Sunday, December 29, 2013

Grand Send Off from Plunkett Cooney Friends

What a wonderful retirement party! Many people played
a part in preparing this fun event for Dennis.
On a beautiful fall night in September, good friends and colleagues from Plunkett Cooney law firm, where Dennis has spent the past 43 years, gathered for a wonderful send off! Mary Catherine and Steve staged a beautiful party in their backyard. Everything was delightful: decorations, food, drink, gifts and most of all friends wishing him well. I think he was a little overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness expressed that evening. One of the most clever gifts was money. Not just money as we know it, but rather money in the currencies of many of the Pacific Islands we will be visiting! I am sure this took some doing to gather the various currencies. Very clever!

Mary Catherine pulled out all of the stops on this one!
A number of other partners and their families played a role in staging this party. One of them was the Conger family who created some music CDs with a great collection from all eras. It played all evening and we were given the CDs. They will be great in our new entertainment system on the boat. His daughter planned the decorations and her boyfriend painted a wonderful picture of S/V Trillium which is at the cottage (actually I should say: our home - boy that sounds strange!) It was too large for the boat but fits beautifully with the color scheme up there.

And with the help of her hubby Steve and other
Plunkett Cooney friends. It was a beautiful evening.

We received a set of towels embroidered with Trillium on them. They are the best! Absorbent and quick drying. I think I need to commission Elaine to make a few more! Even though they are a type of microfiber, they act like chamois cloth. I love them. Dennis also received several good books and if he gets into the series, we can download them onto his Kindle. Neither of us have made time to read at home, so we are hoping to do more on the long passages and at peaceful anchorages! We also brought along the wines and champagne and other gifts so we can toast our friends as we enjoy them.

Loretta showed up with the map and "Where in the
World is Dennis" looking like Waldo! What fun!!!
It was really funny when Loretta showed up with a huge map of the world so the Plunketteers can follow us around the world. What was funny was the character at the top of the map. They had placed Dennis' face (from an early PC photo) into a Where's Waldo body! What a way to be remembered, Dear!

Loretta joined us in the Caribbean for a week of sailing. It was fun having someone from home come along. We invited others to join us somewhere in the world. No other takers yet - only a couple of our kids: Heather and Addison joined us in the Caribbean and Nick will sail with us from Las Perlas, Panama to the Galapagos where is girlfriend, Daphne, will join us.

The World ARC Itinerary was a popular discussion.
Dennis gave a brief description of our planned journey and thanked his colleagues for their friendship and years of working together with like minded firm goals. I am glad he has the sailing thing to do or he would have continued practicing law until ... he got it right? Just kidding. He is a good and honest lawyer.

He recently started smiling and one of the crew asked him why. He replied: "I am not going back! I don't have to go back this time." I think the time is right for him!

I love this painting of S/V Trillium! What a talented
young man who painted it for us is. Sorry we
never got to meet him and thank him in person

The perfect message as we leave
Plunkett Cooney after 43 years and
follow our dream.

Monday, December 23, 2013

From BVI to St. Martin / Sint Maarten

It has been so rainy with high winds all the time.
Dennis recently read about some mariner's warning not to set off on a Friday. Then we promptly left the dock - on Friday! Dumb!
I think the warning was worth heeding. As its prediction came true: problems!

We had a real rough ride as we motored all the way to St. Maarten (the Dutch side). This seems to be the only way to get here as there is either high winds on the nose or no wind. I was praying for the later, but got the high winds. The seas started out at 3-5 feet and climbed to 6-9 at times.

To make matters worse, I got sea sick. It always happens to me on this leg. I am not sure if it is because it is a wild ride and when night falls, I lose it. Or if I lose it because it is on my mind. Either way I hate it! It makes it hard on Dennis because I don't take full watches. I need to lie down and keep my eyes closed.

Leaving the BVI for Sint Maarten
It is also hard on me when he is resting on the low side and I have to hang over the high side. Not fun. Not only does the wind get me, but also the salty waves in face. I totally forgot to pre-medicate for this trip. We were so busy trying to provision and get out of Nanny Cay that it never crossed my mind - until it was too late.

