We left Maine on October 18, sailed (and powered) over 1500 miles to reach Fort Lauderdale. This evening, December 18, we will leave Florida for the Bahamas. After 1500 miles in 2 and three day passages down the U.S. Coast, we will travel for fewer than 20 hours to reach a foreign country. EW says we have been “on a delivery” taking the boat from one place to another, fixing and installing things as we go. We’ve had fun (and a lot of it) but we’ve also done a lot of work on La Luna – some planned and some decidedly not. We know we will still fix and install items once we leave the states. Boaters everywhere have heard the phrase that cruising is the opportunity to fix your boat in the most beautiful harbors in the world. All of them. But things will be different from now on. EW has agreed to – and proposed – some new guidelines for our cruising lifestyle.
So – in addition to reaching St. Augustine in time for Thanksgiving with CK and UA and their family, and reaching Fort Lauderdale to see our son, Mo (formerly known as Favorite, he’s now given permission for me to use his name here) what have we done?
As we sailed down the coast:
In Cuttyhunk EW fixed the bilge pump. Definitely not planned but the high water alarm is quite the wake up call!
In Portland, Cuttyhunk, and in New Jersey, EW worked on the furnace, which apparently repaired itself as we moved south. (To you who think we don’t need it anymore, there has been a cool spell in Florida and we also use it to heat water year round. It’s a wonderful thing.)
In New Jersey he installed the new wash down pump as the old one had been shorting out. I would switch on the windlass and the wash down pump, go on deck and raise the anchor, washing the mud off of the chain. During our first effort at leaving Sandy Hook (muddy bottom) I had to go back below to restart the wash down pump 4 times. He put the new one in. Eventually that one will include a fresh water option and a faucet for salt water at the galley sink. All in good time.
In Hampton, EW installed the Wind Generator and the hoist for the dinghy outboard. He also ran wires for the Single Sideband and GPS. I pulled old wires out, and as you may recall I didn’t like that job. Prior to that he had a major unplanned project in Hampton when he discovered broken bolts on the auto pilot hydraulic ram.
In Hampton he also changed the oil and he changed it again in St. Augustine.
And also in Hampton, EW installed the old fresh water pump because the new one died. However, when he called ITT Jabsco, the wonderful customer service person arranged to have a new pump sent to us. We got it in Florida.
At Cumberland Island, and during our wonderful visit in St. Augustine we took a break from major projects but EW still managed to install a new gasket on the aft lazarette and I repaired the jib.
In Fort Lauderdale, EW completed the projects required by our insurance: installed floor anchors, installed GFI protected outlets, screwed down the bunks and settees, and covered the 120 volt breaker panel. He also devised and installed a system to hold down the sewing machine so it doesn’t bang around, and he serviced the main sail outhaul winch.
As part of the bolting/screwing the settee covers so they won’t fly around if we tip (don’t worry, we don’t plan to tip that far!) EW kindly and expertly made modifications at my request. There will be a post with photos. Can’t believe I didn’t think of this 8 years ago.
Also in Fort Lauderdale EW and I repaired the chock that had been pulled out during a docking fiasco in St. Augustine. This project took 12 sailor hours (in lieu of man hours) and generated some spectacular bruises on my body. I’m the one who gets to squeeze around the furnace. EW’s on-deck tasks required brute strength and the ability to work with 5200 adhesive sealant without getting it where it doesn’t belong.
At nearly every port, but particularly in Fort Lauderdale, we divested ourselves of more clothes and stuff. This photo is a dinghy full of clothes and items destined for a homeless shelter. I had already gotten rid of a million plastic hangers and a large cooler. Now that we think it is warm enough, I vacuum bagged the cold weather clothing we are keeping and stored them under our bed.
If you’re a boater, you know how much mess is generated by each of these projects. Sometimes on-deck projects (such as the chock repair) don’t require any space below decks. More often projects, such as running wires, involve the master stateroom, engine compartment, chart table and galley. To that add all the tools and parts that get laid out (or scattered) in the main salon and you’ll realize that a lot of our time at anchor or on the dock has been spent in a boat that was cluttered, to put it mildly.
Each time we stopped, we (or EW) would undertake a project. Each time we left for the next port, we had to spend hours getting the boat ready for sea. In Fort Lauderdale, EW did most of the project work and I ran errands. We also provisioned for the Bahamas. So we added a new layer of mess with $500.00 of food and $100.00 of beer (EW’s contribution.)
I had a hissy fit.
We spent two days cleaning the boat, and the result is amazing. We have our boat back. We even have room for guests as the forward cabin is no longer full of things to be installed or stored. Anything that requires a home has one. Anything that needs to be installed is in the pilot berth. We have our boat back, just in time for cruising.
And the new guidelines for projects, now that we will be cruisers?
1. Work on the boat and write in the morning.
2. Swim and snorkel.
3. Be a tourist.
4. Sundowners and dinner.
I’m looking forward to it!