The List

Wednesday April 18, 2012

So I’m sure some of you might be looking at this site and thinking to yourself, ‘All the stories of their weekends out on the water are fine and dandy, but I know they’re getting ready for a possible circumnavigation and I want to know “What are they doing to get ready?”‘  Well I’m taking a break from our exciting leiserly yachting weekends (because right now I’m posting from September 2011) to get down to the nitty gritty and tell you exactly what we’re doing and what we still need to do to get our boat ready to leave this summer.  With no further ado, here is The List.

* means that it needs to get done before the boat is launched

Anchor Locker and Bow

  • Install new Aqua Signal Series 25 Bow light and DR. LED Bi-color light – done 4/15/12
  • Grease furling gear with Mclube Sailkote dry sail lube
  • Check furling line for wear
  • Mount stainless anchor chain stopper
  • Separate chain from 5/8″ rode and coil the rope on Starboard anchor locker side.  Secure chain with easy to cut lashings
  • Mount padeye on deck for Solent Stay
  • Glass in bulkhead to anchor locker and mount lower padeye for Solent Stay
  • Add protecting grease to windlass motor for corrosion
  • Peen anchor chain Crosby – done 3/18/12


  • Cut down bulkhead for better sleeping position – done 4/1/12
  • Mount photos in v-berth
  • Add half mixture of varnish and teak oil to modified bulkhead
  • Mount fan in v-verth
  • Replace drain hose for sink
  • Secure windlass wiring on starboard side shelf
  • Install LED lights in v-berth lights
  • Mount 12v outlet in v-berth
  • *Grease seacock


  • *Glass in the hole in the hull from the depth gauge
  • Install DC outlet in cabin – done 4/1/12
  • *Install new Airmar V744 depth, temp, and speed transducer
  • Install Raymarine compass to old location above bilge pump – done 4/29/12
  • *Torque keel bolts to 90 ftlbs – done 4/20/12


  • Mount new Raymarine RD418 radar on mast (use old bracket) Wire pull already in mast.  Shorten RJ45 wire to length of mast and install terminal strip for easy stepping of mast
  • Mount new Tri-lens radar reflector on mast above radar
  • Remove streaming light and clean and inspect
  • Install mast tang for Solent Stay
  • Mount Spinlock clutch for jib sheet on mast
  • Inspect rigging
  • Install new forestay, backstay, and cap shrouds when dropping mast for Erie Canal
  • Remove reefing hook from boom
  • Install eye to the boom vang for single line reefing block
  • Make and install mast gate for lowering the sail during reefing
  • Get third reef added to mainsail (currently at North Sail’s sailmaker)


Navigation Station

  • Move Xantrex inverter over 1 1/2″ from Starboard bulkhead to allow more airflow – done 4/20/12
  • Install Raymarine x10 Smartpilot computer behind radio in navigation station (or in head compartment)
  • *Install 4 new Duracell 6-volt batteries purchased from Sam’s Club – done 5/20/12
  • Clean up wiring for wire panel
  • Install bulb in Aqua Signal chart light  (BA 9s bulb)
  • *Disconnect bonding system for all seacocks



  • Heat shrink wire for fan and install outlet in galley port side
  • Insulate refrigeration with slow rise foam – done 10/9/11
  • Sand and polish Marine-tex that filled hole in refrigerator’s liner
  • Install a holder for the cutting board on top of stove
  • Install LED light bulb over stove – done
  • Replace hose for sink drain – done 4/20/12
  • Install Whale foot pump for salt water faucet – done 4/1/12
  • *Grease seacock – done 6/2/12



  • Install 12v outlet in head – done 4/1/12
  • Install fan for locker in head 4/15/12
  • Install fan in head – done 4/1/12
  • Replace hose for sink drain
  • Install new Trident 101 hose for head to holding tank – done 1/15/12
  • *Grease seacock – done 6/2/12



  • Install bushing for alternator slide
  • Plumb cooling lines for heater
  • Install fan and switch for heater
  • Switch fuel filter valve lines
  • Install Soundown 1 1/2″ insulation to engine compartment
  • *Adjust  drive seal to prevent leaks – done 4/20/12
  • Install auxiliary fuel pump
  • *Paint prop with Pettit Zinc Coat Barnacle Spray
  • *Grease Max-prop


Aft Berth

  • Correct leaking deck drain
  • Add padeyes to hold down Rubbermaid containers in berth areas
  • Refinish sole in berth area
  • Seal engine cover to prevent sound from coming into the compartment
  • Reinstall cover over steering system



  • Build and install hatch screens for salon and v-berth
  • Polish dead lights to remove haze
  • *Polish deck to remove sanding residue of bottom paint
  • Install spinnaker pole mounts
  • Install new Amsteel Blue lifelines
  • Install Lewmar organizers and Spinlock clutches for single line reefing – done 10/7/11
  • Install Easylock clutches for furler, boom preventer and genoa tracks
  • Make Sunbrella covers for 2 hatches on deck