It was an 18 hour trip at 4-6 knots of slogging along. Simpson Bay looked so inviting when I could finally see it ahead. However, the wind was still blowing in the upper 20s so it was really rocky at anchor. As Dennis prepared to go to Customs and Immigration, the dinghy motor died and left him drifting in the bay without oars. The reason for stopping here was to buy oars! Ours disappeared sometime over the summer and we didn't realize it until we got to the islands. Fortunately, I remembered the name of a large motor yacht anchored next to us, so I called them on the VHF to rescue my Captain!

I did not want to hit one of these big girls!
Can't afford their repair bills nor ours!
With that, it was time to go in through the draw bridge and get a slip at Simpson Bay Marina. That was another challenge: they wanted me to back the boat in though several turns in the fairway. NOT! Not only am I not that great at backing up, by the boat was hard to control in the high winds. I was moving among huge multi-million dollar boats and did not want to crash. I admitted aloud that I was scared!

We also had a hard time understanding exactly where they wanted us to go. Sometimes the accents get in the way. Especially when everyone smiles and nods as if there is shared understanding when it is clear the me, there is not.

This is a lovely IGY Marina. We have a reservation in the IGY Marina in Guadeloupe and the World ARC starts from Rodney Bay Marina which is also an IGY Marina. The services are top notch. It is a good place to be somewhat out of the wind while we continue to fix the motor and repair the sail which suffered a rip on the way down. It never ends! But we are still having fun and haven't strangled each other yet (as Addison predicted)! But we will be in Guadeloupe by 12-28 so don't worry Loretta. We will be there.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Still in the Virgin Islands!

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men ...
Thankfully I hoisted him up and down safely!

Our plan to vacation sail and have a leisurely trip to St. Lucia has not gone well. We have spent a lot of time completing our checklist on the boat. Some of our new electronics and power equipment needed a sea trial, which was the Caribbean 1500 Rally. At least we learned what still needed attention and have had time to deal with it.

There are always projects!
We are only allowed to be in the British Virgin Islands for 30 days at a time so we left and went to St. Thomas for a week. We managed to pick up our sail and other items we needed as well as relax a little. It seems that when we are at the dock all we do is work on the boat. It is a little harder when we are hanging on the hook in a harbor like Charlotte Amalia.

Interesting Christmas decorations.
It was a good time to do some reading and explore the island. We needed our third Hepatitis A/B shot so we found a clinic in Red Hook. Getting there was an interesting trip. On St. Thomas they have a nice Safari service. The open air vehicles will pick up and drop off anywhere along the route. Each ride is $2 and you go as far as you need. Some nice native men told us that it is only $1 for seniors. Humm. The driver didn't share that!

It was strange seeing Christmas decorations in a land of sun and sand. I can't get my head around the holiday season without the context of snow! When I heard Christmas carols in K-Mart, it took a minute to register!

We were anchored near the path of the Christmas Parade of Boats so we had a great view. This was the first holiday festival we have had this year.

We spent a night in Caneel Bay on St. John as we came back to the BVIs. It seems that no matter where we plan to sail, the wind is directly on our nose! After checking in at Soper's Hole, we stayed on a mooring ball for a night.

Back at Nanny Cay, it was the task of finishing up a couple of issues. One of which is the new antenna for the satellite phone seems to be defective. So much for new stuff! Now one will be sent to us and we will have to figure out how to install it. Actually, there has been a lot of hands on learning that will be helpful as we visit more remote places.
I love the evening sky.

The wind has been absolutely wild! It has been in the 18-30 knot range with gusts into the high 30s. Trillium loves to sail in 17-22 range, especially if the angle is good. Now our challenge is waiting for the Christmas winds to settle a little so we can head south.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Fun Thanksgiving Week with the Girls

Both girls adapted well to the motion of the boat
Heather and Addison came to Tortola to have Thanksgiving on the boat. I know they did not know what to expect. And, frankly, I wasn't sure how they would react to this new lifestyle. It turns out that I wasn't far off.

