Spray Foam Insulation – V-berth & Forward Salon

Wednesday June 24, 2015

spray foam insulation kit

Over the weekend we were able to knock out the project of insulating the v-berth and the forward salon on Daze Off.  When we bought the boat this is a project we were not expecting to do, but as anyone knows, plans to rebuild anything is always full of surprises.

We thought the boat was fully insulated and found out that wasn’t true when we began to rip out the ceiling in the forward salon.  All of the insulation there had been removed for what we’re assuming was a place for previous owners to hide drugs.  I guess that’s just one of the things you have to deal with when you buy an ex drug running boat.  The v-berth did have insulation…but it was only sheet insulation which we don’t quite trust because we wanted to prevent condensation from forming behind the foam and causing eventual corrosion. The overhead has spray foam insulation and we’d like to continue that throughout the boat.

Serendipity didn’t have insulation, but we wanted to make sure this new boat does.  Not only will it help keep us cool in the Caribbean while we have a blazing sun beating down on the shiny metal surface that is our boat, but once we get to the high latitudes we’ll need it to keep all heat possible inside the boat.  Even when we were traveling down the ICW on Serendipity, the ambient air and water temperatures would sometime bring the inside temperatures into the low 50′s overnight.  Getting ourselves into ice fields?  I don’t even want to think about what it would be like inside the boat without insulation. (Although we will have a heater to keep us warm as well)

Having had a little experience with doing spray foam insulation ourselves from adding a little extra thickness to the existing insulation of Serendipity’s fridge (which you can read about here), Matt felt confident that he could cover the easily accessible areas of Daze Off himself.

Getting down to the primed aluminum hull, all Matt had to do was keep the nozzle 6 inches away from the surface he was covering and squeeze the trigger.  We had purchased a two part kit that had everything else ready to go for us.  The hoses were already attached to the canisters which means all you have to do is point and shoot.

He made sure to go slowly and also went lightly the first time because we didn’t know how much it would expand. We made the mistake with the fridge on Serendipity of spraying too much at first and it expanded so far that we were left with days of chiseling extra out.  This foam kit dries in one minute so it was easy to tell right away how much he needed to spray in one area.

v-berth with sheet insulation

primer on the aluminum hull

spray foam insulation to forward salon

spray foam in forward salon

When the salon was finished and we liked the results we removed the sheet insulation from the v-berth to be able to cover that area as well.  Covering the ceiling first we saved the overhead for last and ended up running out of foam.  Everything was covered but it wasn’t as thick on the overhead as the other areas.  It didn’t quite come out as far as the frames hung down.  Even though we’d bought enough foam to cover 200 board feet we ran just short.  Since we know we’ll eventually have to purchase another kit to cover the head, galley, and probably pilot house, we’ll come back and touch up the overhead of the v-berth.

Once the foam had fully dried we had to go back and uncover the frames so we’d still have a place to attach the furring strips to.  At first we were dreading the part since we remembered how miserable it was to chip out the extra foam on Serendipity, and then Matt had an idea.  Grabbing his Dremmel out he put on a long blade and ran it along the frame.  It worked perfectly!  With barely any work we were able to cut the foam off cleanly down to the aluminum frame.

Switching out this project back and forth since it can get a little tiring on the arms after awhile, we were able to do all the frames in just over an hour.  Now we are all set to start putting up furring strips and then the new ceiling!  She’s going to look so different with walls in again, I can’t wait to see the progress!

*You can spare us the lectures on how Matt wasn’t wearing a mask in this process.  We already had a stern talking to after posting a few photos on Facebook.  I will say that the kit we ordered is non-toxic and we also had all hatches open and a fan blowing.  It didn’t smell the best, but I don’t think we took any years off our lives.

tearing out sheet insulation

spray foam insulation to v-berth

cutting insulation from frame

The 22nd was Matt’s 33rd birthday, and even though he does not like to celebrate them we kind of forced a small party on him anyway.  Mark and Hanna had just gotten back from visiting family and when they found out it was his birthday they said we should all gather at the patio that night for a few drinks.  Not that hard since we’re there every night anyway for our dinner.  Hanna promised us a new mango drink she’d just invented made using fresh mangoes and an energy drink, and Mark said he’d have all the ingredients handy to make a few mojitos as well.  Having a plan of making a big pot of white chicken chili anyway, I invited them to eat with us too.

Since Matt still made us put in a full work day, we got down to the patio to shower just after 6 and just in time to watch a very large yacht pulling in the marina. It turns out it was a sunset cruise boat on it’s way down from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast and was pulling in for a spot to stay on their transit.  When they found out it was Matt’s birthday they invited him on board to snap a few photos behind the bar so we could pretend we had rented it out for his special night, but apparently that didn’t sound as fun to him as it did to me.  Finishing up the chili instead we gathered on the patio for dinner and drinks.

It was a fun and relaxing evening and I think Matt did get to enjoy some birthday antics when one of the yard guys, Alex, came and kidnapped him and Mark for a few hours where they went to a friends house and enjoyed some Coronas and billiards.  Hanna and I stayed back and mixed a few more mango/vodka/Monster drinks and enjoyed some girl time.

Our friends at the marina, Ellen and Scott, had also didn’t know about Matt’s birthday until the day of, so the next afternoon when we came down to the kitchen for lunch we found a bottle of Coca-Cola with a note that said ‘On your birthday you deserve to enjoy the real thing’.  A joke since we only buy the cheap $0.84 store brand soda at Walmart.  How sweet of them.  And funny.  I think overall it was a good birthday for Matt, considering we’re in a boat yard.  But when my birthday comes…I am getting out.

Princess of Naples

Matt, Hanna & Mark

Mango/Monster drink

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Hello, My Name is Daze Off, and I Have a Drug Problem

Friday June 19, 2015

Daze Off name on stern

Or maybe I should say an ex-drug problem.  We hope she doesn’t have it anymore.

But yes, once upon a time our dear little girl was a drug running boat in the Caribbean Sea.  Maybe her current name of Daze Off makes much more sense now that you know her youth was spent in a drug induced haze, and just one more reason why we need to change it.  No need for some angry or jilted Colombians to come after us for our boat’s bad history.

We knew a little bit (and still don’t know much, really) about her past career when we bought her, but are not the first owners since she’s seen the light and changed her ways.  Or more accurately, was seized by the DEA.  She has since then had two previous owners. As far as coming across any left behind drugs or money, or god forsake, a body, there hasn’t been any sign of those in the past 20 years since she’s left it all behind.  But then again, no one has taken the time to fully rip her apart like we are, so hey!, maybe there’s still an opportunity to uncover some unmarked bills.

If you suddenly see us galavanting around like we’ve won the lottery, it’s totally not because we’ve found a couple hundred thousand dollars hidden in the keel.

