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.




Strong Winds and Skidding Dogs

Sunday October 17, 2010

This morning I woke up and there were icicles on my eyelashes keeping my eyes from opening.  Ok, I’m exaggerating there, it really wasn’t that bad of a night.  We came prepared this time with sleeping bags guaranteed to keep you warm down to 20 degrees, plus I was layered in long underwear, sweats, and even a winter hat.  We were worried that Mazzii was going to have trouble during the night, but with her layered in a sweater, coat, and wrapped up in about 3 blankets she seemed to do fine as well. With no immediate reason to jump out of bed we brought her into the v-berth and just lounged for awhile having a lazy Sunday morning.

Of course when we did have to get out of bed and get changed it was that little dance where you hop around trying to get one piece of clothing off and the other one on as fast as possible to prevent any part of your skin from being exposed to the cold air for too long.  Or maybe this is just something I do, because Matt in all his manliness was walking around without a shirt for some time.  We took Mazzii to shore before it got to the point where she would need to pee in the dinghy again.  Once back on the boat we got Serendipity ready for her last sail of the season.  Thinking it might be possible to get out on Lake Michigan we motored down the channel, but as soon as we were nearing the breakwalls we could see waves about 4-6  feet.  Normally not that big of a deal, and our boat has handled much worse, but with the high winds and cold temps we decided to turn around and stay on Muskegon Lake.  Mazzii had to have been happy about the change of venue because even going though the new channel she was so cold that through the mound of blankets she was under her head would just shake and shiver. I like to care of her health giving her glucosamine for dogs, it is a supplement that supports cartilage, which is the tissue that provides smooth movement of the joints.

Can dogs drink coffee? You can read Article Insider’s blog post to find out.

Please make me warm!!

Ahhhh, sun on my face

Although the winds were still near 20 knots on Muskegon Lake there were barely any whitecaps on the water, so we unfurled the jib to start zigzagging our way across the water.  Heading north past the dunes we were taken off guard when an unexpected gust of wind hit us and threw us from a 5 degree heel to a 25 degree heel in just a few seconds.  Poor Mazzii was on the windward side and the sudden angle put her into a panicked struggle of sliding and skidding trying to stay upright but unfortunately landed on the floor of the cockpit.  With a few more strong gusts coming up on us we decided she might be safest down there and would also be blocked from the wind and we padded the area with her bed and blankets.

There were still a decent amount of boats out considering how late it was in the year.  With me steering behind the wheel we watched the other boats go by, getting a lot of entertainment from a trimaran that could speed from one side of the lake to the other in what seemed like two minutes, most of the time with one hull out of the water.  At one time it was racing a hobie cat, and though it was neck and neck for awhile the trimaran pulled ahead in the end.

While Matt and I were headed back on the last stretch before the mooring, he decided he would also like to race the boat on the same course next to us.  With the other boat on our port side (about 1/4 mile away) and being on a starboard tack, the wind was filling the jib on just the right angle to where I could neither see the boat we were ‘racing’ nor our exact heading.    Since Matt was sitting on the port side and could see under the sail I told him he had to be my eyes, and he would direct me a little bit left or right to obtain the fastest speed.  Of course this perfect position was at a 20 degree heel, which still scares the crap out of me.  Matt loves the thrill of it, but since I’m still learning sailing I’m always afraid we’re going to go all the way over.  And since I’m the helmsman that would need to correct the course, it doesn’t settle my nerves at all that I don’t know exactly what I’m doing.  But once we got to that furthest point of heeling without going any further I was able to calm down a little bit and hold course.  In the end the boat that didn’t even know they were racing us won, and we veered off toward the mooring field without either of us feeling too defeated.

