Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The SSCA Gam is over with for another year (last weekend). We had a great time especially with the CSY Breakfast at MeMaws BBQ on Sunday (see photo). I particularly enjoyed meeting all of Dave's rabid CSY friends. It's a great group and I'm proud to be a 'member'.

We sold a lot of "stuff" at the flea market on Saturday--we got rid of everything major except the outboard motor. And I'm sure we'll find a loving home for it, too, eventually.

My 'Options for Cruising Websites' roundtable was very well received. And we in turn got some good info from several of the seminars we went to... especially the Heavy Weather Sailing presentation by Beth Leonard.

I entered a drawing with the 'Kids Aboard' people (a raffle to raise money for their projects). I specifically entered to win a 'Master's Upgrade' class from Sea School. And I won! I have registered for a class in mid-December to upgrade my 6-pack license to a 100 Ton Masters license.

There were a few unexpected people I saw at the Gam... friends I have lost touch with in the last 2-3 years, so it was very good to see them and re-establish contact. Some, like Mary and Christian from IWANDA, I am amazed to do the math and find out I've known them now for 13 years!! (since our first SSCA rendezvous in Maine in '93).

Everyone I ran into is thrilled to hear my news that I'm going cruising again. (yippee!) And, of course Dave's friends are thrilled for him too... (I heard "what a great match" a few times over the weekend). And Dave and I are still smiling at each other like silly teenagers.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Progress this week: 3 outboards, 4 closets and (maybe) the autopilot.

Dave enlisted our friend Wes Whitley's electronic expertise and Wes thinks he may have solved the CPT autopilot 'runaway left' problem. We also received the new relays in the mail Saturday, so we'll put them in too, and maybe, just maybe, the darned thing will work reliably.

After last weekend's cruise, Dave has done maintenance on all 3 outboard motors... the old 15hp is ready to sell. The 'new' 15hp, which we found to not work at high speed, has had the fuel system cleaned and it's working well now. The 5hp, our 'close around the harbor' motor just needed some TLC.

The closets... ugh. Dave made me promise to stay home this weekend and 'clean out the closets'. I have done 4 of them. The 'sell at the flea market' pile is getting so big we can hardly get around in the living room any more. We took a lot of stuff out to the trash. More stuff is in my car to donate to the MYC Junior Sailing Progam. I have a box for my ex-husband Lenny. So progress is being made (but it sure woulda been a great weekend to sail in the MYC Small Boat Regatta).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This post is specifically for my cousin Bryan, who's been complaining that we haven't posted in some time.

Well the truth is, we've been REALLY BUSY.

Between all the social and sailing events that Sherry is involved in, and the work on the boat, there's not been much time to spend on the computer. And, of course, getting Soggy Paws ready for our April 1 departure is my first priority.

Some of the boat things we've accomplished this month... retrieved the spare engine head from someone I loaned it to this summer and sent it off to get the crack repaired... pulled off the injectors and injection pump and had them rebuilt... repaired the CPT autopilot... repaired the fishfinder... repaired the old Tohatsu motor (now ready to sell)... removed and overhauled the old Monitor wind vane (now ready to sell).

We found that the canal behind Sherry's condo gets a little shallow at times. Soggy Paws was hard aground for awhile. The water levels here in the Indian River estuary are not generally tide based, but more related to what the wind and rainfall are doing. With a change in the wind direction last weekend, the water level came back up again, and she finally floated free. I have now rigged a 2x4 as a gentle pusher to help keep her far enough off the dock to stay in the deeper water toward the center of the canal.

The weather's cooling off here in Central Florida... it's actually almost Fall-like here. We're going to take a weekend off from boat and house chores and racing events and actually go cruising this weekend. We're headed out for a 2 day cruise to 'Boy Scout Island' with the East Coast Sailing Association. (actually, the primary purpose is to check out the repairs to the autopilot, fishfinder, outboard motor, and to do a little bottom scrubbing before the weather gets too cold).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Well, we made it to Sherry's dock in Satellite Beach.

The weather for the trip was pretty good, though the winds were too light for much sailing. We stopped the first night behind Rodriguez Key (off southern Key Largo). The auto pilot was acting up again and Dave wanted to rig his wind vane/tiller pilot arrangement.

We finally got away about 11am on Wednesday 9/6, and planned to go all the way to Port Canaveral.

It was a mostly uneventful trip... motorsailing the whole way in mostly mild conditions. There was a nice full moon for most of the night (except for Sherry's watch, in which she spent the whole watch with the radar on dodging thunderstorms). The Gulfstream gave us a 2-3 knot boost... giving us many hours of 9-10kt ground speed, according to the GPS.

By early Thursday morning we were off Ft. Pierce still doing about 9.5 kts. Sherry was on watch with a beautiful sunrise, with thunderstorms out on the Gulfstream.

As soon as we turned NW for Port Canaveral (at Ft. Pierce) we lost the current and our speed dropped down to 5-6 Kt.

We finally made the outer bouy at Port Canaveral at 3:30pm on Thursday. We were eagerly anticipating anchor down soon after, but then remembered that the 401 Highway bridge into the Banana River was closed from 3:30 to 5:15 (due to evening rush hour traffic). So we stopped at Cape Marina to top off fuel and so Dave could get a look at the haulout facility there.

