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Boat Rich, Cash Poor

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Long ago, I decided that I'm not interested in getting ahead, I just want to break even. It's a good thing because I tried to go broke -- again. It's okay, it's part of my plan but I got caught up short; shouldn't have but I got distracted. First confession: I took too long to adjust my lifestyle from full time to part time. Worse yet, full time life on the road is different than just full time. Life out there is more expensive and less convenient. Because of all that, it's harder to recognize that you're eating out too often. I love cooking for myself but more than occasionally, while I was running here or there, I rationalized stopping at one of my favorite spots.

Earlier this month, I had a plan. My overarching philosophy is to spend whatever I need to spend, to continue the boatwork; while holding back enough for next months rent.

I have a fairly large check coming -- drivers escrow. The last company I worked for held back 50 bucks a week, up to $750, …

Dollar Bill on the Bulletin Board

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Grandma and Granddad were teachers, and in retirement they spent their winters at an RV resort in Nokomis, FL. When they arrived, Grandma would pin a dollar bill to her bulletin board to send the first grandkid who wrote them at their Florida address that year! We kids seemed to forget the surreptitious reward over the summer for the first several years, but it later became a competition. I might have had bragging rights one year or two.

I’ve had a dollar pinned to my imaginary bulletin board on Emma, but time’s up - the contest is over. And, dear reader, I really shouldn’t be telling you this anyway because no one called me on it.

Last week, I posted a picture on Instagram and Facebook bragging on my engineering skills in cutting a
new dropboard for Emma’s companionway and a funky shaped shelf for the engine room. Using a couple three foot lengths of aluminum angle, a trio of spring clamps, and a couple c-clamps, I had set-up a straight-edge for my saw. I even used a metal yard stic…

Five Crows, a Bald Eagle, a Skunk, and an Umbrella

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Two posts ago, I described my travels to Annapolis for a couple seminars. I stayed at an AirBnB which was about 2.5 miles from where the seminars were held. I decided to walk it; though I did get a ride home on Friday. The last part of my morning walk was down Edgewood Road; a pretty major road with apartment complexes on either side leading out to a cluster of marinas and marine service vendors at the water.

On Saturday during my walk home, a woman coming the other direction in a Prius, slammed on her brakes as she got even with me and screamed: “There’s a bald eagle! That was a bald eagle!! Did you see it?”

I hadn’t seen her eagle that time, but on Sunday along the same stretch of road, I saw five crows chasing a bald eagle with a limp squirrel in its talons. The eagle really is a majestic bird when it is flying for all its worth!

And … that wasn’t the strangest thing to happen on my walks.

I had arrived in Annapolis Thursday evening. As I settled into the house, I met Storm, the h…

Tweaking the Plan

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Based on my most recent overall plan, I hit the road really hard for the last 14 months. I was staying out in the truck three weeks at a time and socking money away for the boat refit budget. I planned to focus on the boat full time all winter and stretch what savings I had as far as I could. This month, I tweaked the plan.

Part of that original plan had me going back to work at some point early next year. By my calculations, try as I might over the last year, there wasn’t quite enough cash to finish the boatwork I wanted to do. In addition, if I was going to take off sailing, I was going to need some cash for that as well. Further, I have never done well with a wide-open schedule. I was a bit concerned about maintaining my discipline and momentum on the boat project.

I truly believe that when you are finally on the right path -- when you are living your most authentic life -- things start to come together just when you need them. I was watching for part time trucking jobs on Craigsl…

Learning the Ropes in a Sailor's Town

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So … this weekend I learned the Rogerson Variation of the the McDonald Brummel splice for high modulus polyethylene fiber cordage! Woo! I attended the 59 North Sailing seminars on rigging and sail repair. Hanging out with a bunch of sailors can never be bad, but the intense learning we did along the way made for an incredibly productive time.

Brion Toss, renown rigger and author, was the speaker Friday afternoon and Saturday. We dove deep into rigging with his talks, a couple dock walks, some hands-on knots and splices, and an incline test and critique of a student’s boat at the marina. There was only two math formulas, but all kinds of juicy, red meat, technical information about keeping your mast up and control of your sails.

Nearly everyone has furling gear on their boat. Some of both the rigging and the sail repair seminars
began with the assumption that all of our boats had furlers; at least on the bow. One great moment for me came when I confessed in front of the class that I d…

If it was easy ... Part 42

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Last month I was in town and cleaned any non-essential things out of my truck in anticipation of quitting. At the time, the gasket material for my portlights had come in, so I got a small boat project done too. Last week, I indeed ended my Over-The-Road driving career. 

The company I had been driving for bought me a bus ticket home after I dropped my truck off at the company headquarters. It was late on a Wednesday when I got back to Fort Pierce. The city bus was shut down for the evening, so I grabbed a taxi to the marina. The cupboards were pretty bare aboard Emma and I was too tired to walk a mile to the grocery. The rain started almost as soon as I was settled. The first couple days I was at the marina it rained and rained. This helped me identify that a few of the leaks I had blamed on the old gaskets were actually coming in around the ports. 

The next morning, still raining, I went through a few cans in the galley and chose Clam Chowder for breakfast. By midday, the sun had peaked…

In a few days ...

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In a few days, the next facet of my journey begins. I’m ending my Over-the-Road driving career. Emma, my Westsail 32 cutter, will be my home and my full-time job. I’ve been hitting the road really hard for the last year saving money for Emma’s refit. 
The last month has been intense. Besides preparing to quit trucking, there was a little storm, named Irma, that came by. I rode out the storm in Jacksonville and Emma is fine. 
It’s a difficult decision to leave this company. I have a great dispatcher and everyone in the office is helpful and committed. Last month, when It became clear that Irma was going to come to Florida, I asked the weekend dispatch crew for a Fort Pierce load if one came up. Five hours later, I was on my way. 
After a ‘drop-and-hook’ at the warehouse in Fort Pierce, I ran across town to the marina. With the truck parked along a side street, I spent an hour and a half buttoning up Emma. I pulled down some shade tarps and tied down the hard dinghy. I put the cockpit back…