As we get further into repairs though, there have been obvious signs to Daze Off’s history.  Remember the perfectly drilled hole in the keel I mentioned in the last post?  Most likely the DEA searching that area for drugs. (See, I told you we wouldn’t find any there.)

Disassembling the forward settee area today was just another reminder. As far as we knew when we bought this boat and also through the removal of a few random panels since we’ve been on her, there is insulation throughout.  Very important to us since we’ll be taking her up to the Baltics and need to retain all the heat we can. Taking out all of the cabinets, we also went to remove the strips of wood behind them that acted as the ceiling, only to find out the insulation in those areas had been removed.  To hide drugs.

Not only had the insulation been removed to make for some hidden compartments, but the ceiling (or walls to most of us that don’t know boat talk, so confusing) was pushed out an extra 4 inches or so from the frame.  In a way this has been good and bad for us.  Good that we’ve now gained an extra half foot of width in our sitting area, but bad because we now have to replace the foam that we thought was supposed to be there.  And trust me, it ain’t cheap.  We’re going with a spray insulation foam which costs about $1 per board foot to cover.

Until that new foam comes in we’ve been keeping ourselves busy by stripping Daze Off down to her bare bones in the forward settee and v-berth.  One of our projects before we can put a new ceiling (wall) in is to epoxy coat furring strips so the new marine plywood won’t be screwed in directly to the aluminum but will attach to the wooden strips instead.  The furring strips will connect to the aluminum frame with stainless steel machine screws coated in a specific gel to combat corrosion.  Since metal on metal tends to = not good.

Instead of buying new marine plywood specifically for the task of becoming furring strips we realized that the old overhead boards will work perfectly for the job.  A little saved money in our pocket and some pieces of Daze Off that do get to stay on the boat.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Isn’t that what most cruisers are all about anyway?

For a look at Daze Off when we first saw her, check out this post.

old forward settee - Daze Off

removing ceiling on Daze Off

stripped forward settee - Daze Off

old v-berth - Daze Off

expoxied furring strips

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Throwback Thursday: Instant Cruiser – Just Add Water

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.

This week we wrap up our work with Serendipity after her accident and our way too long of a stay in St. Augustine.  Don’t get us wrong, we really did love that town.  You’d hear us say over and over “If we had to be stuck anywhere, we’re glad it was here”.  But for an accident that we never planned on (are they ever?) and two months more of work than we expected after it did, we were ready to get cruising down to the Bahamas.  Here’s a recap on our last month in the work yard as we put the ‘Dip back together and a list of all the repairs that went into her.

You can find the original post here.

Monday March 4, 2013

3.4.13

 Today is the day we have been waiting for, for three months. To the date. Today we finally went back in the water. Granted, we knew the accident was bad when it happened, but when we arrived to St. Augustine Marine Center back on December 4th, we honestly thought we’d be hauled out and put right back in after a quick survey. After receiving the damage report we were thinking ‘Ok, this is really bad, we might be out for two to four weeks.’. And then we sat and sat and sat. Shortly after being out of the water for one whole month, we finally got the claim approved by our insurance company (they were still swamped with Hurricane Sandy claims), and work finally began. We thought it could be done in two weeks since we had already started a lot of the projects ourselves. Then the keel came off and we found out that bolts needed to be replaced and there was no one in the area that could do the job. From that point it didn’t matter when the rest of the projects were finished, we weren’t going anywhere until the bolts were replaced and the keel was put back on. When we had hope that we could fly someone out to do the job, we forged on with other projects. The engine and transmission were taken out to be fixed, and the rudder was sent off to be straightened. Matt fiberglassed all the tabbing on the port side salon. The bilge and engine bay were painted.

Although we had a great experience with anyone that worked directly for the marine center, there were a few issues with vendors, and work on our boat kept getting pushed back and back. When I got back from Arizona at the end of January, I honestly thought we’d be splashed and moving by the middle of the month. We had canceled the guy flying out to repair the keel bolts and instead went with the owner of the boat yard next door who took on the project and did it fantastically.  There was the long wait for the transmission to  be repaired that we had not been expecting, and then once we were finally being put back together, the fact that the new  bushing for our rudder did not fit.  Eventually after a lot of blood and sweat, but surprisingly no tears, we’re finally put back together and ready to go.  Three months behind our original intended scheduled, and now six weeks behind all of our friends who have been enjoying the white sand beaches of the Bahamas for at least that amount of time.  We’re finally ready to go and join.

 

Although it’s been spread out through months and multiple posts, you might be wondering what work went into Serendipity while we were here.  Taken straight from the estimate being sent to our insurance company, this is what kept us on the hard for three months:

  • Remove max prop
  • Remove shaft
  • Remove strut
  • Rudder shaft repair
  • Glass repair A.) Rudder B.) Interior bonds C.) Stern tube and strut fairing D.) Fuel tank drained and removed
  • Lift to remove rudder and keel
  • Remove and replace multiple keel bolts
  • Lift to install keel and rudder
  • Repair bushing
  • Align motor and shaft
  • Strut and shaft reinstalled
  • Reinstall max prop
  • Pull & inspect transmission
  • Rebuild transmission
  • Reinstall transmission
  • Install new motor mounts
  • Bottom paint, one coat over entire bottom, second coat on repairs
  • Replace cutlas bearing
  • Canvas – Replace glass on two panels
  • Inspect Rigging

 

Over the weekend we had tentative plans to launch around 12:30, as close as we could get to slack tide. The river we’re on has a terrible current, and I’ve watched and heard of multiple boats bang up against the side while making their approach into or departure from the well. Having been out of the water for three months, as well as not even being as skilled as some of the captains who have beat up their boats here, we didn’t want to get swept away or banged up our first day back in the water. After talking with the yard manager, he penciled us in after a catamaran getting hauled out for a survey, and said that if it didn’t go over time they’d have an hour available to get us back in the water. Hiding out in the salon for the better part of the morning, and occasionally peeking out to keep an eye on the cat that was being surveyed, we received a knock on our hull, telling us to be ready right after lunch because we were going in.  As the minutes ticked by, I could feel myself getting stage fright and I could feel it growing.  We’d never had to move our boat out of a boat well before, it was always done by the marina, and we had never tried doing it in an area with such strong currents.  In front of a crowd no less.

