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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Change in Course

Over the past few weeks, we've been experimenting with Facebook and we've decided that we would continue to chronicle our journey on that system rather than this blog.

The decision has been a toughie as there are many people following our journey here. However, we believe the Facebook platform will provide us all a better mechanism to stay connected.

We've created a Sailboat Family Facebook Fan Page, and we would love for you to join us there.

Our evolution towards the Sailboat Family Life continues; as we go we learn of ways to morph and change to enhance the experience. Our Internet presence is no exception to change, with the first foray as a humble web page, next a monthly chronicle was added, this was followed by entry into the blogosphere, and now to Facebook land we go. Who knows what will be after that!

While remaining laser focused on a goal, one should not be blind to opportunities that enhance the experience. The destination may not change, but currents do. Ride the currents when they suit you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thinning continues

The boat has nearly every item in it we will need for the trip ..... all the toys, tools, food, and clothes thereby making everything else we own, that isn't on the boat, superfluous. As a consequence, we've begun a massive purge of items in our tiny apartment.

Over the past 8 days, we've dispensed with 21 bags of stuff. Where did that 21 bags come from? We've been vigilant about not adding things to our life, and yet there are the 21 bags. Looking through them, toys and clothes make up the bulk. But there were other items too, like a walking stick, that somehow magnetically drew itself to us.

There are a number of after thoughts that came about after this purging exercise. Firstly, we had too much stuff. 75% of it was never used .... it just sat there (walking sticks don't walk themselves). Secondly, even with the trip being our family focus, items slip in under the wire. One exception here, one exception there, and a few years later you have 21 bags of stuff. Thirdly, stuff is deceptive and is able to fill space hiding itself.

As we work towards our goal of moving onto the boat, we will need to hold these purging events more frequently. Better yet, we will not allow more stuff in but I suspect stuff will still appear!

21 bags is a lot, but we have more. Time for another run to Goodwill.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


While in England last week, I was able to make it to Stonehenge.

The structure is a collection of massive stones sitting out in the middle of no where with no rock quarry near by. It is believed to have been assembled around 2500 B.C. There are about as many theories regarding its purpose and origin as their are people.

The people vibe, in the area, is much like Sedona Arizona. There is wonder and amazement in the eyes of people as they circle the structure. There is a feeling of magic in the air.

But these are just rocks. The power of these "just rocks" lies in them sitting in an unexpected location. The power of these "just rocks" lies in them arranged in an unexplainable way. The power of these "just rocks" lies in the people whom look at them and wonder.

The lesson for me is that even if someone is just a "rock", if they are in the right arrangement, in the right place, and viewed by the right people, they can be magical.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Water Park Skill Development

As a way to celebrate the hard work of employees and the contributions of families, yesterday my office had a day at the Lake Lanier Islands Water Park. We played and played and played. The Lake Lanier Water Park has water fun houses, slides, tube rides, wave pools, beach action, water playground, and even one of those toilet bowl rides where the end is a free fall into a deep pool.

We took advantage of the water park and used it as a way assess how our daughters would do in a chaotic water environment. We didn't do drills per se, but we issued various commands, watched when they would try to float and when they would try to swim, studied their decision choices, measured their boldness, and so forth. They both did good given their ages. We did see, however, that more work must be done. I guess that means more water park time! :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

HMS Victory

HMS Victory in Portsmouth, England

For the past 9 days, I've been in England on a business trip with Winchester (South England) as a base. Fortunately, there were no meetings over the weekend and that allowed for a bit of touring. A group of colleagues rented a car and off we went. One of the most interesting stops was in Portsmouth, right on the English Channel. There is a fantastic Navel museum there with the pride and joy artifact being the HMS Victory.