  • Cut down Edson pedestal guard and add horizontal support – done 4/28/12
  • Install new steering chain and wire kit
  • Grease and inspect steering system
  • Install Starboard cover over hole left from old autopilot – done 4/28/12
  • Install Standard Horizon helm mic and 12v outlet to Starboard cover (listed above) – done 4/28/12
  • Replace rotten bulkhead in lazarette separating holding tank from water heater – done 4/15/12
  • Reinstall plumbing to water heater – done 4/15/12
  • Remove battery charger – done 4/28/12
  • Install Katadyn 40 watermaker to area where the battery charger was
  • Secure wiring in lazarette
  • Install fuse for start battery next to water heater – done 4/1/12
  • Mount 2 Kyocera 135 watt solar panels on new bimini frame
  • Install antenna on backstay for WIFI
  • *Reinstall rudder and patch drain hole on the bottom of rudder
  • *Install tiller arm for rudder (being built from aluminum)
  • *Fiberglass in shelf support for autopilot
  • *Install Raymarine type 1 linear drive
  • Calibrate autopilot once boat is in the water
  • *Move stern light to davits and add LED to this light
  • Make two point harness for aft of dinghy on the davits
  • Mount Evergreen Solar 205 Watt panel to davits
  • Install Whale o-ring to emergency bilge pump cover – done 9/24/11
  • Relplace shower hose in cockpit – done 3/25/12
  • Rebed cockpit drains – done 10/12/11
  • Replace vinyl windows in dodger, replace zipper in dodger and touch up stitching – done 5/18/12
  • Make Sunbrella/vinyl wind protector to wrap around cockpit



  • *Polish hull
  • *Raise waterline 1 1/2″ – done 5/27/12
  • *Paint new boot line with Interlux Brightside (down to sand and polish now… it will look good enough) – done 5/28/12
  • *Finish sanding and fairing hull – done 5/26/12
  • *Apply 2 layers of Interprotect 2000 barrier coat – done 5/27/12
  • *Paint on Interlux bottom paint to bottom – done 5/27/12

And there you have it.  The million and one things that will keep us busy past the day we leave.   So if you’re family wondering why we may not have the free time to make it to a weekend BBQ or friends wondering why we can’t just shell out a  few extra dollars to go out to the bars just this once, hopefully this list will give you a good perspective on where all of our time and money go.  Don’t feel too bad for us though.  Ten months from now we’ll be sitting in the Bahamas with fruity drinks in our hands while thinking about you at home doing the daily grind and remember that every cent and minute was worth it.

Finally Making Progress

Sunday April 1, 2012

Only two weeks into sanding and I was already starting to dread Sundays.  The hassle and 60 minutes spent to get the tarps up while the wind fought me every step of the way, working with a sander that did not get me anywhere, and having my whole body aching by the end of the day.  It may not have been so bad if I could tell that I was making progress or the end was in sight, but when we got to the marina and I took a look at the boat there was still sooooo much more to be done.  In my head I kept thinking that if I were to keep working at this pace every week we really would not finish this project until some time in the fall.

After getting everything set up for hte day I was ready to pull out the Makita when Matt said I should switch to the the Porter Cable he had been using in the fall.  He thought I’d get much further with it than what I had been using and it would make work a lot easier on me.  At first I was thinking this plan would not work at all because the thing was huge and I was pretty sure there was no way I’d be able to hold it up for more than 30 seconds at a time but I figured I’d work with it for thirty minutes just to tell him I tried and then go back to the Makita.

Lifting the heavy sander I turned it sideways so I could get a better grip, turned it on and held it up to the hull.  The moment the rough paper touched the paint it began to take it off immediately.  This wasn’t like the Makita where the paint would turn 3 different colors before I could see the white/gray hull.   Removing the paint wasn’t the full 6″ diameter of the sander but it was a few inches high by a few inches wide which was good enough for me.  Working the sander from left to right the paint would just fall off although huge clouds of dust always followed it.  When I’d start to get to an area where I was raising the sander enough so it was level with my face I’d pull out a little step ladder and keeping working my way up.  The progress I was now making with the larger sander was amazing.  In one hour with the Porter Cable I did more than one whole day with the Makita.  By the time I was nearing the end of my work day I had probably gotten 1/3 of the Port side of the hull done.  I hadn’t gone underneath the hull though because that would have actually required me to hold the sander above my head and I didn’t think I was ready for that yet.  My arms were still adjusting to the extra weight of the heavier sander and quitting time did end up coming 45 minutes earlier than normal.  I was still proud of my work though and in a tired but estatic  way I was thinking this project may actually get finished in the next few weeks.

Getting ready to start


Pinned Down

Sunday March 25, 2012

I was not looking forward to going to the boat today since I was already slightly defeated from the small amount of work I had completed last week.  At least I knew I’d be able to angle the sander all day today which meant I should get more accomplished and that made me feel a little better.  Winds were whipping around in the 10-15 mph range and even after having Matt help me with the tarps I was still having issues.  It would blow into the areas where the tarp was overlapping,  catch it like a sail filling with wind and eventually start to pull the tape from the hull.  Not wanting to give up a full day of work I needed to find a way to get the tarp completely closed.  I had tried taping small sections together but it wasn’t doing much good and would just make it harder to take apart and put back together.  Knowing there wouldn’t be anything laying around the boat to do the job and not even wanting to make an attempt at a search to see if there was I stole the car keys from Matt to drive to the local dollar store.  Passing through the aisles of random things looking for laundry supplies (hardcover books for $1, what?!) I finally found the clothespins which I assumed would do the job and picked up a few boxes of 50 knowing they probably wouldn’t be the best of quality and I’d need to stock up.  Getting back to the boat I ripped opened a packed and started pinning all the openings shut.

