Sails Away

We took everything off of Wind Affair. She is down to a bare stick – meaning the sails are off and the mast stands lonely and empty.  We loaded everything up into the backs of our vehicles and carried it all home. I unloaded and arranged everything down in the basement for winter storage. Then we went out into the driveway to pack away the sails. Emily observed and supervised.

 

 

 

 

Soon after we were looking at the week of Thanksgiving. (Is it just me, or is anyone else shocked that this holiday has already passed? We are almost into December, people!) We had a new trailer built for Wind Affair, and it was time to get her out of the water. My folks came up from Texas for our annual “Thanksmas” (Thanksgiving and Christmas combined since we celebrate the Solstice with the boys and they go to their dad’s for Christmas) event. My dad helped Evan put together an extension cable for the trailer brakes, and my mom assisted* me in taking Wind Affair around from the marina to the Indianapolis Sailing Club** ramp dock.

*My mom enjoyed her ride as I motored us around to the club!
** We have joined the Indianapolis Sailing Club! More on this in another post!

Then it was time to drop in the trailer, float the boat on,  and haul her right on out. I mean, we had a trailer built specifically for her. Evan donned scuba gear, and with the help of Jacob and me, we took all the exact measurements while she was sitting nicely in her slip.  The design of the trailer is great. 8 adjustable screw pad supports, keel track, long extension, good quality trailer. Easy – Peasy!! NOT.

We kept thinking the keel was not in the track, but it was. We floated her on and off and couple of times and finally decided to try to pull her out a little in order to see a little better to figure out what the issue was. The moment that trailer moved a foot up the ramp, Wind Affair started to take a starboard dive, mast first into the water. It was one of the scarier events I have witnessed. Everyone was yelling – included 3 guys working on another boat* nearby.

*Thank you to the crew of Eclipse for jumping in to lend a hand even though none of us had ever met before! Y’all were the best! If anyone has any doubts about the cruising/sailing community and their graciousness… let this be another testament!

They quickly ran over and threw in their hands to help. We all peered down through the murky water trying to see where the screw pads were touching, and where they weren’t. Something was still not lining up right, so we took Wind Affair back off the trailer and pulled the trailer back out of the water. Long story short… the front screw pads were set way too high.

We readjusted those and put the trailer back into the water – this time even farther into the water. We re-floated Wind Affair, and then readied ourselves for the big pull. I should probably also mention that this is a VERY steep ramp  and, all told, the boat and trailer weigh several thousand pounds… and my Tahoe is not 4 wheel drive. Oh boy.

After a couple tugs and spinning tires we got everything moving in the right direction. Sort of. The only issue was the tongue jack which was designed to carry this weight. With the full trailer extension on we now have two pivot points for the truck and trailer, and this tongue jack serves as the load bearing  middle point. It didn’t bear as nicely as expected.

When the trailer started moving, it was not moving forward. Because of the second pivot point it started drifting to the right, and the wheel wasn’t self correcting, and therefore, started dragging sideways. Just as everything reached the top of the ramp it gave and the front end of the trailer hit the ground with a crash that shook the heavens. Ok, it might not have shaken the heavens, but when you can see it coming and there’s nothing you can do but wait for it, your senses can become a bit skewed.

At this point she was out and nothing was sliding back down the ramp, so we grabbed a few car jacks and lifted the front end, removed the extension and hitched it up to the Tahoe directly. Then we were able to move her over to her current resting place. We will be taking the mast down this week, and then we will be continuing our search for an enclosed storage facility, so that we can start checking things off our winter to-do list.

All’s well that ends well. And Wind Affair is out of the water safely! WHEW!! We will figure out how to re-engineer that tongue jack issue before Spring. We have a few months to get it done. Noooo Problem!

Year of Music – 2012

Wind Affair was our “big deal” of the year obviously. We even forwent our annual trip/reunion in Las Vegas in order to concentrate our efforts where it was most needed. Cleaning, refitting, fixing, sailing, etc. However! We did take a few breaks from our aquatic mode to feed another area of our hedonistic side. I consider it to be a core part of my spiritual well being. MUSIC!

Our travel funds this year were transferred mostly to the boat fund, but we did set aside a portion of that for concerts. We usually go to one per year, and this year we made many more. And, so here follows our Summer of Music – 2012!

