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!