Saturday, December 7, 2013

Strictly Sail Chicago 2014

B and I are excited about this years Strictly Sail show in Chicago. We plan on going for three full days so we can attend numerous seminars given by some of sailings biggest names. It will be fun to listen to the authors of several of our favorite sailing how-to books in person. It is a great opportunity to gain advice and knowledge from sailors who have logged tens of thousands of miles on the water. Some of them have actually sailed hundreds of thousands of miles. Amazing!

We went over the seminar agenda this morning to highlight the specific seminars and speakers that we considered important to us. Here are a few examples of our selections.

  • Selecting an Ocean Cruising Boat by John Neal
  • Lessons Learned Along The Way by Nigel Calder
  • Marine Radar by Tom Igelski
  • The Adventures That Shaped Our Lives by Lin and Larry Pardey
  • How To Keep A Starboard Attitude While Cruising by Bob Bitchin
  • Coastal Navigation With iPad And Android Devices by Thom Burns
  • Assessing Your Marine Weather Self Reliant Skills by Lee Chesneau
  • Voyage Planning by Beth Leonard
  • Outfitting And Provisioning For Cruising by Sheryl and Paul Shard

And several more......

You just don't get many opportunities to learn this much about cruising in one place at such a low price. Besides, we get to ogle all those fancy show boats that we'll never be able to afford.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

I miss my music!

I just got word that the flute we ordered has shipped and should be here Tuesday. A flute, you say? What does that have to do with sailing?

Always planning ahead, I wanted something to do while Mike, bless his heart, is fixing the head, changing filters on the engine, or numerous other daily tasks. What better way for me to assist than to serenade him with a calming tune. Or could it be that I have really missed playing the clarinet or the piano while in the throes of raising children. Regardless of the reason, we decided that I needed a flute. A clarinet would not tolerate tropical weather and a piano wouldn’t fit! Besides, on a flute, I can belt out music to my heart’s content and not disturb the neighbors.

After much searching, we found a company called Sunreed in Vermont that makes transverse bamboo flutes. They are long, wide bored, open holed flutes that have a low mellow tone. Picture this: We are anchored in a scenic harbor with a glass of wine and the sunset for a backdrop. In the background you hear the deep haunting song of an F sharp flute floating in the wind.

click here to hear a sample.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Winter Reading List

Winter has set upon us in Wisconsin and it is time to line up our reading material. We both love to read and winter offers us enough free time to delve into our books. So what are we planning to read this year? Will the art work on the book cover show a shirtless muscular man with flowing locks embracing a beautiful woman as they stand on a cliff in the wind? Nah!

We ordered these after reviewing other cruisers "must have" reference book lists online. The plan is to read through them and then have them on board our boat as ready references.

Marine Diesel Engines by Nigel Calder

Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Calder

Modern Marine Weather by David Burch

Weather Workbook by David Burch

Inland and Coastal Navigation by David Burch

Navigation Workbook by David Burch

Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning by Althouse, Turnquist and Bracciano

Boatowner's Illustrated Electrical Handbook by Charlie Wing

Coastal Charts for Cruising the Florida Keys by Clairborne S. Young

Sound like fun? While not exactly page turners they should be interesting and very informative.

Brenda also used a Groupon (online super discounters) for a Tesol class. Tesol (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a certification class to teach English as a foreign language. Mike says this will make Brenda employable anywhere tropical. Sweet, he can fish and drink rum runners while Brenda is off supporting our new lifestyle.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"All Is Lost" movie review

Last week we went to Robert Redford's new movie "All Is Lost" which had good reviews. Unfortunately, as a sailing movie, it has received mixed reviews. We had read there was very little dialogue, only one character, issues with sailing mistakes and the potential to keep sailors' dock lines tied securely to the docks. Well, everything except the last item was true for us. We went into the movie knowing there would be some technical sailing mistakes. This made it easier to ignore the flaws and just enjoy the movie. It was, after all, an hour and a half of Robert Redford, says Brenda.

The movie is more about the will to survive than a sailing disaster. Even so, we kept strategizing throughout, whispering to each other what we thought could/should have been done. The ride home served as an opportunity to use the movie as a case study on what to do when EVERYTHING goes wrong. And we do mean everything.