The HMS Victory is an amazing sailing vessel with many navel victories under her belt. As I walked from deck to deck (there were about 7 of them), I was struck by how low the ceilings were; the deeper I descended, the more hunched over I had to be. About 800 sailors were aboard at any one time, and the thoughts of them moving about in the confined spaces makes one almost feel squished. With oceans wave action, cannons firing, commands being shouted, no doubt those seamen had one hell of a job. According to the tour guide, the cannons (over 100 of them) could be heard for over 50 miles when fired so I'm sure those on board had no hearing by the time they completed their duty. It is also worth sharing that it was aboard HMS Victory that Vice Admiral Nelson was shot and killed. Their are plaques aboard the boat marking the exact spot of each (he was shot while on top deck but he died on the lowest deck).

Seeing the massive scale of all the ships components and the rudimentary system sure does give a different perspective into todays modern boats. The HMS Victory is quite different than our little Ariel!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Boat Hair - KJ's First Hair Cut

When should a child get their first hair cut? I believe the answer depends on the child. In the case of crew member KJ, she was 4 years 8 months old. It was KJ's decision to cut her hair and Bill agreed.

Bill and I believe that we should teach our girls about how to make decisions, as soon as they can comprehend the concept. KJ and her Dad have been getting close to making a decision on when she should get her first hair cut, for the past year. But we knew that her hair would be cut before we started our adventure. Very long hair gets really tangled in the wind and on a sailboat there is usually wind (we hope ;)).

The decision to cut her hair came after our long 4th of July weekend, at the boat. KJ's hair was really tangled and a bear to brush. So many tears :(. A couple of days later, KJ told me she wanted her hair cut and Bill gave me the go-a-head.

One pony tail and a couple of snipes from the scissors and KJ's hair is 9" shorter, but still well below her shoulders. With the baby hair gone, her hair looks and feel healthier and is a lot easier to brush. KJ love her shorter hair.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In the cruising world, one major nemesis is trash. Most of the books and blogs that I have read on cruising suggest taking food out of its original container and store it in some kind of reusable storage. This not only cuts down on the amount of plastic and paper trash, but also helps keep various insects off the boat.

Based on recommendations from cruiser forums, blogs, and books the best solution for us is Tupperware. Continuous usage of an item requires it to be reliable and durable. Testimonials from the above mentioned references, all highly recommend Tupperware over any other brand of storage.

With the solution in hand, we started pricing new Tupperware and developed a case of sticker shock. New, just a couple of pieces can run upwards of $50. Based on our storage plan, we were going to need a lot, but we weren't willing to drop $500 or more on new Tupperware. We decided to try ebay.

While searching on ebay, I could not believe how many results came up for Tupperware, over 30,000. That's a lot of Tupperware! After looking at a lot of listings, we bid on a few and won a listing that had over 70 pieces of vintage(used) Tupperware for a total of $50.82 (included shipping).

The Tupperware was in great shape and I was amazed at how much each container could hold. We have filled and labeled all of the various pieces of Tupperware. They now reside on Ariel.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ground Tackle Acquisition - Chain, Rode, Claw

With all of the modifications and upgrades that we have made to our Gemini 3200, we thought it was time to upgrade some of our most important equipment, ground tackle.

When we purchased our boat back in June 2009, it came with 2 fair sets of anchor, chain, and rode. Our future plans call for us spending most of our time at anchor; therefore, additional chain and rode are a necessity.

The upgrades to our ground tackle include: 100 feet of 5/16 BBB chain with 150 feet of 1/2 nylon rode, 60 feet of 5/16 BBB chain with 150 feet of 1/2 nylon rode, stainless steel anchor shackles, and 33 pound claw anchor.

You know, insurance companies are always reminding people to re-evaluate their insurance as it relates to changes in their lives. We believe that ground tackle is the most valuable insurance you can have on a boat. With the additions to our ground tackle equipment, we believe that we are more than adequately insured ;).

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Wraps for Lines and Shore Cord

Have you ever thought, I need something to keep "X" from coming uncoiled? On our Gemini 3200, the "X" is numerous.

I've been thinking for some time on how to keep things from coming uncoiled that would not cost a lot, if any, money.

