Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the coast.

"The cure for anything is salt water-sweat, tears or the sea." —Isak Dinesen

Josh and I are off to Clearwater, Florida for the week for a conference. We are both giddy at being back on the coast, sea breeze wafting across the hotel room deck and of course, the Gulf of Mexico steps away. Over the years, we've come to view the ocean as our own private medicine chest. It's healing and restorative properties seem to always cure what ails us. When we lived in San Diego, I can't count how often a dip in the Pacific Ocean set right even the smallest ailment. From a blemish to a cold, from flakey skin to digestive problems, we think salt water is pretty much the bees knees.

In addition to that, we pretty much adore water. I love swimming an abnormal amount, I think. Sea World mesmerizes me and even a bath seems exotic and exciting. Any chance we get to be in water, submerging even just our toes, we take it.

I think in another life we were both sea creatures. I might have been an octopus or a manatee and Josh was probably a dolphin or a whale.

Monday, September 24, 2012

ours at last.

Meet Interlude, the newest member of our family. She's a 1983 Union Cutter (more on cutters in an upcoming post) with gorgeous lines, a full keel and almost all the upgrades necessary for a long-term cruising lifestyle. You guys, finding a boat as well outfitted, well cared for and well loved as this boat in our price range on Lake Michigan is a one-in-a-million kind of scenario. We feel like we've hit the jackpot.

We handed over a check on Friday morning and spent the rest of the day AND the entire weekend cleaning, organizing, exploring and enjoying her. Several trips were made to Menards for all sorts of supplies and by the end of each day we were exhausted but exhilarated by the progress made in getting her in tip top shape.

Sunday afternoon we rewarded ourselves with spin around the lake on her for the first time, just the two of us. She has a wheel instead of a tiller, which will take some getting used to and some kinks need to be worked out with the sail plan and ground and tackle on her deck, but overall, she's a dream. We can NOT wait to take her on a longer journey (hopefully up to Racine, WI on Friday). 

If you're interested in the more technical aspects of Interlude, I'll be posting all the specifics under the "our boat" tab at the top of the blog.

Friday, September 21, 2012

new shoes.

We are FINALLY closing on the boat today. In honor of the occasion I am breaking out some new shoes.

Over the years I developed "a thing" for Converse All-Stars and have amassed quite a collection. I have a few pairs of hi-tops but the majority are the low top in a rainbow array of colors. One single pair has remained unworn though. You see, when we had our first boat in San Diego, I bought a pair of orange with blue trim All-Stars as my "boat" shoes. They have non-marking soles, have plenty of traction and are unbelievably comfortable. They were worn only when we'd take the Catalina 22' out on lazy weekends on the silver strand or during the week when I was conducting sight-seeing tours of the harbor for visiting family and friends aboard her. Since we sold the boat and moved back to the midwest, they've not seen quite the wear they previously did.

Fast forward 6 years and here we are again with a new boat within our reach. I bought a pair of navy All-Stars after moving to Chicago and have kept them unworn specifically for this occasion. Now that Interlude (Yes! I can finally announce her name to the world!) is ours, my pristine Chuck Taylors and I have many years of scuffs and stains and salt water and sun bleaching days ahead of us aboard our beautiful new vessel.

Monday, September 17, 2012

a series of unfortunate events. well, really just the one.

I will start off with this: I am not a superstitious person. There, I said it. Now that I have, I am certain that ALL manner of bad juju will rain down over us. I do feel that at times we/I have suffered/benefitted from our fair share of bad/good luck. Oftentimes, it's good luck. Maybe we're just the type of people who make our own destiny and that's how it all falls into place, or maybe we are just exceptionally blessed.

This is how it all applies to this boat purchase: we had yet to have incident. It seemed that nothing was going to stand in our way. While I feel there has been a certain amount of foot dragging on the part of the brokerage, I never equated it to bad luck. We made an offer, it was accepted, no major snafus on the survey, etc. Imagine my surprise when we took her out for the sea trial on Tuesday and a major hiccup popped up. I may or may not have mentioned that this boat has a brand spanking new engine in it. To my knowledge, it has never been used for any length of time in the water. When they launched her on Monday they may have used it, but beyond that, it hasn't seen any major play.

Fast forward to returning to the marina from the lake: Josh and I were exceptionally pleased with the way she handled. She's cutter rigged and because of our time constraint we only put up the main and the staysail, not the jib. It was crazy windy so we reefed the main. Again, all was well. I was giddy with the gorgeous weather, indicative of the early fall here in our fair city, which is perfection when it comes to sailing.

We returned to the dock and all was well. The mechanic who was tasked with showing us how all the systems aboard her worked took the helm to dock her. To do this, you go forward slowly then throw it into reverse so your line handlers can jump over to the dock and use spring lines to pull her backward. It's all about iertia. What happened next was certainly inertia. When he tried to throw the engine into reverse, it wouldn't catch. Every time he tried, it went forward instead of reverse which increased our speed as we careened toward the dock. He was yelling, "It won't reverse!" over and over while this is all happening. By now I'm sure you've guessed it. Yup, we crashed. Right into a pylon. The bowsprit crunched and groaned as it twisted against the concrete column. Several boards splintered while doing so. I guess the bow hit too but it has nary a mark, thankfully. Beyond that, everyone was okay. All in all, it could have been worse. We both laughed and consoled the unfortunate pilot on this adventure. Sometimes you crash. It's life. And in this case it was certainly not his fault. I felt especially bad for him, as it was his birthday. Poor guy. After that he needed a cigarette.

We'll be closing on Friday once the issue with the engine has been resolved and the bowsprit has been looked over.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

today is the day.

Apologies for my absence! It's been a whirlwind few weeks chock full of visitors, visits home, new jobs, and even a bachelorette party hosting. We are FINALLY getting out for our sea trial this morning. The boat brokerage has been hard at work getting the issues addressed so we could get her out on the water and we are anxious to see how she handles. If all goes well, she'll be ours by the end of the day! Eep!