When I was able to get inside and start on the actual work the area I had been sanding last week was now blocked by the wind and I’d be eating tarp if I wanted to work there.  Moving on to the Port side, since I had the whole thing to do anyway, I started in the same stern area.  The little bit of exercise my muscles and steroids last week must have been enough to strengthen a little bit because my arms were not as sore as the first time around.  I could usually go three minutes before breaking and even then it would only be about thirty seconds before I got back to work.  I worked hard and I worked all day.  In the end it still feels like I didn’t get anything done.  I’m going to have to bring out some big guns next time.

La Femme Makita

Sunday March 18, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day happened to fall on a Saturday this year.  If you coupled that with what we were expecting our night to be after last year (first time hanging out with Jeff and Jared at the bars for an awesome time!) and the fact that we should have been going balls out since this was our last St. Paddy’s Day with friends, you would expect that we wouldn’t be able to drag ourselves out of bed at all, let alone work on the boat.  But after being mobbed in our car on the way downtown from thousands of drunks taking advantage of the 80 degree weather, we ended up at TGI Fridays where I had one green beer and what I expect were watered down margaritas.  When we woke up the next morning it was as if we had stayed home all night.  Not to mention the sun was shining and it was 25 degrees warmer  outside than it should be right now, the kind of day that makes you want to rush outside, even if it is to do manual labor.

Wanting to wear shorts and a t-shirt in the heat I was still banished to wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt because of all the dust particles I was about to encounter.  Winds were predicted to be under 10 knots all day which meant I should not have any issues getting the tarps to stay up.  When we got out of the car there was just a slight breeze on my face, but there must be something about where our boat sits because as soon as we started walking down the row where Serendip stood there was a strong wind whipping right through.  Again, starting to tape on the side the wind was blowing I didn’t have much difficulty getting it to stay.  Once I got to the other side however, the wind kept trying to rip the tarp  out of my hands and rip the tape off the boat.  I knew I could get the tarp to stay in place if it were weighted at the bottom but there was nothing around me.  Abandoning the remaining tarp that was flapping in the wind I climbed into the boat to try and find any heavy objects I’d be able to anchor down the bottom of the tarp with and hopefully keep the top part from detaching from the boat.  In the mess of everything in the cockpit and cabin I thought I’d be able to find some kind of cart or container to do the job, but anything we had would have been much to big of a hassle to even try and get down the ladder.  Matt being ever so clever went up on deck to release the anchor chain and we could use the length and weight to hold down the bottom of the tarp and keep it in place.  He wound it around the boat while I was able to finally successfully keep it taped to the boat up top.

With Matt’s help I was able to get everything set up within a matter of minutes at this point.  I pulled the  little Makita palm sander we borrowed from Jack out of it’s box and went to work where Matt had left off last fall.  It was the aft area of the boat and I was hoping to be able to finish u the rest of that side that afternoon.  I had very specific instructions that the sander had to be held flat against the hull of the boat and couldn’t use it at any angles for fear of digging in.  I switched the on button and held the sander on a spot in front of my face.  It spun to life and as I held it in a spot the now gray color of the hull would give way to the burnt orange underneath and finally the white/gray of the hull.  I was able to work for about 90 seconds and then my arms would become sore and I’d have to break for 60 seconds and then go back to work.  Every 3-4 rounds of this I’d have to take a longer 2-3 minute break.  I knew I wouldn’t be great at this project but was pleased with myself for making any kind of advancement.  It was obvious right away though that my progress was not as quick as I’d originally hoped it would be with the sander and it would be very unlikely to finish that side that day.  I was hoping it would not be my job to sand the entire hull (the port side had not even been touched yet) because working once a week at the pace I was would have me finishing sometime in September.  At this point I assumed I was probably just ‘extra help’ to take a few hours of work away from Matt when he went back to finish the project himself.  I kept dutifully working for 90 seconds at a time making sure I could help out as much as possible and leave him with only one full day of sanding.

You can see the line to the right where I started

As the day dragged on my arms were feeling weaker and weaker and the work time would change t0 60 seconds with 90 second breaks.  The ‘long’ breaks also became longer lasting for about five minutes where I’d lay on the ground and try to get rid of the awful pain in my back.  When Matt came down to check on me one hour before quitting time he took at my work and turned to me and said, ‘So think you’ll be able to finish this side before we go home tonight?’.  I laughed as I knew by now there was no way it could be done.  When he realized I was serious he went into time-panick mode.  ‘I thought you’d be able to do this today.  We don’t have a lot of time, you still have to do the whole other side.’  (Me) ‘You know I don’t have the strength to work as quickly as you, I thought I was just helping out so that when you went back to do it there wouldn’t be as much work.’  Neither of us were mad or yelling at each other, but there was a conversation going back and forth of how I didn’t have the strength for a project like this and he didn’t have time with all the other million things that have to be done to take time out and work on this too.

He took the sander from my hands and try it himself to make sure it was not an issue with the sander itself that was slowing down my work compared to when he was doing it.  As I watched him work the sander (which was perfectly fine) I was that he’d angle it in certain spots to get down to bare hull.  I ask why he was allowed to angle it but I had to keep it completely flat.  He replied again it was so I didn’t accidentally dig into the hull.  Exasperated I came back that if he could do it without digging into the hull that I’m sure my light touch could do it too.  I also replied that part of the reason my arms were so tired was using all of my energy to keep the sander flat while still giving it enough force to do anything.  I told him that if I were allowed to angle it I’d be able to get much more work done.  He handed the sander back to me and told me to be careful not to do any damage.  As he went back up the ladder to work in the cabin I went back to work sanding with much more ease.  I was able to get twice as much area sanded in almost half the time.  In the next 45 minutes I worked there was dust flying everywhere as bottom became more and more bare.  I still wasn’t able to finish that side but by the time I started clean up I was much further along than I would have been flat sanding.

