Happy National Dance Day Birthday!

Yesterday was Evan’s birthday. In celebration we took out a few friends on Wind Affair. Beth, Bob, Carol, Gerry, me and, of course, the birthday boy himself!  It was also National Dance Day, so admittance onto the boat was dancing:

     

Evan might have been giving the First-time-aboard-sailboat-answers-to-FAQ-and-safety spiel, or he might have still been celebrating National Dance Day and his birthday. I will let you be the judge.

We had a beautiful day of sailing. The wind was shifty as it always is on Geist, but there was more than enough to get us really going a few times.  The weather, too, was gorgeous – temps in the 80s, low humidity, just enough clouds floating around to shield us from direct sun most of the time.

 

 

One thing this group does well is sustenance. Food was tasty and libations were a’plenty! We had bottled water, wine, beer, wine, soda, wine, cider and more wine.  Did I mention wine? We ate finger fruits – cherries, strawberries and other assorted berries. We sliced up 4 different cheeses and served them up on crackers. We had chips and bread and dips. Evan grilled brats and hot dogs. I even brought out the Birthday Brownies!

These are just the wine bottles.. Heh!

We drank and sailed. We anchored and drank and sailed. We drank and motored around the lake. We got back into our slip at the marina, ordered pizza and drank some more. When I asked Evan later if he had a good birthday, he said:

“Yes, I did. It was the best one I’ve had in a long time.” YAY!!

Carol and Gerry left first, but not long after my phone sounded off. It was a facebook notification. I pulled up the app on my phone, read to myself, smiled, and then read out loud for everyone else:

“Hey, y’all! Get this! Carol just tagged us all in a post! She said, ‘Spent an amazing day on a sailboat with some of my best friends…how cool that they also happen to be my husband, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law! Thanks guys for a wonderful time!’ AWWW!”

Yeah… it’s a pretty good hand life has dealt you when your family and your friends can be one and the same.

L to R: Evan’s sisters, Carol and Beth, and me
L to R: Evan and his brothers-in-law, Gerry and Bob

And to end of the most fabulous of notes.. You know it was a good time, when the next morning you discover pictures on your digital camera that are reminiscent of something you might have been surprised to find after your film was developed in the 80’s. I didn’t know digital cameras these days were capable of producing such awesomely bad and hilarious shots!

 

Hope you all had as much fun as we did celebrating National Dance Day and Evan’s birthday! Not that anyone should have expected less. I mean really – we, as always, we were just doing our part to promote hedonistic values!

Concerts and House Guests

This has been a busy summer for us so far. A lot of it has had to do with Wind Affair, but we have had other fun, too. For example, we went to the Dave Matthews Band concert, and we had friends visit from Texas.

Dave Matthews Band is one of our all time favorites. When we moved to Indiana from Texas it was a tough change. Things are to do are VERY different here, as well as how they are done. It’s taken a lot of adjustment. One major highlight for us, however, has been the fact that we live about 3 miles from a concert venue. AND this particular venue is a stop on the Dave Matthews Band tour every year! They typically play two nights, and we are always there – BOTH nights. We actually mark our calendars, complete with alerts, with the day and time that tickets go on sale. This year was no different. Well, there was one difference.

We didn’t end up going Friday night. Our youngest wound up in the Emergency Room after inexplicably passing out in the kitchen. After a billion tests, it was determined that it was POSSIBLY an issue of “low pressure headache causing a pain response and ending up with vasovagal syncope.” In simpler terms, He feinted. They still don’t know why. The most important part. He’s fine now. We were out of the ER and home in time to see the show, but chose not to – our kids come first. We monitored the situation all day Saturday, and determined that he was well enough to leave in the care of the XBOX360 and his 18 year old brother.

