Down the Rabbit Hole…Replacing Our Ports

When I was told we were going to replace the ports (deadlights) on the new boat, I thought ‘Sure, no problem’.  We’d just replaced the hatches, we knew the weather was now right for this kind of undertaking, and the fact that we’d already done it on Serendipity. The thing I was not thinking about, is this project would be infinitely harder on Daze Off.  Not only were we starting with blank sheets of plexiglass where we were expected to trace, cut, and polish the new glass instead of ordering pre-sized and cut pieces, but we also had to first paint the areas that the new glass would be adhering to.  And that was going to be the extremely difficult part.

I’ll go over one of the stages today, but overall they’ll include: removing the old plexiglass; cleaning the surface of the existing adhesive, sanding and grinding off the existing paint until we were down to bare metal; filling unnecessary holes with epoxy (I’ll get further into that); starting with a zinc chromate primer, adding barrier coats; primer coats; top coats, and then we can start the process of actually putting the new plexiglass in.

The part that we tackled today was removing the existing windows on the port side of the boat and cleaning the area.  Since the windows currently have umpteen bolts screwing them into the hull, we worked with one person inside loosening the nuts while the other one sat outside keeping the bolt from spinning.  I feel a little bad for Matt as he was the inside guy, and once he got to the pilot house he found himself in the area where we’re storing not only all the templates we removed from that area when we needed to add foam insulation a few months ago, but also our extra clothes, toiletries, and even non perishable goods we can’t fit in the galley.  Basically its a heaping mess in that area, and trying to move things around to get decent foot space in there is almost a project in itself.

That first step didn’t actually take all that long, but the next one was a doozy.  Removing the caulk on the outside where the windows had been adhered.  Unlike when we cleaned the ports to get the new glass in, this caulk did not stay rubbery and scrape off easily.  It was gooey and messy and was taking up all my patience to clean off an area of 2 square inches.  Using a combination of small chisels and other scraping tools, it felt like I was only moving the substance around instead of actually removing it.  Even with the added help of acetone I was barely able to wipe it off.  Then I thought of trying mineral spirits.  Bingo.  It basically dissolved the old caulk, moving it around a bit, yes, but then the acetone did take up the rest of it.

scraping old ports

removing old port

Matt removing ports

That job took foreeever, and by the time we were finished my hands were covered in black goop and I was very glad we still had a little Orange Goop around so I could somewhat clean myself up. It wasn’t me who still had the dirty jobs coming up.  Matt now had the fun task of grinding off the paint around the frame so we could then fill all the holes from the bolts with epoxy.  We had both decided that all the extra metal seemed like a little much since with new technology, the bolts aren’t responsible for keeping the port in (we’ll be using a strong tape and caulk), so we’ll go down to only one in each corner for just a little bit of added security.

To make sure that all the dust and debris that was getting scraped off didn’t make it’s way into our immaculate living quarters (ha), I made sure the windows were taped up from the inside. Once the area around the holes were cleaned, Matt made sure to clean the holes out even more, using a drill to grind each one of them and expose fresh aluminum that the epoxy would then adhere to.  I taped up the back of each hole to make sure nothing would leak all the way through once it was applied.

Using a 2 part G Flex epoxy through West Systems, Matt mixed up equal parts and carefully filled each hole.  We weren’t worried about scraping the outside smooth since it will all be sanded flat once its hardened.  And with that, we wait.  Next step will be to take off all the paint from that side and begin priming! But….we also move on to the downside of this whole projects.  No windows.  Looks like there will be lots of tarps, plastic sheets, and tape in our future.

tarping the inside of the boat

cleaning holes in window

filling holes in deadlight

epoxy filler

Daze off with no ports

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Throwback Thursday: Perfection to Sob Stories – All in a Day’s Cruising

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

After spending a whole week in Bimini, due to strong winds that kept us from traveling across the banks, we did finally make a break for it with our friends on Laho in tow.  The entire fleet that was trying to make it east that day was beating into the wind, and when our two boats stopped to anchor in the middle of the banks for the night, we were met with once incredibly bouncy night on the hook.

Even though Kim and Jereme had originally been planning to head to the south Berries with us, we ended up parting ways in the morning where they made a more comfortable change of direction to the north and we continued our slog SE. After a few more passages of beating and dodging storms we eventually passed through Nassau and made our way to the Exumas.

Making a getaway from the north end of the chain, we took the cut at Highbourne Cay and out into Exuma sound to get ourselves to Georgetown as quickly as possible.  Why the rush you might ask?  Not only was the Family Regatta happening here, but it was also a chance to meet up with our good cruising friends Kim and Scott again after not having seen them for 18 months.

Over the next few days we enjoyed the peace of a comfortable anchorage, time spent with good friends, and activities galore each night on shore. Even with all this perfection surrounding us, one can always find a reason to complain about something.  And here is my little sob story of our time there.

You can find the original post here.

Thursday April 24, 2014

Family Regatta - Georgetown

This morning was, in my opinion, the perfection of Bahamian cruising. Getting up just after 8 am, I found a shady spot in the cockpit where the breeze was blowing just a little bit, but only enough to be refreshing and bring around a whiff of the fresh air around you. Nestled next to me was a hot cup of Michigan sweet cherry coffee, and sitting on my lap was my computer, where work was speedily getting done as I took in the beautiful surroundings sprawled out in front of me. Then a gun went off, and as I sat in my perfect little cruisers throne, a slew of 18 ft Bahamian sloops began to glide past me to begin the races for this day’s regatta. I know it might be different than what other people’s, or especially cruisers dreams are made of (Get off the computer!, you’re probably telling me), but to me, it was a little slice of heaven.

Yesterday I can’t say we did much, except watch the races from our boat. Apparently when we first landed on Tuesday afternoon we had been right in the middle of the race track and ended up moving inside Kidd’s Cove a little more, which is fine by both of us because now we have a much shorter dinghy ride to town. I tried my hand at making bread again, and with a little tweaking I’m finding out that I’m getting better with each loaf. Then something that proves I have the best husband in the world happened. He bought us one week of internet services here through Bahamas Wii Max. Unlimited, 24 hours on the boat. I tried to promise him when we were leaving Florida that I wouldn’t be as crazy as I was last year about trying to find an internet signal, and as long as I could have at least two hours of internet time every seven days, I would be ok.  Having gotten one hour inside the McDonald’s in Nassau and not bringing it up again, I think I’ve held my part up pretty well.

