Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So You Want to Live on a Boat, but Where do You Start?

Hans loves sailing. He loves the challenge, the water, the life.

I love water, but will probably never quite grasp the concept of sailing (I have severe problems with following direction, and would like to blame my mother who smoked while she was pregnant with me).
But I do love Hans and whatever Hans wants to do, I want to do.

So when he expressed a desire to fulfill his lifelong dream of living on a sailboat I made it my goal to do my part and research this lifestyle to the best of my ability.

And I did what any other land lubber would do under these circumstances; I turned to the Internet. Sadly, I'm a very literal person, and If I'm unfamiliar with a subject I'll believe just about anybody who professes to be an expert. Okay, I'm gullible!

So for the next year or so, depending on whichever sailing forum I was (un)lucky enough to stumble upon, I vacillated between wanting to sail away right now... blue water/freedom from the rat race/sunny skies ... to wanting to hide under my bed in fear of, Oh my God... engine failures/bad seas/pirates/custom's officials.

I still remember the day I breathlessly informed Hans (over the phone while I was supposed to be working) the exact type of motor we would need for our (still non existent) dinghy because a fellow blogger had done exhausting research on this subject and should not be ignored. And Hans said, "It's a f***ing motor! It's not rocket science! Who the hell is this joker?" And I realized I needed to relax.

So now a word of caution about forums (whether they be about sailing or not); unfortunately they remind me of my old bartending days when I was forced to spend my entire evening with the buffoon... the know-it-all wannabe... and my advice is to ignore them! At least until after you've bought your boat.

I do visit forums now and then for technical stuff (but again, beware of the know-it-all) and just last week I was furious when I stumbled across one that totally blasted our boat!

We have a Bob Johnson Island Packet Cat, and being a bit boxy she doesn't resemble a typical catamaran. A couple had expressed interest in buying one, and that's all the naysayers on this particular forum needed to read. They immediately unleashed their completely uneducated opinions like venom, but what really pissed me off was that not one of these idiots had ever set even one dirty toe nail on board an Island Packet Cat, yet they knew everything! I won't go into all the uninformed comments but one asshole in particular stated that if this couple was stupid enough to buy a Packet Cat, they better want to own it for life as its resale value was nil.


All I can say is that when we fell in love with this particular model, there were 10 of them on the market. They all sold within a year and considering the thousands of boats that are sitting out there now, rotting away and desperately needing to be sold, I think those are pretty good odds. And let me add, each one of these cats held their value very nicely! So there!

I realize the Internet is a fabulous place; it's been an invaluable resource for my sewing questions, but I've also learned to take some of the stuff I read with a grain of salt. Can you imagine what craziness you'd be bombarded with if you went onto a home buying forum? Speaking of which, I remember years ago when I was unfortunate enough to run into a parent of one of my kids' friend's. This woman held me hostage for about an hour (of which I could ill afford) while she informed me, via a very trembly voice just this side of a nervous breakdown, why she would never buy a house because of the danger of lead.

But finally, by the age of 50, I'd had it with the 'Oh My God Something Might Happen' way of life because I figured out 'Oh My God Something Might Happen' no matter where I lived, be it land or water! And when Hans announced this summer that we were moving aboard, I was ready.
We were only out for two months, but during that time we realized what was going to work for us and what wasn't. We got rid of the microwave (hellishly heavy and never used) that came with the boat, and we're having solar panels installed in order to keep our batteries topped off.

I ditched the TV (also only used once, and the absolute bane of my existance while we were on board because every day that we were moving, it had to be moved down to the settee in order to keep it from flying through the air and beaning Wilbur in the head!), and Hans finally installed some DC fans.
When we sail away in January it will be with a lot less clothes, a huge supply of dog food, and more than a weeks worth of food provisions. Yet, I've no doubt we'll learn even more about life on a boat and that's just fine.

Wilbur the Salty Dog is anxiously awaiting a new life in the Bahamas, and hopes to meet some Salty Dog Chicks.

Here is his SeaHarmony profile pic.

I have a feeling he's going to be quite popular.
Give me strength!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Finally! The Bumfuzzle Crib is finished and on its way

I mentioned earlier that I was sewing a crib for the Bumfuzzles. Everything had been going along swimmingly until I ran into 'grommet trouble', and then things came to a grinding halt.

West Marine said it would take two weeks to get 72 grommets to me, and the Bumfuzzles and I agreed that this was just too long to wait.

In the end, two weeks was nothing compared to what we ended up going through!

The online company we dealt with assured us they had plenty of grommets in stock and would send them immediately.

A week later I received 6 grommets. Total. I needed 72.

Oops! Online company apologized for their mistake and said replacements were on their way. Right now.

A week later I called them and they promised to get back to me.

They didn't.

I called again and the service rep said the warehouse wasn't getting back to her with an answer.

Well guess what! I've literally worked with this 'warehouse mentality' in the past and they can kiss my a**! In a very polite tone (after all, it's not this chick's fault that the warehouse people are idiots!), I told her that this was unacceptable, and that the grommets had better be shipped to me, OVERNIGHT, at no additional charge. I also made some other vague threats about the rotten exposure they would get via the Internet if they didn't oblige.

