I was even more interested in taking more control of my survival. I might work on this thought a little more later, but essentially, in western civilization, we outsource a bunch of our survival. And it is freaking convenient. It’s quite nice having my food refrigerated for me at the store waiting for me to pick it up when I feel like it. But there is a certain degree of faith in the system that it requires, and I feel better taking a bit more onto myself.

So we started looking in earnest. We had a list of things we wanted, things that we thought we wanted, things that we didn’t want, and a budget. Considering I came out here with very little in the way of assets, with each passing paycheck, our budget grew a bit. This changed up some of our searches, and the outside of the cost bell curve started showing boats that seemed like they would work better. There was one boat that popped up pretty early on, but it was outside our limits, so while it existed on the list, it was low in priority. We drove down to the Keys to look at a few boats, and began to see that not all boats that are floating are capable of moving, let alone cruising to another country (even one as close as the Bahamas). It was depressing, honestly. I always try to keep in mind that the hull I have is literally the only thing allowing me to survive, and I like it. That’s not universal, though. So I learned more things to look at, more items to focus on when shopping. Our budget went up again, so we revisited the master list. Imagine our surprise when it turned out the price went down to sit comfortably within our original budget. So we went and looked at it. Only about a 15 minute drive from our sublet, which was nice.

The boat was at a Marina, where she’d been for a bit more than a year, although she had been out on a daysail about 4 times. So after an insurance survey, some negotiation with the Marina so that we could liveaboard there as we got everything ready and start developing our plan for what our life may look like moving forward, we moved forward.

A 1977 Pearson 365 Ketch. A beautiful, beamy, heavy boat. Pretty much the furthest thing we could get from an aft cabin. I knew about the common issues with this boat, and kept an eye on them. A bit of negotiation, and we got the price down even lower.

Now, I really should make a separate post for each of our projects, but the ones we’ve done so far I’ll just mention here. If I remember, I’ll come back here and link to the full post. Essentially, the boat was set up for marina life, completely dependent on shore power (which was directly wired to an outlet in the head) and extension cords. An office fridge where the gimballed stove should be, and a microwave. Quick side note.

Of every single stress inducing aspect of transitioning to a life on the water, trying to figure out how to store food and figuring out how to cook it has created more low-level stress than anything else.

So we ripped out the ice box, and installed a Whynter 12v Air Cooled fridge. This allowed us to move some things around. We got an electric pressure cooker (allow me to say that it certainly seems like all of this recent insta-pot craziness is specifically due to the fact that people have gotten very used to mediocre food, and comparatively, food cooked in a pressure cooker is slightly better than mediocre), and leaned heavily on the griddle we brought from Colorado. Both of those gadgets are going away as soon as I get a cooktop and some pots and pans (those nesting ones seem amazing). So we grabbed someone from the Sailing club, and set off on our inaugural sail. This was June 20th. We made it under one bridge, but I didn’t like the way the engine was sounding, and we turned back. As we were trying to dock, the engine died. It didn’t start again. So now comes the work of trying to figure out what was going on. I can do fine with a gas engine, but diesels were a black box to me. And trying to find someone to work on an engine of this age was proving difficult.

Eventually, we found someone, and he couldn’t get it started either. So the work began. Injector pump rebuild, new injectors, new filters. Starting it up again, and she purred. But she was also spraying water from the raw water pump. I was going to get a rebuild kit, but I wanted a spare, so I bought a new one with the intention of rebuilding the existing one whenever I get to it. This was all taking a very long time, and it was slow going. In the meantime, I started looking at a headsail. The drum on the roller furler was seized, and we had no headsail. So I found someone to troubleshoot it. He got it mostly fixed. I saw there was an alignment issue, but he fixed it. And then, my people came through. One of the other owners of a Pearson Ketch is the proprietor of Obersheimers Sailor Supply, and out of the kindness of his heart, packed up an old 150% genoa and shipped it to me.

This is getting a bit long, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to give it another once over before I post it, so let me speed through some pretty major milestones. The roller furler was spinning freely, and I had a sail on it. I didn’t plan it this way, but August 20th, exactly two months from when we turned back at the second bridge, we tried again.

It’s a process, but we’re making progress. We’re getting more confident in our boat and in our skills. First time we went out (when we turned back) looked like this.

The next time we went out (our first), it looked more like this.

I’m still a Low Sodium Sailor, but we’ve put 65.7 nautical miles under the keel, of which I’d say about 35 – 40 was under sail (it’s about 5 miles from the Marina to Port Everglades.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *