Saturday, December 30, 2006

Boat Blues

This vacation has definitely not gone off as planned. Kris and I landed in Houston Wednesday night and as soon as we touched down I started working on the boat. The plan was to get it fixed up enough so that we could make the overnight trip down to Port Aransas.

Things started off really well. I swapped out the original battery bank for a new one with 520 amp hours on one bank and a dedicated starting battery in the other. This was a big improvement over the original set up that had two 200 amp hour banks for a total of 400 with out a dedicated starting battery. I wired up two 6 volt golf cart batteries in series and paralleled the two sets for the total house bank and then used a batt selector switch for the cranking batt. So far so good.

Next, I had to pry up the old inspection port on the water tank. This thing was giving me all kinds of hell. Corrosion had almost welded the lit on the tank. Eventually, I rigged a crescent wrench giving me the leverage I needed. Unfortunately, it opened kind of violently throng my thumb into an old hose clamp rolling my thumbnail half way off and taking off a bit of a chunk. Oh well, at least I can say there is a piece of me in this boat. Never the less, we got the tank sanitized, flushed, and filled. This just left the proplock problem.

Sarns proplock went out of business years ago. I didn’t have much luck for finding the parts I needed, but sure enough the previous owner had stocked up on the brake pads I needed to get the system working again. After figuring out how to pull the brake system and caliper off the transmission I swapped out the pads and we were ready to roll for our sail to Port A. Then came the weather.

Being a good sport Kris decided we should give it a try. At least she humored me when I decided we should give it a try. We mostly motored our way down to Galveston, TX before throwing in the towel. The rain and weather just weren’t working for us at all. Kris was pretty miserable and although I would have stuck it out for sheer stubbornness I think she made the right call when we turned around at ~ 1:30. We had a decent sail back in and I was really looking forward to a beer after tying up the boat when I noticed a bunch of nasty looking water being pumped overboard. I confirmed with Kris that she hadn’t touched anything and that’s when I realized it was the automatic bilge pump. We were taking on water.

After a quick inspection I found the packing gland a.k.a. stuffing box was letting in water at a steady trickle. By trickle I mean an unbroken stream of water coming in from the connection between the prop shaft and the bearing that goes outside to the prop. I tightened down the hose clamps to no avail and will have to wait until tomorrow morning when Home Depot opens to get the wrench I need to try and tighten the packing nut in hopes of a relatively easy fix. Hopefully this will compress the packing material enough to stem the tide. If not, Kris and I will have the boat hauled asap. Guess I can get a jump on that first round of repairs. Now all I have to do is convince myself that the boat isn’t going to sink and that the automatic bilge pump will continue to keep up with the leak. Might be a long night.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Here are two inspiring Seniors. One of them is my Mom. Who would have guessed?

So I'll start with the non family member. Robin Knox-Johnston was born in 1939 and he has almost made it from the UK to Freemantle, Australia. He entered into the Velux 5 singlehanded ocean race this year and has had more than his share of setbacks, but he is doing it none the less. He is also the first man to sail around the world non stop. There was a cool story about the fruitcake he opened the first time he sailed round the Horn. Looks like he will get a chance to enjoy another one this time round. Cool story: For more info you might want to check out the book A Voyage for Madmen.

I was both lucky and cursed by having the type of parents who actually instilled the belief that I could do anything I wanted. I attribute any success I've had to the example they set for me both professionally and personally. I guess anyone can get bit by the sailing bug and at any time, including my Mom. She decided to short cut the learning curve just like I did and is going straight to an offshore sailing school. Check them out here: Good work Mom. I know you're going to love it. Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006

So its been almost two weeks since I spent some real time on the boat. Sorry for the lag in updates. Unfortunately, I still have to work in order to fund this whole thing and my final quarter this year didn’t go quite as well as planned. Oh well, help has come from a few unexpected directions. My parents, being the great people that they are, decided to get me the Raymarine ST60 Instrument Pack I’d been looking at. Considering all of the instruments on the boat are shot this was definitely priority number one. Thanks Mom and Dad. Love you guys.

In relation to the rest of the projects I’d posted a while back I’ll fill you in on where I sit.

1. I did spend about 3 hours with the previous owner, J.D. It was very helpful and he did a good job of bringing me up to speed on some of the quirks of the boat. Things like turning on the sailing instruments to activate the switch in the head that turns on the forward bilge pump. No, not the one for the shower sump, but the forward bilge pump. Huh, I may need to think about redoing some of the wiring on the boat. Overall, that time with J.D. was well worth the trip.

2. The Barient Winches. Amazingly, these old winches are extremely well made and the craftsmanship on the internal bearings made them intricately beautiful. It took almost two whole days to tear them down to the component pieces, soak them in kerosene, scrub the degraded grease off, re-grease, and reassemble. The final result was nothing short of a brand new winch. I am excited to get them out sailing and see how they do now under load. We may be putting off those self tailing new fangled plastic winches after all.

3. Well, our epirb is an old one. I’ll probably need to pick up a new 406, but this one should work for coastal sailing until we really cast off. I found some good people up at Shoreline Marine in Houston who is ordering a replacement battery for us. It’ll be ready to pick up before we head off to Port A for new years.

4. The Givens Life Raft. This has turned into one huge pain in the ass. So I did post the video last time of me inflating the raft on the hard. This was a pretty cool experience actually as no one around the Marina had seen one inflated before. The bad news is that no one in TX services this type of raft. So I had to open it up and pull the flares and CO2 so that I could safely ship it to RI to the manufacturer. This thing is heavy. I finally got it off the boat, inflated, repacked and shipped to RI. Well, FedEx decided to sit on the package for a week before putting it on the truck. Givens got the raft just in time to shut down for the holiday. I won’t see that thing back until Feb. On the positive side, the raft worked perfectly. For not having been inspected or repacked in over a decade I was amazed at how good it looked. Even though the customer service from Givens has been lacking, I am hoping they can certify the raft and put it back into service. This will keep me from having to buy a new one. The shot to the right shows what is in the standard survival gear. Water, seasick pills, mechanical patches for the raft, a pump with attachment hose, plastic bladder for water catching, fishing net, flares, flashlight (still just barely worked), and a pack of heavily corodded energizer batteries.

5. The Roller Furler: Now this is an interesting story. So the furler on the boat is an antique. I new that going into this, but this particular furler has been made by FaMet Marine for 30 years. It took me almost two days to track down the current owner and he is sending me a few spares for the unit. The cool thing is it does have an internal halyard so there can be no wrap in a blow, there are no bearings to maintain or rust on the unit, and the drum is heavy enough to reef in a blow. Get this, the owner is going cruising and is willing to sell the company for ~20k. If I could squeeze 5 – 7 K per year out of it that could fund the trip almost indefinitely. It’s funny how things seem to work when you make a decision to try something. I am waiting on more info from the owner to see what the financials look like. And yeah, I got the line replaced as well. Sure does make all the other running rigging look old.

6. Jack lines were already on the boat! In digging through all the spares I found the type of nylon I would have purchased myself. One less thing I’ll need to buy.

7. Cowl vent – 100 bucks at westmarine.

8. Dingy never made it off the davits. With winter on us and the occasional freeze in TX I didn’t want to drop the outboard in the water and pump the block full of water. I think I may wait until spring to tackle this one.

9. Lifejackets are expensive. At least the one I want is. ~ 250 for a CO2 charged vest with internal harness and tether. Regardless, I’ll have to pick this up before we head off to port A.

10. We are up to snuff for a USCG inspection. At least I think we are. I picked up lots of goodies including air horns and flares. I am thinking of having the power squadron come by for a voluntary inspection. This way I can be sure.

The Port A trip should be a good first shakeout. I am a little worried that the batteries are shot and I may replace the whole lot before we head off. Once back, our Razorback neighbors gave the name of a guy who did some good work for them at substantially less than that Seabrook Shipyard. I am excited to have the boat hauled again and get some things like the rudder, macerator, bottom paint, wind, depth, and speed instruments installed. I think I’ve let that same Razorback talk me into getting a nice boot stripe painted on the boat. I am starting to look at this a little more like one of my house rehab projects. Pride of ownership in large part comes from an attractive boat. Secondly, if and when the day comes to re-enter the “real world” I’ll need to sell her. All the cosmetics won’t do a thing to hurt those prospects either.

Merry Christmas Everyone! Have a safe and happy holiday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Givens Life Raft Inflation

This is a Givens 6 man bouy life raft that was manufactured in 1990. It has sat on the deck of my boat in its canister for the last 10 years without an inspection. I had to inflate it and pull out the flares to ship it back to the manufacturer for servicing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Another good thread on sailnet about age, experience, and the dream

I am glad to see this thread. I am on the cusp at 30, but still seem to be one of the younger generation pursuing this dream. I think that this may be a growing contingent of the sailing community and may be a big reflection on the differing viewpoints the younger generation has than the boomers. Specifically, we kids are waiting longer to marry, have kids, and no one is delusional enough to think that our companies are going to look out for us. Urban communities are not as tight nit as they used to be and families tend to be more scattered. I think all of the above has allowed some us to begin questioning earlier what it is we really want out of life. The younger generation seems to be more willing to buck the status quo and go a different way. Personally, I am excited to see it and meet others who are choosing this path earlier. With the advent of groups like ASA and BoatUS sailing isn't the exclusive "old boys club" it used to be. Now if we can just save up the moula flipping burgers to afford that Raymarine ST 60 instrument pack we'll see you in Tahiti!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Getting back to the boat next week.

I am looking forward to getting back on the boat. I’ve been traveling seemingly nonstop with the holidays combined and last minute software demos here at the end of the year. Unfortunately, I may not have as strong as a finish to this year as I had first hoped for which could make it difficult to implement some of the projects I wanted to do at the first haul out. Oh well, I am getting used to the idea of keeping things more and more simple. The fewer outdated systems I need to upgrade the quicker I can go and the longer I can stay.

I’ve been rereading Hal Roth’s How to Sail Around the World and just like the first time have not been diligent about keeping a pad of paper handy to jot down notes of things to check on the boat. Regardless, I love this book as it really gives a multitude of things to look for from the perspective of a no frills cruising boat. With wireless on the boat I am going to spend next week working from Houston. This will give me a chance to take on some of the projects I listed earlier on in the blog like getting the life raft inspected, updating the EPIRB battery, rigging some jacklines, servicing the winches, and running my dingy. So far I haven’t even had the dingy off the davits. I sure hope that outboard works! I am going to try to add a new worksheet to the project and cruising costs spreadsheet on the website. This one will track basic statistics like length of various lines, fuel filter part numbers and replacement gaskets, serial numbers from various electronics. Hopefully this will not only act as a service guide to the equipment for future repairs, but help me make educated purchases while I plan from New Mexico.

As I flew to Oakland this morning for a meeting I landed next to a guy on the plane who was a broker for J-Boats. Good guy and he just confirmed that everyone in Houston, Texas involved in the boating world knows this boat I bought or at least a rumor of it. J.D. Sellers, the former owner, was the Harbor Master at Waterford Marina. This guy seems to be infamous. I am looking forward to having a beer with him on Romance and working through all the various systems and really getting a handle on the systems he installed. If I can find a decent drafting program, god forbid I have to do it by hand, I’ll mock up a hull map showing each system component. One map each for plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and most important all through hulls regardless of purpose. Time to start putting this old girl together!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Vanity vs. reality

So the good news is I got a call from Blain who is doing the compound buff and wax on the Mistress. He said he is amazed at how much better the boat actually came out than even he expected. Unfortunately, it will be another week before I can get down to check it out. Apparently knocking off 8 years of oxidation from a hull and deck that haven't been waxed can make a difference. I can't wait to see her. Price for this little jobbie? $650. Beautiful boat...priceless.

On the other hand, unlike my experience calling service shops in CA, no one, and I mean no one wants to touch this 6 man Givens life raft of mine. The fact that it hasn’t been serviced in a decade doesn't bode well for the result anyway, but the fact that no one even services them anymore should tell me something. I guess it's time to pony up and shell out the dough for a new life raft. Something I was really hoping to avoid.

Due to my budget restraints I am finding my self becoming pretty stingy. Not that I live elaborately to begin with, but eating out 2 - 3 times a week certainly isn't out of order. To manage the budget to make this trip happen I am really going to have to start living the life now. Letting all "disposable" income go to the boat. Call me Mr. Frugal. First step, quit smoking. I had my last one about a week ago. I am chewing on some gum for the occasional nicotine fit, but so far so good. Time to start rediscovering the culinary delights of Raman. Cheers everyone.

Monday, November 20, 2006

If you are not a member of sailnet, you should be.

This thread kind of got my blood up. Maybe I am crazy for ditching a great job at 30 with no reentry plan or source of income while cruising, but I can no longer imagine doing anything else. I also can't imagine working at a job for someone else during the most productive years of my life and not living for myself until I can retire at 68. Whatever drive has a hold of me is powerful. I think I would do more damage by not listening than by succumbing and taking a chance.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Planning to go sailing.

Every year there is a race called the Harvest Moon Regatta from Galveston Island to Port Anarnsas, TX. It's about a 150 mile offshore treck and takes from 20 - 30 hours depending on the conditions. Kris and I have missed this years run, but are gearing up to make our own. The total trip will be around 180 miles one way by my charting from Clear Lake to Port A. This will be a pretty good test for us and the boat as neither one of us has sailed a 24 hour passage before. We will still be in pretty close to land providing some margin of safety, but we will have to keep a 24 hour watch as the Gulf is cluttered with both lit and unlit oil platforms. They are pretty well marked on the map and between the GPS with our waypoints plugged in and the radar I think we will be fine. I've put togheter a short list of projects that I will check off before we take off.

Boat Projects Prior to Offshore Sale to Port Aransas

1. Spend day onboard with J.D. Sellers. Need to better understand fuel, mechanical, and electrical systems on board before going offshore. i.e. AC Panel, access to dipstick port, water maker usage, battery volt meter configuration, etc.

2. Tear down, clean, and grease old Barient Winches (x4).

3. Have EPIRB battery replaced. Expired 3 years ago, but tests OK.

4. Have Givens 6 man life raft inspected. May need to be replaced or in need of extensive repair.

5. Replace Roller Furling line. Very worn with UV damage.

6. Set up Jack Line configuration for offshore sail.

7. Replace Cowl vent lost overboard.

8. Test run dingy and inspect all fuel lines, cooling lines, and spark plugs on outboard before departure.

9. Acquire CO2 charged life jacket with harness attachment for jacklines.

10. Acquire all USCG required safety equipment. i.e. noise maker, flares, throwables

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Our first weekend on the boat was a great one.

Kris and I flew out to Kemah this past weekend to get to know our new boat, Romance. We woke up early on Saturday to the sound of the wind early howling through the rigging at about 30 mph. We were both a little concerned about going out that day, but went ahead getting the boat rigged and ready for a day on the water. This is nothing like the charter boats we’ve handled to date. All the rigging is older and the ketch rig means that the cockpit is cluttered with standing rigging, dingy davits, and of course that mizzen mast right in the middle of the cockpit. Regardless, after going through the systems the night before and all the running rigging that morning we were sure we could handle her as long as we could get out of the slip without holing her on the dock.

Pulling out of the slip turned out to be a simple matter. We let the wind take the bow and came around almost 270 degrees right into the fairway and headed for the channel. While we were prepping I remembered one of the comments that J.D. had made during the sea trial. He hadn’t put diesel in the tank in almost three years. That comment combined with no fuel gage and a home made dipstick that didn’t inspire confidence meant we had a date with the fuel dock in high winds. We found a place on the way out and a young hand on the dock who gave us a hand getting secured. I came in a little hot trying to maintain steerage against the wind. It took another 15 minutes prying on the deck fill cap that was betraying just how long it really had been since that port had been used. We dropped in 30 gallons of fresh diesel and headed out to the Galveston Bay.

Once clear of the bridge we decided against the main and rolled out the big 140% Genoa Headsail and went “jib and jigger” with the mizzen. She was well balanced and sailed at a steady 6.5 – 7 knots in ~15 – 20 knots of wind. Not bad for having half the sail area resting comfortably on the boom. Under sail we realized that the autopilot worked, but only when activated by the hand remote that necessitated running a cord from the interior companionway across the cockpit to the helmsman. Not the best of scenarios. Next I Kris realized just how much fun it was to use a 30 year old #26 Barient Winch on 140 Genoa in a good breeze. I though she was making it harder that it really was until I took my turn. All of sudden we are both seriously considering the upgrade to self tailing winches. I may give these at least one shot at a rebuild, but for short handed sailors self tailing winches make a pretty strong argument. Overall, I think all of us, Kris, myself, and the boat did fantastic for our first day on the water.