Tailgating

So, at a little after 5pm we were tailgating for about 45 minutes and then waiting for the gates to open. When they did, we booked it for our favorite place in the back center of the lawn, dropped our stuff, got a beer (Evan) and a strawberry-lime frozen margarita (me) in a tall guitar shaped cup and waited for the show to start.  If you are a DMB fan who was not there then you should be both happy for us and envious of us. We suspect they might have been cutting an album. Seriously, even the encore screamed with superior win when they busted out with “Halloween”  into a cover of Sly and the Family Stone “Thank you (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)” into “Tripping Billies.” To quote my facebook post: BEST DAVE EVARRRR!!!!!

A compilation of DMB shots

 Our youngest will be 14 next year and he is a DMB fan, too. When they started to play JimiThing I whipped out the video on my iPhone. It’s Jacob’s favorite song. I recorded about 2 minutes of it, and it was so cool because as they played the crowd sang the beginning of the song. Eventually, Dave joined in. It was a pretty great moment. I sent the video to Jacob and told him he gets to go with us one night next year. He’s stoked. Hee!

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Also, we had some Texans cross our threshold recently – The Hoy Family! You can link to their blog here or over on our blog roll, if you like. Quick background. Katie and I have been best friends since the 9th grade. We were in Color Guard and band. She ended up marrying a fellow band geek after getting reacquainted during our 10 year high school reunion. They now have 3 beautiful children, the oldest of which is my God-daughter. I love these children like they are my own. I love it when they come visit. We went to a Splash Pad (small community water park), we also got to watch awesome Disney and Pixar movies, run through the water sprinklers in the yard, bake cookies, play with Ryan’s and Jacob’s rats, and make faces through the sliding glass door.

Friends for 25 years and counting…

Jacob gave up his room for the kiddos this year and slept in the bunks in the game room in the basement. Jackson was a little nervous about being in a different room.  What if there were monsters?? We assured him that Jacob’s room was the place to be. Why? The rats. Jacob’s rats are very special. They are Guard-Rats. No monsters can get into the room when there are Guard-Rats around. He was very impressed and told me he thinks he would like to get Guard-Rats for himself someday.

   

It’s a shame these kids have such a terrible time when they come visit me. I wish they had more fun and liked me more. Heh.

Firsts and Ghosts

Recently, we have had a series of “firsts” regarding Wind Affair. We had our first passengers – Evan’s mom and dad. Our dog, Emily, braved her first time on a boat. We finally got in our first real sail. And we experienced our first time running our boat aground.

First Passengers: Evan’s folks came out with us as our first passengers last week. It was going to finally be a nice day out – not the 104 degrees that it had been. The wind was light, but there. UNTIL we got on the boat. Then it died completely never to return. We had packed some snacks (cheese, smoked sausage, graham crackers)  and libations – Dark and Stormies.

                      

The weather otherwise was really nice, so because we were already there, and we had drinks to serve, we just decided to fire up the diesel and motor around the reservoir. We toured all the McMansions surrounding Geist, and though noisy, it was actually a lovely time.

Herb, Joan and Evan
It was a beautiful sunset!

Emily’s First and Our First Sail: We took Emily out for her sea trial. There was, again, no wind, so we motored around the reservoir again. She was nervous, but handled it well. A day or so later there was actually a little wind. We took her out again and did our first real sail of our boat. It wasn’t too bad. We have some adjusting to do to our new (to us) boat. She handles very differently than her big sister, Dauntless. This was, also, Emily’s first time on a boat under sail. She’s a good dog, and we are sure she will quickly become accustomed to bobbing around on the water and the feel of heeling over when the winds are gusty. Safety netting on our lifelines are also being investigated.

Evan and Emily
Emily

Running Aground: Our most recent in “firsts” was running aground. We had been out on a fairly nice sail. We noticed that Emily was getting a little antsy and thought that we had been out long enough and she probably needed to pee. So we headed back to the marina. We had just finished putting the main sail away when we suddenly felt – and heard – everything grind to a halt. We looked at each other for a split a second, eyes wide and  then simultaneously and telepathically told each other, “OH ****!”

