Monday, June 25, 2012

A work in progress...

I will be heading to Lake Erie to work on the boat this week. I need to strip the teak and refinish it. There is some clean up work to do as well from the last time the teak was done. After that the deck needs to be waxed and buffed. I will post pictures of my progress. The weather is supposed to be good this week, so I may get to work a lot. We are beginning to take care of things that need to be done before we leave. There is a lot to consider...leaving for six months seems to complicate things. I am still trying to adjust to not working. It is much easier if I stay busy, and I have had no trouble doing that. 

This is the entrance to the marina where we have the sailboat. We will be leaving here in late September to begin our adventure as we sail east and then south.

A new addition to the boat...a small propane grill. 

      Some people have asked about what the boat looks like on the inside. This is the V berth. It is not as comfortable as we would like. We plan on getting some memory foam to soften it up a little.

 Shirl cleaning and organizing the galley. 

The nav station. Notice the outdated radar...the previous owner said that it is still functional. I will take some more pictures of the inside of the boat this week.

The lighthouse.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lake Erie

A huge section of southern Canada as well as a huge portion of the U.S. Midwest drains into Lake Superior.   (602 feet above sea level) Lake Superior then flows into Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. (both at 577 feet above sea level) Lake Huron and Lake Michigan then flow into Lake Erie. (569 feet above sea level) Lake Erie then flows into the Niagara River and over Niagara Falls into Lake Ontario. (243 feet above sea level) From Lake Ontario the flow is into the Saint Lawrence River and on to the Atlantic. Our trip will first involve a sail across Lake Erie. We will have to wait for a good weather window as Lake Erie can be dangerous in bad weather. Lake Erie has an average depth of 62 feet and a maximum depth of 210 feet, making it the most shallow of the Great Lakes. Because of the shallow waters waves can build quickly. A couple of people who are docked at the same marina that we are have stated that "if you can sail on Lake Erie you can sail anywhere." It seems we have a good place to practice sailing and to continue to get to know the boat.

Serenity is currently located where the blue X is on the map above.

Now that the geography lesson is over, here are a few pictures from the weekend which was pretty much all work on the boat.

 Lunch on Saturday.

 Adjusting the dinghy davit support bar and brackets... no I did not drop any tools in the water, but I am sure it will happen at some point. The good news is that I did not fall in. We are lucky these davits were already on the boat...they are expensive to add.

Shirl found a palm tree on the dock. The leaves are shelf liner...the coconuts are wine bottles, and the trunk appears to be PVC. Looks good I think. (click on picture for a better view of the palm tree tree)

The view out of the galley port...soon to change.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Home Work

Since Serenity has been sitting in storage for almost two years, a lot of dirt and dust made it's way to the inside of the boat. I brought some projects home that I thought would be easier to do there, and it would give us the opportunity to accomplish something while we could not be on the boat. The previous owners had purchased some really nice carpets from Island Packet, and after a good cleaning they looked like new. The carpet is nice to have in the cabin. Below you can see Shirley cleaning the blinds that cover the ports...much needed if you are in a marina. The blinds look fantastic. I received some Skipper Bob cruising guides this week. The first one of course is "Cruising Lake Erie". Hopefully it will be very informative and make our sail to Buffalo, New York easier. It looks like we need to leave on our cruise around the end of September. There is much to do to make this a reality...but nothing more important than more sailing experience.

                                                    A little blind cleaning going on.


Sunset on Lake breeze and a cold beer.

                           asked about the color of the spinnaker she is! 

Believe it or not I am having a little trouble adjusting to not working. It seems I may be programmed to work...more on this later. Boat project weekend coming up.
Sail on!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The challenge now is to learn...