The idea of the wrap came from a marine chandlery that we call "Tiffany's," because of their prices. I was browsing through their catalog when I came across wraps priced from $1.99 to $6.49, depending on material. The wrap looked so simple, I decided to make them.

Using webbing, velcro, and Beulah, I made two wraps in less than 5 minutes for less than $.25 each. The wraps are a piece of 12" long webbing with 2" of velcro. Just sew the loop part of the velcro on one side of the webbing, at the end, and the hook part of the velcro on the other side, at the opposite end. That's it. (Note: Make sure to sear the ends of the webbing or cut it using a hot knife, because it likes to ravel.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cleaning Boat Grill

Above picture is after the cleaning. I wish I had taken a before picture.

Before you think about throwing a grill away, try cleaning it with Easy Off Oven Cleaner (in the yellow canister). You will be amazed at what it can do, I know it amazed me.

Preparing for our adventure, we knew that we wanted the ability to grill. Not only because we like to grill, but it gives us a backup to our stove and not cooking in the galley will help keep the boat cooler, when it is hot.

We acquired a Magma grill when we purchased our Gemini 3200 , a year ago June, but we never used it. The reason we never used it was it looked terrible on the inside and it would not stay lit. We were considering throwing it away, but we thought that we should try to clean it.

I cleaned it using Easy Off Oven Clean, in the yellow canister. Basically, I sprayed (coated) the inside of the grill with Easy Off, closed the lid, and allowed it so sit in the sun for 4 hours. When I came back and rinsed the grill, I was amazed. The grill almost looked brand new and now appears to be working. I guess it just needed a really good cleaning.

I'm so glad that we tried to clean the grill before throwing it way. The $3.54 cost of a canister of Easy Off saved us from purchasing a new marine grill with prices starting around $150.

Tip: I would not use the Easy Off near anything that is painted. It took the green paint off the propane canister.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Igloo 165 QT Cooler

It is hard to keep things cold on a boat. That is no longer the case on our Gemini 3200. Other day, we purchased an Igloo 165QT MaxCold Travel Cooler for Ariel.

Igloo advertises that this cooler keeps ice for 7 days in 90 degree temperatures, holds up to 280 -12oz. cans hold, has a quick-access hatch, and is made with Ultratherm insulation for maximum cold retention. The durable outside has UV inhibitors incorporated into the plastic, I desire that this translates into longevity.

This cooler is approximately 42" long, 18" wide, and 22" high and will take up valuable space in the cockpit.

Like almost everything that goes on our Gemini 3200, it has to have more than one purpose. The cooler will not only store things that we want to keep cold, it will also double as a helm set. Our existing helm seat is a Garelick pilot chair (looks like bar stool). The reasons we are making the change are that we felt the chair would be a hazard in rough seas and one of the seat welds broke on our last cruise.

We are looking forward to putting the cooler on Ariel. With this addition, the cockpit will be safer, we can keep cold things longer, and more than one person can sit at the helm at the same time. (Cup holders are a bonus ;))

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cockpit Cushion Covers

N0w that the settee cushions on our Gemini 3200 have been refreshed, I wanted to do something to brighten up our boat cockpit without spending more than $50. The solution was to make covers for our existing cockpit cushions.

The existing cockpit cushions are closed cell foam covered in a designer phifertex fabric. The cushions are fantastic, because neither the phifertex nor the close cell foam absorb water. So they not only serve as seat cushions, but also could be used as flotation aids. The cushions would be perfect, except they look drab and the phifertex fabric is not comfortable.

After exploring different options, I happen upon a project posted to Sailrite's facebook page were someone used beach towels to recover their cockpit cushions. The great thing about using beach towels is that the towels could be used for multiple purposes and they wouldn't take up valuable storage space.

I started my search for the right beach towels. I was fortunate to find towels that matched the interior color palette at Target for $9.99. I purchased 4 towels.