Terrible rain storms have been passing through on and off since yesterday, so there wasn’t much occasion to get off the boat anyway.  I was prodded by Drena to make a trip over to Anthyllide in the late afternoon to watch the class-A regatta, but assuming I was going to spend the next three days in a frenzy of regatta and cruiser related activities, I declined stating that I needed one full night of internet time and then I’d be game for anything after that.  I really should have gone over since today has just been spent on the boat, watching the clouds pass over and playing a game to see how long we could keep the hatches open between rounds of rain to let fresh air in the boat.

Just before lunch today we did stop by Anthyllide to say hi and see what we had missed the previous day.  Scott and Kim mentioned that for this evening’s class-A races they’d be tagging along in their dinghy to get photos, watching from the beginning line as the sloops raised anchor and sail, and at the time we agreed to tag along behind them.  But come five o’clock, the rain clouds were looming and I was in a foul mood.  Not just because I thought it might rain, but because I had spent the morning looking at Scott and Kim’s gorgeous photos of the races so far, and completely bummed out that I would no longer be able to take photos like that.  And not just because my photo skills aren’t as up to par as Scott’s.  Seriously, you should see his straight out of the camera shots.  No, as soon as we left Bimini I went to turn on my ‘good’ camera, my Sony NEX-5N, only to find out it wouldn’t turn on.  I thought the battery was dead and spent the next few hours charging it.  That night it still wouldn’t turn on, or the next day, or the next day.  Finally when I went to inspect it further I found out that it is not an issue with the battery, but with the body.  It gives an error message of ‘Camera is overheating, needs to cool’, gives a few strange clicking noises, and then goes black.  I don’t know how I did it, but it appears as if my 14 month old camera is toast.  All I’m left with now is my Sony Cyber Shot.  It took about five days for it to sink in, but tonight I finally broke down that I’m going to have to shoot Europe in JPEG with minimal settings.  Even Photoshop won’t be able to fix everything that made my NEX-5 so great.

Anyway, enough with my sob story about my camera.  I will still leave you with what mediocre photos I have been able to take of the past two days of races with my Cyber Shot. (Or at least I think they are, compared to my other photos)

 

Shots from Wednesday’s Races

Georgetown Family Regatta

Georgetown Family Regatta

class C regatta

sunset over Georgetown Regatta

Georgetown Regatta

 

My Perfect Morning

Kidd's Cove - Georgetown

regatta passing through Kidd's Cove

Shots from Thursday’s Races

Georgetown Family Regatta

boat's racing through Kidd's Cove

 Sunset at Kidd’s Cove

sunset over Gorgetown

Georgie on deck

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Replacing the Hatches

replacing hatch

A small but important project has been finished!  We’ve now replaced our hatches with new plexi glass.  And this time, they’re leak proof.

I can’t remember if I had mentioned this in a post this previous summer, if not it was probably because I was too frustrated by the entire thing, but we tried this project in late August and failed.  I should correct that statement a little bit.  Everything that we did was great.  It was the 90 degree temperatures and high humidity that did us in the first time around.

We had spent all morning cleaning and taping the hatch frames, caulking the area, perfectly placing the new plexi glass in, and cleaning the remaining goo that slid off the taped areas.  This was by far the most difficult and time consuming task of the entire project.  I must have bathed every hatch frame, as well as myself, in Acetone that day.  Walking away from it once everything was cleaned up, we were proud of our work and excited that we could finally remove the tarps that had been keeping the inside of the boat water free through the stormy summer.

It wasn’t until we went back a few hours later we found out that due to the incredible heat of the day, the plexi had expanded, pushing out a majority of the caulk we’d sealed it with, and then contracted again leaving gaps where it should have been sealed.  It was honestly a little agonizing to find out that a project we had been so looking forward to completing was all for nothing.  It would have to be done again once temperatures cooled down into the 70’s, just to make sure we didn’t have this mistake happen a second time, and until that point the tarps would have to be thrown back on and the inside of the boat would once more be cloaked in darkness.

Well, after the summer that would.not.end, we’ve finally gotten to a season where we trust that the Dow 795 we’ll be sealing the glass with will actually stay put this time.  First there was the preparation of cleaning off all the old caulk until the point there was nothing left and we had a clean surface for the new stuff to stick to.  Then it was time to go through the process again. So once more I taped the plexi at the edges, taped the hatch frames, and stood at the ready as Matt squirted the black caulk into place.

As we’ve found with a lot of our other projects, it’s always easier the second time around.  We breezed through all the steps and even clean up was only a minor hassle.  Making sure to keep the area shaded, we’d check back every few hours to make sure everything was staying put.  At the end of the day it was so far, so good.

The next day we did a hose test on all the hatches, hitting them full force with water to make sure there were no leaks inside.  With Matt on deck with the hose and me below looking for any drips of water, it appeared as if we were in the clear.  We should know for sure the next time a storm rolls though, but it looks as if we succeeded our second time around.  Let’s hope that’s one of the few projects we have to do more than one round of.

(To replace the old plexiglass we ordered a 4’x8′ sheet of 1/2″ 2064 tint Chemcast plexiglass.  We used the existing glass to trace the shape onto the new glass, and cut the general shape with our jigsaw, using a blade specific for plastics.  To get the edges perfect we used clamps to place the old pattern on top of the new one and Matt attached a trim bit to our router, and ran it around the sheet. This gave us exact replicas of what we needed to replace. Using a 5/16 firstner bit we drilled the necessary holes to attach the hardware that opens and closes the hatches.)

taping plexi hatch

hatch frame

taping hatch frame

plexi and hatch frame

open hatch

 

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A Visit From the Skelton Crew, and the Champagne that Went Bad

Jessica opening champagne

It’s not every day, I would assume, that you meet someone whose interests can be so aligned with your own.  Throw in the fact that this person found you via, the internet,  happens to be the same age as you, shares the same exact random thoughts as you, and even live within 30 miles of you to boot, is nothing short of astounding.  Yet this is how I met one of my best friends Jackie just over three years ago.