There certainly are a lot of ways to learn about cruising and sailing. I have been reading books and following sailing blogs for about a year. My favorite blogs are listed on this site. While I have had a couple of sailing courses, and have been around boats for many years, Shirl and I are basically newbies at sailing. We both have a lot to learn in a few months, and we realize that we will begin cruising without knowing all we need to. There will be a lot we learn as we cruise...kind of an on the job training course. The "Sailing for Dummies" books were gifts to us from friends and family, and are actually quite informative. I am in the process of creating a list of books for this blog that I have found to be educational as well as entertaining. If anyone has any suggestions about books that would be helpful, please comment and let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Thanks to my friends at MM Clinic at CHMCC for the book. I miss seeing the patients and all of you as well. Thanks to Shirl's daughter and her fiance David for the other book. We can both read at the same time! I hope to get some sailing in this weekend...along with a lot of work on the boat.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sailing...and all that implies!

Before leaving Lake Erie I did get to go for a quick sail in light winds. This is a shot from the top of the dodger. After all the work it was fantastic to get a glimpse of how the boat handles. We will need a lot of practice before heading south this fall, but I really enjoyed the sail. A big thank you to Eric, the previous owner for all the help with the rigging as well as the sails. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Out of my comfort zone!

I was on Lake Erie last week to close on Serenity as well as get her in the water. Everything was kind of rushed because the owner, Eric is leaving for a couple of months on a trip. So after Shirl  and I spent a great holiday weekend with my whole family since Justin, Libby, and Ava drove from Virginia, and Sara, Tommy, Ella, Jack, and Cash arrived from Louisville, I left Wednesday morning to drive to Lake Erie, and arrived in a little over four hours. I closed on the boat on Thursday, and spent time with Eric going over Serenity's systems. Serenity was not put in the water last season, so she has been in indoor storage for approximately twenty months. 

This is Serenity being taken to the lift on the Black River. This was an interesting process. A hydraulic trailer picks up the stand as well as the boat for transport.

The boat is then carefully backed into the lift. 

Two slings are then applied and she is lifted off the stand.

Serenity being lowered into the Black River.

A crane is then used to step the mast. This boat has a keel stepped mast so the mast goes through the deck and sets in a bracket at the keel.

The standing rigging then was loosely attached.

Lines everywhere...where do they go? Just looking at the standing rigging, (cables that support the mast), as well as the running rigging, (lines that enable you to work with the sails), was a little intimidating. Eric told me he would come by Monday and show me how to tune the standing rigging and get the sails on, as well as ride down the Black River with me to the Marina where I have rented a temporary slip. Having spent two nights in a hotel while cleaning and waxing the boat, I decided to sleep on the boat Friday night.(less expensive) It was a windy, chilly night. Since the rigging was loose it made a lot of noise with each wind gust which made it impossible to sleep much at all...lines slapping the mast and cables/shackles rattling in the chain plates. Talk about solitude... locked in by a security gate in the woods on the Black River with no one else around...I read a little, and thought about my comfort zone. This is all basically new to me. While I am familiar with many boat systems, sailing and sailboats are different. I will admit that there were a brief few seconds when I asked myself what the hell am I doing? I am not sure where any of these ropes go, how to adjust these cables, and how can a 35 horse power engine control a boat this heavy?

I left Serenity tied to the dock on Saturday morning to drive to Michigan to celebrate Shirl's birthday with her family. After a great dinner we spent the night at her daughter's home, and Sunday morning I drove back to the Black River so that I would be there on Monday to meet with Eric and hopefully learn a lot about rigging and putting on sails. A note to those of you like me who have taken sailing lessons...the sails are already on the boat, attached and ready to use, and the rigging is tuned to properly support the mast. Buying a boat in storage with the mast down means you just don't board the boat and go sailing.

I spent Sunday night on Serenity on the Black River. This was the view from the cock pit of the boat just after dark. It was a beautiful evening although windy and chilly.

I received a text message from my daughter Sara, with the above picture attached. Her message stated that she saw this and thought of my planned adventure. What great timing! I am definitely working my way in that direction. Perhaps I have been in my comfort zone too long.
 Thank you Sara.