Humpty Dumpty Got Pulled Up the Mast

Sunday June 26, 2011

After a few weekends spent moving into our new place and spending Father’s Day with my dad who happened to be in town for the weekend on business, we were finally able to make it back to the boat.  It was a little strange going there for the first time since the move because after all the changes recently happening in my life (new home, new job, loss of my puppy) the boat was starting to feel like the only constant in my life.  Except Matt of course, but he’s become such a part of me that I forget to include him as a separate entity sometimes.

Waking up in the morning we were so excited to get out on the water and do some real sailing after being out of the game for a few weekends which was starting to feel like a lifetime.  Plus I’ve been reading up on my sailing books and and wanted to pay decent attention to the sail trim instead of falling into the pattern of Matt being the line handler and I the helmsman as we always do.  Motoring out to the big lake it was just before noon and it was obvious there was a race taking place that day as all the yachts from MYC were following our lineup out into the open water.  Shortly after exiting the channel we unfurled the jib, raised the main, and cut the engine.  Wind wasn’t very heavy but there should have been enough of a breeze for us to at least point in a direction and slowly amble along.  But no matter what way we positioned ourselves there was nothing filling the sails and they’d just luff and taunt us while the racers cruised steadily by.  Trying every point of sail we were getting no kind of forward movement.  Even copying the compass heading of all the boats on the water that were leaving us in their dust we did nothing but stay stationary.  Finally when three other racers passed us with their mylar sails perfectly trimmed to this illusive wind Matt threw his hands up in the air and questioned, “What are they sailing on?”.  I just had to laugh at him and reply “…..skill”.

After clearing out of the way from the more skillful sailors we decided that with the lack of wind and waves it was as good of a time as any to remove our radar from the mast so we could sell it and use the money towards a newer model.  At first I assumed it would be my ass making it’s way into the sky which scared me a little, and when Matt said it would be him going up that scared me even more.  Not because I know he is afraid of heights and didn’t know how he’d handle it up there but because it was going to be me hoisting him up.  Now if you remember a few posts back I’ve mentioned there is a complete lack of muscles on my part.  I can’t even hold a paint brush above my head for more than 5 minutes without getting exhausted.  And the fact that just a few weeks ago I needed to be relieved from raising the genoa because I couldn’t complete it myself.  I was assured that because of the gear reduction in our winches it would be enough for someone even as weakly as me to raise a 160 lb male 60 ft in the air.  Even if there was a way I could get him all the way up though I didn’t know if I’d be able to let out the line gently enough to keep him from crashing all the way down or even pulling a Mission Impossible act where I stop him six inches from the deck surface.

After working the halyard around two winches I was told that I could do this and to start cranking.  Inch by inch the halyard became taut and Matt slowly became suspended in the air.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, there wasn’t much of a strain at all, it was just slow and steady all the way up.  Once he was where he needed to be I cleated the line and went blow deck to work with the wires at the bottom of the mast that he was working with at the top.  10 or 15 minutes in he’d realized that the wires were not coming undone as easily as he’d hoped and instead of swaying around in the breeze while I fiddled around for who knows how long trying to fix it, that it would be easier for him to be brought back down to take care of it himself.  With beads of sweat coming down my forehead I followed the instructions of keeping one hand on the line wrapped around the winch and making slow 1-2″ counterclockwise turns to gently ease him down.  Before I knew it he was safely back on deck and I was quite proud of myself for not killing him.

After getting everything in order and Matt up the mast a second time (which was slightly more difficult on my arms) the wind that had been hiding from us all day was starting to make more and more of an appearance and although it wasn’t dangerous it was definitely making for a bit more motion at the top of the mast.  Like the pro that he is though, the radar was successfully removed and lowered to safety and he was shortly behind.  Getting everything safely secured we cashed in on the fresh breeze we couldn’t find before and turned back towards the racers ready to hold our own.