She happened to be a Lake Michigan sailor, just like me, who had plans to leave her life behind to cruise the Caribbean with her husband who has some obsessive compulsive tendencies, just like Matt.  From the very first time we met in person, participating in a Wednesday night race on Muskegon Lake, we instantly connected to the point we could finish each other’s sentences. Ever since that night we’ve had dreams of cruising the Caribbean together in our boats. Afternoons snorkeling, evening sundowners and dinners together, and night time bonfires. Fate appears to have something against our plans though, and for some reason keeps trying to squash our dream to sail together.

From the time Jackie and Ron were scheduled to come spend a week on our boat in the Bahamas, and we were delayed in Florida and stuck on the hard due to an accident; to our plans taking us to Europe when they were ready to begin their cruising, it was starting to look as if we’d never get our time together on the water.  Although this was disheartening, I had begun to think fate may have changed it’s mind when we purchased Daze Off, and had hoped to have her cruise ready just in time to intercept them at the end of the ICW.  That obviously has not happened.  As it turns out though, we will not be cruising with them for other reasons.

When Jackie and Ron left Muskegon Lake on the 4th of July, I began monitoring their progress south toward us, stood by to give advice when asked (and sometimes when not), and also lent a sympathetic ear when some of the not so glamorous realities of this lifestyle set in.  Admittedly I sometimes became a bit distracted with work on my own boat, but I always made sure to go back and read their blog posts to see what kind of adventures they were getting themselves into, and trying to catch them to chat on the occasions they had internet.

As their arrival date to south Florida approached I had the mixed feelings of being incredibly excited to see them, and also incredibly sad that we were not in cruise ready condition. For so long I had wanted nothing more than to throw off our lines and join them on a Gulf Stream crossing to the Bahamas.  As it turned out, this second part did not matter.  For as much as I wanted the four of us to be official boat buddies, the universe did not have it in store for us.

Since it has now been announced on their own blog and I am not putting out any spoiler alerts, is they have realized the cruising lifestyle is not for them.  An unforgettable experience, that’s for sure, but after many discussions on their part they realized that their joy lies in the purpose the daily routine that work brings, with the benefit of weekend pleasure cruising.  I can remember the slog that is putting on miles just to get south, sitting behind a wheel for hours on end with no real enjoyment, only making sure you didn’t stray off the magenta line, and I can’t say I blame them.  That part of cruising was not enjoyable for us either.  Matt was missing work, just like them, but luckily for both of us I was so determined not to go back to work that I made him stay the course until he fell into the routine of having no daily plan.

I kind of want to cry about the fact that we’re losing our first boat buddies, but I can’t.  This is what is right for them, and if anything, at least the world brought us together through cruising.  They’ll be lifelong friends that we’ll always cherish, and just because we may not be sharing the same anchorage does not mean we won’t stay in contact.

So when Hullabaloo pulled into Indiantown Marina where she’d be hauled the following day to be put into storage until she’ll be shipped north in the spring, it was still a reunion for the books. Full of hugs that went on for ages and diving right into a case of beer as we caught up with each other.  Taking up residence at one of the tables at the patio, we sat and talked for so long that it wasn’t until I realized my stomach’s growls were taking over the conversation and Matt and I had never had lunch.  Except it was almost time for dinner already!  Taking a short break, we agreed to shower, I was going to shove a few slices of peanut butter bread in my mouth, and we would reconvene for dinner an hour later on Hulabaloo.

As a special treat for this occasion, I had been saving a bottle of champagne for the past few months for their arrival.  A bottle I had swiped off the Free Table at the marina, but that is neither here nor there.  Although I should have realized that one should be very weary of free champagne.  As Ron stood on deck taking down sails, and Matt chatted away with him about boat projects, Jackie and I went on the offense in the cockpit trying to get this bottle of champagne open.  That plastic top was in there damn good.  Passing it back and forth to one another and breaking out towels and rags, we finally passed it on to one of the guys to loosen, and handed back to Jackie for the honor of popping it open.

Pouring it into one of the 8 gazillion Tervis tumblers that sit on their boat, we noticed right away that something seemed odd about this particular bottle.  It’s contents were along an amber line of coloring.  Not to be deterred from free champagne though, I tilted my glass back to drink up.  And in doing so, learned there was probably a reason of why it was on the free table.  It tasted like a bad batch of fermented apple juice.  Both Matt and Ron dumped their glasses overboard after we did the initial toast, (Cheers!, I got you rotten champagne! So glad you’re here!’), and Jackie was polite enough to finish what was in her glass before passing the remainder of the bottle to me.

champagne that went bad

Jackie opening champagne

Jessica opening champagne

Jessica & Jackie

I asked Ron to take a photo of Jackie and I.  This is what I got.

 

It was determined that this gift was not a success, but also that none of us had enough beer to get us through the rest of the night.  So while Jackie got to work starting on the meat for a taco dinner, Ron and I made the run up to the local IGA to pick up a couple cold cases of beer.

Through the next few hours we went through nearly both cases of beer, and even Matt was getting into throwing a few back.  Ron brought out his guitar, and even though I had been promising for the past few years that I’d be ready to play with him when we got to Florida, all I could conger up was the ability to sing along to a few tunes.

I sampled a few of the alcohols they picked up at the St. Augustine Distillery, and Jackie forced around a bottle of cherry soaked rum.  Like that would have been hard to turn down anyway.  We only had one night together, and we were going to do it up right.  It may not have been what we’d all originally imagined a year ago, or even six months ago, when I’m sure all four of us thought we’d be on our way to the Bahamas together.  It doesn’t mean that can never happen though.  By this time next year we might actually have a boat in the water and ready for company.  And I can think of no one else we’d rather save our quarter berth for as our first guests.

Jackie cooking dinner

Ron on computer

Ron playing guitar

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Throwback Thursday: La-Ho!

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

We knew we would be leaving Fort Lauderdale shortly and most likely not visiting again for a very long time.  This meant a night of sad good byes with the good friends we had made during our time there.  One part of cruising that I never enjoy.

When we thought we were ready to up anchor and become Bahamas bound, we found out that we’d be stuck at anchor for at least one more day when our running lights wouldn’t come on and we came to the realization this would be a much easier fix in the US than in the islands.  Plus, we didn’t want to be out in the dark until that fix could be made. The next night though, the anchor was properly up and we were on our way out of the US. It was a long and hard fight this time across the Gulf Stream, which was running very wide and a good speed, which drastically diminished our pointing and speed.

