Sunday, March 25, 2012

Settling in

March 25th 2012

Position N 27° 22.225’,
               W 82° 37.075’.

Longboat Key Club Moorings, FL 

Courtesy of my friend Bill
We’re settling in and have found a routine that seems to work onboard. Lavinia has become used to the galley and preparing a meal is less of a concern now. She has become used to her morning climb and acrobatic session to make the bed. I am getting to know ‘Partners’ well as I continue to be ‘suspicious’ of every system and check and listen constantly for malfunctions; boats make noises! Most of the noises I have become familiar with, the water pump going on from time to time pressurizing the expansion tank which keeps the water flow at a constant stream, every now and then it will go on for apparently no reason, bothersome; the refrigerator and freezer cycling, in a home one pays little or no attention to these sounds but on a boat it is just different. Management of the electrical and water systems are paramount and ensuring they work properly is a key factor in keeping the crew, especially the Admiral, happy. Happy Admiral happy me! Electricity, we have both DC and AC unlike a house, and water, these two resources are of great importance. In a home ashore one takes both for granted and they are unlimited, on a boat, in our case anyway, we can get water and electricity from shore via a hose and cable but that, of course, is only when we are in a marina. While away from shore we can make our water at the rate of 25 gals per hour with a reverse osmosis water maker which requires electricity to power it and electricity is made from an 8kw generator we have aboard. The electricity we generate is either used directly or is stored in large D8 gel filled batteries. We also have an inverter on board which will convert 12v DC battery power to 110v AC. We can run a microwave, toaster oven, computer and all 110v lights with its power. The air conditioning requires the generator to be running though. All resource on board including the third important one, diesel fuel, unlike the home ashore, do run out! Our 260 gallon water tanks lasts approximately a week but that is not being particularly frugal with its use, we are in a marina where the water is steps away at the turn of a tap. We are also washing many more clothes than we would be doing once we are retired and not having to care for work clothes. The washing machine is the single biggest user of water. Our usable amps of 12v DC battery power are 300, half the house bank capacity. We have three other separate banks for the power to the bow thrusters, engine start and generator start. In basic language this means we need to generate power every day while at anchor. In the interest of economics we will be making water every day while we make electricity and anticipate 3 - 4 hours of generator time per day which will use approx 1½ - 2 gals of diesel fuel. So, as you can see, everything requires thought, management and planning every day 24/7. We own our own utility company!    

We have entertained aboard successfully and have taken Lavinia for her maiden voyage on ‘Partners’. We left the dock last Friday evening without a hitch, YT at the helm and Lavinia handling the lines, and spent the night anchored in the NE corner of Sarasota Bay. So peaceful...we drank a toast to the first time ‘Partners’ had been piloted by the two of us and with the city lights in view, had a wonderful and happy evening. On Saturday we took a short cruise the length of Sarasota Bay, under the Ringling Causeway Bridge, to Marina Jack Marina where we saw another Kadey Krogen 42 like ours called ‘Mon Amie’, the Captain saw us and waived as we passed by, there is a lot of camaraderie among owners of the same brand of boat, not to mention cruisers and sailors in general. The boats owners tend to be similar in so much as they all share the spirit of adventure common to the cruising/sailing lifestyle, are independent, a necessity when miles from anywhere in a remote part of the globe, very comfortable with their own company (spend lots of time with only your Admiral) and by and large are pretty interesting people. We also all help each other. Boating and cruising is all about the places one visits and the people one meets, the adventure is in the unknown, the challenges in foreign lands and the best that it tends to bring out of oneself. The self sufficiency and satisfaction gained from ‘making it’ on one’s own is enormous to a cruiser; we can’t wait to get started full time.

This independent lifestyle takes much management and planning, obviously the trip planning and navigation is a given but not only that, it requires a good provision person in the food department, no mean task, an enormous stock of spares, not only for the mechanical equipment i.e. the engine and the generator but for all of the ships systems; you are on your own out there so you had better be prepared. I have just learnt how to use a multimeter (never needed one before, always called the electrician) to help diagnose the electrical issues that could occur along the way; things like this which, on land one might call the electrician for, are your own responsibility at sea and if one can’t fix the problem oneself then it stays unfixed. I am sure you get the picture. I, by no means, am capable in all departments (yet) but do have willingness and the confidence to become proficient. Only the other day I had to become a ‘plumber’ and repair a slow leak under the galley sink. In fact after completion of so many of these small but frequent jobs one realizes that the confidence to attempt the fix is most of it as the jobs themselves aren’t that difficult.

We had dinner al fresco on our back deck with candles flickering in the light breeze, a little wine and some great cheese; it doesn’t get much better than this...simply wonderful. Where did you have dinner last night?

We love our boat and talk constantly about the freedom we will have to go where we want. Just the other day the Admiral was talking about and remembering that while on vacation it is not uncommon to say “oh I wish I had brought this or that”, well not any more, we have all our worldly possessions with us at all times! By the way neither of us have any remorse about getting rid of so many of our belongings and we still remark about feeling so ‘free’ not having all those trappings to worry about, clean and generally take care of. Neither of us misses anything really,  remarkable. 

I hope that as we begin the ‘Travels of Partners’ and write more about the people and places we encounter more of you who read this drivel will become enamoured with the idea of the cruising lifestyle and start your own plans toward a life of independents and boat ownership.

Just before I launch this blog entry to the internet here is another sight I experienced just a few minutes ago. A Manatee, I was just able to catch the tail as he or she dived below to do some more grazing no doubt. There is always something going on.

Cheers for now...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Some of the sights we see...a simple thing like this school of dolphin playing in our bow wake is an almost daily occurrence and is our entertainment. These beautiful creatures never get boring.

Filmed 50 nautical miles off South Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean, mid November 2011. The ocean was flat calm without a ripple and was one of those days when we were reminded of why we like to be at sea, just terrific.