Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It's Like Christmas


It's been like Christmas at our apartment. First charts came for the west coast of Florida. Then came a pair of Keens water sandals for Brenda followed by a pair of Teva Omniums for Mike. Over the next few days came Dry Tech towels and our Omnia oven. West Marine had a great sale on binoculars, so a pair of Tahiti binoculars with a built-in lighted compass showed up at our door. Finally came the solar panels and controls to assure Mike will have enough electricity for ice and music on board. As much as we have been trying to pare down our belongings, these additions will improve our odds of a safe and enjoyable adventure. Our hotmail account has turned into a way to keep track of what has been ordered and delivered. Each new arrival brings us that much closer to our destination and the grins get harder and harder to contain.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Isn't Someone Going To Stop Them?

Now that we have an actual date set to begin our cruise we are beginning to hear more concerns for our safety. Pirates, storms and drowning seem to be the big three. Here is how we see it

Pirates: Yes they do exist and no we don't want to meet any of them. Realistically true piracy isn't a concern in any of our intended cruising grounds. There are bad people no matter where you are and we all use common sense to stay clear of "bad" areas. We won't be carrying any firearms, as neither one of us is trained in their use or even comfortable being responsible for one. The people that prey on cruising sailboats target the bigger, newer sailboats rather than the older, smaller sailboats like ours.

Storms: Of course we will see bad weather. We purchased a very heavy boat that is made to deal with pretty nasty conditions. The plan is to be well versed in weather and keep a very close eye on the forecasts. We will be coastal cruising and will rarely be more than 24 hours from a nice safe bay. Almost all storms give you enough warning to allow you time to scoot into a safe haven. In the event we get caught in heavy weather we will trust our experience and our sturdy boat to see us safely home. Cell phones and a VHF would make it possible to contact help if we truly needed it.

Drowning: This is the one concern that everyone has. It is a fact of boating that the possibility of falling off and drowning can occur. Brenda and I are both good swimmers and we have a boat rule that if the wind is strong enough to justify a reef in any sail (reduction of sail) that we have our life jackets on. We have some very nice self-inflating life jackets that make this an easy rule to follow. In addition the boat has tethers and jack lines aboard to attach each of us to the boat when conditions warrant.

The United States Coast Guard publishes an annual summary of boating related accidents and deaths. In 2013 there were 32,719 deaths in automobiles. During that same time there were 560 boating deaths. Of these 560 deaths over 80% were in small (<21' in length) recreational boats. Of the 560 deaths only 3 were on a sailboat. As you can see, we truly are doing something that is quite safe if we use the right equipment, have a seaworthy sailboat and use our common sense. Remember, we can only go 7 mph. Worry about those guys on the lake with 20' power boats that fly along at 70 mph.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Say Hello To "Wrinkles"


The Island Packet 31 survey and sea trial went really well. An issue with the refrigerator short cycling was found and corrected. We will need to replace the cutlass bearing, add a coat of bottom paint, stitch a couple spots on the sails and install a solar system before we splash her in August. Otherwise she is in great shape.


Mike ordered solar panels, wiring and a controller to build a 350 watt system. This should allow us the freedom to use a decent amount of electricity on a daily basis without running the diesel motor constantly for charging. We also ordered and received several of the marine charts for the central west coast of Florida where we will be starting our cruise.


The money has been wired to the seller and she is officially our cruising boat. We will rename her "Wrinkles" when we go down in August. "Wrinkles" is an odd name, but it fits us well. We didn't take up sailing until there were a few wrinkles on Mike's face. More importantly it reflects our sailing style. We tend to sit back, enjoy the breeze, watch the beautiful scenery and chat about nothing instead of concentrating on keeping all the sails perfectly trimmed. Thus, wrinkles in our sails.