After a much longer passage than we’d anticipated, we pulled into Bimini with enough time to still check ourselves in and make our way to the beach for a little relaxing.  Plus an extra bonus for us, we had new friends, Kim and Jereme of Lahowind, that had arrived the same day we did!

You can find the original post here.

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Radio Beach, Bimini, Bahamas

As if it wasn’t enough for our engine to die on us yesterday just as we were entering the channel to Bimini, air in the fuel line we think, we were trouble shooting the engine after dropping anchor and found out that the alternator bracket we’d just had made in Guatemala in December had a crack in it. Which meant Serendipity was not moving an inch until we had that fixed. We assumed that with Bimini being the third largest settlement in the Bahamas that there would be a welder around, and the number one goal was to find them and see what they could do for us. Heading to the beautiful Radio Beach that I scouted yesterday after getting us checked in was a close second.

Just like when I had gone to check us in yesterday, the dinghy ride to town was about 20 minutes. Still, I will say, the free wifi we’re picking up from Resort World Bimini which we’re anchored in front of, well worth the extra time. It took just a little bit of asking around once we were in town, but one name kept popping up for welders, and that was Rudy. The only problem was, finding him. Everyone knew someone to ask about where he might be, but no one actually knew where he resided. After asking every other person on the road, we were about to just give up and hit the beach but decided to ask one last group of people that were enjoying a cold drink outside of CJ’s Deli. It turns out that one of the guys not only knew where to find Rudy, but was a cab driver that would take us there! Finally it seemed that a little bit of luck was on our side. Until we realized that we’d left all our cash back on the boat. Apologizing to the man, we told him that we’d be back in about an hour if he was still around, after running to the boat to get money and coming back.

A friendly Bahamian gave us a ride to the dinghy dock on the back of his golf cart, and when we mentioned that we had been looking for Rudy, told us that he was just up the street a little bit further from where he was dropping us off. Hmmmm, if we knew where to find him, we wouldn’t need to spend the money on a taxi anymore. Then while grabbing money back at the ‘Dip we had another ah-ha moment. Instead of driving the dinghy all the way back toward town and wasting fuel, why not just tie up at the docks at Resort World Bimini and walk the rest of the way in? Getting permission to land there, as well as a description of Rudy’s place from the Harbor Master, we were off on foot. Only to find out, 20 minutes later, that what we should have realized that if the dingy ride was long, walking that distance was going to feel much longer.

It was just as we came up to Rudy’s that we vowed never to do that one again. We were able to get right in to see our new welding friend since the cab driver back at CJ’s had phoned him to let him know we were all to be on our way shortly. Taking the bracket out of our hands, he scruntinized it for a few moments before saying that he could help us out and hopefully make it stronger than it was in the first place. The whole thing only took about 15 minutes while we waited, off to the side of course so that we weren’t blinded by the welding. It’s kind of funny because Matt made sure to drill into my head not to look anywhere in that vicinity while the welding was happening unless I would like to blind myself. So I settled on a group of kids playing in a nearby field while the work was being done just off to my side. But I could still catch just a little bit of it out of my periferals. Suddenly my eye began burning and I silently cursed to myself thinking I’d just done permanent damage, and how am I going to explain this to Matt after he’d just explicitly told me not to look anywhere near there? Turns out it was only a beat of sweat that had rolled down my brow and into my eye, but for a minute there I thought I was going to have to explain the biggest let down ever.

Back on the streets we had a (hopefully) stronger than new bracket and were ready to spend a few hours relaxing at one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen. Sprawling out a blanket in the shade of one of the few trees there, I could barley keep myself still for 90 seconds before I was up and running around, sprinting into the waves like a little kid. There were some big breakers rolling in and I wouldn’t let myself get fully submerged in them, lest I be swept away, so I just played in the tide and let the waves crash over my legs.

Having one more goal in mind for the day, I set off down the beach alone. It turns out that we happened to arrive to Bimini the same time as another young cruising couple, and the two of us have been trying to meet up for months now. Kim and Jereme of s/v Laho and Lahowind are brand spanking new to cruising, but Kim and I have been conversing through Facebook ever since last summer. Back when we were in Mexico and waiting for a weather window, I kept hoping that we’d make it to Key West right when they were heading that way from Naples, and even though I thought we were going to be the ones held up by bad weather, it turns out they were held up by a never ending list of boat projects and didn’t make it to the keys until after we got to Ft. Lauderdale. I thought we’d missed our chance to ever meet up and possibly do some buddy boating, but the fates smiled on us and led both of us to the Bahamas right at the same time.

I had mentioned to Kim this morning that after some errand running around town, Matt and I would be hitting the beach and we hoped to meet up with them there. Every time I saw a new face arrive I’d quickly sprint down the beach hoping it was our new friends, but each time I’d find out that whomever had just wandered onto the beach, did not even come close to fitting the description of a young cruiser. We hung around for a little bit longer and enjoyed the turf, but since we’d had such a late start due to fixing our engine issues, it was already late afternoon. Taking the long way out (while making sure to avoid the cab driver that never did end up getting our fare), I showed Matt this cool shipwreck on the beach that, from the front, reminded me of a beached whale. This path took us right out to the entrance of the channel, and we watched the current rip through there, shuddering at what might have happened yesterday had we not been able to start the engine again.

beach at Bimini

beach blanket

walking through surf

strolling on beach

rocks on Bimini beach

shipwreck on Bimini

shipwreck on Bimini

 Wandering back through town and towards the dingy dock we came across Brown’s marina where I knew Laho was staying. Luckily they were the closest boat to the road, and as I peeked my head through the chain link fence, I saw movement in the cockpit. “La-ho!!!” I yelled out, hoping to get their attention since this marina has a locked gate and we couldn’t just stroll right in. It was Jereme that heard my call and just a moment later Kim poked her head out too, while the two of us frantically waved at each other as if to say “We finally caught up with each other!!”. Moments later they were at the gate to let us in and walk us over to Laho.