Heather thinks I am out of my mind and cannot understand our choice to live on the boat for a few years. She tolerated the experience, but really did not enjoy it. There were too many things that drove her nuts, like hitting her head on many things, the close quarters, some of the smells (one of which was a problematic head), the tiny galley, etc. She admitted that she is a Ritz girl and she was not speaking of crackers! I give her credit for being a good sport so Addison could have a fun experience.

We built many sand castles this week.
Addison was a little more enthusiastic, but then she loved swimming and playing on the beach.
 She and Grand D were quite a pair in the pool. She thinks he is the best swimming instructor in the world! He had her putting her face in the water, floating, swimming across the pool and even the length of the pool without swimmies. I had her jumping into the deep end and even doing a racing dive, which was more like a belly smacker, but she was very pleased with herself. She advanced her swimming skills greatly this week. 
First night in the top bunk.

They both declared that we are going to strangled each other before we are done with the trip around the world! I don't think so.
We watched movies before bed each night. The girls played musical beds like Goldilocks until they found one they liked - sort of!. They started out with Addison in the top bunk in the crew cabin with her mom below. She had been asking to sleep on the top bunk for sometime.Heather hated the closed in feeling of the lower bunk. The next few nights they moved to the settee in the saloon -both of them sleeping at right angles to each other. Finally they ended up in the V-berth. I even offered our king size berth to them but they declined. 

Our youngest skipper sailing with Flat Stanley!
When it came to dealing with the boat, Addison was a natural. She quickly grasped the "one hand for the boat, one hand for you" rule and became an instant pro at getting on and off and moving around. Heeling overdid not seem to bother her either. She took a few turns at the wheel, was great at getting in and out of the dinghy (which I still haven't mastered with grace), and going up and down the companionway. She understood the reason we go down backwards. Actually, I had her practice that on our attic stairs at home before we moved.

She fell in love with this little island doll.
We sailed from Nanny Cay, Tortola to Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke and anchored out for two nights. A day on the beach with lunch at Foxy's was the highlight. Unfortunately, we had too many daily  and overnight showers this week. When it rained, it poured! On our sail back to Nanny Cay, we experienced a downpour with winds in the 30-37 knot range on the nose. I sent the girls below. Not pleasant, but like most squalls here, it was heavy but quick. Heather got tired of the nightly "Chinese fire drills" to close the portholes. It seems that her bed always got wet. She much preferred being in the marina with the air conditioning running and the hatches and portholes closed.

The beach swing under the almond tree was a hit.
We declared Addison a real sailor when she took a buff shower on the aft deck in daylight! I haven't been that brave yet - or maybe I am just choosing not to shock other sailors! We loved watching her write about her experiences for homework each day. On the page asking about the best thing about her vacation, she said "seeing her grandparents." That's enough to make your heart melt! I am so glad she was able to spend time with us here so she can have a visual of what we are doing. The hard part was saying goodbye again. She wanted to stay with us or have us come home with her. Not seeing the little ones for a year will be tough on all of us.

And so was the hammock - even though it dropped a nut on him!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fun, Sun and Celebrations!

Here is our crew at the Awards Celebration. I am still
shocked that we placed third. I thought we would be last!
Well our crew cleans up nicely! You should see us during the passage when water is at a premium and showers are a luxury or non-existent! I cheated and washed my hair twice. It was for the sake of those having to look at me! At least that was my excuse. I must say one doesn't ever look pretty on a passage.

The first few nights you sleep in your pajamas, then you just crash in your clothes! Who even cares at that point.Then you realize you have been wearing the same clothes for three days! And you still don't care.You just want to see land and find the showers in the marina.

To humor ourselves, we kept saying we were looking forward to milkshakes at Nanny Cay and mango colattas at Mulligan's. Whenever we were too warm or too tired, one of us would bring up the treats waiting at the other end - including the rum punch handed to us upon arrival before Customs lets us off the boat! It doesn't matter that it might be 6 am when the punch arrives!

We were trying to go east, but you can see how far to
the west we were being set. There was little we could do
Even though our ride was fast on a southbound track, you can see how far off the rhumb line (blue in photo) we were being set to the west (red line). For a while it seemed like we would never get east of Puerto Rico. There was little we could do to make a move to the east with the strong ENE winds continuing so blow hard. When we had a calm day we motored as much easterly as we could while still moving south.