To make the cover, I wrapped an existing cushion in a towel and pinned it in place. Then I pinned velcro to the towel and sewed it into place using my LSZ-1 Ultrafeed sewing machine.

The cover installation takes only a minute. Just place a cushion on a towel and wrap it in the towel like a present. The velcro functions as the tape.

I love the new look and can't wait to try them out the next time we are in Savannah.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Settee Cushions Redo - Materials and Cost

Recently, I completely remade the settee cushions for our Gemini 3200. I did not go into details about how to make the cushions, because Sailrite's dvd gives all of the detail and they are the experts. I do want to share with y'all the list of materials and cost. Maybe this information can help someone looking at redoing their settee or other large upholstery project.

Our Gemini 3200 has six large cushions (3 back and 3 seat cushions) that make-up the settee. The back cushions are basically rectangles and two of the cushions are mounted on plywood with a teak back plate, so no need to cover the back of the cushions with material. The three seat cushions were irregular in shape and a little more challenging.

All-in-all, this project took 65 hours for me, to complete. (This was my first big sewing project and the first time I had ever installed zippers. The Sailrite dvd was the only reference I used and it was the only one that I needed.) I think that now that I have some experience, this project would take less time for me to complete.

All of the materials for this project were purchased from Sailrite, except the foam which was purchased from my local Joann's. Note: I was able to use coupons/sale discounts to purchase all of the materials.

The list and quantity of material below was sufficient to make 2 back cushions - 65"x14"x2", 1 back cushion - 74"x14"x3", 2 seat cushions - 62"x20"x4", and 1 seat cushion 69"x24"x4".

Materials from Sailrite:
12 yards of Naugahyde Universal Pure White 54" - $155.40
180 yards Deluxe Vinyl Emossed Welting/Piping Pure White - $ 99.00
1 1oz Spool plus 25yards of V92 White Thread -~$ 5.00
2 #10 White 72" Zippers - Single Locking Plastic - $ 19.90*
2 #10 White 60" Zippers - Single Locking Plastic - $ 17.40*
1 Sailrite "Make Your Own Cushions" DVD - $ 19.95
Shipping from Sailrite - $ 15.24
Minus 10% Discount ($ 31.66)
Total from Sailrite: $300.23

* Note: Single locking zipper is hard to sew around, at the ends. I recommend using non-locking zipper for this type of project. That way the slider and lock don't get into the way. (Wish I had known.)

Foam from Joann's: (Note all of the foam was purchased with 40% to 50% off discounts)
2-2"thick x65" long x 24.5" wide $ 67.22
1-3"thick x 74" long x 24.5" wide $ 52.78
2-4"thick x 62" long x 24.5" wide $114.57
1-4"thick x 69" long x 24.5" wide $ 58.44
Total from Joann's: $293.01

Other Materials/Instruments Used:
12 1/2"Brass Grommets
1 #18 Sewing Machine Needle for Ultrafeed Machine
Beulah (our Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Machine)
Good Office Stapler
Box of Staples
Heavy Duty Stapler and Staples for Cushions with Plywood backs
Staple Puller
1/2" Die Set to install Grommets
Flat Head Screwdriver
Yard Stick
10' Measuring Tape
Seam Ripper

Time: ~65 hours

Total Cost of 6 extra large cushions $593.24. This cost does not include the cost of time or my Ultrafeed LSZ-1. However, with the completion of this project, Beulah (my Ultrafeed LSZ-1) has more than paid for herself, my sewing skills have improved, and Ariel feels and smells fresher.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Maintenance for LSZ-1 Ultrafeed Sewing Machine

Recently, I finished the first big project on my Sailrite LSZ-1 Ultrafeed sewing machine, named Beulah. The project was sewing six new cushions for our settee, on our Gemini 3200. (The smallest cushion was 62"x22"x4".) Beulah was really working hard and loving every minute of it.

Shortly after threading the machine with a new spool of thread, I began to hear a new noise coming from the machine. After I heard it for the fifth time, I stopped sewing. It sounded like metal hitting something. I pulled out my sewing machine manual to see if I could determine where the sound was coming from.

