Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sailing Blogs Updated Today

As promised, on slow creative days on land I'm just going to list the blogs that were updated today from my list.  I figure that nobody wants to look through a list of 91 (and growing) blogs to see what was updated today.  Of course more sane people would just follow a couple of blogs.  But I like to imagine I'm providing a valuable service to somebody !

Favorite List blogs Updated 07/31/11

Attainable Adventure Cruising
Boat Bits
Interview With a Cruiser      not a new interview though - so don't get too excited :)
For As Long As It Takes
Lucey Blue   
Pale Moon Dove
Sailing Adventures of Dream Catcher
Sarf & West
Sailing Cynus III Around the World
S/V Eyoni
S/V Third Day
Tiny House Blog
Twice in a Lifetime
Watery Tails
Sen's Sekai II
Zero to Cruising!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Got the favorite list back

So the computer guy finally got done typing his favorite list back in because he didn't have a backup of it.  Yes - IT is my profession.  And yes, the idea for trying to keep a list of 90 sailing blogs made for a lot of work retyping :)  but I'm a glutton, and it seemed like a popular page - more popular by far then my posts according to the stats - so it's back  

he goes one way
Not really much new to post because of that, but a couple pictures taken from outside.  I see the cruisers posting pics of wildlife, and tropical plants.  So in lieu of me being out there - I will post boring pictures from animals on lands - and boring flowers.  You're welcome :)

then he goes the other

On a side note - it looks like I'm going to get to join in some sailboat racing on a Y-Flyer.  So that'll be exciting for me!

and for no real reason - flowers :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interesting Documentary

Land life keeps wanting to mess with me!  If I can't be on a boat, at least I could have more time to spend on my incredible blog, with my thousands of readers.  But alas, tonight will be brief.  Maybe I'll just do short recaps of recent posts from blogs on the favorite lists, when I can't come up with my own material.  At least you'll be assured of actually learning something, or enjoy some good writing; all things severely lacking from my own posts.

The movie link that I have so rudely pilfered from Cheap Oars' blog (A blog following a young man with dreams like my own - but with sufficiently more time ahead of him then me!) is Hold Fast.  I found this movie to be very interesting.  Following 4 young adults, from not having a boat, to restoring a boat (the Pestilence), and then sailing it.  I enjoyed it thoroughly myself - although others might not.  It is a full length movie (documentary) so you will need over an hour to watch it.  So find a rainy day, where you have plenty of battery life, and a good fast connection and have a watch of it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Possible to Liveaboard near Cincinnati?

I've become more inspired recently about the possibility of living onboard locally (days after being depressed about my boat owning prospects - can anybody say bipolar?).  I was doing my almost daily perusing of various boating sites, and I thought to myself; I wonder if there are liveaboards in the area?  I know some of the local lakes have some houseboats, but they also drop the water level drastically in the winter (flood control), and I don't think the lakes are open.   So I thought to myself (usually the only person that will listen to me), let's take a look on the river - probably doesn't freeze as easily.

I looked online at some of the marinas that were listed, and some of them even said they welcomed liveaboards.  I could feel the excitement building.  Is it possible to sell the house, and live locally while working, building up my sailing kitty?  So I inquired at a few places and yes. It's true liveaboards aren't shunned everywhere.  The first place I actually got a response from said they still had a few liveaboards, but the number at fallen off in the last 5 years or so.  I guess the lifestyle isn't for everybody.  Of course - this isn't tropical liveaboard conditions.  We are talking about Ohio - and freezing temperatures in the winter.  But I am not deterred!  Yet :)  Give me the first winter on a boat in Ohio and we may be talking again.

Here are a couple of the Marinas I looked at (links to the marinas are in the picture captions).

Four Seasons

Four Seasons Marina:  The picture up top is off this also

  • Dock electricity, telephone service and water hook-up
  • Wireless Internet
  • Gas dock with convenience store
  • Private showers
  • Coin-operated laundry room
  • Ship's Store - Marine supplies, apparel, groceries and beverages
  • Dock attendants
  • Full marine service at Sea Ray of Cincinnati
  • Full pump-out service
Also it has a couple restaurants, a bar, and a volleyball court.  It sounds like it might be a bit of a party place.  But I'm going to head down and take a look. See if I can find the liveboards there and ask some questions.

