Not sure if I mentioned this before but we are on "E" Dock right now in Santa Cruz, E for "Elite". There are some very pretty boats here and as it turns out, some pretty amazing neighbors so I'm constantly feeling like I'm bringing down the neighborhood with our boat projects and our rabble rousing boys. So far, it seems, they tend to get a kick out of the upheaval we cause. As I sit below in my office working away I'm always hearing my kids off talking to one neighbor or another.
Frank the fisherman was a popular neighbor for the boys as he was always up bright and early with a willing ear for all kinds of kid chatter. I swear he needs a sign like Lucy from Peanuts "The Doctor is In" as I have never seen a person receive so many visitors. In the morning he would put out his sun umbrella and his chair and people would start rolling in, craziest thing ever. He headed to the Azores for a long holiday and the boys are really missing him. He did give us some fresh cod before he left and I'm pretty sure I've never tasted anything better.
Carl is another favorite on the dock and one who doesn't seem to mind the boys energy. He invited us all up to the Yacht Club for dinner last Friday and we got to mesh with the upper crust. Two things that were big "kid wins" that night, the ride in the trolly from the parking lot up to the yacht club (all of 1 minute and 30 seconds!) and the kids room with a Foosball table and television. Big win from the parent side was the bar. Carl has been on boats for 50+ years and has some entertaining stories and he's an amazing storyteller. He even came down early today to watch Elliot practice capsizing his boat during sailing class. I think Carl earns a gold star from our family!
Dennis and Sandy next door to us are super quiet but Dennis always has a chuckle and an encouraging laugh for the boys. They raised two boys on their boat so they know "rambunctious".
Every day we seem to meet more neighbors; Bob who is an IT guy like me so we had lots of fun swapping geek speak while Keith's eyes glazed over. Julie on our other side who recently lost her husband but is taking on the challenge of becoming her own skipper rather than first mate. Our neighbor at the end has a "Beware of Children" sign that I totally love. He said he saw it at the flea market and grabbed it many years ago when he was raising his kids aboard and has never seen one since. Bummer, it's exactly what I feel our boat needs as a warning to all neighbors about our crew.
It's been pretty quiet around here lately...oddly so it would seem. I know that the actual renter for the slip we are in will show up sometime soon and things may get adventurous again but right now it's pretty mellow. Our dock neighbors are very nice and don't seem to mind screaming kids running around, they actually seem to get a kick out of them. The boys are having fun enjoying boat life; Loren has been working on stand up paddling - with a foam surf board and an oar from the inflatable while Elliot has been having fun at Kayak camp. Mason on the other hand has been catching up on sleep, recovering from his visit with Tyler and everyone has been getting their suits on and getting in the surf to play. I love this because then I end up with exhausted kids ready to hit their bunks early!
One thing we have been doing is tackling projects on "the list". Keith replaced additional hoses in the head with the super high quality smell proof stuff. While new a few years back, there are some things where you just need to buy top of the line....I would propose that anything related to the head falls into that category!
We have been trying to understand the refrigeration electronics, reading the manual so many times that I've nearly memorized it. I'm hopeful we might have it tackled finally where the freezer doesn't freeze solid and the fridge stays cool enough all the while cycling so that it doesn't suck our batteries dry!
We put the lee-clothes back up on the little boys bunks - they had been taken down while Keith re-engineered that space for two full bunks vs the double wide and half bunk there previously. Now I won't stress about Loren falling out accidentally.
Yesterday Keith started to work on fixing the cap rail that had been pulled off when he had setup a preventer a few years back (yes years!). He drilled out the old wood between the the deck and hull and filled it with fiberglass and cloth and now needs to sand it down so the wood rail can go back on and the hardware on top of that. A lengthy project that will be great to have finished. Plus it will look a lot better then the duct tape we had on there. Maybe the yachties won't snicker anymore....ah....probably not. ;)
Today Keith is working to organize "my office space" meaning get his tools OUT of it and put a new seat in for me to use. Normally I'm camped in the dining area because the office is piled high with tools and I'm not one to complain about tools laying around - always hopeful that they will be used on one of many projects needed. We were hoping to get a swing out stool for the space but at the price they were asking online (imagine $$$$'s) we opted for a insta-seat from West Marine which honestly works pretty good for me. My back and neck are in heaven on the laptop now vs hell crunched over in any other place I could find.
I still haven't heard from West Marine on our new furler from Schaefer which is putting a big damper on our ability to get the furling sail measured and production started. I'm hopeful the new main and staysail will get here on August 1st, which would make me feel a little better about the long delay.
Lastly we have an appointment with the canvas lady, Lisa, on Thursday to finalize the color for the small dodger over the companion way and to replace the bimini which is showing serious wear. She'll also be putting together the main sail cover for us and maybe a cover for the staysail so it can stay hanked on the stay rather then hauling it around. That's what the boat had at some time in the past, we have some shreds of a brown version of it. I'm looking forward to the dodger to keep the hatch dry, it can get pretty wet from the spray when going to weather. I totally wish it was a full dodger but I need to pick and choose my spend and I can't justify it right now. :(
So in this relative lull we are really trying to get some things done before the chaos ensues again, which it invariable will!
