Monday, April 21, 2014

A Force of Nature

We took a break from rebuilding the boat and getting a house ready to sell to celebrate Kitty's birthday. She is now 4. 4 years old and a whirlwind of energy, confidence, determination and fearlessness. Our own little Hurricane Kitty. I am not sure how we, who tend to be more laid back- ended up with the most driven little person ever but I have to say, I am pretty happy that we did. It's tough to keep up with this one but she never fails to amuse us and she brings so much laughter and happiness to all of us.

 Her birthday was a decidedly by-the-seat-of-our-pants affair. She and Maura made her birthday shortcake. She had 2 little friends over to play trains and dress up and then an ambling walk to the boardwalk for a ride on the carousel. Lunch at T-Bone Toms with a big stage to dance and sing on. It might have been cobbled together but as I was putting Kitty to bed for the night, she told me" I have to tell you a secret.". She pulled me close and whispered in my ear "This is the best birthday I have ever seen."

Happy birthday Rat Bag.

And since we are celebrating Kitty, let's take a peek at her last week as a 3 year old.

Of course Super Girl needs a crown of flowers. And a cape. Do not forget the cape.
 Kitty definitely has her own fashion sense. This girl has definite ideas about what she wears. Sometimes you need to wear a Batman rash guard with a neon tutu because going to the grocery store is too mundane without a little color. Bonus if you have learned to cross your eyes and do so every time your mom tries to take a picture. Because its funny and makes mom and dad laugh. That's why.

Oh my little wild thing. You do indeed make my heart sing. Happy birthday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Little Work Here, A Little Work There

It would be nice to just move from one area of the boat to another, but that's too simple, straight forward and linear. If we have learned anything its that nothing to do withe boats is straight forward and linear. You throw a boat into the equation and you get thrown in many directions at once. So it is with the refit. You get ready to complete a project and then you realize that you are at the mercy of shipping times for necessary equipment so while you wait on delivery, its best to move to another project rather than waste time.
Kitty still loves to "help" Give her tools, any tools and she will happily play for hours

One of the bigger projects is redoing the deck hardware layout. For some reason, a PO thought it would be fun to change up the layout so that every time you need to hoist or tweak a sail. it was an difficult as possible. Perhaps they wanted to make it hard in order to save money on a gym membership but it has not been working for us. The goal all along has been for each of us to be able to single hand the boat. I am a mighty girl RAWR! but not quite that mighty. For this to happen, I need a bit more assistance from our winches and a little less chafe on the sheets.

Armed with his CAD software, hardware catalogs and the original boat design drawings, Mark has been carefully mapping out the deck layout. First up was figuring out the new deck organizers.

 Originally after much research, Mark had really wanted to use Spinlock organizers and clutches so he emailed Spinlock to get more technical information and sizing information. The guy at Spinlock emailed Mark back and instead of answering his questions said " this is over specced for your boat". This REALLY annoyed Mark. Not only did Spinlock not answer his question but the one thing you do not do is tell an engineer that his carefully made choices are wrong. Oh Spinlock, have you not realized that EVERYTHING on our boat is overspecced? So, Mark made a solemn vow to have no Spinlock equipment what so ever on our boat because yeah, it annoyed him and an annoyed Mark can hold a grudge like you would not believe. Bye bye Spinlock, hello Antal, Selden and Lewmar.

We still can not understand why the PO removed the 55 winches specced by Bob Perry for genoa/jib sheets and replaced them with 44s and then really undersized the main sheet winches but this is being rectified. The 44s are being repurposed for the mains and we have shiny new Lewmar 55s on their way. These will be installed once we get the deck under the winches recored.

 That's right, another instance of the infallibility of moisture meters and more cursing at the PO for not bedding the hardware properly in the first place. If you are going to be bedding hardware, please please for the love of future refitters check out this how to from Compass Marine . Do it. Buy some butyl tape from them. Use it. Yes, it does matter because while soft spots can be recored, its a major pain in the butt to do it correctly and you can save yourself from curses being thrown at you from a future owner, a man up to his elbows in balsa and fiberglass.

