November 11 – 23, 2015 – Ensenada, BC Mexico

Mexico is a different country. This sounds self-evident, of course it is! My point is that the seventy mile hop between San Diego and Ensenada is geographically small, but culturally quite significant. The trip to Ensenada takes only an hour and a half by car, ten to twelve hours by sailboat. Compared to San Diego, the weather is the same, the ocean is the same, even the landscape is pretty much the same. But the the government, the language, the culture, and the rules are very different.


Checking into Mexico by boat is somewhat complicated and helps to underscore the differences in language and culture. We wanted to be as prepared as possible, so we tried to do most of the permitting work ahead of time. This was frustrating, and not really successful. We found that the best way to check into Ensenada by boat is simply to come here with all your original documents and a boat-load of patience. Check-in involves showing proof of Mexican liability insurance (not your standard policy) and getting FMM tourist cards, Fishing licenses, and a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for the vessel. We tried to do each of these things in advance with lots of frustration and limited or no success. Fortunately, we knew in advance that we’d have problems with the TIP, so we were able to be proactive about it when we arrived and enlist the help of an agent. We found that the only thing you really must do in advance is to purchase Mexican liability insurance, which we did by phone & email the day we departed the US.

There is a lot of discussion amongst cruisers about problems with Temporary Import Permits. The Mexican government is extremely generous in extending a “free pass” for foreigners to bring their vessels to Mexico without paying duty. This brings a lot of extra tourist money into the economy, but there are problems with the process for cancelling an import permit. When leaving the country, visiting boaters typically leave the TIP in place since it’s good for ten years. But years later, when selling the boat, the TIP appears irrelevant, and may easily be discarded or forgotten. When the new owner brings the boat to Mexico she may find that there is already a TIP on her vessel. Without the original certificate, which goes with the vessel, an old permit can only be cancelled in person. This was the problem we had. After numerous phone calls and emails, and with the help of an agent, we found it necessary to go to the police station in Ensenada and report the original TIP certificate lost. The subsequent process was long and bureaucratic, but eventually we were able to cancel the previous TIP and obtain a new one. The entire saga took the better part of two days, but might have been done in one day if we had known exactly what steps to take before hand. Nonetheless, the bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo is part of checking in by boat. Now that we’re officially in Mexico, we are loving it.


One interesting aspect about cruising is the element of uncertainty. Perhaps the most significant lifestyle change for us is dealing with far less certainty in our lives. Ashore, things are fairly predictable; meals, activities, bedtimes, even the cast of characters all go more-or-less according to plan. Now, our lives are in constant flux, shifting in response to ever-changing variables that emerge to divert, thwart or simply alter our plans. In general, we try take things day-by-day, and not have too many expectations. But still, I notice the strain of being constantly prepared for change, and of keeping our family safe in an uncertain environment.  I feel alive, but it is a lot of work! By nightfall, I am usually exhausted. Whether or not I’ll have time to sleep is also uncertain.



After pushing hard to get South, we realized that the weather was not suitable for us to make a fast passage to Puerto Vallarta to meet our friends Chuck and Cathy as planned. South of Ensenada, options for hauling out become increasingly limited and far more costly. We decided to stay in Ensenada for an extra week to haul out at Baja Naval, a well-respected yard near the downtown district. This decision gave us time to stabilize the kid’s homeschooling, which had become a bit haphazard as we pushed the schedule along. It also allowed us to catch the Baja1000 off-road race which starts and ends in Ensenada. It was incredible to see insanely powerful off-road vehicles blaze past us (sideways) at ninety mph, and even more interesting to see the Mexican people rally around this event as if it were a national holiday. Uncertainty leads to surprises, some pleasant, others not. Interesting nuggets like this are what we are searching for, and I am thankful to dig for them out here in the world.

IMG_3723 IMG_3725

November 1 – 10, 2015 – San Diego

The roughly 300 nautical mile ‘hop’ down the coast was fairly uneventful, all in all. Cautiously we started, again, with a small craft advisory for high winds and seas. While we can’t ignore these warnings to mariners, we are coming to understand that they don’t necessarily mean we shouldn’t go out. We need wind to sail, without it, we’re just a painfully slow motorboat. Fortunately, Batu is ready for sea, and we are ready to go with her. We had a nice sail for half the passage, but despite high wind warnings, once South of Point Conception we ended up motoring through the outer passage of the Channel Islands.



