The task of becoming sea-worthy


I don’t blog here anymore…

Seems that way, eh?  It has been forever.  Work sucks up all our time. And it is HOT!

Now that we are ‘seasoned’ boat owners, I want to look at what we really need to get done to be happy with that boat:

#1 Mainsail Sheets to cabin:

1 reef line turning block

2 Double Deck organizers

8 Line Guides

2 Rope Clutches (1 single, 1 double)

Handrail Pair 4 Loop

This will enable me to raise and lower the mainsheet & jibsheet from the cockpit.

#2 Teak Replacement:

Handrail Pair 4 Loop

2 Crib Boards

Companionway Trim

Threshold and Weatherboard

2 sets Railwood

1 Handrail 1 Loop

2 Coaming Compartments

#3 Lifeline Replacement



Upcoming Holiday

photo courtesy of Corbis

We’re spending Christmas on our boat.  (we’re too novice to have thought to put up lights, I’m so disappointed.)  I’m really very excited about it.  Very quiet, very relaxed.  We’ll leave Thursday night.  The weather shows to be mostly mild.  Thursday night will be foggy & 52`.   Friday it will rain.  I think that is so exciting.  Friday night it will be 39`.   Saturday, Christmas Day, will be 53` during the day and a chilly 28` at night.

With it raining on Friday, we’ll have the rare opportunity to do nothing.  That will be refreshing!  We have a live table-top tree and everything.  I’m trying to decide what to bring – peppermint schnapps hot cocoa or mulled rum cider?


Excellent lights on the SV Toyot courtesy of

We are in the process of completing our renovated galley.  I’m excited about this too.  We used ‘Cat Hair’ fiberglass to cover the wood on the bottom with 2 layers and then TheGuy sanded and bondo’ed over that.  Sanded it smooth and will put a second bondo layer on tonight followed by 2 coats of primer.   Then we’ll paint it with the epoxy, install the stained wood trim and attach the microwave.  I don’t know if we’ll get it finished in time to take tomorrow, but it’s getting closer to being finished.  It’s going to be so cool having a galley that fits our needs.  We still have some important things to complete in the next month.

This is the original list of things still needing to be done:

1.  paint inside & roofs of all hatch & compartments including doors.

2.  replace all seals on outside storage and hatch.

3.  paint inside and roof of all unpainted storage compartments.

4.  repair large ding in fiberglass on stern near motor.

5. paint engine.

6. replace table top in cabin.

Some additional things now that we’re more seasoned sailors:

1.  run mainsail sheets aft to cockpit.

2.  buy second anchor.

3.  replace outhaul sheet.

4.  replace boomvang sheet.

5. replace flag line.

6.  buy italia flag.

7.  rewire mast light.

8.  replace control panel switches.

9.  paint deck.

10.  paint topsides.

11.  paint hull.

12.  buy trailer.

All Things New

Admiral’s Log 12/06/2010

An update with the boat, no time for the sailing stuff.  Starting at the front, we’ll move towards the stern bit by bit.

The forestay assembly for the jib has been repaired.  The jib sheet, or rope, has been replaced.  The furling line has been rerun correctly.  Because we replaced the jib sheet with a fatter line, we’ve had to replace the jib pulleys.  Replaced 3 turnbuckle boots so the jib sheet doesn’t rub across the shroud cables.  Jib sheet is still rubbing on cables, so we have to reconfigure these.  We need to bring them up to 36 inches

We re-stained all the teak, inside and out.  We went with a beautiful mahogany stain.  This made quite a difference in how she looks.  The exterior teak will all need to be replaced next year, but this at least has her looking good until we save the money to replace it all.  There is a small amount of wood rot, but considering the condition we were surprised it came out this good.  Guy decided he wanted to varnish the exterior wood.  I insisted that we use teak oil for the interior and it turned out great.   We will see over time how the varnish on the exterior holds up.    A neighbor passed him on the dock and asked if he was varnishing the wood.  Guy replied yes and the neighbor said “yeah, I did that one year”, smiled and walked off.  Somethings you have to learn on your own.

We have ordered a new toilet, it should be here at the end of the week.  I purchased a color-coordinated toilet box & rearranged the v-berth storage, so now we officially have a bathroom.  We had been storing the AC there, but since we can’t use the AC away from the dock, we put it in the dock-box.  There is even hand-sanitizer and air freshener spray!

Few weeks ago, the girls agreed to sail with us and we went out for a long time.  With all the beer-drinking they were doing, they all needed to use the bathroom.  It was hilarious to hear the stories of the different techniques for straddled the AC to use the toilet.  Being the most practical of the group, I moved the AC onto the couch when it was my turn.  Almost threw my back out.  As I said, we now have an official bathroom.