One of the first things we noted, on the positive side, was how calm he stayed. You could literally see him think through his options, weigh each, and then methodically proceed to attack each obstacle in order of priority. This emphasized the benefit of remaining calm even in the worst of conditions.

A second observation we made was how necessary it is to have the proper safety equipment. No boat should ever leave port without a bucket, just saying. Maybe West Marine could give out logo covered buckets at the trade shows to be sure every boat carries one. Epirb, communication equipment, ditch bag, repair supplies, first aid and backup navigation systems should be readily available.

Overall we recommend it as a movie. After all it IS a sailing movie. So go see it with your sailing partner or another sailor and have fun rehashing the action.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

So What Is The Plan?

We've been asked this question several times recently. Now that our house is actually listed for sale our friends are starting to think we are serious about going sailing. They have all nodded and said things like, "Oh, that sounds interesting." Generally they have that look in their eyes that says, "I'll nod and agree, but I don't really believe anyone would do that." Well now that they see we are actually taking the steps necessary to live our dream, they want to know what we have for a plan.

So what is the plan? Obviously everything hinges on the sale of our home. Once we have closed on the house we will shift from window shopping to actively shopping for the right sailboat. Our Com-Pac 23 is a great little cruiser, but we will need something in the 30 - 40 foot long range to safely and comfortably live aboard. The plan then depends somewhat on where we find the boat. Ideally we will purchase one right along the Gulf coast or at least somewhere in Florida. If we purchase one farther away, we would have to decide whether to sail it to the Gulf Coast or have it shipped. Either way we would end up with the boat at a marina near our condo in Orange Beach, Alabama. We are considering Bear Point Marina as it offers everything we would need and has a nice protected location.

We hope to arrive in Orange Beach around June/July of 2014. We would live aboard and refit the boat as needed while taking sailing trips of 1 - 2 weeks duration to practice sailing, acclimate to boat life and wait for the hurricane season to end. Once the threat of hurricanes is past we hope to untie the dock lines and cruise along the west coast of Florida all the way to the Keys. If we enjoy the lifestyle and sailing in the Keys we would spend the season there. When the next hurricane season approaches we would reverse our route up the coast until we arrive back in Orange Beach.

This is when we have to make some decisions about our futures by asking ourselves some questions. Do we enjoy this lifestyle? Can we afford to continue? Is the boat we chose suitable? Are we accomplished enough sailors to go farther offshore?

If we answer yes to all these questions then the next sailing season will see us going directly to the Keys and then hopping over to the Bahamas or farther. Beyond that time we don't have a solid plan. Continue sailing? Go back to work? Decisions, decisions, decisions!


Sunday, October 27, 2013


Boaters love to tell everyone that BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand. They call $1000 a Boat Unit. That may well be true, but lately our house has been getting all the thousands broken out on it. Having the driveway graveled, tiling four bathroom floors, all new carpet, new A/C unit installation and a new hot water heater took several B.O.A.T. units. Whoever buys this house is going to get one nice place to live.
The For Sale sign is up and we officially have our house on the market. Way back in late 2010 we started to take little steps toward our goal of cruising on a sailboat. From the day Brenda said, "So, here is my timeline." we have geared much of our time toward this goal. Practicing sailing and reading everything we could find on sailing skills and adventure were the easy parts. Getting rid of our trash/treasure and updating the house were more difficult to get enthused about. We have nearly cleaned the house out, but we still have a mountain of stuff in the big garage to dispose of yet. We have decided to just donate it all except for our remaining furniture. We still need to have a place to sit and sleep until we actually sell the house.

Mike can't wait until the day he gets to advertise his big beautiful snowblower for sale. Three to four hours of snowblowing in the dark after work is not his favorite activity. Brenda on the other hand may actually miss her big riding lawn tractor. She always seemed content when she plugged in her headphones and mowed for 2 to 3 hours. It was her free time to let her mind wander as the grass clippings flew.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Big Step

We signed an agreement with our realtors last night to sell our house. For the past fifteen years it has been our home, retreat, playground and shelter. It has served us well and hopefully will make another young family very happy too.