On the whole, sailors are a superstitious bunch. We don’t take a lot of stock in most of them, but there are a few that are so universally accepted, that to flaunt them seems foolhardy. Afterall, how could so many people be wrong? One such widely accepted superstition is that it’s bad luck to leave on a Friday.  Sadly, an unfortunate side-effect about being cruisers, is that, without jobs, we’re somewhat clueless about what day of the week it actually is. This was the case with our departure from Morro Bay. We were already four hours out to sea before I figured out that we’d left on a Friday. I tactfully explained the situation to the powers that be and asked forgiveness for my clueless, happy-go-lucky attitude. This was apparently acceptable since our passage was uneventful, but all the same, I was on edge until we stopped moving in San Diego.



Three Amazing Things about ocean passages:

#1) Traveling with dolphins. All down the West coast we have been warmly greeted by various groups ranging from two or three to literally hundreds of dolphins. No matter how rough or calm the seas, these beautiful creatures converge on the boat, taking turns criss-crossing the bow in well synchronized groups. We’ve seen many different types and they are all welcoming, curious, and playful! They seem to love it when we come to the bow to see their acrobatics, even turning sideways occasionally to look directly at us. When the dolphins show up, you just have to smile. They are the ocean’s welcoming committee.

#2) Bioluminescence. The sea sparkles at night. Some areas have more luminescence than others, but all down the west coast we’ve experienced great comfort and wonder in the dark of the night from the firefly sparkles and luminescent glow beneath the surface. Anywhere the water is agitated will glow and spark. With crisp stars above and glowing spark trails streaming away from bow and stern, it’s not hard to imagine the boat moving through the middle of a giant black snowglobe. One particularly dark, luminescent night we experienced pure magic; a pod of dolphins joined us, looking for all the world like fireworks around the boat. You could see their trails criss-crossing from side to side and weaving above and below each other in pairs and threes. Without a doubt, it was one of the most surreal and magical things I have ever seen.

#3) Whales. Thankfully, we have not seen whales too close to the boat. We have seen several whale spouts, backs and flukes as they move along their migratory path, which parallels our route. One evening at sunset we saw an adult whale (we think either a gray or a humpback) fully breach the surface about 300 yards astern. We’re not sure if she was chasing something, or just enjoying the beautiful sunset, as we were, but she breached repeatedly, making huge waves and a staggering splash in the evening glow. The awesome power and majesty is something I will never forget.

After the passage, San Diego itself was almost an anti-climax. It’s a beautiful harbor with many thousands of amazing boats, and just as many boaters, all seemingly in a very big hurry, no matter which direction they are going. Saturday races brought out a fleet of at least 150 – 200 boats raging from 24 to 120 ft long, an amazing sight! Our time in San Diego was spent replacing the batteries and running countless other errands before leaving the states. We were thankful to have the city at our fingertips, and yet glad in the end to see its lights slip astern as, on November 10, we made an evening departure for Ensenada, Mexico, just 70 miles South.


October 20 – 30, 2015 – The Voyaging Life

An interesting thing about preparing for a journey like ours is that, for quite some time, people have been giving us credit for having made a voyage that we’re still trying to begin. In discussing our plans, most people react with a combination of envy, amazement


and awe. A few just think we are incredibly stupid. The thing is, we’ve been getting credit for having “sailed around the world” (their simplified phrasing, not mine) before leaving the docks. The truth is, we’re learning to live the voyaging life. Although experienced, and fairly prepared, we are not accomplished world sailors. Not yet.

We have experienced months – possibly years? – of intense busy-ness doing boat projects, preparations, garage sales, packing and pushing to get out of the house. We used to joke that “we’d rest when we went to four-hour watches.” In fact, that is what happened as, stressed and sleep-deprived, we departed Astoria and sailed South. But today was different. Today we woke up in Morrow Bay, CA. Today, time stretches out in front of us in a more leisurely way. There is time for exploring the sand dunes, for paddling, for digging big holes and for cooking a nice meal. It’s a good thing too, because the grocery store is a 25 minute walk! Just now, I feel like we are beginning to be voyagers and, because of the fact that we earned this luxury, it feels hugely satisfying. I doubt it will continue to feel this way, but I am so thankful for what we have right here and now.