This past weekend, while Mason has his friend Tyler visiting from Colorado, we sailed to Monterey to visit the aquarium. You can drive from Santa Cruz and it takes about an hour but what kind of an adventure would that be? Instead we opted to sail there which took us about three and a half hours and we didn't change tack once! Beautiful sail, on some of the flattest seas I've seen in the Monterey Bay, with a remarkable 10 knots of breeze. The teens and the small one kept themselves entertained the whole way by singing goofy songs, having peanut wars with the adults, swapping stories and just relaxing (as seen in the inset photo). A thoroughly great time. On Sunday we weren't quite so lucky with the wind and got headed a little off course back to Santa Cruz, which put us at Capitola. With 20 knots and gusts we ended dropping the jib and motor sailing the last 40 minutes into the harbor. Overall, I was so impressed with Mason's buddy Tyler. He was a joy to have as a guest and we wish he was onboard more often as we seem to get a lot more labor out of Mason when he is! Thinking back, the sailing was just amazingly fun and reminded me of why we live this crazy lifestyle we do and put up with all the heartache and stress. Those moments when we are under sail, with beautiful wind and seas....priceless moments.
It's been awhile since I posted anything mainly because we have just been overwhelmed with issues and when it gets to that point I have a hard time focusing on anything other then coming up with plan B (or C or D). So apologies to family and friends who are wondering what we are up too.
As noted previously we had planned to head to Santa Cruz about a week ago and filled up our diesel tanks in preparation for leaving first thing in the morning. An hour or so later Keith is smelling diesel and announces we have a leak and it's not a small one but a major one. He had hoped it was a leaking hose he had fixed but alas it was obviously the tank itself. We had spent money to have them cleaned and polished and it seems that we had uncovered a leak under all that rust. After beating our heads against a bulkhead for the better part of an hour, we took the "get the hell outta dodge" approach and headed for family to get away from the diesel fuel smell and give ourselves time to think. That's kind of how Keith and I work, we need time to mull over options and assess the situation. As the 4th of July was coming up and the kids wanted to do fireworks we headed to the hot central valley...and when I say hot I mean HOT...as in record 108 temps. The kids beat the heat at Aunt and Uncle's pool, slip and slides and sprinklers....we opted for AC.
The time away was good and we came up with some options, first was to have Svendsen's Marine assess it and let us know the price of fixing the issue. The answer was 20K and they couldn't start till winter time....strike that from the list of options. The yard suggested we just buy a third smaller tank and install it ourselves as this will meet our requirements for the harbor hopping we planned to do so we are looking into that as well. Meanwhile Keith went with plan C which was to move the fuel all back to our primary tank which we knew had a small leak on the top vs a massive leak on the side until we could go the new tank route. This would at least get us back on our way. After a super smelly day of moving fuel and rerouting the hoses Keith had a working system again and started planning for our trip south. Meanwhile the marina here in Alameda was really great about our extended stay, in fact when we actual checked out they went out of their way to encourage us to stay full time, they had a slip for us. Very, very, very nice people on staff here....from the office to the care takers....can't say enough about the good folks at Ballena Isle Marina!
After assessing the tides and weather and all, Keith and I planned for an early morning leave and arrival in Half Moon Bay around noon. We left around 5 am and headed out towards the Bay Bridge....nearly there Keith goes down to check the engine and runs back up and tells me to head back to Alameda. Something was wrong with the engine and coolant was everywhere. Ugh...we slowly make our way back to the marina under sail. Meanwhile Keith aired out below and then began to check on the engine and discovers a broken belt which he was able to fix in time for us to motor into the harbor. So a little disgusted, and exhausted, we are back in Alameda. We decide that sleep would be good so everyone, kids and all, headed back to bed and we wake a few hours later much refreshed. Keith runs the engine again and everything looks hunky dory so we look for our second tide window and decide to head out at 1pm hoping to score some up close and personal viewing of the America's Cup Boats who were suppose to be doing time trials. One should never set their hopes on something like that, that seems to be the theme here in the boating world. As we passed the Bay Bridge it was obvious the wind was higher then the 15 predicted, in fact as we went along it was nearer to the standard snotty 25 that we know so well. We passed the official race boats pulling all the marks back in for the day. Too much wind for the big 72ft America's Cup cats but just fine for Steadfast to pound her way through and under the Golden Gate. The kids, as always, didn't care much for the washing machine on the other side, but we made it through and turned south for Half Moon Bay. We arrived around 7pm at Half Moon Bay's calm anchorage and I proceeded to throw food together for the troops who were starving by this point. The weather still looked fine for a continued march south, a light breeze (unfortunately coming from the South) so Keith and I decide to head out early again to try and make as much distance as possible while kids sleep.
At 5am we head out of the harbor and not 10 minutes later Loren pops his head out of the hatch ready to come up on deck and "help". After layering him up (it was cold!) he joined us for our jaunt down the coast. Mason on the other hand continued his teen version of coastal cruising which involves sleeping from harbor to harbor. Elliot told us the day before that he wanted to be a teenager and sleep the whole way, he tried....and ended up on deck around 9am. So the four of us enjoyed our ride down the coast, especially once the fog broke about two hours from Santa Cruz. We pulled in about twelve thirty and promptly headed off to the Palomar for lunch. After which we headed to the harbor office where things got really complicated....but I'll save that story for another day. Meanwhile for more photos of the trip down the coast visit the gallery.
I'm the wife of the captain, a mother of three boys and a PM in the corporate world. This blog is my view of life and activities related to our boat.