We’ve Got a Hurricane Headed Our Way

Hello everyone!  I know, I have been terrible about getting anything up on the blog lately, but trust me when I say the past week has been a fury of boat work where we’re up and at it from basically sunrise to sunset.  I have so many wonderful posts to share from the past few weeks (months?), although I just need to find the time to sit down and get them typed out.

We have, however, put another episode up on YouTube that we hope you’ll all enjoy.  In this episode we prepare for Hurricane Matthew, spend two days waiting for the worst of it to come and pass, and then get back into our daily routine of boat work.  The next project featured in this video?  The cabin sole.  We add our quarter inch maple to the existing half inch plywood we’d already cut, focusing on the area from the forward salon back to the pilot house.  We’re very happy with how it all came out, but take a look for yourself!

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Watch Us Now on YouTube!

That’s right, we’re transitioning ourselves to be vloggers!  Waiting until the boat renovation is only a few short months from completion (I know, I know, we should have started earlier), we’ve finally taking the plunge into recording our lives through video as well as writing.  We’d had the idea for a long time, although honestly, after watching the countless hours our friends the Sailing Conductors put in to filming for their documentary series on Soundwave2Berlin, we didn’t think we could handle all the extra work at the moment that comes with bringing out a camera every time you go to do something.  At least, that is the lesson we took from observing our German friends.

With so many fellow boat workers, bloggers, and blog followers passing through our yard though, we’d always get the question of ‘Why don’t you two do videos?’, and we’d explain it away that it appeared to be just as big of a project as the boat we’re overhauling, and if we did decide to eventually do it, it would be way down the road once we were on the water again.  It wasn’t until our new friends Cat & Will of Monday Never came to spend a few days at the marina while selling their boat where we watched them film a few short clips here and there, and talked the logistics of it that it dawned on us that maybe a video series would be possible at the moment.

Another month or two of failed attempts to actually hit the record button on the camera while we were working, I gave myself a ‘publish by’ date for our first episode and finally started filming.  Only two weeks behind my self appointed date, I’ve kept that promise. Video-logging is a completely different world from Web-logging, and we’ll definitely be spending a little time learning the ropes as we continue to capture our lives in motion.

What does this mean for the blog?  Don’t worry, it’s not disappearing.  As we finish work on Daze Off, I’ll make sure to publish the same amount of posts featuring the work with the same (fairly) detailed explanations as I always have.  Once we’re on the water and travelling I will try to keep up with two posts a week on the blog, in addition to the 2-3 videos I hope to publish each month on YouTube.  Ambitious?  Definitely.  But at least it will keep us busy and we’ll never be able to complain about being bored again.  Partially what got us into this boat remodel in the first place.

We hope you enjoy our very first episode of Welcome to the Boat Graveyard.  If you like what you see, please subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss any future videos.


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Chic Clothing for the Travel Savy Gal with Vacay Style

For any traveling girl, whether by boat or by plane, packing clothing can always be a big issue with ‘How I want to appear’ and ‘What can fit in my bag/cabin.’. Have you seen that meme recently going around Facebook of ‘I’m going on vacation for 7 days; I packed 32 outfits just to be safe.’. A lot of us ladies have that issue.  We love options, even if we don’t have the space to carry all the items we need for our three supposed outfit changes every day. But I’ve got a secret coming up for you that will change the way you travel forever, by giving you endless alluring, beachy outfits that can all fit within one carry on bag.

Last year I had spied a clothing collection, created by a cruiser, which really made my head turn.  Multiple collections consisting of 5 pieces, which when added with two essentials, would give you the opportunity for 12 to 15 outfits. I bookmarked the page and thought to myself ‘You need to get in contact with them before you set sail again. This is a revelation for fashion and travel’. Imagine my surprise when, before I could even get a message to them of ‘I love your collections online’, they were the ones to reach out to me to see if I’d be game for giving one of their collections a try in my sailing lifestyle. Of course it was an resounding Y-E-S.

San Francisco company, Vacay Style makes it incredibly easy to wear stylish, resort inspired pieces while giving you plenty of options of multiple outfits to wear, all while taking up minimal room in your travel bag, or in my case, micro cabinet. They make it incredibly simple to pull off numerous, effortlessly glamorous outfits by sending out a guide of all the different ways their pieces can be paired.  Suggesting two essential items that pair best with each collection (think a plain white top or jean shorts), you’re suddenly given two weeks worth of outfits from only 7 pieces.

At the moment there are 6 different collections to choose from, and boy was I having a hard time narrowing it down to one. Enchanting nautically inspired pieces to vibrant colors reminiscent of the islands, I honestly wanted each one. Working with the creator, Elizabeth Hynes, we decided it would be best to sample a few pieces from two different collections, and I ended up splitting my outfits between their Newport and Belize collections.  Just another highlight of shopping this line.  You’re free to browse your favorite pieces and create your own collection, tailored to suit your style. Any purchase of 5 pieces or more in your cart are considered a collection and are eligible for their 20% discount and free Vacay beach bag.

Today I’ll be focusing on the Newport Collection.  Consisting of pieces in blue and white, this collection elicits all things nautical and a life reminiscent of the sea.  Perfect for a sailor girl such as myself.  Of this collection I secured the 2 Piece Maxi, which can be worn as a full dress, or with the two pieces switched out to feature just the top or bottom with your own essentials; as well as the convertible dress, to be work as a full maxi or folded down at the waist to be featured as a skirt with a top of your choice.

newport collection

Vaycay Style Newport 2 piece maxi

Vaycay Style Newport maxi top

Vacay style Newport 2 piece bottom

Here are just a few of the highlights you can expect from each piece and/or each collection:

  • Vacay Style offers captivating styles of resort wear for smart travel.
  • Each collection is made of 5 pieces, exclusively designed to easily mix and match to create 15 outfits.
  • Any collection, along with its essentials, can easily fit on a carry on case.
  • Items are wrinkle resistant, and always ready to wear.
  • Receive 20% off your order and a FREE Vacay beach bag with any purchase of 5 pieces or more. (Take an additional 20% off by using code MJSail20; initial 20% discount is applied as soon as 5 items are in your cart)
  • Vacay Style offers free shipping, both ways, within the United States, for easy exchanges/returns.

