The Romantic Life

Life aboard was not so romantic to start. Day 1 it poured rain all day, and day 2 added a howling wind to the rain. We were cooped up inside the tiny cabin trying to work and get stuff unpacked and put away. We were chilled, we had originally thought that we had too much “winter” clothing, but in retrospect, I could have used more! Day 3 was cool and sunny and one of our boating friends paid us a visit. We sat up in the cockpit and chatted for a while in the warm sun, while downing our favorite white wine; Walleye White. Its from a local vineyard (Firelands Winery) and its light and uncomplicated.

Thursday we packed up and headed back to our old stomping grounds, then off to Pittsburgh to visit with family and attend a concert our friend was featured in. Just as well, Thursday and Friday at the boat were plain miserable; some of the stores in Port Clinton put sandbags by their entrances to stop water from blowing in. It was hellish – we were glad we were able to miss it!

Monday was sunny but cold, but by noon it was warm enough to work outside. We got the bottom painted, some more unpacking done and then Tuesday we launched. It felt good to feel the boat floating in her natural element instead of up on the cradle where the deck was 10 ft off the ground. Here are some pictures showing the launch process.

The water in Lake Erie is high this year. We docked without incident, and got settled in. I spent the day doing some remodeling. We had scavenged a bunch of teak (doors and trim) off a boat that was scrapped. We decided to use the doors to make new storage spots in the boat where there was space that was not being used. I cut the holes while my wife helped, and wouldn’t you know it – in spite of making very sure I had unobstructed cutting room, I nicked a water line with the jig saw! Water spurted everywhere – we hastily turned off the water pressure. That meant a trip to the store to get some plumbing parts to join the line back together. That done we turned on the water pressure to test my repairs and wouldn’t you know it – the other water line was nicked as well!

Water pressure off – another trip to the store to buy the exact same things I purchased an hour ago. Back to the boat, fix the leak and then with that done we were able to finish the installation of our new storage spaces. After cleanup – fiberglass dust really gets everywhere so thank goodness we covered everything – I tackled the assembly/fixing of our teak cockpit floorboards.

That was a circus performance! I was making good progress until the last board. One of the pieces I was attempting to put together with a mallet flew off and landed a good distance away in the lake. The wind caught it and it started to drift away. I ran back to the boat to grab the boat hook. I grabbed the wooden piling as I jumped aboard and WHAM – a nice sized wooden splinter sheared off and plunged into my thumb right under the fingernail. I was in a fair amount of pain and had to fight that off while grabbing the hook and fumbling to get it extended to reach the piece of wood which was now being taken away from shore by the wind.

I managed to get it extended and hooked the wood and brought it in to shore where I lifted it out and then attended to my finger. The splinter was a good size and luckily was sticking out from under the nail, so I was able to grab it and pull it out. Whew. After finishing the assembly of the floorboards we took a shower, and after enjoying a relaxing glass of wine, we collapsed into bed to do it all again the next day.

After a few days home babysitting the grandkids while their parents were out of town, we returned back to our home (the boat) and went right back to work. Our next project was the construction of a book shelf to hold the books in place and prevent them from flying around while we are under way. Then we tackled the mounting of our DVD player under a bookshelf at the navigation table so we could clear off a shelf for storage of our media. The last thing we tackled was the cutting of a storage area under the stove and putting a “gate” in place to keep the pots and pans from flying out of their spots.

One of the major pieces of equipment we had to replace was the wire from the front of the boat up to the top of the mast (forestay). This was made from aluminum and was an original piece of equipment from 1979 when the boat was made. It presented a risk – breakage would be a disaster and could have resulted in the loss of our mast! So we replaced it with a new stainless steel wire, and a furling unit that mounted over it to make rolling up the front sail (Yankee) easier. I spent the morning helping the rigger assemble the furler, and when done, the marina put up the mast, so we now have a boat with a mast on it – its starting to look like a real sailboat.

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Mast Up!

With all that done, we went back to our storage unit and started bringing our provisions back to the boat. While I worked, my wife packed and organized so we now have a boat where the floor is free of obstructions 🙂 Every day I work, then I work on the boat and we collapse into bed and sleep like babies. One thing about living on the boat; you are outside more than when you are in a house. That feels good although it would be nice if the weather would warm up a little.

The past weekend the wind howled and it rained and temps were in the 50s (10C) on Saturday so we were stuck inside packing and made brief trips outside only during breaks in the rain. The wind was out of the North East at 30-40 mph, which caused the water to pile up on the west end of the lake where we are located. The water was 4 to 5 inches away from covering the road where our car is parked, and we heard from friends that the water was up on the roads in some of the lower parts of town. Fish were swimming and eventually got stranded in the streets when the wind died down and the water level dropped back to more normal levels. The water level dropped almost 3 foot in a few days once the wind died down – a testament to its power.

Friends ask us if we are enjoying ourselves. We are! There is still a lot of work to do to get the boat ready, but things are taking shape and we are making progress. The excitement is building.

A Sad Goodbye

Change is sometimes unsettling. Sometimes its good and sometimes its bad. We have had a bit of both lately. We had the sad experience of saying goodbye to an old, dear friend. Rick has been in my life ever since I met my wife; she introduced us. He was a paraplegic, and when he died at 74 he was one of the longest lived paraplegics ever. Thankfully God took him quickly, he did not linger long, but he did leave quite a void in our lives. We will miss him greatly.

Then there’s the sad goodbyes related to leaving our home of 5 years and changing tacks in life to become live-aboard sailors. We had a huge garage sale last week and made ourselves a bit of cash. What didn’t go we donated to a children’s cancer charity – it all HAD to go regardless. So our past week was spent packing, packing and packing. Going back and forth to the storage unit and filling it to the rim with the things we want to keep. As much as we have gotten rid of, there’s still enough to cozily fill a 1 car garage. Its amazing how much we are keeping and how much we got rid of!

Wednesday we went to our final church group and was touched by the well wishes and prayers they said for us when we left. We loaded up the car – FULL – and headed up to the boat where we proceeded to unload and start filling every nook and cranny with stuff. Amazingly enough we got it all packed away, so we turned around and headed home to get load number 2.

Another trip up to the storage container to try and smash some more stuff into it and then we collapse into bed exhausted, only to get up the next day and start all over again. Saturday we got everything packed and were done with the storage unit! We decided to go to our favorite watering hole and say goodbye. But – no clean clothes as we had left all our clothes up on the boat. All we had were the clothes we were working in and our Sunday best for church.

We stopped by the Dollar store and purchased a cheap outfit for each of us, then headed home, showered and went out to dinner. We said our goodbyes to friends and then headed home where we collapsed into bed. Sunday we woke up and with great joy took our horrible mattress down to the car – we dumped it. Got dressed and went to church where we taught our final Sunday school lesson and I did my final security duty. Then we said our goodbyes to church family and went to see my son, daughter-in-law and their new baby. They now have 3 kids.

What a precious beautiful baby! We spent time there and then after eating , came home where we packed the car and then left. One more time to the storage unit – we weren’t done – and then we drove up to the boat. We arrived around 12:30 and collapsed into bed once again, only this time we knew when we woke up that our backs wouldn’t hurt as much since our bed up on the boat is MUCH better than the one we were sleeping on at home.

20170430_210127We are now live-aboards. The next part of our adventure has begun.