* Here I was thinking I was so special for getting Matt ‘all the way up the mast’, and now I go back and realize it was only about 20 feet up.

Well We’re Moving on Down, To the West Side, To Trailer Parks and Crime, We’re Going to Die

Friday June 17, 2011

As of today we are officially homeless.  Or more acurately living with Matt’s mom, but the only home we have of our ‘own’ now is on the boat.  When the house went on the market last fall and we were still planning on leaving this August she very graciously offered free room and board to us for what we all assumed at the time would be 3-6 months max.  Of course plans change and now we have just over a year before we’re leaving but the offer still stood and we decided to take it.  A year of rent free living plus free electric, gas, water, internet/cable?  We’ll take it!!  This is definitley going to help to add to the cruising kitty.

For the past few days there have been boxes scattered all over the house, although due to the fact that all of the furnature and appliances are staying behind there isn’t too much to move overall.   Last weekend Matt had taken a van home from work for me and I was able to get everything to his mom’s in two car loads.  We only left behind what we needed to make it through the week.  And as of today the papers are officially signed and we’ll probably never walk back into that house again.  I didn’t think I’d be sad about moving, But, thanks to credible movers’ help, which made the job all the more easier – click for more information. I’d done it so much as a child that I’d never gotten attached to a house before, but walking out the door one last time I almost mustered up one tear.  This was mine and Matt’s first home together and I was really going to miss it. To know more on moving you can read here from an expert in her latest blog.

Now onto our new residence.  Most people assume that when you move from your own starter home to your parent’s home that it will be a move up.  Larger house, nicer furnishings, and a lot of the things you couldn’t afford when you’re young and just starting out.  I can joke about it here because we joke about it to her face, but moving in with his mom was almost a step in the opposite direction.   Open the cupboards and you’d find all mismatched plates and glasses with half of them being plastic.  There’s actually a plastic Ronald McDonald plate from 1992 that is used in rotation quite a lot.  Tupperware is a washed out Hillshire Farms Deli Meat container.  All of the washing detergent, toothpaste, and cold medicine come from Dollar General.    It would almost appear as if we just moved into a frat house.  I think half of our moving time was spent teasing his mom about the almost role reversal going on here between the two generations.   If changes like these won’t prepare us for living on a cheap budget during our circumnavigation I don’t know what will. To move, you need to find the best moving company and you can know about the company here.

All kidding aside, with 7 grandkids rampaging through the house from time to time it’s great to have plastic dishware and if you don’t have OCD like Matt you use what works instead of having to buy brand name tupperware containers or laundry degergent.  (Although I always did the laundry in our house and I will stand beside Tide)  It may not be what we’re used to but there’s no reason it can’t work.  Besides, in a few years this will look like high living to us.  Showers, ac repair, and easy access to our food?  Psh, we’ll be begging for these luxuries in the future.

Notice how I didn’t go on about storage space though.  We didn’t bring a ton of material items over with us but we did have to bring enough to get us through a full year in a four seasons climate.  If I were still working at the OB I could whittle my work wardrobe down to two pairs of black pants and two work shirts…but now that I’m at an office job (that no one knows I will be leaving in a year) I need to have an array of nice tops and pants and can’t been seen in the same outfit too many times without my fellow coworkers wondering if I do in fact come from the trailer park across the street.  And since there was not an abundance of storage space even before we came, making room for two new people has left us with our bedroom, part of the attic, and one shelf in the bathroom to keep all our belongings.  I’m sure we’ll make it work by learning to live in a room packed full of boxes or learn to live solely on essentials.  Or maybe it will be like living on the boat were I’ll have to move around six boxes and unpack a container just to get to a pair of shoes.  Only 13 months to go until we can finally leave on our adventure.   The countdown starts now.

What to do with all these boxes now that the closet is full?

Oh, and there’s an ongoing joke in the house now that things will continue to downgrade and we’ll eventually move down to frisbees to eat off instead of plates.  I can see Chris eyeing the dog’s right now.