We tied the fenders to the side and waited for the lift to come.  Georgie was locked below to make sure she wasn’t trotting around deck while all this was going on, although at the first hint of a loud noise she’s usually hidden in the aft cabin anyway.  As promised, the lift pulled up at thirty minutes to one.  We climbed down the ladder for the last time and unattached it from the boat while the large sling was wrapped around the bottom of Serendipity.  Lifting her up and removing all the jackstands, she was slowly moved away from her home and closer to the boat well.  She was lowered down with ease, and just as she was floating, we were allowed to climb back on.  Firing up the engine, everything was looking good and after not having a slip assigned to us we chose the one that was at a 90 degree angle from where we were currently sitting, and would require the least amount of turns.  Backing out, the small current that was flowing through did begin to catch us a little bit and begin turning us ways we did not want to go, but Matt quickly got it under control and while putting us into forward and giving it a lot of gas, began to move us with ease toward our intended dock.  The men working the travel lift were already waiting to catch our lines, and within moments we were neatly tied off.  Floating once more, as we had been waiting so long and patiently for.

We’re hoping to leave on Wednesday, after we finish a few last minute things around town.  The weather is looking too nasty to jump out and head straight to the Bahamas like we wanted, so instead we’ll be making our way south via the ICW once more, getting to Lake Worth and making a jump across once we get there and find a weather window.  But I am so excited to be back in the water, we are cruisers once more!  Or will be, once we take care of that enormous bill waiting for us at the service desk and are given the OK to leave.

3.4.13 (1)

3.4.13 (2)

3.4.13 (3)

3.4.13 (4)

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Survey Says…..

Saturday June 13, 2015

survey on Daze Off

Survey says this boat is going to need a lot of work.  But we already knew that.  And you probably did too.

No, all joking aside, we did not get a full survey done on the boat since everything besides the hull is going to be replaced….but that one area we still wanted to have looked at.  I probably mentioned in one of the first posts when we bought the boat that there were two known holes in the hull under the waterline and since we’ve been to see her in person we’ve found countless more.  Or at least more than we’d like to have.  And enough to have had us worried that the welding repairs on Daze Off might completely wreck our budget.  The going rate seems to be about $85/hr for a decent welder, plus materials, but we weren’t sure how many days or weeks it might take to fix this bad boy up.

Which is why we called on our good friend Dylan Bailey of DB Yacht Surveying.  Not only is Dylan a master at metal boats, his father building them for years and owning one himself, but he was also who took care of us in St. Augustine when we had our accident on the ‘Dip.  So we already knew we were in good hands with him.  Being one of the first people we got in contact with after purchasing this new boat, we knew that we’d want him to take a look at it no matter what.

Even though he’s based in St. Augustine he’ll sometimes make work related trips down to the Stuart area and we’ve made sure to catch him now a couple of times.  Once was when Daze Off was still in the storage yard and we were indecisive on if we wanted to keep her due to all the possible repairs necessary to the hull. He said she looked like a good and sturdy built boat, but would like to do an ultrasound of her at some point to fully assess the holes and overall thickness of the hull in different spots to see areas of possible corrosion.

Now that Daze Off is in the work yard and he was nearby, we called on Dylan once more to fully inspect the hull and keel, talk over the issues with the welder, and give us a good idea of what will need to be done to get her floating again.  Before we were able to show him the hulls that we knew about upon purchase, but this time we were able to show him the new ones we’d found including a perfectly round drilled hole that I’ll go on about more in another post.  Now though, it was nice to have him tell us about the areas we couldn’t see with our plain eyes.

We knew that the keel cavity encountered some damage during a hurricane. Salt water entered the cavity, and along with the lead ballast, created a battery which did lead to a bit of corrosion.  Talking to Dylan we found that areas that had lost less than 20% of their thickness should be ok, between 20-25% is cause for concern, and anything over 25% should be filled or replaced.

Moving his ultrasound all over our keel we taped out the areas that had too much loss and will need to be replaced by the welder. At the moment the keel looks a bit like a jigsaw puzzle with random bits of tape running all over it, sometimes stretching out lines to connect because in the end a bigger section might be easier to replace than a few smaller ones.

All in all we had just over 1,000 points checked with the ultrasound, so at least we are very sound that we know what kind of condition the hull and keel are in.

At the end of the survey the overall verdict is she actually is in better shape than we had originally hoped.  The sections to be replaced should be easy and not too time consuming which will be great on our wallet.  A few replaced panels, a few areas of pitting filled, and this boat can float again.  In the meantime while all the welding gets worked out though, time to get down and dirty inside.

survey of Daze Off

Survey of Daze Off

survey of Daze Off

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Throwback Thursday: Mama I’m Coming Home…Again

 

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.

This week’s installment still leaves us in St. Augustine, a little over 6 weeks from the last Throwback Thursday, and still working on getting Serendipity seaworthy again.  After having waited four weeks just for the insurance adjuster to come out (they were incredibly busy with claims from Hurricane Sandy), we were finally able to get a total on the damage.  Some of the items we had contracted out to the yard in which we were staying and others we had done ourselves.

Without much for me personally to do besides get in the way and take up space, I decided to leave Matt for a week while I went out to visit my parents in Arizona.  That way he was able to tear apart the boat to get to some of the really dirty projects and live in filth while I was able to enjoy a few creature comforts.  He was able to get a lot done while I was gone, but I did find later that he’d work himself so long and hard that his dinners every night ended up being tuna.  Straight from the can.

You can find the original post here.

Thursday January 24, 2013

1.24.13

I knew this was going to be an early morning, and a somewhat rushed one too, they always are when you’re traveling, but I was not expecting the knock that came on hull sharply at 8 am.  The alarm had been set for fifteen minutes after 8 where I had planned on taking a quick shower, shoveling down some breakfast, and making sure all my bags were packed before departing for the airport at 9:30.  My parents ha offered to fly us out for a visit, and I was only more than happy to take them up on it.  So this even earlier wake up call that we were not expecting left us with questions of “Who is it, and what do they want?”.  Opening the door after a few seconds of pounding on the companionway and voices coming from outside saying, “Let me in, it’s cold out here!” we opened the door to find the guy that was going to be taking out the transmission and engine.  Who as far as we knew, wasn’t supposed to show up until 1:00 that afternoon, after Matt had gotten back from bringing me to Jacksonville (he has to stay behind for all the projects to commence this week).  Unbenounced to us, and even though he knew we were leaving that morning, the guy thought he would pop in for an hour or two to get the process started before the big work of actually removing the engine was to come that afternoon.

