#63: Cruising in Pensacola

Enough with the shipyard!  I think you kids need a little flashback break and a glimpse of what all this hard work is for and the fantastic cruising grounds we have right here in our home port of Pensacola.  Enjoy!  (But don’t you get lazy … we’re getting right back to work next time!  Just a few more projects and that boat will be pimped out, rigged up and ready for blue waters!)

And … little glimpse in the life of Annie.  Life is SO FULL for this little sailor right now.  I’m about to embark on an incredible adventure which I will announce on the blog THIS FRIDAY!  I’m working on a really cool trailer for that this week.  I’m also working hard on the book as well as I plan to publish it THIS MAY so you all have another salty Annie saga to relish while I’m off adventuring.  Not to mention all of my normal HaveWind stuff that I need to stockpile so it can publish on schedule in my wake.  I wouldn’t want you all to go through Annie withdrawals!  I do it all for you, because I couldn’t do it without you.  Thanks to you all, my Patrons, fans and subscribers, who have shown me such love and support!  HaveWind is about to Travel to new heights!  Buckle up!

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I Get Delusional …

I think I-mona WIN!

That probably needs some context.  It was a legal conference, many moons ago.  Phillip and I were listening to this speaker talk about, well, to be honest I can’t remember what his actual topic was, assuming he had one.  He was this big, spirited man.  He looked and sounded like James Earl Jones and had the same presence as a preacher at a Bible Belt revival.  While his whole speech was entertaining, I only remember this one little bit.  He was talking about handling what we call a “dog case” — one you know at the outset you’re going to lose.  Everyone knows you’re going to lose, but then something happens:

“Now, I’ve told everyone from the outset–my legal assistant, my paralegals, my opposing counsel even–I-mona lose this case.  I stand no chance to win.  I never did.  As we work the case up I continue these rants and tell everyone again.  Then we start trying the case and somewhere in the middle, I get one little glimmer of hope.  Things started going  surprisingly in my favor–a witness unexpectedly cracks, some key evidence gets admitted, some … whatever.  Little things start to happen and all of a sudden: I get delusional.  I think I-mona win!  I start walking around the office like I got something.  But, what am I?  Delusional.  You know what happens?  I lose.  Big time.  Just like I thought I was going to, just like I knew I was going to, just like I told everyone I was going to.  Don’t let this happen to you my friends.  You got a dog case.  You gohna lose.

June 5-7, 2015:

After our rousing, rhythmic boat-to-dinghy Patron delivery, Phillip and I continued on our way down the ICW to Pirate’s Cove.  We were headed there for the 9th annual Illuminating Autism FUNraiser hosted by High Hopes 4 Autism.  We had never been before, but Bottom-Job Brandon had been telling us about it for weeks and encouraging us to sign up.  The previous year, the event raised over $70,000 for High Hopes, which is pretty astounding.  We learned it’s one big raffle fundraiser (excuse me, FUNraiser – because it totally is!) where they give away a ton of awesome prizes, one of which is a brand new Jeep donated by Chris Myers.com.


It is a two-day event with a silent auction, live music and all sorts of entertainment.  The way they do the raffle, though, was really interesting.  I had certainly never heard of this.  Rather than drawing tickets that are winners, it is a “draw-down.”  Meaning, they start with 500 raffle tickets and they draw down to the winner.  If your number is not the last to be drawn, no Jeep for you!  While they do give away several pretty nifty prizes (an ice chest, a Pirate’s Cove bar tab — who doesn’t want that?, etc.) for say the first ticket drawn, the 100th ticket and the 250th ticket, being the last number, the 500th ticket to be drawn, is what everyone is aiming for.

I’m not a gambling man, or a lucky lady, so Phillip and I pretty much spent the second day, the raffle day, lounged back enjoying all the entertainment, eye candy and people watching the Cove is famous for, hung some hammock chairs and just kicked back and soaked it all in.  We only checked the numbers occasionally out of random interest as we made our way back to the bar occasionally for a refill.

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Some friends of ours — John and Jody (you better watch out for these two, they’re trouble!) — gave us the inside scoop on the whole “High Hopes” part.  “Don’t look to see if your number has been drawn until late in the day,” Jody said.  “That way you can maintain ‘high hopes’ that you’re still in the running.”


So, that’s what we did.  Phillip and I rarely checked the board.  Instead we piddled, drank, partied and even took Brandon’s daughter, Ella’s, hand-made wooden 17′ sloop out for a sail.