We don't expect much interest or activity this late in the season, but you never know. All it takes is one family looking for a big country home. Almost all our work is done, but just like a boat there is always something that needs attention. We will continue to sell/give away our accumulation of possessions and touch up a few more items on the house.

Mike is busy drooling over some of the sailboat bargains that are passing by before we are in a position to buy. That Westsail 32 project for $11,000 and a Tayana 37 beauty going for a ridiculous price of just $23,000 are just teasing him. Pretty soon he can start the boat search for real. That will be the next really big step.

No pressure Mr. Realtor, but we really want to go sailing.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Not my air compressor!

This past weekend Brenda and our son Matt set up a moving sale in our big garage. We have so much stuff to get rid of it is unbelievable. We hauled endless loads out to the garage and then threw open the doors thinking we would sell frivolously. Yup, sell stuff like we don't care. A nice change from buying frivolously. Bikes, toys, tools, furniture, knick-knacks, lights, gardening supplies, table saws, scroll saws and so much more.

I'm not one who becomes attached emotionally to things. My things are just that - things. It didn't bother me in the least to see my old cast iron tablesaw go out the door. I've made hundreds of home improvements and gifts with that old saw, yet I was fine seeing it bouncing away in the back of a farmer's pickup. Things were a little different though when I helped a nice gentleman load my big 220 volt air compressor on his truck. I didn't like seeing my air compressor leaving for some reason. I obviously couldn't take it with me, so why was I regretting its sale?

That big ol' compressor has blown up the tires on our kids inflatable toys, bicycles and later their car tires. I guess maybe it was something I associated with a wonderful chapter of my life that is now in the past.

The house is beginning to empty out quickly now, so lets hurry up and start this next chapter.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh! This is real!

Last weekend we kicked into high gear on prepping our lovely home for sale. As you know we have taken our realtor's advice and tiled 4 bathrooms, dry walled and painted the stairwell to the basement, cleaned out the basement and are removing as much of our personal belongings as possible. This past weekend our daughter, Tina, came to help Brenda staging the house. This wasn't easily done as our house is one big honkin' mess right now. Toilets stacked in the showers, boxes of stuff everywhere, furniture in the hallways and just general chaos.

Tina did a nice job getting the main areas to look uncluttered and attractive. Poor Brenda just keeps watching all her stuff go on one of three piles. Junk pile, garage sale pile and storage pile. Just as Brenda was getting settled in the process our good friends Jim and Joni came along to push the project along. At one time there were three women in Brenda's kitchen cupboards sorting, cleaning and mostly tossing all the contents. Brenda looked sort of shell shocked for a while. There was a constant stream of boxes going from the house to our big garage creating what can only be described as a mountain of garage sale items. Two people with three kids sure do accumulate a lot of stuff over the years.

I took everyone out to a Mexican restaurant that had outdoor seating and a big cold margarita for Brenda. I think Brenda relaxed a little and adjusted to the idea that this clean out is necessary if we want to pursue our dream. Seeing all her treasures dumped on a pile for sale made the process very real to her. We aren't just talking about a dream, we are doing it.

Happy anniversary Brenda. 32 years sure have gone by quickly. I love you and I can't wait to begin this new adventure with you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Which Boat?

If you have looked at our Short List page you know we have a fondness for heavy displacement vessels with full or modified full keels. We would love to be looking at 40 - 45 foot sailboats, but we won't be able to afford to purchase or maintain one of that size. That is why we listed several sailboats in the 27 - 34 foot range that provide most of the must-haves on our list.

Island Packet

Headroom: Mike is 6'3" so headroom is his top requirement. Brenda at 5'5" probably isn't too worried about headroom.

Heavy Displacement: We sail with wrinkles in our sails. Speed is not a top priority.

Low Draft: We plan on sailing the west coast of Florida, Orange Beach/Gulf Shores and Key West to start which means a 4' draft would be ideal.

Classic Lines: Our common sense tells us to stick with a simple, tried and true production run cruiser such as the Island Packet 31 / 32. Simple systems, much less bright work to maintain, readily available and completely suitable to our intended cruise.

