Thursday, July 21, 2011

Getting her ready...

‘Partners’ is in very good condition and had few item requiring attention on her survey. Like any new boat, 'new' to us that is, there are lots of things we want to do to her so that she will be 'ours'. There is new saloon furniture, updated electronics in the pilot house and maybe a davit/crane to lift our 12' Nautica/40 hp Yamaha dinghy which we kept from our last boat; we are not sure if the mast boom/spar will cope with the 1,000 lb plus weight, we will see. There is another smaller 10' Novurania/15 hp Yamaha hanging from transom stern davits. Having the two will give us a touring boat for those longer day trips and a smaller one that the two of us can run to the beach with and is light enough to be pulled clear out of the water away from the reach of the tide while we are doing a little exploring. Being on the stern davits this dinghy will be convenient to 'drop' down for quick visits to the neighbours or running to the dock from an anchorage for the 'eggs and milk'. Our idea of ‘cruising’ is one of self sufficiency and passagemaking rather than coastal cruising from a home base. We do not have a land base anymore and do not have anything in ‘storage’. With this starting approach we felt that we could then call everywhere home and eventually when the cruising is over, (a sad day) land anywhere we want or find in our travels, and make it our final ‘retirement’ location. We have no anchors, we are free. Back to the job list, new canvas for the bimini top and sun shades for the ports, dodgers for the boat deck and so on. I will be commenting on each of these jobs items as we go through the personalization process.

‘Partners’ is in Oriental, NC and while she is there at Sailcraft Marina awaiting the end of hurricane season so we can bring her back to Florida, (insurance requirement while we are in hurricane season) we are going to use the time to get a lot of the work done. The first job is to peel the bottom and apply a barrier coat. There were a few bubbles in the gel coat below the waterline and, although expensive, we felt it wise to address this now, especially as she is at Sailcraft Marina where they have the experience to do this job. They are also doing most of the updates in the engine room like bringing all the hose clamps to double instead of just a single, replacing none ABYC fittings and hoses and getting fire extinguishers serviced etc. The electrical system lacks GCFI sockets in the galley and heads so we are having those fitted and are generally getting all her systems to ABYC current standards. The yard is also installing a watermaker which is new and was on the boat when we bought her but was not installed by the previous owner. Our frustration is we are not close and cannot visit ‘Partners’ on a daily basis to follow the progress. We are settling for periodic trips to Oriental when our work schedules allow. Lavinia has not even seen the boat yet! She is very trusting of my buying decision! I am confident she will approve although a little nervous of the initial comments when they happen at the beginning of September when we will make our first trip up together.

We are so excited with the prospects of cruising and the unknown adventures we will be experiencing not long from now. We fill our spare time with fun talks planning trips and itineraries although everything is ‘written in sand’ so until the day we cast off comes and we ‘really’ know where we are cruising to this is all just ‘talk’ and not a plan.

The most difficult prospect is leaving our friends and family, so far everyone has been full of well wishes for which we are thankful. Sarasota has been our home together for more than twenty years and we have been very happy here. Most of you who know us have known our ‘dream’ of going cruising. We have continually worked hard towards the 'dream' and have waited a long time for it to materialize, well, it is finally here, we are going to live it!

I will be visiting ‘Partners’ on the 5th August so there will be some more news then.

Monday, July 11, 2011

She's Ours!

On July 6th 2011, my birthday, we closed on our purchase of 'Partners' a Kadey Krogen 42'. She is currently in Oriental, NC and we intend to bring her to Sarasota, FL at the end of November this year. Our insurance company prohibits the vessel from being in FL during the hurricane season. For the next few months that she is in NC we are having some work done at Sailcraft Marina in readiness for her first long trip back to Florida. She will become our only home; we have sold our house and are renting a small villa in Sarasota until 'Partners' arrives here in Sarasota and then will move aboard and be 'live aboards' in Longboat Key Marina. As many have said before me, we have simplified our lives and will now only have 'one key'. It is no easy task 'letting go' of all the chattels that one accumulates over a lifetime. The process has taken a full year and is still not quite complete. So many of the ‘treasures’, which for so many years have been impossible to part with, have simply had to go. The plus side of all this is 'freedom'. Most people are programmed to build a nest and accumulate 'stuff' we were no exception and over the year’s one acquires more and more 'stuff' that requires a bigger and bigger home to accommodate it. Again we are no different! Try getting rid of all the belongings that fill a 3,000 sq. ft. home and condense it into the few important things that will fit into a 42' boat! Not an easy task. We also decided not to rent storage so we would be totally free from any land based 'anchor'.

Our initial plan is to cruise locally around Florida in early 2012 and get used to the boat and also personalize her with this and that. At the end of November we will cruise to the Bahamas and probably spend the winter there. No plans, however, are 'carved in stone'. Eventually we will cruise south and end up in the lower Caribbean by June of 2013 having visited as many of the beautiful islands as we can on our way. Both the Admiral and I love the Caribbean and were married there on a little island called Young Island just off the coast from St. Vincent in the Grenadines. We have promised ourselves since our happy day that one day we would go back but this time under our own steam. So, the promise will be fulfilled.

This first entry is a quick introduction to our Blog that, I hope, will be interesting and also inspirational to others who share a 'dream' to go cruising.