Since Matt was feeling proud of my racing abilities that day he chose to continue the lessons an wanted to teach me how to pick up the mooring from the helmsman point, which is when I normally hand the wheel off to him while I run up to the bow with a boat hook.  Since I’d never been behind the helm at very low speeds or coming up on an object he explained how I would need to throw it in neutral and eventually reverse once we hit the mooring.  Attempt one was a miss with me straying too far from the mooring ball in an effort not to actually run over the thing.  Attempt two was barely closer, but Matt was able to grab the lines and start hauling them on deck.  I wandered up front to start helping, just grabbing at random lines that I assumed needed to be held.  We still don’t know which one of us was lacking in communication for this incident but as I was holding what I thought was every line, Matt asked me if I had the one for the dinghy.  We both looked down at my hands and then at the water to see the dinghy slowly creeping to the back of the boat.  Have it I did not.  At the moment I was half tempted to jump in after it and swim it back to the boat, and even if it were still September I may have, but I thought better of it and raced to get the boat hook instead.  By this time of course it was too far to be reached and would need to be rescued by Serendipity.  Starting up the engine and throwing the lines back in the water I let Matt take the wheel while I stood at the bow with a boat hook, ready to go.  Again, the second time was the charm and I was able to grab the line and held onto it while we went back to pick up the mooring lines.

Part of me was sad as we packed up our things up for the night knowing this is the last time we’d be on the water until next summer.  The other part of me was glad to be spending all of our Saturday nights in a warm bed and have a few Sundays under layers of blankets on the couch watching tv and movies.  It was a really good season on the water and I’m sure I’ll be longing to get back out soon.

I love dinghy rides!

On the Market

Tuesday October 5, 2010

Our house is officially on the market.  Kind of makes things very real now that our lives will be changing in a dramatic way.  We thought long and hard about what would be the best time to start listing our house.  What if we wait too long and we’re ready to go by August but the house hasn’t sold?  Although we’re still going to need a place to live until we leave next August and if it somehow sells right away we have to decide if we want to rent an apartment or house.  Matt’s mom has given us the option to stay at her place if we like, and we might take her up on that offer if we’ve got less than six months and can’t rent anything on a month to month basis.

I’m just glad to be giving ourselves enough time where we won’t have to take the first lowball offer just because of a timeline.  Let it stay on the market until spring.  As long as I never have to mow the lawn again I’ll be a happy girl.  So if you do know someone that wants to take this absolutely wonderful place off our hands just after the spring thaw, you let me know.















That’s One Small Step for Man

Sunday August 15, 2010

This is the first time Matt and I had tried sleeping on the port side settee which can be made into a full size bed by adding a cushion and taking off the back rests.  We had wanted to see if it was any larger than the v-berth, but besides having our legs be able to fully extend comfortably I think we lost a bit of width because it felt like we were on top of each other the whole night.  And not only was a lack of space keeping Matt up (we have a king size bed at home to sprawl out on), he had terrible allergies that night that would not allow him any rest.  So when he announced at 6 am that he couldn’t take it anymore and decided he couldn’t take it any more and needed to find a drug store, I gladly rolled over and took up his side of the bed once it was unoccupied.  He also took the overheated and panting saildog with him, and I drifted into a peaceful undisturbed sleep.

Minutes or hours later, Matt joined me back in bed but this time I was too far out to let the lack of space bother me.  I have a feeling I was out for close to an hour when I heard the whimpers of Mazzii coming from the cockpit.  Apparently Matt had sat out there for awhile after he returned from the store and left her up there when he went back to bed.  Normally we ignore her whimpers of boredom or loneliness in the morning because they start way before we get up, but this time I decided to go check on her so Matt could get at least 2 hours of comfortable sleep that night.  It must have been loneliness that was plaguing her because as soon as I joined her in the cockpit she was content to sit and watch the passing boats.  We stayed like this for awhile, Mazzii happy to have company, and me catching the sideways rays of sun through the bimini.  Close to an hour later the lack of a comfortable seat must have set her off again because she was back to whimpering and staring down the companionway.  Again, I tried to let it go for a few minutes, but when she wouldn’t stop I thought it might be best for me to try and take her down (not in the beating sense) instead of  letting her wake up Matt.  I placed her West Marine life jacket on her which is the only way I can attempt to move her anywhere because of the nice handle on the back.  As always, as soon as I go to grab for her she backs up as if she doesn’t want to be touched or moved.  Knowing she probably wanted to be in the cabin more than she wanted to be picked up I grabbed the nylon strap to drag her toward the companionway.  And then came the hardest part: lifting a 60 lb dog with my 110 lb frame.  Normally Matt can just grab her with one hand and easily place her at the top or the bottom of the stairs, but I had to grab her with both hands as I tried to keep my balance while gingerly stepping down the steep entryway.  Never has  the motto “One hand for yourself and one for the ship” been more true for what I should have been doing.  Stepping onto the third and final step my foot came out from under me and the dog and I went crashing down the rest of the way.  Mazzii had only been a foot off the ground and past all the steps, so she landed perfectly.  I however was sitting stunned on the bottom step after slamming my bum and my elbow on the hard teak surfaces.  Needless to say the fall down the stairs was louder than the dog’s continuous whimpering would have been and Matt was up in a flash.

