Real Life…

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I must admit, I really thought we had done our homework when it came to buying a sailboat.  But, that would be a negative!  So we did buy “The Boat“, the one we love, however, after spending thousands of dollars on hiring experts and buyer’s advocates to make sure she was mostly problem free (mostly, because there is no such thing as a completely problem free boat) we found out the experts had failed us completely.  We brought her home and truly dug in (now having the time to do so), figuring out how everything worked and where everything should go and my husband looks at the bottom half of the mast and notices a bulge. We call an expert that we trust (yes there are a few out there that are trustworthy) — he specializes in rigging and mast work — and he comes out right away and tells us that it is not good. It’s actually very bad and we could have lost the sails, rigging, mast, and even the boat on our passage home. It’s cracked. And not just a small crack, but an 18inch split right up the middle at the base.

Really?! What?!

So I remember that I had videoed the survey.  We went back and looked at the footage and the bulge was right there and the surveyor was looking right at it in much of the footage. Did he say anything about it or put it in his report? That would be a big fat NO.

So, our rigger reached out to US Spars, the maker of the mast, to see what our options might be. We knew it would be repair or replace, but our rigger was hoping US Spars would step up to the plate and help us out since this was a known issue with that mast. And… while we were waiting for an answer, the shitter exploded in the forward head. OMG!

Luckily it exploded in a bilge area, but there was liquid splatter everywhere in there.  One thing that makes this super bad is that “IT’S NOT OUR SHIT”.  But we bought her so guess what, we clean and fix her. Lance and I could not believe what was happening.  We tried to avoid all this by paying the extra money for experts to let us know what condition the boat was in before we signed on the dotted line.

Oh, and have I mentioned that the freezer quit freezing?

So here’s where we are today.  After much thought, we decided that fixing her was the only option — especially since US Spars told us we were on our own.  So we hauled her out last week for a bottom repainting and had the service guys repair the valves in the heads.  This weekend we will be motoring her to Pensacola for a huge mast repair job — hoping that once this is done we will be on our way to bluer waters.

All in all, real life is not blue oceans painted with perfect sunsets, dolphins everywhere, and a sailboat that never has problems.  Real life is hard. It’s hard work, sweat, blood, tears, laughter, love, learning, and most importantly sharing the journey with our friends and family.  What is an adventure without the unknown, if we wanted that we would have kept our house and all our possessions and lived a boring life of wondering and dreaming of what if! So my advice in all this is, just DO IT! Buy the boat, live the dream, or whatever makes you happy.  Take the good with the bad and learn everyday while you live every moment.

Shelly

Quick Update…

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We’ve been crazy busy packing and getting stocked up for the trip down to St. Pete this weekend. On the forefront of our minds has been safety so I’ve spent 2 hours of my life today getting a new MMSI number for our VHF emergency beacon, and getting our EPIRB (satellite beacon) re-registered as us, with our new boat name (nope, not telling yet), and emergency contacts updated.

Besides emergency beacons, new inflatable PFDs, tethers (to keep our sail-happy butts INSIDE the boat) we’ve also been whipping out all that stuff we’ve been stockpiling for a year. Things that we’ve been saying, “You know, that would be cool for the boat — if we ever get one.”

If you have any suggestions for provisions or provisioning, PLEASE drop in a comment below. We love to hear from more experienced sailors!

As for the passage next week, it’s still looking good. Our weather window is holding with a forecast of 15-24 knot winds, 2-5 foot seas, and mostly clear skies.

Boat repairs are going smoothly too, so-far. New VHF should be in on Friday, starboard upper shroud has been replaced, and propane tanks are going to get tested tomorrow. Don’t need one of those things blowing a crater in our boat halfway across the gulf (one of them failed inspection at the survey). Also had the fuel tanks cleaned today and the diesel polished. The guy found a ton of sediment in the bottom and even water. Glad we decided to jump on that before the passage home instead of saying, “Meh, we’ll take care of it once we get the boat home.”

Stay tuned you guys. More coming soon!

Sailing Into The Blue

We Bought A Boat!!!

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This post has been a LONG time coming, and though most of you already know from Facebook, but WE BOUGHT A BOAT!!

Introducing Aquila, a Beneteau 393, 40 foot sailing yacht with a forward Pullman berth and shower/head, and queen sized aft berth with an additional shower/head. She has a full galley to port and a spacious living area and tons of storage.

