Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let's get these sails on

Today was the day I thought I'd figure out these sails. The previous owner is on his way to Spain so there won't be much in the way of advice on this.   Remember - I'm a rookie.  I could put the sails on a 16.5' Catalina no problem.  But this is a little bigger boat.  And I've never put a sail on a roller furler before.  

One of the old slides

Step one - figure out this rigging.  The main sail has these sail slides on them.  Some of them are missing.  Some of them are cracked.  You know what that means, yep - an excuse to go to West Marine!  Hey it's Christmas time - other people get to shop.  This is where I like to go.  A little pack of like 4 slides is $9.   They are just plastic right?  Oh wait I forgot - they have that it's for sailors so let's tack on some more money on that price!

The new one looks better

So I replace some of the missing ones, and one of the cracked slides.   I still need another trip to West Marine (I get the feeling there are going to be many trips in the future) to pick up a pack of plastic shackles (right term?) to connect the slide to the sail.

With the new slides in place all that is left is to hook the sail up to the halyard, and feed the slides into the mast.

The roller furling was a little more fun, but in the end I got it up.   It doesn't look as nice as the other boats,  But I think that's because I don't have the proper sun protection on my sail to protect it when it's rolled up.   Something to research on how to attach to the sail.

Sail is fed into the furler track

This sail was a bit more fun.  I had to raise it all the way (feeding it through the track in the furler) so that I could then furl it up.  It's kind of a fun process to try when the wind is blowing a bit and you are doing it by yourself.   But hey - that's part of the joy of owning a boat!

Not super pretty - but I'm just learning :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dream Meets Reality

Well the day is finally here.  It's mostly here anyways.  Paperwork in hand, but need to go make it all official like with the government and all the fun that entails.   But the S/V .........  is mine.  Actually, now that I think about it, there is no name on the boat, or the paperwork I have.  Does this mean I get to name it what I want?  How does that all work? That's one thing I definitely didn't look into how to do.

Did anybody else have a sense of what do I do now when the signed the paperwork?   I'd love to just take it sailing, but there's a new head gasket I need to put on the engine (part of the deal - don't worry - I did know about the status of the engine).  An older gentleman owned the boat and lived on the hook, so there is a bit of cleaning to do (you know us bachelor types).

The cushions are a bit dirty, and used, and honestly the whole boat could use a nice cleaning.   But I wasn't looking for spotless, I was looking for a solid boat, and that I think I got.  It's a 1977 Chrysler 30'.  I really love the layout of the boat too.  So while it's not really pretty to look at, a nice cleaning, and some cushions replaced and it'll look pretty good.

I'll have it down at Cut's Edge Marina in Palmetto, FL until I get at least the head gasket replaced (part is on the boat) should be ready to roll next week.   Then I have to decide whether to keep it there or bring it up closer (probably Harborage Marina in St Pete).  It'll probably get moved because I want my new baby near me :)

Now the work begins.  I'm a bit overwhelmed at the list I'm compiling, but that's the joy of boat ownership right? :)  

More updates to follow on my progress making this boat truly mine!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Boat ownership!

Ok, so maybe the title is a bit misleading.  I don't own it yet.  However the gentlemen's agreement is in place ( well maybe the seller is a gentleman anyways ).   I may or may not have mentioned a 1977 Chrysler 30' sailboat on the blog.  I think I mentioned it on Facebook.    But that is the boat for me.   I had looked at an Aloha 28' that was in great shape with all sorts of toys.  The owner of that boat, Bud, is a genuinely great guy who I now count as a friend.  He was selling his boat because he had heart failure and couldn't sail anymore.   He did however have a friend he was teaching to sail that wanted the boat, but didn't have the money so I told him to sell it to her on a payment plan so she could still sail, and when he felt good enough he could at least be a passenger on the boat .     I was kicking myself for letting the boat go, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

It turns out he had a friend that had this Chrysler he was living on, and had anchored out near Palmetto FL.  I had never heard that Chrysler had a marine division (however short lived), so was skeptical about the boat, but new that taking a look wouldn't hurt anything.  Once I stepped on the boat I knew that this could be the boat.   First of all, it was the first boat I had been on that's deck was rock solid.  No soft spots of any kind.  Down below I thought there must be some kind of illusion going on, as it felt really roomy down there.   Lots of built in storage, an interesting layout of the v-berth (crossing single bunks at different height), and a generous main cabin as well as roomy quarter berth.

