Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Actual Boatwork Getting Done

Image
Though I have only scheduled a couple days a month at home, I managed to get some actual boatwork done in this week while I was in town. My schedule was to be home a couple days next week, but trucking is really slow between the holidays and so I took them this week. While I’m concentrating on filling in the boat budget, I’m not putting any pressure on myself to get things done. Mostly, I fiddle around when I’m home. I’m not sure what got into me this week but I was motivated to get busy.

I have written before that the depth sounder on Emma was a useless and flaky. There was a little Hawkeye depth sounder attached to a door hinge so it could swing out into the companionway. The transducer, meant to hang off the transom a small boat, was unceremoniously glued inside the hull under the starboard bunks. Further, the transducer was glued a fair distance above the keel on the
curve of the hull. Hence, it was pointed well to starboard. The transducer works like most people imagine sonar d…

Patience Grasshopper

Image
[Editor’s Note: The author owns the box set of Kung Fu show episodes]

December has been hard on my brain; and my heart. I didn’t spend much time with Emma in November and December and my brain started to wander. Three months into my boat fund building schedule was starting to wear on me - I only see Emma a couple days a month for now. I started to think that I could afford a better-equipped boat for the money that I’m going to spend on Emma this year. After abstaining for months, I started looking at used boats online. There was a boat nearby that has been on the market a while but hadn’t sold. The owner already lowered the price a couple times and was probably willing to make a deal. The boat wasn’t exactly what I wanted but was well equipped. And, in my patience-deprived brain, I could be sailing again -- this year!

I got to spend a couple days with Mom and Dad in November. They brought me some boat things that I still had in Michigan. After running me all over town doing errands, w…

You can be Happy and Free

Image
When I got to Florida my plan did not come together nearly as fast as I'd hoped and, subsequently, it got expensive. I bought the boat sight unseen from Michigan, quit my job and moved to Florida. Before I moved from Michigan, I had a job in Fort Pierce where I wanted to keep the boat. When I got here, I got a storage unit. I didn't think I needed a place to stay as my plan was to sleep on the boat. That first job was so busy when I first arrived that I couldn't get the boat ready enough to move her. Boat money was going into my gas tank to drive to Miami to work on the boat when I could, and for a room in a cheap motel whenever I couldn't.  I wasn’t home every night and the cheap motels really only added up to about what it would cost to have rented a room. Nevertheless, if I'd been able to move the boat to Fort Pierce sooner, I wouldn’t have spent much money on rooms at all.

I'm on my third job in Florida and I've found the right place. I've taken an…

Sticking to a Good Plan

Image
I was on a night watch as we jumped from Charleston to Jacksonville; avoiding the shallow Georgia ICW. The full moon hung over the horizon like an old silver coin. The moonlight shattered against the Atlantic and glistened across the waves like a trail of mirror shards. It was holy and sublime. I was smitten.

It had been building inside me for the whole trip. I had been impressed with the boat’s construction as I helped Alex with the final preparations and launch of Eleanor. We were sailing her from Stony Point, NY on the Hudson River down the East Coast to Fort Pierce, Florida. This was actually my second night watch offshore guiding Eleanor, a Westsail 42, as she sailed with confidence and comfort. As she gently made her way across the sea, all I really had to do was mind the autopilot. I decided I never wanted another boat. I had to find a Westsail of my own.

With a little more patience, financial and otherwise, I could be sailing already. Yet instead of already hanging out in the…

Late Night Storm Prep

Image
Hurricane Matthew passed by Fort Pierce last night; a fair distance offshore luckily. A week ago, it became forecast that he would come pretty close to Riverside Marina where I keep Emma. I asked my dispatcher that one of my next couple loads be to Fort Pierce so I could sneak 30 or 40 minutes to prep the boat for the storm. With a Walmart Distribution Center right in Fort Pierce, it is fairly easy for me to get a load there. The dispatchers at this company seem to take good care of me. My very next load assignment was to Fort Pierce from Savannah, GA.

I've discovered a spot on a nearby side street where I can park my semi, trailer and all, and walk a few hundred feet into the marina gate. After I delivered my load, it was about 3:00 in the morning and I had the streets to myself. Out past the Publix on the north side of town, I turned down Naco Road and coasted down the hill. Right before the stop sign there is a patch of cement that used to be a driveway. Pulling into the grass…

Miami to Fort Pierce, Part II

Image
This is Part II of the Miami to Fort Pierce trip. For Part I, please click here.