And though Aquila is her name for now, we have already filed our USCG paperwork to change the name to something that’s closer to our hearts and exemplifies how our lives have matured to the place we are now. I’ll give you a hint, it’s about changing one’s life priorities and perspectives to things more meaningful and adventurous.

Can you tell we’re excited? We closed on her a week ago today and have been in a mad scramble to order provisions for the galley and safety gear like inflatable PFDs with harnesses and tethers to keep us aboard during the passage to bring her home. We’ve also been coordinating a few minor repairs that were found during the survey: VHF radio needs replacing, one of the starboard shrouds needs replacing because the swage at the top of the mast had a small crack in it, new anchor light on the mast, new starting battery for the motor, and a few other little things. We’re also having the fuel tanks emptied, polish the fuel, clean the tanks, and fill them back up.

The plan, so far, is to rent a small SUV next weekend, load it up with our belongings, and drive down to St. Pete and spend our first night aboard Aquila while we prepare her for the passage home later that week. Weather permitting, we’re going to set sail for a 3 to 4 day passage home on March 15th. We’ve hired a captain to help us out. While Shelly and I feel confident in our sailing experience, we are also smart enough to understand that a 400 mile passage in the open sea 100 miles off shore is far more serious than the day sailing we’ve been doing for the past few years and getting ourselves and the boat home safe is the most important thing.

In the mean time, we’re getting our passage meal list together, scrubbing the new nesting cookware, music playlists, packing, pricing out jerry cans for extra fuel, lining up a rental car, and sooo much more.

Please feel free drop in any questions or comments below! We love to talk boat!

SailingIntoTheBlue

Boat Buying Update…

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Just a quick update:

The survey and sea trial went great on Monday. Only a few minor issues were found.

  • The starboard upper shroud swage has a tiny crack in it so we’re having a rigger replace the whole run after we close on the boat.
  • The VHF radio does not seem to transmit so we’re having it replaced with a newer/fancier version that does AIS as well.
  • The house and starter batteries need replacing so we’re going to have the starter battery changed out before we bring her home, but will probably tackle the larger house battery afterward.
  • The engine tachometer isn’t showing the right RPMs so we’re going to have a mechanic check it out and recalibrate it.
  • And lastly, the anchor light isn’t working so the rigger is going to change it out for us as well.

We took lots of video of the survey, haul out, and sea trial and will be editing it down soon, but in the mean time, here are a few photos of Monday.

SailingIntoTheBlue

Could it finally be happening? Part 4…

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To read from the beginning Click Here

We arrived back home in Mobile just before dark, exhausted, stressed over the boat offer, and road-weary. I expected we might hear back from Nani’s broker Monday morning or afternoon, but if the guy wanted to play hardball he might wait until Tuesday morning. And when Tuesday morning rolled around without a word, I waited (impatiently) until just after lunch to call our broker, Leo, and see if he could shake the tree a little and find out what was going on.

He called me back just after 2 p.m. with the bad news. The seller was not only rejecting our offer, but would not even counter. He was taking the boat off the market. Shelly and I have speculated on his decision, wondering if he had realized he had put too much money into the refit to sell at the price listed, or if he just had a change of heart and couldn’t give up Nani. It didn’t matter though, there was a duplicate Beneteau 393, Aquila, who had been fatefully sitting outside our hotel all weekend.

Remember I mentioned we had a hell of a time getting a hotel for the weekend? The only hotel out of dozens and it ended up right next to the first boat we saw on Saturday? My mind flashed back to that conversation Shelly and I had leaning against the fence Saturday night, staring at Aquila, with Shelly looking at me and saying, “What if she ends up being THE ONE?”

Well, I’m not big on fate, “meant to be”, and signs, but I couldn’t help thinking that Aquila was somehow bending the universe and drawing us to her even though we had headed down a path that I, in hind-sight, think might have been a lesser choice for us — even with all the sparkly new electronics.

Needless to say Shelly and I spent the next hour on the phone with Bill, the first broker we talked to Saturday morning, drafting up an offer for Aquila. And as luck would have it, the owner had dropped the price another five thousand just the day before.