So before we were even fully awake or had the chance to get out of our pj’s, we were busy moving all the items from the aft cabin up into the v-berth and salon to make room for him to work.  And all of these new items were now being piled on top of everything we’d already moved out of the port side settee.  A project that had been done on Sunday night to make room for another guy that was supposed to come on Monday to repair all our broken tabbing.  To which he never showed up on Monday.  Or Tuesday, or Wednesday.  The boat was now literally a disaster area.  Still having to stick to my morning schedule, after helping Matt remove the bottom two steps for better access to the engine, I grabbed my shower supplies and went to get ready.  The real trick came though after I had gotten back, and needed to get dressed.  I hadn’t been smart enough to bring my change of clothes with me and was now forced to change in the head.  Which was now also full of crap that we were trying to get out of the way.  There were some real acrobatics involved changing in a space that small with no floor room.  Back in the salon   I was maneuvering around the small space, unpacking and then repacking things into my bag until I was finally ready.  We sent the engine/transmission guy packing, I gave Georgie a long hard snuggle for as long as she’d let me hold her, and took one last look at my home that I hadn’t been away from for almost six months.

Waiting outside the boat yard gates for us was Chris, and we started the hour long journey up to the Jacksonville airport.  Matt was along for the ride as Jacksonville has a very large and well stocked West Marine, and there are definitely a few more things we could use.  Getting dropped off I said a quick and hard goodbye to Matt and went to check myself in.  Initially at the wrong counter, too.  Good thing I noticed I was on US Airways and not United before I got up to the counter and made a total fool of myself.  But soon I did have my tickets in hand and a lot of time to kill when I realized I had never eaten that morning because the galley was ‘blocked’.  Having been offered Starbucks on the ride up but originally declining, the one shining in my face at the airport looked too good to pass up, plus it had a seat right next to an electrical outlet, so I rushed up and ordered a venti caramel macchiato and a scone.  It didn’t dawn on me until I was surfing the internet with a large drink in front of me that I remembered I’d probably still want to give myself an hour to get through security and to my gate.  Which left me 30 minutes to chug a piping hot 20 oz coffee.  Tried as I might, there was still a good 1/3rd left when my timer was up.

Quickly getting through security and the new x-ray machines that there is so much conspiracy about (it was my first time using one), I was sitting in front of my gate in a matter of 10 minutes.  After having passed a Starbucks inside security.  Damn.  We just didn’t have perks like that back in Grand Rapids.  Making sure I was one of the last people on the plane, because, who wants to sit on one any longer than they have to?, I was once again lucky enough not to be seated next to an over-talkative cat lady.  (Wait, that’s not going to be me now, is it?)  During the first leg of the journey (there was a layover in Charlotte) I became engrossed in the in-flight magazine and came across a very interesting book review for something I might need to find and check out of the library.  It’s mostly based on sayings parents will tell their children on safety that have rolled down the generations, and if they’re actually true or not.  Kind of a Myth Busters of ‘Don’t run with scissors’.  Before I knew it we were landing and I had to almost run through the terminal to get to my next flight, which was boarding as I got there.

During the next four hours of that flight I read up on Aruba in the same in-flight magazine (can’t wait to get there), edited some photos, and listened to music.  I can’t wait until I can get a new charger for my Nook and having that work on the way back.  I’m not sure if it’s because of the watches in the cockpit or the past six weeks of stuffing myself behind the desk at the nav station with my computer, but the seats on the plane didn’t even feel very small to me.  Bringing on two big bags since I’m not checking luggage, and then having them sit at my feet since the overhead compartment was full cramped my foot space a little, but it really wasn’t a bad ride.  After landing I walked through the Phoenix airport and it’s many levels to find my mom waiting for me at the baggage claim.  A few big hugs and we were on the way to the car where my dad was waiting for us and a cold Pepsi was waiting for me.  My favorite!  Then when I walked into my home away from home and went into the bedroom to drop off my bags there was a jar full of Skittles waiting for me on the nightstand.  Another favorite.  And the cherry on top, after getting to see my parents of course, was my engagement/wedding ring that had been stuffed away in a bank, ready for me to wear during my stay.  Do my parents know how to take care of me, or what?  I may have just walked in the door, but I can already tell this is an amazing week spending some much needed time with family, and possibly, getting spoiled rotten.

In St. Augustine news:  The pulling of the engine/transmission did not go as smooth as we had hoped.  Smooth as in, our companion way is no longer that.  Because of a few cords that should have been disconnected and were not, while the engine was being pulled out of the companionway by the crane, it snapped back and sent the engine flying into the wall.  From what Matt described to me, even with the height of the door handle for the head, there are now 7-8 pencil eraser size dents, and they’re deep.  I haven’t heard if they can be filled, but it sounded like the only way to fully repair this would be completely replace that wall.  Poor Matt.  At least he has chocolate chip cookies to soothe his pain.

1.24.13 (1)

1.24.13 (2)

Cute couple dancing to Frank Sinatra in the airport.

1.24.13 (3)

 

Cutting the genoa line off the prop.

Comforting to read while you’re flying on a plane.

 

 

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This is So Far From Glamping

Wednesday June 10, 2015

Daze Off

Glamping: Shorthand for glamorous camping; luxury camping.  This is not what we are doing.  Serendipity may have been considering glamping to some as it was a step up from camping, but we have fallen so far from there.  So very far in fact that I might have to say that we’re a level below camping.  This folks, is because we have just moved onto Daze Off.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly.  We will be living on the boat that we are remodeling.  While we are remodeling it.

‘So you’ve decided not to rip the whole thing apart, but instead just fix little bits here and there?’

Nope, we’re still ripping the whole thing apart while we are living on it.

The original plan had been to live on Serendipity while we were doing this remodel, comfortably floating in a slip at the same marina where we’d have air conditioning running down through a window vent and a comfortable place to kick up our heels at the end of the work day.  Assuming she would takes months and months to sell, as most boats do, we thought that we’d at least have all the major areas finished before there would be any thought of moving on to Daze Off.  The v-berth, forward settee, galley, and hopefully the head.  Basically as minimal as you can get to comfortably live.

But because the ‘Dip sold so darn quick, which in a way we are very thankful for because at least we won’t be paying $1,100 to the marina each month, we are now left homeless.  House-less is fine by us as we’ve been that way for nearly three years now, but at this point we don’t even really have a home.  We have a hunk of metal that’s in pretty bad shape, and that’s before we even begin tearing apart what’s there.

To make the situation somewhat bearable we’ve decided to break the remodel into sections so at least the entire boat won’t be in shambles at one time.  The most important thing for us is to have a comfortable place to sleep so the v-berth is going to be project #1.  We’ll probably couple it with the forward settee as our v-berth is really just a murphy bed that folds down into that area anyway.  When those are complete we’ll move on to the galley since cooking on the boat will be our next concern after sleeping.  From there we’ll move on to the head and then finish out with the pilot house and quarter berth.

We’ll get by, I’m sure, but I also know these next few months are going to be a bit hard until we’re past at least the first two stages.  Even though we’re working on the v-berth we’ll be sleeping in it every night, cleaning up what we’ve worked on during the day.  It hasn’t been terrible so far although it does kind of suck that the boat was left with no cushions in there.  At the moment we’re sleeping on a combination of cockpit cushions and sport-a-seats.  My back is not loving it.

