Sunday November 28, 2010

‘ Globetrotting’

In the planning for our upcoming trip we’ve gone back and forth about plans to stay in the Caribbean and the States or to sail all the way around the world.  The very first initial plan for us was to sail around the world anyway, but I was terrified of sailing across an ocean and begged Matt to let us stay near land.  In my defense, this idea originally came up less than a year after I had stepped foot on a boat.  I was far too unskilled and unknowledgeable in sailing to want to take a journey like that.  I liked knowing that should something go wrong I wouldn’t be more than a few hundred miles from land.  There were also a few other factors of wanting to stay stateside.  Once was time.  I figured this would just be a sabbatical where we’d be picking up our lives and careers right away and didn’t want to be away for too long.  Matt had a tentative work opportunity waiting for him if he could be back in 2013.  I don’t have anything waiting for me when I get back but I also didn’t want to start all over in my mid 30’s.  Plus I always had this strict timeline in my head of when I wanted to start a family, and even being gone 2-3 years was pushing that back.  Change that to a 4-5 year journey and in my mind I was f*%#ed.  Then lastly and more importantly is Mazzii.  By staying in the states and Bahamas we could bring her with us.  Anything past that and we would half to jump through a million hoops and pay out of our ass for the honor of her company.  And the thought of having a dog that large on an ocean crossing and constantly having to stay close to the boat for her….not going to work when we’re trying to see the world.

Then about a year ago Matt introduced me to sailing blogs.  Slapdash and Bumfuzzle….I was addicted.  Up until that point I had no real idea what cruising would be like because I hadn’t heard stories of anyone that had actually done it.  It opened my eyes to the possibilities in front of me.  Reading these stories was so exciting and inspiring.  After all, what they were doing wasn’t all too different than what we were planning.  Except they were crossing oceans and visiting multiple continents while we’d be ‘crossing the Gulf Stream and visiting multiple states’.  I was getting a little jealous.  I’d try joking to Matt that ‘Hey, maybe we should just go all the way around’.  Although over the past summer I don’t think he was too impressed with my knowledge to learn and wasn’t sure if I could be trusted for night watches or if something were to happen to him and I’d be left to handle the boat myself.  I had to agree, I didn’t try as hard as I should have.  And then there’s Mazzii.  Neither of us could bear the thought of leaving her behind.  We love her almost as much as we love each other and (mushy part here), didn’t think we could get through the days without her.  Even tropical weather and crystal blue seas can compare to her deep brown eyes and the kisses we get from her each morning.

So then the talks turned to ‘I’d love to sail around the world….but I couldn’t leave Mazzii’.  And ‘Visiting other countries would be great….but I’d feel terrible about leaving Mazzii behind’.  Having these conversations more and more, one thing dawned on us.  Would Mazzii even want to spend two years on a boat?  Sure her ears would perk up every time she heard the word boat and dinghy rides are a past time I’m sure she’ll never get sick of.  But when the dinner bell rang on Sunday nights and it was time to go home she was more than ready to hop in the car on the way back to her own bed.  Plus the fact is this dog was built for speed and we didn’t know how she would handle being away from land for a day or two at a time.  Soon conversations turned to ‘Let’s start with her and see how she does.  If we hit New York…North Carolina …Florida …and she doesn’t like it we can rent a car, take her home and carry on without her’.  Home being Matt’s mom’s house who graciously decided to take in our saildog should we decide she isn’t up for the trip.

In the end we decided we’re going to take the leap without her from the beginning.  Who knows, we could hit Detroit and realize that we can’t live without her and change our plans all over again.  But the tentative idea is that we’ll leave just the two of us and make our way down to the Bahamas, and if we’re loving life at sea we’ll turn West and just keep going.  If not we’ll stick to the original plan.  Or who knows, maybe after six months of living on a boat we’ll decide it’s not for us and either come back home or travel somewhere new.  The best part is that we don’t have to decide right now because there’s  nothing holding us back.  Once you sell your house and quit your job….life is just kind of open.  All I know is that there are too many wonderful things in the world for me to see rather than just staying put.  But where it stands now we’re going to  pull up anchor and head into the unknown and not experienced. We’ll just have to see what’s wiating for us.  After all, it’s a big sky.