So, with Bill’s advice, we presented what we thought was a fair offer and e-signed it. He told us we would probably get a counter offer by the next afternoon and he was right. The counter offer was a fair one and instead of haggling back and forth over a percent or two of the overall sales price, and pissing all parties off in the process, we agreed to the owner’s counter and now have a solid contract to buy a boat!

The short version of the next few days; Bill recommended a few surveyors to line up, we called our finance broker to get the ball moving on finalizing our paperwork, and we still have to pick out a boat name. We have one in mind, but are waiting to give the final word for the Coast Guard registration submission until the last minute incase something else pops into our heads.

For now, we just wait — and for those of you that know me, you know I’m not that patient, but we have a flight booked for this weekend to fly back to St. Pete for the surveys and sea trial on Monday the 6th.

Keep your fingers crossed for us, please, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below or even if you just want to wish us good luck.

SailingIntoTheBlue

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Could it finally be happening? Part 3…

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To start from the beginning Click Here

We parted ways with Aquila giving last glances over our shoulders to her and wondering if she might be “the one“. Bill drove us back to the brokerage office and opened the doors to a Beneteau 411 (boat #2 for the day) that was on the hard right behind his office. Shelly and I stepped below and took a look around, but realized quickly that the 411 just wasn’t for us. We had been aboard several 411’s in the past and while we like them, they just don’t fit us. One bonus was that this one had an aftermarket bow thruster. Something that we’ve been considering ourselves.

NOTE: A bow thruster is a little propeller and motor that faces to the left and right up under the front of the boat. It makes it far easier to maneuver around in tight marinas when you can turn the front of your boat with a little joystick.

We shook hands with Bill and headed west across St. Pete to meet with Leo (Bill’s counterpart) out near Treasure Island where we found “Nani Kai” tied up and looking completely spit-shined.

“Nani Kai” was the biggest reason we drove the 600 miles to St. Pete so it felt a little like it was the pinnacle of the day for us when we stepped aboard. We knew she had suffered from a nearby lightning strike that had fried the boat’s electronics, but she was in the process of getting all new gear: a more advanced chart plotter, new and better resolution sonar, and new gauges, etc… They were even changing out the port lights (windows). Needless to say, we were excited.

The boat was beautiful. We spent over an hour on her looking in every cabinet, checking chain plates, looking into the bilge, and crawling into the engine compartment. Despite a few minor issues with a dripping stuffing box and a corroding heat exchanger, we eagerly sat down in the salon with Leo and drafted up and offer.

We were finally buying a BOAT!

The offer was fairly priced (even the broker thought so) and we set it to expire at the end of Tuesday the 24th. We were so confident that we had found “the one” that we canceled the showing of the last boat, a Beneteau 413.

We left Leo to write up the offer and get it in our email boxes for e-signatures while we headed back across town to our hotel. By the time we walked into our room at the Ponce my phone chimed. The offer was waiting.

Whipping out our laptops, Shelly and I read it quickly and signed. With smiles on our faces, Shelly looked at me and said, “We’re finally buying a boat!”

To celebrate we walked over to Fresco’s by the Municipal Marina for a cocktail and an early dinner. We talked endlessly about the offer, what would be next, what we needed to get together for the closing in a month, who we might hire to help us captain her back home to Pensacola, and even checked out the route on our phones.

After dark that evening we took a walk on the waterfront to look at the pretty sticks (admiring the sailboats in the marina), and talked about what it was going to be like once we were living aboard “Nani”. As we walked past Fresco’s (something we hadn’t done before) and rounded the corner I immediately recognized the street from earlier today!

“Shelly!”, I grabbed her by the hand. “This is the marina where we saw Aquila!”

“What?!”

“Yes! We’ve been within a hundred feet of her all afternoon!”

We quickly walked past about 6 boats and sure enough, Aquila was tied up right next to a larger Beneteau. Neither of us could believe we had spent the last 24 hours nearly right next to her and didn’t know it.

Needless to say we spent the next half hour leaning against the fence admiring her and talking about the whirlwind day. Before leaving and heading back to the Ponce, Shelly looked at me and asked, “What if Aquila ends up being the one.”

I just shrugged, but the irony wasn’t lost on me. We had come 600 miles to make an offer on what we thought was the right choice, yet this one had been snuggly docked right next to us all weekend.