Then there’s the eating arrangements at the moment.  We have no working fridge or chill box on Daze Off and the propane is not hooked up to the stove or oven.  Luckily the marina has a grill on it’s patio area down by the slips and so we’ve been wandering over there every night to fix ourselves dinner.  With only a grill and microwave at our disposal though, meals are going to have to be well thought out.  At least the slow season has come upon the marina and we’ve managed to commander a drawer in the fridge as well as one of the cabinets in the kitchen.

Oh yes, and let’s not forget one of the other fine things that puts us right down there with camping.  We have no electricity at the moment.  What we do have an extension cord that we’ve fed through a hatch to power our air conditioner and a few tools or electronics but we don’t have wiring for lights and that is unfortunately months down the road. When the sun goes down we rely on our Ryobi rechargable flashlight to get us through the night.  I have to say, it actually does a surprisingly good job.

So that’s where we are at the moment.  Living in the stone age and planning what we want to do next.  Our surveyor is coming out in the next few days to do an ultrasound of the boat and hopefully we’ll be able to get the welding started right after and have the keel fixed and all those pesky holes filled. While we’re having that done Matt and I will attack the v-berth and maybe a few leaky hatches. With any luck we’ll have her livable within a few months, but until then, please pray for us.  And maybe send some beer.

Daze Off in travel lift

Daze Off moving to work yard

Daze Off moving to work yard

Daze Off in work yard

 

 

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Delivering the ‘Dip – Part II

Sunday June 7, 2015

Jessica, Georgie, & Matt

Yesterday morning we were out of LaBelle almost with the sunrise in hopes that we may actually make it to the delivery point by nightfall. It was a measly 40 miles from where we stood until the Gulf, but the extra run up the coast to Punta Gorda had us a little unsure.  Once we passed the Franklin Lock at mile 121 there was nothing keeping us back other than the setting sun.  The only issue is without guided mile markers from that point on and doubts of the actual miles from Cape Coral to Punta Gorda, we didn’t know if we could beat it.

Matt had woken up feeling a little under the weather and as soon as we had backed out of our space at the free docks and had all lines back inside, I sent him off to bed.  I didn’t mind having to handle the boat myself for a few hours though, since shame on me, I didn’t want to share the last Donut Stick with him anyway.  Having him down below slumbering ensured I would have it to myself, and trust me, I took full advantage of the sugary situation.  Activating the autopilot on a straightaway I ran below to fix myself a blueberry crumble latte using my AeroPress (can not rave enough about this thing) and once again set the stereo up to play some Florence and the Machine while I enjoyed a quiet morning to myself on the water.

I knew I had a few hours before we came up on our first lift bridge and thought maybe Matt would be up and about by that time. As we came within a half mile though and he was still dead to the world under a heap of blankets I began to stress just a little as holding the boat in place under current has never been my strong suit and I normally hand the wheel over to Matt while I handle the radio.  But…maybe it was possible to do it all on my own.  Getting within a half mile I put the autopilot back on to quickly run below deck and radio ahead that I would need passage in about 5 minutes.  Getting the all clear that they would lift the bridge as I came up to it, I went back behind the wheel to slow our speed and time it just right with the opening. It turns out I may have slowed us just a little too much as they ended up waiting for me after closing the road to thru traffic, but hey, at least I didn’t end up with our mast smashed into any thing.  That is always a success in my book.

With another one coming up five more miles down the river, I hoped Matt would be sleeping still so I could once again prove myself and maybe not hold up the bridge tender and impatient motorist so much this time.  Through the next three bridges I did get better each time and I happily waved to each tender as I passed through and radioed my thanks every time I was clear, each time wondering if they thought to themselves ‘This girl is on a boat by herself?  Good for her’.

Little did they know I just had an apparently very ill husband below deck. Although I could totally handle this boat by myself now.  Except in the locks…that one area I did wake Matt up to give me a hand since even though I am proud of my new confidence behind the wheel while approaching immobile objects, I did not want to show up to deliver the boat with scratched all down the side because I misjudged the speed or my depth perception was off, or any number of things that could cause me to harshly bump against the concrete side.

Okeechobee Waterway

Okeechobee Waterway

Georgie on Serendipity

coming up to a lift bridge

With that task done Matt was back in bed and I was only an hour away from entering the city of Fort Meyers.  Making my second blueberry crumble latte of the day I settled back behind the wheel while Matt settled back into bed with what he was afraid might be the flu.  Not a fun time for him to get sick, but at least this was just easy ICW days with rest stops at night and not like when he had the flu on our Azores to Maderia passage where he was forced to go on shift every 4 hours for 9 days and could barely keep himself awake. I was completely ok taking on a full day of travel myself though and had no qualms with him staying in bed as long as he needed to in order to feel better.

Just as we began to pass the skyscrapers of the city and enter larger bodies of water, it was very evident that some very strong storms were on their way toward us. It was one of those situations where you’re under bright blue skies but just off to your side it’s as dark as night and rumbles of thunder echo through the air.  For the longest time I was thinking we might get by unscathed, everything passing just to the side of us, but unfortunately it kept coming closer.  Just as I was able to get all the hatches and ports closed the wind jumped up from 10 knots to 25.

This obviously wasn’t a bother as we had no sail up and were in a protected waterway.  We would not be left completely untouched though.  Minutes later the winds jumped up into the 40′s and along with it came the driving rain.  The kind that is so bad you can barely see 50 feet in front of you.  All of a sudden my worried turned into oncoming traffic on the water or missing a buoy and finding myself outside of the channel and in the 3 feet of water surrounding us.  My only hopes were that other boaters could make out our nav lights if I couldn’t see theirs, and that our charts were spot on with the markers out there.

And then came Murphy’s Law.  A large motor catamaran came up behind us trying to outrun the storm and threw up a huge wake which in collaboration with the waves, left us rocking very violently side to side.  Truly not a big deal on it’s own, but we were quite low on fuel at the time and this little trick will sometimes kick up sediment from the bottom and cause the engine to cut out until everything has settled back down.  Which of course it did to me right now.  With gale force winds blowing us into the shallows immediately outside the channel.

I had a few minutes to work with the engine before we were too far from saving or before I had to go through the trouble of trying to unfurl the genoa just the right amount to sail ourselves out if need be.  I’ve worked with it in those force winds on our Atlantic crossing though and it takes a very strong arm to keep the wind from grabbing onto the sail and unfurling the full thing, forcing you to round up into the wind just to get it back in.  With already impeded speed and being forced sideways, rounding up was not looking like a good option if need be.  Instead I would most likely find myself running and straight into a sandbar. Luckily the 6th time is a charm and just as I was about to give up, the engine roared to life and stayed on.  I no longer cared about the pounding rain coming down on me, and even had Matt make me a glass of hot chocolate to raise my spirits as I continued to steer through the finally dying storm.