We’ve replaced all the hatch dog knobs.  Got a new fastener for the pop-top assembly so it locks went its raised.  We had been tying it off with a bungee and praying, this is safer.  Repaired 3 tears in the upholstery.  Scrubbed all the exterior deck fiberglass with Barkeepers Friend and a scrubbing sponge.  Lightly polished exterior deck fiberglass to keep clean.  Have to find a way to seal the non-skid areas after cleaning that doesn’t make it slippery.  Accidently waxed one spot.  Not good, continuing would make her the yacht of death.

Now on to changes we have planned.  Starting from the stern and moving forward.  We are in the process of redesigning the galley to accomodate the new microwave and coffee/tea maker.  We’ve removed the drawer and will cut a square into the fiberglass where the alcohol stove was.  Once the hole is cut we will sand all the edges straight and smooth.

Old Galley

We plan on sanding the rotted wood in the bottom and strengthening it with fiberglas cat hair.  Then we’ll epoxy paint the inside to protect the wood from water and fiberglass paint the bottom and install a plastic slide rail where the wood one is now.  Then epoxy seal it all on the bottom so it can withstand water if it has to.  Then we’ll install the microwave into it and trim around it so it looks like it came that way.

Coaming Compartment Trim Before

We are ordering the teak for the coaming compartments this week.  We also have decided to paint all of the interior compartments.  We have decided on a garage floor epoxy in tan.  They have colored chips that we will add to the paint for the storage compartments, to hide dirt as it protects.  we’ll also do the inside of the compartment lids.

We’ll clean, repair and paint the coaming compartments with just the paint, no chips, so the cockpit looks good.  This with the addition of the stained teak trim should be a vast improvement in the cockpit.

We are considering using this garage floor epoxy paint on the non-skid surfaces, they have a sand additive you can put in it to make it non-skid.  We want to resurface the cockpit benches and floor with this, as well as all the non-skid areas midship and towards the bow.  I want to run this idea by my new friends at since they have so much experience with boats.  My hope is this plan is sound and will work.

Old Table and Light

Next is the replacement of the table, which in my opinion, the current one is gross.  Plastic laminate veneer.  I found a beautiful table that I wanted picked out, but they don’t make it in the size we need.  For now, we’ll just replace with a red oak, probably. Sweet!

Next on the list is to set up the mainsail rigging to run aft so we can raise and lower the mainsail from the cockpit.  This is a simple modification, but one of the parts is kind of expensive.  We’ll be running the mainsheet halyard though a pulley at the base of the mast, directing it out to to the corner of the top of the cabin, then running down the sides of the handle rails.  This then feeds the halyard into a block, removing the need to climb atop the cabin in big winds.  That will sure make me a happy sailor!!

We get by with a little help from our friends…

Yachtmaster Eric

God is awesome, isn’t He?  In the mist of all our learning and yearning to be good sailors, God sent us an incredible gift, in the form of Eric and his sweet wife Janet.  Eric is a FaceBook friend whose been following the antics of S/V Knot Alot online.  Last weekend he graciously agreed to join Guy & myself for a day of sailing.  And what a day it was.

Meeting them both was interesting.  Janet is soft-spoken, bubbly and joyful to be around,  She has the most beautiful, sparkly eyes.  Eric is a very humble, gracious man.  He didn’t come across boastful even though he has tremendous sailing experience and knowledge.  He met us at our level and learning ability, kinda like we do with our beginner riders.

The most helpful thing was after a month of online and book learning, we finally got a hands on feel for the things we had been reading about.  This was going from classroom training to practical application and things started to make sense.

Figure 8

Starting off with learning about knots.  we learned how to tie the figure 8, square knot and a half hitch.  Also proper cleating – the Cleat Hitch, or Cleat Knot, secures a rope to a cleat. It is deceptively simple.  A simple way to hold the rope allowing the cleat to do its job.  The lines sometimes need to be secure, but tied in a way that you can unsecure it quickly.

Figure 8 is used for tying a rope thru a pully so the line can’t be pulled thru it. It’s a stopper knot – saves the rope escaping.  Half hitch is used for for fastening a rope to an object, while a square knot is used for tying 2 lines together or to tie a line in a loop around something.

First off. we walked around the boat, checking all the lines, going over everything necessary to launch the boat.  Making sure bumpers were aboard, all lines were fastened properly.  Making sure all the sheets were in working order before we hit open water.

Square or Reef Knot

The funny thing about current –  its hard to see it has a mind of its own.  So, Eric thought it best for Cap’n Guy to take the helm and steer us out of the slip. Sometimes learning is best handled by doing. You know how when someone’s watching you and you try to do something you’ve done well before?  And no matter how hard you try to do it as you have many times before, nothing works.  That’s what happened next.  Cap’n Guy tells the story…

The book said the rudder can cause you to walk steer, when the current steers you instead of you steering the boat.  Since it’s never happened before, I proceeded to back out as always in an attempt to dazzle everyone with my amazing manuvering skills.

