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!!!