It was obvious that we had run aground. This is a man-made reservoir and we knew of a few places where there were old bits of what used to be Germantown lurking beneath the surface. Near-ish to where we were was what we knew to be an old bridge abutment, but we should have been far enough away from it. This had to be something else.

We do not yet have a chart plotter, so we couldn’t see the lay of the land beneath us, but we do have a depth sounder. We had previously been in water of about 10 feet in depth. Now, suddenly, it was reading 3.6 feet. We had discussed in our sailing class what to do if this happens, so we knew in theory what we should do. It was time to put it to the test. We needed to put weight forward, or aft or port or starboard – enough to tilt us in any direction that would rock the keel off of whatever we were on and allow the engine to move us into deeper water.

Not knowing what we were on or how big it was created a bit of indecision. Which way did we need to try to go? We tried putting the dog and me on the bow and motor forward. No good. We then tried reverse. No good. Then I moved to the port side and pushed the boom out as far as I could stretch. We tried forward, reverse, and we tried twisting back and forth. The twisting offered the most movement, but really we were just twisting in place.  So I moved to the starboard side and leaned out on the boom there. Same tactics… same non-progress.

We then thought maybe putting Evan out of the side with the boom would work better since I’m kind of small. It didn’t make any difference. I was getting pretty upset. I was internalizing as much as I could, but as I cut the wheel over and back, I was grimacing with every sickening feel and sound of SCRRRAAPE-ing across the top of whatever we had landed on. We were getting nowhere. Finally, Evan climbed down the swim ladder. He was standing in water that was only chest deep. He started carefully walking all around the boat to see if he could figure out in which direction things would start sloping deeper or maybe even drop off. He walked a wide radius with VERY little change in depth. What the hell were we on???

Finally, I flagged down a couple on a pontoon. When they arrived we explained the situation, and they readily agreed to tie on to us and try to pull us off. We decided that just continuing forward and using the combined power of our engines would be the best way to go. It was still quite a feat. When we were finally free, they untied us and we thanked them profusely. We hadn’t even exchanged names yet, so we laughingly took care of those niceties. Their names were Tim and Toni. As we relayed again our gratitude Toni said, “We were more than happy to help. Just don’t take any ghosts home with you. That wouldn’t be good!”

I thought it was an odd comment, but some people have an odd sense of humor, right? Later, as I was thinking about writing this post I wanted to make sure I had the name right of the town that had previously existed before it was made into a reservoir. I found a rather interesting website which now made Toni’s comment make sense! Check it out: The Ghosts of Germantown

Pretty crazy, right? I love it. I’m so much more cool with sailing around on this little lake. I might spot a ghost! How cool is that?!? AWESOME!! Also, we spoke with our friend, Todd, about what had happened. Apparently, we are not the first sailboat to have found that high spot – including him. It has been dubbed “Spengeman’s Rock” after the first person  from the sailing club who ran up on it. Why a buoy or something to mark its location hasn’t been set is beyond me. Then again, the only reason we know where the bridge abutments are is because they have been hit and documented on someone’s personal chart plotter – Todd’s. Since we don’t have one yet, we just have to hope that we don’t find it again the same way in order to add it to ours when we do get one.

I didn’t take any pics during our incident running aground. Evan would not have been pleased to see me with my phone out trying to get a good shot of our situation. It wasn’t one of the more fun events in my life either. So here’s a pic of our port view just before we decided to come in.

Who could have known what was to come.. LOL

Decks, Woodwork & Sails

Wind Affair has a mast and she’s in the water, so what’s next? Um… Sails. Sails would be good here!