Fred's (the boat owner) situation was he was moving back to Spain (he was British) soon, and wanted to sell the boat fairly quickly.   He mentioned a price of 10K, as we talked it went down a bit to 7K, and the final price became 5K a couple weeks later as his situation changed a bit and he has to leave earlier.  Patience apparently does have some benefits.

I apologize for the lack of pictures on this, but there will be MANY coming as I take possession and figure out where I will keep it.  My lease goes til the end of April, so I'll try to find something cheap until then (not sure if I'm comfortable anchoring it on my own just yet).

The day appears to be fast approaching when I will switch from Land to Liveaboard!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Aloha 28 - I want this one!

I don't know how it was for all the other boat owners, but did you climb onto a boat, and just instantly think - this is home; this is the one?   The ship owner, Bud, seems like a geniunely nice guy who I'm sad to report, cannot sail anymore due to heart failure.  He doesn't necessarily want to sell it, but since he can't sail anymore it's just time.

This boat has way more equipment then I probably should get to start out with (more to go wrong I'm told).  And flies in the face of KeepItSimpleStupid.  But a pristine interior that includes, a fridge, microwave, toilet, ac, and numerous other things for the price of $6800 just seems like a no brainer.  The sails are in great shape, as is the rigging.

I wanted to sail the boat out right then and there!!    I guess I should make sure I can really afford it, and have a place to put it though - small details!  Also I have a willing passenger (Bud) if I ever want to go sailing.  Not that he can do any of the sailing, but he knows the boat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Boat Search 2 of ......

Another day, another boat to look at.  This time I went and looked at a 1972 27' O'Day that was listed at $6500.   A very clean and obviously well maintained boat.   The Volvo Diesel started instantly, and the reassuring womp, womp of the engine told me she was working.

The owner, a very friendly ex-marine, was more then happy to share with me all of the maintenance he'd been doing on the boat.   He actually found out the boat was for sale when I called.  His wife has been busy trying to sell off his toys.   Hmmm, maybe this single life isn't such a bad thing after all :)  But he agrees actually they need to sell it.  He lives in a houseboat next to it with his wife, in this very nice and quiet marina (Pasadena Marina).  There seems to be a very friendly liveaboard community of about 20 people here.  May be an option for me.

Another nice thing about the boat is that I can stand upright in it (6'2").  Of course I have to stand with my legs apart a little bit, so maybe closer to 6'0" but still it's no hunching over in it.  An electric stove, an icebox, and a nicely maintained interior.  It has a good main sail, but no jib.  So there is something I would need to get.   But once I do there is a roller furling, and traveller, so that's nice.  It should be a boat I can sail single handed.  Even as green as I am.

Hmm - boats, boats, and more boats.  The search continues!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Boat Search Part I of ........

I figured that after a few lessons, and some racing I thought I'd go check out some boats.  The fever has struck, and the fever is strong!

I know, I know .... patience grasshopper!  Well this little grasshopper isn't very patient!    I do hope, however, to get out and see quite a few boats, and not jump on something just because I want a boat NOW!

The owner of this 1983 Cal 25 Mark II had just had it taken out of the water because she couldn't keep paying the slip fees.  So it's sitting up on stands which I guess actually isn't a bad thing for a prospective buyer.  I get to see all the things the water can hide.  One of which looked like a crack in rudder.

Other then that though I will say the boat is in pretty good shape cosmetically (which doesn't really mean a whole hill of beans of course :) ).  A relatively new main that was cut for the boat, and a jib in pretty good shape.   Rigging is all fairly new, and appears to be in good condition as well.

 Of course the biggest issue would be a nonfunctioning outboard.  That might be a little important.  So a $4000 30 yr old boat with no working engine.    It's a sailboat though - who needs an engine :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boca Ciega Yacht Club race night

All is quiet before race day

Sunday morning was race day at Boca Ciega Yacht club. I was a bit nervous showing up Sunday morning.  Wondering if I would get a spot on a boat, would I get yelled at for doing newbie things, would I be the cause of a poor performance - all of the above? :)   So with some minor trepidation I walked into the club house, and was greeted warmly by the club members.    The boat captains were on  one side of the room, the rail meat on the other side.   6 boats just waiting for people.   I volunteered to be rail meat on one of the boats.  I figured it would be a good way to learn and cause the least amount of havoc.

Boat owner  and our raceday boat !

Lawson the captain, and his mother (probably a spry 70+) the owner of the boat, gave us a brief rundown on what they wanted from us.   Fat guy up front - you move from high side to high side when we tack or jibe.  A job I can handle!!