Vacay Style Newport 2 piece maxi

Vaycay Style Newport 2 piece maxi

Vaycay Style Newport 2 piece top

 Although I can not wait until we are traveling again and I can strut my stuff in these pieces through the beautiful islands of the Caribbean, I have been enjoying running around Stuart in them while we’re still in Florida.  Such as the stunning Hutchinson Island pictured above.  These pieces are very comfortable to wear for a day out and have such fantastic detailing that accessories aren’t even needed.  Like the beaded element of the top in the Newport 2 Piece Maxi. Plus, I was surprised at how light and breathable they are.  Even on a 90 degree day the items felt airy and well ventilated.  A big bonus for the tropical climates we’ll be moving through.

Vacay Style Newport convertible dress

Vacay Style convertible dress

 The Newport Convertible dress is so versatile that I feel I could wear it anywhere I go.  Easily transitioning from a day at the beach to a dinner out, to even enjoying sundowners on a friends boat, this truly is a piece you can dress up or dress down to go anywhere.  Plus the fabric is so soft, it almost feels like I’m wearing pajamas.  So much better than the constricted feeling I get with other dresses, that I can’t wait to tear off as soon as I get home.  These pieces are so comfortable, I could lounge in them all day.

So what is my verdict on Vacay Style so far?  I am in love!  Even with just the two pieces featured above, I was able to create so many different styles, and received compliments (from strangers even) on each outfit I wore.  Every item is incredibly comfortable and tailored to travelers. The collections are designed to need minimal accessories, each piece in the collection being able to pair with a single pair of shoes and/or bag, leaving you with few extras necessary.  The tops have built in bras and the skirts have built in slips, so there’s never a worry of being over-exposed.

I already know these collections will be a main feature in my travel wardrobe, and I’m just sad I can’t fully stock my cabinet with every piece from every collection.

*Pieces from the Belize Collection to be featured once we reach the Bahamas.


** P.S. A big thank you to my brother for sending me the Joby Gorilla Pod for my birthday, I’m already getting tons of use from it.  Can you believe all these shots are self portraits?

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Rebuilding the Quarter Berth: Part II

Where we had last left off on the rebuild of our quarter berth, we had just cut all the necessary pieces of plywood and Eurolite from the templates we had removed during the demolition.  Because we had finished later in the evening, we waited until the next day to take the v-groove router to the panels.  A project we had dozens of times before and assumed would take 2-3 hours in total to complete the three panels that needed it.

One issue we had to be careful of though was to match up the lines in the quarter berth with the lines that were running down the aft part of the pilot house.  Initially screwing the panels in place, we made marks with a pencil of where a few of the lines needed to end so they would butt up together.  Then taking the panels down to our work bench we had to figure out the distance from the center of the bit to the edge of the router since we always run it along a straight edge to keep it, well, straight, from one end to the other.  I had my mark made there, and from then on went along the Eurolite making marks every 3.25 inches on the edges where we’d eventually clamp the straight edge down.

Everything looked to be going well until Matt went to make the first mark.  It turns out the the square casing around the router bit wasn’t equal on all sides and the edge of the router Matt was running along the straight edge was not the one we had measured for earlier.  So not only were all the marks I had just done now incorrect, but we had a line in the board which was now not going to line up with the rest of the boards.

Making the new correct marks we finished up the board placing the lines where they were actually supposed to be, and then mixed up epoxy and filler to take care of the initial line that was messed up.  We made sure for the next two boards to be very careful of where our marks were in relation to the router edge.

pilot house bare wood

pilot house with primer

Spending two days having worked on this process now because of our screw ups as well as being rained out of the afternoons, we were already behind the schedule we were hoping to be on.  The next few days were a fury of work inside the boat, although we still had a few of those ‘hurry up and wait’ moments.  The panels were placed back in and then the corner was epoxied with filler, but after that we couldn’t touch it again until the next day when it was dry.

The next morning was full of sanding on my part to smooth out the areas that had been epoxied, and then I ran a palm sander over all the boards once more to give them a final smooth down.  Just before lunch I spent 2-3 hours applying a coat of primer, then after a 30 minute lunch I was back at it applying a second coat.  Working on the quarter berth and the starboard side of the pilot house together, it was more painting than I was used to in one go, and by 6 pm I was happy to throw down my paint brush for the day.

On our last day of work for this area I had to split the day up between sanding and painting.  My morning was spent going over all the surfaces with a palm sander and 220 grit sandpaper.  It was a dusty mess and my goggles kept getting coating any time I had to work on the overhead.  By the time lunch came around I looked like a ghost because I was covered in white, and happy ran to the showers to take a rinse before I sat down to eat.

In the afternoon I was able to apply a coat of satin paint, which always seems to go on so much smoother than the primer.  I’m always happy when I get to this point, not only because it means I’m just about finished with the area, but the color is so bright that it is almost blinding.  This boat is becoming so bright and white, I absolutely love it!  Now all we have left to do are the overhead parts of the pilot house and we are all done with walls.  Can.Not.Wait.

Jessica sanding quarter berth

finished quarter berth

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Throwback Thursday: Sundays at Playa Canteras

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

Oh wow, I had forgotten how much I’d completely fallen in love with the island of Gran Canaria.  Part of me wishes we had gotten there much sooner than we did, but our blissful days on Lanzarote were nothing to complain about either. I guess this means the two of us will have to find a year or so in our lives to fully dedicate to this set of islands.

After our arrival to Las Palmas, the capital of the island chain, we had to wait out that nasty weather which hit us just after Thanksgiving.  As soon as the sun came out on our fourth day though, we were out to hit the streets as well as the beach.  Playa Canteras, at the NE tip of the islands, is a great place for strolling, full of shops and bistros, all situated in front of the crashing waves of the beach.  While wandering our first day, we found a chain restaurant called Montanditos, which we fell head over heels for.  Tiny sandwiches served with a chilled wine drink called tinto verano.  We had a new love.

Exploring as much of this large metropolis as we could by foot, we found the opposite direction from the beach held a very nice pedestrian walkway with the chains of clothing and home good stores we could find back in the states, but their Old Town section I had been so looking forward to exploring was completely abandoned and actually kind of boring.  We didn’t  have to find streets and shops to entertain us for long though, because a few days after that we had the change to meet up with an online blogging friend of mine, Kit and her boyfriend Alex.  We picked a Friday night to hit the town, and found ourselves mostly wandering from pub to pub, ordering beer buckets as we all got to know each other and talked of our travels thus far.

So when Sunday rolled around and we knew our new favorite restaurant by the beach was having their weekly specials of sandwiches and drinks, we invited Kit and Alex to spend the day at Playa Canteras with us.

You can find the original post here.

Sunday December 7, 2014

Sand Sculptures, Playa Canteras

Since our friendship with Kit and Alex was cemented right away and all of us not only wanted, but needed some time out of the marina and off our boats to wander around today, we thought we’d bring them out to Playa Canteras.  The trip was of course, for us, an excuse to get back to Montanditos and enjoy their little sandwiches and cheap drinks, but you know, the beach has it’s draw too.

Even though the daily highs have been hovering at or just above 70 degrees, and I don’t think the water temperatures are much better, Alex decided it would be the perfect occasion to take a dip in the Atlantic.  While that crazy Brit dove in and out of waves and surfed them back to shore, us three sane people stayed in the sand and alternated between putting layers on and taking them off and the sun slid in and out of cloud coverings.

Kit did tell me that, compared to summer weather and water temperatures you’ll receive in Great Britain, this was actually quite a treat and why you’ll find so many Brits in the area walking around in thongs while the rest of us are slowly pulling on layer after layer.  I’m glad my blood has become accustomed to a Caribbean feel where anything below 80, in the water or the air, feels a bit on the nippy side now.

Kit & Matt at Playa Canteras

Alex surfing waves at Playa Canteras

Playa Canteras, Las Palmas Gran Canaria

sand sculpture at Playa Canteras

sand sculptures at Playa Canteras

After a little surf and sand, the four of us made our way down the boardwalk where we introduced them to the magic that is Montanditos.  Instead of ordering off the pre-set menu this time Matt and I went crazy and looked through their 100 sandwiches, deciphering ingredients here and there, to put together our own little mix of foods that did not disappoint.  They even have dessert ones which I made sure to try out this time.  Holy crap.  Chocolate bread with a cream and strawberry filling?  Absolutely to die for.  As was the cream cheese, basil, prosciutto, and tomato slider.  Gahhhh…we need to open one of these in the States!!

view in front of 100 Montanditos

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Matt & Alex at Playa Canteras

More random roaming followed our late lunch, and after getting lost on the streets of Las Palmas we eventually found our way back to the marina and to an open table at Sailor’s Bar.  Enjoying a couple of cañas we all dreamed of the Caribbean with it’s warm sunny skies and clear temperate waters.  Anchorages as far as the eye can see and afternoons filled with snorkeling and sunsets in the cockpit.  While we have absolutely loved being in Europe with all of it’s cities and conveniences, we are definitely ready to get back to some tropical island living.

12.7.14 (9)

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Behind the Scenes at Our Vineyard Vines Photo Shoot

Vineyard Vines initial photo

With so much going on with the boat and trying to keep up just with boat work post, I’d been putting this one on the back burner for months now, but I figured it was finally time to get it up.

For those of you who remember, back in February Matt and I went down to Miami for two days to participate in a photo shoot for the clothing company Vineyard Vines, with their summer theme of ‘Ever Sailor Has Their Story’.  Even though the shoot was in February, the catalog photos were not released to their site until May, so I had a few months to wait anyway before I had anything  to show.

Well, now that I’m only 4 weeks behind on keeping the blog  fully up to date, I think it’s time to get this post out for those of you who actually remembered we participated in this but never had the chance to see any of  the photos through either their catalog or Facebook promotions.

* * *

After our very relaxing and luxurious afternoon and evening in the Mandarin Oriental Miami, I made sure to slide between the sheets of our very nice king size bed before 11 pm in order to keep myself well rested for the next day.  With a 7:30 call time, it didn’t even matter that I would not be in charge of hair and make up before I arrived in the morning, I still didn’t want to show up looking like I just stepped off a three day passage from one of our boats. Getting up just after 6 am we packed up all our belongings, did a quick rinse in the showers, and made sure Georgie hadn’t lost herself in the couch again before heading down to the main floor for breakfast.

Basically breaking down the doors to the restaurant as they opened at 7, we opted to skip the $38/person buffet (even though the tab was being picked up) for omeletts and Belgium waffles. Big mistake.  Although we told our server we were in a huge rush, our food didn’t come for 20 minutes, leaving us only five minutes to scarf it down and throw our room number on the tab before running off to the conference room where we were meeting the Vineyard Vines team.  A sprint through the lobby and up a set of stairs, we found we were the first ones there. Waiting for a few minutes until one team member walked in, they said everyone was running a little late and so we decided to use those 10-15 minutes to run up to our room to grab our luggage, as well as Georgie, since it sounded like we’d be checking out of the hotel just after hair and makeup.