Sunday November 21, 2010

‘Sew what?’

Well the boat has been out of the water for about a month now.  While Matt has done most of the winterizing on Friday afternoons while I’m at work I have spent a few Sundays out with him prepping it for the winter and getting the cover on.  A cover that we had been very excited about since it was cloth, durable, and best yet, came with the boat.  This was our first winter having a boat out in the elements and we felt sorry for a few of the boats surrounding us that just had a tarp slung over their boom as we pulled out our custom cloth cover.  Once getting it in position though, we were a little surprised that it was not long enough to go over the toe rail.  No matter how tight we tied it on each side there was still a few inches of deck visible all around the boat.  We thought about buying a tarp to cover the remaining part but decided to see how just the canvas held up through the beginning of winter.

I thought I was going to be on easy street until spring when the cover came back off the boat.  Hahaha, I was so wrong.  The vinyl windows on our dodger were pretty old and falling apart, so they needed replacing.  Matt purchased sheets of 30 ml vinyl online and thought with my excellent sewing skills (the fact that I’ve hemmed a pair of pants), that it would be right my alley.  He also thought the Brother sewing machine he bought me for our anniversary a few years ago was the perfect machine for the job.


I don’t know why we’re replacing these, they look perfectly fine to me.

My sewing machine and I have our good and bad times.  Once in awhile she’ll do exactly as I ask her to and run smoothly.  Most of the time though it’s a nightmare where my thread is getting tangled up and I always have an ‘Error 1’ message flashing at me on the display screen.  Before I could even think about working with the devil of a sewing machine though, I had to take out the further of the two sets of seams so that I could cut the existing vinyl down as close to the exposed part of the window as possible.  After watching an online video I found out it was best to leave the existing vinyl on to keep the structure stiff until the new vinyl is sewn on top of it.  Once that is secure you take out the other seam of the previous window and pull it out.  Sounded easy enough.  I don’t know why I haven’t learned yet but I thought I could finish this project in two weekends.  Uhhh….yeah.  It’s been two weeks and so far I’ve replaced one of seven windows.  And it was the small one.

I’ll back up a little bit and try to explain.  Parts of this project would have been much easier if it were the first time these windows were being replaced.  It was not.  From the looks of it we were the third people to put a new layer of vinyl on.  And each person before neglected to fully remove the layer before them and I had three layers of vinyl where the seams were to rip out.  Or more accurately, three layers of seams to be ripped.  Some of the seams were nicely spaced where it was’t a problem to get underneath and tear the thread but other ones were just a few millimeters wide and I could barely get my needle under it.  I think it took me three hours to do about five feet.  Then came cutting those three previous layers back by about an inch.  I’m not even kidding when I say it broke a pair of my scissors.  Grabbing a back-up pair I made Matt finish that part and promise to buy me a heavy duty pair of scissors to work on the rest.


Then came the sewing.  Oh my god, the sewing.  First was getting the machine to actually work for me.  Once I got the bobbin to stop from tangling and could sew a decent line on the scratch fabric I tried moving onto the dodger.  To get at the right angle I’d have to roll the extra fabric into a space that was six inches wide by three inches high.  Did I mention my sewing machine is not very big?  And of course, of course when I moved from the scratch fabric to the real thing the bobbin would get jammed or the stitches would look like total crap and I’d have to take them out and start over again.  Can you tell I’m frustrated?  Sorry for the rant, but projects like this that should be simple enough and then make me want to rip my hair out because I just can’t get it right tend to drive me crazy.  In the end to save myself a little sanity and my sewing machine it’s life I’ve decided to do the sewing by hand.  It may be taking me ten times longer but it already looks so much better and can be kind of cathartic for an hour at a time.  So this is why it has taken me to weeks to do 1/7th of the project.  Good thing I’ve got a lot of winter ahead of me.