I’m used to falling and bumping into things all the time so I thought I’d just bounce back up, but this fall actually knocked the wind out of me and left me lightheaded.  I took the spot on the settee that had been quickly vacated by Matt.  After bandaging my elbow I announced that I would be fine after I had some time to rest.  This excuse to lie down only afforded me about another hour of lethargy before Matt announced I was well enough to get up and sail.  A completely lazy Sunday, this would not be.  We fired up the engine and cruised out the channel to of course 25 knot winds on Lake Michigan.  Luckily he was still feeling sorry enough for me that as soon as the main sheet was raised I was allowed to sit around and do nothing, just like the gremlin who caused my pain and bruising.  I could try to describe our sail a little more this day, but with the slight seasickness I was getting from the waves combined with my throbbing elbow, my sore bum, and my lack of a good nights sleep, I had my eyes closed and was trying to put myself in la la land for the rest of the afternoon.  While Matt enjoyed the wind and the waves I enjoyed my cushy spot in the cockpit until it was time to call it a night.

Come On In, the Water’s Fine!

Saturday August 14, 2010

Arriving at the boat around 5:30, I quickly hopped in the v-berth and took a nap to cure the bout of insomnia I had the night before.  When I woke up an hour later Matt had just thrown burgers on the grill, so I bumped around the boat in a sleepy haze trying to get all the condiments and sides ready.  Minutes later we were enjoying our deliciously juicy cheeseburgers and chips while Mazzii sniffed around and tried to steal bites from behind my back.  She knew it was her dinnertime too and wanted to get in on the action.  After Matt cleared his plate he went down in the cabin to prepare Mazzii’s food, which consisted of pulling back the tab on a can and dumping the contents into a bowl.  Since we didn’t want to go through the trouble of putting a harness on and dragging her down three steps just so she could eat, we decided to feed her in the cockpit.  Giving the food to her while sitting on the bench was out since it would make a mess on the sport-a-seats we had sprawled out.  Matt decided it would be best to stick her in the narrow slot behind the wheel.  Since Mazzii could not easily walk back there herself with the bench narrowing to 3 or 4 inches, Matt picked her up thinking he’d easily be able to lower her in the area.  Only problem was he forgot that any time she’s lifted in the air her legs go berzerk trying to find the closest thing to get solid footing on.  So after three shots with her legs ending up entwined in the steering wheel, and a few good laughs on our part, I had to hold her legs steady while Matt could safely lower her all the way down.