Getting back down with all of our bags, and a few strange looks from hotel patrons that just rode the elevator with a cat on a leash, we walked back into the conference room to find it bustling with stylist and production managers.  Making our rounds of introductions (“Hi Cat, meet Georgie the cat”), we were placed in chairs as the team got to work on us.  Matt had been instructed a few weeks before to let his hair and beard grow out a little to give him more of a salty sailor  look, so uneven ends were trimmed; while I settled in for the whole hair and makeup treatment. One woman went to work on my hair with a curling  iron to give me soft windswept curls, while another woman started on my makeup to give me a fresh, dewy, natural look.  Less than 30 minutes later we were being shuttled down to the lobby to check out of our room and get ready to leave for our first location.

It wasn’t until the valet was bringing our wreck of a van around that the team quickly mentioned it was time to get into our first outfits of the day.  Matt was handed a pair of floral chappies (swim trunks) with a gingham shirt, and I was given a striped string bikini with a pink gingham quick dry dress to slip over it.  Running back out from the restrooms into the lobby with our new uber preppy clothing on, we packed all our belongings in the van and followed the team in their Chevy Suburbans out to Key Biscayne where a chartered yacht was waiting to take us on the water for the first part of our shoot.

Getting to the marina (of which we’d actually been to before with our friend Ana Bianca, so we were able to recommend it to the production staff), we walked out to the docks to find a 57 ft yacht waiting for us, our pretend home. I should let it be known they originally contacted us wanting to shoot on our own boat….but there was no way that was possible.  So this pretend home of ours for the day?  HUGE upgrade.  Georgie felt right at ease in the marina and jumped on the yacht without a second thought, settling herself in the cushy cockpit with no regard to the 15 team members moving around alongside her.  For a few minutes, a set stylist gathered a few of the personal belongings we had brought with us to photograph, while another stylist pulled me aside to figure out jewelry.  While this was going on, other team members loaded up the cabin with clothing, cameras, and other equipment that would be necessary for time out on the water.

Before we knew it the lines were being tossed off, and Matt and I were told to relax while a hired captain brought us out of the marina channel and into Biscayne Bay.  The sky was a little overcast, and hopes were that it would not begin pouring rain down on us.  Getting to know the very friendly crew as we moved further out into the bay, it was fun chatting with them, and finding out more about what their jobs entailed and how the previous shoots of the week had gone.  With us being the very last shoot of this session, we got the scoop on the other sailing subjects, including our friend Johannes, whom we had dragged back from the Bahamas just a little early so he could participate.

When we did begin shooting it was all very casual and laid back.  A far cry from the very posed shots I was expecting, we were mostly told to go to a certain area of the boat and just kind of ‘do our thing’.  In my first outfit I stood near the aft deck where it went into the cockpit, and just kind of twirled around a backstay as I looked out on the water.  Matt was seated on the pushpit and was given a piece of rope to tie knots, and also look out on the water and smile and laugh like he was having the time of his life.  Each ‘session’ lasted less than five minutes, and then it was time for an outfit change.  I was told to keep my bikini on while I switched out my dress for a beach coverup, and Matt was sent below deck to change out of his chappies and into proper shorts.  Poor guy forgot to bring his boxers with him onto the yacht after our initial outfit change, and I think the girl styling him was in for a bit of a surprise when she went to properly tuck in his button down shirt.  After that point it was all verbal instructions instead of hands on assistance, at least from the waist down.

Vineyard Vines closeup page 1

Vineyard Vines on Facebook

Jessica VV coverup

The clothes kept changing and locations were moved around the deck and cockpit of the boat.  Some of the shots were individual, and others had both of us together.  We even managed to get Georgie in a few of the shots, as she was loving this luxe life on the water. After every session with the DSLR, a video camera was also brought out to capture the scene, all to be put together for an interview to be shown on the website with the clothing release.  One of the best parts for me is they paid close attention to our travels and tried to integrate as many things from our real life as possible into the shoot.  For me they incorporated my World Beer Tour, pulling out some Spanish beers for me to sip on the deck as I let the wind whip through my hair.  As far as Matt, they tried to recreate his big mahi catch during our Atlantic crossing, pulling out a 50 lb fish for him to pose with up on the bow.  I would have LOVED to capture these behind the scene moments with my own camera, but they were not allowed on set since the shoot was happening 3 months before the release of the clothing line.

fish comparison

Matt & Jess VV

We were having so much fun during the shoot and it did not feel like work at all.  Not one of those ‘You think modeling is glamorous, but it’s so hard’ things. Mostly it was just us on a boat, with the added bonus of having someone steer and handle the sails while we enjoyed the ride and looked pretty.  Apparently we did run into an issue though where the camera man told me I smile too much, but I honestly couldn’t find the right mix of facial expressions to look happy or content without a wide toothy grin showing.  Any time I *think* I’m pulling this look off, I’m told by Matt that I just look pissed off.  I guess I have to work on that more in the future.

There were certain times we did take control of the boat for specific photos or parts of the video.  I even steered us back for a few minutes, while being told by the videographer that ‘there’s no such thing as a bad point’.  So there we both stood, pointing at the chart plotter, pointing at buoys, and pointing at the Miami skyline.  If there’s no such thing as a bad point, I’m going to ride that pony until it’s dead.  I really had no idea what else to do in front of the camera other than, well, smile.  If anyone else has this mid-range look down, seriously, email me with instructions.  Taru?…..Elay?…

We ended the shoot that day with a location change to Monty’s Raw Bar next to Miami Marina.  This was to be our fancy shoot where we were gussied up in a few of the fanciest looks the line has to offer.  Hair and makeup went to work on us once more, combing out the knots in my hair and slathering Matt in sunscreen to give him that nice dewy look.  Customers of the bar sat and looked on as we were pampered, and multiple outfits were pulled off the rack and held up to us to figure out the best look for the shot.  I was handed a GORGEOUS linen dress with a beaded detail, along with a pair of Tory Birch heels (the first pair I’d worn in nearly 3 years), and Matt was given a sport coat and bow tie.

