Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas "Dummie"

Merry Christmas everyone. We hope you are having a safe and wonderful holiday with your family and friends. We are lucky this year because we get to see almost our entire family. One kid home from college, one from Ohio and one from Minnesota. Brenda's sister Karen and husband Peter drove all the way from central Alabama. Mike's sister Kim and her husband Roy came from Arkansas. Mike's younger sister Lisa and her husband Mike from Wisconsin and some nephews and nieces to boot. Our family is small these days, but we sure are spread out across the country.

So what did we get for Christmas you ask? As we posted earlier, we ordered a new 115 headsail for Wrinkles as a gift to each other. Santa gave Brenda a book on galley cooking. We received a Sodastream soda maker from the kids and two coastal self-inflating life vests from Karen and Peter.

Brenda also gave me a book on fishing which is appropriately titled, "Fishing For Dummies". Apparently my meager efforts at fishing the past two years didn't impress her. Gee, I've caught two entire fish in just two years of fishing. I'd considered that well above the "dummie" level.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Southern Wisconsin certainly looks like Christmas today. We have already received 11" of snow with no signs of it letting up. The weatherman says up to 18" is expected. Combine this with 30 to 35 mph winds and you have quite the winter storm.

Today we are enjoying having our college age son Matt and his girlfriend stranded at our house. We have the house all decorated, Christmas tree lit, Christmas music playing, Brenda and Kelly baking cookies and the coffee smells great. Other than having to snowblow our long, long country driveway, this is the way holidays are supposed to feel.

We hope you take time to slow down and relish the holidays. It can be a special time of year.

Mike and B


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Headsail Ordered

B and I ordered our Christmas/birthday/anniversary present. A brand new headsail for Wrinkles. This past summer we replaced the mainsail which was in pretty sad shape. After seeing how much difference that sail made in the handling of our 23 we knew we would soon be replacing the headsail.

We shopped around and asked for input from the Com-Pac Owners site members on suppliers for the mainsail. In the end we felt that FX Sails was the best option for us. The sail arrived on time as promised and met all our expectations. So when we decided it was time to add a new headsail we knew FX Sails was the place to go. We ordered a 115 which is setup for a CDI FF2 furler. The sacrificial is going to be Royal Blue to match the hull color.

Wrinkles is going to look pretty spiffy next spring with her new sails on. We're betting she will be more fun to sail as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

10,000th View

How cool is that! We will pass the 10,000 view threshold this week. Our ramblings and idiocy have actually been seen by quite a few people this year. It has been fun to relate our mistakes, triumphs, learning and love for all things sailing.

We hope that you have found our posts interesting, informative, educational....... Who are we kidding? Hopefully you at least enjoyed an occasional chuckle at our goofiness.

We hope you continue to follow along as we progress toward a cruising sabbatical. We feel we are becoming sailors and look forward to all the new things we will experience and learn in the next couple of years.

Join us on the rest of our journey.

Mike and Brenda

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I kinda won the lottery?

Brenda's ingenious plan for a quick retirement via winning the lottery was a complete and total failure. We still had to go to work on 12/13. The good news is that we went to the Cheeseburger In Paradise restaurant/bar with three couples we have known forever to celebrate my 55th. Good food, great drinks, laughter and friends made for a wonderful evening.

Front L to R Penny, Mike, Brenda, Joni

Back L to R Scott, Jim, Trish, Mike (Doc)

I said I kinda won the lottery in the title and I really did win. My reputation preceded me and I was gifted a bottle of Drambuie. No wait for it.......TWO bottles of Drambuie. Sweet! I did win the lottery!

My sailing buddy Jim even sat down at his industrial sewing machine and made up a custom bag for my Drambuie bottle. I have to be the only guy in the country with a handmade, sailing themed, Drambuie shaped storage bag.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 Big Spender!

Brenda told me that with my birthday falling on such a cool date that I had to buy a lottery ticket. What!!!! My wife telling me to throw money away on gambling is not what I have come to expect from her. You have to understand that as a couple we have gambled a total of maybe $100.00 bucks in our lives. We're just not big gamblers at heart.

So today as I turn 55 (GADZOOKS!), I plan on becoming rich when all my numbers are drawn. Oh well. I've wasted $20 on stupider things. Take sailing for example...........

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How much would it take?

The weather is turning cold, so while we are snuggled on the couch, we have paper, pencil and calculator ready.  If we sell the house, what will we be able to afford?  Can we take a sabbatical and sail to points south?