Once on their boat we had the chance to meet their cute little poodle, Oliver, and instantly went into boat talk, poking around at the different electronics, and Matt instantly falling into a spiel about his latest research on all the gadgets they owned.  Even though all four of us were sitting in the cockpit, the boys kept talking shop while Kim and I would try to interject little bits about actually traveling over their comments on radios and antennas.  Unfortunately we didn’t get in as much fun girly talk as we hoped while the boys were prattling on since a storm looked like it was coming our way and Matt and I still had a long walk back to Serendipity.  It sounds like we’ll all be here a few more days, so we’ll have to make sure we get together again, this time where Kim and I can run off and talk travel and photography.  Hopefully over a glass of wine.

s/v Laho

Kim & Jerme

Matt & Oliver

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Cleaning Out our Daggerboard Slots

open daggerboard slot

Did you know that our boat came with daggerboards?  Originally, that is.  We don’t have them anymore which is unfortunate, because these two stabalizing boards that once came down the aft end of our boat would have made downwind passages so much more comfortable.  No rocking back and forth in the waves, but instead riding them like it was on rails.

The daggerboards are meant to be used both upwind and downwnd.  When sailing upwind you would lower the centerboard and lower the leeward daggerboard to help keep the boat on it’s intended course.  Once you’re running downwind you raise the centerboard to bring the control aft and help prevent broaching.  With the centerboard in the upright position you lower both daggerboards to give stability and help the boat steer straight.  Something that would have been nice to be able to do, but now we can’t.

Trisalu plans

Trisalu 37 with daggerboards

We don’t know the history of what happened to the original boards which were in place, but we do know this.  Most of the time, daggerboards are built of plywood and fiberglass.  This is because they hang lower in the water than the keel and are more likely to come into contact with something in the water.  In case this does happen you want them to be able to break cleanly away from the boat so there is no further or long term damage.  We’re assuming this is what happened sometime in the history of Daze Off.

What we do know is that at some point, for some reason or another, they were removed from the boat and the owner at the time took pieces of teak, approximately 4″x4″, coated over them with epoxy, and called it good.  We also know that this was not a secure fix and eventually water leaked into the area.  The wet wood against the aluminum helped to cause corrosion in the area.  Because there is no way to get inside this slim area that runs 4″ by 5′, our only real option is to bring our welder back to properly seal over this area.

I shouldn’t say it would be impossible to do, but much more work that it’s worth, even though we would love to have them for our travels. The back area is a waterproof bulkhead separating the lazarette.  If we did want to put all the effort into properly welding the area to be able to put new daggerboards in we’d have to cut open the cockpit, remove engine, and go through a number of extra steps that are unfortunately not worth our time and energy.

Before we can have our welder come out to close the area off, Matt had the unfortunate task of trying to remove the teak and clean the area out.  Much easier said than done as those boards were shoved up there something fierce, and we’ve been using everything we had in our arsenal to get them out.  First it was small things like a hammer and chisel, or a hammer and our pry bar, but those barely put a dent in to teak.  Eventually we were able to track someone down in the yard that had a reciprocating saw, which allowed Matt to get the depth he needed in there to really break the wood up.  Once he had that, everything began to cleanly fall out.

We’ve just given the area a power wash and it should be good to go for our welder the next time we get him out here.  One more project knocked out!

Matt scraping daggerboard slots

daggerboard slot

Welded patches above are from the boat’s original Saildrive, which was removed and replaced with a normal prop shaft when the boat was re-powered with a Yanmar engine.

taking chisel to daggerboard slots

cleaning with reciprocating saw

 

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Going Bare: Stripping the Paint Off our Aluminum Hull

scraping paint from aluminum

Awhile back when we were de-naming our boat by trying different methods to remove paint and see if it was what we wanted for the final product, there was a debate on if we did in fact want to go down to bare metal or just remove the top layer and repaint with a fresh white coat.  And if we did decide to remove all the way down, what would be the best way to do it?

One of the first things we tried was to try an 80 grit flap disc to see how much of the paint it would remove, and how quickly.  We already had all the tools necessary for this, so we didn’t lose much by spending one hour one afternoon to see what it could do.  The second option of removing the paint would be with a strong chemical stripper, and that we would have to go out and purchase.  If you haven’t met us, we don’t like to spend money on things that aren’t necessary.  But since we were 90% sure that a bare hull was the route we wanted to go, it was worth it to buy a quart of the stuff just to test it out.

Working a small patch by the bow on the port side, we found out the instructions were completely inaccurate when it said that paint would be ready to come off in 5-10 minutes.  After believing this is how it was supposed to work and ready to give up on that as an option after 3 tries, we waited a few months until temperatures had cooled down just a little and left it on for 20 minutes to see what it would do.  Turns out that was the trick and using the chemical stripper became a very viable option.

Having done only one small strip though, we still didn’t know if we would like the entire boat bare.  I think I was initially more for it than Matt, although his big worry was that we would take all the paint off only to find out that a previous owner had put it there for a reason.  As in, there were many uneven spots that had to be fared and covered so they wouldn’t be noticeable.  Stripping off just a little more, and just a little more, we eventually got to a point where it would be too much work to replace it with a chrome primer, barrier coat, and paint would have been too much work.  A decision had to be made.  In the end we decided to take our chances with the bare metal as we kind of liked how it was looking, plus once it’s finished we’ll have the added bonus of forgetting all about it.  No worries about scratching the paint in our future.

Our test coats of paint removal were done with Klean-Strip Aircraft Paint Remover, but once we knew this was the route we wanted to take, Matt did a little searching online and found a good deal on gallons of Rust-oleum Aircraft Remover and we switched over to that. From that point on it became a goal to get as much of the paint off as soon as possible.  We had originally discussed it as a task to be done when we were stuck between other projects, or only an hour or two a day so we didn’t wear ourselves out.  Turns out though, our drive to complete just one project was far greater than the need to spread it out, and we were able to do the whole boat in under two weeks. (The two sides split up with the visit from my parents.)

paint on aluminum boat

chemical stripper to remove paint

paint coming off hull

Through a little bit of practice, we found a method that worked very well for us.  Overall it took 2-3 rounds of applying the remover before we were down to bare metal.  First I would go through with a chip brush and a metal pan filled with the remover, since it was one of the few items the chemicals wouldn’t eat through.  Wearing a full face mask, gloves and long sleeves, I’d go through and paint on a very thick coat to a section about five feet long, and all the way top to bottom.  Sometimes an unfortunate drop would come in contact with an exposed area of my skin that happened to sneak out of it’s clothing, but the good thing with this is that water neutralizes the chemical, and with a few seconds under the hose I’d be good as new again.