On our way back in we headed to our new slip in Waterford Harbor Marina on Pier 13. I don’t even thing we had the bow cleat on before we heard the neighbor yell, “Hey, new neighbors!” About 10 minutes later there were beers in hand and K and I were being introduced up and down the dock. Waterford Harbor is about as far from a remote cruising anchorage as you can get, but the welcome we received really made it feel like we had already started our trip. Pier 13 is full of great people, some live aboards like the Razorback’s in the slip next door and some are weekend warriors taking full advantage of the friendly docs to ring in the weekends. Kris and I have landed in a great spot and already seem to have made some pretty good friends.

Sunday found us tearing the boat apart. Well, at least taking a seam ripper to the hearts sewn onto the Sail Canvas. Once Kris had those off she immediately started taking down random bits of coral that had been glued to the walls of the boat with lots of little fish magnets. Pretty cheesy and the interior looks incredibly better. The whole pride of ownership has kicked in and although she is still a pretty boat, I want to bring Romance back to a much more presentable state. In that vein our neighbors pointed me towards someone who can compound wax the hull and a couple of ladies who do wonders for the bright work. She should be looking good in no time. Now if I can just earn the money needed to start the functional refit.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It’s been a tough couple of three weeks…..

I haven’t been home much lately and when I have been home it seems like I’ve been locked in my office working. Word has kind of gotten out at work that I am pursing this dream and I am a little concerned the powers that be might think I am slacking off chasing down boats when I should be working. The real truth is I have never worked harder in my life. Knowing how much work I need to have done on this boat and the strength of the desire to make this trip happen has me chasing every sale and every dollar I think I can bring in. So much so that I have all but dropped out of the MBA program and I can’t even find the time finish all the closing paperwork on the boat.

Oh yeah, I am buying the boat. We haggled a bit more and I got the seller to throw in his custom fiberglass dingy and 15 hp Johnson outboard motor. Not exactly the financial break I was looking for but it will still save me several thousand dollars finding and buying a new dingy. I am really excited about finally moving into the outfitting stage and leaving the boat hunting stage behind. I never dreamed that buying a boat would be more complicated than buying a house, but either I am not getting all the info I should be or there are just a lot more details to get a boat purchased. There have been a lot of documents overnighted lately, but if I can get the vessel title documentation in order and fedexed back to the company tomorrow I think we can close on Friday. That is trickier than it sounds as I am writing this on a flight to Reno for a software demo tomorrow (Thursday) and have a Finance exam of Friday to boot. Nope, haven’t started studying yet. Save that for the flight back home.

I did find one new reason to love my job other than the money. We had our user group meeting in San Diego this year and I had a couple of customers and colleagues that wanted to go sailing. Fortunately, Marina Sailing of Southern California has a marina down there so I was able to pick up a Hunter 420 on short notice and take out 8 customers and colleagues. It was really a tremendous day. 15 – 20 knots of wind and seeing the joy on someone’s face who has never been sailing before reminded me of my first time on a boat and how hard the bug bit. This was the first time I has skippered anything over 32 feet and also the first time I had taken anyone out sailing other than my girlfriend and myself. Seeing the effect sailing can have on people makes me want to introduce as many people to this sailing thing as possible. Sailing has magic in it. It still seems kind of crazy to me that I didn’t start sailing but four or five years ago and I am buying a boat to sail around the world.

I was trying to remember the other day when the idea first hit me. Oddly, my Mom was visiting me when I was living in Dallas not long after I had finished grad school. There was a Discovery Channel show on that detailed a new analytical instrument that could submerge for 4 or 5 months on end collecting data. They called it the Slocum after that famous sailor. I did a little research and picked up his book Sailing Alone Around the World. That led to looking up a sailing school in Dallas and then to finding the Project Bluesphere website. Needless to say the urge to go sailing snowballed to where I am today. A big part of the impetus came from the difficult transition I had from Grad School to the corporate sales world. Something just didn’t fit.