Our eyes and hearts are drawn to the beautiful classic lines of the Baba 30 / 35. Older boats, older systems, much more bright work, fewer available and yet perfect for our intended cruise. If you aren't familiar with the Baba line, check them out. Look at the pictures and tell me your heart doesn't go pitter-patter.




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Met with the realtor

Well....we did it...we met with a realtor. Fortunately a long-time friend of ours is a realtor and someone we trust whole-heartedly. He came out, took a tour and then we talked. He recommended that we put ceramic tile in all the bathrooms. We already had this on our to-do list. He wants us to put "realtor beige" carpeting throughout the rest of the house. We had hoped to put in a carpet allowance so that the new owners could pick the color and type that they wanted. We are talking about LOTS of square feet. But no, buyers in this price range want it already done when they visit. Fortunately he said that we did not need to worry about the roof. Although it is 15 years old, it is still in very good shape! There were a few other little things. He said the main goal was to have all positives on their walk-throughs and nothing that they could put on the negative side.

So...we parked the boat under her awning, picked out tile and carpet, and set to work. Mike has all the bathrooms tiled and Brenda has grouted them. While Mike was working on the tile, Brenda worked on cleaning out closets. Do you know how much "stuff" can be stuffed into a closet after 15 years? Too much!

We are also getting some excess stuff out for sale on Craigslist and eBay. Got to pay for all these new upgrades somehow.


Friday, September 13, 2013

The 5 Bathroom Question

So who was the moron that built a house with five bathrooms? Oh, that would be me.


Instead of enjoying our sailboat during this beautiful fall Wisconsin weather, we are inside tiling bathroom floors. I enjoy building and remodeling, but for some reason I've never liked painting or brickwork. Well now I can add tiling to that list. According to our friend and realtor we need to replace the linoleum in all of our bathrooms with tile. That seems easy to do until you realize that the aforementioned moron put five bathrooms in the house when he built it 15 years ago. Who needs 5 bathrooms? Actually Brenda argued for a sixth bathroom in the basement. Five is silly, six is crazy talk.

If we want to sell the house for the price we want we will need to listen to our realtor and tile away. Brenda had the smallest bathroom tiled professionally a couple of years ago along with the mud room, kitchen and breakfast nook. I'm still not over the sticker shock from that little project. So now I am spending my time on my hands and knees bonding with these lovely new tiles. Three bathrooms down Mike, only the master bathroom to go.

No sailing this weekend, but one step closer to our sabbatical.



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Have you heard any good SCUTTLEBUTT?

A large butt (cask or barrel) was scuttled (holed) so the sailors could get water to drink. This was the only place on board the sailors could sneak in a few words to each other while on duty. Thus the term "scuttlebutt" was born.

"Did ya hear......"

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Great Weekend Of Sailing

We splashed Wrinkles on Thursday night to enjoy a long weekend of sailing before Brenda's school opened the next week. Mike got up early to go off to work while Brenda lounged aboard watching the boats come and go. She had a couple of things on her work list for the day (attach a flag to the staff and clean off our "junk shelf" in the companionway) and a good book to read. Guess which tasks she accomplished? Yup, no flag and the shelf was still a mess. In her defense, even the book was still unfinished as she enjoyed the view and the beautiful weather under the Bimini all day.

Com-Pac 19 George at the tiller


After work Mike arrived at the boat and gave a quick tour to some onlookers. The winds looked promising, so we headed out for a fine evening of sailing. The winds were as good as we hoped and the sailing was just plain fun. We sailed all over the lake until an outdoor restaurant was calling our names just before sunset. We docked at the new public pier off the Memorial Union and enjoyed an awesome sunset. On State Street we tried a new restaurant called "Roast" which had outdoor seating and some good food. Tasty food and a couple cold drinks make for happy sailors.


We wandered back to the boat to listen to the band at the Union while relaxing on our boat. The band wasn't the best, but we enjoyed the spirit and energy that the crowd was exuding. About 11:30 we decided to sail to our anchorage for the night. The winds surprised us by cooperating and giving us a nearly perfect beam reach. A 3/4 moon shining brightly, gentle winds, water swishing against the hull and a good boat made for a relaxing sail. We were both quietly enjoying the sail and watching the north shore line until we realized that we had passed our intended bay by over a mile. Laughing at ourselves we tacked and headed back. Sails down, anchor set, v-berth made up with too many blankets.......goodnight.