As most of you know, we plan to sell up and sail for one to two years. After cruising we would settle down in the Gulf Shores, Alabama area to work and play.  Great plan if we can figure out how to pay for it.   We thought it would be a good motivator to look at our assets and debts to see if the plan was feasible.  So, how does it look?  Well, let's say it is doable.  The depressed real estate markets have certainly set us back, but at the same time we aren't getting any younger.  We don't want to look back in 10-15 years and say, "I wish we would have ....."

The good news is that there are a lot of good bluewater sailboats out there going at very low prices.  The plan is to look for one of the boats on our short list (see our Short List page) and get acquainted with it in Alabama.  Once we are satisfied it is cruise ready, we will point her south and see where we end up.

It's exciting to think about.  It's scary too.

As Mark Twain so eloquently wrote, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do.  So throw off the bow lines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas wish list

Oh baby could we write up a whopper!

We received an email from Brenda's sister and her husband yesterday asking for hints on what we would like for Wrinkles this Christmas. To be honest we didn't have much of a wish list (other than dreaming about a new headsail) since this fall has been a bit expensive. Weddings and college tuition seem to strain our meager income, so wishing for sailing goodies seemed out of the question. It was fun to think about what we would add to Wrinkles in 2013 if money wasn't a concern.

Our headsail is pretty sad and that is number one on our list. Unfortunately it is also big bucks.

Auto/manual inflate Coastal Life Vests. We have the typical life vests that every recreational boater has aboard and don't wear them as often as we should. We believe that the less cumbersome inflatables would encourage us to wear them more often.

Nicro Vent or similar. The cabin vent doesn't function anymore and the cover is cracked.

New galvanized chain to replace the well used 20' section on our anchor rode.

Well, you get the idea. We could write up a list that Santa would guffaw at and return to sender. Still, it is fun to dream.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"By the board"

To go by the board is to go over the side of a ship. So, if your old wooden mast came down and you cut it loose to float away, "It went by the board." Nowadays it is a pair of those overpriced sunglasses that goes by the board.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Annual To-Do List

Anyone who has ever owned a boat knows that they require constant repairs. Wind, water, sun, docking miscues and other operator errors all plot to keep the To-Do list growing. Add to that the owner's wish list of improvements and upgrades and you have a work list that runs off the first page.

The first items we put on our To-Do list are ALL the jobs from the previous list that we never got around to. You just have to remember that the list will never come to an actual end. It just keeps regenerating itself. So carry over items are just a fact of life in boat maintenance. Two years ago our To-Do list was so long that we assigned a priority level to each item. 'A' for high priority, 'B' for medium priority, 'C' for really don't need to do this but it is pretty cool and I'll probably do it first.

Last winter when we adopted Wrinkles, we once again had a pretty good sized To-Do list. She had been in a slip in Florida since she was new (1988) and the lines, fabric and wood all needed upgrading. Here is a copy of the list we put together at that time.

Com-Pac 23/3 To-Do List

Mast raising system DONE

Straps on bimini DONE

Throw pillows

Replace halyards. DONE

Add battery DONE

Wind vane DONE

Mast light DONE

Sew jib sacrificial

Outboard DONE

Varnish wood DONE

Rope organizer

Lunch anchor mount

iPad mount

Stove works?

V-berth cushion and sheets DONE

Cooler sized to fit under v-berth DONE

Porta-potty DONE

Interior wood cleaning DONE

Winch lube DONE


Order Wrinkles logo and hull #'s INSTALLED

Ladder steps(add wood) DONE

Depth sensor DONE

Add fourth posts to bunks on trailer

Fix trailer winch strap DONE

Tongue jack replacement DONE

Compass? DONE

Mast electrical upgrade WIRES IN, NEEDS NEW DECK FITTINGS

Spreader boots DONE

Quick tensioner on back stay

Quick connects for forward shrouds

Nicro fan cover

New flares

Fix gel coat by stern quarter PAINTED BOAT

Hatch trim and screen

Spare tire

Hey, we did pretty good on that list! We also did quite a few other jobs on Wrinkles that weren't on this list. Our wish list also contributed a new main sail, new Bimini cover (made on B's new heavy duty sewing machine) and a nice 12 volt fan in the cabin. So, when we picked her up she looked like this.

And this is how she looked afterwards.

Now that she is all tucked away for her winter beauty nap, we are dreaming of sailing and celebrating that old holiday tradition of making next years To-Do list.