I was still ready to pack up and go home around 6:30, vacuuming the dust particles that had fallen on the tarp below me and the cradle of the boat.  I un-taped the tarp and Matt brought the anchor chain back up in the locker.  We had everything cleaned up and I was happy not to have to raise my arms again.  I did however snatch my camera out of my purse and snap a few photos of the docks near us and the first boat of the year to make it in the water.

Spring Fever

Sunday March 11, 2012

There’s been some kind of weird phenomenon going on in Michigan this winter as in we’re barely having one.  There’s never been snow on the ground for more than five consecutive days and temperatures have been way above normal.  I could count on both hands the number of days the daily high was under 30 degrees.  Back in November we made plans with Ken and Mindy to go snowmobiling sometime before spring but were never able to because we never had a weekend with enough snow on the ground.  This trend followed into what’s becoming  Spring, and on this bright sunny Sunday Matt decided my home vacation time on weekends was now over.  It was going to be clear, 62, and there was a bottom that needed paint sanded.  I warned him that forecasts were showing winds to be near 20 mph that day and asked if he’d rather have me stay home and finish work on the dodger since we had just gotten in all the trim and zippers I needed to finish it.  ‘Oh no, when I checked again winds looked like they’re slowing down, we should be fine’.  I was slightly disappointed to be taken away from staying in my comfy bed all day (where I do my work on the dodger) but also a little excited to get outside on such a nice day.

Making sure to still put on a few layers of warm clothes because Muskegon was showing about 8 degrees cooler than GR I was able to get out the door on this day without any hassle of ‘Are you ready yet?  Are you ready?  Why are you taking so long?  We’re just going to the boat’.  Yes, I am one of those girls who will always put on make-up even for a day of hard labor where I don’t plan on running into  soul.  Not bothering to try and pack any kind of lunch since we’d just grab something on the way, we still made it out the door in pretty good time.  Pulling into the parking lot I was happy not to see Nemesis’ truck but didn’t really expect him to be there anyway.  As expected as soon as the doors to the car were opened we could feel a nice strong breeze rolling through the boat yard, but determined as we are we thought things may still work out for us.  Pulling out the ladder and climbing aboard the first thing I wanted to do was try out my test hatch cover I made a few weeks before out of scrap fabric.  Crawling under the cover and on top of all the things we had strewn around under the deck I laid the template on top of the hatch and found out I was not far off on where I needed to be.  Good news as I could now go home and start the real thing.

The next order of business was for me to tape sheets of plastic around the boat to make a bubble underneath that would keep sanding dust and debris contained to the area of our boat.  After being handed the tarps and an almost empty roll of duct tape I worked hard to beat the winds from taking the tarps out of my hands.  On the side the wind was blowing I didn’t have much trouble getting it to stay on but as soon s I started working on the other side there was no amount of tape that was going to keep it on.  I was fooled once when I had half the sheet secured, but then a big gust came along and ripped it all off.  This was not going to work out.  Just as I had mentioned to Matt, the winds were too high and it just wouldn’t be possible.  You’d think that by now he would have learned that I’m always right.  Plucking the remaining tape off the boat I had to fight the wind again to get the tarps folded up properly.  Getting my mess all cleaned up I went to find Matt below deck and tell him that sanding would be a no go today, which he wasn’t at all surprised to hear.  The good news for me is that he wasn’t going to keep me out there all day with nothing to do and said after 30 more minutes of work he’d be ready to go home.

Guess who gets to clean up this mess in the future?

With the weather being so nice and me not having been outside much to enjoy it I grabbed the camera to take a walk with my new free time.

Black Friday

Friday November 25, 2011

Not that I would ever be one to line up outside of a store at 4 am for Black Friday prices, Matt still had errands for me to run when I expected to be sitting at home all day watching movies in bed and maybe getting a little work done on the dodger.  He had purchased a spinnaker pole to use on the trip and the gentleman he aquired it from was going to be at a marina just up the road from ours today and I would need to go pick it up while he had the unfortunate task of working through the holiday weekend.  For the non sailors out there, a spinnaker pole is a long aluminum pole that many boats use to attach to one end of the spinnaker while the other end attaches to lines on the mast to keep the giant sail in the air.  Since our boat has an asymetrical spinnaker it isn’t necessary (and I may have just given a completely bogus explanation since we’ve never used one) but we thought it would be good to have in days of really light wind.  It would force the spinnaker sail or even our genoa (large head sail) to stay fully open and catch any wind that may hit instead of just flapping in the lack of wind.  The size pole we’re looking for is normally $1500 new and the one we found was in great condition for only $300.

After having a quick lunch with Matt in town I hopped in my car and zipped out to Muskegon.  The place I was heading to was Great Lakes Marina, somewhere I’d driven by 100 times but had never actually been to.  When I pulled in the entrance the big white gates infront of me were closed and locked.  Calling the phone number I had been given for Al, the seller, I reached his wife.  She explained the gates I was currently parked by could not be openedand I’d have to use a different entrance just up the road.  That entrance also had a gate that was locked but could be opened with a passcode.  I was given the code and hung up with Ruth letting her know I’d be around in just a minute.