Waiting for 20 minutes to let the stripper set in, you could actually begin to see the paint bubble and flake in some areas as the chemicals did their job.  With a 2″ paint scraper, Matt would then go through to take off the first round of paint.  I can’t remember what the names of the existing coats were, but there was a white top coat, a yellow barrier coat I’m guessing, and a peach primer.  In some areas he would get all the way down to bare metal, and sometimes he’d only get down to the barrier coat.  I really liked the times he was able to get down to the primer.  That is because as soon as he finished his first round of scraping, I’d be right behind him applying another coat.

The second coat didn’t need as much time to set in, sometimes only 5 minutes we we had removed almost everything already, or maybe 10 minutes where he’d just been able to get the surface coat off.  I really liked it when we were down to just yellow, because it was my muscle that went through and did the second round of scraping. Luckily I have a husband with some pretty good pipes and a lot of determination, so by the time it got to me there wasn’t a lot of work left.  At least, nothing that my arms couldn’t handle.  I easily scrapped off the yellow coat, and usually the peach coat as well.  If things were extremely stuck on there though, we’d just brush on a third coat of paint remover.

taking paint off aluminum hull

taking paint off aluminum hull

chemical paint stripper

It was quite an accomplishment when all the paint was off, but as you can see from the photos, the scrape marks from the paint were still very visible as there were just the smallest amounts left. Before we’re completely finished with the hull there will still be a few steps left, but right away we wanted to get an initial sanding done.  Just like we’d tried before on the stern, Matt went though the hull with 100 grit flip discs this time to take off any remaining paint and give the slightest shine to it at the moment.  Before we can call ourselves good on this project though, he’ll have to go through again with a 150 and then 220 grit, and finally an acid wash to brighten the hull and overall even the tone.

While he was getting quite the workout on this project, I had the not so muscle straining, although very much detailed project of removing paint from the toe rails.  All the little areas where I have to get in there with chisels and small scrappers. It hasn’t been as much of a pain in the butt project as I thought it would be though.  4 partial days of work on it and I was able to get enough paint off for Matt to come in with a grinder and give them a good shine.

With the headache we thought the task of removing the paint would be, the whole process turned out to be much easier, cheaper, and even quicker than we thought.  2 gallons and 2 quarts later and we have a bare metal boat.  Now we’re very happy the marina doesn’t allow soda blasting and we didn’t put a lot of money toward that when it turns out it wasn’t necessary.  An actual win for us on a project!

taking paint off toe rail

removing paint from toe rail

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Throwback Thursday: Miami Beach & Calle Ocho

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

While we were in Fort Lauderdale we had a great time with Matt’s family, filling up our days at museums and even visiting a race track to see the kind of life our former adopted greyhound used to hold before she came into our home.

Just after they left we had a chance to visit with another kind of family of ours.  The one we formed in our marina in Guatemala where we formed our own little dinner club with a few of our neighbors and friends there.  Somehow it happened that every member of that party, with the exception of Luis (The Most Interesting Man in the World), happened to be in South Florida at the same time.  Such a strange coincidence since we’d all parted ways in Guatemala 6 months earlier.

Staying at the home of our friend Alfredo’s family in Key Biscayne, our group had the chance to come together once more for a reunion of our dinner club. It was supposed to only be a one night affair, but since the boat was anchored in such a safe spot and we left Georgie with more food or water than she could ever go through in 48 hours, we decided to keep the party going and used our next day to explore a few new parts of Miami.

You can find the original post here.

Monday March 31, 2014

Dinner Club

That place that was on the top of Matt’s list of where he never wanted to visit? Yup, we’re back there. Again. Except today had a lot more in store for us than just a stroll down the boardwalk or some good old fashioned people watching. Our day started early and went all night long.

Just as ready as we were getting ready to leave the DeLaro household this morning, those cute little ankle biters that guard the door tore out of the house and led to an early morning Chasing of the Dogs. Luki must be some kind of animal whisperer and he was able to scoop up one of the unsuspecting fluff balls and used it to lure the other one back home, as if it were running with a sausage dangling in front of it’s nose. Once they were secured back in the house we piled all six of us into the family golf cart to bumble down to Alfredo’s sister’s house for breakfast.  Even though my late night of mixing beer, wine, and RumChada had me barely able to get down a muffin in the morning (apparently even just a little bit of each will do that to you), it was great getting to know Alfredo’s sister and brother in law a little better, and we even had the chance to meet his dad who was full of questions for Matt and Luki about what it was like to sail around the world.  More of those questions were aimed toward Luki since I don’t think we’ve covered near as much ground as they have, but we were still able to throw in a few Caribbean crossings here and there.  

On the way back the keys to the golf card were handed to me, and it didn’t even take 5 minutes for me to almost kill all of us while running a red light at a major intersection.  The braking was just a little bit different than I was used to, and trying to pump on them would have put me right at a stop in the middle of the intersection.  I did manage to keep us alive long enough to get to the marina where Kajaya is anchored, and then pass back the keys to someone who knew what they were doing while we toured the rest of Key Biscayne.  All I can say is this place has some money.  If I thought the McMansions on Lake Sylvia were big, I was blown away by what was going up here.  We toured all the ritzy neighborhoods and even saw the house where Scarface was filmed.

running of the dogs

group at marina

scarface house

Back at the house it was a quick energy burst with a fill up of pop (they had Coke, and Pepsi) before splitting into two actual cars to hit up Miami beach.  I’m sure the golf cart would have made it just fine, but only if I was at the helm.  It’s obvious I’m the only one who knows how to handle that thing.

We parked right in front of Ana Bianca & Alfredo’s old apartment which was just a few blocks from the beach.  Even though I live on a boat, I’m always on the water, and always near a beach, I envied the fact that they used to stroll down the street with a coffee in hand to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic, or with a cooler full of beers in the afternoon, ready to take in the scene.  Surf and turf.  That’s the way to do it.

The six of us searched about the same number of bike stands before we finally came across one that had enough for all of us to ride.  With 30 minutes purchased, we hopped on those bad boys and pedaled the boardwalk of Miami Beach, an area that I’m now becoming quite familiar with.  I’m tell you, there’s just something about this place that keeps drawing me back.