Riverside Marina
   Riverside Marina:  

Wet Storage: $36.00 per ft per season
Winter Storage: $22.00 per ft per season
Dry Storage: Includes launching - Starting at $595 per season. 
Dockside electric & water (additional fees) 
Fuel Dock
In-out service
Live aboards welcome

 I did not hear back from this one yet, but I'll still head down and check it out.  It isn't cruising necessarily, but if I find the right boat, and can liveaboard it while getting my finances ready I think that's a good start.  Plus I'll BE ON A BOAT!!! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Couple links for beginners

I'm going to keep this one quick today - been a busy day on land :( 

The guy that I'm going to bum some sailing rides from sent me a couple links for any beginners out there like myself.   The first site is a how-to on various sailing skills needed.  Rest assured I will be going through this site thoroughly.  Maybe that's why he sent me the links.   He doesn't want some idiot on his boat that doesn't know what to do.

An Introduction to the World of Sailing

The other site is a rope tying site.  The neat thing about this one is it has animations for how to tie the various knots. I think this will be very useful. At the class I took, the instructor had about 15 minutes to go over various knots.  And with 12 of us crammed in the store trying to watch the knot tying, it didn't work out so great.  But with this site, I can practice (even if it's with a couple shoelaces) tying the various knots.

Animated Knots

Well I'm off to super-exciting land chores.  Or maybe I'll just go to Yachtworld and do a little dreaming.  See what kind of boat I can get and drop in a marina on the Ohio River.  Hmmmm..  maybe the dream will happen sooner then I think :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Local Sailing Clubs

If you've read this blog at all you already know that I am stuck on land, and boatless.  I know, it's a tragic story that should not befall a kind soul such as myself.  But since that's where I find myself currently, it's time to start figuring out how to get this landlubber some sailing action.  A guy I met during the one class I took has offered to take me along with him when he goes.  I think I will take him up on that as often as I can.  He will be trying during the weekdays - so nobody go ratting me out to my boss!   Unfortunately this past week it has been in the high 90's all week, and not a whisper of wind.  He doesn't yet have a slip for his boat, so we'll have to do the whole trailer thing, and he didn't think it was worth the hassle of sitting in a lake with no wind.  Hopefully the wind will once again visit Ohio soon, and I join can him.

Another option I'm looking into, and one that I've had a few people recommend to me, is to volunteer to crew (or at the vary least be rail meat) during local sailing club races.  So with that in mind I headed out to the almighty Google to look for some clubs in the area.

This lake is a little over an hour from my house.  It's 5260 acres, with no HP limit (I saw a big ole Cigar boat on there during my class), so there are some obstacles here and there.  But it seems pretty lively, and there are quite a few sailors on this lake.

BLSA Website

Cowan Lake Sailing Association

The lake is smaller, only 700 acres.  But it's also only 30 minutes from my house, and has a 10HP limit on the lake. 

CLSA Website

Caesar Creek Sailing Association

This is bigger then Cowan, at 2,830 acres. It's about the same distance as Cowan, but does not have a HP limit.

CCSA Website

Hueston Sailing Association

A small, 625 acre lake about 40 minutes from the house.  10 HP limit on this lake as well.

HSA Website

So I emailed all 4 of those clubs just to get some initial information.  And 3 of the 4 almost emailed me back instantly.  Sailors are a very welcoming community it seems.  So it looks like I'm going to have the opportunity to go be rail meat fairly soon.  I figure even as I'm sitting there adding my sufficient amount of weight to the boat, I can pick up on how the boats are being sailed.  Maybe I can even become a regular crew member for the races.  If that works out well, I'll probably crew all racing season next year as well.  At that point both of the kids will be off to college, and then it may be time to think about moving to a boat.  At least that's my best case scenario dream!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

That's a lot of Blogs

It's going to be a quick one tonight (I hear the sigh of relief - you are welcome!). I like reading about the experiences of other people, and look for other blogs all the time.  So I look at the links people put on their sites, and go through a lot of them.  Obviously this is a man with a lot of time on his hands!    I've decided one thing - people really like to blog :)

So I went through the various lists on the other sites and put a list of sailing blogs on my Favorite Links.  I came up with 74 blogs that have been updated within the last few months or so. The blogs are written by all sorts of people. There are couples out there, families out there, single guys and gals, pets on board. Big boats, small boats, catamarans, monohulls, and even a powerboat or two thrown in.  Basically I think that no matter what you want to do with a boat and water, you can find somebody out there with a blog and some really good advice!