Escorting us to a section of the bar which overlooked the water, we were posed for this section of the photo shoot; elbow on the bar, sip your painkiller, give each other loving looks, ect.  I think part of the reason for the posing here though was the unbelievable amount of clips keeping us tight inside our clothing.  My dress was only slightly loose, so there were about two binder clips pinning the mid section tighter in the back, but Matt had clips running all the way up and down the back and arms of his sport jacket.  I’m surprised there were actually angles possible where you didn’t see them.

When this part of the shoot ended, before I could even slam the rest of my Painkiller (and Matt’s too for that matter), we were ushered once again to the restrooms to change back into a more relaxed outfit, and brought out on the boardwalk for the question and answer part of our interview.  Something I kind of knew was a possibility after paying attention to the release of their Spring line, but something Matt had no idea was coming.  I made sure to keep it this way so he wouldn’t think about it too much beforehand and get flustered.  At the end of the interview I think we were both happy with how it turned out. I think we did a good job of answering questions, and hopefully didn’t do too much mumbling or unprepared answers of “I personally believe that US Americans….”.

All in all, we had SO much fun participating in this shoot for Vineyard Vines.  The entire staff and crew were incredibly friendly and we had a wonderful time talking and joking with them between photos while just hanging out.  The clothes were fantastic, and except for the large yacht we could only wish was ours, they captured us perfectly as we spend our time on the boat and with each other.  Only in much better clothes than we normally wear.  Although don’t be surprised if you catch us in a lot more of their gear from here on out.

Make sure to check out any of their multiple stores nationwide, and tell them we sent you!  We don’t get anything from this, but after working with such an amazing company, we can only hope that you’ll give them a little of your support while staying stylish on the water.

Vineyard Vines closeup page 2

Vineyard Vines page 3

Vineyard Vines page 4

Vineyard Vines page  5

Also, check out the 90 second interview they put together on us from shots taken from the day!


*Just because I know you’re all wondering this, no, we did not get to keep the clothing when we were finished.  Not only did they probably put us in a few thousand dollars worth of outfits, but there is again the conundrum of releasing clothing to a person before the line is released through the company.  We were however paid in a hefty gift card, of which has now gone toward a lot of great clothing that you’ll be seeing me in once we start travelling again.

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Throwback Thursday: The ARC is Gone, Time to Invade Las Palmas

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

It was a shame that as soon as the sun came out to show us exactly what a nice place Marina Rubicon could be, it was time for us to check out and move on.  We would have loved to spend a few more days at our favorite spot in Playa Papagayo, but the weather had not settled down enough from the storm passing through to give us a comfortable spot there.

Moving over to the south side of the island, we found a little known anchorage tucked next to a small resort and a few restaurants.  Here we sat and waited out rain for a few days, while venturing to shore just once, only to find the nearest internet was three miles away.  Not what we wanted to hear while trying to forecast weather for our upcoming 100 mile journey to Gran Canaria.  Through texting with my dad on our satellite phone, we were given the go ahead for good weather to get us to our last destination in the Canary Islands.

You can find the original post here.


Friday November 28, 2014


We made it to Gran Canaria. It’s crazy to think this will be our last stop before our Atlantic crossing. I still have mixed emotions about going back across since it seems like we just got to this side of the ocean. Part of me wants us to get delayed to no end so that I can enjoy land based time for as long as possible. The other part of me wants to get it over with as soon as possible, not only putting our long crossings behind us, but also getting to spend more time in the Caribbean with friends and tropical climates before throwing ourselves into major boat overhaul mode for the rest of 2015.

When we left Playa Quemachia on Tuesday I was still a little apprehensive of the 25 kt winds and 3 meter seas as the last time we had those conditions was going from Sao Miguel to Maderia, a passage I’d still like to block from my mind for so many reasons. But as we raised the main and glided out from the anchorage and into deep waters it was actually a pleasant sail. The wind was coming on our back quarter and the waves were gently lifting us up and pushing us forward. I laughed to myself and though, if this is what our crossing back to the Caribbean is going to be like then sign me up, I can totally handle this!

As usual Matt was down in bed basically as soon as the sails were raised and we were on course, preparing himself to stay up late for the first night shift. I spent the afternoon alone in the cockpit, snacking on Maria cookies and watching the volcanic peaks of Fuerteventura disappear into the horizon. All of the shifts passed incredibly quickly, neither of us had any issue falling asleep right when we were supposed to, and before we knew it we could see the lights of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the dark. Not even one of those situations where you can see a glow in the dark, but we could actually make out lights even when we were 30 miles offshore. The sail had actually gone so well that we had to slow ourselves down in order not to arrive in the dark.

Based on the insane number of ships showing on our AIS we did not want to get anywhere near shore without full daylight on our side. Matt even had to wake me up early to try and figure out all the lights in the water that were surrounding us in the dark. Trying to figure out what tankers were anchored outside the harbor and what ones were still moving, if the tri color light in the distance belonged to a sailboat, and if so how far it was from us, and if that ferry running up directly behind us knew we were there. The only way to describe this harbor is controlled chaos. I don’t think we’ve ever been to such a busy port. It seemed like all the vessels knew what they were doing for the most part, but the number of them was completely astounding.

