March Projects so far...

The last few weeks have been busy.  We got a lot of jobs and chores completed while in the slip at Regatta Point Marina and at the anchorage off McLewis Bayou.  Although there are only days left in March, here are this month’s projects so far:

  • Hooked up and tested wind vane steering system (which is AWESOME and allows us to sit back and relax while the boat sails it self!).
  • Officially moved onto boat (clothes, toiletries, towels, etc. oh my!)

  • Finished galley plumbing (hooked up water bladder and water tank to galley sink and switch valves to choose source).
  • Modified stove counter with additional hinge to allow access to spices and free up counter top
Now the counter folds up and in on itself

 Yay!  Better utilization of space!

  • Moved into slip at Regatta Point to do some work requiring power supply and calm waters

  • Attached EPIRB to radar mast
 Now (and hopefully never) if we have to abandon ship, the Coast Guard can rescue us!

  • Picked up life raft from Winslow.  We still need to pack a ditch bag containing food rations (humans and dogs), but there are some useful things already in the life raft (water, flares, sunscreen, etc.). 

  • Re-rigged traveler and the main sheet with new blocks.  
 Ransom re-rigging the main sheet

 Much more functional, and no more tangled lines!

  • Fixed soft spot on deck with fiberglass and epoxy, sanded and painted.
 Freshly glassed

Another layer and ready to sand

 Freshly painted...now all it needs is some non-skid (aka sand)

  • Raised wind generator with a 8’ section of schedule 80 PVC pipe (now we can move freely without fear of getting sliced up).  However, the pole is not as sturdy as we thought it was going to be, so we ordered a mounting kit from the manufacturer (and are currently waiting on it’s delivery)
 No more risk of accidental blinding

Inside the dorade box
All together again, and water tight  ^_^

  • Serviced stuffing box by loosening bolts and adding white lithium grease.

  • Attached Furuno GPS and wired to nav station

The new equipment

  • Applied vinyl name and home port graphic to stern.
Positioning the name

Removing the paper

Placing the home port

"What are you doing down there?"

Removing the paper

We're official!!!!


March so far...

We've gone sailing a couple of times so far this month and both have been interesting trips.

Don't worry, no bodily harm this time, just fun and excitement!

Entering Tampa Bay and readying to raise the main sail

Our first sail out into Tampa Bay was pretty eventful.  I heard on the VHF radio that there was a boat fire and then the location (which I didn’t catch).   

Wow, that sounds serious!  Maybe we would hear more on the radio, or even see it!  Sure enough when we got out of the Manatee River and into the mouth of Tampa Bay, there was a helicopter hovering in the distance.  As we got closer there was indeed smoke billowing from the boat and (with the aid of binoculars) we saw the copter lowering a rescue sling.   

We don’t know if it was an actual emergency rescue or just a (realistic) drill.  I think it was probably the latter since radio activity was zero during the rescue operation.  I would have thought if people were in danger there would be someone on the line giving instructions and reassurance.  Plus, I don’t think anyone actually went up in the sling…but our binoculars don’t zoom super far.

Rescue operation
You can't see in this picture, but there was a cloud of something coming out of the boat and the helicopter was lowering a backboard.  Whether the smoke was real or simulated, I know not.

On another trip into the bay Ransom came up with the best idea EVEROnce our sails were set and we were comfortable, Ransom hopped in the dinghy to get some shots (and even a video) of Vitte under full sail!  Needless to say, as soon as he motored away the dogs became very concerned and upset.  They were much happier when Ransom returned and was safely aboard again.

Full sail
Upset pups on the bow
Captain Lala
Comin' to get ya!


First Sail

Sunday funday and you know what?  We sailed Vitte for the first time!  We motored to Desoto Point first to have lunch and test out the dogs’ life vests.

Getting suited up
All set!
"We can swim FOREVER!"
Ransom even had a warm solar shower after swimming

After a leisurely swim we decided to see how this baby sailed.  We pulled into the wind, raised the main sail, and were underway in no time.

Raising the main sail

Ransom wanted to raise the jib and see how she did with two sails, so again we turned into the wind and as Ransom began to raise the sail he turned to me with an unusual expression on his face…he had dislocated his shoulder again. 

This was one of the scariest experiences of my life.  We are under sail, it’s Sunday (TONS of boats on the water), and our half raised jib needs to come down because Ransom’s shoulder is out of socket.