3.31.14 (4)

bicycling in south beach

 We found time in the afternoon to do a little strolling of the streets as well.  Apparently there’s a big shopping district that Matt and I missed the first time around and I had no problem this time running in and out of H&M and Forever 21, trying to find new bikinis or outfits at deeply discounted prices.  Matt wasn’t in the shops with me, I had the credit card, and everything was fair game.  Surprisingly I walked out of every store empty handed which is a sign that Matt’s just rubbing off on me too much.  It was slightly satisfying to walk up to him though and proudly say “I bought nothing“.

When everyone had gotten their shopping in and we enjoyed a sweet afternoon treat of custard, we piled back into the cars for a tour of Little Havana, or Calle Ocho as it’s also known.  It’s an area of Miami that’s full of Cuban restaurants, shops, and markets.  They even have a McDonald’s there that serves rice and beans as a side because it’s so popularly requested.

On the grand tour we walked by a park full of old men playing dominoes, and an area of statues and monuments with tribute to Cuba.  Since we were missing our great Cuban friend Luis, the last and only missing member of the Dinner Club, we thought it would be nice to get a group photo of all of us that we could send to him back in Guatemala.  Asking the first random guy we saw walking down the street, we soon found this was not a wise choice.  Because this man was a Cuban.  That wanted to give us all a lesson on Cuba.  Six people who had all actually been to Cuba, and one that was of Cuba heritage.  We humored him for a little bit and sang along to the songs he was trying to teach us while he simultaneously made a grasshopper from palm fronds.  20 minutes and no photo later, we finally pulled another guy off the street to take our picture, allowing our ‘Cuban Tour Guide’ to be in it with us.

Having lost most of the afternoon now and still needing to get back to Key Biscayne for dinner at Alfredo’s sister’s, we took in just a little bit more of Little Havana, stopping at one of the restaurants for real Cuban coffee, super strong and super delicious, and ham and cheese croquetas.  Mmmm, just like I remembered them.  Since we were in the area we popped into a market to pick up some meat and veggies for dinner and then made our way back to the island for a costume change before dinner since the clouds had come in bringing a huge temperature drop with them.

Calle Ocho memorial

3.31.14 (8)

 Our night was rounded out with another family dinner, although not quite as big or with as many family members as the night before.  It was great though, sitting pool side of the complex where Alfredo’s sister Ivonne and husband Vance live where Luki got the brie (BBQ) ready, and Mimi (his mother) showed up with some freshly made peach daiquiris.  We sampled the mahi that Kajaya caught on their Gulf Stream passage from Isla Mujeres, and talked about the whens on where we’ll see each other next since we know that this can’t be it for our group.  I’m so happy that Matt and I decided to stay another night and can’t even imagine all that we would have missed had we gone home early.

It’s going to be a hard thing to leave tomorrow morning and go back to the boat where it will just be the two of us again for the foreseeable future as we move along to the Bahamas.  I am really, really going to miss these people as they truly have become family to us.  Long live the Guatemalan Dinner Club, you will always have a special place in our hearts.

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Matt & Jessica & Luki

Ana Bianca & Alfredo

 

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Styling while Sailing

styling while sailing

A strange thing has been happening to Matt and I lately, and it’s that we’ve been receiving a lot of emails lately from companies wanting us to review their products.  Strangely, they rarely boat related as I would have expected, considering that’s what our lives vastly revolve around.  Instead, the majority of requests have been coming from clothing companies.  I might have attributed this to the fact we both recently made the list for Sexiest Male and Female travelers of 2015 (thanks again Megan!) and were now on a list for top models (kidding!), although we’d been contacted by these companies long before those lists were ever published.

Although I personally get much more excited about fashion over boat parts, we still do not say yes to every company that contacts us, as we feel that we only like to stand behind companies that we believe in their products. Two of the companies that we did say yes to produce items are clothing based, but I believe they do have a good functionality in a sailors life, and that is why I agreed to give them a try.

The first company is Mizzen + Main, who produces high quality, yet very functional clothing for men.  Using advanced performance fabrics, you receive all the style of a regular dress shirt that has the added behavior of your favorite athletic gear. Let me list a few of it’s benefits for you:

  • Moisture wicking
  • Four way stretch
  • Wrinkle free
  • Machine washable

For a guy like Matt who leads the life that we do, this shirt is absolutely perfect for him. We’re usually in such warm and humid climates that he prefers to wear no top at all when possible, and quickly sweats through any cotton shirt he puts on when we need or want to run to town. It’s a breeze to keep clean and does not even need to go in a dryer.  Slip it on to a hanger and it’s dry and good to go in 16 minutes.

The shirt Matt received is from the Leeward collection of Mizzen + Main. This style comes with a structured fit and has remarkable quick dry properties, which will be fantastic for when we are back on the water (or when we get caught in Florida’s rainy season again).  Matt loves this shirt for it’s fit and comfort, and I love it for it’s style and wrinkle free properties.  We do have an iron on board, but it’s rare that it ever comes out. This shirt can be stuffed in the back of a cabinet and still come out completely wrinkle free. Trust me, I’ve watched it happen.

This shirt has definitely become a staple in Matt’s wardrobe and I can easily see why it’s received so many great reviews. I know we think highly of it’s but it’s also quickly raising as a favorite with glowing reviews from Men’s Fitness, The New York Times, and Esquire as well.  And I have to believe they have a lot more access to men’s clothing than we do, so if they love it too, you know it’s good.

M+M Homepage

Mizzen + Main

Mizzen + Main Leeward collection

Mizzen + Main

The other company we agreed to work with is a brand new venture out of Melbourne Australia, specializing in leggings. There are many things to love about Pins to Kill, but the number one thing that enticed me is you are able to create your own custom leggings!  How cool is that? Although there are a number of fascinating established designs on the site to choose from, the site encourages their customers to create their own custom patterns by uploading photos or artwork.

I wanted something that would easily get the point across of what my lifestyle is all about, and had the text ‘Sail the World’ printed down the leg.  There are so many other options running through my head though….anchors on a blue background, wave type patterns, or boats with palm trees.  The option are literally endless! It was hard to come up with only one. And whatever you can come up with, they’ll make them for you.

I love them because they are just so smart and efficient for boat life.  Another wrinkle free option of clothing for my life, full of comfort and flexibility. They take up very little space in my already small cabinet, and can easily transition from passages, to lounging, to exploring.  After getting several wears out of them already, I’ve noticed they don’t pinch or strain like other leggings I own, and still keep me very warm when the temperatures begin to drop at night. Plus they’re another quick drying item where I don’t have to worry too much about dinghy butt (the splashed of water that come over the dinghy and soak your behind) like I do when I’m wearing cotton or denim. A big plus in my book.