When the sky eventually grew light and we could make sense of everything we were seeing, it was a mad rush to the harbor to beat out all the other sailboats that had obviously been waiting on the same weather window we had to make the crossing here. Assuming that the marina would have limited space even now that the ARC had left, we did not want to get turned away and literally have to travel all the way to the other side of the island to find another marina. Punching down the throttle we literally raced in another boat that was trying to pass us and caught the right side to be on of a departing tanker, while the other boat had to slow down and wait for it to pass.

Alligning ourselves with the hundred masts in front of us we pulled up to the marina and saw the numerous boats anchored out front. Confused on why they were all out there, we thought that the only available anchoring here was directly in front of a set of breakers and that these boats must be out here because the marina was overfilled and there was no other place for them to go. We figured that as long as there were numerous boats at anchor versus the marina, we would join them until a staff member came out to let us know we couldn’t be there. May as well steal a few days at anchor if possible.

Somehow even though this was an incredibly short passage, both of us were completely drained of energy for the rest of the day. We slept away most of it and barley woke up in time to make dinner before going right back to bed for the night. Yesterday we did get off the boat long enough to wander a few blocks and find a grocery store to stock us up for the weekend. We also tried to make a stop in the marina office to check ourselves in, but after taking a number and sitting in a set of plastic chairs for 45 minutes while not a single new person was called up to the desk and we were fifth in line, we decided to put it off for another day. Completely forgetting that it was Thanksgiving back home we did nothing special and enjoyed our normal nightly routine of a movie from our hard drive while eating dinner.

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Today we had wanted to get off the ‘Dip and do a bit more exploring except a terrible front was moving through the area and making conditions unbearable. During the afternoon it was just cloudy skies and winds around 30 knots, nothing to cause worry but enough to keep us on the boat. Through the evening and into the night though, things only got worse. Much, much worse. Even though we were inside a very protected harbor, the winds blowing through were so intense that I shudder to think of what conditions offshore were.

While I tried to settle into the settee with a bowl of popcorn and a chick flick on my Android. Even with earbuds nestled tightly in my ear I had to pause the movie a few times to check the howling winds outside since they were becoming deafening. Turning on the instruments we watched the wind gust up into the 40s….and then stay there. Through the next few hours it kept raising and raising until we were getting sustained winds in the 50s. At that point panic started to set in as we just waited for our anchor to drag or for one of the boats ahead to drag back into us. The winds were so powerful that if our bow even started to fall a few degrees off of direct wind, it would catch our hull and start to push us beam in. Back and forth we twisted from one direction to the other, all the time thinking of the strain on our anchor and chain.

There was one boat next to us that dragged further and further out of the anchorage and into the shipping channel, but unlike the storm we experienced in Play Francesca, it would be suicide to send Matt out in the dinghy to alert or try to help them. Luckily they became aware of this problem very quickly and began to move themselves back into the anchorage. For a period though they were fighting winds so strong that even though I’m sure they were motoring at full power, they weren’t even able to move forward, only keep themselves from getting pushed backward.

Chatting online with my blog friend Kit that’s in Tenerife and experiencing even stronger winds according to Passage Weather, she relayed that what they were receiving was sustained winds and gusts into the upper 60s. Jealous of the fact that they were in a marina instead of at anchor like we were, I quickly was comforted with our location as she told me that on the way to the showers, sheet metal was peeling off buildings and flying into the anchorage. Her and a visiting friend had to literally drop to the ground to keep from being hit by one. Not anything I would like to experience.

Both Matt and I were kept up by this storm until 4 am when we were no longer able to keep our eyes open and the winds were just beginning to subside. So…suddenly that Atlantic crossing isn’t sounding so appealing anymore. I think a plane ticket and hired crew to sail Serendipity to the Caribbean sounds much better. Now if only I could find a trustworthy crew to do this for free…..

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Rebuilding the Quarter Berth: Part I

The last room.  We’re actually starting work on the last room.  I honestly wasn’t sure this day would ever come. Ok, so work still needs to be done to to the starboard walls of the pilot house, but our aft quarter berth was the last untouched area….and now we have our hands all over it!

Our first step was clearing it out which was no easy feat in itself.  Ever since we moved aboard this boat the quarter berth has been our main ‘storage’ area (other than our 10′x10′ storage unit up the road), so if there was anything on the boat we didn’t know where to stick it…in the quarter berth it went.  About half of it we were able to keep chaos free, but the front half, the part we used to store all our tools, rarely to ever had a sense of order.  For more than 48 hours anyway.

To clear space in this area in order to tear it apart and rebuild it, we needed to find new homes for all the items that had been sitting there.  Most of the smaller tools we use nearly everyday were placed in what will eventually become an extra pantry for me; the bottom area of our nav station.  Our drawers from the old nav station; your run of the mill junk drawer; small tools; computer electronics; and then boat electronics; have been moved to sit on top of the port settee on the pilot house.  Over there also went the two boxes of canned food that we had brought over from Serendipity and never visited again.  They really should have been in an easier to access spot.

What resulted was a new chaos in the pilot house that even spilled out a little bit to our forward salon.  Imagine if you (as a homeowner) took everything you stored in your garage and attic, and moved it into your living room.  It is complete craziness.  I actually have video of it that I’ll put online as soon as I have a following video once we’ve cleaned it all up so we don’t look like we belong on an episode of hoarders, haha.