We had the main sail cleaned and the head sail converted to a roller furler. We met up with the folks of Sail Care at Strictly Sail – Chicago. They offered very competitive prices and our sails are beautiful. Now, I will tell you that self installing at roller furling system is not as easy as one might think. We fought that plastic for a while, and had to remind ourselves several times that it WAS going to be worth the trouble. But we got it done, and it’s a gorgeous thing to not have to mess around with hanking on that sail when we want it. WELL WORTH the time, trouble and expense. Trust me. Also, the Sail Care folks are great. Excellent customer service, beautiful sails.. We highly recommend them.

Sails are up!

After the sails were on, we took to the final bit of cleaning. Evan scrubbed the decks and cockpit using lake water and Simple Green, and I went into the cabin armed with Old English Scratch Cover for Light Woods and Scott’s Liquid Gold Wood Cleaner. I went over all of the wood work twice with the Old English and then did another pass with the Old English. The difference is AMAZING!!

Here are some before and after pics… drink it in folks. Drink. It. In.

 

Masted and SPLASHED!

Hooray! Wind Affair is finally back in the water where she belongs!

After weeks of upgrading and cleaning, and months of patiently (and sometimes very impatiently) waiting we finally did it. Not without a little worry either. Putting up the mast proved to be more difficult than expected as the mast was lying on top of the boat backwards. We were having  heck of a time figuring out how we were going to get it turned around before lifting it up. No crane this time – we had to do it ourselves.

Also, we have a serious drought going on, so the water level was dropping (and continues to drop) at a rapid rate. Because of the keel under our boat, our minimum requirement for water clearance is more than a power boat. Our friend, Captain Todd, was concerned, too. Every resource said that reservoir was only down about a foot, but it seemed we’d be cutting it close. We measured the depth at the launch  several times and in a few different spots. It was going to be close. Maybe too close.

After some deliberation, Todd called a friend over at the Sailing Club right next door. Their launch area is deeper than the marina’s and they have Gin Pole for raising the mast. He allowed us access on a guest pass, and it was nice to be able to see what they had to offer. We are now considering joining the Sailing Club!

Raising a mast with the help of the gin pole is definitely the way to go, folks. If you have access to one, use it. I was only able to get two pics of us during the mast raising, because I can’t take pics and be an active participant in the raising process. Here is a link to someone else’s site that shows how it looked.

Here are my two pics of our process.

Going up!
Evan at the ready

Now that the mast was finally up it was time to put in the water. I’m not to describe it. It’s best to show you. Here is a video: Splashed 7312 

It’s possible I got a little excited. Here are few pics, too.

Finally in the water
Wind Affair in her new home at the marina

Now that she was in – WHEW! – we get to scrub the deck and cockpit and I get to go to work on the woodwork in the cabin!!

 

Cleaning, upgrading and refitting

After months of sitting under a tarp on the hard (That’s sailor speak for being out of the water), Wind Affair is in need of a little polishing. Ok, fine… She’s filthy. She’s a 34 year old boat, too, so there’s also a bit of upgrading that needs to be done, as well as a little refitting.

We are, naturally, racking up the frequent shopper points at West Marine. Hull cleaner, rigging packs, a new transducer, dock lines, flares, an air horn, a few more life vests, a solar fan, marine grade electrical panel, the list goes on and on. Not to mention that our Ace Rewards points are skyrocketing, as well. I feel like we are in these two stores eleventy times a day. In one of my recent trips to Ace Hardware I scored a new pair of channel locks…. because the pair we had continues to rest peacefully at the bottom of lake after a failed rescue mission. It was our first casualty, and it most certainly won’t be our last. We accept this, and we move on.

Because it’s been unprecedentedly hot and dry, I bought a battery powered fan to hang from the forward hatch in an effort to get a little air moving inside the cabin and started to work cleaning all surfaces and lockers with my bottle of Simple Green and some rags. Soon I was coughing. The “camper” smell was really strong and soon I spotted areas of mildew which we know is a trigger for me. My next trip to store rewarded me with a mask and multi surface cleaner with BLEACH.

The masked bleach avenger!