Out we go, and with a great deal of patience Lawson instructs his entirely green crew (other then his mother) on our duties.  We practice tacking and I must say with a great deal of pride - I can move from side to side very well :)

The first race we got a late start. Although to be honest I have no idea how I'm going to figure the start out when I get my own boat.  It's confusing!    But off we go.  Needless to say we are getting beat by everybody.  Even a couple of the 16.5' Catalina's are beating us, and we're in a 30' European made boat (sorry - didn't get the manufacturer).

A downwind leg gives me a chance to see wing-on-wing for the first time, and we might have been hitting all of 4 knots.  But it felt good.   The end of the first race found us second to last, only beating a 22 footer.

For the second race, Ruth Anne (the 70+ yr old owner) decided she had enough of manning the jib sheet winch.  After taking over for her I am now amazed at her.  It takes some effort to pull the sheet in, and then crank the winch.  I had some issues getting some tangles on the winch, by pulling the sheet a little too quickly, and we lost some ground.  By the end of the 2nd race though I had it down, and was feeling pretty good.  Racing definitely is a great way to hone your sailing skills (if you don't mind a little loud suggesting from your captain on how to do it better! ).

Back to the club for some well deserved adult beverages.

I'm just sorry those races are only once a month.   It's time to start seriously shopping for a boat so I can sail!!  In the meantime the club 16'5 Catalinas will do  :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Club Sailout

So I finally got to get to sail on a real sailboat, and you know what happens.  Yep - the curse of Chris strikes again and no wind!  If you ever want a calm day on the water, just invite Chris over.  I guarantee you that the wind will mysteriously disappear.

This past Wednesday was the club sailout for all of us newbie sailors.  Boca Ciega Yacht Club members volunteered their boats and their time to take out the students from the class to experience sailing some larger boats.   I had the pleasure of joining a super sweet couple, John and Cindy, on their 26' something or other (that's my good memory kicking in again).  It's funny how big a 26' boat feels after you've been sailing on 16.5' Catalinas.  It felt even bigger given how tight the marina had the under 28' docks laid out.   I had no idea how we were going to get the boat out, but John got us out with no problems.   Experience makes things look so much better!

So out we headed into the "immense" Boca Ciega Bay.

Everything was so new to me - the wheel (small boats have tillers :) ), the space in the cockpit, a decent sized cabin (in my mind), the instrumentation (GPS, speed, depth indicators).  It was like rolling out in a  luxury car for the first time.  I know I'm getting plenty of chuckles out there from the experienced sailors out there.  But for somebody brand new to sailing and being on boats it's pretty cool.

Our iron sail (although it's an outboard - so plastic and metal sail? :) ) puttering in the background - or rather foreground - how people use motorboats is beyond me.  Those suckers are loud!  And that's a little 2 stroke engine.  I can't imagine what a full powered outboard sounds like.

Off the engine goes, and the sails go up.  Roller-furling is a wonderful invention!  And then - there was no wind. It's a common them with me, sailboats, and water.  I look at the speed indicator - .7 knots.  We are flying!!  Then I get to take the wheel. I prefer tillers at this point.  It just feels like you get a real sense of the water with a tiller.  The wheel takes a little getting used to for me for some reason.

I change direction, heading closer to the wind a little bit, and tighten up the sails a bit, and we get all the way up to 1.6 knots.  It's terrifying the speed we are getting :)   But then the wind completely dies, and we are just sitting there.   So we sit in the middle of the bay, and watch the sun go down and relax.  Cindy brings out some wine and snacks (is this mandatory equipment on a sailboat? ).  I have to say, being out in the middle of the water, watching the sun go down is one of the most relaxing and tranquil experiences I think I've had.  Pair that with some excellent company, and consider me hooked.

Unfortunately the night had to end, and even though I wanted to drop anchor and spend the night, it seemed rather rude to suggest that when it's not my boat!    So back to the Yacht Club we headed.

John and Cindy made the mistake of telling me to let them know when I wanted to go sailing again.  They may hear from me a lot :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm certifiable!

Well it has been awhile .  How quickly land life takes over .  I never realized how busy moving to a different state, with a different job could be.   Now that Im relatively settled, I've started to set my sights on my long term goal.   To that end I did a little classwork and some ON THE WATER work :)  Yes - that's right, I got on an actual sailboat, with actual water, and real wind (well some wind).   It was definitely a test to see if I enjoyed sailing as much as I thought I would.   Guess what ?   I DO!!   For anybody in the Tampa area, I would HIGHLY recommend the Boca Ciega Yacht Club sailing classes. It's $250 but it's 5 weeks of Wednesday night class, and weekend sailing sessions.  Plus you get 3 months of membership in the club.  At the very end they give me a very official looking paper :)

And I can check out the club's 16.5' Catalina sailboats and learn on my own.