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Raffle, what raffle?  We’re gohna lose.  No need to worry about it.  We didn’t even care that a little squall came through.  Rain, what rain?  We’ve got foulies.  No need to worry about it.

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It was a nice, easy day until we finally made our way, late in the afternoon, back to the bar for a refill and back to the board where we were sure we’d see our numbers drawn.  I had to rub my eyes and look again.  I couldn’t believe it.  My number–lucky number 80–was still standing strong.  I was one of the final TEN!


That’s when it happened.


I got delusional.


When they get down to the Final Ten at the draw-down, we learned that’s when things get real fun.  They line the Final Ten up on bar stools in front of everyone and spend the last hour of the FUNraiser drawing down the final ten to see who wins the Jeep.  But, there is some mad scheming that goes on during this time.  Pirate’s Cove regulars had told us in years past some of the Final Ten folks will start auctioning off their tickets to the crowd.  I mean, they’ve got 10-1 odds for winning a $25,000 Jeep.  That’s worthy of some gambling.  We had heard some offers got as high as $3k, $5k even $9k in the past.  You see what I mean?  Delusional.  We were sick with it.  They lined us up, I took my stool and started spending my daydream raffle dollars.  I-mona WIN!


I had Elvis next to me (that’s got to be good luck) and my buddy Jody sitting down the way in proxy for a friend who was also in the Final Ten.

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This cool cat, Tom, was the MC.


He was phenomenal.  Okay, anyone who can pull off tails and a bowtie paired with shorts and flip-flops is phenomenal in my book, but he had such personality.  He was smooth but saucy and took total control of the crowd.


[Bro-Lo, check it out.  An “Alchies shot!”]

Tom got the crowd gathered and appropriately riled up while his striking lady-friend, Christy,  got the top tenners seated and settled.  They were FUNraiser masterminds.



My temporarily-appointed financial adviser giving me some advice:


Then the fun began.  Before they even drew the first ticket off, Tom had the crowd shouting and heckling.  “$1,000” someone shouted from the back, offering to buy one of our top ten seats.  I glanced at Phillip but he had conceded all authority to me (dumb move), but no one thinks they’re going to be drawn first.  I’ve made it this far, surely I’ve got some luck pushing me along, you tell yourself.  Surely I won’t be the first to be drawn (although someone’s gotta be).  But, it’s just too much fun sitting up there, being a part of the Final Ten.  I held fast.  Tom made me feel good about it.  “That’s cheeap for a Jeeep!” he hollered.  “Draw her down!”


Now, let’s recall.  What was I?



You can’t catch me.  I’m number eight-tee!  

What happened?

I lost.  Big time.

“Number 80!” they said as they drew my number first from the bin.  Dag-nabbit.  First to be nixed from the Final Ten.


But, c’est la vie.  If I hadn’t gotten delusional, I would have never even believed I could have won in the first place.  I should’ve jumped on that grand, though …  I blame my financial adviser (you know who you are John : ), and Tom.  I blame him, too.  And, Phillip.  Might as well blame everybody for my failed delusion.

But, there was still the matter of watching the rest of the final nine duke it out.  Jody was sitting in for a friend, Billy, who was reportedly on his way.  She kept joking that he was stopping in at the church to pray!


Billy soon got nixed, too, though.  After he was gone, the bids for the tickets started to increase as more numbers were drawn.  Tom was certainly helping to up the anty, by scolding those who bid low with his same, shameful sentiment, “That’s cheeap for a Jeeep!”


One guy, and you had to feel sorry for him on this, offered to buy one of the final four seats for $3,800.  I mean, it’s not a terribly risky bet.  You’ve got a one in four shot of winning a $25k Jeep.  But, before his rear even warmed the seat, his number was called, and he was out.  That’s got to sting.  I didn’t feel so bad about the $1,000 I’d turned down after that.

This guy hung in there till the very end.  He was sitting proxy as well for his “Ma” on the other end of the line who actually held the No. 232 ticket.


Ma was sharp, too, always making the right call, sticking to her guns.  After a few back-and-forths, Tom the MC would just look at this guy and ask “What’s Ma gonna do?”  The guy would wait for Ma to decide and announce it.  When he and one other guy were the last two tickets standing, Ma made the bold move to buy the other guy out for a smooth $9,000 — a small price to pay, really, for a guaranteed win.  I’m telling you, Ma knew her stuff.  But, the other ticket-holder held fast.  He must have been delusional, too, because he lost as well.  Big time.  No nine grand, no Jeep, no nothing.  Ma took the cake.