So, with nothing left to do but wait, we drove out of St. Pete Sunday morning and drove the 600 miles back home. The owners had until Tuesday to either accept our offer or counter, but as it turns out, life had other plans for us and the counter offer would never come.

Continued in part 4… Click HERE

SailingIntoTheBlue

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Could it finally be happening? Part 2…

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To read part 1 click here…

Saturday morning we woke energized and ready to see some boats! It was shaping up to be a beautiful day with a good breeze and warm temps in the high 70s. Perfect boat shopping weather!

First on our list was Aquila. We already knew a lot about her and knew she was a contender, but might end up being our 2nd choice of the 393’s (more on that reasoning later).

We met with Bill at his office just a few miles down 1st Street and he shuffled us into the brokerage’s work van. The work van, while fairly comfortable for those up front, wasn’t quite as comfy in the back since there were no seats and being the loving husband, gallant gentlemen that I am (I’m building points here!), took the hardened metal floor in the back to park my soft and delicate derriere.

The ride to the marina where Aquila was parked was… not gentle. Bill, being the good guy he was, apologized repeatedly, but it really wasn’t a big deal to me and Bill had assured us the marina was only 5 minutes away. Oh, and we had to take the van because it had one of those super special parking passes that meant the city wouldn’t tow you — which we found out the city takes seriously on an hourly basis!

True to his word, Bill had us at Aquila’s marina with in minutes. Keep in mind that the van didn’t have any windows in the back so I wasn’t sure which marina we were at. St. Pete seems to have a million or two of them. But after climbing out of the van I immediately realized we were parked right in front of Aquila. I recognized her from the photos on YachtWorld.

Bill opened the gate for us and we stepped right aboard. We found her topside a little neglected. There was a good bit of dirt and bird poo covering her decks and Bill explained they were in the process of changing caretakers. We told him it didn’t matter to us and it truly didn’t. We knew what we saw was only superficial and could easily be remedied by a good wash down. In reality it was kind of cute. She seemed like the dirty little vagabond child standing there with arms open saying, “Pick me, please!”

The inside of Aquila was immaculate and here is where it counted. The wood work showed very little wear, no drip stains from leaks in the ceiling, no signs of water intrusion anywhere. There was no rust in the chain plate connections and the compression post showed no signs of stressing at the foot. The stainless in the galley showed a little age from use, but that just means someone loved to cook. I pulled up some of the decking boards to look into the bilge and it was bone dry! I can’t remember seeing a boat over the past year that was perfectly dry. I lifted the companionway stairs to check the engine and didn’t find a single oil stain from leaks and the stuffing box was bone dry too. This was a boat that was well taken care of and loved.

For those of you that don’t know what a stuffing box is, it’s a seal around the propeller shaft that keeps water from rushing into your floating palace of love.

Back on the top side Shelly and I walked her deck, tugging on the standing rigging to feel for looseness in the stainless steel lines, looking at turnbuckles and swages for signs of corrosion, looked up the mast for any unusual bowing, but found everything perfect (but we’re not experts and that’s what the surveyor is for). I even realized the mast was built for in-mast furling AND for slug slides so we could use either type of mainsail we wanted. BONUS!

We sat down with Bill for another 1/2 hour in the main salon and talked things over. Shelly and I ran through our “what we want in a boat” checklist and honestly couldn’t find a single reason not to put down an offer on her right then, but we had other boats to see and it was early in the morning.

Continued in part 3…

SailingIntoTheBlue

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Could it be finally happening? Part 1…

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Last Friday (Jan 20th), we packed the SUV and headed south on a twelve hundred mile round trip journey to St. Petersburg, FL in search of “the one“. We had several prospects in mind and our broker here in Pensacola put us in contact with his partner down in St. Pete to arrange the showings. Awesome guys by the way (more on them later). Needless to say we were excited!

And while the trip down there was uneventful, with the exception of seeing a helicopter parked at the gas pumps (Yeah, a freakin’ helicopter at a gas station!) we spent the 9 hours reviewing boats we were scheduled to see, looking over the endless stacks of YachtWorld printouts, our own spreadsheets of “what we want in a boat”, and talking over the logistics of what would be needed if we put down an offer that weekend. We knew we probably would be throwing down an offer, it’s what the entire trip was really centered around, after all.