Saturday we awoke to find bigger waves and really good winds. Brenda cooked up breakfast and coffee to start us off right. We received a call from some good friends who wanted to go out sailing with us. We sailed over to the Union and picked them up. We knew we would have a fun day as Scott and Penny are two of the funniest people we have ever known. We sailed with a reef in the main and the headsail furled to match so they could get the feel of heeling without abandoning ship right away. They took to sailing like Mike takes to chocolate. The boys had the cockpit to themselves because the girls went directly to the bow to enjoy the breeze and view. Scott took over the tiller for an hour or so and looked right at home. We unreefed the sails and gave our company a little time aboard with the boat kicking up her heels.

Scott at the helm


Brenda and Penny

Back at the Union docks Scott and Penny bought us some drinks as we sat in the shade of tree enjoying Madison's beauty. Thanks for a great day guys, we sure had fun.

Memorial Union


Half an hour later we were joined by three couples from Marshall, WI that had just pulled into the docks on their power boat. Gee, more drinks at the Union anyone? After imbibing we all walked up to State Street to eat outdoors at State Street Brats. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying time on the docks with our little group listening to another band at the Union. We finally untied our lines around midnight to sail to our anchorage. We're too old to keep staying up this late! Once again the winds cooperated and we had a fun and memorable sail.

Sunday began with OUR bay full of boats. We are used to waking up to an empty bay or at most two other boat in view. This morning the bay had lots of tenants. The winds really picked up and the waves were white capping. So after reading, fishing and swimming we decided it was time to go play. With reefed and furled sails we ventured out and had a ball bashing around and playing the winds. Wrinkles is just plain fun to sail in these conditions now that she has her new sails. We watched some of the heartier souls out there with too much sail up having all kinds of adrenaline enhanced fun. Sorry, we prefer reefing down and going hull speed under more control.

Another really great weekend of sailing aboard Wrinkles. We are a little sad to realize that each sail on her brings us that much closer to trading her in for a larger cruiser.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Door County 2013

Once again we ventured north to the beautiful Door County area. The weather provided us with many varied sailing experiences.

Just launched in Egg Harbor


On Thursday we headed out for a shake-down cruise. Our friends beat us there and were ready to cast off. We quickly rigged and dunked at the Egg Harbor Marina. Winds were light, but steady. We didn't really have a destination, so we headed out toward Chambers Island about four miles and when the winds quit entirely, we motored back to the marina.


Oh shucks, we'll have to find someplace to go for supper. We decided to be adventuresome and tried Parador which is a restaurant that specializes in tapas (appetizers). They serve them much the same way as a Japanese hibachi grill. Your table picks several dishes to try and the plates are brought out for "family style" serving. Every few minutes another dish arrives. This was something entirely new to us and took some getting used to, but in the end we ended up loving it. We were adventurous and tried several new entrees. We were never disappointed! We'll have to try that again.

Jim and Joni's Hunter 235


For desert we went to the Chocolate Chicken for some ice cream. This store is just around the corner from the marina, so they saw us several times over the weekend. On our way back to the dock we were pleased to see that a band was setting up on the hill overlooking the marina. We pulled out our lawn chairs, sweatshirts and blankets (and of course Drambuie) and settled in for a relaxing evening of conversation with great music in the background. We even shared a slow dance on the dock. How romantic!

Brenda and Joni at Egg Harbor Marina
Wrinkles and her friend the Hunter 235

Friday looked like good winds, so we skipped the out for breakfast routine and had Brenda's coffee cake instead as we unfurled the sails and took off early. The plan was to go NNE to Fish Creek for lunch and maybe some shopping. What a ride it was! The winds were steady, but not strong. The waves were large enough to create a really fun ride! It was like being on a roller coaster - first we went up and down, then we went side to side followed by both at once.


