Sunday Funday

Last Saturday I called my dad to check in and hear the news from SC.  He said, "I've been reading your blog and it sounds like you and Ransom have been working your butts off!"

This is a fact.

We did, however, implement a policy of taking one day off: Sunday Funday. 

This past Suday we went to a sand sculpture event on Bradenton Beach.  The theme was recycling, and the sculpture as you entered the competition really set the bar.

The Sunday before that we went to the Sarasota Medieval Fair (and forgot the camera).  It was super sweet!  They had tons of shows, vendors, food, and beer.  We saw a jousting match and a live version of chess that made you want to scream, "NERDS!" 

We had GIANT turkey legs for lunch and washed them down with grog served by wenches.  

The bar was set high on this first Sunday Funday, I hope we can keep it up  ^_^


Week 3 (Mon 11.15 - Sun 11.21)

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
-Henry Ford

(An especially helpful quote when we stop and look around the cabin, see all the mayhem and anxiety starts to creep in).

This week many larger projects were completed that required small steps to achieve a greater goal.

This week’s projects:

·     Used a scaler to loosen and break off rust under the mast step
·     Removed toilet to test at home.  Decided to replace black water discharge seacock
·     Opened chain locker to inspect and formulate a plan to ease drainage, locker looks good.  Windlass currently not hooked up, un-spooled all chain out to see if end bolted to hull…it is.

·     Finished sanding and oiling teak
Teak went from gray to brown  ^_^

·     Jim (Jim #4) from PPI came by to measure for v-berth mattress and give estimates for cushions.  We cut off the "new" cushion cases to see if interior foam was recoverable.

The old cushions (port side)

Starboard cushions

·     More grinding of water tank lid.  Found an old circular saw blade (we didn't care if it was ruined), that sped things up.  Also acquired a metal cutting blade for grinder.  Top was finally removed and Ransom began cutting out baffles (walls in water tank to prevent sloshing).  VICTORY!  Six days after starting to carve the water tank for a rubber bladder, Ransom conquered the ancient beast! 

The top is off!

Baffles and lid be gone!!!

Ransom the saw wielding monster vanquished the water tank!

·     Leaks in diesel hunted down and remedied.  We got the new glow plugs for the engine, but were unable to crank her because there is a 24 volt current going directly to the plugs and we need to reduce that to 12 volts or the new plugs will burn out before their time.

Engine compartment

·     Ransom cut out steel pipes from engine compartment and cleared out clutter.

Steel pipes and clutter from engine room

·     Opened the can of worms that is the electrical panel.  Ransom played with the breakers, most lights work, but a more detailed inquiry will be conducted next week.


The mayhem that is the cabin...

·     Removed paneling from v-berth.  Very difficult job as screws were all flat heads and entombed behind joint compound and layers of paint.  Had to use a hammer, screwdriver, paint scraper, crowbar, and drill to finish the job.  Cut cardboard templates for v-berth and head.

Old v-berth panels

Example of a flat head hidden behind layers of paint and joint compound

All panels removed

Templates cut for v-berth

Head template cut

·     The rust hunt began, and we sprayed rust eater on any spots we found to prepare for a rust inhibiting primer.

Rust found behind insulation in v-berth (never fear, 'tis all cosmetic)

·     Cleaned mast ropes

See those nice white ropes?  They used to be green!

·     Repaired and remounted navigation lights at top of mast, and re-rigged ropes
Re-rigged mast

·     Radar mast remounted with rubber pads under step plate
Ransom cutting rubber for radar mast

·     Mounted the wind vane steering system

New wind vane steering system (and a nice view of the rehabed teak)

Radar mast and wind vane steering system

·     Rubber epoxied onto mast step to protect deck from mast.  Another layer of epoxy added around rubber to make water tight (not pictured).

Mast step

Mast step


Week Two (Mon 11.8 - Sun 11.14)

I thought I had been motivated in the past, college exams, little projects here and there, writing a thesis, planning a wedding….then I started working on Vitte.  The sight of her in dry dock without her rigging is enough to make you a little teary. 

I’m reminded of a quote from Jurassic Park, “T. Rex doesn't want to be fed, he wants to hunt.”

With this powerful drive to splash her, we work on her every day all day. 