As promised, I'll leave this brief.  You have a lot of other, much more informative blogs to get to!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The importance of living life

Yes, I'm afraid it's going to be one of those posts; ramblings about life, what is important, and various other mutterings that will go from thought to keyboard with no filter (apologies ahead of time).

A friend of mine recently got the news that her brother-in-law has stage 4 melanoma.  The man is not old (at least by my standards), and should,  according to what most people plan for their lives; have a lot of life left to live.  I'm sure he had plans for his life (and still does I'm sure).  Things he wanted to do, planned to do.  Life has just told him that he needs to turn those wanted to's, and planned to's to actually do them!  He has accomplished a lot in his life, as far as monetary rewards go.  He has made a lot of money, and has provided well for his wife. But with that has come a lot of stress, and I wonder if he feels he has actually really lived his life well.

That same friend, is herself, very successful. She has her own business, owns a very nice house, a Porsche in the garage, nice furniture, enough free plane tickets from an overabundance of frequent flier miles to fly free wherever she wanted to vacation, and do you know what; she is completely miserable.  She is probably the kindest soul I know, but she also stresses about everything and works herself to unhealthy levels.  She worries about everything.  And she does nothing but travel for work. 80 hour weeks are her norm. She can't vacation, and she can't relax.  She is constantly stressed about making enough money to cover all of her expenses from all of the stuff she has.

So what does it all mean.  Is our modern society, and the race for bigger, better, and more stuff really a good way to live? Now granted, we have many things because of that society that we wouldn't have otherwise. I just look around me, and see a disconnect though. People don't know how to enjoy life,are disconnected from life, and spend too much time worrying about how to pay for it all. I'm sure there are people out there that are happy and living life, but I would guess they are the exception.  Oh I know people with money can take glorious vacations, and have plenty of stuff.  But what about the other 50 weeks of the year.  How much stress is involved in the race to get all of that stuff; to take those amazing vacations.

That's why I am looking at alternatives to the rat race. I wonder if it's possible to get in touch with living life, instead of treading water in it. Maybe I'm just throwing darts, and hoping something sticks.  I don't know.  But I know anytime I'm near the water I feel better, it's almost instantly soothing.  Do I have some fantasy that life cruising will be all sunshine, warm weather, and laying in a hammock?  Well not entirely :)  But I look forward to becomming more self-reliant, learning to do more with less, and hoping to trade the stress of working on land with the stress of living on a boat.  I'm rolling the dice hoping one is better then the other.

I think the problem a lot of people may have though, is that by the time we figure out our life isn't working for us, it's hard to make that change.  Take yours truly for example.  A divorce, and year long layoff have definitely done a number on me financially.  There are debts to get rid of, bills to pay, kids to get off to college.  I look around at all the stuff that I've accumulated, and try to figure out how much I use, or look at that stuff.   The answer is not much.  So why is it still here?  Or the better question is, why did I get it in the first place. Even after I read the various blogs out there on the same type of subjects, I still ask myself how can I make it a reality. It still seems almost impossible.  I know - just yesterday I said look at it in small steps.  I'm trying it's just hard. Plus news that comes like my friends brother-in-law hits, and I want to speed up the process.  The question is still how?        A lot of people on forums and blogs just say do it!  Maybe I'm just being a chicken.   I still believe it'll happen, it just seems like a lot of obstacles to get through.

Just looking for that little ray of sunshine to give me some inspiration!  Ok my ramblings are over for the night. I think I heard a collective sigh of relief from all my readers (all 2 of you :) ).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Selling stuff starts

Well it had to happen sooner or later.  One thing on the list to go - the motorcycle is out the door tomorrow.  I'm not really sure how much this will actually help me reach my dream.  Because a nice little letter in the mailbox yesterday reminded me of my son's upcoming tuition payment. But I will save $70/month or so every month on insurance so that's something. A little bit of the sale will be used to chip away at a couple bills, and then the rest is off to tuition for my son, and some soccer dues for my daughter.  Life does have a way at coming at you from multiple directions doesn't it. However, when it comes to your kids, some sacrifices have to be made so they can get started on their own paths in life. 