Pete and I watched the sun go down over Boca Raton and then come back up over the Atlantic Horizon as we passed Jupiter (not the planet, the town in Florida). The night was clear and billions of amazing stars twinkled in every corner of the sky. My crew saw a dolphin, but there wasn't much for wildlife other than the phosphorescence we saw at night as nearby waves disturbed the water. No ships were near enough during the night to cause us any concern.

Being able to watch a beautiful sunset and still be there when the sun rises is like going to church for me. In the morning, a fuzzy line at the horizon began to emerge out of the darkness. Gradually the line hardened in soft colors, clouds became discernible and the sky changed from black to blue and grey. Soon the whole horizon splashed with purple, peach and orange. And finally, with the sun peaking through, the sky filled with the yellows and oran…

Miami to Fort Pierce, Part I

Image
I'd been spread out all over Florida since February. Emma, my boat, in Miami, the job in Fort Pierce, a rolled up inflatable dinghy in the back seat, and half my life in the trunk. I've been living out of a bag since I started driving a truck, so that went without saying.

In the meantime, I'd been trying to work on the boat whenever I had some free time. But she was almost three hours away in traffic and I had tripped into working 6 days a week. Most of my boat money was going toward cheap motel rooms because often I didn't have enough time off to make a trip to the boat. It's a funny thing for a vagabond to feel rootless and spread out.

 After switching jobs, it only took a couple weeks to get the boat set up to be able to move her. I wired just enough to have running lights for the trip. Emma's wiring is so bad, I'll have to replace nearly all of it eventually. Nevertheless, the solar panels that were on the boat have been keeping my new battery bank w…

If it was easy .... Part II

Image
I gave myself a twinge the other day when I posted yet another beautiful sunset picture on Facebook. It felt like I was committing a lie of omission. I really was enjoying the sunset, however, I don’t want to leave the impression that everything in my boat life is peachy keen either. Eventually, I’d like this blog to be a rather honest portrayal of one man’s escape into the life he wanted. By keeping it honest, I think that I can show that anyone can find their passion and escape from the mundane existence that has them bogged down. To stay in that spirit, I will add some details to my boat report about the condition of Emma and the work to be done. The following will occasionally sound like a bitch session, but that is not my intention. I hope to illustrate that while l have learned to pause and soak up the occasion sunset, there is still a lot of work to be done. I intend to show that by force of will, doing my own work as much as is feasible, and by being too stubborn to quit, that…

Reflecting on Swiss Time

Image
Long before I found the boat, long before I found the Florida job, my brother and his family invited me to visit them in Switzerland. It was great fun to hang out with them and hike around the Alps. Of course, going from sea level to hiking at 6000 feet can almost kill a crusty old truck driver. Besides hiking, we went to a water park in the Italian part of Switzerland, went to a park with rope bridges and various swinging things on a trail through the trees, went to a concert, and I ate more cheese and chocolate in a week than I had in the previous couple years. Thanks, DT’s!!

It was also good to finally be able to take a deep breath and evaluate what was going on in my life. Nine hours each way in a plane will help you do that. When I came to Florida I had a new-to-me boat in Miami, a storage unit and a seasonal job hauling sod in Fort Pierce, where I wanted to eventually keep the boat. It all seemed to fit together so well.  

Crewing on Alex’s W42 down the East Coast last spring, we …

The Long Awaited Boat Report

Image
The long awaited boat report: [Click on Pictures for bigger image]
It’s sod season in Florida and I’ve been really busy at work. Of course, that means I haven’t had as much time to work on Emma as I’d like. This morning, I’m nursing a sore shoulder and decided to write the “Long Awaited Boat Report” rather than go to Miami for the day and wrestle four 60 pound batteries onto the boat and down below.
I bought Emma, sight unseen, from Michigan. The Westsail 32 was exactly the boat that I wanted. I’d been looking at all types of heavy displacement, full keel boats, but what I really wanted was a Westsail. I found Emma on the Miami Craigslist, through the Westsail group on Facebook. That story is here.   For $6000, I was really just buying the hull. Having worked on Eleanor, a Westsail 42, I knew the quality of construction and the seakindliness of the Westsails. Anything else that was in good working order, beyond the ‘bulletproof’ hull, was gravy.

I admit to having the rose-colored glasses…