The best part of the Rally experience is meeting new friends
and having good conversations and a lot of laughter!
Many of the men in the Rally supported Tortola's Movember Fund Raiser by growing mustaches. There was a contest for the best one. Dennis did not win - and neither did Antoine from Nexus. Russ, owner of Nexus, and Stuart and Ron on Trillium already wore mustaches regularly so unless they shave them off, they are not qualified in the contest. Of course, they did not shave!

Laurie and Russ will be sailing in the World ARC on their beautiful 60' catamaran, Nexus. However, they will get to each destination days ahead of us! We told them to hold an anchorage for us! HA HA.

Laurie and Russ of Nexus will be sailing in the World ARC too!
Much to our surprise, Laurie grew up in Essexville, MI. Dennis is from Saginaw and I am from Alma. What a small world! The other funny thing that happened was meeting the crew of S/V Andromeda on the dock in Portsmouth. Steve and Joan lived about four blocks from us in Grosse Pointe Farms, but we had never met. All of us sold our homes to go sailing! I had been told that another GPF couple had set sail from Lake St. Clair, but I did not know them. And there they are!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just Another Day on the Ocean!

Getting ready to leave Portsmouth, VA on
"new" home. This is where we live now!
After three days of gale force winds blowing us too far west, we encountered the calms. The next three days were beautiful sunny ones, but the water flat enough for water skiing! As we motored, the crew had a more relaxing time at the helm and in their bunks. It actually allowed us to catch up on sleep that had been lost when people were extending their watches to help the next person on watch in the rough weather.

Interestingly enough, no one wanted to fish on this trip even though there was a fishing contest. I cooked many meals in my new pressure cooker so the crew ate well: roast beef, beef stew, chicken korma with basmati rice, and even a whole chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy! This time I only cooked it for 8 minutes and it came out beautifully. And of course, my beloved Corn Chowder was a hit again. I guess my menu was a success as there were never any leftovers!
The guys were impressed with the 8 minute chicken!

We did have a problem with our communications as the USB cord for our satellite phone separated at the pin end so we could not download weather or email. That left us a little short on information but we were able to listen to the daily weather report during morning role call. Another little issue came up with the SSB (single side band) radio: when  on 6C frequency, the autopilot would disengage each time I would transmit a response. That made it challenging for the helmsman while I was doing my net controller duty some of the days. It was a real surprise when it first happened in the 30+ knot winds!

Dennis keeping an eye on things one calm day.
One night we had a little scare as our batteries started overheating and were giving off awful fumes. I knew there was a problem when Dennis directed us to prepare the abandon ship bag and get the life raft ready to deploy if necessary. We were all in our life jackets and ready to go. I was so glad we did not have to as it was pitch black. There was no moon that night so it would have been a real challenge to leave the boat. Our rule is only abandon ship when you have to step up to the life raft or if there is an uncontrollable fire.

Skipperette with Flat Stanley at the wheel coming around
Tortola to Nanny Cay Marina.
We made it down to Tortola, BVI in good time and even came in third in our group. That was a surprise since we had been so far west of the rhumb line. It must have been because a lot of boats just gave up on finishing - just get there and get some sleep was the attitude. It is great to be back to our southern home! You know you are home when the bartenders remember you from two years ago!

So you all enjoy the chilly winds and oncoming snow while we sip our Pain Killers and Bushwackers by the pool. We will be thinking of you! Wish you were here.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Wild Ride Down to the BVI!

Tom up the mast at the Start Line! Not the
right way to start off on a long rally!

The 2013 Caribbean 1500 Rally was scheduled to leave Portsmouth, VA on Sunday, November 3, but oncoming bad weather caused an early departure on Saturday afternoon. I really was not ready, but you go when the boat goes! Murphy,s Laws continued to haunt us as we made our way to Tortola, BVI.

When we got out to the Start Line and put up our sail - because you must sail across the line - we had a problem: the main sail twisted in the track and folded over on itself! We sailed across the line with it 3/4 up and then immediately got out of the way of others to work on it. After some contemplation by all, Tom volunteered to go up the mast and see if he could untangle the mess. Fortunately, he was able to straighten it out.