After dinner was a quick dip in the lake, something we normally never do in Muskegon Lake because by July-August it is normally overrun by algae and I feel like I’d be covered in green slime by the time I got out.  But this year the water was mostly clear, and Matt was already in it, so I couldn’t tell him no.  I also figured it was the only form of cardio I might get in while I was on the boat (although I later found out that treading water for 30 minutes only burns about 90 calories).  While Matt and I were having fun in the water Mazzii kept peering her head over the side and whimpering, probably wondering why we hadn’t asked her to join us.  Although I think at that moment she had forgotten what a body of water was, because after we forced her to try and swim the previous year at a dog friendly location on Lake Michigan she had disowned us by not coming back to our towels and leaving other pet owners to wonder if she was a stray.  Or the time we coaxed her to jump off the transom in the Hunter and she had kicked and flailed and scratched up the dinghy trying to find the fastest way possible out of the water.  Even so, Matt thought she needed another attempt at it.  He strapped her into her life vest and slowly lowered her down the steps of the transom and into the water.  It didn’t take long for her to start huffing and groaning, and Matt pulled her up before she could even be fully submerged.  I guess the battle with her and swimming is still on.


Mazzii after  her swim last year

Contemplating jumping in this year

After a few more hours of relaxing on deck it was movie time, and I was excited to try out the microwave we just purchased to make one of my all time favorite snacks, kettle popcorn (or as Matt likes to refer to it ‘That stuff I hate).  Throwing the bag of popcorn in I shut the door and pressed the pre-set popcorn button.  The machine whirred to life as I stood there as excited as a child waiting for guest to arrive at a birthday party.  The microwave lit up for about 15 seconds…..and then dimmed.  Matt and I looked at the amps on our Blue Sky VSM to make sure we had enough power to run it, which we did, but also turned off all but one cabin light to make sure.  The microwave lit up bright again, but after about 20 seconds this time dimmed down to the quite hum it had before.  When the three minutes were up I believe only 6 pieces of popcorn popped.  Matt, determined to get his newest toy working, and me just determined to get my snack, gave it another go.  After four more minutes of whirring and humming I had a bag of 2/3 popped popcorn and decided that was all I needed.  I spent the rest of my night watching ‘The Hangover’ and laughing about one man wolf packs while Matt was undoubtedly on his computer researching amps and watts.  In the end we came to the decision that if I wanted popcorn again it had to be light enough out for the solar panels to be pulling in energy at the same time, or the engine had to be running.  A 6:00 movie time?  I think I can do that.

There’s No Crying in Sailing!

Friday August 6, 2010

I woke up early today with the sun shining, no clouds, and fully expecting to lie on the boat and get a tan.  Although once at the boat I felt the quick drop in temperature as 18 knot winds rolled across the lake, and my fleece was quickly on.  We headed over to Habour Towne Marina just a mile up the shore for us, to do our first emptying of the holding tank.  Matt was quite nervous as this was only his second time docking, so as he carefully steered us through the narrow channel I was on starboard deck ready to throw over fenders, throw dockline, or throw myself against any boat we might collide with.  Luckily the dock was on a straight course with our boat, and besides hitting the attendant in the face with our docklines (it was my first time!!), everything went smoothly and we were out in 15 minutes.

Feeling good about ourselves and Matt’s wonderful docking skills we headed out the channel to Lake Michigan to cruise around for the day.  Winds were still around 15-18 knots out of the northwest, so we had the option to sail west out into the middle of nowhere, or south along the coast.  I remembered that Coast Guard Festival was still going on in Grand Haven about 12 miles south of us, so we set a course for there.  We started out with just the headsail doing a steady 5-6 knot, but when the wind died to 10-13 knots we decided it would be a great time to pull out the spinnaker again.  This required attaching the spinnaker to the hailyard and raising it with the jib still unfurled, then running lines for the spinnaker to the cockpit while furling the jib.  At least that’s how I think it went, and the confusion on my behalf probably caused the following argument between Matt and I where I wasn’t pulling the right lines at the right time, or when my lack of strenght made it appear that nothing was happening on Matt’s end (and yes, I was using a winch).  So after a few frustrating minutes with the lack of communication and lack of my muscles I did something which I have not done in over 2 years, and that was to start crying.  I felt so embarrassed at my girly response to a tough situation, but through my tears and hiccups while winching and Matt’s calmer instructions, we were able to get the spinnaker up and the jib neatly furled.