The manual stated that the machine needs to be "oiled frequently," but what constitutes frequently. My gut was telling me that I needed to oil Beulah (my machine). That's exactly what I did and she sounded beautiful again.

The thing I learned was that my machine"Beulah" needs to be cleaned and oiled every time 1 oz or 250 yards of thread is used. This is how frequent my LSZ-1 Ultrafeed needs to be cleaned and oiled.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Signs of Drowning isn't like in the Movies

In studying this life style, a critical area of study is water safety. Within water safety, when you boil it down, there are a few key bad situations: drowning and hypothermia. It is the former that is the subject of this post as my researching into it revealed some interesting tidbits, the key among them is that drowning does not in any way look like what is seen in the movies.

In 2011, in the USA, it is predicted that 375 children will die drowning while being 25 yards or less away from an adult and that 37 of these kids will drown and the adult will see it actually happen but unaware of the signs of drowning!

This scary stuff, along with the signs of drowning and a ton more real deal sea safety information, is available from a rescue helicopter swimmer's personal website MarioVittone.com. Mario's candid raw style is fantastic.

From the Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning article on Mario's site, the key reason that drowning doesn't look like drowning is that the primary philological capability that trumps all others is respiration and when drowning, the entire body shuts down except for this one critical operation. Therefore, things like yelling, trashing, etc. just simply isn't possible. So what does it look like? Mario shares Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D, description from a Coast Guard magazine. It includes the following 5 key signs (as quoted for Mario's site which quotes the magazine article):

  • Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  • Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  • Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  • Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  • From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
Powerful stuff. Please forward and share.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Settee Cushions Redo - Part 2

Six large cushions later, the settee is fresh and new! I finished the last two seat cushions just before we left for the July 4th weekend in Savannah and assembled them, as soon as we arrived.

The assembly consisted of me shoving the foam into the cushion covers I made. (I did not assemble the cushions in Atlanta, because we had to travel with them and to make the best us of space, I had to fold the foam.) You can see from the photo that I needed to work the foam, so that the it fills in all of the turns. The bottom cushions looked smoother after working the foam, with only one or two rolls in the fabric. If these don't smooth out within the next month or so, I will add a little batting. This will make the cushions fuller, thus removing the rolls.

I finished off the settee with two outdoor pillows from Cost Plus World Market.

We wanted the boat for feel fresh and tropical. I think that we have accomplished those feelings in the main saloon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sailrite's Customer Service

Sailrite's customer service is awesome! I have only had positive experiences every time I have interacted with someone from this company.

Within the last month, I began having an issue with the posi-pin on my LSZ-1 Ultrafeed sewing machine. The pin would disengage while I was sewing and spring out of the fly-wheel. Since the pin engages the needle, you can not sew without it. (This was a pain, because I was working on the settee cushion project and was in the "sewing grove".)

I sent a message to Sailrite, asking for assistance. Before Sailrite could write back (within 5 minutes), I found a work-a-round. I simply removed the spring from the posi-pin and re-inserted the pin into the fly-wheel. Problem solved. This work-a-round allowed me to finish my cushions and to re-connect with Sailrite at a later time.

This past week, I finally got around to re-connecting with Sailrite. My original message asking for assistance received a response within 1 1/2hours of sending it. I think this is very good, since I sent the message at 8:30 pm. The response stated that the detent ball, in the pin, had probably popped out and I needed a new posi-pin. The message also stated that "If your machine is newer, it is covered by warranty. Call 800-348-2769 to check on a warranty replacement." Well, my machine was new, but I had not gotten around to registering the warranty with Sailrite and I could not find my warranty card. I thought that could be an issue, since the warranty card was suppose to be sent in within 30 days of purchase.

No issue at all. I called the warranty department, emailed the information requested on the warranty card, and called back to place my order for a new posi-pin. All I had do was pay the first class mail postage for shipping of the pin. What a great company!