Realizing there was no place to turn myself around I backed fully into the main road.  Good thing it was the off season or I could have been waiting an hour for an opening.  Pulling into the correct entrance I felt like a country club member as I punched in the code and the gates opened in front of me.  Parking behind Al and Ruth’s truck I jumped out it was much cooler by the water than in Grand Rapids.  As I pulled on a jacket Al wedged himself out from where he had just been working under his boat and after introductions jumped under his boat cover to work on getting the pole for me.  Sliding it blindly through a hole in the cover Ruth and I stood up on tip toe until it was low enough to reach our hands and we gently got it on the ground.  Looking it over it appeared to be in great shape and I handed the money to Ruth while Al strapped it on my roof rack.  I assured him it didn’t need to be too tight as I was only going up the road to drop it off at my own boat, but with wind gusts near the water jumping up near 25 knots he didn’t want to take any chances.  I thanked them again and prepared for my one mile journey up the road.  (After meeting me and finding out I was married Ruth asked if Matt and I were newlyweds.  Do I really look that young?)

Since I had chugged about 30 oz of Coke during my lunch with Matt and my drive to Muskegon my bladder could handle no more and I pulled right up to the restrooms when arriving at Torrensen’s.  Getting back into my car I looked in my rearview mirror to the row our boat is in and saw a black Ford pickup.  Nemesis’ truck.  I wasn’t 100% positive so I decided on using a trick of driving to the mooring balls near the edge of the water, trying to glance down the row to get a closer look of who the vehicle belonged to.  That didn’t help me too much so I took a ‘walk’ down an adjacent dock to get a view of his boat and see if there was work going on there.  I didn’t want to appear as if I was staring or get too close and let him realize I was there, but it definitley looked as if there were people on his boat and a blue tarp was going up.  Since I obviously looked out of place standing on an empty dock at the end of November I quickly made my way out of sight.  Trying to get one more glance I walked through a row of boats but could not get close enough to see his.  My heart was pounding knowing he was there, the last thing I wanted was a confrontation about how dirty he might still think his boat is because of us and not have Matt around to defend me.  I would have no idea what to tell him if he started asking about his boat or how it got cleaned off or what we would do for him if it still wasn’t up to his expectations.

Since I didn’t trust the spinnaker pole to make the 30 mile journey home on the expressway I had no option but to wait out Nemesis until he left.  I figured I’d head down to the lakeshore for a walk.  Pulling into a parking spot I grabbed my mittens and zipped my spring jacket up to my neck.  The waves were rolling in force and the wind was gusting vigorously.  Walking through the sand to the beginning of the boardwalk I could seethe waves crashing over it which ruled out going any more than a quarter of the way down it.  There was one brave soul who was kite surfing in the breakers and I stood to watch him for a few minutes before retreating back to the warmth of my car.  Driving past the marina again the truck was still there and I wondered what else I could do to wast time.  Most normal people would find a hidden parking spot and suft the web on their phone for the next hour but I was still in the dark ages in that area without internet on my phone.  I figured the car could make it a few miles to the main drag of Norton Shores and I could look for entertainment there.  After finding there were no craft stores in which I could buy decent yarn for the two scarves my brother just requested I make for Christmas I settled on a spiced coffee and a Vanity Fair to read while I sat and waited.

My plan at this point was to park in the empty lot across the street from our marina and keep watch until I saw his truck leave.  I would have to be the worst person ever to take on a stake-out as I would in no way be hidden and it would be quite obvious what I was doing.  When I got to my not-so-secluded spot it was only quarter to four in the afternoon, but with the sun already starting to go down it felt like it should be 7:00.  Flipping open my magazine I looked up and did not see any cars let at the marina.  I knew this would happen.  As soon as I spend my money on something to keep myself busy I would no longer need it.  Slowly creeping into the marina I pulled into my row half expecting that Nemesis would be hiding in the shadows ready to pounce out at me.  When I realized I was alone I went about pulling out the ladder and getting the pole ready to drag up.  Climbing onto my boat to unzip the cover I looked over to his boat and saw there was no cover on there.  I could have sworn that when I was on the dock trying to spy I was looking in the right direction and saw a dark blue cover going on his boat.  Was I not even looking at the right boat?  Was he never there at all?

Once I had our spinnaker pole stowed safely under our cover I took another look at his boat.  I could have sworn I had seen him there that day.  sure enough there was a bungee cord running from his mast to the bow preparing for a cover.  Climbing down the ladder I walked around his boat and saw fresh footsteps in the gravel.  Now the question was, why did he have the cover on his boat an hour ago but not when he left?  Was he in the middle of putting it on when he got a closer look at his fiberglass and realized it would need cleaning again?  Or worse.  What if he was fine and dandy, all set to put the cover on and leave it alone for the winter when he saw me show up, notice he was there, and leave right away.  What if it was because of me that he thought there was cause for concern and is going to have th boat inspected?  What if I just completly F’d everything up??!!  I began texting Matt like crazy letting him know what I saw.  He tried comforting me saying that maybe Nemesis forgot tools or necessary parts and would finish the job tomorrow.  One can only hope.

* When the cover finally did go on his boat a few months later it was not blue but tan.  I to this day have no idea if it was him out there that weekend.