This week’s projects:

·    Mike from the marina stopped by to inspect some areas in need of welding and found they are all cosmetic and not structural.  He also took a look at the diesel engine and got us in touch with an excellent mechanic, Jim (Jim #2, our neighbor is also Jim), who is experienced with old diesel engines.
o  SHE LIVES!!!!!!!!
·    Inflated tender to see if she’s leaking anywhere….and she is.  Another project for another day

·    Prepped radar mast step: sanded and epoxied
·    Met with sail maker, Captain Jimmy (Jim #3), who found the Profurl system we have is not the appropriate size for our boat.  A small setback, but now we can use all the cool Jibs that came with the boat  ^_^
·    Stripped the mast’s rigging and cleaned the ropes back to “like new”
·    Removed foam from inside the engine compartment to see what’s going on back there and if we can put a small water heater there.

It's pretty cramped in here...

Chipping away

Who's a happy worker?  I'm a happy worker  ^_^

·    We finished prepping the interior to paint (taping, scraping, sanding, and cleaning) and put two coats of primer and two coats of a semi gloss topcoat (which oddly smelled like bananas and milk to me).  After drying overnight, we removed the tape (but some paint came with).

mmmmm, bananas and (soy)milk

·   Ransom began cutting top off metal water tank…a job that never seems to end

This is the job that never ends.  Yes it goes on and on my friend!
Ransom started it not knowing all the pain and he'll continue
grinding it forever just because this is the job that never ends....

·    Started sanding and oiling the teak railing.  We decided not to varnish since that is a never ending battle with the sun and the natural look is more our speed

                                    Ooh, lookin' good there teak!


Week One (Tue 11.2- Sun 11.7)

Once Vitte III was safely dry docked at Cut’s Edge Marina, we didn’t waste any time getting to work on her.  The first order of business was to create a nice shady work area by erecting the dodger and bimini.

Second order of business was removing EVERYTHING from the boat for inspection, and organization (one of my favorite things).

Inspecting the sails was one of the coolest jobs we’ve had on our “to do list.”  We cleared the driveway and, one by one, took each sail out of their bags to identify and assess their functionality. 
This is what we found:

·         New Main
·         Used Main (functional)
·         New Storm Jib
·         Functional Working Jib
·         Functional Genoa (130)
·         Functional Spinnaker (with "sock")
·         Working Jib (ripped at Clue)
·         180 Genoa (blown out)

Did I mention I love organizing things?  It must be the Virgo in me….luckily Ransom shares the same passion since we spent an entire work day organizing the hardware and loose tools that had accumulated over the last 40+ years.

The finished product of a day's worth of sorting

Nuts and bolts and screws, OH MY!!!

After clearing the boat of stuff, we poked around to familiarize ourselves, inspected the gadgets and hardware that remained, and prepped the interior to be painted.  

Framed painting on boat

Awesome lacquered print of colonial Barbados behind painting.
Cabin before
Scraped and taped

Taping and scraping

Nav Station before
Nav station after ripping all equipment out to be rearranged or scrapped.


Transport Pictures

Transporting Vitte from Hernando Beach to Palmetto, FL

Loading her onto the travel lift

Moving on travel lift to transport trailer


She's a big girl!

All loaded up and ready to go  ^_^


Why did we decide to leave land and buy a boat to live on?  Careful, the answer may inspire you to have your own adventure.....

When Ransom and I started dating, we soon realized we had a LOT in common.  We not only shared similar interests, but also similar dreams.  We both craved simple lives filled with all the experiences the world could offer.

When I was a child I camped a lot with my family, often at lakes; but never on boats.  Ransom was raised in Maryland and grew up on the water rich eastern shore.  He also camped a lot, but usually on a sailboat in the Chesapeake Bay (and surrounding estuaries).

Once we got married we started talking about our future and what we wanted to do before "settling down."
We quickly realized there was still so much to experience before starting a family.

This was confirmed after Allison and I attended a wedding where the couple already had a 4 year old daughter.  I couldn't help but admire their family and think about what Ransom and my children would look like.  However, this image sent me into spiraling thoughts of, "I'm not ready" and "children will change everything we have going for us."

I was alarmed.