Dave Matthews Band

   

Florence + the Machine

   

 

Seal and Macy Gray

  

Kaskade

photo 3

 

  

   

Def Leppard / Poison

   

Kiss / Motley Crue

There were two concerts we had planned for, but did not get to attend due to typical reasons: weather, last minute trumping conflicts. I will not miss these next year if I can help it.

The Counting Crows

Earth Wind and Fire

It had been a long time since we fed this area of our lives. We didn’t even realize how starved we were for it! It was wonderful to replenish, and we have decided to make sure not to neglect this again. Music is definitely food for the soul, and we are already researching and planning out our concert tour for next year.

It was a great summer – full of work and fun and we learned a TON!!  Now it’s time to shift gears and settle in for the winter. Wind Affair will soon be out of the water, and there are winter projects a many awaiting!

Boat Names

Hello!! -Evan sailing s/v Wind Affair on Geist (Oct 2012)

Recently, it seems I have come across a lot of talk about boat names on discussion boards, and among boaters and blogs I follow. Some of these folks were searching for advice on whether or not to rename their boat. Others were looking to poke fun and the myriad of ridiculous boat names that are out there. Others still, offer sound advice on things to consider when naming a boat.

Because the boat naming and hailing port issue (I will address that in another post) is something that is always running in the backs of our minds, I decided to tag along for this particular ride and give you our thoughts (so far) as well as ask for opinions if you feel like giving them.

So! To rename or not rename? That’s a great question. There are so many reason people choose to, or not to rename their boats. Here’s small list that I have compiled:

– History – The history of your boat, or maybe more importantly – what history you can find –  is a valid consideration when it comes to naming or renaming your boat. I recently started reading Sundowners’ blog. (Click on their name to link to their page.) Through some research, they are in frequent contact with previous owners. They were able to discover a LOT of history about their boat, and they have a kind of respect for s/v Sundowner that creates a beautiful relationship with her. In Danielle’s words, they ” …decided it would be a sin to rename her..”

– Ownership: Other people feel the need to rename their boats because they want to feel a stronger sense of ownership. You know, letting go of the past, putting your own mark on things, and making a new history.

– Meaningful/Representative: Some people just want their boat name to be meaningful or represent them well. Bumfuzzle (Click on the name to link to their page, too.) noted that people often referred to by the name of their boat or an abbreviated version of it. In their case, “The Bums.” They feel is perfectly acceptable and maybe even appropriate. This is definitely something to keep in mind especially if you are wanting to do something really witty – like naming your boat “Bow Movement” or “Wet Dream.” These last two came from a particularly amusing blog about stupid boat names to which I cannot stop returning in order to read and laugh again. Please visit and amuse yourself. I just hope your boat isn’t on the list, and if it is… just laugh and own it. Here is the Link.

-Radio hails and Maydays – Ok. Choose whatever name you will. Be it funny or creative or classy or whatever the boat came with, there is one area that many of us probably don’t think about right away. Radio hailing. If you’re cruising, you will eventually have to use your radio. You will also need to identify yourself. Will your boat name leave you giggling every time to have to say it? Perhaps in the beginning, but that humor might wear off after time, and then  will it just be an eye rolling stimulus? What if you encounter an emergency? You will need to identify your vessel and spell it phonetically via the International Radio-telephony Spelling Alphabet. A=Alpha, B=Bravo, C=Charlie and so on. Will you sound ridiculous calling for Coast Guard support? How long will it take you spell out the name of your boat? Will you be able to do it with adrenaline pumping through your veins? Just more food for thought. Bumfuzzle has a blog about boat names as well which I find to be an amusing and good read as well. Check it out here.

– Superstition – Here is another issue. I have come to find that Cruising and Boating in general are full of highly superstitious people. Historically, you can find lots of ideas promoting good or bad luck for a boat or voyage. Everything from gender to fruit can be found if you dig, and naturally renaming your boat is on that list. In many circles, renaming your boat comes with very specific ritual or pomp and circumstance, which if not followed to the letter will bring about the apocalypse or something. One sailor I talked to told me that I would need to run the boat aground 3 times (among some other steps). When I said I had absolutely no intention of running my boat aground, he laughed loudly, all but patted me on the head, and said, “We’ll just see!” Ok. Yes, I know that happens. I didn’t say it wouldn’t happen. I said I had no INTENTION of doing so. Just like I had no intention of doing so on THIS DAY!