Note to fellow sailors, the dockmaster at Fish Creek did not answer hails on Channel 16 or 9, you have to use Channel 12. There were two short term (two-hour) parking spots so we tied off and headed into town for lunch at Cooper's. Mike was very impressed with the bar - second story open air. After lunch we met our son's girlfriend's mom for the first time. They live in Door County and had a Hunter 35 that they lived aboard for several summers. After a fun visit with Kay on Wrinkles, our" parking meter" was running out, so we cast of the lines, hoisted our sails and headed back to Egg Harbor after a near miss with an inattentive overtaking sailboat.

Fish Creek Municipal Dock


Then the fun sail began. The winds picked up, the waves were larger and more consistent, and we clipped along at about 5.9 knots with one reef in the main and three or four turns on the headsail furler. We worried about our sailing partners as Joni's idea of sailing is flat water with the motor running. We were pleasantly surprised when we returned to dock to find that she had enjoyed the rocky sail. Go Joni!!!

Back on land our partner boat asked us if we wanted to go to Kitty's in Sturgeon Bay. Kitty's????? That doesn't sound very family friendly! Turns out it is Kitty O'Riley's, a restaurant and bar. We found a table outside with a gas log fire in the center. Perfect, since the temperature was falling rapidly. The food was great and their bread pudding was ...oh baby!!!!! It was big enough for all four of us to fill up. Believe it or not, next we were off to the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club for an Elvis impersonator show. Evidently Elvis has left the building. What we actually attended was a one-man band playing who knows what. He did have dark hair kind of like Elvis, but the similarities ended there. He didn't look, sing, act or dance like Elvis. He actually sat on a stool the whole time. Joni commented that all he needed was neck bolts and he would resemble Herman Munster. Oh well, Brenda got a slow dance with Mike.

Back to the docks for another round of chatting and Drambuie while admiring the big, BIG boats.
From the looks of the boats that kept docking up for fuel, our economy is doing well. We heard one skipper say, "I'll still need another 100 gallons." One after another these million dollar yachts came in to fill up. We saw a tanker truck deliver fuel to the dock on both Saturday and Sunday. We laughed as we noted that the gas pump handle wouldn't even fit in our 3 1/2 gallon gas tanks.


Jim posted a similar photo on Facebook with the caption, "When four 350 HP outboards just isn't quite enough."



Saturday arrived with no wind which worked out well since it was Marina Days. We stayed in the marina eating coffee cake, coffee and tea while watching the small boat and regular boats race with no wind. Kiddie fishing contest -Lunch at Fred and Fuzzy's and then later that evening we drove north again for a fabulous dinner at the Shoreline restaurant in Gill's Rock (that is the very tip of the "thumb" on Wisconsin's "glove"). We had eaten here last year and raved about the presentation and quality of the food. We had to return. We were treated once again to meals that were as much art as they were mouth-watering. We timed our visit to coincide with the sunset. The view from Gill's Rock is beautiful during the day and breath-taking when the sun is setting. So don't miss The Shoreline if you are ever in this area. It is well worth the drive!!!! Despite the fact that we were stuffed to the gills, Joni still needed her ice cream fix. We thought about Door County Ice Cream in Ellison Bay, but that was too soon. We drove on toward Ephriam and world famous Wilson's Ice Cream, but the line was about an hour long. Good thing - we were still full. So it was back to Egg Harbor and our nightly visit to the Chocolate Chicken for ice cream and hot chocolate.

Fred and Fuzzy's
Dinner at the Shoreline Restaurant
Pecan Encrusted Walleye
Sunset view at the Shoreline


Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at The Bistro and then Jim and Joni headed home thinking there was no wind again. We said we wanted to just bob in the water, even if we wouldn't be able to raise the sails. Very glad we chose to stay. The winds picked up to a steady 8-10 on a beam reach. We were able to play with our navigation skills as we headed over to Chamber's Island which is 7 miles off shore. Our goal was to circumnavigate the island, but the winds were not cooperating. They died down and we headed back to the marina. Just then, the winds picked up again and we had a brisk 5.9 knot sail that had us both grinning from ear to ear. We commented that it would be much easier to end our weekend and pull the boat after a sail like that.

But our motor had other plans. As we sailed into the bay we pointed into the wind to drop the sails. Our faithful motor, first pull all summer except when we were leaving Carlyle Lake, decided that it didn't want to go home from here either. It took Mike five or six pulls to get her started as we neared the marina for departure. I guess our 8 hp Mariner was as reluctant to leave as we were.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Face the fear

When you think about fear and sailing, most people think about big waves, heavy storms and pirates.  Me, I think about pressure cookers.