We’ve spent the better part of a year and a half scouring YachtWorld and other sources, stepped aboard several Hunters, Pearsons, Sabers, a Prout catamaran, a Morgan, a few others that I can’t remember right now, and Beneteaus. In all, we’ve invested hundreds of hours of our lives searching almost daily, talking endlessly while laying in bed, driving down the road, cooking dinner, folding laundry, (well you get the idea) about boats and trying to figure out what we wanted. So needless to say searching for “the one” has consumed us. After all, we’re not just looking for a boat. We’re looking for a traveling home!

Within the past month, we finally narrowed down what “home” meant to us after stepping aboard a friend’s Beneteau 393. From the moment our feet hit the last step in the companionway Shelly and I both smiled at each other and knew we had found “THE ONE“. There’s just this feeling that you get. Almost as if the boat wraps her arms around you and says “you’re mine now”. The only thing left to do was to find a 393 for sale. Most within reach of us were (as you can guess) in St. Pete, 600 miles away, so we got our broker on the phone and he just happened to have a couple of guys in St. Pete that he partnered with. Things were falling into place as if meant to be.

Bill and Leo (two of the easiest brokers to work with in our experience so far and seem to be all around good guys) set us up with showings for two Bene 393’s, a 413 and a 411, but we knew we had our hearts set on the 393’s.

I have to pause here to say that we had a hell of a time getting a room booked for our trip. Shelly and I literally called at least 15 hotels and all were booked (or ridiculously over priced) but we found a quaint little place called Ponce De Leon on Central Ave next to the marinas and a great little restaurant, “Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro”.

So when we arrived Friday evening, being very road weary after 9 hours of driving, we hit the downtown streets in search of grub. We found a nice place called Stillwaters Tavern next to the marina, filled our empty bellies, and then took a walk down Bay Shore Drive to look at the pretty sticks (sailboats) and stretch our legs.

We admired some of the boats, laughed at the ridiculous amounts of money some of them had to cost, and talked about how surreal it was to finally be here, in this moment, getting ready to have our dreams poised to come true — after so many years of talking about it.

Saturday morning continued in part 2… Click Here.

SailingIntoTheBlue

Could it be…..

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We have wrapped up the last of 2016 on a very good note. Our townhouse sold and closed at the end of the year which we needed to happen in order for the next adventure. So we are looking to make the BIG plunge in searching for the right boat. We have narrowed it down quiet a bit. We really love the design and durability of the Beneteau 393. We are making plans to go to the Miami Boat Show in February and to take advantage of going to some different marina’s and looking at some Beneteau 393 that are currently on the market in Florida’s Gulf Coast. So stay tune to sailingintotheblue.com. 2017 is about to get very interesting.

Hobie Sailing Kayak For Sale…

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IMG_1899We’re saying goodbye to an old friend… Our Hobie Tandem Island. He’s been a fantastic little sailboat (ok, yeah it’s really a kayak) and has given us so many hours of fun on the water and taken us to places we’ve never been before (or could have gotten to). But it’s time to part ways and make room in our lives for a bigger boat — our new future home.

Sailing with Dauphins video here!

Send us a private message on Facebook if you’re interested.

Sailing Into The Blue

When the wind blow…

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When the wind blow, the boat go… but when it blow too much, just have beer and gumbo and BS each other on the docks.

img_3076It looks like we won’t be sailing in tomorrow’s club fun race. Winds are expected to blow between 20 and 30 knots and if you remember those were the same conditions we were in when we completed our certification course last spring. And while it was fun, we don’t care to get beat up like that again, nor put the boat at risk of dumping it into the sea, again.

Learning to sail weekend (Sunday)

BUT, beer and gumbo by chef Darren will more than make up for it. And Sunday promises to be a little lighter winds so we’re going to try to get out on the water and do some sailing then. It’s looking like 14 to 18 knots so far so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

More later…

Sailing Into The Blue

Weekend Sail With The Blue Angels…

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I’ve spent the week fighting a cold that someone passed on to me at work (the bastard), but was feeling good enough yesterday (Saturday) to take a trip over to Pensacola and visit our friends, Kathy and John, at Lanier Sailing Academy. Kathy and John, you might remember, were our sailing instructors for our ASA101 course last March. We’ve been missing them so it was great to see them again!