But, it was all in good fun and all for a good cause.  I’m not sure how much they raised at the 9th annual FUNraiser, but I know the initial reports were it was more than the previous year’s $70,000, which is awesome.  I highly recommend the event next year for any local cruisers in the area.  Let me just warn you, keep high hopes for the autism research only, not the raffle.

Don’t let delusion happen to you!



Thanks as always, to the many patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.



Something Borrowed, Something Brewed

Alright, (while I can’t confidently speak to the inner-workings of tequila-making), I’m sure it isn’t actually “brewed,” but I needed it to work with my theme.  Just let me run with this.

June 5, 2015:

We have always found it funny (startling, actually) how really small the “cruising community” is.  You will meet a gal in a little marina on the other side of the world who knows the guy who is fixing up a boat in the slip next to you back in your home port.  I’m not kidding.  It’s global but, in a sense, it is so small.  And, the way you meet people and make those connections tends to be such good fodder for my favorite thing in all of cruising — STORIES.  Let me ask you, how many times have you met a new cruiser in port or out in an anchorage because you needed to borrow something?  Perhaps you ran out of duct tape (blasphemy!), or you can’t find your little keyring thing of allen wrenches, or you need to bum some of that all-purpose wonder stuff, anti-corrosion spray, to knock a rusty bolt off.  It happens all the time, and cruisers are some of the most generous folks when it comes to lending out their useful boat stuff.  Case in point here, and a good story to go with it.  This occurred sometime in June of 2014 when Phillip and I had just returned from our Cruise to the Keys.  We met a fantastic cruising couple at one of our local anchorages because we needed to bum something and when they came back through our cruising grounds the next year, they cashed in on the favor in a most interesting way with something borrowed, something brewed.  (And, I can’t really say why I started this blog on such a sing-song note.  Perhaps I was inspired by the soon-to-be-released book Suess so long ago wrote.  Either way, I think I’ll have some fun with words today, and present a rhythmic blog upon which I hope you dote.)   Here’s how it played out:

On the hook one morning, the Captain and I found ourselves in quite the pickle.  It seems we’d brought a hose for our dinghy pump that was far too fickle.  Without the proper inflating dinghy nub, our dinghy was a sinking tub, and bound to our boat we would be as sad as a cell that is sickle.

The Captain refused to sit stranded on our boat on his rump, so he set off on the SUP to request from our anchor neighbors a loaner pump.  He stumbled upon a couple, the dame quite supple, on an exquisite Dufour who countered the Captain’s request with an offer for trade in sum lump.


The ladies on the Dufour, were digging the Cap’n and his board and believed, in exchange for loaning their pump, a free stand-up paddle lesson was in store.  The Captain happily agreed, considering a lesson an easy deed, to allow us mobility for all the fun dinghy outings the weekend could afford.

Later in the day, when the Dufour crew got back out, they stopped by our boat to bring us a brew that was quite stout, as the Dufour dame, it seemed, like Patron with coffee teamed, the taste of which we would love she did not doubt.

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In all, we spent a grand day with the couple “next door,” their spirit and spunk quite fitting for a Dufour.  We were thrilled to learn, they would soon return as they sailed from Mandeville to our area every year for a month or three or four.


True to their word, the Dufour couple sailed back our way this past May and tried to coordinate another rendezvous at Ft. McRee.  Sadly, with schedules jam-packed, the cards against us were stacked, and it appeared we were only going to pass them briefly in the ICW one particular day.

The Dufour dame it seemed believed that was close enough indeed.  She decided to cash in the long-owed dinghy pump favor, with a liquor she could savor, and she enlisted the Captain and I to bring her a bottle of which she was in dire need.

Wanting to repay the fine couple for rescuing us so long ago, we set off that day, our boat loaded with her precious cargo.  Near the North Cut, I spotted the Dufour crew, toting another couple, too, awaiting our arrival in colorful hats and attire reminiscent of Key Largo.

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They rafted up quick as we motored along and worked quickly to accomplish the exchange.  Captain Dufour graciously paid us extra for the cost of the liquor, while a smile, a chuckle and a “keep the change.”  The dame, alone, was quick to satisfy her thirst for Patron, and she immediately grasped the bottle and tipped it up the minute it was within range.