The grommets arrived the next day!

A butt load of grommets!

Here is the long side of the crib with the privacy/warmth flap in the down position.

And let me mention right now that the 'cutting tool' that comes with these grommets is a joke! I doubt it could cut a hole in a piece of wet toilet paper. Luckily I had an 'awl like' tool that I got a long time ago for the purses that I make, and it did indeed punch through the canvas, but each and every hole had to be enlarged, by hand, with slightly dull scissors!!

My hands still hurt!

This is where one long side abuts the foot of the crib.

Here the flap is rolled up and held in place by straps that button at the top.

The middle is a mesh insert for ventilation

(once again, the X is my ironing board support, so just ignore it!).

I desperately hope this crib works for them and if it does, I'll let you know! If it doesn't, I may disappear from the blogosphere!

While I was waiting for the grommet shipment, I stumbled upon this pirate fabric and it called out to me.

So I made Ouest (the Bumfuzzle Baby) a little dress. Since I'm pretty sure her parents' don't read my blog I feel safe in posting this picture.
Oh how I miss sewing for my girls!! They are now 22 and 23 and somehow I don't think this would appeal to them at this time in their life.

I just don't understand why!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Doggy Day Care and a Sewing Project Hold Up.

When we deliver our Knotty Cat to Florida next month we plan on leaving Wilbur behind.

For anyone who reads this blog and knows how much we love our dog, I'm sure this is a bit of a shock. However, we're going to fly right back home and I refuse to stick my baby into the belly of a plane. Hans thinks I'm nuts and stated that Wilbur would be just fine, and then actually dared to roll his eyes when I said Wilbur was far too sensitive to survive such a trip.

However he changed his mind when I told him that the crate we'd need to buy, along with the cost of Wilbur's flight, would be right around the same amount as boarding him at Doggy Day Care.

So off we went to Doggy Day Care to see if our boy 'plays well with others', and would therefore be accepted as a boarder.

Wilbur passed, and believe me that experience will have its own post.

As for my stalled project. The crib I was sewing for The Bumfuzzles has hit the skids. In the middle of the sewing of this crib I called our local West Marine to ask them if they had six packages of 12 sets of brass grommets I would need to complete this job.

They didn't. And they said it might take them as long as two weeks to get them. So the Bumfuzzles found a site that said not only did they have them, they'd send them to me right away.

The package arrived on Friday and contained a grand total of six grommets!!! Not six packages of twelve, but six grommets!!!

I kid you not.

So until the grommets arrive there's not much I can do but I feel so bad because I know the Bumfuzzles would have liked to have their crib 'yesterday'!! Not next week.

C'mon. Do you really think this little boy wouldn't be able to get along with others??

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some great sailing book bargains, and a project.

Since our next 'Three Hour Tour' is scheduled to start this fall, Hans and I decided we needed to start gathering up some navigational tools.

Last week I found a Cruising Guide for Florida, The Gulf Coast, and The Bahamas on Ebay for $11.00 and I was happy with this as they usually cost around forty bucks. I love cruising guides; for me they've taken the place of what the Sears Roebuck catalog used to do for me when I was a kid. I can leaf through all the pages and dream about all the things I want (or now, the places I want to sail to). Although come to think of it, I never did get the vanity table complete with the cute little seat that doubled as a storage unit for your slippers, the egg incubator, or the nurse costume.

And don't anyone even think of telling Hans about the nurse costume since that's the last thing I want to unwrap this Christmas!

Here is the Cruising Guide along with a book about the Bahamas that Hans found in a Marina Library.

Yet one more thing to love about sailing is the Marina Library which is usually found in the laundry room.

All you have to do is swap out the books you've read, and pick up some you haven't. I have to say I read some books this summer that I otherwise never would have read except for the fact that I had no choice.

And I was never disappointed.

MapTech Chartkits!!! The absolute Bible for the sailor. We bought Norfolk to Florida, plus Eastern Florida and The Keys, off of EBay for $83.00 each. I hope that was a good deal, I know the usually cost around $130.00 each.

These charts show water depths, markers and buoys, bridges...I mean everything! You really can't sail without proper paper charts.

However, we're having a great deal of difficulty finding charts for the Bahamas!

Region 7!!!!

Region 6!!!!!

But where oh where is Region 9 (Bahamas) ??????

If only Sears Roebuck could help us!

My sewing project is a crib for The Bumfuzzles (a couple I found via the wonderful world of the Internet). Quest, the Bumfuzzle baby, is in need of a place to sleep aboard the monohull her parents have recently acquired.
This is one completed side of the crib (with a mesh insert and the X in the background is my ironing board support). I'll post a picture of it when it's complete.

If you want to be thoroughly entertained you need to check out their blog. This young couple threw caution to the wind, sold everything they owned, and set out to sail around the world. Who cares if they'd never sailed a day in their life before this!

And seven years later they are still living the life.

"Baby? What baby?" Wilbur wanted to know!

We assured him it wasn't ours. If it was, I'd be sewing a straight jacket.

For me!