Now let me say a few words about s/v Wind Affair.  After purchasing our new-to-us boat, we took some time to consider the items that we wanted to add, remove, update and change.  It didn’t take us long to determine that her name was not awesome, but it was also not completely stupid. Cheesy? Yes. Cliche? Certainly. It wasn’t bad enough to go through the trouble and expense of renaming her and then having to remove the painted on name from her hull, repaint, and/or design and order a new decal. There were more important items on our To-Do List. After all, she is over thirty years old. She has her own history, and none of it includes sinking. For me, this is good enough!

Now, how we will choose our boat name for “The Big Boat” may very well be a different story. We will considering everything on the above mentioned list before making out final decision, and you can be sure that we have put a LOT of time into it already. We have a few ideas. Hedonistic Values was our first choice in the beginning. While it represents us very well, we are uncertain if we want our boat name to be that long. We have our blog here, and it may be representative enough. And then, of course, there is the possibility that we come across a boat with some kind of amazing history that will lead us to not want to change the name. We have time, clearly. These are just things on our minds.

So, now I pose the questions to you. Are you yet a boat owner? What are your ideas for your future boat? Are you a boat owner currently? Did you accept the name already bestowed upon your boat, or did you rename your boat? How did you decide? What name did you choose and why? Would you do it that way again? Are there other considerations that you feel might be important not yet addressed? Inquiring minds want to know!!

Wind Affair under sail October 2012

Choices and Decisions – Going Now?

 “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
―    Roy Disney

It’s important to remember that everyday we make choices that affect our lives, and the lives of others, because if you think your choice only affects yourself… well, then you have no idea how small and wondrous this world in which we live really is. How insignificant you are, and yet how powerful you really can be.

The choices we make affect the way we are perceived – by others and by ourselves. Our decisions impact our lives and further form who we are.  Some we know will only affect the here and now. Others we are aware will affect our futures.  What gets really interesting is when those futures arrive, and those decisions from way back when affect us in very unexpected ways.

For example, the other day I chose to buy a Milky Way candy bar. My decision to spend .75 cents  on that chocolate and caramel goodness was absolutely a short term effect on my life. I got the hedonistic delight of what I wanted right then and there. I was a happy little speck on this planet for that time, and the people around me were smiling because I was smiling at them!

Another example, back in April I was looking to add some hours to my work schedule in May. There were limited options, but I saw that 7am – 12pm was available on a Saturday morning. I rarely work weekends anymore. I decided that one Saturday was not going to kill me, and the monetary benefit would be worth it. Well, a month later that Saturday was upon me. My alarm going off at 5:30am on Saturday morning telling me it was time to get up and ready for work was NOT COOL. A month ago this seemed like a decent idea. Now, I was wishing I had a made a different decision.

Decisions create cause and effect relationships. Some are good and some are not. Or maybe they aren’t really bad, but longer lasting than originally expected and interfere with, or at least impact, new decisions. How many times have you heard someone say, “If only I had (or hadn’t) done this back in the day, then I would be doing  this now.” I will tell you it absolutely pains me to see an 18 year old with a tattoo of their significant other’s name in script across their chest or Tweety Bird holding a lightning bolt and Sylvester skeleton on the back of their calf. I love, love, love tattoos, y’all, but some decisions are permanent – or painfully temporary at the very least. Those kinds of decisions should be well thought out over the course of several (10 or more) years in my opinion, but I digress.

My point is, that some decisions that we make have consequences that show up way beyond the immediate moment of the decision. Here is another example. We really wish that we could go cruising now. RIGHT. NOW. But that is not something we will be doing for a few more years. Why? We made decisions prior to now, that are still affecting us.

Evan with Ryan and Jacob

#1 – KIDS. We have two teenage boys. One is a senior in high school and other starts high school next year. We have no intention of uprooting these boys right now, and start sailing the world. Not that we couldn’t. Plenty of full time cruisers are out there with their families, home schooling their kids, and living happily. If we had thought of this when our boys were younger we might have seriously entertained the idea. At these ages, we don’t feel that it would be the best of decisions. Baseball, Boys Scouts, Girlfriends, College searches… We will go ahead  and partake in this part of our lives before embarking on our cruising. (Although, both of them have said they want to go with us! lol) Not that we can’t change our minds either, but right now, this is the decision we have made.

