Cruising

Thoughts On Leaving

23 Jun

puertobelo_panama

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We hoist the dingy onto the deck and separate the two halves, nest them together and lash it amidships. Each of us knows the procedure by heart at this point – there’s no point in talking. Our thoughts lay to the north and in the future. The routine of departure settles upon the boat as the sun sets in the west. Always a contemplative time – the night before setting out on a voyage on the open ocean. No matter how well you hedge against the unknown, the sea is an expanse of wilderness that can never quite be predicted.

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Waiting On The Weather

20 Jun

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Every boat and crew has different thresholds for what they are willing to put up with. In my limited experience using GRIB files to plan voyages, I hope for the predicted winds and hedge against higher than predicted winds and seas. Even though I’m positive our boat can take just about anything, we voyage for the enjoyment of sailing. We don’t have to be anywhere at anytime. Its just not as fun to deal with 30kts and a large sea, we’ve done it – but I’d rather sit in port and drink cheap Panamanian beer. It’s important that I keep reminding myself we’re not on schedule as I’m very to quick to rationalize a weather window.…

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Back in Central America

18 Jun

rachel_hammock

Above all else, Panama has redefined the word “hot” for both Rachel and I. I’m not totally sure why I’m surprised though – it is Central America, its supposed to be sauna like! After a pretty decent flight (free booze on the plane), we touched down and caught a taxi to a hotel in downtown Panama City. The next morning we met our driver for the day outside the hotel. Rogelio worked for the Panama Canal Yacht Club for 20 some odd years before its sudden closure at the hands of the Port Authority. He now provides taxi and local knowledge for cruisers who need to provision in the city before heading to points east and west.…

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Build and Install a 40 Gallon an Hour Watermaker For Less Than $4,000

7 Jun

completed pump mount

There are so many choices when deciding on a water making system to install on a cruising sailboat. When deep in research for which reverse osmosis device was right for our boat, I saw two main schools of thought in terms of system design. First was the low output, low draw DC watermakers that output 1-5 gallons an hour. Second was the high draw high output models that utilize 110 volt electric motors or engine driven pumps.

First, a brief primer on watermakers for the uninitiated. Essentially you take seawater, clean it of critters and other suspended particles down to about 5 microns.…

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Back To The Mainland

11 May

IMG_4163

IMG_4161We’ve been back in the good old USA for about a month now. Originally a 2 week trip back home for a family wedding turned into a 3 week trip to see friends and record some music. Now we’re here for 2 months and 3400 miles into a 8,000 mile road trip. Currently I’m writing from a table overlooking the southern California coast. Talk about scope creep.

The reasons we decided to extend our trip back to the states are threefold. First, we needed a little time away from the boat. The whole year of getting the boat ready (this time last year the engine was not installed and the rig was only just stepped), quitting all land life activities, selling the house, quitting our jobs and having to learn how to live onboard took its toll on us.…

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Navigating with OpenCPN on an Android Tablet

8 May


After well over a year of landlubbing where I could barely even find time to adjust my docklines I’m finally back on my boat! I’m writing this in Ft. Meyers Beach, FL, which we’ve reached in a couple long, busy passages. Unfortunately I couldn’t steal away for long so I’m doing what I hate to do which is sailing on a schedule. This means sailing in any wind that we can get, which in turns means unpredictable passage times. Well I say unpredictable but somehow we always seem to reach our destination at the same hour- 3am. I’m no stranger to night passages, or night entrances and I’m careful about where I will and will not arrive after dark but this trip, for the first time on my boat, I’ve been able to make night entrances with a sense of near-total ease.…

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Top 10: The Good and Bad of Being a Live-Aboard Newlywed

28 Apr

 

Rachel and I in Sadie

People said we were nuts when we got married then hopped on a boat together literally the day after getting married.(Setting sail the morning after our wedding from the eastern shore of Maryland) I feel like the internet is littered with stories of marriages and relationships not surviving the first year cruising, I thought we should share a positive tale for a change.  Here’s our list of the best and worst aspects of living on board when being newlywed.

1. Learning quickly to respect each other’s space – I’ve come to the decision that every newlywed should be put through a test of living together on a boat, or in a similar remote small space together.

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March 2016 Monthly Cruising Budget: Jamaica and Panama

12 Apr

satori swimming pool

For the month of March we came in under our $1400 budget! $17.82 under actually. I attribute our frugality this month to being anchored out in Guna Yala, Panama where there is nothing to spend money on. Also, a case of beer from the vegetable boat is $19, delivered! Compare that to $44 or $67 per case we paid in the Bahamas! Anyway, here are the totals:

Total spent: $1382

Health Insurance: $280

The Good, Bad and Ugly (non-essential spending): $237.41

Groceries: $108.08

Alchohol: $53.86

Boat Supplies/Cruising permits: $618.48

Cell Phone and Internet: $84.25

We didn’t buy any diesel or gasoline this month, so we will need to fill up once we return to Panama.

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How Not To Buy A Boat?

21 Mar

Satori Post refit

I was after a blue water boat, something that I could safely take offshore and across oceans. Full keel, traditional looks, cutter rigged. I wanted something with a large production run so I would not have to plow as much uncharted territory when refitting and maintaining it. But most of all, I wanted something affordable. Actually no, I wanted a deal.

I love deals, I attribute it to my mother and her love of coupons. There is nothing quite like finding that diamond in the rough, pulling it out of the bushes and bringing that baby home for months of TLC.

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The Run to Panama

16 Mar

Tayana 37 Offshore

Rachel and I schemed to make the 110 mile run from Santiago De Cuba to Port Antonio, Jamaica, over night. We made excellent time, arriving 10 miles offshore around 4 in the morning and sitting hove-to until around 7. I always get nervous about landfalls. Something about all that land being so close after having the open expanse of ocean around me for days. Even with two  sets of electronic charts and a small scale passage chart to reverify my position, I still never quite trust what everything is telling me. I need to see it with my own eyes.

We motored into Port Antonio and tied up to the marina dock around 9AM.

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