Archive for November, 2006

Website Changes

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Last night I signed up for Blogger. Blogger will allow me to easily update the log book page of the website. Even after we begin cruising, I should be able to post updates while underway using a Winlink email account and our trusty SSB radio (with a very precious Pactor modem we have yet to purchase). I’m pretty jazzed about it. The layout looks good and it is incredibly simple to post entries, and other people can even post replies to our log entries.

We are heading down to Mississippi for Thanksgiving and then we’ll stay on the boat for the weekend. Give it a good cleaning and do some maintenance. It’s been much too long since we last saw the boat. It is only a little more than a year now before we are on the boat full time.

Archive of previous log entries

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

10/11/06 I have made some modifications to the website, mainly to the “Interesting Links” page. Instead of adding links to the HTML for the page, which would have been a never-ending and laborious process, I created a frameset and opened my collection of bookmarks at del.icio.us to the main frame. You can now browse my links by clicking on keywords and displaying links in that category. I’ve also added pictures from Halloween parties for the last 3 years to the “Picture Galleries” page.

8/9/06 – We approached Pascagoula with the sunrise this morning. After waiting for a train to pass so they could open the drawbridge, we motored up the Pascagoula River to the Escatawpa River and into the marina. We called William and he managed to get a reasonably priced flight for Trevor from the Gulfport/Biloxi airport to Ft. Lauderdale. Someone at the Marina was nice enough to give him a ride to the airport, as we won’t have a car until Mom and Dad bring our down tomorrow. I’m going to bed and sleep for 12 or so hours.

8/8/06 – All is right with the world now. Nancy is back to her usual sunny disposition and starting to enjoy being at sea.

8/7/06 – We are now in the middle of the Gulf. We had a nice 30 or so hours under sail alone shortly after entering the Gulf, but the wind has died down again and we have the motor running again to maintain at least 5 knots. Yesterday we made 154 nautical miles on mostly a broad reach. Nancy has been feeling pretty seasick until today. This morning she started perking up and is looking fairly well now. I started out standing her watches and mine, but then Trevor offered to stand port and starboard wathces with me. I’ve been trying to take care of Nancy during my time off watch, as well as keep our positions plotted and eat once in a while, so there hasn’t been much time for sleep. Still, as bad as I feel for Nancy, this is freakin’ awesome.

8/4/06 – We are about 1.5 nautical miles offshore, just north of Miami (N 25° 57.44′, W 080° 05.10′ to be precise) and heading almost due south (187° magnetic to be precise). We stopped in Ft. Lauderdale yesterday and spent the night at the Los Olas Marina in order to get a good forecast of what Tropical Storm Chris was going to do. It was downgraded to a tropical depression, so we got underway again early this morning. Our plan is to continue about 1.5 nm offshore all the way around the Keys and then turn northwest for Pascagoula once we clear Dry Tortugas. We’ve also mapped a course through the Moser Channel should we need to get inside the reef due to weather. We won’t be stopping in Dry Tortugas since we are so far behind schedule.

8/1/06 – Boat U.S. came through for us. They faxed a binder (with a 2% deductible) to the bank, who then wired money to the broker’s account, who then wired to Christian’s account, who then called the marina, who then gave us the keys to the boat. We topped off with diesel and headed down the ICW to the Canaveral Barge Canal, through Port Canaveral and out into the Atlantic. Titusville is a really nice little town, and the marina was really nice, but I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

7/31/06 – We are still in Titusville. Fred got us approved for insurance but the underwriter submitted a binder with a 4% deductible and the bank requires a 2% deductible. Neither were willing to budge. I offered to put 2% in escrow at the bank, but they didn’t want to do that (it’s not standard operating procedure). Boat U.S. is supposed to be expediting the review of my application and the survey results, so hopefully I’ll hear something from them tomorrow. There is one bright spot in bleak situation; we found a really nice little Irish pub close to the marina. They serve Guinness in imperial pints.

7/28/06 – I am terribly, exceedingly, highly pissed off. We heard from Al Golden, the insurance guy, that the underwriter had decided not to insure the boat!!! The reason given is that the boat is in Florida. I don’t care what the reason is, they could have told us that two weeks ago, not the day we are supposed to transfer ownership. They’ve known all along the boat is in Florida, and also that we are moving the boat out of Florida the day after we assume ownership. Our application has been approved for over two weeks, and now they decide not to insure it. Did I mention I am terribly, exceedingly, highly pissed off? I have Fred Schinkel, my insurance agent back in Kansas City working on it and I also received a quote from Boat U.S. so I’ll try them, too. I picked Trevor up at the bus stop today and told him what the situation is, giving him the option of treveling back to Ft. Lauderdale until I get this straightened out. He is OK with staying aboard over the weekend. It will give him a good opportunity to get familiar with the boat.