Half-Hitch or Rolling-Hitch Knot

Using the rudder to position the bow correctly,  I forgot that the motor was steering the boat, so as I’m pushing the tiller into the correct position, I can’t figure out why the boat is heading in the wrong direction.  I’m still trying to look cool.

Andrea offers a newbie solution to just let her go all the way, in the wrong direction, til she comes about.  Eric was patient, hiding his amusement from us and offered an alternative solution as well.  Using the motor to steer while motoring does in fact bring more effective results. Imagine that!

After amazing him with the slip donut technique, Eric astutely determined it might be best for us to raise the sail while still in the no-wake zone.  We raised the mainsail and he loosened the boom vang and secured the main halyard, then trimmed the leading tack to take out some slack that was at the bottom of the mainsail.

Then it was time to raise the jib.  We had discussed our difficulty getting it to unfurl, convinced that another repair was emmentent.  He explained it probably wasnt necessary and unfurled the jib sheet with no trouble at all.  Wouldn’t you know it, we were just doing it wrong.

Traffic On The Lake

When both sails were up, he instucted me to find a point of focus on land to keep the boat going in a continuous direction.  I then turned the bow into irons until the jib sheet began to luff so I could turn the bow back into the position of close haul that I wanted.   That was him teaching me where the best use of the wind and position of the bow to pull the boat forward.  Closed haul is pulling the boat with the wind, running is pushing the boat with the wind.

We did multiple zig zagging tacks in the no wake zone getting us prepared for the open water. Finally we had tacked into open water and the wind really began to take the sails.  We straight away went into full running, which is the most precarious position in sailing.  However, Eric is an accomplished sailor, so we knew we’d be just fine.

Then he asked –  you wanna see some real razzle-dazzle sailing and he proceeded to instruct us to place the sails in full wing position.  This was a very advanced potition for our first 20 minutes having been in real wind.  It was really exciting!

We were able to hold that potition for about 15 minutes before we jibed into our new position.  It was awesome.  I would have never expected us to do something that cool that quickly into it.  The jib was full on the starboard side,  the boom swang out to the port side, all the way,  the boat stayed level and we picked up speed.

We're Sailing 'Winged"!!

The boat, our boat looked like a peacock strutting its feathers instead of a roadrunner dashing twards a destination. we were so proud.  We then went to mutiple tacks and jibes, learning closed haul, closed reach, beam reach.  This finally put the book and blog learning into proper perspective with an addition of safety that allowed us to focus on learning completely.

The multi- jibing and tacking manuvers got us into a comfortable place where we  were ready to be comfortable heeling and even enjoyed it.  We were doing between 7-10 degrees heeling and we weren’t afraid.  This was a first for us.  The afternoon slipped away quickly.  The time went so fast the next thing we knew it was time to head back to the marina and go have some dinner.

The first day as REAL sailors…

Admiral’s Log 08/29/2010

If I’m not the captain, then I cannot write the Captain’s Log.  He says he wants to write on here too, we shall see.  In the meanwhile, my new friends at have explained that I am the Admiral.  I like that!

Yesterday was quite exciting.  It didn’t last that long.  We had a guest crew member, so there were a lot of skill-trials we did not do.  But there was a point that we were moving forward at a speed of about 6 knots, strong but comfortable lean to the boat and everyone was in sync.  That’s when we realized, ‘we were sailing’.

Sorry for the lack of pictures.  It had been my intention to take lots of pictures so we’d have a photo record of the great moments.  But as the great moments came, picture-taking was not possible.   Either we would have tipped or my new droid would have been lost at sea.  As our sailing skills increase, my photo ops will improve.

It felt different heading out of the marina today.  We knew it’s going to be different.  We were going to notch it up just a bit.  There was limited wind at the start, so we motored after pulling up the sails.  We had a guest crew member, GP,(guy’s son) and we didn’t want him to be bored.  The challenge for Cap’n Guy was to effectively captain, to feel confident in instructing his ‘crew’ on what to do.

We began this day’s adventure with Cap’n Guy at the helm, me on the mainsail and GP working the jib.  We were at quite an advantage seeing as GP is in the Navy.  As I said, in the beginning we were motoring with the sails raised initially.  There was a point that we could see we were actually under wind power.  We killed the engine and paused to listen… yep, we were under wind power for the very first time.  What a feeling!