After the continual pressure to save money, ready the boat, ready ourselves and so forth, our peaceful time in the quiet town of Morro Bay was a balm to us, and we soaked it up. Although anchoring is possible in the bay, the tidal flow is so strong, typically ebbing and flowing at 3 – 4kts, and the mooring buoys are so convenient and plentiful, that we choose to lie to a mooring 200ft. off the Morro Bay Yacht Club. This gave us great access to laundry, showers wi-fi and gossip, but with far more privacy than boats tied on the dock. It was a perfect setup for us to try to work the kinks out of our long-range SSB radio and Pactor modem used for email, voice and weather info on the high seas. As it turned out, it was also a perfect way to confirm (or deny) that our battery bank was up to the task of cruising. On the docks we would have been plugged into shore power and may have discovered too late that our battery banks were at the end of life stages. On the mooring ball we were forced to run the engine at least once a day to keep the batteries alive, even with minimal power consumption and the extra boost of a wind generator.


And so began the next challenge of changing out the battery banks. Our boat is an island  – we generate and store our own power or we don’t have any. With no power, we have no engine and no way to maneuver the boat in an emergency. The batteries are the lifeblood of a cruising boat. Changing the banks to a new system is a technical process and I’ll spare you the technical details, but suffice it to say, its complicated, and everything is a compromise of some sort. Having no car or delivery address is an added challenge not much improved by the fact that we don’t know exactly where we’re going to be be in a few days, or when we’ll arrive wherever we may end up. Everything is determined by the weather and our ability to move peacefully through it. Ultimately, we decided to stuff in 2 Super 8D AGM batteries, total 540 Amp hours, and a Group 31 AGM, 90 Amp hour emergency start battery. We concluded the best place to install the 460+lbs of batteries and cables was San Diego.


October 13 – 19, 2015 – Free at last!

I wish I could tell you that we were completely organized and ready for sea, but that would compromise my integrity. In truth, we scrambled to get ready to go. After spending all day Monday on projects and stowing, we were starved, wanting nothing more than a cold beer and a nice meal ashore with Granny. Unfortunately, it was so late we had to make several stops before finding a restaurant still open to serve us. The next scene in our comedy opens with Karen, Sean and Granny running through the grocery store grabbing anything they could before the store closed at 11:00 PM. Some might call it haphazard, but honestly, I think we picked up some efficiency points for provisioning for a 7-day passage in less than 10 minutes.


Tuesday morning dawned crisp and clear with NOAA continuing a small craft advisory for strong wind and large seas. In addition, the Coast Guard had issued a ‘Recreational 40′ restriction on the Columbia River bar, effectively closing the bar to non-commercial vessels 40ft and less. I take the Coast Guard restrictions very seriously, and Karen is a born rule-follower, but careful attention to the weather, the forecast and the current buoy reports suggested that the conditions were perfectly acceptable for us. In fact, it was a great day for sailors! We decided to go have a look for ourselves and anticipated the Coast Guard dropping the warning after the ebb, at the 10:00AM slack. At 10:28 AM we found Clatsop Spit abeam with light winds, excellent visibility and 6 – 8ft seas, confirming the buoy reports. With a confidence and certainty that still surprises me, I called the Coast Guard station and advised them that were aware of the conditions and were proceeding across the bar despite the restriction. On the surface this may come across as hubris, but I swear it was nothing of the sort. I understood the conditions, and had experienced other bar crossings in similar conditions to compare with. At the time I was certain the Coast Guard should have lifted the restriction, and in retrospect, I’m still puzzled as to why they didn’t. Nonetheless, onward we went, and with good reason, as the bar conditions proved to be benign and the ocean beyond was beautiful and blue. By mid-afternoon we were sliding Southward under nothing but blue sky and the power of our colorful spinnaker pulling us along at 5 knots with barely more than a quiet swish-swash of water sliding past the hull.

Our 6 day passage to California was mostly as planned. We spent about 75 – 80% of the time sailing, much of it under spinnaker. Despite our conservative approach, reefing down and setting up for nighttime watches before dusk, ‘things’ always happened at night. The winds would shift, the rain squalls would come, the sails would jibe and all of the ships would come out to play. I clearly remember the disoriented feeling one dark night about 50 miles outside of San Francisco Bay. We were struggling to decide if we should turn East and rest in the Bay, or continue Southward to escape the Fall weather patterns which had begun in earnest. Around 1:00AM the winds backed off and began to swirl. We needed to motor, but were low on diesel, so we left the boat to drift and swirl while we siphoned fuel out of our jerry cans into the tank. I thought of the millions of people sleeping snug in their beds while our track went in circles during that crazy, spinning hour in the darkness. It was later that night, through a radio conversation with a freighter turning across our path, that Karen discovered we were not transmitting AIS signal.