Sunday October 23, 2011

I was quite surprised this morning when we left home and I still had full use of my arms.  I was originally thinking that I’d be so sore from Friday that I wouldn’t even be able to brush my hair.  I knew I wouldn’t have Superman strength that day (not that I ever do), but was confident I would get a decent amount of work done.  To help us even more we made a quick stop at Home Depot and picked up some 60 grit sandpaper for our sanders to help push through the layers of paint quicker.  Throwing up the ladder and climing into the cockpit when we got there it looked like a layer of dirt or dust was covering our boat and the boat next to ours.  There was still a little morning dew on the deck as well, so Matt rubbed the surface with his finger and it came right off.  We knew it would need rinsing off (as well as the boat next to ours) but we figured we might as well wait until the end of the day since we were just going to make a mess again.

Ther original plan of the morning ws for Matt to work on the hull of the boat with his larger sander while I was going to try again with the Makita sander lent to us by Jack.  This plan lasted all of five minutes where we still weren’t able to supply both of us with enough power and I was forced to go back to the chisel.  The good thing about working on the keel for me is that there was actually a good spot for me to sit on the cradle while working and I rarely had to lift my arms above my head.  Matt was zooming along with the coarser sandpaper ans were were on the road to having a ton done that day.  And that’s when he pulled up…..Nemisis.

Just as Matt was going to have me walk around the boat while he was sanding to see if the dust was floating anywhere, a black pick-up truck pulled into a spot by our stern and a man got out and walked over to the boat next to ours.  We immediately walked over and Matt apologized for us running our electrical cord through their boat cradle to get to shore power and offered to move it.  We also mentioned that we think some of the dust from our sanding had landed on their boat and we’d be happy to wash it off for him.  Instead of being greeted in return with the friendly boater reply of ‘Wow, thank you so much, that would be really nice’ that we were expecting, we got this instead.  ‘We had this same problem last year when someone next to us with a blue bottom sanded and got dust all over our boat.  It’s not going to come off with soap and water.’  Turns, and walks away.

We looked at eachother in shock with a kind of ‘what do we do now?’ expression while we walked back to our boat.  That day we had been working on the Starboard side of the boat while their’s is to our Port side so luckily we didn’t have to look at Nemisis and his wife while they worked on their boat.  Sanding again was obviously not an option while they were there, at least not with the power sander Matt was using.  Both of us took shelter behind the keel, completely hidden from view of Nemisis and his wife.  We started hand scraping just to be doing something and wondered how long this other couple would be here.  We were desperate to run up the ladder of their boat and show them how easily the dust does actually wipe off but we figured the best course of action was would be to stay where we were and attempt cleaning it after they had left.  It felt agonizingly long but an hour to an hour and a half later we could tell they were packing it up for the day.  By this time Matt had pulled out the palm sander to do work on some of the hard to reach areas on the bottom of the hull.  I saw Nemisis walk up first and tapped Matt on the shoulder.  We both turned around as Nemisis explained that the dust was in fact very bad and he would be contacting the service department at Torrsen’s the next morning to see what chemicals could be used to clean his boat without damaging it.  He said we should expect to be hearing from them (Torrsen’s) soon and again walked away to his truck to leave.

This is where Matt and I differ on our feelings of the situation.  He feels our neighbor has every right to be mad since it was our fault his boat is ‘damaged’.  He also feels that this guy has every right to treat us as inconsiderately as he did because it’s understandable that he’d be upset especially if this was the second year in a row this has happened to him.  Then there’s me.  Although I agree this was our fault and we should be the ones to take care of it, I feel we should be treated better than we were.  We told this guy immediately about his boat as soon as he pulled up that day.  We admitted it was our fault and the next words our of our mouth were ‘We’ll do whatever it takes to fix it’.  Yet still we could not get one Thank you or I appreciate that out of him.

So when they pulled out we raced up our boat to get a closer look at his.  The morning dew was long gone and our finger rubbing did nothing this time around.  Matt started pulling out cleaners and we mixed them in a bowl with water and applied it to his fiberglass with a wet rag.  Nothin’.  We pulled out every cleaning supply on board and it was not getting any closer to coming off.  This sent Matt into a panic.  He imagined that Nemesis’ boat would have to be pulled into the service area to be cleaned and polished professionally.  He started calculating the cost in his head, what our deductible was and what we would have to pay out of our pockets.  He was obviously too scared to keep sanding any further that day so we moved to the next project on the list, putting anti-freeze in the lines.  It took us less than a half hour and we were still left with a little over two hours of daylight.    Since the only project available for us to do that day was sanding and Matt was still in such a panic we decided to go home so he could begin his hours of research on the internet of what takes paint from fiberglass and what the cost of a professional cleaning would be (expensive).  In the end the plan was for me to drive out as soon as the sun was up the next morning and give another attempt to clean it since I couldn’t get away from the explanation that the morning dew wiped it right off as soon as we had gotten there.

Rolling out of bed the next day in the dark I put on grungy clothes and packed nice ones in my car for work.  I made the drive out to Muskegon with a stop at Meijer on the way for some rags and cleaning products.  The first thing I did when I pulled in to the marina was stop into the service center and make them aware of the situation and that I was going to try cleaning it myself since I knew Nemesis would be giving a call there later that day.  The guys in the building were super nice and helpful with information and possible solutions for our problem.  One even said he would walk out with me to take a look at the ‘damage’.  Unlocking the ladder from our cradle he leaned it against the boat and climbed on deck to have a look at the two boats.  After standing up there for a few seconds he glanced down at me and said, ‘What dust?  I don’t see anything on either boat.’.  I explained it was a thin covering that looked like dirt and was on the cockpit and deck.   He verified that he still wasn’t seeing anything and invited me up to take a look.  When I was on our deck everything did in fact appear clean.  There had been rain the previous night and it must have washed everything off.