The beginning stages of learning to sail is a lot of letting those around you make mistakes so they can learn what to do, and what not to do.  I am a perfectionist by nature, so a lot of my energy was just focusing on the mainsail & leaving the others to their duties.  There was synergy amist the lack of knowledge we all shared.  The wind was strong enough to move the boat, but not enough to heel uncomfortably.



Heeling is leaning.

As my new friend Eric explains, it is a necessary part of successful sailing.

There is a Lev-O-Gage on the boat.  It’s like a level, zero at the bottom middle numbering left and right.  You can gauge how much the boat is heeling with this.

Right now we are working at mastering the 0-5 degrees of heeling.




I suffer with anxieties, so sailing is not something I ever thought I would be ale to do.  I believe in facing my fears, so we OWN a sailboat now.  Every time we go out, I am doing something called ‘Desensitization’.  I go out on the boat, in a controlled environment (ie, limited winds, ability to return to dock at my discretion, limitation on amount of heeling, etc.), and experience sailing to recondition myself to feel fear and instead experience it as enjoyment.  The picture to the right describes what my brain experiences as we heel 15 degrees.

Over time, I will be able to heel at 15 degrees and have it feel like the boat is leaning a little and we are picking up speed.  I will have a typical exposure response like everyone else.  That is what we are working towards.  Join us again and see how it goes!

Yes, we are sailing…

Admiral’s Log 08/23/2010

Heading Out At Dawn

I guess I can’t call what I write the captain’s log, can I?  I’ve been told by the seasoned sailors that I am actually the admiral.  I like that.

So, it’s Monday.  After a restful night and free continental breakfast… why do we always feel compelled to eat the ‘free’ breakfast even though it’s really unhealthy food?  Guy was so proud of himself for grabbing the egg omelet thing.  I was proud too, till the timer went off on the waffle maker.    I have no room to talk, but I’ll cover that later.

Everyone Else is Sleeping

It was so peaceful out on the water.  Hardly any sound except for an occasional fish jumping.  We decided to motor around until the sun came up.  We were the only boat out.  It was difficult to contain our excitement.  The sun was taking forever and the next moment it was up.

I could hardly believe it.  We were finally going to sail.  The jib sail was still broken but our boat has additional cables that support the mast.

Here Comes…

We don’t know why yet, but they’re there.  That gave us some added security that we’d be ok.  Plus, there was almost no wind at all.  Another day of motoring with the sails up.  I think it’s a lucky thing since we are clueless with sailing.  This way… we were able topretend there was a wind and go through the motions without being in any real danger.

The Sun!

I don’t remember who got to try it first.  I do remember moments of working in harmony.  He is getting better at calling the commands.  He still can’t figure out why I can’t hear him when he speaks facing away from me.  I hate having to make him repeat everything continually, but I guess he doesn’t understand I am trying to hear over the motor.

The Hoisted Mainsail

We hoisted the mainsail with no problem at all.  The jib, being broken was a little bit of a challenge.  Guy untwisted it as I pulled on the furling rope.  It finally opened and there we sat, no wind and total excitement.

Firing up the engine, off we went.  There is an art to tacking, we soon found out.  A way of bringing the jib across the boat effortlessly by allowing the boat to turn hard, either to port or starboard and allowing the wind to do the work.  Then gently turning her back in the direction you wanted to go.  Keep in mind, we don’t know how to sail, and there is absolutely no wind, so we are guessing at this technique.  It just seems right.  While he was at the helm, I would work the halyards on the jib sail.  At first he wasn’t turning hard enough for me to get the sail to come around.  You can see that the previous owner wasn’t skilled at this either, the rope is heavily frayed from someone pulling it hard across the cable.

The First Time

We circled around the south end of the lake.  We were able to kill the motor several times because the wind was strong enough and we were actually sailing!!  We found out first hand what it meant to go into ‘irons’.  It’s a good thing we read up on that.  We did a great job getting ‘out of irons’.  We were feeling accomplished.   Feeling the wind pull us and feeling the boat under wind power was excellent.  A little scary but a lot of fun.  We both felt we were working together as a team for the first time, taking turns operating the helm.  It was a good opportunity to see the importance of each teammate.  Cap’n Guy says he is starting to understand running the boat isn’t a single man experience.  Every crew member has a specific job and it is much smoother being a team, our team.

Team Knot Alot.

Does this mean we’re sailing…

Admiral’s log 08/22/2010

Arriving At the Marina

Today is the day.  We are going to hoist the sails.  Well, sail.  Seems we broke the halyard on the jib sail last weekend.  I called the Catalina people and they will be overnighting me a forestay assembly, it will be at the yacht club on Monday morning.  We arranged for Paul, the boat repair man, to fix the sail Monday.