The founder of Pins to Kill, Linda, is making sure that her products are making it to the far reaches of the universe in every form of activity possible.  They’ve been featured on dancers, mountain hikers, fitness professionals, and now sailors.  There is a fantastic collections of her leggings featured on all these women on her Instagram account, @pinstokill.  Take a look at some of her fantastic creations, and then make sure to create something of your own!

Pins to Kill

Pins 2 Kill

Pins2Kill

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Our Own Private Champage Cruise

sunset cruise in Ft. Lauderdale

Weeks before my parents arrived, I received an email from my mom asking if we would be interested in taking a sunset cruise during our time in Fort Lauderdale. I was ecstatic to hear this, but also a little surprised as it can be hard to get my parents out for boat rides sometimes.  Especially ones that lead to the ocean. Maybe it was because they knew we could book it the day of, making sure to watch weather conditions; maybe it was because they knew a company that caters to tourist probably wouldn’t go out in some of the conditions Matt and I have been forced to endure; or maybe it was because they must have known how much we’re missing our time on the water and wanted to give us a little piece of that back.  Because my parents are awesome like that.

For awhile during our vacation it looked like we may not actually be able to get out on this excursion that I’d now been looking forward to for weeks.  When we first arrived to Fort Lauderdale the winds were extremely strong, the seas were high enough to be bouncy, and even if the cruises were still running the ride would most likely be very uncomfortable.  Once the winds died down the rain started up, and every day was a guess of when the showers would be in and for how long.  This was not the November we were expecting in Florida, and it seemed we were stuck in summer-like weather patterns.

It took until almost our last day before leaving for us to make this happen.  The morning and afternoon had all been off and on rain showers, although the evening looked promising. Visiting in the mid afternoon, just to get a feel for the area so we didn’t rush ourselves later, we purchased tickets and took a look at the boat.  This part of the day was still sunny and they’d just come in from taking a group snorkeling and swimming the reefs just outside the inlet.  Who knew those even existed in Fort Lauderdale? The office mentioned they go out rain or shine, and if we showed up to go, they would take us.

The late afternoon was quite questionable, but my favorite site of Passage Weather showed that precipitation would be gone, waves would be non existent, and winds would be very little.  That sounded just fine to me.  I didn’t need a thrill ride of a sunset tour, I just needed a good sunset and a full glass of champagne.  And if the clouds indeed clear up, I’d be promised 2 out of 2. Luckily the universe did take a little pity on me and the clouds did part just in time for our departure from the condo.

Arriving at the Spirit of Fort Lauderdale, we found another surprise.  We were the only ones to sign up for that evenings cruise.  We had the whole catamaran to ourselves! I was hoping that meant each person on board each received their own bottle of champagne, but that request was quickly smashed down.  (It’s ok, there was still Dos XX in the fridge for when I got back…)  We had Captain Mike and Jason on duty that night, and as soon as they finished with the required safety speech, the dock lines where thrown off and we had the music pumping out of the speakers to whatever station we wanted.  Since we had full run of the place.

The crew members quickly became our talking buddies, and we turned the cruise into a big hangout session instead of us by ourselves and them by themselves. Gliding down the ICW and closer to the inlet the sun was already dipping and the sky was radiating different colors of yellow and pink. As we passed by mega yachts and mega mansions, Mike and Jason were able to give us the history or some background on a lot of these boats and homes

my family at a sunset cruise

ICW Ft. Lauderdale

waterfront house in Ft. Lauderdale

One of the best parts of the trip for me, how lame is this, was coming up to the 17th St. Causeway and not having to lift a finger to get under it.  No hailing the bridge tender, no controlling the boat so I could time our approach just perfectly, and no watching for oncoming traffic to avoid.  I was able to just sit back and watch the waterfront restaurants begin to light up their decks, or finally get a good look at all these ridiculously large yachts we were passing by.

On the other side of the bridge we found ourselves right upon the inlet to the Atlantic and it was time to raise the sails.  Another thing I did not have to lift a finger for.  By this time the sun was fully down and we were surrounded by a soft pink lighting behind us, and a deepening blue as we made our way out into open waters.  A slight chop was coming through, and I joined my parents on the trampoline up by the bow, and rode the small waves like a ride until a few began splashing up underneath us and trying to soak our pants.

going under 17th St. bridge

dad under bridge

raising the mainsail

sunset cruise Fort Lauderdale

Spirit of Fort Lauderdale

It turned out that the little wind I had been watching earlier turned out to be much too small to fill our sails. Getting out into open water, we sailed close hauled for a bit as we slightly bobbed around in the small swells.  The sail that didn’t want to stay full was smacking back and forth a bit, and very much reminded me of our sail from Miami to Bermuda.

Once the sky began to turn black, the consensus on board was that without much sailing happening there wasn’t a lot of reason to stay out in the Atlantic just to run up the clock.  There could still be touring done inside the canals.  Turning the boat around we had a slightly more comfortable and half a knot faster sail back inside the waterway. As soon as we were inside and the sails were lowered it was time for the champagne to come out.

Giving a big toast between ourselves and to our crew, we had a fantastic run for the last little bit of our cruise.  With my full glass of champagne, we all stood out on deck and watched the bright lights of the city shining down on us.  As a special treat, and since we had a little extra time, we made a run down a side canal to take a look at a few of the waterfront homes and took a little shock in realizing that most people did not put blinds into their living rooms or kitchens.  And I have to say, a few of the meals I was able to see prepared looked really delicious.

Before we knew it we were sliding back into our slip at the marina and it was time to trade in our sailing hat for a land based one.  Cruisers living on dirt once again.  It was a great experience to get there once again, and if anything it’s going to give me more drive to work even harder on our boat to get here back out as soon as possible.  But of course this night would not have been as special without my wonderful parents, for taking us on this cruise and enjoying their company while we were out.  We were also blessed with a fantastic crew that made the experience incredibly enjoyable and made it feel as if we were out on the water with any number of new cruising friends we make along the way.  The perfect way to wrap up another fantastic visit from my family.

Ft. Lauderdale inlet

17th St. bridge at night

champagne cruise Spirit of Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale canals

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