The weekend sail sessions were very helpful.  It was 2 students and 1 boat captain that taught us many, many things (with only a little forceful reminding ;)).  Wanna know points of sail?  I'm on it.   Can I trim the sheets - you know I can.   Can I heave-to; absolutely!  The one thing I have issues with on a smallish boat (I'm a big guy :) ), moving from one side to the other when jibing..  I feel pretty darn clutsy holding the tiller to one side, making sure the main sheet doesn't let the boom fly across, and move my big butt!     Looks like I need to work on my nimbleness!!

Next post - yes I will post more - I almost promise; a Wednesday night sailout with club members on their boats.   Looking forward to it!

Now the fever is in full force - boat shopping here I come!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Debby didn't want me sailing

Well I was supposed to get some sailing lessons this past weekend.   I looked around a little bit, and found out that the Sailing Center out of the St Pete Yacht Club, offered a free weekend of sailing lessons if you became a member.  For a $250 membership due, that seemed like it was worth it just for the lessons themselves.  On top of that you also had free use of the clubs Ideal 18'.   First come first serve of course.  But lessons and free boats - sign me up!!!   Of course with such an awesome deal, the interest was very high.   The next available "free" sailing lesson was late August or September.    And since I'm a very impatient person - I found out they offered private lessons.   This past Sunday I was going to spend an afternoon, one on one with an instructor.   And see what sailing on the Gulf was like compared to an inland Ohio lake.   My initiation was sooooo close!!     And then mother nature decided that................

Tropical Storm Debby decided she wanted to pay a visit.   Oh well - I'm learning that schedules and sailing are not a good mix.  You sail when Mother Nature tells you, you're going to sail.   A good lesson for my future endeavors :)    To my instructor's credit (or misplaced optimism ?)  he did call that morning to see if I wanted to see if the weather cleared later in the day.   Of course it didn't because apparently Debby wants to stay around and vacation in the area a bit longer :(

So July 14th is my next class schedule (there's that dirty word again - schedule), and I will have to get by with looking at the water, and loitering in a West Marine to dream :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Another Year in the books

What a difference a year can make.  The Ohio native is now living in the land of water and warmth (well there are warmer places :) ).   The change I've been longing for, and quite frankly needed, has happened.  It still strikes me as almost surreal when I drive to work, and there is water on both sides of me as I cross the bridge from St Pete, to Tampa.  Even a long commute is ok when the scenery is water :)

The downside of course is my kids being back in Ohio, and I do miss them.  But they are off doing there own thing these days (really - do college age students really hand with their parents anyways? :)). And this fall they will both be off at college.  So if there is a time to make the change now was as good as any.  It's just amazing the variety of emotions that have gone on since this move became a reality.  Worried, nervous, excited, sad, happy....    And that was just on the 15 hour drive from Cincinnati to Tampa.  On the one hand I was leaving a life I was having trouble really enjoying, and headed towards an unknown life.  Also I was leaving kids and family behind.   But in the end, life is too short and I felt like if not now then it'll never happen.

Now it's time to move onto the next change - BOAT!!!  Must find a boat :)   But until that happens I have some sailing lessons coming up, and plan on joining the St Pete Sailing Center and use their 18' sailboats to learn on for now.    

And the best part for whoever is left tuning in here every once in awhile - Internet access - so I can post more regularly then the 1 every month thing I've been doing!

Hopefully there will be some sailing pics from this weekend to share :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

I Made it Somewhere Warm!

So finally I get around to updating what I've been up to for the last few months.  It's been quite the roller-coaster, but I've finally landed somewhere.  That somewhere is Tampa, more specifically South Pasadena.   2 miles away from the apartment I'm in - St Petersburg Beach!  1/2 mile from the apartment complex - Pasadena Marina.   The weather is warm, the water is close, and I see boats everywhere :)

As part of the move I was able to get a few things accomplished that will help out with my eventual liveaboard goal.   FIrst thing - got rid of a ton of stuff!!  It is truly amazing how many things we accumulate over the years.  It is even more amazing (or is that depressing) how much of that stuff we don't use.

The second thing, that I hope will help fund some cruising kitty, is my house in Ohio is rented out.  I still have to get the thing paid off, but going forward I plan on using that to supply me with some steady income (albeit not a lot) so I can sail, sail, sail away (insert favorite boating related song here!).