I don’t know where I picked it up but I have always been wary of success. Only because success in the wrong field is far more dangerous than failure in a field in which you belong. Sales came easy to me and the money has been good ever since I started. However, I know that if I continue this way of life I’ll end up a hollow man. That isn’t a price I am willing to pay for wealth. So be careful, even if you are good at what you are doing, if it isn’t something you love, stop. Get out. Leave it behind and do what you desire to do.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Had the survey done on the 19th

Well, I finally coughed up the dough to get the Allied surveyed on the 19th. I wound up working with one of the very best surveyors in Texas, Mike Firestone. I highly recommend him. He is one of the only surveyors who makes going up the rigging a standard part of his procedure. Not to mention he truly leaves no system untested. Apparently the brokers don't like him much because he doesn't do anything to help them sell boats. That's the kind of recommendation I like to hear. The title link will take you to the boat page where the survey has been posted along with two new links of pictures. The first link takes you to the pictures Mike took during the survey. The second are my own.

Getting the boat surveyed wasn't really the experience I thought it was going to be. Things went very well, but it turns out to be a difficult process spending 9 hours doing nothing but finding fault with something I've already started envisioning myself owning. At the end of the day I was ready to scrap the whole deal. Oddly enough, after sleeping on it and reading the report things seemed much better. I've still got the same concerns about the boat I had going into the survey, including the high engine hours, and a few new ones like the rusty fuel tank.

I think at the end of the day this is still my boat. For the money I am not going to find something that will be this comfortable to live aboard. She really has been well maintained even though she does have some age on her. She is pretty down below and roomy enough for two and a couple of dogs. I think with some elbow grease and time I can have her up to speed for a round the world rally. I'll see if I can get the seller to knock off a few thousand based on the new findings from the survey. I'll need every penny if I want to get this boat upgraded like I want it. I am still incredibly nervous about having enough money to outfit the boat and have anything remaining to go cruising on, but I won't know until I try. Worse case scenario, I buy a sextant and go as is.

Considering I am 1K into this know I really do want to get the spreadsheet up and running that I'll use to track all the expenses for the boat and the cruise. I think putting real numbers together for this will be informative for myself and for someone else looking to undertake such a trip.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Ulysses Factor and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

Robin Knox-Johnston was born in 1939 and was the first man to sail around the world non-stop. He returned home to England received by a hero's welcome. Following the race around the world RKJ continued to move in the sailing community helping to teach children of all ages to sail on tall ships and continuing to race to a lessor degree. Amazingly, RKJ is setting of again at age 67 to race around the world.

The Ulysses Factor is a concept derived by J.R.L. Anderson in his work by the same title. it addresses the exploring instinct in man, or better put, what makes a man chose to journey? One of the factors inherent to the factor is that it does not diminish with age. RKJ was held up by Anderson as one modern example of a man who embodied the Ulysses Factor. I think RKJ has added substantial corroboration to Anderson's argument with his latest adventure.

To learn more about the first non-stop race around the world check out the book A Voyage for Madmen. You can find an Amazon link on the required reading page of my website. These guys sailed around the world when the sextant was the best means to fix your position. Just a reminder, gadgets are great, but they don't make the trip possible. That's your job.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A whole lot going on.

I think I am still in a little bit of shock, but I made an offer on one of the boats in Texas. The Allied Mistress 39 meets almost all of the basic requirements I set out for the cruising boat. I found a website that runs through these requirements in much better detail that I have outlined them to date. Check them out at This couple did a really great job of documenting their cruising experience. I hope I can be as diligent.

The boat will still need a lot of work even thought she is in good shape overall. The engine has 7000 hours on her and will most likely need an overhaul. The radar, gps, instruments (depth, speed, wind) no longer work, and the autopilot is old enough that spares will be almost impossible to come by. These all have to be replaced. The manual anchor windlass needs to be sandblasted and recoated, the sails need to be refurbished with some minor repair, the boat needs a total paint job to look really good, and I am sure the survey will find much more for me to do. Speaking of which, we haul her out and get her inspected and take her on a sea trial on the 19th. I haven't been great about pictures, but I am planning on loading up during the sea trial. There are too many details I can't remember from the few hours I spent on the boat.