We were now racing forward at 7-8 knots, which is the fastest we’d gotten our boat to yet.  Matt went below to check on Mazzii, who we stowed in the cabin just before the jib/spinnaker situation because she kept sliding around the cockpit in the choppy 4-5 ft waves.  Standing in the companionway he asked me to look at the cushion below because he thought she peed on it during the commotion of sloshing back and forth.  Expecting a little dribble at most, I was surprised to see a wet spot half the size of her.  Not only that, it had soaked through all 4 inches of the cushion and onto the wood.  We weren’t really sure how to go about cleaning it since all of our cleaning supplies were boat related.  Taking it into the cockpit we doused it with buckets of water, promising to bring a sanitizer on our next trip out.

The good news is that after we had a moment to sit and relax we noticed the Grand Haven Lighthouse had come into view.  This was our fastest journey there by far (ok, so we had only done it once before), and I was just excited to get out of these waves that kept trying to put my boat at a 25 degree heel.  Throwing the engine on and pulling down the spinnaker, Serendipity bobbed through the opening of the channel and into the land of the beautiful people.  Or tanned, fit, and barely clothed teens and twenty-somethings as they’re otherwise known.  There were people over-running the boardwalk, and powerboats and jet skis crowding the channel.  We managed to make it half way down when we noticed about 10 boats anchored in the center and no good way around them unless you were in a 15 ft powerboat.  So after all the hassle we’d been through, we had to turn back and head home just after we arrived.  But at least we can say we went.  Maybe next year we’ll be able to stay.


The Canadian Coast Guard boat

Focused on the wrong part, but you can see all the boats anchored in the channel

Friday May 28, 2010

‘Slumber Party’

Today was an exciting day for Matt and I as it was going to be our first overnight on the boat.  This was something I did not enjoy on the Hunter, and my heart would sink a little every time Matt suggested a ‘weekend on the boat’ as I always felt cramped and claustrophobic in the cabin.  The Sabre however is a completely different story.  I could not wait to plant my butt on her for a long weekend.  I had the day off of work and Matt was going to be home at 1:00, so it was my job to have everything packed up by the time he got home.  This included 4 days worth of food, clothes, bedding, pillows, cleaning supplies, life jackets, the dog, dog food, dog bedding….and the list goes on.  I had also run to Meijer and Bed Bath & Beyond looking for a specific style of Corelle dishes Matt wanted on the boat.  Needless to say, when he pulled in the driveway I was still stuffing things in bags and throwing them by the door.

Luckily we had everything loaded into both cars within 30 minutes, although we were still left without dishes.  Matt was able to find the set he wanted at Walmart and we decided to stop along the way to pick them up.  Or I should say that he sat in the car while I ran in since he can’t deal with the chaos that is Walmart, and I usually try to avoid it at most costs myself.  With new dishes, and stainless steel silverware!!, in tow we made it to the boat with plenty daylight left to get projects done.  Matt’s mom and step-dad were going to stop by around 6:00 to see the boat for the first time, and we wanted it to look as pristine as possible.  Lots of scrubbing, wiping, and polishing later she was looking in pretty good shape.  When Crystal and Jack arrived there Serendipity was ready for the grand 60 second tour: ‘Ok, come down the stairs, here we have the galley, salon, and navigation station.  If you look behind this door we have the head complete with a sink and toilet paper dispenser.  Behind this door is the aft cabin with a queen size bed and hanging lockers.  And if you follow us to the front here you’ll see the luxurious v-berth master suite fitted with it’s own vanity.’  Just joking though, she’s more than enough space for us and we’re completely in love with her.  Plus we got lots of oooooohs and ahhhhhhs from Chris and Jack, plus ‘Wow, it’s a lot bigger than it looks on the outside’.