Our plan, and you know how plans go, was to just pop in for a visit, sign our paperwork to officially join the club, and head off to the Pensacola NAS base to watch the Blue Angels from the airfield. BUT… Kathy asked if we wanted to take a boat out to watch the Angels from the water in the bay. Naturally Shelly and I looked at each other, grinned, and eagerly nodded. Then the “oh shiz” moment set in. And while we are very proficient at sailing our Hobie (even in the roughest of conditions), the Hobie is also not like sailing a true sailboat and it’s been almost 8 months since we’ve been at the helm of a “real” sailboat — one with a boom, halyard, genoa, and something truly able to turn over in the sea if over powered in the sails (something we almost did TWICE last March if you remember).

But playing it safe and comfortable isn’t why we moved to the coast. Adventure, taking a risk to step out of the norm, and living a life less ordinary. That’s why we came here. SO… we took the boat out. BY OURSELVES! I can’t lie, it was nerve racking maneuvering a 22 foot boat through the lanes and turns and congestion of the marina, but we did and soon enough we were in the open water of Pensacola Bay.

vlcsnap-2016-11-13-20h13m14s164Unfortunately there wasn’t any wind to fill our sails, but it worked to our advantage in the end. It gave us plenty of opportunity to practice raising and lowering the main without any worry of dealing with someone getting injured from a flapping sail or a swinging boom under power. We also got to play around with the furling genoa, but a furling sail wasn’t something we’re unaccustomed to. Our Hobie furls. The light air also gave us a chance to just “float” in the bay while we watched the Blue Angels without having to worry about being blown into a shoal or other boaters.

vlcsnap-2016-11-13-21h08m14s786The Navy, as expected, didn’t disappoint! The hour long show they put on was incredible. Their blue jets were screaming over our heads while they flew fantastic maneuvers in such tight formations. If you’ve never had a chance to watch them you really need to find the time and opportunity.

After the show we motored our way back across the bay and into the marina and with our confidence restored after being off of a “real” sailboat for so long we docked with little effort and confusion. Those of you reading this with sailboats of your own can understand how anxious and tense moments like this can be with a vessel that has such little maneuverability at such slow speeds. While we were preparing to leave the dock, earlier that afternoon, we even witnessed another boat coming in who’s captain had to yell out to the bystanders “A little help!” to keep himself from crashing his quarter million dollar yacht.

img_0069Docked, we secured our boat, flaked the main and covered it, and secured the halyard and engine and with such a beautiful sunset beginning, we decided to catch dinner at Jaco’s in the marina. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day — topped with perfectly grilled pork tenderloin. 🙂

Unfortunately all good things come to an end and we had to drive (thankfully a short drive now that we’ve moved to the coast) home and my cold has returned with a vengeance. I’ve spent most of the day today on the couch and nursing my sore throat and fading voice with beer cheese soup.

Next weekend we’ll be back in Pensacola, spending the morning refining our sailing skills, and racing with the club that afternoon. Afterward we’re having a gumbo party on the docks.

Update on “the” boat: We’re reconsidering “VE”. We have some concerns about her design and construction and are back on the search.

Sailing Into The Blue

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The Move…

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img_2984Ok. I know I’ve done a crappy job updating the blog lately, and the fact that I’m posting this with the mobile app should tell you how crazy it’s been lately, but…

WE’VE MOVED! We’re officially coastal living and reside in a hurricane zone 🙂 But let’s just hope they stay away!

I really hoped to have had the time to post more, but we’ve been out having to much fun 🙂 We’ve looked at several boats over the past few weekends, and re-looked at one in particular. We’ll call her “VE” for now and “VE” is in immaculate condition. The interior wood needs a little love in a couple of places, but she only has 500 engine hours, has a fat bottom (what’s what we call spacious) with a 13ft beam, and two master staterooms with two heads. “VE” also has a fantastic swim platform. The only drawbacks at this point are the lack of a generator, solar panels, and a water maker, but those are things we can add after the purchase. And yes, we’re finally convinced we’ve found “the” boat. We always seem to come back to this boat. But, we’ll just have to see where it goes from here.

With any luck we’ll be touring “VE” again next weekend and talking with the broker about next-steps.

Until then, keep the dreams alive kids!