My eyes are on the prize though. I will keep chipping away little by little.  At the start of a journey it can seem daunting, and unreachable.  I'm going to try and apply some tricks from my days in track and cross-country.  Focus on little milestones, short targets.  Don't worry about the finish line so far away.  The next lap will become my next bill paid, the next mile run will become getting more experience sailing.   I'll just keep at it, and before I know it I'll reach that finish line, and be off on my adventure.  Well that's the thought anyway :)

I guess the fact I can't stop thinking about getting back on the water after a subpar day of sailing means that his journey will continue.  So sorry guys and gals - you're stuck with me for a while (unless of course you don't look at the blog anymore!).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I have now sailed!!

 Well it appears that there will not be a post from me saying I give up and want to get an RV instead!  Unfortunately I can't say that it was the most exciting thing I've ever done, but that was due more to the sever lack of wind then anything else.  It was about 90 degrees, and there was a whisper of wind.   But during my turn at the tiller I will say we were moving better then at any other point during the afternoon.  A fact I am completely attributing to my unique abilities picking the right heading! :)  Actually I was pretty nervous when our instructor, Daryl, cut the engine, and told me to man the tiller.  But it was so cool feeling the boat respond in the water as I moved the tiller.  Practice tacking, trying to keep us at a close haul.  There were multiple moments of panic (only by me) as I saw boats that looked like we would cross paths with.  Our instructor, cool as always, said not to worry.  Sure enough, they passed us with more then enough room to spare.

Daryl gave us some things to watch for, like trying to look for where the wind is by watching the water to see where the wind was. Right of way on the water,  which side to pass buoys on.  Trying to pick a point on land to aim for to keep a steady course. 

Then it was time to give up the tiller :(  So I moved to sail duty.  Some more tacks ahead (desperately hoping that my trimming ignorance wouldn't leave us in irons on a tack.  "Prepare to come about" is heard, oh crap I think!  The other crew releases sheets, I watch as the jib starts moving from port to starboard.  I start pulling on the jib sheet when it reaches halfway, and trim the sheet.  And the boat is still moving - so  I'm happy.

Basically the rest of the afternoon was spent tacking back and forth across one little part of the lake.  We did almost insert ourselves into the race that was going on.  The first race was over, and he didn't think there was a second race.  We ended up cutting across the path of a couple boats, not quite close enough to steal what little wind there was from them, but he got a good-natured ribbing from one of the racers he knew.

I will say this though - just sitting in the boat before class with Daryl, just having the boat move with the little bit of water movement felt so good.  Just a calm, relaxing, almost therapeutic movement.  I look forward to getting out there when there is actually some wind and see what that feels like.   One of the guys in the class has a small boat on a lake, and he said I could come out sailing with him.  So it looks like I'm going to be getting some more practice!

I'll leave you with a few pictures of the day.  Not quite as pretty as the pictures from the tropical cruisers out there.  But it's a boat, and it's water!  It's all good !

Sailboat only docks - no nasty power boats here :)

A little bit of everything on this lake - houseboats, power, jetskis, sailboats

Sadly the Beneteau wasn't our boat

The morning class coming in

Our skipper motoring back to the dock

25' but still fairly room inside

Hmm - what's a mainsail again?

Tommy and Cindy getting us set up

Part of a race that was going on

The only spinnaker I saw up. This boat was in first - coincidence?

I saw a colorful sail - so 2 pictures :)

Another racer

Yours truly -anonymous no longer

This picture is deceptive.  Lots of boats were around.

Our fearless leader Daryl

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tomorrow it's on the water

So it's time for my own little victory. Tomorrow at 2pm I will be looking foolish on the water. Now I know that lake doesn't look like much to you big-time cruisers :) but it's the best I got! So I'll get to try some tacking, some jibing, hopefully no swimming will be involved.   Although I'm wondering if I'll walk up to the dock, look at the boat, and wonder what all the heck those different lines do!   The little boat on the hard they used as an example had a lot fewer lines then the videos online I've been watching.   I look at some of those videos and wonder what in the world was up with that pile of rope that looked a bunch of spaghetti.

That's me in the lead :)  Ok - so the one way in the back would be more accurate. Luckily the racing on that lake occurs on Sunday.  But I'm guessing on a Saturday afternoon it will still be fairly crowded.  I think they need to design sail that looks like one of those Student Driver bumper stickers.  That way everybody knows to stay far, far away from the rookie sailor!