We then got under way following the fleet that was leaving the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay. That was the beginning of our game of "catch the fleet" that continued for days. We made good time getting across a very wide Gulf Stream, shooting between two eddies and catching a ride on one of them.

All was looking good and then came three days of gale force winds out of the north-northeast. This was not good. Although we were sailing very fast (9-11 knots) we were being set to the west. Our southbound progress went well, however, we ended up 142 nm west of our rhumb line! It looked like we had decided to go to the Bahamas. That would not have been a good thing as S/V Trillium has a 7' draft and most of the Bahamas presents dangerous conditions for us - especially at night and in high seas.

Former Crew Bob and Pixie once again gave us the warm
southern welcome and loaned us their car!

After three days of being pounded, we had three days of calm -as in no wind. Time for the Iron Jenny! It was warm and sunny. The dolphins came out to play with Trillium twice. The stars were spectacular! Tom taught me about the constellation Orion that was right over us each night. No one seemed fired up to fish so we didn't. I don't have room in the freezer for fish anyway.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reality Has Set In

We have done it! We moved out of the house at midnight last Thursday. Actually a day late! The past three weeks have been sheer hell. Let's just say that at least 17 of Murphy's Laws came into play at various points. We slept on the floor for about four hours a night for a week. The Internet got cutoff when the new owner scheduled his installation so I couldn't take care of banking, address changes, etc.

The real problem was once again the stuff! I had been giving piles of stuff away every other week all summer and still had too much. After the movers made two trips to the storage warehouse and we had an estate sale, we ended up with a self store locker for the rest. I don't even know what is in it anymore. The whole ordeal was overwhelming and exhausting.

The final straw was when we about to leave the house to sleep at Heather's before an early flight to Annapolis, Dennis discovered that his passport and immunization papers were locked in the storage locker -and it was closed until 9:00 AM. Our flight was at 8:05 AM! We were on it without the passport. Fortunately, our friend Richard had said let him know if he could help while we were gone. Well little did he know how soon he would be called into service. The passport is now on the boat. Thanks RLB!

Fortunately one of our great crew members, Ron, got to the boat two days ahead of and was busy getting her ready. I brought too much stuff (there is that word again) and am having a terrible time stowing it all. Think about it: going from a walk-in closet and eight drawers to a 12" hanging locker and three 12" drawers for your clothes! I am shoving things in every little nook I can find.

We could write a book of what not to do. We are where we are and ready to sail around the world for the next three years. Our new address is at Pointe aux Barques, MI when we return. Dennis retired yesterday so there are many new adventures ahead. Life is good!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

40 Days of Rain & Our "Ark"

This is Herrington Harbour North in Tracy's Landing
at noon! Note the dock lights are on because it is so dark!
We just spent four days (it seemed like 40) in Annapolis preparing for our departure to Portsmouth, VA, for the start of the ARC Caribbean 1500 Rally to Tortola. Unfortunately, the weather was a disaster - four solid days of rain. This did not make loading the provisions and equipment pleasant! It also rained most of the 10-hour drive back home as well as a good portion of the drive to Maryland. We felt like drowned rats all week-end. All of the shipping boxes were a soggy mess and our clothes were wet.

Sherry, Paul from WCC and Dennis at Annapolis Boat Show

And it was a mess for the Annapolis Sail Boat Show. Usually it is a perfect fall weekend for the show. As a result of the sloppy weather, we only spent four hours there, but we accomplished everything on our list. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise as we were not tempted to purchase more "stuff!" Trillium is filled to the gunwales and there are still items that need stowing.

We had a chance to meet the World ARC coordinator, Paul, and talk with him and Jeremy about the two rallies. We also reconnected with Mia and Andy who run the ARC Caribbean 1500 Rally.

Stowing everything become a real challenge.
In many cases, it is putting a square peg in a round hole
 that doesn't have any depth!
I am sure I have too many clothes on board! Since I really don't know what I will need, I am taking what I want. Worse case scenario is that I give it away or throw it away en route. The choice is get rid of it later, or get rid of it now as I clear out the house. As crunch-time comes closer, it is easier to let things go.