*I should mention the crime part in the title is only because when Matt lived here 10 years ago his car was broken into twice on the street.  Since then the neighborhood had really changed and things like that don’t happen anymore.

What’s Blue and White, and Wet All Over?

Sunday June 5, 2011

It’s our boat, because she’s finally back in the water!!  Somehow this years transition from on the hard to in the water seemed to go by much quicker than last year but that could be because I spent far far less time on her in 2011 than I did in 2010.  I think I made it out to the boat yard a total of six times for hard labor vs the countless times last year.  Which means that Matt deserves a big thanks because 90% of the work was done by him.

For our first night back on the boat I wanted nothing but the best and picked up two NY strips for dinner, drizzling in a delicious teriayki glaze along with greek pasta salad and a classy 1 liter bottle of White Zinfandel.  It was a little sad making this trip without Mazzii now and the boat seemed so much more empty without her there.  And not just because she took up so much space.  Our wonderful neighbors on Buen Tiempo happened to be out that night as well and asked where our cute little dog was.  Having to explain the story again partly it felt like salt in the wound and partly I just went into autopilot retelling the same story that I’ve probably told about 50 times now to friends and family.

One of the first things we had to do when we arrived was to flank the sails (or attach them to the mast and furling roller).  Luckily winds were light and we didn’t quite have the debacle we did last year where I was almost flung off the boat like some kind of bucking bronco ride.  I don’t know why, especially since I had just finished the torture of bottom painting less than a week ago, but for the genoa Matt thought it would be best for me to control the winch.  The first half was easy and I was actually quite proud of myself but once there was enough sail up to start flapping in the light breeze it was beginning to take all my strenght to make one full turn.  When there was only about one foot left to raise we switched places where he finished in 10 seconds.  That’s ok….I loosened it for him.

Dinner was absolutely excellent although we still have a little work to do on figuring out how our grill displaces temperature.  Less than 10 minutes on the lowest setting and the outsides were getting black.  I forced Matt to pull my off as I still like some pink (red) in the center and I didn’t want to kick off my summer with a well done steak.  However, after cutting into the steaks the center was still raw and purple.  Back onto the grill they went.  Mine came back off after only another two minutes to a perfectly red center while Matt’s still stayed on a little longer and ended up being more red than he wanted, but he didn’t want mine to get cold while I waited for him.  So sweet.  : )  For the occasion I had pulled out our ‘good’ wine glasses that came with the boat.  As I was climing around the cockpit I moved my glass to the side as to get it out of my way.  Wouldn’t you know I forgot it was there and while making a wild gesture with my hand it got a good smack.  Click…. click…. plop.  I guess those don’t float like I thought they would.  This would be the reason why I’m not allowed to have nice things.

*I wasn’t being sarcastic earlier, I really do like those glasses


Not wanting to spend our first night on the boat watching movies like we can do any night at home we sat in the cockpit until the sun went down and turned the sky and water all kinds of brilliant shades of pink and purple.  I retired down below before Matt as I was loosing light for my Nook and was also beginning to lose too much body heat.  Since he had just installed a wifi antenna on the boat he was happy to stay out there all night long on his laptop cruising the forums.  I guess his night wasn’t much different than at home.





In the morning the sun was shining in a cloudless sky and although winds were low we made way for the big lake to drift around all day if nothing else.  It didn’t take long for it to warm up enough for a fleece and yoga pants to turn into a bikini. I can’t say the same for Matt though since he’s always bikini ready.  There wasn’t much to do with the sails because of the lack of wind so while Matt sat back and stared into the horizon I pulled out my notebook to read up on auto and home coverage for the new job I just started.  This is how we spent most of the day, me switching reading materials a few times or joining in on the blank gazes over the open water.  There were no exciting stories this day, nothing of great interest happening, just two people who missed the water back on it and ready to start another season.