Another trip to work on and sail Dream SeQueL

Barbara and I leave in three days for two weeks in Clearwater Beach, FL, where our P40 is berthed. Although I managed to avoid blogging about it, we were both there in October, 2010, when we spent a week mostly working on the boat, but managing a couple of great day sails. We brought one of our Shelties, Abby, with us to see how she’d react to being back on the boat after her experiences in late July and early August. She seemed OK with it, and went out with us on our day sails. I think she’s building some confidence and will come to enjoy sailing.

We had planned to go down again in December, which slipped to January, which slipped again. Barbara finally concluded that she was unable to go at that time due to other responsibilities, so Abby and I went by ourselves for about 10 days in February. In addition to doing a lot of work on the boat, we went out for a few day sails. Abby continues to get more comfortable wearing her life vest, but she’s still not completely confident of her ability to move around the boat while wearing it (the collar, which goes under her chin to keep her face out of the water, annoys her particularly). Again, we got a lot of work done, but managed to spend some time just enjoying the boat as well.

Unfortunately, Earle, the guy we hired over five years ago to take care of Dream SeQueL while we’re not in Florida (and our valued friend), has had to leave Florida in order to find work. Earle’s a licensed plumber who prefers when possible to work in large construction projects implementing the plumbing. But the work in Florida has completely dried up, so Earle’s been working in Georgia for a few months, and he’s moved his family up there to be with him. As a result, we had to find somebody new to maintain the boat and check up on it while we’re not around. We interviewed a few people and narrowed the candidates to two, both equally qualified and both willing to do the job for a very fair price. It was difficult to make the decision, but we ended up choosing Cap’n Dave because he’s a lifelong sailor, while Bob is mostly a power boat guy. Now, we don’t have anything against “stink-potters”, but Dave’s knowledge of sailboats will undoubtedly be valuable.

One of my day jobs (all for the same employer, you understand) is to represent my company to a domestic standards group that operates under the auspices of ANSI (the American National Standards Institute). The group to which I belong holds face-to-face meetings two or three times a year, and I volunteered to host our next meeting in…wait for it…Clearwater Beach! This is especially nice, ’cause my company pays my airfare (but not, alas, Barbara’s). We’ll stay on the boat and I’ll drive to the meeting (less than two miles away…) each day. The remainder of our two weeks there will be spent doing a lot of work, but also doing some sailing. Barbara needs to get more practice undocking and docking, and there’s always new things to learn — such as doing crew-overboard drills to improve our time-to-recovery. There are so many things we need to get done if we’re actually going to go to the Bahamas this October, and our time at the boat is awfully limited.

I’ll try to blog while we’re down there this time…no promises, though!

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