Evan went to work on the hull. Her paint had been dulled to a slightly creamer that white color after all those months of exposure to the elements. We purchased some de-oxydizing hull cleaner and he cleaned, buffed and waxed away. She was a beautiful creamy yellow again when he was done! Amazing!

Evan starting to do some hull cleaning
Before…

 

After!

My interior cleaning efforts were put on hold for a few days when Evan started working on upgrading the electronics. We needed a new depth sounder, and we didnt’t really like the way the switch panel was set up. Also, there was no longer a need for the car/marine stereo system as we have my SuperTooth (LOVE LOVE LOVE my SuperTooth), so that needed to come out and free up some precious interior space. The chart plotter -while functional- was very old, and it, too, was being replaced. In addition, there were several places where we found the wiring work to be old and now of questionable quality. Evan wound up tearing out, replacing and rerunning ALL electrical on the boat. There was crap everywhere in the cabin, so I wound up staying home after work for a few days (read: a week) and took care of the household duties that had been a bit neglected.

Once electrical was completed, I was finally able to start back in with the bleach. It still smelled like a camper we thought for sure that over a week of having her opened up would have lessened the intensity. Something seemed suspicious, but I was not to be daunted. I sprayed and scrubbed everything I could reach. We even ordered a jar of Kanberra Gel and set it inside the cabin. By now Evan was convinced that our holding tank (where the waste from the head, or toilet, is stored until pumped out) is the culprit. We know that is been emptied, but it’s old and perhaps the odors have simply permeated? I wasn’t convinced that was the full answer, but I decided to keep it in the back of my mind.

Holding Tank

Eventually, I finished cleaning everything I could clean. While at work one day, I received an email from Evan with a picture attached. He had taken out the floor boards to check the automatic bilge pump. Ohhhh Dearrrr. Remember when she took on a little water during the lowering of the mast? Well, on top of being an old and nasty bilge, not all the water had been pumped out and had effectively sloshed all over during transport and then had sat in the heat for days on end. GROSS!!! Evan pulled up the whole cabin sole and took a couple of days to clean it out.

The bilge before….
and after!!

The smell in the cabin was now starting to improve, but the camper smell was still pretty strong. I closed the V-berth lockers back up to cover the holding tank and the next day everything smelled much better. Apparently, it really IS the holding tank – or at least the hoses. We have no pump out available at this marina, so we can’t use our head. With it being smelly and useless anyway, we have decided that we will just remove the head and tank and replace it with a really good porta potty. We will reinstall the head and holding tank before we sell her, but that won’t be for several years. We’ll be good for now.

While Evan took care of the bilge and a few other items he discovered, I took on the task of removing all the covers for our boat cushions and washed them. They were pretty musty smelling. I washed everything 3 times and with ammonia. I also took all the foam cushions out into the yard and sprayed them down with straight ammonia and allowed them to dry overnight. I forgot about the sprinklers though ::palm to forehead slap::, so everything got completely drenched and they had to be moved to the porch for a few days to dry out. Then I reinserted the foam into the covers and stuffed about 50 dryer sheets (a little exaggeratory) into each one. One of the zippers was broken, so Jacob helped me close it up with 20 saftey pins (not exaggerating) and we now have our little Goth addition to our decor. Swweeeeet!!

 

Our badass Goth cushion is totally bitchin’!

She’s now cleaned and pretty and upgraded as much as needed for launching!  We have a few interior cosmetic things that we need to do still. We still need to scrub the deck and cockpit, and I can’t wait to get all the woodwork cleaned and brightened. Refitting includes installing the stove, replace storage walls on the galley counter and port side, replace the windows (This will be a BIG job, and will be scheduled for a later date.). We also want to replace the cabin sole with traditional holly and teak. The previous owner installed knotty pine. While effective, we  would prefer something… prettier. LOL! (This will be done a later date as well.)

Stay tuned for her launch!