So she passed parental approval, and left to ourselves again we got back to yet more chores.  The sails had not been put on yet and we figured they were a pretty important part of sailing us to Muskegon the next day.  From what had been glass on the water was now turning choppy and we wanted to get them attached before the wind became any worse.  The mainsail went on without a problem, but by the time we got to the headsail  winds were picking up to 12-15 knots.  Matt was handling the luff tape while it was my job to hold the part of the sail that hadn’t been attached yet from blowing away.  It wasn’t too hard when most of the sail was on the deck, but the further it was hoisted up the more it wanted to blow in the wind.  And since the only thing keeping it from blowing away was me I was practically laying on the foot of the sail trying not to get slingshotted overboard with it.  In the end Matt was able to tie the lines to the clew before I could go for a swim  and we had it furled and ready to use for the next day.

When the sun set we began our bedtime rituals, and never having done this in a marina before it was a little….different.  Change into your jammies on the boat, then walk to the restrooms to brush your teeth and wash your face (we didn’t have water on the boat yet).  Then you take the dog to the bathroom in a designated 10×12 ft spot right next to the children’s playground where she’d get stage fright and wouldn’t go.  And then back to the boat to set up the bed.  In the Hunter we had always used sleeping bags if sleeping in the v-berth, but this time we wanted to class it up and use real sheets.  I had brought a fitted sheet and top sheet from home and began trying my best to make it work.  And although getting a square sheet on a triangle cushion doesn’t sound too hard (better than the other way around I guess), working in a little space with even littler headroom turned even making the bed into an ordeal.  But I powered through it and when I put the top sheet and pillows on I was quite proud of myself.  Until I realized that night temperatures were still in the 50’s and I had not brought any kind of blanket to go on top of the sheet.  Luckily Matt and I were so tired that with a thin sheet and a towel spread on top of us we were still able to get a decent three or four hours of sleep.

Thursday May 27, 2010

I tried to prepare myself a little better tonight as we headed out to the boat. Matt’s meal was still on the go, and the clothing of choice was still t-shirts and shorts, but plenty of extra clothes, food, and cleaning supplies were packed in the car with us. Also packed in the car was our greyhound Mazzii (aka Maserati, The Sailing Greyhound, or saildog). She had been out with us a few times on the Hunter, and we thought she’d like to get out of the house and explore the boat a little. Strapped into her West Marine PDF we stuck her in the cockpit while Matt and I pulled out supplies to give the deck a good washing. It was almost embarrassing having Serendipity out there in the filthy condition she was in next to all the larger boats (ok, not RIGHT next to), lots with hired crews to do all the dirty work on call at any time. The amount of money in this place was not what we were used to. I could even go on about how nice the bathrooms are. But back to the subject. We hadn’t had a chance to clean our boat since she went in the water, and dust and dirt were all over her. To get her shining again before the holiday weekend we pulled out the hose, deck cleaner and scrub brushes. I assume this was going to take a lot of elbow grease on my part, which I don’t have a lot of, so it was a nice surprise when a little bit of suds covered the whole bow and just a little bit of work got her gleaming. In no time at all we had a spotless deck and some extra time on our hands.

Matt decided to fiddle around with wiring and electronics to make sure everything was working properly. Since you may know by now that things relating to this are not part of my job description, I was given the manual labor task of polishing the teak with oil. Not one of my favorite projects due to it’s tedious nature, but I was happy just to be doing it in a different setting. With both both Matt and I working in the cabin Mazzii started getting a little lonely in the cockpit. She’d stand with her head in the companionway and start whining, desperate for a little attention. I’d hop up a few steps, give her a kiss on the head, and direct her back to the cockpit cushion (or the sport-a-seats we use as cockpit cushions) she was laying on. She would sit contently for about 10 minutes and the process would repeat itself again.



