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.

2 Thoughts.

  1. Loved your post, Brian. Almost like being there with you two. You are amazing tackling the daily challenges that arise. Hope your finger is not too sore from the nasty splinter. OUCH! Love the new additions that you are putting in place for you and Melanie to be able to enjoy a safe and comfortable life on board. Thinking of you nd keeping you in our prayers. Love, Michelle and Steve

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