So hopefully after tomorrow I won't be making one last post regarding sailing saying I hate it!  I guess it's onto RV living or something after that.   I'm pretty sure though that my appetite for sailing will be increased more and I'll be looking at ways to try and speed up the process even more.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Land chores aren't as interesting

I read many (many, many) blogs about life aboard.  And the cruisers are more then happy to describe their typical day, and the things they have to do to maintain their boats.  How come if I were to describe the chores involved with the house upkeep, I'd lose the other half of my audience that wasn't already bored.

I mean here I am doing some exciting lawn mowing, and a little walkway repair and I'm bored just thinking about it!  I could weave tales of ripping out the old rotten boards, my trip to the hardware store to get some wood, and scews, and then the finally get the new boards down.  ZZZZZzzzzzzzz .    But someday all this dirt-dwelling boredom will be behind me, and I can join in with my experiences on the water!

So bare with me.  Suffering through all of this with me will reward all of us with much more interesting blogs (they couldn't get any less interesting right? :) ).

That middle board with the stamp did get flipped -  don't yell at me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1st Day of Class

Ahh, finally.  The first day of class.  This was the boring part - sitting in a chair in the middle of a sailing store.  Although I sat there listening, and then looking at the boating equipment inside the stores, and all those sailboats outside the window; got rid of the boredom quickly !     So many terms, and concepts going through my head.  Tacking and sailing upwind, jibing and sailing downwind, standard rigging, running rigging, cleats, wenches, a bunch of knots!   Wow - I hope there's not a test on all this.  I don't wanna fail.  Although I guess the test will actually be Saturday on the lake.  I believe we'll be sailing on some 25' sailboat, on a lake with no horsepower limit, so we get to dodge powerboats, and all those fun jetski's.  I think this is what is affectionately called "trial by fire" or is that water?

What's a halyard? 

There was quite the group in the class.  A family of three (father, mother, son), a few couples my age, a single guy, and a younger couple that already bought a 25' Macgregor but had never sailed (kind of wish I jumped right in like they did).  Sailors come in all shapes and sizes, and the class was lively with discussion.  I think sailors or people that want to enjoy that type of life, are by nature a friendly group!

3 days til water!  Watch out!! :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Neat Solar Idea

Came across this idea on the The Good Human website.  Basically it's just a solar heater.  Air comes in from the bottom holes, as it's warmed up air rises through the cans, getting hotter, then hot the top hole. While maybe not a solution for my future cruising plans (I do after all, plan on being anchored somewhere very warm!!).  But for all of you in more temperate climates on board, or even stuck on land (like yours truly), this idea may have merit.   Basically it's just an old window in a frame, some pop (beer) cans, a little insulation, some black spray paint, and some drilling.   Heck - as easy as that is, even I might be able to get it built!

Yet another short post - I apologize.  I know you guys need more words of wisdom and insight from me.  Just think of it as saving up for some incredible revelation later on :)

On a much more exciting note for me -   Sailing Class TOMORROW!!!!!  Well just the indoors part.   But Saturday I get out on the water!   
Yes - I'm jumping for joy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Let's see if this thing will sell

Yep - it's time to start simplifying.  Regardless of actually ending up in a sailboat or not (but let's be honest - that is happening!!! ), the bike is on Craigslist.  A few people have called already.  Let's hope we can get this sucker sold.  It was fun to ride, but we're thinking big picture here!  I don't think any boat in my price range is going to have space to store my toy :)   It does shine nice in the sun though!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Class this week!

I get my first taste of some sailing this week, and I'm pretty excited!  3 hours of an classrom class, then an afternoon on a local lake.  Of course the problem could be that once I get a taste of sailing I have to shorten the timeframe of the plan dramatically; a risk I'm more then willing to take :)

I know it's just a few hours but it's a start.  Then maybe move onto a sailing club on one of the small lakes nearby.  I have a very nice offer from a couple in Annapolis I talked to via the Sailnet forums to go out with them (I think they just want to make me miserable about not having a boat! - so mean ).  The sailing community is so friendly to everybody; it's very refreshing!

After that - who knows where I'll end up!  Somewhere warm I'm hoping!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

See what you are missing

Today I thought I'd provide a public service for all of you liveaboard cruisers.  This thought came to me today as I was coming back from a soccer practice with my daughter.  We had to get on the highway for a little bit, and thus the inspiration.    

You are very welcome for this little remembrance of life on land :)  Every day just gives me even more inspiration to shorten my timetable and head out.

So good sailing to all of you out there - I'll find you eventually!