Since I was able to skip the unpleasant step of cleaning with bleach water first I completed my chore before Matt. Although I’m sure he could have been done any time he wanted, but he likes to tinker around with things so much that he would have been there doing it until 3 am if i let him. I decided to join Mazzii outside with an ice cold beer (I offered her one, she turned it down) and watch as the last bit of color left the sky. It was slightly strange being in such a confined space with so many other boats compared to the mooring we were used to being on. By this time of night most everyone had gone home, but earlier a few of our ‘neighbors’ were at their boats which made getting work completed a lot harder because all they wanted to do is talk to you. I love boat people. Boat people are friendly and caring and would give you the shirt off their back (I’m sure that situation actually happens quite often…..), but when you only have a limited time to complete something it can be frustrating when they won’t shut up. And the worst part is there’s nowhere to run. You politely try to end the conversation, turn your back and get back to work…but some people don’t get the hint and will keep talking. And since they’re only 10 feet away from you there isn’t much you can do except smile and nod and hope you don’t interject anything that will keep the conversation going. This is why Matt and I will always prefer a mooring over a slip. We love talking to people, but we love it even more when we have a decent amount of control over how long it will last.

Right around the time I was finishing my beer Matt was finished tinkering.  We weren’t too worried about having separation anxiety from the boat when we left this time because we knew we’d be back early the next afternoon.  Finishing up the rest of our projects and spending our first night on her before sailing her to our mooring in Muskegon on Saturday.  Ok…..maybe there would be a little separation anxiety.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

‘Maybe I’m Amazed’

Matt and I left for Holland today as soon as he was out of work. Without even stopping to eat I had him change into clothes I had laid out for him and shoved a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a can of Pringles in his hand as we ran out the door. The drive seemed to take painfully long this time as I was actually looking forward to heading out there on this occasion. It was a beautiful evening for May, still in the low 80’s at 6:00 in the evening, so I didn’t think anything of throwing on a strapless sundress as we headed out to the water. As soon as we got closer though, I watched the temperature drop into the high 70’s, low 70’s, and finally into the low 60’s by the time we pulled into the parking lot at Eldean’s. It had gone down 20 degrees in the span of 35 miles. Damn Michigan and it’s random weather changes! Or damn me for not checking the forecast and putting style over comfort. Either way I was too eager about the boat to give it a second thought.

Walking the docks it was slightly amusing for me trying to find the boat for the first time. We were given a dock and slip number, but once we got to the dock Serendipity was on my eyes kept jumping to every boat that slightly resembled her going “Is it that one?…..Is that one it?”. Not that we disregarded the slip number and almost walked on a boat that wasn’t ours, but I was so giddy with excitement that I wanted to find her and get on her as soon as possible. We finally came upon her 2 slips from the end of the dock. She looked beautiful in the water, and we climbed in opening hatches and the companionway to let some fresh air and real light in. It was amazing the difference it made to the cabin vs the artificial light we were used to in storage. It made it feel so open and almost 50% larger. The colors and the grain on the teak really started to show through. The sun that was setting shone through the portholes and made the cabin glow. It was at that moment I got what I had been waiting all winter for, and that was the reward that all my hard work and labor was worth it 10 times over.

Matt and I hadn’t planned much work for the boat that night. Our trip out was mostly just to see that the boat had made it safely in the water and just to see what she would look like wet and with her mast up. We decided to tackle a few small projects while we were there like putting up the dodger and bimini. There were still larger projects to be done, but we didn’t have the time or all the supplies to complete them yet. Plus as the sun started to set, temperatures plummeted even further down and all I could think about was jumping in the car and blasting the heat. We made plans to come back the next night ready to do some real work and took one last look at Serendipity sway in the water as the first few stars started to dot the sky.

Tuesday May 25, 2010

‘And She’s In!’

Today Serendipity finally went in the water!!  I had wanted to be there to see it happen but Eldean’s could not give us a definite day or time due to all the boats going in for the holiday weekend.  I wouldn’t have been doing much, probably just taking a few photos and making it obvious I was new at this.  Plus Matt told me that if I were there they may have made me put her in our slip which was not going to happen.  Neither Matt or I have ever put a boat in a slip before and there was no way I was going to be first.  It would probably be my luck that they’d kick me out that day for damaged property and I’d be sailing her Muskegon all by myself without a clue of how anything worked.

Matt and I have plans to see her tomorrow at the dock and do a deck washing to get her all cleaned up from what we couldn’t do in storage.  I’m so excited, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment forever!!