Fort Meyers, FL

storm over Fort Meyers

Jessica behind wheel

 After another hour or two the storm left us completely and left us with overcast skies in it’s wake.  By this point I was now fully exhausted as well and it was only 3 in the afternoon.  We were just coming up on Coral Gables and I was in no mood to push myself all night just to make it to the marina.  All I wanted was a place to anchor and fall deeply asleep.  Consulting our Waterway Guide Southern we looked for a place to drop hook within the next 10 miles.  It was so lucky we had this or else we would have been completely for a loss of possible anchorages along the way.  Also getting the down low on Pine Island Sound we were able to find out that the inside channel was mostly meant for small boats or those with local knowledge.  It looked as if we would be taking the long way around.

Treating myself to one of my last Costa Rican beers I put the ‘Dip on autopilot as as soon as we hit the sound and counted down the minutes until we could drop hook.  Some dolphins kept me company along the way and just before 6 we were once again still and I was right next to Matt in bed, not caring if dinner didn’t get served until 9, because I absolutely had to have a nap.

floating shop on Pine Island Sound

anchored in Pine Island Sound

This morning we woke to beautiful sunny skies and what should have been a very pleasurable and relaxing last few hours on Serendipity, but it was anything but. Yesterday was supposed to be our full clean down of the boat so we could hand her off in tip top shape, but as Matt was sick in bed and I was behind the wheel, there had been no time during the day and both of us were too tired in the evening.

Since Matt was still feeling a little under the weather it was decided that he would stay out in the cockpit since we could still keep the boat on autopilot now that we had a larger body of water to travel through, and I would go through packing up all of our remaining items as well as give everything one last scrub down.  There was still surprisingly 20 miles to go which left me about 4 hours to get everything sparkling once more.  It still amazes me how fast one can get a place dirty just by occupying it.

Amidst all the cleaning I would try and take small breaks to let myself not only enjoy all the stupendous beauty of Charlotte Harbor, but to treat myself to all the last little items in the fridge that I had been saving for our trip.  The last bit of Amish cheese, a small glass of red wine, and real brand name Pepsi.  Not that $0.84 Sam’s Cola that we’ve been living on for the last three months now.  But the work was more than I imagined and snack times were few and far between. Now that I look back at it I’m not even upset that I didn’t get to enjoy all my treats.  I’m just sad I didn’t get to sit out in the cockpit of the ‘Dip one last time and enjoy all the sights around me.  This place truly seemed to be a sailor’s dream inside the US.

Pulling up to the marina just after noon we had all of our belongings packed up and every surface shining. Meeting up with the new owner we gave him a full run down of Serendipity and her systems before moving all our things off and signing the final paperwork.  And just like that, she wasn’t ours anymore. Ready for a new keeper and new adventures. For as many wonderful times and adventures we had ourselves, I was prepared to let her go.  She’d done her job and served us well. But that part of our lives is now done and we have our own new adventures to start without her.  Not that we won’t always hold a special place for her in our hearts though. Nothing can replace your first boat love.

Serendipity at Burnt Store Marina

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Delivering the ‘Dip – Part I

Friday June 5, 2015

Matt on Serendipity
At the moment we are sitting at the free town docks in LaBelle, Florida, on the second day of what is to be a 3-4 day delivery of Serendipity to her new home of Charlotte Harbor on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  It’s been a short day, mostly due to lock schedules. Which kind of sucks because we’re just about at the longest day of the year and now we’re stopped at 3pm because the locks shut at 4:30, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.

Our delivery began yesterday morning with a hopeful departure out of Indiantown Marina within an hour or two of sunrise.  Of course things still don’t always work out as you hope though and our schedule was now at the mercy of a boat tipper that could only fit us in during his lunch break around noon.>
Boat tipping?

Yup.  Just before entering Lake Okeechobee there’s a railway bridge with a clearance of only 49′.  Since our mast is 52′ you can do the math and figure out that we wouldn’t fit under it without delivering a slightly damaged boat.  In comes Billy the boat tipper to the rescue.  For a fee of $200 he will come out to you in a little skiff of his, filled with 55 gallon barrels and one big water pump.  Fastening the empty barrels on to your deck he’ll then fill them with water from the river until the added weight on the side they’re attached begins to tip closer to the water, thus putting your boat and your mast at an angle. With about 5 barrels full of water on our starboard side our mast was deemed low enough to safely make it under the bridge.

I won’t pretend to know a whole lot about what was going on since my job was to stay behind the wheel and keep us from drifting into the bridge before we had enough room to go under it, while Matt was the one on deck helping Billy and another guy.  All I did catch is there was a stick dangling from a piece of string attached to our mast, and when it touched the water it meant we were tipped far enough.  Only 17 degrees in the end actually, I thought it would have required much more of a heel than that.  Give us a good breeze and we could have done it ourselves!

Jessica in front of railroad bridge filling water barrels boat tipping

boat tipping into Lake Okeechobee

Okeechobee Locks

entering Lake Okeechobee

 Out in to Lake Okeechobee we were met with something much nicer than we had originally been expecting.  Having looked at photos online before to see if it was a place we wanted to ‘weekend’ with Serendipity on our days off from boat work (before knowing about the railway bridge just before it), I had only been met with images of swamps and fishing boats and crowds that I assume watch Duck Dynasty on marathon.  But as we exited the lock onto the lake we were greeted with a wide expanse of open water and puffy white clouds in a bright blue sky.  Too bad for the fact of that railway bridge (and that after this we will no longer have the ‘Dip) or else I think it would have been a wonderful way to escape the work yard and all issues that I’m sure will arise, to enjoy a life as a freelance cruiser at least a few days a month.

Raising the sails for what may be our last time on Serendipity, we fought the wind left and right to try and get them to fill in 8 knots of wind as we traveled close hauled, and eventually had to accept that we would be motoring across the lake.  True to all of our passages before, given the first opportunity Matt was down below deck for a nap and I happily shut up the companionway to belt out some Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift.  No alone time and fairly public showers does not give one much opportunty to sing at the top of their lungs as they please.  Just another reason to miss the Sailing Conductors and our music nights at the patio.  Sniff….

Enjoying the sun I stripped down to a bikini for the first time in three months and enjoyed the scenery from the bow along with one of the Costa Rican beers I made sure to pack. Rain storms threatened off to the side but never made it close enough to worry. Winds did begin picking up for us as we rounded the maze of channel markers that would eventually lead us out of the lake and as one towering cloud looked to be coming especially close, I had to wake Matt to help me get the main sail down.