Over the years, my family has interacted with the warranty departments of several "big" companies, but we have never received better service than the service we received from Sailrite.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Semi-Autonomous Fly Eradication System for Boats

Armed with advanced fly eradication devices, these 2 warriors set about to rid of our boat of the pesky bugs in fine fashion! With this picture, you get a sneak peek into our cabin since Val has redone the insides. You will notice the new settee cushions, fresh curtains, and Savannah area maps rolled up on the navigation station. Val will be blogging with shots of the interior soon.

Oh, notice the screen is a bit curled up on the corner? Maybe that is how the flies got in. Some of those suckers, flies, were HUGE! They make horse flies seem like mites!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Marking Anchor Chain With Electrical Tape On Dock

[KJ and I marking anchor chain lengths with electrical tape]

Our 5/16th BBB 100 foot chain came in! It is a brute! Perfect! After inspecting all the links, KJ and I sat down to measure off 20 foot lengths and to mark it.

There are many systems for marking chain, and there are plenty of "devices" you can buy to mark both the chain and rode. KJ and I marked the chain and rode with electrical tape. This approach will require maintenance (e.g. retaping periodically), but didn't cost us any additional out of the pocket money as we already had 5 colors of electrical tape from other work I had done.

Our procedure was rather simple. We marked our dock with 2 pieces of tape 20 feet apart. We then ran the chain back and forth between the marks. At each turn of the chain, we put some tape on. Not just a turn or two, but multiple wraps. For the rode, we unwound the rope strands enough to insert flags of tape.

Coloring on chain markings is another one of those areas where there are lots of opinions and approaches. Some folks have tried to standardize the approaches, and while they make sense, I went with a technique that is simple enough for our family.

Every different color on a given section represents 20 feet. For example, at 40 feet, you will find 2 different colors of tape. The colors don't matter in our system, just that there are different colors. At 60 feet, you will find 3 different colors, at 100 feet, 5 colors. We did the same approach with the rope. When all the chain is paid out, plus 2 colors of rode, we know we are at 140 feet of total ground tackle out (100 feet of chain plus 2 colors of tape on the rope).

Keep in mind, we don't have a windlass, so there are no binding issues.

In addition to the maintenance issue noted, if our chain ever has to be cut, then we would have to peel off some of the tape on the chain as well as keep the new length in mind as we spool it out if we get into the rope section.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

PFD - Stearn Sospenders Auto Inflate With Harness

[Val sporting the Sterns Sospenders AutoInflate PFD with Harness]

Based on our research, the Sterns Sospenders became our Personal Flotation Device (PFD) of choice. The easy pick would have been Mustang, but after reading lots of reviews, we decided that the Sospenders would fit the bill perfectly. These are in addition to our standard, old school orange, manual PFDs.

Prices on the Internet for these particular PFDs are $179.97, but we sourced them in Savannah at a store called River Supply for $161. Plus, because of the recommendation and affiliation of our marina with River Supply, River Supply knocked off another 10 bucks per PFD! Thank you Mr. Long at Sail Harbor Marina AND Pat at River Supply.

Val and I wore these PFDs every time we were underway (our family rule), and we both forgot we were wearing them! We didn't test out the auto inflation feature (triggered when submerged and powered by a CO2 cartridge), but Val did try out the manual inflation and they both worked just fine.

Oh, River Supply's web site is atrocious. If you want something, call them (1-800-673-9391, ask for Pat and tell him that the Sailboat Family sent you!).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trolling in the Atlantic With Homemade Fishing Lures Made From Cans

With our first trip out to the Atlantic, KJ and I decided we would go fishing …. specifically trolling. We made our own homemade lures to catch something big!

In the top photo, you can see KJ about 45 minutes into trolling. The faint white line behind her head is the trolling line. She would pull the line in every 2 minutes just to check to see if we got a fish. Alas, the Atlantic didn't have any fish with enough class and taste as evidenced by us not catching a single fish with our amazing fishing lures.