Molly is 18 years old!

#2 – PETS. We have a lot of animals residing at our house. When we first moved to Indiana we had 6 – 3 dogs and 3 cats. Then a turtle entered the scene – that’s 7. Then 2 rats showed up – that’s 9. Then a third rat. That’s 10. TEN. T-E-N.  The turtle, rats, one of the cats and one of the dogs have passed on, but we still have 2 dogs and 2 cats.. and 4 more rats. The oldest of the 4 -legged clan is 18 years old. So EIGHTEEN years ago a decision was made to get a cat, and that cat is one of many reasons we are not going cruising right now.  Never mind the size of boat we would need to have enough room for everyone, but Greyhounds? Not good boat dogs. The cats are too old for it. Our cow dog will probably be fine once she gets used to it, and if she’s still around. But how long will it be before our plan of attrition reaches it completion? We are hoping that the next 5 years (that will see us through to the high school graduation of our youngest) will be enough, but we shall see. That 18 year cat doesn’t seem to be slowing down that much.

#3 – MONEY. The cruising kitty is another hot topic among cruisers and wannabe cruisers alike. Any time we talk to landlubbers we are met with the same skepticism as a lot of other cruisers. How would anyone afford to do this? Well, if you plan well – back to that whole decision making/cause and effect thing again – then there won’t be too much a problem.

If we didn’t have #1 and #2 to consider, we would still be holding off for a little while. Why? We haven’t reached our savings goal yet. Buying a house, previously investing in a business, travel has cost us some money that we would really love to have right now, but we made those decisions back then, and we have made new decisions accordingly. Our plan is to save enough money to buy a boat. Not finance one, but buy one and refit/upgrade where necessary for our wants/needs outright. 

Our goal is do have this achieved in another 5 years. We are on a budget because of it. With every decision we make monetarily, we look at how it will affect this plan. If we don’t NEED it, or if it won’t make the transition to cruising, often we don’t get it. If seems lately all I ever say is, “Can we take that on a boat? No? Can we survive the next five years without it? Yes? Then we aren’t getting it.”

Now, we aren’t going to totally skimp on the boys either. We do buy (off brand) sodas, but not a ton of them. We buy Toasty-Ohs instead of Cheerios. We pick and choose VERY carefully which movies we actually watch in the theater, and then we only buy one large popcorn to share and often drink water. They may not get a ton of new clothes, but their shoes don’t have holes in them (Well, Jacob’s usually do, because he skateboards.) 

Jacob will always have holes in his shoes

They don’t get every new video game, and the ones they do get they often buy themselves and buy them used. But their computers are in working order and upgraded as needed.  We all have smart phones. They have our hand-me-downs, and we have the unlimited family text and data plan for which we pay dearly. We are well aware of this being a “want” rather than a “need,” and we are ok with it.

We will buy their tickets to the school dances and a few sporting events. Jacob will get his batting coach. Ryan will get his math tutor. For birthdays they will both to choose where they want to go eat or what will be on the home menu for dinner, as well as, get to invite friends over to the house or to the local laser tag establishment (with homemade birthday cake!).  We will cover Jacob’s monthly camp out fees for Boy Scouts when the money he has raised for his scout account runs out. However, the 3 day school trip to Washington D.C. for which we have to foot the bill to the tune of $1300? Not so much.

Ryan’s 18th birthday
Jacob’s 13th birthday

See, we could be saving even more money for our cruising kitty. But we have pets for whom we are responsible, and we have our BOYS. We have boys that we want to have good memories of their childhood. Boys that we want to support and encourage, and to KNOW that we did and will continue to do so. Sometimes we will tell them if they want something they will have to buy it themselves. That’s just teaching wants versus needs and financial responsibility. Sometimes, we might say to each other, “If only we weren’t paying for this or that, we could be adding that money to the kitty.” But often we can follow that statement with, “but we wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Me and my boys!