7/27/06 – We drove down to Ft. Lauderdale to Bob Allen’s office and signed all the paperwork. Bobby sent the survey results out early afternoon, which is really great turn-around time for a survey, especially considering he was on his way to a family reunion in Texas. Now all we are waiting on is the binder from the insurance company.

7/26/06 – We had the survey and sea-trial today and everything checked out OK. Bobby (the surveyor) only found a few pretty minor items, none of which are urgent. He said he was very impressed with the boat overall. Nancy and I got to the marina about 7:45 this morning and collected the two boxes we had shipped down and then went to the boat. Bobby was already there, as were Christian (the owner) and John (Christian’s brother-in-law). Christian showed me around the boat, pointing out all the through-hulls and other stuff. Christian and John are both very nice. We took Christian and John to dinner at a Cuban restaurant and the food was awesome. I had a Cuban sandwich that was more delicious than a sandwich has any right to be and Nancy had some fried plantains that were simply incredible. It was a long and tiring day and Nancy crashed as soon as we got back to the hotel.

7/25/06 – We’re on our way to Florida. Nancy and I drove to Quitman Sunday and visited with Mom and Dad yesterday. Tomorrow is the survey and sea-trial. Nancy said she was so excited she couldn’t sleep last night. I’m really looking forward to the trip from Titusville to Moss Point. I’ve mapped out a route and printed off a listing of every bouy, marker, light and other ATN’s (aids to navigation) along the way.
I printed out the Coast Pilots and tide tables for Titusville, Canaveral, Dry Tortugas and Pascagoula. William loaned me his handheld GPS and I entered the waypoints in it. I’ll enter them in the boat’s GPS once we get aboard. We’ll have to go to West Marine and get a few things (expensive things) such as a couple of inflatable PFD’s (personal floatation devices, aka life jackets) with harnesses, tethers, an EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon), etc. There are a lot of acronyms in boating, aren’t there?

7/16/06 – I’ve enlisted the services of a professional yacht delivery captain to help us sail the boat from Titusville to Moss Point. His name is Trevor Davies and he was highly recommended by Nancy Birnbaum of the SSCA and a member of a sailing newsgroup I belong to. The survey is scheduled for Wednesday, July 26 and we hope to sign papers the following Friday morning and leave for Moss Point Saturday, July 29. We’ll sail down the East coast of Florida and around the Keys, then maybe stop for a day of relaxation in Dry Tortugas and visit the old fort there, then continue up the Gulf of Mexico straight to Pascagoula and up the river to Moss Point. The trip should take 6 or 7 days. The weather has been perfect for such a trip for the last several days, hopefully it will hold and be as nice when we make the trip. Nancy and I packed two large boxes with sheets, blankets, pots and pans, charts, flashlights, towels, dishes and various other stuff we’ll need aboard for the trip to Moss Point. Tomorrow I’ll Fed-Ex them to the marina in Titusville, where they will hold them for us until we get there.

7/8/06 – Nancy and I were discussing the upcoming survey, sea-trial and trip from Titusville, where the boat is now, to Moss Point, and decided we will try to schedule the Survey, haul-out, sea-trial and closing as close together as is possible. That will save us a trip down to Florida. We can drive down to my folk’s house in Quitman, Mississippi and then get a one-way flight to Orlando, rent a car and drive to Titusville. After the survey, assuming it goes well and nothing major is discovered, we can sail the boat around to Moss Point and Mom and Dad can bring our car down to the marina and we can drive back to Kansas City. That will be much better than flying to Florida for the survey, then back to KC, then back to Florida for the closing and to bring the boat to Mississippi.

7/7/06 – We heard back from Stan Dabney, the broker for the boat, and we have now come to an agreed-upon price with the sellers. It looks like it is going to be our boat. I’ve been trying to keep a very level head about all of this and not get too excited in case we couldn’t agree on a price or something else happened to jinx the deal, but now I feel elated. She is as close to a perfect boat for our needs as we are likely to get.

6/26/06 – Today was a momentous day. We found a boat to buy. We’ve been up and down both coasts of Florida looking at boats and found several we liked. The first boat we looked at was a CSY 44 in very good condition and we both liked it. We saw a Corbin 39 that we liked. We saw a Shannon 38 we liked as well. We saw a Gulfstar Hirsch 45 that was in excellent shape, but not quite as “bluewater” capable as I wanted. We saw two Valiant 40’s, but both of them had seen very hard use and showed it. We saw another CSY 44 in acceptable condition but not as good as the first we saw, and a Maple Leaf 40-something that was nice but, like the Gulfstar, more of a coastal cruiser. Then, in Titusville, we saw a Tayana 42 that we both recognized as the boat for us. She’s a 1985 model and has been very well taken care of. She’s in better shape than any of the other boats we saw and meets or exceeds practically all of my technical criteria. Her owners want a little more money than we had intended to spend, but maybe we can negotiate down to a price that both we and they are happy with. Stan Dabney of Offshore Atlantic Yachts is the broker and he is a real pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a boat, and a cruising boat in particular. We are heading back to KC now and will finish up the negotiations and arrange for financing, insurance, etc., from there.