Upon closer inspection there were still a few small dots on the fiberglass if you looked really close.  The service guy said everything looked good enough to him and stepped down the ladder to go back to work.  That made me feel so much better because even if a call were placed to the marina that day I had someone on the inside to back me up.  Still wanting to make everything as clean and shiny as possible I pulled out my rags and started giving both boats a good wipe down.  When I finished, to me, they looked cleaner than they had before any sanding had even started.  I texted Matt that everything was ok and he didn’t have to keep stressing himself into a heart attack, we’ve lived to fight another day.

Let the Sanding Commence

Friday October 21, 2011

In our attempt to get Serendipity ready for a trip around the world, or at least a few thousand miles down to the Caribbean, we want to give her the best treatment possible.  A boat spa perhaps where everything is updated, polished, cleaned and prettied up.  This includes getting her to a bare bottom so we can start fresh with the paint next year instead of adding layer on top of layer to the old one which is usually what happens.  While some people will do this by hand scraping alone which I can imagine would be torture, we were doing a combination of hand scraping and power sanding.  I had taken a day off work and we figured that between the two of us working two days this week and two days next week we could finish this project and leave the hull bare all winter before applying a fresh coat of sea-worthy paint before it hits the water in spring.

We had two sanders to work with that day, a large 6″ Porter Cable for Matt and a smaller 5″ Makita for me.  Although after getting the tarp down near the bow of the Starboard side, running the extension cords and hooking into the wet/dry vac we turned on our sanders and found there was not enough power for both of us to be working with the power sanders.  Since we both knew Matt could do more damage with a sander than I could he continued to work from the bow back while I picked up one of the hand scraping tools and started just behind him.  I found that it was nearly impossible for me to get down to bare hull using that tool alone, even the few moments I was able to put my full force behind it.  I didn’t want to give up that early in the day and leave Matt with all the work to do alone so I kept scraping off as much as I could going from the dark gray color on top to a bright orange that was below it.

Work was already going a little slower for Matt than he expected, even with the power sander.  He was using 80 grit sandpaper to try and keep as smooth of a finish as possible but it was also making the work go impossibly slow.  It seemed like there were a million layers of paint to get through and the sander was not going from gray to white right away like he expected.  I was hoping that when he got to my area it would be easier and quicker for him since I’d already gotten a few layers in.  Once he did get to a spot I’d been working on he said it did help and that it didn’t take as long to get to bare hull on the area I’d scraped vs the one I hadn’t.  Feeling like I did have a purpose out there I began scraping with a fury just to make sure I was always ahead of him.

After working a good six hours I had scraped nearly 1/3 of the starboard side while Matt had sanded close to 1/4 down to bare hull.  So maybe this won’t be a two weekend project after all.  Hopefully November won’t be too cold and we can get a few Sundays out here to finish it so this project doesn’t run into spring and we can focus on all the other things that need to be done.

Matt’s working hard

And I’m trying to (I actually did get much further through the layers than this)

Shiny New Dinghy

Saturday September 3, 2011

Where’s the dinghy to this trailer?  It’s on our boat!

One thing that we keep going back in forth with on our trip is what kind of dinghy we want to use.  The discussion has gone back and forth with pros and cons of having a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) which are close to the top of the line for the dinghy world but has issues of being stolen the most, or keeping the wooden nesting dinghy that we made ourselves a few winters ago.  In the end we figured we’d start with the nesting dinghy and after working with that for a few months if we decided we wanted a RIB we’d pick up a used one in Florida where it would be much cheaper than if we were to try and get one here.  Forgetting that Matt spends any free time of his on the internet scouring for deals, I came home after work on the Friday leading into Labor Day weekend to find a shiny new dingy sitting on a trailer in the street.  I was launched into an excited speiel about how much the dinghy and Car Carrier Trailers Hire cost, and if we sell the trailer for X amount of dollars and our current inflatable for Y amount of dollars then it’s really only going to cost us Z, which will be a great deal!  Oh, not to mention an even better deal if we sell the nesting dinghy, but I ran out of letters without having to go back to A.

So borrowing Jack’s truck for the night we hitched up the trailer, threw our bags in the bed, and made our way to the boat to start our holiday weekend.  After a stop for dinner and picking up last minute things at Meijer it was pitch black by the time we arrived at the marina.  Not a big deal at all if we were just rolling our normal dingy to the water and motoring out to the boat, but our plans tonight involved backing the trailer into the drop off to get the new dinghy in the water and getting the old one on the trailer to take home the next day.  I was pretty sure it would end with the the truck in the water knowing our luck, but somehow everything went smoothly and without issues. In case one wants to rent then they can see more regarding all about van and buses and choose the one that suits their need.

Since we had gotten there so late and had already eaten there wasn’t much for us to do.  I had rented a movie for us to watch and after rotating the tv to be viewed in the v-berth and shoving all our pillows toward the bow we snuggled in under the covers for a nice relaxing night in our future home.  As usual there’s just something about the boat that always puts us to bed early and as soon as the movie was finished we went through our nightly routine and crashed.

