Monthly Archives: August 2015

Really? THAT Triggered a Spasm of Panic?

The countdown has really begun. In the next 30 days I will attempt to shut down our house and move to a boat.  Mental lists are being converted to paper (okay computer) so nothing is forgotten.

Many decisions have simply been a matter of research, like determining how to move our physical property to the boat:  compare companies, costs and timing, then choose a reputable company.  Determining what to bring and estimating how large a palate we need is more of a challenge, but it is do-able.

The odd thing is the little items that pop up and cause emotional upheaval. Some item or service that I take for granted in my house that will soon be lost.

The perfect example?   Internet.

Internet???  Yep.

Is it just me or does anyone else get blindsided by an unexpected emotional response?

Today on a little square of my calendar I wrote “terminate internet service” and suddenly my stomach clenched and my heart stuttered.

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Sitting in my house I have uninterrupted access to excellent, high speed internet. My computer automatically connects, the lights are on and I have information and communication at my fingertips – without thought, without fail.

Or I grab my trusty Iphone and everyone I care about is a few buttons away.

Thirty-one days from now that will no longer be the case! Internet and phone communication will become a variable instead of a given.

Now that proximity to my family and friends is being lost, I feel myself clinging to communication as though it were the oxygen I need to breathe.

People think the idea of living on a boat is a bit scary, what with hurricanes, storms, sharks, etc.  I won’t say I don’t think of those things, but right this minute, as I plan my disconnect from home, communication seems to be the lifeline I am most afraid of loosing.

Surely someone understands my slight panic?  Am I alone in this fear or have you suffered this somewhat illogical fear?

How did our forefathers leave home and country without knowing how they would remain in contact with family?

Thank God it is 2015 or I would never be able to sever the cord!

From Charter to Live Aboard – Scheduled to Change – Part I

Now that LIB is finished with her charter life, we are implementing some changes to make her a bit more specific for our use.  Some of the changes will be made immediately while still at TMM and others will be made when we are in Puerto Del Ray Marina in Puerto Rico.

My sailing friends can probably imagine several of the items on the list.  My land loving friends will probably shake their heads at the items needed. But anyone who knows Frank can imagine the detail and thought put into the list…. Would you wager it is well organized?

I am fortunate to have such a capable captain; and no, I don’t mean the dog!

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PDR is a very large marina.

Frank has put together a spreadsheet of changes that includes everything from important functions to pure luxuries. The list includes 66 items that range from maintenance to extravagance; from a one hour DIY to a 3 week contractor job. We will not complete all of the items on our list because we are not sure we truly want all of them and the costs would be prohibitive. Below are some we know we will complete before we leave PR.

Steering on the Helia:

Let It Be is Helia hull #4 and was built with the original specifications. On later hulls, some changes were made to improve the Helia. One major revision was to the steering system which was underrated for the early Helias. We have already had to replace the steering cable on LIB twice. Fountaine Pajot has changed the steering on later Helia models from a teleflex push pull rod system to a hydraulic one.   We have reviewed a couple of steering options and decided to install the warrantied system FP is now using. Some people dislike the lack of feedback on hydraulic steering, but we are willing to loose some “feel” in our steering to insure it will hold up to the weight and size of the boat.

Anchor Windless:

Our windless has been extremely reliable and the size is sufficient.  However,  the whole windless was installed a little too close to the starboard side of the anchor compartment.  We cannot fit the manual lever handle onto the gypsy cogs because the handle hits the fiberglass frame of the compartment. This means that if our windless failed, we would have to pull the anchor chain up by hand.

The plan is to move the windless slightly to port so the lever handle can fit onto the gypsy in case we have to use it manually.  When we adjust the windless, we will also reinforce the platform of the windless to make it a bit more substantial. While the platform is adequate, we think it would be better if it was stronger.

Finally, we will install a windless remote at the helm station which will deploy and retrieve the anchor as well as count the amount of chain released.

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We anticipate using this Lofrans Remote

Water Maker:

We found that the most limiting factor in our six week trip this summer was water.  It is very possible to live without a water maker, but I found water was a focus of my thoughts whenever we ran low. In other words, running low on fresh water made me nervous. In my opinion, there are many things that require attention while sailing and I don’t want water to be one of them on Let It Be.