The packers came to the house today and the movers come on Thursday. I didn't realize how much artwork we have! The furniture is padded and wrapped and ready for the truck. So reality is setting in: the house is sold and we are on our way to somewhere. I am sure I should have gotten ride of more "stuff" in the house instead of packing it up. It is just such an overwhelming process. And just how do we collect so much?

Someone recently asked me if I was going to collect some thing at each stop or bring gifts to the grandchildren from each country. The answer is NO! I am not gathering more stuff for anyone! My dear mother did the gifting thing for years and that is partially why I have so much stuff. Furthermore, a lot of it is meaningless to the receiver because he or she wasn't there to connect with the experience.
This is the path we will follow with the
addition of going to New Zealand.
I have lovely things from all the places she visited as well as from all of our travels, so unless it is really special, it is not coming back with me. (Dennis will be happy to hear that!) The other problem with it is that it is hard to part wish certain items because Mom gave it to me. So Kids, I am not going to do that to you!
In 10 days we will be homeless and unemployed! For us, it is a good thing. Although it is a little scary, but we all come to the point of retirement. Except most stay put in their comfortable homes and play golf and have dinner with friends. My clubs are staying here and dinners will be with new friends and enjoying sunsets somewhere in the world.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Two Months and Counting Down!

Now we have two poles on the stern
Departure date for the Caribbean 1500 is less than two months away! For some that may seem like a long time, but for us, it is crunch time. Trillium just left Jabin's Yacht Center in Annapolis after getting the hydro and wind generators installed.

Dennis has been back and forth to the boat to discuss the project and I have been home packing up stuff!

Oh, there is that word again: STUFF! I now have piles for the cottage, piles for the boat, piles to go into storage and what is left over! The plan is to have an estate sale company come in and deal with what we don't want to save, store or take with us.

There is an offering on the house in process as I write. I am skeptical of announcing it as a SOLD event until the papers are signed and the money is in hand. That should happen on September 30th. Actually, we both felt rather sad and a little testy after we had committed to selling it. And we don't even have that issue of "but our children were raised here!" I think it is more a matter of: WOW! We are actually committed to it now. Reality does have a way of playing with your mind and emotions. And if it doesn't go through, we will rent it out until we return! However, the buyers have sold their house and are anxious to move in.

Grandparents' Day at Camp!
The hardest part will be leaving our six year old granddaughter here. We don't see the grandchildren in London, UK and San Francisco as often so that is not as difficult. But this little one enjoys being with us and is having a difficult time understanding why we are selling our house and leaving her. She reminds me regularly that we will miss her birthday party! In fact, we just had a party to celebrate my birthday and an early birthday celebration for Addison.

What she doesn't realize is how much I will miss: her hugs, sleepovers, trips to the cottage together, swimming, silly jokes and stories, seeing her art work, her recitals, and ... And Grand D will miss her snuggles!
Birthday dinner with her two favorite people!

We are heading to the boat again next week to start stowing provisions. Just how much toilet paper do we need for 4-5 people for a year!?! I have been told it will not be available in Muslim countries! Is that true???

The other challenge is my gluten and dairy free diet. I have stashed a lot of gluten-free pasta and almond and coconut milk cartons. I am still struggling with how much food to stow. I have pre-cooked, vacuum-packed meats and chicken and have it in the freezer. The last trip to the boat via Southwest will have at least one duffel full of frozen food. It better get there!

Storage on a boat is always a problem. Many boats have a lot of bilge space under the sole (cabin floor), but ours has huge water and fuel tanks there. Those are very important so I have to find other space. Then there is the battle between storage space for provisions and storage space for spare parts and necessary equipment! I think I am on the losing end of this one, too. I thought I could store more under our bunk, but they just took that space for batteries and electrical controls. I lost again! Maybe everyone will have to hug a bag of groceries while they sleep!!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Test Kitchen (Galley) Exercise

As time is getting shorter, I am fretting more and more about the provisioning and the efficiency of our galley. With such limited space, I need to make sure everything has a purpose or function and, hopefully, find multiple functions for most items.