Live your life. Live your life responsibly. Life your life with no regrets. In other words, love your life.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly
are, far more than our abilities.”
-Albus Dumbledore
(Credit to J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

Moons and Skulls

Full moon light dancing on the water

Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase “Once in a Blue Moon.” We know that refers to something that happens infrequently, but how many people actually know the history of the statement? Well, if you are one who knows, pat yourself on the back and indulge yourself with a favorite libation. Go ahead.. it’s on me. If you do not know, then please allow me to enlighten you!

This year – August of 2012 – we will have two full moons occurring in the same month. August 1st was the first one, and August 31 will be the second one – The Blue Moon, or maybe it’s the other way around. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there.  But, the “Blue Moon” is a celestial event that occurs once every 2 or 3 years or so. It is an EXTRA full moon. See, most seasons have 3 full moons, but since the solar calendar is slightly longer than the lunar calendar the extras accumulate and we wind up with a 4th full moon in a season. This is known as a “Blue Moon.” Kind of like Leap Year, I suppose. Now, understand the moon doesn’t actually turn blue. So why is it called Blue? I have no idea. I bet Wikipedia will tell me though… hold please.

“Farmer’s Almanac blue moons – In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Maine Farmers’ Almanac listed blue moon dates for farmers. These correspond to the third full moon in a quarter of the year when there were four full moons (normally a quarter year has three full moons). Full moon names are given to each moon in a season: For example, the first moon of summer is called the early summer moon, the second is called the midsummer moon, and the last is called the late summer moon. When a season has four moons the third is called the blue moon so that the last can continue to be called the late moon.”

I retrieved that little nugget of information from HERE. Please notice that is was not cited or referenced, so that may or may not be true.  There is also an explanation of why sometimes the moon really does look blue. You can go check it out if you would like. HERE is another article. The information is slightly different, but you get the idea.

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Wednesday evening, Evan and I decided to take out the boat for bit of sailing and dinner. We sailed for a couple of hours and then anchored out near the island. I started up the Supertooth, as always, and we rocked out to some Dubstep while I served some cheese and crackers, and Evan fired up the grill. Our menu for the evening?

Appetizer:
Water crackers
White Cheddar cheese slices

Main Course:
Grilled Salmon
– marinated in olive oil and seasoned to perfection with  salt, pepper and dill.

Sides:
Stir fry broccoli
– tossed in coconut oil and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning with caramelized onion, and mushrooms
Mashed potatoes

Dessert:
Giant Chocolate Cupcake
– chocolate cake with white frosting and green sprinkles

Salmon, broccoli and potatoes
Giant cupcake for two!

Evan grilled our salmon on the boat, but I made the sides at home and kept it all warm until dinner by transferring everything into pouches fashioned out of tin foil and then placing the pouches into plastic containers with lids. The giant cupcake was a Kroger bakery purchase.   We lounged in the cockpit enjoying our dinner and beautiful scenery. To our port, the sun was setting peacefully and to our starboard, the moon was rising. It was hard to decide which way to look, so I’m sure we looked like swivel headed automatrons. It was definitely a night to remember.

Moon rising in the east
Sun setting in the west

   

We didn’t want to go back to our dock. Until…. (cue the sudden and piercing shock of horror movie music) the mosquitoes.

I swear they crept up on us in the cockpit with synchronized stealth. They waited patiently until each and every member of the swarm was in place and then they attacked. Our bliss crashed down around us, and I don’t think either of knew how fast we could pull up anchor and move. They seemed to stay with us forever, too. I had that little 2HP diesel at full speed, and yet I was swatting those little suckers all the way back to our dock!

The next day we went to Walmart and purchased THIS. We have no idea if the Coleman Mosquito Coil works. After we try it out, I will write a review and post to let you all know! Meanwhile, if any of you know of any other effective measures of dealing with these terroristic creatures feel free to enlighten us! Thanks!

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Now to end on something fun. My good friend at work, Jen, presented me with the COOLEST gift! Skully sunglasses! These things rock! They are comfy. They look good on me. They are UV protectant. And, hello! They have skulls!! I have a thing for skulls. It’s not a pirate thing as some might guess (us being boat folk ‘n all). No, for me it’s different. Skulls and bones are like basic building blocks. They are your foundation – what you’re made of. Show me your bones, and I will show you mine. No shame. No fear. Nothing to hide. It’s just real. And, fine, I will also admit they represent a bit of rebellion for me, too. But here! Check these out!

Love you, Jen!!

 

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!!