July/August 2010 Trip To The Boat

For a variety of reasons, including an overwhelming load in our Sheltie Rescue of Utah responsibilities and Jim’s knee surgery (repair of a torn left lateral meniscus), it’s been several months since we’ve been able to travel to Florida to sail or work on Dream SeQueL. Finally, though, the planets aligned in our favor and we’ve scheduled a trip.

So far, every time we’ve gone to Florida to be with our boat, we’ve had to rent a car or, in a few cases, depend on the kindness of Elizabeth and Ron, the lovely people who rent us the dock behind their home where Dream SeQueL lives. They’ve been very generous in allowing us to use their car when we’ve been there, but it doesn’t always work out due to their own use of the car or, as is the case now, the car being inoperable and needing some time in the shop.

As a result, we’ve decided to drive from Utah (where we live) to Clearwater Beach and leave a car there. We’ve found a very convenient place to leave the car that’s only 15 or 20 minutes from the Tampa airport at the home of a friend-of-a-friend (for a reasonable fee, but that includes having our car started and driven around the block every week, to ensure the battery stays charged, the fuel remains fuel, and the tires don’t get flat spots from sitting too long). It’s going to take several days to drive down, in part because we’re planning to stop along the way for three days to visit my very elderly mother.

We’re hoping to stay approximately three weeks at the boat. During this time, we’ll spend a lot of time working on her…there are several projects that are underway and others that are in the backlog. We’ll also go on numerous day sails, even though the winds this time of year are generally light in that area. We plan to go on at least one 3 or 4 day cruise, possibly doing some gunkholing up the Manatee River and/or in Sarasota Bay. For two reasons (it’s hurricane season…and there’s a bit of oil wandering around the Gulf unsupervised), we don’t plan any longer trips, such as our periodic attempts to reach the Dry Tortugas.

The projects we’ve got in mind include working on some of the external brightwork, completing the installation of our new SSB radio and the modem that we bought with it, adding a few padeyes to the cockpit for added safety in rough seas, installing a chain stopper on the main anchor chain and an anchor lock on the secondary anchor, repairing (or possibly merely adjusting) our wheel autopilot that recently started slipping its clutch, replacing a dozen or so corroded hose clamps, recalibrating our autopilot’s compass and the wind instrument, adding gas struts or other “keep-open” devices to our refrigerator’s and freezer’s top-opening lids and to the three cockpit lockers, and adding hardware and lines to allow to reef the mainsail from the cockpit. No doubt, there will be several other jobs to take care of as well, and we’ve got a lengthly list of other projects to do as we have the time and money.

We keep a list (well, several lists, with varying purposes) of things that we need or want to do to the boat, as well as new gear we’d like to acquire and install. Funny how the length of those lists never seems to get shorter…only longer. I’ve dubbed them collectively as “The Infinite List”. Sure, it’s not infinite on paper right now, but that’s only because it’s not all written down yet :)

Heck, I’m tired from just planning all that work! But having a solid 10 to 15 days to work on it (in addition to some sailing) means that we’ll get a fair amount of it done. This is why owning a boat that lives a great distance from where we live is truly suboptimal. Not only do we not get to sail her as often as we’d like, we have a hard time getting all of the work done and keeping up with all of the on-going maintenance and deterioration. Well, I keep telling myself, it’s only temporary — one of these days, we’ll live much closer to (preferably on!) the boat and we can spent far more time sailing her and working on her.

We’re doing something else new on this trip, enabled by driving down. We’re taking one of our own personal Shelties, a fairly small 3-year old girl named Abby who’s got a huge zest for life and adventure. We’ll find out if she likes sailing and hanging around on the boat. Naturally, this means she’s got to have a life vest all her own. She has never, to our knowledge, been in water deeper than our bathtub, so she probably doesn’t really know how to swim. Learning to swim will be trivial, but we don’t know if she’ll be scared or not. She’s not scared of much, but you never know. We’re also debating whether we absolutely must put webbing on the lifelines immediately, or if we can wait until a future trip to do that. After all, if Abby really hates sailing, then we wouldn’t subject her to it in the future and won’t need the webbing. Decisions, decisions…

1 comment to July/August 2010 Trip To The Boat

  • Mark Ashworth

    Ahoy Jim, I find my boat list is a 2 for 1 deal… for every 1 job completed, I add 2 more :) If only means we will never be bored in retirement !

    I saw an awesome t-shirt at the club last week:

    TGIF – Thank God It Floats

    With that, I hope you and Barbara find time get Dream SeQuel out on the water for a good hair raising sail and have some fun with the her!

    Fair Winds,
    CS 30 ’85 “Black Magic” #4459

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