Weather reports for the next day, Saturday, was calling for hot sunny weather for most of the day with a few storms in the morning.  While still lying and bed and sleeping around 8:30 in the morning everything was calm.  Then we felt a few rocks of the boat and the wind started to pick up a little, and all of a sudden out of nowhere the boat was heeled close to 40 degrees which forced Matt to literally roll on top of me as a strong gust came upon us and forced us on our side.  Wondering what the hell was going on both of us jumped out of bed to look out the port side windows facing the lake.  I’ve never seen a squall before in real life, but I’m guessing this had to be one because you couldn’t see 50 feet in front of you because the wind was so thick and blinding.  Thunder and lightning began to break out of the sky as winds whipped higher and higher.  Matt turned on our instumnets and took a look out the companionway to check wind speeds.  A constant 40-45 was blowing at the moment and things looked like they were only going to get worse before getting better.  We turned on the VHF to see if there were any distress calls since we knew this was a popular fishing area for small boats in the morning, and they were probably as surprised by this sudden storm as we were.  There was one message coming through of a little flat bottomed fishing that was taking on a lot of water.  The message kept cutting in and out, but after we heard the Coast Guard reply we heard it was in Grand Haven.  Not that we really would have been able to do much anyway without putting ourselves in harms way.  Matt crawled back in bed after making sure we were secure and would not blow away.  For awhile I stayed pressed against the glass watching the lightnining touch down all around us and split off into tiny little fingers.  I don’t know why I’m so amazed by lightning, but I could always just sit and watch it for hours.  Finally when things started to calm down a little I crawled back into bed and passed out next to Matt.

We woke up for good about two hours later.  Opening the hatches and companionway the view looked completely different than it had just a few hours before.  The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky and temperatures were already spiking close to 80.  Relaxing on deck while enjoying a pop tart breakfast I watched Matt take a reading of the tension of our standing rigging and also of the other people in the mooring field make their way out to their boats for the holiday weekend.  Instead of taking advantage of this beautiful day by going for a sail or just sitting on the deck of the boat we had to head back into town to return the truck to Jack and meet up with my family who was having a Labor Day BBQ.  Making our way back home we showered, dressed, and changed cars while we made our way to my aunt and uncle’s house where my family was waiting, including my parents who had flown in for the weekend.  We spent a great few hours catching up with everyone and eating perfectly grilled souvlaki (or burgers or brats) and enjoying a few glasses of riesling.  We were even lucky enough to score a few leftover hot dogs and burgers on our way out the door.  Yes, no grocery shopping or cooking!!

After our afternoon of socializing it was straight back to the boat for the remainder of the weekend.  By the time we got back in late afternoon it turned into any other Saturday afternoon.  Too late to do anything but lounge.  We had stuffed ourselves on so much food that afternoon that we didn’t even need to make dinner that night.  Our only project for the evening was using a halyard to winch the new dinghy out of the water and get it on the deck of the boat so that the next day Matt could drill in holes to the transom and we’d be able to transfer over the wheels that were on our old dinghy.  In some ways this project went better than I imagined it would since Matt was smart enough to be in charge of winching while I guided the boat over the lifelines and onto the deck.  The only trouble came when I had blocked myself up by the bow pulpit and was slowly getting pushed back over the lifelines.  At least it was a warm enough day where an accidental swim wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world, but I somehow managed to keep my balance and maneuver my way back to safety.

The remainder of the night was spent in bed watching movies in bed again snuggled up under down covers and eating frozen Snickers.  An eventful and uneventful day at the same time.

52 Week Countdown

Sunday July 24, 2011




Ever since 4th of July weekend when the mass of fog rolled off the lake and brought out the sun we have been having nothing but perfect weather while we are out on the water.  I am also loving the heat that is coming with it.  Most people will give me a crazy look when I say this, but I really do prefer ‘hot’ weather.  When temps start getting up to the 90’s I get excited.  Maybe I’m a little cold blooded, I don’t know.

Not having anyone to entertain this weekend we didn’t have much more of a plan than to get the boat out in open water and just go.  We tend to do this a lot when it’s just the two of us.  If winds are fair we point the bow East and travel that direction for about 4 hours before turning around to make the trip back.  It was on one of these ‘go nowhere, do nothing’ days that we started talking about how nice it would be just to start our trip right now.  Nevermind that not only do we not have enough $ in the cruising kitty, the boat wasn’t near ready, and all of our belongings are still at home, we were ready to just run.  We had our backpack with a weekends worth of clothes, and Matt had his credit card on him.  We could just pick up what we needed along the way.  I know I have about six pairs of shoes set aside for the journey, but one pair of flip flops would do for now.

It was fun to spend the day pretending that we were heading off on our trip, even if we would have been heading in the wrong direction (side trip to Milwaukee?).  What it might be like if this was the last time we saw the Muskegon pier.  Have 99% of the places we stop next be places we’ve never been before.  To let go of the comfort of the predictable and head into the unknown.  Bringing myself back to the reality we actually have in front of us,  although we still have our weekends on the boat through the summer to look forward to, this next year of waiting is going to be very very hard.  This season is only going to be a band-aid on a wound that can only be healed by throwing of the mooring lines for good.  We’re still looking at a departure date of mid to late July of 2012, so in order to get myself there I’m officially starting it.  The 52 week countdown begins now.







*These photos are of areas near Glen Arbor, MI.  A place I can not wait to get back to, especially in the boat!!