When it was tied up we also noticed it was time to anchor.  As the depths before us raised suddenly from 10 feet to just 3 outside the channel we knew we had to take the opportunity to get our anchor down in the lake while we still had the option.  Only 5:30 in the afternoon with plenty of daylight still ahead of us but we didn’t know of another place to drop hook for the night for miles.  It was all fine by me though as I forgot how utterly exhausting a day of travel can be.  Forget working days in a stifling hot boat yard with about 30 trips a day up and down a ladder.  Stick me in the cockpit of a moving boat for over 6 hours and I will be zonked out in minutes.

Throwing leftover pizza in the oven and enjoying the bouncing motion of being on a lee shore, we tried to keep ourselves awake until a reasonable hour of the night.  We did take in an absolutely stunning sunset from the cockpit before moving ourselves below deck again to watch a movie before bed.  All of our little traditions that are about to be sacked, for a time being, until we can gain some kind of semblance of our old life back on a boat.  Which will be months and months from now I’m sure.  But, it’s all part of the adventure.  I can’t say we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.

last sail on Serendipity

Lake Okeechobee

sunset on Lake Okeechobee

sunset on Serendipity

sunset on Lake Okeechobee

 

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Throwback Thursday: I Got 99 Problems but a Bilge Ain’t One

 

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.

This week’s installment picks up just a few days after where we left off from last week’s Throwback Thursday when we had a hard grounding while coming in the inlet to St. Augustine Florida.  Having gotten ourselves towed to the St. Augustine Marine Center, it was the dreaded day we had been waiting for ever since we were safely attached to a mooring after our accident.  The survey of Serendipity to see how extensive the damage actually was.

 

Tuesday December 4, 2012

12.4.12

Yes, I have been saving that title for quite awhile now.  (It’s in reference to a Jay-Z song) No, I did not want it to be used in a case like this.  In my head it was to be used for something along the lines of It’s raining today and we won’t be able to lay out on this tropical beach we just arrived to.  Not for I crashed my boat coming into an inlet and now this is going to cost us a lot of time and money.  Let me see if there are any other ones that need to be scratched out before they bring impending doom to us or our boat.  Hmmm.    Rock You Like A Hurricane. Gone.  Under The Sea.  Could have been used for snorkeling but now it’s too risky.  Sunny With A Chance of Rainbows.  Wait, no.  That one needs to stay.  Now don’t think I’m superstitious enough to believe that a pending blog title caused our little accident.  That’s silly.  No, it was the cat’s fault.  Notice how this happened just after we got her?  Pretty sure she’s bad luck.  (Just kidding Georgie, mommy and daddy love you)

Now where was I?  Ah yes, the ill-fated results of our haul out and survey.  Things were looking hopeful this morning.  We’d had four days to get over the initial shock of the accident happening and after being talked up by many many people we started to believe what they told us.  It’s going to be fine.  Boats are strong, people are usually the wink link.  I’ve done much worse to my boat and the damage wasn’t that bad.  It will probably just be a few small scratches.  You’ll be back in the water before you know it.  We wanted to believe all this.  We needed to believe.  So when we woke up first thing in the morning and there was not a cloud in the sky and it was already warm enough to ditch the jacket, our minds were in the ‘perfect day’ sort of frame.  Sea Tow was ready to bring us over to a large slip and then the lift would pull us out of the water, we’d be washed down, and then set on blocks to have a proper survey done.   Easy peasy.

Things were going along smoothly and we were still optimistic until the hull was completely out of the water and the keel was exposed.  All along the seam was a long crack and on the fin were scrapes and scratches.  I won’t pretend like I know all things boats or the make-up of them because I don’t, but even I could tell at this point that it wasn’t good.  And the fact that Matt was off to the side shaking his head repeating  ”This isn’t good, this isn’t good” just confirmed it for me.  The bottom was given a quick wash and then we were brought over and set on some jack-stands set of to the side for us where a ladder was strapped on to get on and off the deck.

Taking a closer look at the outside we started to see other things wrong besides just the scrapes and cracks.  The rudder, although it still had it’s full range of motion, was cracked at the top, scraped on the bottom, and overall looked to be crooked.  The prop was not doing well either.  Besides the fact that it had our genoa line wrapped around it so tight that it now almost looked like a permanent part of the boat and needed to be cut off with a very sharp knife, the strut was twisted and chipping away from the faring compound that was holding it to the hull.    There were a few other things we could tell were wrong, but not knowing how to correctly put them in a paragraph I’ll just include them in a list in a minute instead.  (Just remember when I write this that I may get a few things wrong.  Luckily there is a person on this boat who actually and correctly does know all the issues, that person is just not me)

Getting to the inside of the boat with the surveyor we had emptied our garage (aft cabin) with all it’s contents out on the deck so all the parts of the engine and the stern would be accessible.  More accurately I’m told, things like the motor mount and stern tube.  Moving through the cabin we pulled out drawers to give access to the tabbing  (the part that connects the bulkheads with the hull) and where the bolts are that would remove the keel. Lastly the bilge, mast step, and remaining fiberglass tabbing was checked.  Throughout the survey we’d get sound effects like “Oh, that’s bad!”.   Or that sound where you suck in your breath because you just saw something you’d rather not have seen.  Then they were concluded with “Wow, you guys really took a pounding”.  Did we tell you about how spaghetti we had sitting under the floor boards burst out of it’s package because we hit so hard?  Yes, we really did take a pounding.  But there was also good news to come out of our surveyor’s mouth as well.  ”Wow, the damage should be a lot worse than it is.  There are so many things on here that should be broken but look to be fine.  You have a well built and sturdy boat.  You’re very lucky.”

Lucky as we can be I guess.  Had we just decided to turn around and follow another boat into the inlet or continue down the coast and skip St. Augustine we wouldn’t be in this mess at all, but hindsight is 20/20.  So it looks like we will not in fact be out of here in a few hours or even a few days.  Serendipity is going to require a lot of work.  Enough, it looks like, to even get insurance involved because there is no way we can fix it with what’s in our pocket and still continue the trip.  We contacted them today and hopefully and adjuster will be sent out soon because until then there will be no check cut to the boat yard and work can not start.  And even if work does start right away we’re looking at a two to four week stay here.

As promised, here is a list of things to be fixed, taken right from Matt’s text to his mom, so you know it’s correct:

To be fixed by the yard:

  • Transmission needs to be sent out and inspected
  • Rudder bushings are gone
  • Rudder shaft is bent
  • Drive shaft is bent
  • Strut is twisted
  • Motor mounts are shot
  • Lots of tabbing is broken
Other issues because of the grounding:
  • Anchor was lost and will need to be replaced
  • Dodger window was broken and will need to be replaced (and after all my hard work on it!)
  • Microwave took a nasty spill and will need to be replaced (yes, we are from the Hot Pocket generation, leave us alone)
  • Chalk on the starboard bow was broken
So there you have it.  We’ll know more once we have the report from the survey and I can give a breakdown of the actual work to be done to Serendipity.  It’s going to be a lot of work, but hey, at least the bilge is still working!