The pressure cooker is a scary gadget.  After all, it cooks under pressure.  I remember seeing cartoons when I was younger showing the contents of a cooker plastered to the walls, ceilings and cabinets.

But I am strong and overcame my fear.  After searching for a small, high quality, used pressure cooker, my sister-in-law came across one at a garage sale.  I pulled out some frozen venison, scanned the internet for recipes, and took the plunge.  It was with trepidation that I sealed the cooker and turned up the heat.  I jumped when the release valve first started to jiggle. Someone should have been taking a video of me as I cautiously approached the stove to moderate the temperature.  I really didn’t want to get any closer than necessary - just in case.

My fears were unfounded.  The pressure cooker worked like a charm.  The venison came out tender and juicy.  The entire process - heat, maintain, and cool - took about 45 minutes.  Sure beats waiting all day for a crock pot or 3 hours in the oven.  I can see where this handy method of "speed cooking" would be indispensable while cruising.  

Ahhh - one more item off our to-do list before we cruise.  Now back to sorting items for our next garage sale.

Monday, July 29, 2013

CLR - THE Race

The big race was a tale of two stories. Here is how we saw it, but there are many other versions being told. The start was modified to include a single horn blast as the 5 (5 Steve!) minute warning. All the boats except Geraldine (John J) waited patiently. Geraldine raised her sails thus being loudly disqualified by the committee on the radio. Mike decided to coat up with sunblock while waiting for the second air horn blast. He was at the bow about half coated in sunblock when the second blast rang out (that is not 5 minutes Steve). We later found out Steve didn't even have a watch, so he just guessed. Since Brenda was at the tiller she became the skipper for the race.

The winds were light and contrary, so it looked like a pretty hard beat to weather. The 19’s were all sporting big genoas and quickly pulled away from the the 16’s. Our 23 and Tool Man's Eclipse started at the back of the pack and worked our way past the fleet of 16's. The race developed into two packs. The 19’s and our 23 in the lead pack and the rest in the following pack. Occasionally we got stronger winds and the bigger boats pulled away. Three quarters of the way to the finish line we found the majority of the boats were heading for the wrong cove and then tacking back out to search for the right one. Salty, Lafayette Bruce and Greene were in a tight battle tacking within talking distance at times. Bruce was flying a brand new 165 headsail and wasn't able to point quite as high as Salty and Greene which made it a two boat race. Salty's 19 was flying a 140 headsail which pulled well and still let him point really high. Our 23 with a 115 headsail and longer waterline was slightly faster when the winds peaked up. We both tacked into the finish line area with Salty beating us by about 60'. Nice job Island Time.

Brenda did a great job skippering while Mike played with the sail trimming (mostly he just enjoyed the ride on the bow) which made for a great team effort. We aren't the racing types, but we must admit it was fun to actually pay attention to our sailing and make Wrinkles strut along.

CLR Raft-ups

​Raft-ups have become an integral part of the CLR experience. This year was no exception.

Everyone has their choice for the perfect floating paraphernalia. Some prefer the traditional noodle - which leads to comments such as, “Sarah, your noodle is showing!” or “Grab my purple noodle.”Some use life jackets the way they are intended to be used, and others (Brenda) use their life jacket like a diaper and float hands-free. You also have the horse shoe throwables which double as good drink and snack caddies.

This year Becky added an inflatable paddle board to the mix. That holds lots of drinks and snacks. We kept her busy delivering to all the thirsty and hungry sailors. The variety is only limited by the drinks of choice of the floatees. From beer to brandy slushies to mixed drinks to gatorade and even a box o’ wine. We kid you not, one guy from Texas had his box of wine floating in the water with us. Pretty soon the box became a bag of wine as the outer covering soon disintegrated.

We discovered that after we anchor, we can tie a rope between two or three of the central boats and use them as handholds so we don’t drift apart.​Regardless of the floating method chosen,the time spent bobbing in the water, chatting with good friends, soaking up their knowledge and experience, rafting up is one of our favorite parts of CLR.