We were so ready to fillet them! KJ was really ready to go through the process of cutting them up … or at least, that is what she said. It would have been interesting to see how she would have really responded once a fish was pulled aboard. Maybe next time!

Below are pictures of the 2 homemade lures we made. MMMmmmmm they looks good! Interestingly, the Coors Light cans have that image that turns blue when cold so I wonder if it turned blue while in the water! Yeah, that is what we meant to do!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More Island Time Time

When Ariel was first moved to Savannah, Island Time was experienced ... that slow pace everyone on the island has that you have to adjust to otherwise frustration can be easily had. This past 4th of July weekend, we not only acknowledged Island Time, but we began to understand from where it stems.

When we set out for the 4 days of boating, we had a grandiose list of things to be done. We would sail from this point to that point by this time, we would eat this particular food at that particular time, we would be regimented and go forth with our boating at our pace for the short 4 days. We learned, in short order, that isn't the way Island Time works and when we did try to work on our schedule, versus that of the surroundings, we got over tired and made mistakes.

The ocean, the sun, the tides, the winds, the waves, and natures tempo dictates what we would do and when. By the 4th of July, 2 days in, we were in tune with the rhythms. As we began to flow with the surroundings, moving to accomplish only what was needed to be done and when, more was done and we didn't get as tired. Watermelon was consumed at the right ocean time. Engines were started at the right tide times. Sails were raised at the right wind times. Work was done at the right Island Time. It brought home again the whole concept of Island Time, except with a knowledge of its source.

In the end, we learned that Island Time isn't a choice by those who live the life of the ocean. Rather, it is forced upon them just as it was us.

Back in Atlanta, I'm still on Island Time. Everything seems to be moving around at a frenzied, unnecessary pace. However, this is Atlanta Time and every place has its Time. Just go to New York City! :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sail Versus Power Boats: The Great Boat Debate

Over the past 3 years, as we've initiated ourselves into the world of boating, we've learned of a few battles that are as contentious as religion and politics. Some we've explored on our blog, such as anchoring and build -vs- buy. Others, such as power versus sail, we haven't yet. Well, today I'm going to poke into another one.... sailboats versus powerboats. :)

Sailboats are superior. Oh, now thems fightin words! But that is my opinion, based on our needs and desires, sailboats are simply superior. Within the previous sentence is the key, “based on our needs and desires.”

For us, being solo agents and completely self reliant, having redundancy is critical. A sailboat has 2 sources of propulsion. In addition to sails, a sailboat typically has a redundant propulsion source by way of an outboard engine. Powerboats are limited to, well, their combustion engine.

Unlike others who rail against having an engine, I think it is great to have one (heck, we have 2 on our boat now, one for Ariel and one for the dinghy). I, however, think having propulsion limited only to petroleum is too risky for our adventure. 1 engine, 2 engines, 3 … doesn't matter …. we are after different options and wind plus petroleum is the way to go.

Beyond this point, you have all the other “arguments.” Speed, noise, range, electrical power creation, hull shapes for suitability of conditions, and more. These are all valid issues from someones perspective, and based on the someones weighting of each, the scales could be tipped in favor of power over sail or vice versa.

At this point in our journey, powerboats simply are too limited for our tastes. In our weighting system, the value in propulsion source options is such that with all the other factors combined, a sailboat is definitely the way to go for us.

Time to put the sails up and slowly make our way back to the marina, with only the sound of fish jumping, wind though the sails, and the waves lapping up along the boat. Ultimate peace. Well, that and KJ and Dy screaming “Look! Look!” as the dolphins swim along side.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day - Boat Style!

This is our second 4th of July on the boat. Talk about independence! Last year Ariel was new to the family and we were sitting on Lake Lanier taking in all the fireworks. This year, as we progress on our journey, we are on the Atlantic Ocean preparing to enjoy more fireworks. Tybee Island is said to have one heck of a show, so we will be sailing to another location this afternoon for prime viewing.