Well, another lesson in flexibility.  Yes, I paid $60 for overnight delivery of the forestay assembly, but ‘Paul’ forgot to call us Monday morning to let us know the part had been delivered.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

We arrived at the boat Sunday afternoon.  Although I wasn’t feeling well, it was the day we planned to actually sail, so I sucked it up and off we went.  The plan was to spend all day Sunday sailing then sleep on the boat that night and get an early start on Monday.  The best laid plans of mice & men…

Heading Out On Sunday

Upon opening the cabin, we found the bag of corn-feed we had brought to feed the ducks.  Seems we must have also fed some mice.  There was a big hole in the bag and thousands of ants all over the place.  We sprayed a bunch of them with windex and determined that we needed bug spray to kill them so we could sleep that night.  Off to the store, we got ‘eco-friendly’ bug spray, thinking that it would be safer while we slept.  We sprayed everything down, closed the hatch and took off for our first sail of the day.

Anchored In The Cove

It was fabulous!!  We motored around for a while, checking things out, building our courage.  Then finally, it was time to raise the sails.  The wind was almost non-existent so we were able to practice our tacking with the motor on.  We probably got it up to about 5 knots.  Because the jib sail was broken, we didn’t spend too much time with the sails raised.

We decided to head into a cove to swim & cool off.  Who would have thought it would be another ‘learning’ moment for team knotalot?  We pulled into the cove across from the marina and Guy proceeded to set the anchor.  He pulled up real close to shore, dropped the anchor and waited.  It didn’t catch.  He raised it again and instructed me to get within 10 feet of shore and he lowered it again.  This time it did catch.  The current started to pull us… across and then into the shore.  I sat at the tiller and called out our depth… 12′, 10′, 8′, then 6′, 4’… then I made a decision.  I put the engine into forward and pulled us away from shore, while Guy pulled up the anchor.

Sunday Night’s Full Moon

I would have preferred talking about what our plan was before we tried it.  Ya know, throw a few ideas around.  Wives are really skilled at making it appear as though it was your idea all along, if you give us the chance.  But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.  We headed across to the other side, hoping the current would keep us off the shoreline.  I pulled up to a depth of 20 feet, then backed out to 25 feet.  Then he dropped the anchor.  We waited, we drifted, it caught, we waited some more.  Finally we could see it was going to hold us in place without trouble.

It was great in the water, wet, cold.  Ok, the water was warm, but definitely cooler in it than out of it.    We finished our swim and headed back to the marina.  We decided to go eat, since we were starving, thinking that by the time we finished eating, the ants would be gone.  When we returned, they were still crawling around.  While many had died, not all of them did.  While Guy resprayed everything, I called hotels.  Just our luck, there was a Hampton Inn right down the road.  Disappointed, we headed to the hotel.  We consoled ourselves with a hot shower and comfortable bed.

Even on a bad day…

Clouds Rolling In

…it’s a good day when you have a sail boat.  We spent both Saturday & Sunday at the boat, traveling back to town for the morning bike rides.  Again this week, our ‘sailing’ consisted of only motoring around the lake.  We decided it would be best to learn how the boat handles without sails first.  Also we have a chance to gain familiarity with lake depths.  No need rushing to learn everything at once.  I guess I bring that ‘Ride Like A Girl’ mentality into everything I do.  Many have asked what that means.  It’s quite simple really.  Women tend to be comfortable admitting what they don’t know and when they’re uncomfortable.  Also good at breaking the learning process into steps and only tackling a little at a time.  Men tend to be more ‘fly by the seat of their pants’.


Guy’s preference was to pull the boat out on day one, hoist the sails and see how it went.  Instead we’ve been reading and learning and taking it a little at a time.  Maybe women get this style from teaching our kids how to do new things, maybe it’s just fear,  I don’t know.  But it was a good way to start for us.  The 22′ Catalina is a great first boat, if you take it slow.  Just enough boat to feel like a real sailor, not so much boat that it requires prior experience.  I’m a ‘worst-case’ scenario kind of a person.  Both Guy & I are strong swimmers, so the worst thing that could happen is that we sink her.  No biggy.

Some of the things we learned motoring around is that she’s slow to back up, but can turn on a dime.  We ran some practice tacking with no sails, just to get an idea of how to work the tiller as we go.  Also gained some practice pulling in and out of the slip.  Still butting heads with Cap’n Guy.

Cap’n Guy

It amuses me.  Am I the only wife that deals with this?  I feel like we are making progress.  Kinda like tacking & jibing.  You don’t move in a straight line, more zig-zagging back and forth.  He is able to admit that he has limited faith in my ability to know what I’m doing.  I appreciate his honesty.  After several attempts on his own, he will give the team thing a go.  Maybe at some point we can both offer up information and he will consider all of it.  He did follow my advice on pulling into the slip this weekend.  He put the engine in reverse at the opening of the slip and avoided crashing into our dock box again.

