Friday, September 14, 2012

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

So I haven't said anything at all for a while.  What can I say? We've been feeling a bit crushed lately.  Since we hired Danny to get us back on the fast track 7 weeks ago, he's barely touched our boat. Managed to do 4 other boats in the yard and others elsewhere, but rarely shows up to do ours.   The cabin is painted, the deck holes are patched, but the deck isn't painted, and the engine room remains untouched. We've both spent weeks in there rolling around in glass dust and inhaling the offense.  AJ even won a trip to the ER after getting steel shards in his eye from grinding in there. We were tapped out with the engine room, which I like to refer to as 'the pit of despair.'

There were some weather set backs; we got a couple hard days of rain from Isaac fallout, and many rainy afternoons, but not too much in August. I had two near heat strokes though, which made me feel utterly defeated. What can you do when working on the boat nearly kills you? If it's not toxic chemicals causing asthma attacks, or contorted positions causing muscle spasms that lay you out for a day, it's the climate. Heat sickness did't feel like what I expected.   It sneaks up quick. All the sudden the sweat started pouring down my face as if I had a water hose on my head. It felt like my body was expelling all fluids as fast as it could.  My throat went completely dry and started to swell closed.  Then came the shakes.  My hand shook so violently when I tried to hold a water bottle that AJ had to hold it for me. There was no pain, quite the opposite. I felt like I was in an opiate coma. I couldn't feel anything.  The point when I knew for certain something was terribly wrong was when I stopped being able to talk.  Most attempts failed and only slurred nonsense was uttered when successful.   I laid motionless in a cold room in that strange waking dream state for about 4 hours before I was able to move around or talk again.  The inability to move was crazy.  Just trying to lift an arm caused my heart to race harder than it ever has.  It was alarmingly impossible to roll over or stand.  That happened twice in one week, after being in the 11+ UV rated August sun for only an hour.  I was feeling pretty angry and hopeless after that.  I hate August.  Hibernation is about all it's good for.  The French have it right. They shut down the entire country and take the month off.  Which is pretty much what we had to do.  But, we had hired Danny's Boat Restoration so the month would not be entirely lost. But alas, it mostly was anyway.  We got to the point of calculating how much money we could wring out of scrapping the keel for lead and the hardware for bronze, throwing in the towel, and walking away, far far away from here.  But, we are so close. Painfully close.  We already have everything we need to finish.  We just have to put everything back together again and install systems.

We arrived to move aboard one year ago last September.  By the time we were approaching the one year anniversary without having sailed we were getting depressed.  We started stranded on the mooring ball with a broken engine,  which is where we were the happiest.  Perhaps because it was the beginning. But I think it was because we were out on the water.  The daily exercise required for life and the privacy suited us.  Then we got jobs, got towed to the dock, and lost our privacy and momentum. The other docked boats, (and the marina) didn't care for the eyesore that was our boat, or the noisiness of boat work, so our moods began to slip.  New hope came when we hauled out to finally make the boat a functioning mobile home.  That hope was getting dashed by August.  But, September is bringing renewed hope and motivation with our new living situation.   We had to move off the boat when we hauled out.  We stayed in an acquaintances spare room for a couple months until that situation expired, then moved to a hotel, which we could not afford for long.  The hotel was nice at first - a room all our own, but soon the financial stress soon required a total reassessment of our situation.  I Wish we had known the haul out was going to take 6 months! I scoured Craig's list for options.  What we ended up finding was unexpectedly perfect.  A little vacation rental (no lease - fully furnished) studio apartment with an outdoor patio big enough for projects and a dock for our boat. Much better and cheaper than a shady weekly hotel.  It's still the off season with the off season prices.  Amazing.  As soon as Danny is finished we will drop the engine in and move the boat here, where we can work on it from home! It will literally be in our back yard.  Which will mean working so much faster and no more heat stroking.  A/C and a shower will be a couple feet away at all times.  Being in a home situation for the first time in 18 months (since AJ got out of the Army and we left Germany) alleviates so much stress.  I didn't realize just how stressful our living situations have been until we moved into a real apartment of our own.  Homelessness wears on you after a while.  Now we have some privacy, a kitchen to cook in, and the ability to have all our stuff in one place. Our things have been scattered between a shed, a storage unit, a shop, and piled up under the boat. We can finally consolidate and organize our lives.  It's a new chapter.  I'm not sure what we've been trying to prove to ourselves, but maybe a home base is necessary to stay sane through all this after all.  All we gotta do now is get Danny to finish and get off the hard and into our back yard.
We've not been entirely useless lately, just mostly. We made the panels to separate the cockpit lockers from the engine room. Fiberglass cloth epoxied on Meranti Mahogany plywood.  And we've been doing other odd projects getting ready for reassembly.

Can't do an epoxy job without the sacrifice of one little critter.  The dinghy took one unlucky moth. This time we came back to find this little guy, DOA.

I'll wrap up with some pictures of something prettier than epoxy or metal scraps for once. We took a little day trip down to Miami to get out of town and shake off the Blues a few weeks ago.  There we got to see a little Old World in the New World at Villa Vizcaya.

                             It was a little like being back in Europe.  Venice with Palm Trees.
 A lovely place to walk in the rain.