In hindsight, that swirling night was a very good time to transfer fuel because after that the weather became squally, the winds increased and the seas kicked up. The following night found us barreling down the coast in 25 kts sustained with black rain squalls chasing us down from astern. No sooner had I passed off the watch to Karen when, at 1:00AM, the winds picked up to 35kts, overwhelming the self-steering wind vane and jibing the sails. In a defensive move, we reduced sail, leaving us marginally underpowered in building seas. It was a long, uncomfortable night being slapped about and listening to hissing seas all around us. IMG_3775The kids popped heads up in the morning to see us surrounded by messy, breaking 15 – 20ft seas with a very short period. It took at least an hour and a half of careful work on deck to reconfigure the sails so we could go again. But gradually we began to sail, and the faster we went the better the unpleasant surging motion became. We determined that our best bet for safe shelter would be Morro Bay, CA. Some 80 miles away, I knew we would have to light up this rocket ship in order to enter the Morro Bay harbor in daylight. For nearly 10 hours we flew before the wind, double-reefed main and both headsails out, broad reaching in 30kts. We crossed the bar into Morro Bay at 6:28PM and watched the sun splash below the horizon. Exhausted, we rolled into bed and expired.



October 7 – 12, 2015 – Downriver Leg

One of the key tenets of Suburban American culture is constant productivity. We scurry around like good multi-taskers, checking off lists and making the most out of each hour, each minute. While this is one concept we plan to question while living the Voyaging Life, ironically, we chose to scurry while preparing to go cruising. We wanted to leave on a schedule, with our kids, at an age where the cruising experience would add to their formative understanding of the world. So it is that we were so busy nosing-the-grindstone that the reality of what we were doing didn’t quite hit until we actually slipped the dock lines and pulled out of our home marina, looking back at that familiar home vista of the Hood River Valley overlooked by the snow-capped sentinel of Mount Hood. It was then that the sadness of leaving home, friends and good people for who-knows-how-long finally hit me. The weather, seemingly in-line with our feelings, quickly became cloudy and began to rain. Fortunately the sadness, which hit us all, was tempered by the building excitement that this moving environment, the boat, was now home.


We passed through the Bonneville Locks and on downriver without incident, feeling increasingly peaceful as the hectic pace of life ashore slipped astern. The first night out we spent at Government Island, a beautiful public facility very near the Portland metro area, yet insulated by a nature preserve. The second day we tied briefly to the docks at the Red Lion Inn for a last run, on foot, to West Marine.



We should have known something was up when, by the end of the second day, everything was working seamlessly. Our plan was to tie up to the guest docks in the small town of Cathlamet. We had gone several extra miles to avoid the questionable, shallow waters of the Eastern entrance, and so we arrived at the town of Cathlamet at dusk, and with a soft thud as the depth sounder went very suddenly from 25.0 ft to 2.5 ft. Batu’s draft is 6.0 ft., and all attempts to motor out of the shallow mud were futile. For the first time in our sailing lives we were well and truly aground. There is a saying that any person who claims not to have run aground is either a liar or not a sailor. No need to feel badly about that saying any more! Fortunately, our intrepid team stepped into action in the darkness. Sean and Sarah launched the dinghy and rowed out about 200 ft astern to drop our large stern anchor. I used a winch to pull tension on the stern anchor while Karen motored the boat in reverse, and just a few minutes after low tide, we eased gently off the bank and into the darkness. I wish I could say that was the end of the excitement, but as we gathered ourselves back together and put the dingy back aboard, we discovered that the Cathlamet Channel is apparently a great fishery during the nighttime hours. The channel was strewn with semi-lighted fishing nets leaving only a very narrow area about 40 ft. wide to squeeze through in the darkness.


Finally back to the main channel in the Columbia River, we decided to continue on to Astoria, just a few more hours downriver. Things were generally smoothing out, but even here we were confused by a series of net lights strung over halfway across the shipping channel. Although we avoided them, it must be stressful to be a fisherman watching vessels heading for your nets. I’m surprised there’s really a need to string nets in the main shipping channel of the Columbia River. Finding this experience so close to home, I can’t wait to see what we’ll find in less developed countries.