Considering the total investment that will be made in the boat I am going to publish an online spreadsheet so that others thinking of doing this can see the "real" cost of owning and outfitting a cruising boat. While the cost scares the hell out of me, I am really excited to transition from boat hunting to boat outfitting. I threw up some details about the Allied company and boat model on my page. Click the title above or head to my homepage to check it out.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A quote I wanted to capture....

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." --Mark Twain

Great quotes....

If you haven't noticed already I am kind a quote guy. I am pretty articulate, but when I see someone else who can express clearly a though with an economy of words I am always impressed. I ran across this one this morning.

If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability. --Henry Ford

In a nut shell, one of the hardest things about going cruising is determining how much is enough? I could probably save for the rest of my life, but never have enough money to carry through a voyage like this with complete certainty. I guess that is part of both the excitement and the draw of a circumnavigation. It is a great leveler of men. Once you are out there, nothing you have done to date matters. Only that you have the desire, the attitude, and the ability to handle what the world throws at you. This is a good one to help keep the money factor in perspective.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Chosing the right cruising boat

<===Allied Mistress 39

Considering I will be spending 3 years or more on this boat and that it is my primary defense against drowning for those three years, I want to make the right decision. I've spent a ton of time researching boats on the internet trying to make a shortlist of those that seem to best fit my needs. In a nut shell, that means she is less than 40 feet, modified full keel, fiberglass, and show consistent maintenance all under 50 - 60K. Needless to say, this does not return a whole lot of boats. It's been likened to hunting for a needle in a haystack.

I've been trying to take a few hours here and there while I travel to the west coast for work to look at boats. While this has helped me get a much better appreciation for what is available out there, it is also somewhat frustrating. I've not viewed a boat yet that was realistically depicted in its ad. I am hoping that the broker I am working with now in Texas can help me cut the list down to those that fit the bill. The title link goes to one of the boats at the top of the list. There is also an Alberg 37 in Kemah that looks promising.

Alberg 37 ====>

I've been running through the numbers for the boat purchase should I find "the one". I figure $1000 for the haul out and inspection, $7,500 for the down payment; $150/month for insurance, ~ $500/month for slip fees, ~ $500/month for the boat loan. This adds up quick. I am still looking at the pros and cons of buying the boat outright. I am leaning towards financing so that the interest gained from the cruising kitty can at least offset between 200 & 400 per month of the expenses. Roughly a break even with the loan, but I still have the money in my bank for emergencies.

Transport cost is another concern. Originally I wanted a boat on the west coast as it made more sense with the amount of time I spend in CA for work. However, I can't, or I should say, haven't been able to find a suitable boat out there. That means there will be some added expense for travel back and forth from New Mexico to Houston. Or, I could have the boat hauled out and transported over ground for between 5 – 10K. Yeah, I still live in a desert and am planning a circumnavigation. Go figure.

Insurance is another problem. With the hurricanes in the news the past year or two, no one can pretend the Gulf Coast is safe. The problem arises in that with a boat loan, insurance is required. I can probably swing a basic policy for the first year, but once we start cruising insurance goes through the roof. I don't like the idea of sailing around the world in an uninsured boat, but there may not be a great solution to this problem. Obviously, there are about a million variables to work through still.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Anger, a coconut, and a goal

I am sitting on Kauai, one of the most beautiful islands of Hawaii, at the end of a vacation. I felt a little lost here at the beginning, almost as if I cheated arriving here by flying Hawaiian Air and not by sailing vessel. However, the beauty of the island quickly dissipated all hesitancy and sheer relaxation kicked in the first time I touched and swam with one of the many strangely elegant sea turtles in the coastal waters.

I experienced first hand how unchecked rage can bring down not just a vacation, but potentially a whole friendship. A simple fender bender turned one of our companions into a stark raving mad lunatic. I hope that I can use the experience as a reminder that regardless of the circumstances, the best course of action is always the one that truth dictates. Taking responsibility instead of shifting blame has always made me feel better by alleviating the problem rather than generating a new one on top of existing dilemmas.