While we wait for delivery of equipment, Mark milled a new hand rail for the front cabin. We laughingly call this turning dollars to dust because yeah, teak. Not cheap but functional, sturdy, perfectly sized and aesthetically beautiful. No sense in half measures when we have spent so much time and effort on the front cabin. If you want it done right, have Mark do it.
Some see a pile of sawdust, boat owners see money blowing in the wind.
Here's hoping we can get the all the equipment delivered  installed before it becomes unbearably hot around here. Working on the decks in July and August is cruel and unusual punishment so fingers crossed the rest of the shiny bits get here soon, the recoring (thankfully a small area) is straight forward and we can keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rebel Heart is not just a news item

By now everyone who is not living in a caveh as heard the news of the rescue mission to save the crew of the Rebel Heart. Armchair admirals are weighing in on the "mistakes" made by the crew. People who have never even seen a sailboat, let alone sailed have their pitchforks and torches out with screams of irresponsible parenting and demands for retribution for the crew in the form of a bill or an investigation from CPS. THEY MUST PAY!!!

For me, this is not an interesting news item to discuss in hushed whispers at the local coffee clatch. This is the story of my dear friend Charlotte and her beloved family who have been through a horrifying ordeal while I sit thousands of miles away unable to do anything but think of them constantly, await word...and pray.

People who have heard the news clips and know we are set to leave the dock worry about us. They wonder why we would undertake such a dangerous thing as sailing the seas with our children. As I sit with the realization that my friend has been dealing with the fright of a seriously ill baby and then tragically, has lost the only home she has known for years I can understand the worry but the truth is, many many more families are out sailing with no major issues.

To be sure, every time a friend has a big passage, I worry a little too. Not overly much, but sailors are very aware of the risks involved and also that no matter how carefully you prepare sometimes bad things happen.

 When Tucker and Victoria were on their passage to the Marquesas, my friend Cindy and I would check their progress and be gladdened at every uneventful day. We did the same when Diane and Evan were crossing and when they dropped a rudder, we reassured each other it would be okay- and it was. We watch carefully everytime Behan and Jamie and their kids make another big passage. Thankfully, for the most part it becomes routine. How'd the weather look for them? Good. Any update? Crew happy and healthy? Good. This is what sailing families do. They cross oceans. With kids. And their friends watch from afar and cheer enthusiastically as the share the glorious first photos of landfall, with the kids joyfully discovering the beauties and mysteries of each new port. This is the norm. A little bit of worry, a little bit of cheering as the crews deal with set backs and a huge celebration when the safely pull into port. Watching from afar, helpless to do anything but pray as a boat full of people you truly care about are in harm's way is NOT the norm. It is such an unusual occurrence that there are no helpful books written on how to handle it when your friends have a real crisis. There is also no helpful book telling you how to cope when ignorant and ill informed people paint your friend as evil incarnate as loudly as possible and as in their face as they can get all because they hit the unlucky lottery.

I am trying to remain positive. Its tough when all I want is to hear from Charlotte to know that they are all okay. No need to tell me what happened or why or what you would do differently. Just tell me you are okay and I will tell you how much I love, admire and respect you and offer you support, a smile and encouragement to do what ever you need to do to heal.

Then and only then, can I go back to watching only slightly nervously as another one of our sailing tribe gets ready to make what will most likely turn out to be a very boring passage. Then I can go back to planning out our routing for the fall, ordering up the deck hardware we need to finish the deck layout and choosing our final bits of gear and getting ready to leave. THAT is positive. I am shaken to the core by what my friends have endured but I know that it really is a 1 in 1,000 event.

I am choosing to not react in anger to the ignorance and hate I am seeing thrown around. If anything, its serving as a motivation to get my kids as far away from truly ugly people who would see someone in crisis and make a choice to spew anger, hatred and vitriol all out of complete ignorance. Instead of listening to those who are unenlightened, I choose to surround myself with fellow sailors who understand that the risks are greatly outweighed by the rewards of living a life outside the suburban box. People who understand that life is not measured by breaths but by the moments that take our breath away. Such joy that is ours, they can never comprehend.

In a show of solidarity and love for our fellow sailors on Rebel Heart, I made the video below. I was aided in making this video by a few hundred sailing mamas who shared photos of their children. On boats. Sailing the seas. Discovering the beauty that lies hidden in the world. With their children. They understand. They are my people.