We were able to get quickly thru the bridge and the lock and get our anchor down finally at about 6pm, with a huge big black thundercloud looming to the west. We set the anchor firmly in anticipation of high winds, and were 'rewarded' when 10 minutes later we were blasted with gusts to 40 knots. (the anchor held fine, and we had a nice shower, dinner, and off to bed).

On Friday, Jim and Nancy came up to meet us in Jim's ski boat, to make the trip down the river and under the bridges. We managed to get Soggy Paws under all 3 bridges... with about 12" to spare on the lowest bridge.

The final step was to get Soggy Paws alongside Sherry's dock behind her condo. It was no problem up to the last 5 feet... we already knew it was a little too shallow to get SP alongside. For now we have put a ladder across as a temporary gangplank--we'll work out a better solution soon.

Today was spent watching the Space Shuttle launch, exploring Patrick Air Force Base facilities, retrieving the cats from the cat sitter (Thanks Rochelle!) and a little grocery shopping.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Sitting in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, in the Keys watching it rain.

Actually we are doing boat chores and planning our departure for tomorrow. We needed this day to finish up all the stuff Dave didn't get done last week when hiding out from Ernesto.

Weather has been abominable the last 2 days... has been drizzling on and off. We tried to take friends out snorkling yesterday but ended up aborting the trip due to rain and strong winds (forecast was 10 kts East, we had 20 kts South).

None of the 'weather guessers' seem to know what's up... they have only been forecasting 'scattered showers'.

Working on wifi from Boot Key Harbor! 'Only' costs $8.95 for 24 hrs or $39/mo. But sure easier to get weather reports over the internet vs. HF.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ernesto was a wimp! (thank goodness)
This storm managed to go nearly directly over Dave in Islamorada and directly over me in Satellite Beach. But all we got was lots of rain, and gusty conditions, but nothing over about 30 knots.

Dave pulled out of the hurricane hole yesterday morning, catching enough of a high tide to get out OK. He stopped at Sea Base to refill water tanks, get ice, and say goodbye, and then motored down to Marathon. He made it on a mooring in Boot Key Harbor just after dark last night... hot, hungry, and exhausted... but safe.

I anxiously checked out the mark on the piling across the canal this morning--worried that all the rain had raised the water level too much for us to get under the bridges in the ICW between Port Canaveral and Satellite Beach. But it looks OK this morning.

Plans are still for Dave to drive up here tomorrow, where we'll rent a car for a one-way trip to Soggy Paws. By next week, with a little luck and good weather, Soggy Paws should be in the Indian River.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Soggy Paws ready for Ernesto

I just talked to Dave via cell phone. He is in the hurricane hole, has the boat stripped down and ready. He is tied up to the mangroves, and has several anchors out. He is by himself onboard, but there is another boat nearby. Currently the wind is about 20-25 kts and squally.

He was hoping that the storm would go east of him, so he only had to set anchors on one side. However, the forecast track is still vacillating, and in fact it looks like it may go right over top of him. So he is prepared for any eventuality.

Fortunately, it is still forecast to be a Tropical Storm, or at worst, a minimal Hurricane.

What I haven't told him yet is that there's another one forming up off Africa... :P

Monday, August 28, 2006

Here comes Ernesto!
Just when we thought we had everything planned out to move Soggy Paws to Melbourne starting next weekend...

Hurricane Ernesto currently is forecast to track right over Islamorda on Wednesday, where Soggy Paws is docked right now. Dave was visiting me for the weekend, and has now headed back south to do something about Soggy Paws (can't leave her on the dock at Sea Base during a hurricane).

He'll make a final decision tomorrow morning, but I think his current plan is to move the boat to the hurricane hole nearby (where he and another boat rode out Wilma successfully). The only iffy thing is the tide... he needs a high tide to get the boat in and out. Fortunately, there's a nice high tide tomorrow--it is getting OUT later that is the problem... in a few days the mid-day tides are not quite high enough. But we'll worry about that problem later.

I wanted to go with Dave and help him out, but he said he could handle it. He wants me to save my vacation time to make the trip up with him the following week. There is another boat going into the hole with him, so the two guys will be able to help each other out. But it is really going to be nerve-wracking for me to be here, with him there on the boat in the middle of the hurricane.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dave is retired (again)!
Dave called tonight and declared himself officially retired. It has been a good summer, but he's glad his Sea Base days are over... and is really looking forward to having the time to get Soggy Paws ready for new adventures.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dave sets out on his last Sea Base cruise today. He is very happy this is his last.

After this trip is finished, he plans to move to a mooring in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, for about 10 days.

We are anxiously watching the tropics... keeping an eye on those 'fireballs' that Africa keeps throwing off towards us. Fortunately nothing major is developing yet.

Plans are well underway to move Soggy Paws to Sherry's dock in Satellite Beach (near Melbourne, Florida) the first week in September. Then we'll start 'serious prep' for a departure April 1-ish.
Last night Dave made a great steak and lobster dinner... with fresh lobster he picked up on the reef this week (at one of his 'secret spots').

Today we unloaded 200' of rusty chain, and loaded in 300' of shiny new chain, marked at 33' intervals. Since the normal chain locker won't hold 300' of chain, we fed the first 100' down through a pipe to a small spot in the bilge (pipe pre-fabbed by Dave awhile back). (see picture of Dave measuring chain)

Great day for doing work on the dock, as it was cloudy and drizzly (vs. the 95 degrees and sunny that it normally is).