Anyway, back to the project. After the area had been cleared out we started the process of removing all the old walls and plywood, bringing  them below the boat to keep as templates for when we’re ready to trace and install the new wood. The existing pieces still didn’t fit exactly as we wanted though, so before they went down we went through and measured areas we’d like to extend them out just a little bit, and marked those areas with a Sharpie so we’d know later the adjustments that needed to be made.

cleaned out quarter berth

Matt taking measurements

taking apart quarter berth

Once all the old wood was out, there was the task of making sure the aluminum in that part of the hull was still ok and wasn’t pitting enough to the point it would need replacing.  Since our welder is still scheduled to come out and fix one or two more problem areas, we need to know of all issues to the hull, inside and out, before we send our welder packing for good.  This meant taking out the existing insulation against the hull below the waterline, which we wanted to anyway because it’s easier for moisture to get trapped there.

Getting to work with an oscillating tool, I worked through two rows of insulation until I was down to metal, and then scrubbed the area with a metal brush to make sure any remaining debris came loose and was vacuumed up.  Keeping a clean surface down here will help prevent any future pitting, and we definitely don’t want that.  But I have to say, after sticking my tiny little fingers from my itty bitty hand between a few of these metal frames because no other tools would easily fit in there to clean out all the dirt build up, I was tempted just to let it sit and rot.  But sigh…future Jessica would hate me for that.

The next few days on this project were easy sailing.  We used 2x4s as the cleats that would hold the new plywood flooring (seating?) and also put up the new battons which the Eurolite will adhere to.  On a rain free morning I epoxied all of them so they could be installed permanently, and we were ready to trace our old templates onto fresh wood.  In a few areas we made over cuts ‘just in case’ because we knew it would be much easier to shave a little off than be too short and screwed.  The plywood fit in perfectly, although the Eurolite needed just a little trimming.  All in all it was an easy process and the initial install came together very nicely.

Next step will be to route the v-groves in the Eurolite, and epoxy the backs before we can install them for good.  Then it’s onto my favorite task of filling and sanding the corners, and eventually I’ll be unleashed to prime and paint.

Jessica removing foam insulation

Matt adding new beams

initial walls of quarter berth

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Advice Is Not Absolute

shipwreck Bahamas

Don’t worry, we won’t end up like this if we don’t take every piece of advice given.

If you’re a member of Facebook, chances are, you’re probably part of one of the million and one subgroups about sailing. I know I’m in at least six of them. I love these groups, they can be a wealth of information.  Any question you have about sailing or cruising, just post it in one of these groups and you will most likely have 10 responses within an hour. I’ve used them to ask questions in areas I’m not particularly knowledgeable about, or even go the opposite direction and dispense the knowledge I do have to others asking questions.

Any time I post a question in one of these groups I am extremely grateful to anyone who replies. I take into consideration any information given to me, even if my broad question provides answers that don’t apply to my situation personally. So if you have seen me in these groups and helped me out with a problem, or hell, even just liked the comment; thank you very much for taking the time from your schedule to lend me a hand or acknowledge that I need a little help.

With that being said though, there is one thing that sometimes happens while I’m reading the responses that will immediately raise my blood pressure and leave me wishing for a squishy ball to squeeze the hell out of.  It’s when people give advice as if it’s an absolute. As if it is either the only solution to my problem, or they know me so well that of course their answer is going to apply to me and my life.  Well guess what?  Advice is just that. Advice. And because it may work well for one person or even large groups, it does not mean it will apply to everyone.

I’ve never been one that likes being told what to do, so when I’ve gotten out of my 9-5 world and into something a little more freeing and without the same conformity, I DON’T like someone telling me ‘This is how it’s going to be’. I guess this makes me an outlier among outliers. I will fully admit that Matt and I are not your typical cruisers.  On average we’re 30 years younger, live on quite a different budget, and view different things as necessities.

Let me enlighten you with a few ‘helpful’ statements I’ve been given…and why they just don’t work for me. Plus, they’re all things I’ve heard multiple times.  The first one or even two times, yeah, I can let it go.  Although somewhere around the third or fourth time my eye will start twitching. And keep in mind, in the manner they were given, these were not suggestions.

  • People eat everywhere in the world.  Don’t waste your time and storage fully stocking up with provisions in the US.  Instead, buy your food in the Bahamas and support the local economy.

While I won’t argue with this statement itself, I will only say that it unfortunately doesn’t always fit into our lifestyle.  Provisions in the Bahamas are usually at least 50% more expensive than in the US.  We’re 34.  We don’t have a full retirement fund, social security, or pension.  While the idea is great, we have to be realistic.  And while we love to support the community when we can (like the fish fry we went to in Long Island), we can’t just shell out money like that.  Truth is, most cruisers out there don’t.  But the pretentious attitude of those that try to push it on others just irritates me.

  • Don’t even bother bringing dresses or anything fancy with you.  I can promise you will NEVER use them.

I may have left the city behind when we stepped foot on our boat to sail away in 2012, but I still like my fair share of glitz.  Are fancy dresses necessary in this lifestyle?  Absolutely not.  But I still like putting them on every once in awhile, even if it’s just to wander through the dirt roads of Belize.  I’ve actually recently come to the realization that I spent too much time in our first round of cruising in jean shorts and t-shirts because I thought I had to.  I miss dresses.  And you’ll be seeing me in them a lot more our second time out.  (Heels though?  No.  You’ll still always find me in sandals or flats).

  • You have to listen to Chris Parker before you plan on making any passages in the Caribbean.

Sorry, nothing against you Chris Parker, but I have never listened to a broadcast. It’s on waaaay to early in the morning for me, and I’ve had zero issues with other forecasting routes.  Passage Weather has always been our go-to when we have internet, showing me what’s going on in any particular area of the world. And those combined 11 weeks we spent out in the Atlantic were handled just fine using Weather Fax through our SSB.

  • You have to have cabinets in your salon to maximize storage.