And the fantastic beautiful Banyan Tree  



  1. I wrote a long paragraph. Then realized it is your space. Thank you for the updates. My Dreams ride on your lives. Sito P

  2. You can write a long paragraph! Always.
    We need the encouragement right now anyhow..

  3. Hey Guys: Glad to see you back on the radar. Remember how an elephant is bite at a time.

    You have fallen into the standard cruisers trap; Do I rebuild the boat completely and then set off into the horizon, or do I go now and overhaul one stage at a time. There is no right answer, and admittedly its hard to ignore what your discover once you start digging. One the other hand, the To Do list will NEVER END...ever! As long as she is reasonably seaworthy and sound, and its unlikely you will start a Pacific Crossing on Day One, meandering around the Out Islands chipping away at big and small jobs alike is an option. No mater, there are no right answers, There is the best decision you can make at the time, in the prevailing circumstances.

    Additionally, you guys are a young couple in a hurry to start your life adventure together. Hate to break it to you, but it has already started! This purgatory of "getting everything ready to leave" is part of your prime time story. Ride the Ups and Downs. Someday, you will regale your kids with stories on when Mom and Dad were young and .............

    Hang In There. Its kinda like boot camp. Once day at a time. One mile at a time. Your a team. You CAN make it!

    Most importantly, the Stains from Blood, Sweat and Tears are all badges of honor on a boat. Someday you will be anchored on a perfect mooring, enjoying the company of fellow cruisers aboard ROBIN, telling stories........ and they will understand. You are in a fraternity of the .00002% that choose to live their life differently.

  4. i think you're trying to do too much before you get going. are you minimalists or not? drop the engine in and leave for the for the windwards in late november. the definition a cruiser i found most apt was fixing your boat in foreign ports. it'll never be done and by the time you get to trinidad you'll know what's really important. my wife and i lived on maia for three years and altough it was nice to have the nicest looking boat in the anchorage what was really nice was how she sailed.

  5. Ha. We're with you on that now. Right now it has no windows or hardware though.. We are just waiting on our guy to finish the paint so we can drop the engine in and get back in the water install the windows and get outta here.

  6. tell that dude your consultant will be there in a week, and will be pissed that nothing has been done. ...he'll also bring in a real painter, if need be.

  7. good, we sold the boat because we bought a peice of land and built a house in the bahamas. we'll be down there for the winter finishing up the house so if you get to long island bahamas look us up. most people in salt pond know where we are. not far.

  8. Who is your painter? I want to get someone else to do the engine room. I bet a new guy could get it done before the come back to paint the decks.
    I know rain has been an issue, but there were LOTS of sunny August that he chose to do other jobs on. He is excellent at what he does, everyone says so, and we've seen it, he did our topsides. But there's nothing excellent about a job not done. You'll be here in a week eh? Lookin' forward to it.

  9. Awesome! We'll definitely give you a shout when we head that way. You did exactly what we'd like to do eventually. Sail for a few years then trade in for some land somewhere...

  10. it's a tough slog to porto rico, but if you leave on a front, once it calms down it's not so bad. once you get to porto rico you can make it on a single tack in any weather because the boat points very well. maddened people with more expensive fancier boats. we'l look forward to seeing you and her in long island. we bought the land with 2 of our kids and we're at wilk cay if you can't find someone that knows us. unlikely as it's a very freindly place where most people know most people

  11. last comment is still awaiting moderation, so i can't reply to your comment. but yeah. hopefully less than a week, but the wind is gonna be really light, so i thought i'd give myself lots of time. the coupling is fried, so i'll only be using the motor in emergencies. that, and no auto pilot makes me need to sleep at night. the painter i know is extremely good. much better than me, but i could paint your ERin a bloody afternoon if i had the paint, if need be.

    this dude obviously isn't appreciative of your business, and should be told that. david is not cheap, but the job will get done, and you'll have a fine yacht finish. i've painted with him extensively, and he's amazing. but i would just tell your guy that you will require a refund and need to look for a different painter if he is unable to do his job.
    this is south florida, and contractors here will walk all over you if you let them. it's the reason i stay busy in season; cause people are tired of getting dicked around and just need it done.

    be an asshole if you have to, because that is how he is treating you, at the moment.

  12. Greetings & Salutations!
    thank you for sharing your adventure... i hope you realize how much we "wannabe's" learn from you "doer's"... Your courage & honesty inspire's me (and i'm sure others) to go beyond just the dream... I'm taking small steps in getting to where i can do what your doing already! You already have some wise folks giving great advise (OG & S-Trash, you guys are awesome) but here's a few thoughts that may be of some use...

    Make the boat safe before you make it pretty, your gonna have some ineivtable mishaps that will scratch/scar that nice paint job...

    Get as much ruff weather sailing knowledge as possible with experienced sailors, build your confidence on what to do when things get shitty...

    The best sailing in your area is coming up soon, fire Danny, paint the deck yourself, its not hard... you've already done the hard work... Get the boat back in the water...

    Wish i could buzz down & help you kids out... Keep going you guys are smart, talented & the kind of people i hope to meet out there someday...
    Kindest regards,


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