The line that’s causing all this trouble.

Chips on the rudder.

Cutting the genoa line off the prop.

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Everything is Changing

Tuesday June 2, 2015

The Sailing Conductors & Jessica

That seems to be my motto lately.  Serendipity is sold.  Big change.  We have at least moved her to a slip after sitting on the hard for the past 7 weeks.  Change.  Our boat yard buddies the Sailing Conductors are leaving us to begin their sail back to Germany and there’s a good chance we’ll never see them again.  Big change (for me….I love those guys!).  Our other friends Hanna and Mark will be out of here soon enough as well to begin their lives as cruisers and spend the season in Guatemala.  A change that I can thankfully at least put off for a few weeks.

And while all our friend’s lives are changing for the better and I am so happy for them, I have to look at our upcoming future, and honestly it makes me a little melancholy.  And a bit apprehensive.  Trust me, I am all for the renovation of Daze Off, I’m the one that pushed for it more when Matt was unsure.  I know it will be a great boat for us once it’s finished and we’re traveling again.  The only problem is, that is a long time from now and we have a very hard road ahead of us.

I want the new (to us) boat that we know every nut, bolt, and screw; and have also tailored it to exactly our taste, the only problem is I don’t want it 6-12 months from now….I want it tomorrow.  But as Scarlet O’Hare would say ‘I can’t think about that right now.  If I do, I’ll go crazy.  I’ll think about that tomorrow’..  Right now we do still have our good friends with us and I’d like to enjoy every moment of it possible.

Sunday we brought our whole group together at the marina for one more German night.  Now that we have one more addition from that country (Hanna), and we had been enforcing so many American things on them (with the exception of the cheap Costa Rican beer we’ve all been turned on to, thanks to Mark) I wanted to sample another treat from Deutschland.  The Königsberger Klopse Hannes made before was so good that I couldn’t wait for another delicious sample of something I had never tried before.

Gathering for the night and being told to bring nothing other than ourselves, I found out the meal of the night was to be stuffed peppers.  Something I never knew had German origins, but apparently they do.  (Or maybe Hungarian.  Close enough.)  Unlike last time, we had two new sets of hands which meant all I had to do was sit back and enjoy a few cold Becks.  Just after the sun had gone down, I think we tend to get distracted when all of us are together and meals take 2 hours to cook, we pushed two tables together and chowed down on appetizing German (Hungarian) stuffed peppers.

When the plates were cleaned away we brought out the wine and guitars.  Since Hannes now had 2 with him after having his grandfather’s refurbished in Nashville, one was handed over to me and I lamely tried to strum along even though I’ve now had almost three months to practice yet can not play the A chord Ben tried to teach me the first night we all hung out.  Eventually my duties turned into ‘flashlight holder’ and I sat perched at the end of my seat, making sure to illuminate the pages of whatever tune the guys were playing.

Mark, Hanna, & Ben

dinners on the patio

Matt & Jessica - MJ Sailing

stuffed pepper dinner

Captain Ben Bart

Jessica, Ben & Hannes

Tonight we said our final farewells to Ben & Hannes, which was incredibly hard to do.

This morning they left Indiantown bright and early with a newly decorated Marianne (thanks to Jack), with plans of anchoring in Stuart for the night before pushing on toward Fort Pierce where they’d do last minute provisions and wait for a weather window to head out into the Atlantic.  Plans were for Matt and I to head out and treat them to a nice dinner, a thank you for letting us take their place as sailing instructors to the Bahamas back in April when the original request had been for them.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Ben that afternoon that they were making it all the way out to Fort Pierce in one day and would in fit in our schedule to have dinner that night instead?  Well…we’re in the middle of packing up Serendipity to get everything that isn’t being sold with her onto Daze Off, which is still in storage at the moment.  Not to mention that I still wanted to turn this into a Fancy night out since I’d been promised one by Matt ever since we reached American soil again in March and so far had not happened.

A change in plans meant rushing a few more loads of goods to Daze Off as well as jumping into the shower and furiously towel drying my hair in time to still straighten it before we hopped in the van to head to Fort Pierce.  But….there was no way we could turn these guys down.  They’ve done so much for us in all our time together (and have given me so many free beers) that it was time for when they said “jump”, we said “how high?”.  Getting my hair and make-up done and throwing on a new dress, I was able to get in the Kia with just enough time to meet them at 7.

Getting lost in the vast rows of slips at the city’s marina, we eventually found the brightly painted Marianne and the guys.  True to his word, Hannes even wore his ‘sailor’s outfit’ for our last good-bye, something I’ve been asking him to put on ever since we were first placed next to each other in the work yard and I had been internet stalking them based on their website printed on the hull of their boat.

Walking up the short distance to Cobb’s Landing, a nice little restaurant on the waterfront, we sat down in time to hear not only live music coming from inside, but also that we came on a particular beer special night where all beers start at $0.50 at 7:00 and go up $0.50 on the half hour until they are full price.  With a huge selection in front of us we all ordered something different and followed it by a taste test where we’d pass our glasses around the table so we’d each get a sample of something new.

The food was heavenly and even though I had originally been weary of my choice of lobster & shrimp macaroni and cheese, it is now something I would drive all the way back up here just to enjoy. The four of us continued to sit outside and enjoy the music and cheap premium beer until the sun was going down and it was time for us to get on the road.  Luckily we didn’t have to say a teary goodbye at the restaurant since we were bringing the guys back to Indiantown with us so they could retrieve the magic bus. Of course the whole ride back was filled with jokes that Matt and I would chuck any plans of fixing up Daze Off and instead fly to the Netherlands where of course Matt has already found another ‘perfect boat’.  Placing us right next to Germany there’s no way we couldn’t be sailing buddies again in the future.

Dropping the guys off in front of the magic bus we gave them the biggest of hugs and wished them well on the rest of their journey as well as any future ventures.  I know we’ll still keep in close touch, but with them headed back to a land based life it’s much harder to say ‘Maybe we’ll bump into each other again on the water someday’.  Something I’ve been able to do with so many of my new friends and that I am so grateful for.  But in this case I don’t see it happening and that is incredibly saddening.  As I’ve told myself earlier.  “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

Ben & Matt

Jessica, Ben & Hannes on Marianne

Ben, Hannes & Matt at Cobbs Landing

Cobb's Landing

Sailing Conductors & MJ Sailing

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