You’re Going to do WHAT?

Since we decided to buy a boat and sail off, the most common reaction has been, “You’re going to do WHAT????!!!”  Followed by, “Do you even know how to sail?”  Good question.  The answer is yes, no, sort of.  As a family, we’ve been sailing on and off throughout the years with close friends of ours (hereafter known as DJ and JJ) who, as luck would have it, are willing to join us for the first week or so of our sailing journey.  JJ is a competent and experienced sailor, and he is willing to finish our sailing education while he is on board so that by the time he leaves, Riley and I can at least tell the difference between the bow and the stern.  Also, DJ and JJ were able to pull my newly acquired sailboat behind their motorhome all the way to our starting point in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Our proposed route will take us from their down the east coast via the intracoastal waterway to southern Florida.

From the time we found the boat until the time we left home was only a few short weeks.  In that time, it was a mad dash to acquire the right gear (inflatable vests with safety harnesses, a dinghy, safety flares and flags, coast guards manuals, charts, spare engine parts, etc.).  It was also a new experience for me to test and learn the equipment on the boat (radios, electrical system, plumbing and through hulls, and prepare the diesel engine with an oil change, fuel filter, and water separator).  The hardest part was once again saying goodbye to family and friends.  This time, Lorin wasn’t able to start the journey with us, but he will be joining us at times along the way – or so he promises!

Finally, after two solid weeks of packing, buying gear, cleaning the boat, and loading the boat, we were ready to head out.  The first night on the road, as a passenger in the motorhome, I had my first real moment to sit and wonder, “What on earth have I gotten myself into?”  Oh well, it’s too late for doubts now, the journey has started!

This 25 foot, Bayfield sailboat will be my home for the next several months. Let's hope she is nice to Riley and I!

This 25 foot Bayfield sailboat will be my home for the next several months. Let’s hope she is nice to Riley and I!  (I owe a big thank you to my Mom and Dad for taking me all the way to Madison, Wisconsin and back home to pick up the boat with their truck.  Thank you Mom and Dad!)

 

Experienced sailboat cruisers say that if you are going to live on a sailboat, you need a dinghy along. That way, we can anchor out at night and avoid paying for a marina. This keeps our cost down, but in order to do so, we need a dinghy to get to shore. Also, many marinas have mooring balls that you can hook your boat to and the mooring ball is a permanent anchor. In that instance, you don't have a dock next to you to walk on and off of, but you use the dinghy to get to shore. Also you may still use the marina facilities all at a fraction of the cost. However, inflatable dinghies are a pain to set up the first time and take a qualified engineering team to do so.

Experienced sailboat cruisers say that if you are going to live on a sailboat, you need a dinghy along. That way, we can anchor out at night and avoid paying for a marina. This keeps our cost down, but in order to do so, we need a dinghy to get to shore. Also, many marinas have mooring balls that you can hook your boat to and the mooring ball is a permanent anchor. In that instance, you don’t have a dock next to you to walk on and off of, but you use the dinghy to get to shore. Also you may still use the marina facilities all at a fraction of the cost. However, I’ve learned that inflatable dinghies are a pain to set up the first time and take a qualified engineering team to do so.

 

Rule number one when you live on a sailboat. Everything breaks at one point or another and you need to know how to fix it. Since my engine is one of the most vital things, I had to learn to fix the most common things that would go wrong in the engine, where they are, and how to troubleshoot them. So diesel engine class 101 began with changing the engine oil, the fuel filter, and the water separator. Of course that meant bleeding the fuel lines and getting full of diesel fuel. Since my boat is definitely not the biggest boat on the water, this requires laying down in one of the rear cockpit lockers. You know, the place where the life jackets, cleaning supplies, and spiders are stored?

Rule number one when you live on a sailboat. Everything breaks at one point or another and you need to know how to fix it. Since my engine is one of the most vital things, I had to learn to fix the most common things that would go wrong with it, where they are located, and how to troubleshoot them. So diesel engine class 101 began with changing the engine oil, the fuel filter, and the water separator. Of course that meant bleeding the fuel lines and getting full of diesel fuel. Since my boat is definitely not the biggest boat on the water, this requires laying down in one of the rear cockpit lockers. You know, the place where the life jackets, cleaning supplies, and spiders are stored?

Categories: Sailing

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