Ultimately, we pulled into Astoria around 12:30 AM, and were happy to tuck in snug for the night. Our haulout scheduled for the next day, we were anxious to press forward with bottom paint and other ‘below the waterline’ projects before our next weather window, which would undoubtedly be short one the following week. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans, because by noon the next day I was in full foul weather gear leaning into a steady horizontal rain borne by 35 knots of Southwest wind, a clear sign of Fall weather setting into the Northwest. When the gusts reached over 45 knots, my phone rang; it was the boat yard calling to postpone our haul out until Monday.

Some experienced sailors may scoff at this, but to my mind, the Oregon Coast in the middle of a strong Fall cold front is no place to ease your wife and kids into IMG_3730the fun, casual world of ocean passagemaking.  Our original intent was to begin our passage South around mid-September. But projects always encounter snags and, doing all the work ourselves, our production capacity was severely limited. In the end I can’t believe how much we did accomplish in two (long) months, but the fact remained, we were pushing the weather window and this Fall seemed to be coming on strong. We’d heard stories of people getting ‘stuck’ in the Northwest. Once the weather changes, it can become extremely unpleasant and downright dangerous to sail this coast. The earlier vision of Batu heeling at 20 degrees on her dock lines as 45 knot gusts swept the Port of Astoria pressed relentlessly on my mind all weekend. By Monday we had decided to cancel the haul out and take a 2-3 day window of Northwest winds which, as it turned out, was one of the last civilized chances to sail out of the Pacific Northwest this season.

The suburban multi-tasker in me is profoundly bugged by not checking off all the items on my ‘IMPORTANT’ list; organize gear – NO, renew bottom paint – PASS, install line cutter – NOPE, replace flax shaft packing – NADA. But, it seems, part of the voyaging life is learning to accept where you are, and where you want to be, with honesty and humility. There are times when the list must be damned. On Tuesday, October 13 we were keenly aware of the choice we made when we scrapped the list and, despite Coast Guard warnings, set out to sea.

October 1 – 6, 2015 – Holy Crap!

We are good people. We are not hoarders. I like to think of us as a fairly normal, conscientious American family of four, plus a granny. We have scaled back on Christmas every year for at least five years. We generally take a pass on the commercialization of birthdays, anniversaries and other gift-giving holidays. Yet, despite this, the amount of stuff we have accumulated is an embarrassment of riches. We have already had two successful garage sales this year, and yet, as we work through the house combing out items that have no place in our upcoming journey, the garage has stayed almost continually full. One final sale – everything must go! Although we are keeping our home, which is shared with grandma, we need to remove our personal things to leave the house ready to rent if necessary.


In the end it took at least a week longer than anticipated to get everything out of the house, and either stored in the garage or ready to move aboard. Finally, while still working frantically on boat projects, we managed to load everything aboard Batu on October 6. There was absolutely no organization whatsoever. Every nook and cranny of the boat was used. It wasn’t pretty, but we were aboard, our muscles still aching from the effort and our heads spinning from the process of continual decision-making. After a quick fuel-polish and oil change, we tossed off the dock lines the next morning, our family of four off on a grand adventure!


In retrospect, we stepped away that day from the stability and certainty that comes with life ashore, traded-in for the fluid ebb and flow that comes of a life lived on the tides, currents and breezes.

September, 2015 – Slow Boat

With the chainplates replaced and re-bedded, rebuilding the interior took an excruciatingly long time. Despite several layers of elaborate plastic walls I’d put up, there was still fiberglass dust on every surface in the boat. This took a lot of cleaning to remove, but the time consuming part was rebuilding the boat’s interior. We replaced each strip of planking and each section of cabinetry one piece at a time. Fortunately, we had labeled every piece carefully when tearing it out. The new epoxy tabbing was about 1/8  – 1/4″ thicker than the original tabbing. In addition, we extended the length of the two primary knees by about 5 1/2″ inches to better carry the significant rig loads. These changes meant that every single piece of wood interior needed to be customized before it could be reinstalled. Every…single…piece. Sometime in early September we installed the last section of trim and I had tears in my eyes, thankful to have another seemingly impossible task finished and hopeful that, someday, we might have a livable sailboat again.