I am using our sailing adventure as a way to communicate with him and learn good submitting skills.  I am excited about his being the captain.  I want to be a good first mate.  I don’t feel the need to lead us in this and want him to be comfortable ‘taking the helm’.  We are both clueless in sailing so it certainly levels the playing field.

Far Shot of the Broken Jib Sail

I do have days where I wonder, though…    He gets a smile on his face when I try to explain to him how fast the wind can change & how quickly the ride can go from exciting to terrifying.   How different it will be when the sails are up.

He tried to raise the mainsail this weekend ‘out on the water’.  I totally let him.  He got totally frustrated.  I totally let him work through it and only offered love & support.  He totally didn’t care.  It was funny.  Back in the slip, we were able to successfully raise the mainsail.  We needed to do that in the slip so we would know if the sail goes up and if anything is broken.  Then we tried to raise the jib.  I was helping.  He told me to pull really hard, I did.  It wouldn’t go all the way up.  He told me to pull harder.  I told him that may not be a good idea.  He said to just pull it really hard, please.  I did.  Something snapped.  At the very top of the mast.  It sounded expensive.  But then again, it always does.

Learning, Learning, Learning…

He looked like he needed a little ‘guy-time’.  I went into the cabin and read up on apparent wind, cleats & winches and how to ‘get out of irons’.  There is a lot of stuff to learn.  I’m posting a lot of it here.  He admits that he really doesn’t read it.  Another difference of ours I want to learn to respect.  I read and analyse everything I do, before I do it.  Because I’m afraid of doing it wrong.  He prefers to learn as he goes.  That is totally ok, so long as it’s not dangerous.  He promised me he would not be dangerous about it so I am open to his method.  Respect, I’m learning.

He loves me SO much he bought me these really cool sailor gloves so I can pull the ropes hard without hurting my hands.  I tried to convince him he needed some too, but, well… you know how that went.  We are excited.  Next weekend we are spending Sunday & Monday on the boat.  We’re gonna spend the night here!

Ongoing to do list:

1.  paint inside & roofs of all hatch & compartments including doors.

Really Cool Sailor Gloves

2.  replace all seals on outside storage and hatch.

3.  paint inside and roof of all unpainted storage compartments.

4.  figure out how to install new battery – done.

5.  replace 1 hatchdog knob.

6.  replace the teak boards and trim on the companionway.

7.  sand and stain all other teak on inside and outside of boat.

8.  repair large ding in fiberglass on stern near motor.

9.  install new depth-finder.

10. paint engine.

11. tune up engine.

12. replace table top in cabin.

13.  repair jib sail.

Slow, simple starts…

Sometimes, painfully slow.  And boring, but I’m going somewhere with this.  Saturday, off to the boat.  As we are learning our way around the boat, we continue to learn our way around one another.   Arriving at the boat, we hauled all our stuff aboard and determined what the goal for the day would be.  Depth finder.  This proved more time-consuming than originally thought.   The transducer appears to be working fine.    The display panel for the depth finder was cracked, so we replaced it.  It got very hot, we got very cranky.  I began to notice Guy & I work differently.  In typical ‘guy’ style, he spreads all his ‘stuff’ out and jumps from one job to another.  He starts a job without first gathering all the necessary tools, then makes random requests for things hidden deep within compartments buried under all the ‘stuff’ we haven’t yet organized.

He also likes to work alone.  And that’s good, I guess.  Though it seems more efficient for me that we communicate what we are doing to the other, so we know we are progressing in an efficient manner.  Yes, I saw that.  Twice in one sentence even.  So maybe I’m a little… what?  Efficiency is good.  Organization is good.  Especially in small cramped spaces, right?  He had just successfully completed the depth finder installation.  He did a great job.  Found a short in our generator, wired around it.  It’s all good.  Then he’s off to attach the anchor and clean the mainsail cover… kind of at the same time, kinda without the tools he needs.  That’s when I noticed what he was doing.  With the rope.  Tying random knots in it and throwing the anchor to the other side of the cockpit, done.  Remember, we don’t know anything about sailing.  We decided together that we would learn how.  That we would invest the time.  Did I tell you how hot it was?  Anyway, I was sewing a tear in one of the cushions.

Back up.  So, earlier when we were at the store buying the anchor chain and totally cool sailor gloves for my hands, we discussed tying knots and he assured me that he knew how to tye all the different knots.  He’s done this before on other boats, blah, blah, blah.  In an attempt to show that I respect his knowledge and remembering he promised not to act like he knew how to do stuff when he really didn’t, I smiled, kissed him and went looking for a hatchdog knob.  (Is this just another ‘guy’ thing, where ya’ll like to pretend you know how to do stuff and then see if you can figure it out correctly???  Please let me know, I promised I would learn to respect his ‘guy’ traits.)