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RO 30 GPH Watermaker Pre-filter.

Dive Compressor:

We have decided to add a Coltri MCH6 110V compressor to LIB. The convenience of refilling tanks on board and avoiding transporting them in the dinghy every time we need to refill is worth it to us. Plus this allows us to have a total of only 4 tanks on board which reduces the weight on LIB and means we need to find a storage place for fewer tanks.

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Coltri MCH6 Dive Compressor

Cushions:

The cushions on LIB have always been an issue with me. They were ordered in a neutral color for a charter situation, but they are BLAND and hard. We will replace all of the outdoor cushions while in Puerto Rico. This is a major investment, but it is also the best way to make the boat unique to us and add some color. I have been wrestling with the cushion material for months now and I am so tired of thinking about it that I am ready to just pull the trigger and order the fabric. I just pray that I like the final product because the cushions will need to last a loooooong time to get our money’s worth!

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A combination of this stripe and the solid blue will be used for our new cushions.

These are the big ticket items on our spreadsheet that we know we will install.  Other expensive additions we are considering are an enclosure for the helm, a sun shade for the aft side of the cockpit, additional solar panels and new sails. But we are not sure what we want or if these items are necessary, so we will probably put them off until the end of our first full season aboard.

We do have plans to upgrade our communications options, but I will cover that after we have fleshed out our decisions a bit better.

Tortola Marine Management has done an excellent job of maintaining Let It Be, but we want to be sure she is in tiptop shape when we depart.  To that end, we have a very long list of maintenance items on the spreadsheet.  Frank has done a tremendous job of listing each task along with the supplies, parts and tools required for each one.  He has also assigned particular jobs to each of us.

I see a good amount of learning in my near future as I tackle some jobs I never imagined myself taking on.  I both look forward to and dread the challenge. I am sure I will have some embarrassing  interesting stories to share. It’s a little daunting to know I will be doing the maintenance on parts we will rely on every single day!

Care to share any tasks you have taken on that you never expected to tackle?  I could use the encouragement!

3 Houses and No Place to Nest…

The decision to move to Let It Be was made more than two years ago.  Since then, many changes have been accomplished. Our plan to move aboard is close and will be realized within 8 weeks. Yet I have found myself a bit muddled and out of sorts.

Have you felt this way after making a major decision even though you still believe the decision is a good one?

Currently our house in Texas is for sale, which means we maintain it like a House Beautiful photographer is on the way.  To escape the model home syndrome, we are vacationing off and on in a darling VRBO house in Durango, CO.  As for Let It Be, she is finishing her charter life in the British Virgin Islands, taking happy folks from one beautiful beach to the next.

So in a sense, we have three “homes” in three very different places right now.  I know LIB will become our one home, but right now I feel like a three legged stool with a foot in each location.

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And as happens in these situations, I am not perfect at keeping up with which things are where.  Like my one remaining pair of dress pants which I needed in Durango, but I realized I had left in Dallas. Only when I got to Dallas I learned that one pair of pants was accidentally put in a box headed for Let It Be via Puerto Rico!!

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The pants are not a tragedy, but they have allowed me to finally put a finger on why I feel so muddled.  I am not the type to decorate and redecorate my home, but I really like knowing what I have and where it is.  “Nesting” for me means I have one place for my things.

This doesn’t mean I have to have a lot of stuff, but it does mean that what I have is in a single location and I can put my hands on whatever I am looking for.

A few people have wondered how we can think about letting go of a land home to live on a boat. Or they think we should have a small land place somewhere so we can “go home” if we want.

Well, I think this feeling of wanting all our toys in one sandbox might just be the answer to why we think owning only a boat sounds like a great idea.

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(Google Image)

We want to travel and see new places and by living on LIB, all our toys, clothes and doodads will travel with us – including my one remaining pair of pants!

Admittedly choosing a boat as our residence is not a mainstream choice and it means a significant reduction of ownership, but right this minute, I am soooo ready to put all my possessions in one house boat!

How about you – do you prefer just one sandbox? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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