Next up, dealing with the spars. My original intention was to quickly ‘touch up’ the spots on the mast, boom and spreaders where old paint was peeling. But upon closer inspection, the paint on the spars was thin, worn and chalky; not a candidate for touching up unless we were prepared to pull the mast and repaint in another year or two. So we dove in and removed all hardware and wiring from the mast, boom and spreaders while researching various paint systems and application methods. Knowing that we would be applying the paint ourselves, outdoors, in the wind, sun and dust of the Hood River marina spit helped to narrow our choices. We decided to use Interlux 2-part LPU because the support documentation was very good, and the product was well suited for ‘consumer’ application by rolling and tipping, rather than spraying in a paint booth. After sanding and carefully preparing the surfaces, we applied a tie coat to bond to the raw aluminum, then 2 full coats of primer, sanding in between each coat, then finally 2 careful coats of 2-part paint. We painted early in the mornings to avoid the worst effects of sun, wind and dust, but still we glared several times as folks speed past us at 30 mph on the dusty gravel spit, or as the wind piped up to 25 kts. Applying 2-part LPU with a roller and tipping brush is a bit like trying to paint your car with a smooth, hard, shiny coating using a 3inch wide paint brush. Even with quite a bit of previous experience, great surface prep and special care taken, the end result was not perfect, but it looks pretty darned good from 5 feet away.

IMG_3644We also measured and ordered new stainless wire rope and hardware for the rigging. Our rig was last rebuilt 20 years ago using Norseman brand mechanical terminals. These fittings allow a handy person to service their own rigging at sea if necessary without any special equipment. In theory, all we needed to do to make new rigging was to replace the stainless wire and small Norseman cones that are key to the mechanical fittings. After scouring the internet it became clear that the Norseman cones could no longer be found since the company was out of business. It’s probably best I didn’t have time to dwell on the fact that the pricetag for re-rigging jumped up by almost $1000 because we had to change over to all new Hayn Hi-Mod terminals and turn buckles These fittings are really well made and, in the end, they helped our overall confidence in the integrity of the rig, but at the time it seemed like a serious defeat.
By the end of September, we were cutting wire rope and making up new rigging; my head abuzz from the stress of long days and the unrelenting parade of seemingly impossible tasks and complex planning. Carefully re-tapping hundreds of holes in the spars and re-bedding every piece of hardware took forever, but had to be done before we could raise the mast and make Batu a sailboat again, rather than the very slow powerboat she had apparently become. One of the last re-rigging tasks was to pull the new forestay through the furler using the old forestay wire and some very thin splicing tape. We set to this task in the twilight hours the evening before the crane was scheduled to re-step the mast. We gently eased the splice through knowing that failure would mean a serious debacle, and a significant delay. With no warning, 80% of the way through, the splice
e let go and we realized the rig would not go up in the morning. At that moment, it was a huge defeat. The only scant advice available online was to NEVER let this happen. Not a lot of sleep was had (again) as I stressed about our possible options. In the morning we attacked the problem with a fresh set of eyes, and the help of our friend Steve, an experienced sailor and cruiser. We drilled out the rivets in the forestay where the splice had broken, and after many, many attempts, managed to fish a metal tape to that point, splice the fish tape into the wire and pull it through the rest of the way. A few rivets later and we were back in business, feeling like we could overcome any obstacle! The next day we stepped the mast with help from many friends both old and new. It was a real high point! Little did we know this up and down experience was just a bit of foreplay to ready us for cruising.



August, 2015 – Dante’s Inferno

On July 24 I walked out of the building where I spent the last seventeen years, closing the door on a big chapter in my life. I suspect my co-workers imagined my new life to be an endless, happy vacation as they watched me go. Within a week I was, without a doubt, in one of the nine realms of Hell. After pulling off the sails, boom & rigging, we pulled the mast from the boat at the Hood River Marina using a local crane company. I’ll grant that removing a 55 foot long, 500 lb. mast is pretty stressful, but I have discovered that real suffering involves IMG_3168tearing out the interior of a beautiful boat and proceeding to grind fiberglass tabbing with a heavy 4″ angle grinder. Add daily highs around 105 – 110 degrees plus a full suit of Tyvek and let the head-popping itchiness begin. Ultimately, I gave up on the Tyvek suit to avoid certain heat stroke and resolved to feeling like a porcupine with fiberglass quills for the rest of the month. Periodic swims in the cool marina water helped to wash off fiberglass dust and sweat. It took all month to replace the 9 stainless chainplates that anchor the rig and rebuild the tabbing on 2 critical knees that support those chainplates, but I’m pretty sure there will be at least one dark and stormy night where we’ll be very happy to have this work done.





I have to admit, the concept of sailing freely over the sunny, blue oceans of the world sounds pretty appealing. I’ll tell you for sure though, cruising is a mind-blowing LOT of work, and not for the faint of heart. All I can hope is that it gets a bit more glamorous than what we’ve experienced this month.