Ok, maybe I haven’t heard this one yet, but I know it’s coming.  Because it suits us and our style better, we’ve decided to forego wall cabinets in our salon, and we’ll be fully relying on storage under the settee.  But because of the pilot house aspect of our new boat, we now have more storage than we know what do do with, and we like the clean lines of keeping our salon walls bare instead of putting up cabinets to gain a little extra storage.  It may not be typical or even sensible as far as maximizing boat space, but we like it.  Besides, this is our boat, and we’ll arrange it to how it suits us best.


Now I don’t want everyone to freak out and never give me advice or tips again.  As I’ve said, I LOVE the help and ideas I get from these Facebook groups.  And if you’re thinking to yourself “I hope it wasn’t when I told her she should do XX or YY that pissed her off”.  No, chances are extremely slim that any of these comments came from anyone who even follows this blog.  You’ve all been so valuable and I’m so happy to hear your thoughts and advice.

But I have to know…am I alone here?  Has anyone else had cases of where they were given a piece of advice as if they had no choice in the matter but to accept it?  I’d love to hear the ‘absolute’ advice that didn’t fit into your lifestyle.


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Throwback Thursday: Stuck in Marina Rubicon

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

It turns out there is a reason people don’t stay anchored in Isla de Lobos long, and the swell we kept hearing about decided to rear it’s nasty little head after 2 nights of staying there.  Only 3 miles away was our now favorite spot of Playa de Papagayo, and we were not sad at all to have to spend just a few hours getting back there.

It wasn’t hard spending our days laying out at the beach, and our evenings in the cockpit with a glass of wine, watching the volcanic rocks turn red around us.  We were still a few days away from being able to move ourselves to Gran Canaria when the ARC left, we didn’t want to be around there with that mass of boats, but it turns out we did have to move ourselves regardless of if we wanted to.

With a heavy storm on it’s way and our boat about to be pinned against a lee shore, we had no other option but to move ourselves to the fancy Marina Rubicon.  It’s kind of funny.  I remember not liking it a ton when we were originally there, maybe it was just being forced back into a marina when all we wanted to do was be at anchor; but now that I look back on it, it was a beautiful place to be!

You can find the original post here.

Friday November 21, 2014

Besteaver 18 in Marina Rubicon

Although we could have stayed in the Papagayo Peninsula forever, or at least until the madness that is the ARC leaves Las Palmas and we can move ourselves there, mother nature seemed to have other plans in mind. On Wednesday morning we were commenting how the wind was coming out of the south and kicking up a bit of swell, making things on Serendipity just a bit more uncomfortable than they had been even the few previous days. It became a bit of a game through the morning, to see how much we could tolerate. The only other option other than to put up with it would be to move ourselves to a marina and we were on a kick to see if we could go our whole time in the Canaries without having to enter one.

We were enjoying our second cup of coffee out in the cockpit, watching the waves coming our way starting to form cresting white tops, and both of us knew the game would be coming to an end as this was not only becoming unbearable, but possibly dangerous to stay. Calling Marina Rubicon on the VHF we asked if there were open slips and told them we were on our way and to expect us shortly. As Matt made his way up to the bow to raise the anchor it was diving in and out of the waves and splashing water all over him as I had to rev up the rpms just to get us moving far enough forward to bring it up. When I finally got the hand signal that I could start making my way to the marina I looked at the instruments in time to see the wind gusting over 40. Fully exposed to this as we were, we were grateful that we didn’t wait any longer than we had to try and get out of there.

Navigating the narrow entrance to the marina with waves now rolling on every side of us, we tucked into a slip just in time to watch the sky grow completely black and the winds really take off. Rains bucketed down and I had the satisfaction of enjoying this tremendous storm from somewhere safe now. When conditions settled down a little later we found our way up to the grocery store, something we were going to have to come to this side of town for in the next few days anyway, and stocked Serendipity back up with breads, meats, and even some cheap wine and sangria. For the rest of the night we let the rain rocket outside while the pressure dropped significantly, as we sat calmly at the dock enjoying a nice dinner and the use of internet. Hot showers followed which was almost, almost, worth the trip into the marina itself.

Conditions were not expected to improve the following day, in fact there were signs posted everywhere about the low pressure system moving through the area and mariners should take caution and put extra lines and fenders out to protect from possible damage. One night at the marina turned into two, and although we tried to enjoy our easy access to land again, nothing but dark skies and rain followed for another day, forcing us to sit on the boat, computers on lap, glasses full of sangria. Well, for me anyway.

Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote

storm over Marina Rubicon

Today the clouds finally broke lose and let the sun out again. Being the guests who stay just until the moment of check-out, we used our morning for a nice leisurely walk back to the grocery store to stuff our bags with everything we couldn’t the day before, and take one last hot shower. It is a little sad that bad weather had to force us in here as the grounds actually look very nice for when you can get out and enjoy them. There’s a nice pool surrounded by lounge chairs, an outside market set up two days a week, and a lovely path that runs from the marina almost all the way to where we had been previously anchored. The marina is in fact set in a community, full of white washed condos and apartments, which is probably why the cost to stay here is twice as high as any marina we found in Portugal (or that you can find in the rest of the Canaries, so we hear).

We tried to get as much out of our sunny morning as we could, wandering all the paths and looking at the much more expensive and better kept yachts on the far side of the marina. Matt even found a Besteaver sitting in one of the slips. A certain type of aluminum boat that he’s been drooling over for a few years now. And not only that, but it happened to be the same exact one that he has multiple photos of downloaded to his computer, of this particular boat floating through icebergs in the Arctic. I think these photos are meant to show me what our aluminum boat might be capable of, although I still have little to no desire to see ice floating by me from the deck of my own boat. Stick me on ’18′ as crew or charter for a few weeks on a trip to the Arctic  though and that’s something I might be able to get into.

Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote

Besteaver 18

paths around Marina Rubicon

paths around Marina Rubicon

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