6/20/06 – We are now on our way to look at boats. I have a list of boats to look at on both coasts of Florida. We got a U-Haul last Friday and William and Kevin helped me load my workshop tools Nancy and I then drove to Quitman Saturday and unloaded the tools at Walt’s house, as well as some furniture he could use, and unloaded some lumber at Mom and Dad’s that he can use for the new addition he is building on his workshop. Monday we drove to Moss Point and looked at the marina and met Bobby Tucker. The marina is going to be really nice when it is finished and Bobby is real nice, too. They have one pier finished and are working on the fuel dock and restaurant. I went ahead and paid up for a year and he assigned us slip D28.

6/14/06 – The house officially went on the market today!!! That’s a major milestone. I hope it isn’t on the market too long before it sells.

5/12/06 – I took and passed the exams for my General Class amateur radio operator license. That’s one more item I can check off the cruising preparation checklist. I’ll go back and take the exam for the Extra Class license this fall. My call sign is KC0WTV.

4/18/06 – I talked to Bobby Tucker, owner of the River City Harbor Marina in Moss Point, MS, today. I had been trying to find a good marina somewhere along the Gulf Coast, preferably one close to Mom and Dad’s house, so I could visit with them more after we move onto the boat and before we set off cruising. I hadn’t had much luck with internet searches and had asked Jim and Amy to ask around for me, as they live in New Orleans. Amy has a friend who lives on a boat in a marina in New Orleans, and she told her about a new marina being built in Moss Point and Amy passed the info along to me. Bobby Tucker said the marina is still under construction, but he plans to have one dock open in a couple of weeks. The marina is several miles inland from the coast on the Escatawpa River, which will make it good for hurricane protection. He said there is plenty of depth for me to get a sailboat with 6′ 6″ draft up the river and into the marina. There are two bridges to pass under, both tall enough for a sailboat, and one drawbridge which is open except when a train is coming.
It sounds pretty good, so I am going to go ahead and pay for a slip. Good slips are very hard to come by and this sounds like a pretty good one. Whenever we buy a boat, we’ll already have a slip for it.

4/1/2006 – It has been quite a while since I’ve done anything to the website. I’ve been pretty busy with our last fight and preparing for the FCC amateur radio license exam. I’ve added a bunch of sailing-oriented links to the Links page tonight. I have a lot more, but I wanted to get the ones I have added uploaded because it may be a week or more before I finish. Eventually I’ll group them better than they are now. I promise I will be adding pictures from our Halloween parties before long, too.

1/29/06 – Well, I have done it. I recreated the entire website in Dreamweaver. There may be a few glitches or missing or incorrect links, as I started from scratch in Dreamweaver. If you see anything that needs fixing, drop me an email. Dreamweaver is much better for handling large sites and it also allows much more capability than Microsoft Publisher does. I now have 100 pages making up this site, and it had become too awkward to manage in Publisher. I have also added a Log Book page to the website, so that I can archive these comments I am putting on the home page, or just any other major or interesting changes I make to the website. My next task is to add some pages for the picture frames that Maureen and Dad are making and selling. I’ll try to get them created tomorrow and put a link on the Interesting Links page.

1/22/06 – I am adding pictures from the sailing school we attended in August, 2005. I added some pics of our 18.5’ sailboat the other day using a plug-in named “Gallery” instead of creating my own pages. It was much easier, but I don’t like the way it looks as well, so I’ll go back to creating my own pages for the pictures, or at least for the thumbnail pages. I may get lazy and not create pages for the individual pictures. Once I get this done, I am going to start playing with DreamWeaver to see if I like it better than Publisher (I am 99% sure I will). If so, I will then convert the whole site over to Dreamweaver and you will most likely see differences, either major or minor, so stay tuned.

1/20/06 – I added some pictures of our sailboat. When I first created this website, I created a page for each picture from our Caribbean trip. That gave me full control over how the pictures displayed and allowed me to add text descriptions for each picture (more complete than the captions on the thumbnail pages). It was also a ton of work, so this time I used a plug-in that comes with my web hosting. It is incredibly easy, but I’m not sure if I like the way it looks and the navigation. I can’t figure out how to get it to embed links back into the website. I’ll leave it alone for a while and if I don’t like after a few weeks, I’ll probably do it like I did the Caribbean pics.

1/16/06 – I have finally created a website. The main impetus was the desire to share some of the pictures we took during our week in the Caribbean with family and friends, without having to send out huge email attachments. Now that it is created, I will also try to add pictures from various other topics as well.