Sailing Into The Blue

Moving…

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Plan “A” wins! (See “The Plan“). In just 9 days we will be waking up in Daphne, our new home on the coast, and while I’d love to say we’d take a stroll on the beach that morning, the more realistic thing is that we’ll be unpacking boxes for a few days. But a sail on our Hobie is definitely going to happen before the weekend. And probably another on the weekend. After the year we’ve had in 2016, we are definitely in need of some salt water, sand, and breeze — permanently!

For now, we’re having a packing/yard sale/donate party. The two empty bedrooms have been converted into sorting rooms. The one on the left is for yard sale stuff. The one on the right is for donating. And to be honest, it’s hard to judge which one has the most stuff in it. Regardless, what doesn’t get sold in next weekend’s yard sale, gets donated anyway. (For those of you close enough to us, hit us up on FB for details on the sale.) And yet again, we continue to find ourselves going through our “collection of commercialism” and asking ourselves, “Do we really need that bowl, waffle maker, cake bunt — God knows we don’t need to eat ANY more cake!

Downsizing is a keyword for us, but that’s nothing new. Our last move was a downsize. Little by little we have spent the better part of 3 years cutting our amount of crap. A friend calls us minimalists, but I tend not to think of it that way. Minimalist suggests, that we are conforming to a lifestyle, but it’s not that way for me. Honestly it’s more like a change of mindset for us. Frill and fancy just doesn’t get us excited anymore. Spending our money doing something or going somewhere, making memories… that’s what gets our motors running.

We’ve had a lot of interest in the house since we put it up a week ago. By my count we’ve had 8 or 9 showings (not counting the one this afternoon), and with any luck we’re hoping to maybe have a contract before the place is emptied next Monday.

Boat shopping has resumed. We’re casually, between packing boxes, browsing through what’s out there and discussing this one or that one and even talking about a long weekend flight down to either the St. Pete area or Kemah, TX for that up close and personal shopping experience. Kemah is winning at the moment. There’s a 2000 Catalina 42 MkII that we thought we had lost to another buyer, but she’s back on the market. She’s totally loaded and has been completely retrofitted for long-term cruising: Water maker, A/C, Genset, Solar, loaded nav system, and even forward scan sonar (rare). She’s even loaded with sails:

  • In Mast Mainsail Furling
  • Schaeffer Headsail Furling
  • 155% Genoa
  • 120% Genoa
  • Storm Jib
  • Storm Tri-Sail
  • Asymmetrical Spinnaker
  • Navtec Hydraulic Backstay Adjuster

The only thing we can think of that would turn us away is hull or rigging problems. Otherwise, she’s got all the right stuff in all the right places.

But for now… It’s back to packing up the kitchen. More to come.

Sailing Into The Blue

Goodbye Boss!

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Today is Shelly’s last day working landlocked. Tomorrow will officially be mine, but it’s sort of today too. I’ve spent the day removing myself from the company’s systems and purging my computer of company files. And yeah, it feels great. There is a certain joy we get now — though a lot of people still think we’re crazy — in purging “things” from our life.

coaster-pergola-double-pedestal-executive-desk-with-felt-lined-drawers-800511-1-_rawTake furniture for example. While we’re not making much money for the cruising kitty from selling a good portion of our household right now, it’s extremely satisfying, to us, to see the amount of “stuff” we have dwindle! It’s exciting to be getting back to the basics.

And YES, that’s exactly what the desk looks like that we just sold (hopefully). Why we had to have such a desk in our home? I have no freaking idea. But we did. I’m sure it made sense then. Sort of.

In a way it feels like we’re coming to our senses, shifting our mentality from being consumer collectors of “things” to spending our money wisely, and really asking ourselves before making a purchase, “Do we really need this?”.

Moving to the coast update…

So far, everything is going as planned and scheduled. Our last day in Birmingham should be October 3rd (if there isn’t a problem with the moving company) so we’ve got a LOT to do next week: Packing, setting up a yard sale to purge even more, turning on power and water at our new place, boat hunting on the side, purging stuff even more, finding places to donate to, etc…

With any luck, hard work, and planning, we should be waking up on the 4th smelling the bay breeze and hearing the seagulls 🙂

Sailing Into The Blue

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Dear Boss… We quit!

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chalk writings on blackboard: Dear boss I quit

Yep, it’s done. Shelly and I handed in our resignations this morning. We sat down and typed them out together last night — something we’ve never done before, quit our jobs at the same time.