On a high note, I used a long stick to knock down a beautiful green coconut from a short palm. It was a far greater effort than I first thought would be needed, but it was a serene experience on Secret Beach, one of the most picturesque beaches I have ever seen. The back drop was set against a churning stormy blue sea with white sandy beaches stretching up to sheer black basalt cliffs with a white light house on the cliffs that could have been plucked out of antiquity.

When we got back to our condo I used the only implement I had, a large kitchen knife, to “peel” the coconut open and made a crystalline coconut water, lime, and rum drink that satisfied in the way only a foraged meal can.

It is September 8th, just short of 9 months from my 31st birthday. If I really am going to set sail at the start of 2008 I need to make finding my boat a major priority. I think making the final purchase as close to my birthday as possible will add a realistic incentive to the goal and a nice touch to the day. I hope the next time I see Hawaii it is from the bow of my boat as the first Polynesians saw the islands.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

In Memory...

My family and I lost a very good friend yesterday. Lloyd Wyrick died at 85. Loyd and Ruby Wyrick lived next door to me in the house I grew up in. There was not a single day I ran into Lloyd he didn’t find some way of making me laugh. We’ll miss you Loyd. Cheers.

Loyd G. Wyrick, 85 years old, of Springfield, Missouri, passed away at 11:15 a.m. on Monday, August 14, 2006. He was born October 5, 1920, in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, as the third son of Bert and Ova Wyrick. Loyd was a graduate of the Wyandotte, Oklahoma, High School and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps with the 316th TC Group during World War II. He married the former Ruby Cain on August 27, 1949, and would have celebrated his 57th anniversary with her later this month. Loyd worked for American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and had more than 35 years of service when he retired in 1981. His final position was with AT&T's engineering group in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to Springfield in 1981 and was a member of the local chapter of AT&T Pioneers. Loyd was a member of the Platte Wood, Missouri, Christian Church, a 32nd degree Mason and a Shriner. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Cletis, Warren, Gordon, Rayford, Glen and Bert; and sisters, Garnett Hull and Letha Beery. Loyd is survived by his wife, Ruby; sons, Thomas of Springfield and James of Kansas City; grandchildren, Sara Wyrick and Matthew Wyrick; sister, June Opp of Little Rock; a number of nieces, nephews, and many other relatives and friends. Services will be held at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home at 1947 E. Seminole St., Springfield, with visitation this evening between 6 and 8 p.m. and funeral services Thursday at 3 p.m. Loyd will be laid to rest in the Hazelwood Cemetery, 1642 E. Seminole Street.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A bigger plan....

So keeping a journal is a new one for me. Let alone one that is open to be viewed by anyone who cares to look for it. Regardless, I want to use this space as a place to keep ideas and formulate some thoughts for a possible book. Sailing around the world is a pretty big goal in itself. However, I don't want it to be an extraordinary vacation. I am looking for more out of it and I want to capture the experience somehow. Considering I am a poor photographer, and I have zero musical talent, writing seems to be my best options.

Looking at society today, people seem to be caught up in the mundane so much so that they have lost all sight of living and what that means. The rates of obesity, depression, and pharmaceutical dependency all appear as symptoms to me. Big pharma and now biotechs do an excellent job of treating these symptoms, but no one seems to be really looking at the source of the problem. First, let me say that I completely agree with the use of meds such as anti-depressants when they allow someone to regain their livelihood and begin to work towards a better life. However, in contrast, I don't like to see a medicated society where the symptoms are neutralized allowing the sufferer to ignore the problem.

A somewhat unrelated topic that concerns me is what does it take for a person to break with societal dogma and pursue the dreams they have? The following excerpt comes from a commencement speech that Steve Jobs of Apple gave. I think it is an excellent statement of the facts that must be realized before the greater questions can be addressed.

When I was seventeen, I read a quote that went something like “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right”. It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long form now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.

–Steve Jobs

I wonder if someone has to come to terms with their own mortality before they can begin to listen to the small voices within them. Those voices are the ones that can tell us where our happiness is. For me, that has always been to travel and explore new places. For others maybe it's to have a big family, work for a non profit, climb Everest, or have a garden. That's individual; the courage to pursue the dreams is common, or at least the search for the courage to follow your dreams. - Lee

Friday, July 07, 2006