Ransom managed to get the sail safely down and on deck with one arm and I managed to sail the boat without completely FREAKING OUT.  Once the sail was secure, Ransom came to the cockpit and I gently put his arm back in socket. 

After the first dislocation I paid CLOSE attention when the doctor put his arm back in.  It’s really simple and nothing like what you see on TV or in the movies (violent jerking and lots of screaming from the patient).  First you secure the patient (sit down and behave!) then you hold the arm at the elbow (keeping it close to the body) and the forearm.  Finally, you gently (and minutely) swivel the forearm and “POP” you just relocated a shoulder!  Ransom said I did a great job, not only keeping my cool and sailing the boat but also, putting his arm back in socket quickly and gently.  

Drama aside, sailing Vitte was AWESOME!!!  She handles very well and points true. 

I’m hooked

Life Aboard: Week 1

I’m a sensitive sleeper.  I like a firm bed and a dark and quiet room.  So usually my first night in a new place is, well, difficult.  As expected, I woke several times during the night trying to get comfortable (and subsequently banging a knee or elbow in the reduced space of the v-berth) or asking, “what was that noise?!” 

Our second night aboard fog began rolling in at around 9:30pm.  By 10pm the fog was so thick and so complete that you couldn’t see the lights from shore.  I was waiting for the Black Pearl to come sailing out of the fog demanding pieces of eight.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get a picture of the fog at night, but I got a decent shot the next morning (although it was not as dramatic).


By mid-week we had settled into a nice routine.  Wake up; take the dogs to shore, return to the boat with dogs and boxes.  Work all day; return to shore, feed humans, feed dogs, shower, and return to boat.  Watch Netflix, enjoy some rum, and then off to bed! 

I think he likes it out here  ^_^

Little Frejya

Watch dog

While watching Netflix Friday night our (wimpy) inverter let out its shrill beep to indicate a low battery level.  Ransom and I exchanged looks of confusion and scrambled to start the engine and recharge the batteries…no luck, wouldn’t crank.  The next day we unhooked the battery bank and took all four batteries to Auto Zone for testing…all 4 were bad.

On Saturday we got four new batteries, but a whole new set of issues.  The ice box is draining the batteries for two reasons:
  1. cold is escaping from somewhere
  2. the wind generator isn’t charging the batteries fast enough
Ok, no big deal.  We knew the wind generator needed to be raised in order to harness the most wind.  Right now it’s on a 4ft pole and it gets easily confused with changing winds, so we need to raise it for maximum harvest.

Too short

As for the insulation…more “Great Stuff” I guess.  We know the cabinets and drawers are way too cool, so it must be coming from there.

It’s always something…even when we get it all sorted out I’m sure something else will require maintenance. 

It's still better than land  ^_^

The Rest of February...aka week 15

After moving the boat into the river and spending the night, we still had work to do.  We hadn’t finished moving, and the ice box (although installed) wasn’t hooked up yet.  Not to mention all the other “to do’s” on the checklist…

This week’s projects:
  • Hooked up ice box and turned her on!
  • Insulated ice box in engine room using Styrofoam blocks and “Great Stuff”
  • Installed weather stripping on ice box hatch
  • Ran up main sail and folded on boom under sail cover
Swanky new sail cover
  • Organized aft cabin…why does it feel like this is always on our list of projects?

  • Took Vitte across the river to Regatta Point Marina for some diesel
  • Installed jib winches
Bolting to boat

Inner workings (wenches are actually pretty sophisticated)

Putting it all together
  • Sanded down soft spot on deck to see what’s going on…more to follow
  • Stocked up on food! 
  • Dropped off life raft for recertification

Moving Day!!!

After three months in Cut’s Edge Marina we were partially moved on and ready to move out of the marina and into the Manatee River!

…But not before sending Ransom up the mast in the bosun chair to fix the anchor light!

On top of the world!

To get Vitte from A to B, however, was not as easy as pie.  We had to (basically) take the long way.

We set out from Cut’s Edge Marina for the channel through Terra Ceia Bay (a shallow and somewhat tricky channel to follow).  That channel empties into Tampa Bay and then after a short trip around the longest sandbar ever, we made our way into the Manatee River and towards our anchorage off McLewis Bayou.

Captain Ransom  ^_^

Boat dogs!

Navigating Terra Ciea Bay

Into the Manatee River

First Mate McChuckles

Our route from Cut's Edge to McLewis Bayou anchorage

Dinghy ride from house to boat

Anchored in the river!!!