We’ve been so quiet on the blog lately because we’ve had soooo much in the works to get to this day and you never want to put ink (publicly) to your plans. That would be condemning them to failure, wouldn’t it?

So, we’re moving to the coast around the first of October! Mobile to be exact, and our boat search will kick up into high gear once we get settled!!

SailingIntoTheBlue

And the wheels keep turning…

That moment when you walk through the back half of your house and it looks like you’re walking through an empty house that’s for sale…

So last week a moving truck came by and collected the last of our oldest kid’s stuff, leaving only 1 of our 3 bedrooms occupied. It’s strange having more than half of your house empty. Is there such a thing as empty-nest-syndrome? I think we’ve got it. Every time we walk out of our bedroom and look down the hall to the two empty bedrooms in the back we just stop and stare for a moment. Often I’ve caught myself thinking, “Did I just walk into the wrong house?”

On the other hand, it’s refreshing to have the house to myself with my wife. It’s like those times we took a “Mom & Dad” vacation (you parents know what I’m talking about) and suddenly that vacation is perminant.

On another note… Shelly and I have finally nailed down our plan to get to the coast and get on the water. I am currently on the job hunt for work in Pensacola, FL or Mobile, AL. As soon as I find something that will trigger a couple of things: I will find a short term apartment (maybe even furnished) and head down to my new job. At the same time, a for sale sign goes up on the house and we call a moving company. We don’t expect the sale to take long. In the past six months we’ve actually had complete strangers ring our door bell and ask if we were interested in selling anytime soon. We’d laugh and say, “Why yes we are.”

 

Lightning Strikes…

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Interesting article since we just recently looked at a boat that had been repaired from a lightning strike. Ultimately it wasn’t the previous damage that deterred us from the boat, but it’s condition otherwise. The new electronics were impressive and I’m a gadget head. The boat was dirty and the chain plates were rusted in the salon and the bilge had gunk growing in it (and more) so if the owner didn’t care enough about his boat to keep it up visually, what else was he not taking care of? The engine? Leaks? Worse?

Sailing Today Article On Lightning Strike

 

Not long now (we hope!)…

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Shelly and I spent a much needed week on Dauphin Island relaxing and sailing. And I’d love to say we have some fantastic GoPro footage to share, but some idiot (Lance) left the batteries at home. Shelly kept reminding me of it every time a dauphin played along our port side, or our speed kicked up to 8 or 9 knots. But we did get some good photos to share.

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Sailing out to Sand Island

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Found a bunch of what we think are Sea Gull eggs in sand nests.

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Shelly turned to me and said, “And they said it would be a three hour tour…” Seriously though, I actually think most of the boat was intact under the sand because there were a ton of wires and other debris sticking out of the sand behind it that could NOT be budged.

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I had long since given up on finding Sea Horses in the bay, but did stumble upon this little guy. Sadly dead, but proof that I just need to keep looking for his relatives (the living ones).


 

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We also took a ferry across the bay (Yeah, I’m sporting the “screw it” vacation beard) and drove up to Pirates Cove to look at a Jeanneau 37 that didn’t impress us that much as a future home. She wasn’t taken care of very well and was quite filthy. The design over all wasn’t bad, but the boat just didn’t feel like home.

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The Jeanneau 37

She sat in one of the most beautiful marinas we have ever visited, though! Barber Marina. It’s complete with huge 30 foot fountains, life size dinosaurs and a replica of Stonehenge. No joke!

IMG_2839The 4 hour trip wasn’t wasted though. On the ferry ride back Shelly looked down and pointed out a plaque. Apparently I was standing in the exact spot where President Obama stood almost 5 years ago to the day.

By the end of the week we got to take a look at a few other boats. Most were in bad shape, BUT one in particular has our eye at the moment and we’re seriously considering it, but it has some drawbacks and the timing is just bad (according to “The Plan”). but, serous boat shopping is already under way. We’ve got most of the major events and obstacles over come or taken care of and now we’re ramping up to head south!!

And speaking of life craziness… Now that things are slowing down, and we’re getting much closer to getting a boat, we will be posting to the blog a lot more regularly and giving updates at what we’re looking at.

Lance & Shelly

SailingIntoTheBlue

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