A couple nights later Ransom, Allison, and I went to our friends, Mary and Hank's place on Wadmalaw Island for dinner.  Mary and Hank sailed together around the Caribbean; and Hank had sailed extensively up and down the east coast.  He lived aboard his sailboat for several years before moving back on land.
I'll never forget sitting around the fire with my friends, them trading sailing stories, me in awe of the places and things I had only dreamed of.  I remember looking over at Ransom, and at the same time he turned his head to look at me and we knew then and there that we would be living on a boat within a year.  It was an unspoken understanding, later discussed and now slowly coming to fruition.

I think the last nail in the coffin was Allison sharing her pictures with us.  We almost couldn't stand it because we wanted to see these places with our own eyes.

The next day we had 17 boats for sale bookmarked in our internet browser.

We looked online for about a month, then in May we travelled to Florida to see three of the boats on our list.
We were interested in two types of boats: kat ketch or steel hulled

The first boat we looked at was a kat ketch that was WAY too expensive.  The owner had installed all this useless (Flatscreen TV's) and expensive equipment (Bow Thruster) that was nice to have in port, but impractical at sea. 
Not the boat for us.

The second boat was another kat ketch that had been a live aboard for over 30 years.  Unfortunately it was a centerboard model with a hatch that took up the central cabin and exposed water to thigh level (the water was contained within the centerboard sheath).  Plus the seller was an ederly man who had stuff everywhere and some interesting personalizations; we could not  visualize the boat as our own.

The third boat was  a steel hull cruiser.  We were intrigued by her picture online, but no digital image could have prepared us for our first view of Vitte III.

It was truly love at first sight.  As we drove up to the boat, Ransom and I looked at each other, jaws hanging to the floorboard, and slowly turned our vision back to her.  She was dry docked and had all of her rigging stripped, but she was beautiful.  It only got worse when we climbed the ladder to see her up close.  It was easy to envision us and the dogs living and cruising on her.  There was no doubt this was our boat, she was waiting for us.

It was hard playing coy and not calling immediately after leaving the boat yard to put in an offer.  I think we made it two days before breaking down and asking to put a deposit in.

That was 6 months ago now.  Today we are the proud owners of Vitte III (name story coming soon!).  She's still on the hard, but we hope to have her in the water by January 2011.  After that, the world is our oyster.  (And for those of you that don't know, I LOVE oysters).



Once we decided to move onto a sailboat, an important question was posed: What do we do with all our stuff?

We thought that we had done a pretty good job sorting things when we moved into the 3 bedroom ranch on James Island.  Almost two years later, however, it became clear that we had WAY too much stuff.

In May 2010 we decided to start moving in the direction of getting a live aboard sailboat and begin downsizing our lives.  It started small, just some clothing here and there that could go to Goodwill.  Then we started eBay and yard sale boxes and Goodwill piles.

The key to making this transition has been time.  We had five months of planning, packing, selling, donating, and working to making this happen.

I also have to give props to my brother.  He has the uncanny ability to let things go.  Well...that's what they ultimately are, things. 

Mike and I walked around the house with three trash bags: trash, give away, and keep.  Let's just say the keep bag did not get very full.  Every item I tried to put something in there, Mike would say, "What is this?!  You don't need this."  Or, "This isn't expensive to replace, you'll probably find you don't need it anyway."

After we finished, he had me take the trash bags outside, and then drag the can to the street so I wouldn't be tempted to take anything back. 

Ransom and I had two yard sales as well.  I suspect a few of them were hoarders (I'm obsessed with reality TV, a habit I'm looking forward to dropping on the boat).  The first (Saturday) yeilded $80 and a suburban full of leftovers to Goodwill.  The second (Sunday) only got us $13 and more donations.  (I think Charleston just doesn't like to do anything but mimosas on Sunday).

When moving day came, it was pretty easy.  Most All of our stuff was packed and ready for an awesome gmae of Tetris.  Ransom is crazy wicked at packing trailors/moving vans/cars etc. I have ever seen.  He packed the U-Haul trailer and the Suburban (with room for 2 dogs and luggage) FULL of boxes, bags, and cases.

Still, we had too much stuff; another Suburban full at least.

We moved that load to Florida and then returned to Charleston for Jake and Shannon's wedding.  (P.S. SUPER FUN)

When second moving day came, it was clear that not everything would fit in the Suburban.  We made more choices, threw more away, gave more, and stored some things with a friend until we could recalim it.

Ultimately it feels good to shed these things that have tied us down for so long.  Each step beings us closer to our ultimate goal of sailing freedom.