I jump up, set the cushion aside while explaining that I read on the web that there are all these different knots for different things and how each was real important, blah, blah, blah.  Grab my netbook to show him the knot tying diagrams I have, we’re starting to both get cranky, I set the netbook on the tiny edge of the table that is piled high with all this stuff, turn slightly to grab my mouse and CRASH!  Long to short, my netbook is broken.  And because I’m female it takes all of about 45 seconds for me to rationalize how it was his fault.  And only five minutes to explain it to him in such a way that it even makes sense to him in the end.

This IS on my list.  I have a list of all the things I ‘know’ that I do that may cause him difficulty in life and work on them so we can have more fun together.  ‘Too rigid in method’  is up towards the very top.

Anchor Hitch

It’s just really hard, because these methods make such good sense… to me.  Like with the anchor knot, for instance.  When you throw the anchor overboard, the water, current and pull can unravel some knots.  So they have a special knot that is really good for tying ropes to anchors.  It’s called an anchor hitch.  See???  This makes sense to me.

So, like I said, we’re learning to work together better.  On to the sailing part.  So, now it’s 6:30pm.  The air has cooled, as well as our tempers.  We’ve kissed and made up and we determine we only have enough time to take her out into the channel and turn around, heading back in, no sails, all engine.  We decided that I would do it ‘all by myself’, so I could get comfortable being out in the boat alone.  That brings us to our next ‘learning opportunity’ of the day.  Guy has these feelings that he keeps bottled up inside him, that only he knows about.  Every once in a while, they rear their ugly heads.  Tonight, it was that he has absolutely no faith in my boat maneuvering ability.

Add to that the fact that everything terrifies me and off we go.  He shows me how to prime the engine with the gas-pump thingy.  He walks me through starting the engine, forward-neutral-reverse.  Always start in neutral, pull choke out, pull rope, start engine.  Rev it just a bit to get it warmed up, push choke in and lower engine into water so it stays cool. Explanation on tiller to port makes nose of boat go to starboard, tiller to starboard makes nose of boat go to port.

As I’m readying the engine, I explain REALLY LOUDLY to everyone around our boat that I don’t have a clue what I am doing and will probably kill them all, hoping the swimmers behind me take heed.  Nothin’ doin.  Shove engine in reverse and slowly back out.  Guy said I did really good, he was surprised since I was so terrified.  Pulled her straight through the center of the lane.   I’m totally terrified that I’m going to hit another boat and sink ours straightaway, but on I go.  Put her into forward, she responds.  Some attempts with the tiller to see how it feels, we head out toward the no-wake buoys at about 1 knot.

Because it was so hilarious, I want to give you a sense of it.  The whole time I’m steering and checking our depth, watching for boats ahead of us and behind, I’m explaining to Guy that I just know I am going to screw up and sink us at any moment and that I’m totally terrified.  He’s putting on a really brave face, acting like I am nothing more than an annoyance and trying to determine if there is anyone in our path I’m going to take out.  It wasn’t until later that he admitted he was  just as terrified, but not as honest sometimes.  A ‘guy’ thing as he put it.  Maybe you understand.

At one point the depth finder read 89 feet, seconds later it’s reading 2.5 feet.  Because we don’t have a clue what we’re doing, we go into full alert.  We’re in really shallow water suddenly and we are going to die.  Don’t argue with us about how our keel is 5 feet long and we couldn’t be still moving in 2.5 feet of water.  Don’t confuse us at this point with mere logic.  This is an emergency.  We fumble through trying to frantically steer her into deeper water.  Keep in mind, we are in the middle of a huge channel.   As I’m trying to remember what direction makes the boat go starboard, he checks the depth finder again… 2.5 feet, 100 feet, 3 feet, 20 feet and back to 89 feet.  Would this be a good place to mention he didn’t see a need to actually read the instructions for the depth finder.  Yeah, so anyway.

We got her officially out into the channel and he calls for me to turn about.  I push the tiller to starboard and am pleasantly surprised how quickly she comes about.  Heading back to the marina proved no less terrifying than going out.  I guess it was because we were moving so much slower than the other boats, coupled with the fact that we hadn’t looked at the topo map.  Everyone around me is just going to assume I know exactly what I am doing.  Why in the world would I be out there if I didn’t, right?  Righhhht.