Independence. That is ultimately what we are after. This adventure, this throwing off of the shackles of "normal life", is proof that we are truly independent. The USA threw caution to the wind in 1776 and told the mother land it wasn't needed any more ... that the USA could survive on its own. This was gutsy. The world was (is) a turbulent place with nations all vying for more land and power.

Fortunately for our family, the USA succeed in its quest for independence and we've enjoyed all the fruits that come with it. It was that initial risk, that moment of braving it solo, that we are thinking about today. Independence Day for the USA, the 4th of July, serves as an awesome example of courage.

The edge of decision, the moment of facing that final choice to go. We are on the edge. We are about to embark on a style of living that is so counter to the currents we live in. It is different, it is far more independent.

Will we have the guts in the end to push off from that marina dock and say, "See you later!"? We believe so. Compared to launching an entire nation on a new path, ours seems easy.

The mental hardening of the "YESification" process continues.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Living or Surviving

Waking up on the boat this morning, I wondered about the fish below. Are they living life? Or are they surviving life? Are they enjoying the ocean and all it offers? Or are they merely avoiding being eaten? Thinking about the whole cycle of life going on below, I couldn't help but draw parallels to us humans and our life above.

It seems to me many people are surviving life. They are just trying to avoid being eaten. A fish, I get. They are operating purely on instincts and they have legitimate, life threatening predators hunting them. But how many legitimate predators do we humans have hunting us? For people, almost every predator is imaginary. Heck, most of those don't even cause physical, mortal, harm. Instead, nearly every predator for a human attacks a sensibility of some sort.

Life is a wonderful gift and it is hard to imagine spending it surviving life, especially when we are in the fortunate position to not have a life threatening predator around every piece of coral. The only restraint we have is our mind. As FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is, fear itself.” It is fear that puts us into survival mode, and for a vast majority of us, that fear is based on some false foundation.

Today, I chose to live life. I chose to enjoy every amazing offering that is before me. I chose to not put myself into a protective place for fear of an imaginary monster. I chose to take advantage of this incredible experience of being alive. I chose to live life.

Time to take swim and enjoy the ocean.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Provisioning the Boat for 4 Days

This weekend is the 4th of July and we are going to take Ariel (our Gemini 3200) out for her first cruise in the Atlantic. We are planning to spend 4 days out on the boat. We are very excited!

One of the biggest challenges is how do we provision the boat for 4 days. Since we will be leaving our marina this afternoon and will not be returning until sometime on Monday, we need to (at minimum) provision for 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners plus snacks.

Breakfasts will consist of pancakes, oatmeal, and fresh fruit. The big decision is whether to make lunch or dinner the "big meal". This will dependent on the heat. Our main lunch and dinner menus are steaks with mash potatoes, hot dogs with buns, steak burritos, chili with rice, chickpea salad, and gazpacho.

In addition to the menu for this weekend, we have our galley staples consisting of canned tuna, lentils, extra chili, canned corn, canned tomatoes, extra rice and potatoes, extra oatmeal and pancake mix, onions, spam, mixed nuts, dry fruit, powder milk, chicken stock, variety of beans, garlic, salsa, basic staples (flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and spices), and a 4lb bag of M&Ms and Twizzlers. Theses staples serve as our food safety net. In the quantities we have on our boat, we believe that we could live off these staples for 3 weeks, if we had to.

Soups On! Time to clean the grill. I can almost smell the steaks now ;).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Passports Renewed - Check

Passport renewal was on our "Needs to be Complete Before We Leave" task list. Well yesterday that item was checked off the list. My passport finally came in. The US State Department had stated that regular passport renewal processing took between 4-6 weeks. I was lucky, mine only took 3 weeks.

The next time we will have to go through this process is in 2012. The girls passports will have to be renewed at that time. In the US, passports for children under 16 are only valid for 5 years; adult passports are valid for 10 years.

YEAH!!! We are another step closer to "YESification"!