The biggest problem is storage space. It is not like home where I have more cabinets in addition to the full kitchen in my basement! Now I am confined to a 4'X5' space with four skinny drawers and two cabinets below the counter. The oven, sink and refrigerator take up all of the other under counter space.

I didn't believe that it would be done in 8 minutes
so I cooked it for 15! It was done! Very moist
and tasty and falling off the bones. Next time I
will follow the directions - maybe!

I have stacking pots with removable handles so that saves space. Once again I have removed items from the galley with the intent of replacing them with some things more useful and versatile. For several years I have been looking at pressure cookers. I have steered away from them based on bad memories and some steam burns from childhood experiences. I finally purchased one. Ironically, I ordered it online right after the Boston Marathon bombing. I wonder if I am now being "tracked?"

It has sat in the boat storage area since then. I finally got the courage to give it a try last night. I bravely went to the market and bought a whole fresh chicken. I watched the "how to" video and went to work. Amazingly, I had the best tasting chicken ever in just 15 minutes! Now I am ready to practice on other meats and entrees!

I bought a very nice Fagor Chef's model for its high quality stainless steel and minimal handle design. I know I could have gotten a less expensive one, but I only plan to buy one so I got the best one! I can highly recommend this one. The best thing is how little time it takes which translates into using less propane. It also functions as a steamer, stock pot and Dutch oven. Now I can eliminate my large stock pot. (You need big - actually deep - pots to keep liquids from sloshing on you under way.)

Why is this a concern? Imagine running out of propane in the middle of grilling your dinner. Now put yourself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean or on some remote island where you can't just run out and refill the tank. In fact, much of the world does not use liquid propane gas like we do in the USA. As I read in preparation for the circumnavigation, propane will be nearly impossible to get once we leave the Caribbean.

Now I have a new rule about making coffee. Listen up, Crew. We will be using the 220V European coffee pot and not the propane for stove top coffee!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Now It Is Getting Serious!

How do you move a 25 ton yacht?
S/V Trillium is back in the water! Hooray!

We launched her July 4th after being on land since May 31, 2012. It felt sooooo good be be back on the Chesapeake Bay - even though it was really hot, humid and no wind.

Our sailing friends Stuart and Sondra joined us to take the boat north to Bert Jabin's Yacht Yard for some serious additions: a 400D wind generator, Watt & Sea hydro generator (and all of the gizmos that make them communicate with our other systems), a back-up auto-pilot, a new stereo/CD/DVD/MP3 player for crew entertainment, and a panic alarm to hopefully ward off any uninvited guests!

Just pick her up and drive down the street to the launch ramp!
The Selden furlers have been sent to Sweden for service, the rigging is being thoroughly checked and repaired or replaced as necessary, and the water-maker has been refurbished. All systems and safety items are being checked. The sails are at Quantum Sail loft being checked and repaired.

The life raft, MOM-8  and EPIRB will have to be repacked just before we leave. And we have to update all of our emergency flares. It amazes me that they are $50 each and expire in 3 years. But I know it is important to have them work if one ever needs them. Let's hope we don't!

Here we are at Jabin's - ready to spend $$$!
I started provisioning non-perishable goods, as in 40 rolls of single-ply toilet paper! Just how do you calculate how much TP one needs for 2-3 years? It's not that we will never see TP in a store along the way, but rather everything I have read says to take your favorite paper and plastic things with you as it will not be the same when you find it in these other places. I also stowed paper towels, laundry detergent, shampoo and cream rinse, toothpaste, etc.

Now I am starting to think about provisioning food. That will take a lot of thought and planning. I asked Stuart, who has crewed with us in the past and will on board for the Caribbean 1500 leg to Tortola, BVI, what changes I should make to my meal plan. He said: NONE! Just more of your famous corn chowder! That makes it easy for the first part of the trip. After that, I will have to get creative with local foods.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Living in an Upside Down World!

Our 1897 Summer House needed some porch repair!
These days are overwhelming! There is so much to do and much of it hinges on some other action needing to be taken. It is more than living in limbo. In fact, that would be easy compared to this. We have guys working on the boat, guys working on the house and guys working on the cottage. That doesn't even include the work we are doing ourselves.

