Thursday, October 23, 2014

Frustration Sets In

Brenda and I have been preparing ourselves for our eventual cruising adventure for about three years now. We hoped to be down south by now prepping a sailboat for a two year cruise. Unfortunately all our plans hinge on the sale of our beautiful home. The market in our area is dead soft right now for houses in our price range with very little indication that it is going to improve. It is difficult to be so committed to a plan that seems so unattainable right now.

We knew that even when the house sold we would be setting sail on a tight budget, but the timing is right for us now. Our kids are all out of the house and doing wonderful things for themselves and making us proud. My mother is healthy and independent, so we know she will be fine without us right around the corner for a few years. The TIME is now! I am concerned that this wonderful window of opportunity will pass us by and our dream will become just that - a dream.

We have reduced the asking price on our house to it's bare minimum, but so few people are looking for a home in our area that we feel like we are stuck in limbo. I am one of those people that decides to commit to something and just dives in and does it. Well this time I am stuck mid-dive and don't have any control over the timetable. I hate being frustrated! I don't want to look back in twenty years and say, "I almost went on a big sailing adventure."



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sailing season winds down

At the ramp awaiting her trailer.


It looks like our season may be just about done. The channel markers have been removed and the weather feels like late fall. We took our O'Day out for a sail today and only got stuck in the unmarked channel twice on the way out. We had a lovely sail enjoying the colors of the trees along the shoreline. The sun tried valiantly to warm us through our jackets and gloves, but after a while we both began to get chilled.

We discussed motoring back through the unmarked channel to our slip and then decided that maybe it was time to hang up our sailing hats for the season instead. We sailed to the far west end of Lake Mendota to Marshall Park where we could tie up for the night. We will pick up our trailer tomorrow or Monday and load her up for the winter.

The O'Day 25 was a great boat for the summer. She was fun to sail, solid, roomy and comfortable. We will store her on the trailer for the winter and continue to wait for our house to sell before deciding whether or not to sell her. If we are still here next summer we will add a roller furler to her and some jib tracks to make sailing her even nicer. If the house should finally sell we would most likely put the boat up for sale early next spring.

Overall we are very happy with our Plan B. Having the O'Day in a slip worked out really well for us. We learned a bit more about this sailing lifestyle and can't wait to test ourselves on bigger waters.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wood Carvings - Mermaid Figurehead

Thought I would share my progress in carving a mermaid figurehead for our next sailboat. I've kept the wood chips flying as I try to learn this new skill. I now have a new appreciation for all you true carving artists. Trying to make something look the way you envision it in a block of wood is not as easy as pie. Below is a very rough sketch of the mermaid and scrollwork pedestal. The carving should end up being about 31" long.

I am alternating my carving sessions between producing complete little character people and attempting to carve components of the future mermaid. The little characters are fun to make and each one teaches me a little more about carving techniques. This little original I carved this weekend reminded me of a sailing buddy from New Jersey. Hey Bob, he is a curmudgeon too!

I have practiced carving human eyes with limited success, so I'll continue working on those. I've been happier with the female lips I have created. Here is a sample of those.

My current practice piece is a miniature version of the mermaid's flowing hair. I thought this was going to be an easy component, but I am finding out it is a bit more involved than I assumed. We'll see how the first attempt turns out.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Figurehead Carving Project

Female face practice piece in process

As you know, we love sailboats that have that classic look. Portholes instead of flat lexan windows. A proud sheer line. More teak than is reasonable or advisable. Yup, suckers for classic plastic. Give us a Ta Shing Baba, Southern Cross or any old classic with a lovely bowsprit and we fall in love.

One of the totally unneccessary accessories we want to add to our future classic cruising boat is a small wooden mermaid under the bowsprit. Since Mike likes to do things himself, it is only makes sense that he would decide to carve one instead of buying one. Only one problem, he doesn't know how to carve. A woodworking enthusiast yes - woodcarver no.

So what does a person do to learn how to carve a mermaid? Well, buy some basic carving tools and a couple chunks of wood and have at it of course. Mike watched half of a video on YouTube on carving a little person and dove in. Flying wood chips, lots of dumb mistakes, too little artistic talent, minimal foul language and bulldog eagerness result in some simple figures.

Give him a couple months of practice and he might just make a respectable hood ornament for our next sailboat.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Happy Anniversary


Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the best thing that ever happened to me. The woman I love married me on October 3, 1981. I knew on our first date nearly 40 years ago, that Brenda was the person I wanted to travel beside through life. We've enjoyed so many things together highlighted by our three awesome children. Now that our nest is empty I look forward to many years of sharing adventures, new experiences, grandchildren and our growing love.

Brenda, you bring joy, peace, friendship and love to my life. I love you dearly.