Now for the fun part.  I have an apartment lease for a year.  It's time to start looking at marinas, boats, and build some sailing skills.   All things that I hope to be able to update this blog with.  The problem lately has been the new job has been incredibly hectic, and no internet at the apartment yet, so I've had limited access to do some updates.  Weak excuse I know, but an excuse nonetheless :)

Well that's it for now - sitting in a cafe doing this quickly before I'm off.    But this is where I live now - the other side of this pic is water!!  Yep - the apartment complex is next to water.   Chris is happy :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Updates To Come Soon !

I have been incredibly neglectful - although very busy at the same time.  It's been a mad rush the last couple months - if it's possible to rush around for 2 months.   I will update the blog early next week on what's been going on!  But I am still alive, and warm, and close to water!!

More to come!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Choices to Make!

Yes another round of silence from the slacker in Ohio.  I find myself in an interesting predicament (forgive any spelling errors - I'm a math major!).  While waiting for the various background checks, and my passport, and the other things that need done prior to fully accepting the position on Princess Cruises, I get told that an offer for another job is forthcoming.

The job is in Tampa, and from all indications sounds like a pretty good job.  So do I work on a cruise ship, and live wherever I want for the 2 months out of the year I'm not onboard, or do I go live in Tamp, find a boat and a marina and go sailing whenever the desire and weather allows.    I'm pretty tempted to go the Tampa route.  So there may be a massive garage sale shortly followed by (or in conjunction with) a frantic search for living space (hopefully on a boat) in Tampa. 

Decisions decisions !!  Many emotions including excited, nervous, anxious, worried, slightly stressed, and even some relief are flowing through my mind at the moment.  One way or the other it looks like I'll be living near water very soon :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Where are the sails ??

Well there is the possibility I'll end up on the water relatively soon.  However the boat I end up on may not have any sails on it.   I had an interview with Princess Cruises today, and it went pretty well.  Next up, a technical interview.   The job is for a Computer Officer.  Holy crap - me an officer?  Somebody is making a big mistake! So the quick overview, this will be 6 months of 7 days a week work supporting the computer systems onboard one of these floating hotels.  The perks as far as I can tell are traveling the world (albeit with just brief opportunities to visit ports of call), no need to pay for any housing or food for those 6 months, my own cabin, the ability to eat the same food the passengers eat (not the crew food).  After the 6 months I get 2 months of free time (time to sail!!).  Plus maybe I get the opportunity to scout out some future sailing locations.

Now, I have to figure out if I can get everything wrapped up and taken care of in a month or so, so that I can realistically do this.   I wonder how my kids will take the news.  Now my son is already in college, and my daughter will be going this fall.  So they are about to embark on their own journey in life.  But will dad being out of touch for 6 months at a time be rough on them (and by out of touch I mean not being able to see them in person).  Of course I will also have 2 months at a time to really annoy them if I so choose :)  Decisions, decisions.

It's funny; when you start thinking about changing your life dramatically it all sounds so awesome and exciting. When the opportunity presents itself, then some worry and doubt starts to creep in a little bit.  On the one hand I think I should just stick it out here for a bit longer.  But then on the other I think life is way to short, and we should all take a jump into the unknown from time to time.  Just to make sure we're really living!

It all could not matter as I still have a technical interview, and background check, and physical (have to make sure I can handle emergency situations).  But if it all goes well - big decision time!

Stay tuned !

Monday, January 9, 2012

Long drive to see some water!

I now find myself taking whatever opportunity I can to get near water (and not that yucky dirty Ohio River close to me either!).  My son was home for winter break from college, and needed a way to get back to school.  His dorm didn't open until 9am on Sunday.  So I offered to take him, leaving at 3am so that I could make the drive there and back in a day (8 1/2 hour drive one way).  Part of the reason was of course because I enjoy spending time with my son.  The other, more selfish reason was so I could get to Annapolis and near some water and sailboats!  So we got there close to 12, had a lunch, hung out near the city dock for an hour or so, and then I drove back.  17 hours of driving for a couple hours near the water.   Some people might say I'm a little nuts (heck, I might say it)! There is just something pulling me towards the water.  From the moment the crazy liveaboard thought popped into my brain til now it seems to get stronger each day.

So until that happens I guess long drives for glimpses of boats, and water will be on the schedule.  I thought I had a job opportunity in Tampa, but that one didn't pan out, so I'll keep searching until it happens.  In the meantime, I have an April vacation planned down to the Keys, and another in June near Tampa.  I'm sure plenty of boat looking, and job hunting will be going on!

And maybe I'll finally start blogging regularly because I'm sure you all have missed it :)