Dennis & Roger spent a lot of time looking
at things underneath the sole (floor)...

We just spent four days in Maryland working on things you can't even see! But are very important. Everything is being checked out, upgraded, cleaned, tested, etc. Some new energy generating equipment is being added as well as some safety and back-up systems.

We have spent three weekends at the cottage getting it ready for the season and people who will be arriving soon. It is such a great place in the summer. Wouldn't you enjoy sitting on an old fashion screened in porch with the breeze, a good book and a cold one! I hope we get a chance to do just that!

I guess I didn't really picture so much chaos for the whole spring and summer. Everywhere I turn someone has created another mess. There are more calls to make and and things to be scheduled, ordered or ... Maybe it is part of the Master's plan! The more chaotic it is, the easier it is for me to focus on what I really want to keep and from what I will just walk away and leave behind. It will be a helluva moving sale!

and in the engine room. Now everything below the
sole is checked out, cleaned and ready to go.
A move like this makes you realize how much we "needed" to have over the years: the fine china, crystal and sterling silver. How about all of those small appliances and gadgets that were the latest and greatest? Now what do you do with it all! I have given so much away and there is still too much stuff. And then there is all of the stuff the five kids left behind. Just how many George Foreman Grills did we own collectively?

And then Dennis & Jim started doing the same on deck:
rigging check, some modifications to be made, etc.
The challenge is what should go where. The best stuff will go into storage for use when we return. The better stuff will go to the cottage and boat to replace the old stuff there. Then the old stuff from the all three places will go in the sale or more pick ups from Viet Nam Vets, or Grace Centers of Hope, or St. Vincent de Paul, or ... I can't even remember who all has taken bags and boxes off our porch. And they must know there is more as I keep receiving emails and post cards telling me there will be in our neighborhood! I'll bet they are waiting for the better and best stuff!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Getting Back to the Boat!

Does he look happy or what!
Even on the hard, life is good on the boat.
It has been almost a year since we last sailed Trillium. She is sitting on the hard (land) in Herrington Harbor North, MD. We last saw her in October when we were there for the Annapolis Sailboat Show. I love the boat show! There are so many things to see. And we see so many of our sailor friends. Last fall our big purchase was a canvas cover to protect the deck while Trillium sat on the hard for the year.

Trillium wearing her winter coat! Look at that sky. UGH!
The first year we spent all of our time climbing on and off boats because we were shopping for one. The next few years we didn't even bother to go on board any since we were shopping for equipment. Now we are not really shopping - just adding those few things that we have finally decided would be helpful or add to our safety as we sail around the world. You know what they say about boats: just a hole in the water into which you throw money! I love this one: BOAT means Break Out Another Thousand! That is a sad truth!

If you are a boater, you simply must go to Annapolis for the October boat shows. There is a week for sail and a week for power boats so you can focus on boats and equipment that fits your boating needs. Here are the details for this year's show:

Annapolis Sailboat Show

The Sailboat Show features new racing and cruising sailboats from leading U.S. and foreign builders as well as the nation's largest multi hull display. Check it out at:
  • Dates: October 10 - 14, 2013.
  • Location: Annapolis City Dock and Harbor, Annapolis, MD.  

Annapolis Powerboat Show

The Powerboat Show includes a fleet of boats ranging from luxurious motor yachts and performance boats to offshore fishing machines, family cruisers, center consoles, and inflatables.
  • Dates: October 3 - 6, 2013
  • Location: Annapolis City Dock and Harbor, Annapolis, MD.
We will be there for the sail boat show so let us know if you are going.

I love the HR china, but it takes up too much room in the
galley so I will leave it behind while we do the WARC.
For now we are doing inventory of spare parts, lining up professionals to check the systems and rigging, adding passive power sources, etc. I will be planning the storage for the huge amount of provisioning I will be doing in the fall. This will require rethinking how and where I store things. Space is very limited and I can't just add on a room! Some things like the china are coming off the boat to make more room. I think I can easily live without china for a couple of years! (Yes, we do have the Galley Ware plates and bowls that don't slide so we will be able to eat!)