We had one of those husband/wife moments.  Guy is telling me to head in a straight line back to the dock.  I’m looking at how I will have to cut across what I feel is a traffic lane to do that.  He keeps insisting that I’m not listening to him and that I need to do exactly what he tells me.  He gives very little supporting details.  I’m steering the boat while explaining that a soft arc into the marina feels like a better idea.  It made him very nervous that I was in control of the boat and not listening to him.  He did a great job not pushing me aside and taking over.  I arc her into the marina and announce that I’m too stressed to  put her in the slip.  We change seats.  He heads in and we realize we don’t know where our slip is.  He has to turn around in the lane and make a second attempt.  Can I say that I told him he was going to have 5′-8′ of drift when he tried to back up?  Can I say that he didn’t even hear me?  We figured out which slip was ours and he did an excellent job getting us docked.

Both he and I have boating experience.  Limited, but experience all the same.  With surface boats – you know, the ones that sit on the surface, with really large 75HP engines.  We noticed that what fueled our fear was not being comfortable with the 5 foot keel and not having a lot of faith in a 5hp engine moving a 3000lb boat out of a trouble spot quickly.  Adaptation.  We’ll get the hang of this….

Swabbing the decks…

We got ourselves all hyped up for a big weekend on the water.  We fully intended to spend both days learning our way around mainsheets, jibs and halyards.  The reality is we scrubbed every inch of the inside of the boat, and all the compartments.  9 hours on Saturday & a 7 hour solo-attempt on Sunday.

Spending time on the boat, we noticed a smell… mildewy, stale.  We couldn’t figure out where it was coming from so we decided to clean all of it to make it go away.  Every inch of the interior fiberglass had a light coating of dinginess on it.   The cushions are in really great condition, a couple of small tears, but their color is bright and fresh-looking.  There was mildew stains on the bottoms of all of them, so I scrubbed them with a soft-scrub sponge and some Clean Shower.

Cabin Before Example

While I was busy with that, TheGuy emptied and cleaned every below-deck compartment.  He rearranged the contents so they’re more user-friendly and make better sense.  Like taking the life-jackets out of the gas compartment (on port side of cockpit) and putting them across on the starboard side of the cockpit.  So we can get to them swiftly, easily and they won’t have a gas smell.

We decided to paint the interior of all the compartments with a complimentary colored garage floor paint/sealant.  We have that scheduled for 2 weeks from now.  While looking for how to sail tips, I happened upon a gent that discussed how happy he was by making this one small change.  We both agree it will be a great first change to get us some painting knowledge.   We continued to scrub the day away.

I didn’t realize how much time and energy it would entail.  There was a point where we found water in the starboard side cabin compartment.  We investigated to see what was leaking.  What we found was good & bad.  The water was coming from the galley.  That’s sailor-speak for kitchen.  The boat is equipped with a dry-fridge/sink/alcohol-burning stove thingy that slides out for use.  The fresh water compartment for the sink had water in it.  and lo & behold, the entire wooden bottom is water-rotted and leaking.  Huge source of the smell and the water.  We pulled it out onto the cockpit (very heavy), drained it and let the bottom dry in the sun.  Although it is fine for now, at some point we will have to replace the bottom of the galley.  I’m thinking to maybe replace the entire bottom of it with plastic and fiberglass seal it.

Our Galley

We took wood-oil to all of the wood trim on the interior.  It really looks good.  Again, I am surprised at the condition of the boat.  While it is going to take some work getting her looking close-to-new, cosmetically she is sound.  Which is good, seeing as we do not know her condition below the water line.  Currently there is a formica table in the cabin that sits between the 2 benches on the port side of the cabin.  We will be replacing that with some really beautiful wood in the next month.  We’ll be able to use all the brackets and the leg from the current table, so only have to buy and finish the tabletop.  TheGuy cleaned the battery compartment and installed the new battery I had bought.  We have lights, it’s too cool.

Sunday I came back alone.  I would have taken her out, but I don’t know how reliable the engine is so we thought it better to wait until there are 2 of us, if nothing else, so one can push our boat away from another boat while the other steers to avoid crashing.  So, I scrubbed the head instead.  That’s sailor-speak for toilet.  Yes, we have this really neat portable toilet on board.  It flushes and everything.  You have to carry it off-board and empty & clean it, which is gross, but… at least we have a toilet.  And TheGuy will be in charge of that duty.


The Cabin After

Ongoing to do list:

1.  paint inside & roofs of all hatch & compartments including doors.

2.  replace all seals on outside storage and hatch.

3.  paint inside and roof of all unpainted storage compartments.

4.  figure out how to install new battery – done.

5.  replace 1 hatchdog knob.

6.  replace the teak boards and trim on the companionway.

7.  sand and stain all other teak on inside and outside of boat.

8.  repair large ding in fiberglass on stern near motor.

9.  install new depth-finder.

10. paint engine.

11. tune up engine.

12. replace table top in cabin.