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(Love it Cara!)

Once the exchange was made, we bid the DuFour crew adieu, and they dinghied back to their anchorage their spirits anew with fresh “brew.”  Having fulfilled our pact, our boat borrowing karma well intact, the Captain and I continued along content, knowing we would likely find ourselves someday in need of a boat-to-boat alcohol delivery, too.


Instant Pirate — Just Add Rum


Okay, who are we kidding?  He doesn’t need the rum.  He’s always a pirate.

May 1, 2015:

It’s B!  Our buddy, Bottom-Job Brandon (who has rightfully reminded me anytime I mention his name, I should also mention his company — Perdido Sailor, Inc. — or he’s going to have to re-brand).  He’s all decked out here for the annual Pirate’s Ball, the kick-off for the annual Perdido Wooden Boat Festival at Pirate’s Cove in Josephine (more commonly referred to as Orange Beach), Alabama.

Phillip and I had the event on our calendar for weeks — May 2-3, 2015.  Not just because it’s an awesome pirate party, our friends were planning to sail over for it, too, and we really don’t need an excuse to get that boat out.  No, we were really going for the book signing!  The Point Yacht Club, the self-proclaimed “Little Yacht Club That Could” whose clubhouse-in-progress is right next door to the Cove, invited me over for a Salt of a Sailor book reading and signing before the ball.  Pirate costumes, rum and salty book sales?  Who says ‘no’ to that?  

We were also curious to see how the fridge would perform without power for the weekend after the pancreas-splitting Great Stuff repair.  We turned the fridge on on Wednesday evening to let it start cooling down.  While it did take some time (and several cranks up on the fridge setting), we were pleased to see it finally reach 40 degrees Friday morning on the 6 setting and holding.  We headed out that afternoon, planning to meet up with Brandon and his family on their Gulf Star at the Cove.  But, we were surprised to have him cruise right up next to us in the ICW on our way over.  Good timing.


That little 17′ sloop rig he’s towing is s/v Ellavday, a wooden boat he and his father-in-law built for Brandon’s daughter, Ella.  Great name, huh?  That thing is a beauty and so much fun to sail.  If you want to really sharpen your sailing skills, test them in a little boat!


It was great to have Brandon cruising along next to us, too.  I love when we see fellow boat buddies out on the water.  It’s just “boat code” to snap pics of each other under sail.  With s/v 5 O’clock leading the way, we made our way on over to the Cove.


In the weeks before the ball, Phillip and I had been snatching up some pirate attire and accessories and sending pictures to Brandon and his crew with a little light trash-talking as to whose costumes were going to be better.  It must have worked because the Halls took the prize with their complete family pirate ensemble, from parents to little pirate run-a-mucks, even the gangly photo-bomber in the back.

Nice hat Uncle Russ.


I would say the doo-rag on their little pirate bundle (Kaitlin) was the cutest, but I just couldn’t.  This little rapscallion (Ella) stole the show, unsheething her cardboard sword at every opportunity and poking the air with a fierce “AAAaarrrggghhh!”


You know it makes you want to do it, too.  Go on.  Who cares what your co-workers think.  Close your door and unleash your inner pirate — “AAaarrrgghhh!”

The Captain and I came decked out in full costume as well, donning head-to-toe swashbuckler attire:

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Jody Horner with the Yacht Club was instrumental in putting together this whole reading and signing, and I can’t thank her enough.


She literally dragged people over to my table by force, fished twenties out of their pockets and made them buy my book.  It was awesome!


At Jody’s request, I read a fun passage from the book that describes our Second Mate for the momentous journey — the infamous MITCH!  This was the passage she chose:

Now, let me take a moment to tell you a little more about our Second Mate–the infamous Mitch.  Where do I begin?  First, I must say, he’s an incredible friend to give up five days to sail across the open Gulf with us and help get the boat back.  As fun as it is, remember what I told you about sailing, it is indeed hard work, and we were out of touch with the rest of the cellular world for days at a time.  That’s a big commitment, and there is no way we could have done it without him.  But, as I mentioned, Mitch is all of six feet, four inches.  While that may seem pretty normal for a guy–on land–it’s a bit much on a 35-foot sailboat.  Mitch lumbered and bumbled around that boat like an elephant going through a carwash.  Each step of his foot on the deck sounded like Neal Armstrong landing on the moon.  Ka-boom.  I honestly felt sorry for him while I watched him bumble up and down the companionway stairs and through the hatch.  He must have felt like he was crawling around on Playskool equipment.   After a while, he decided to give it up altogether.  Instead, each time I got up to go down the stairs, and I mean the minute I merely lifted my ass off of the cockpit seat, he would start in with “While you’re down there.”  Sometimes I just had to screw with him.  “Down where? I was going up on the deck to check the sails,” I would say as I walked up topside, knowing full well I had had every intention of going down below, but whatever it was for was now going to wait another fifteen minutes until the next time Mitch beckoned.  I have to admit, it was fun, and Phillip and I had a good time christening him with the nickname–Mitch, While-You’re-Down-There, Roberts.  But, to be honest, I’m sure it was a lot of work for him to lug that big body up and down those tiny stairs, and he did hold the helm for several shifts that day, so, the teasing was always followed with, “Sure buddy.  What do you need.”  Mitch was a talker and a screamer but he had a heart of gold.  He taught me a great deal about sailing and he was a true asset on the trip.

The reading really was quite an honor and I enjoyed chatting with readers and fans afterward while Jody hustled them out of their hard-earned bills.

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I also donated a few books and bottles of wine as a giveaway to help the Point Yacht Club raise money to finish their clubhouse-in-progress.  They’re getting close!


After my Sharpie was worn to a nub, it was time for the much-anticipated Pirate’s Ball!  We shuffled our way over to the Cove and stumbled upon this striking figure on the way in:

Lady BlackSquall!!  Yowza!


And, do know that the bottle she’s holding was chalk full of home-made moonshine which she forced you to take a shot of before you could pass through to the party.  Love that gal.  But, the real treat of the evening?  Mr. While-Your-Down-There himself showing up for the party, dressed in full pirate regalia with his trusty sea-wench at side!


Clearly we don’t need the rum to act like pirates …

After we petered out from the pirate party, we crashed hard on the boat.  Having it right there docked up at the Cove always makes for an awesome boating weekend.  That way you have easy access to all your amenities (which for us, was still a cold fridge on the 6 setting), yet easy access to the ongoing party at the Cove.


The next day we toodled around and checked out the exquisite wooden boats on display for the festival.

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I set up a little table as an official “vendor” with my books in tow (Little Author Who Could here) in hopes of selling a few copies at the festival.  Business was slow at first, so I busted out my ukulele and started strumming about in hopes of drawing folks to my sad little tent.  Somehow, I managed to entice this interesting chap.  Meet Gnarly:


He’s gnarly.  He was also an awesome guitarist.  He gave me his pick and taught me how to (in his words) “spank on the strings.”  I had a great time hanging out with Gnarly.  Life is so full of cool people.


With Gnarly’s magic touch on the uke, I was able to snag a few folks in my web and sell some books.

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It was enough, at least, to buy us dinner and a few rum drinks that night.  If sales ever start to cover boat repairs and maintenance, I think we’ll be all set.  In all, it was another wild and raucous weekend at the Cove, with great friends and supporters of my author endeavors.  I can’t thank the kind folks at the Point Yacht Club enough for hosting the book signing for me.  It was fun being a celebrity for an hour.  We had a great sail home, too, with the sun setting on our port and the moon rising at the same time to starboard.

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Strange to think it really is the same sun and moon that set and rose back in the pirate heydays.  Heck, I’ll bet some of the crumbling planks that make up the walls at Pirate’s Cove are from the same era.  The swashbuckling behavior there sure hasn’t changed.  They still drink, holler, spit and dance.  I don’t think it’s the rum that makes the pirate, it’s the spirit.


Thanks as always, to the many patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.


Bon Buffett Voyage – Day Four: Buffett Brings Debauchery

April 24, 2015:

While we love big bunnies and balloon animals as much as anyone, we were far more excited about the night we had ahead.  It was finally time for Buffett’s big debut!  It was Phillip’s birthdday, we had a big steak dinner planned and every intention of blowing the evening out with a mayhem-filled night of debauchery at the Buffett concert.

Buffett said, “I want to see YOU there!”


You got it Jimmy.

Funny thing was, though, the folks at the marina told us Jimmy actually spent a good bit of the morning riding around the Wharf grounds in a golf cart asking meandering Wharf patrons where the concert was and when it started.  As you know or have probably heard, Mr. Buffett likes to stay non-descript.  He’s not much for the flash and flare of a paparazzi lifestyle, so he does a good job of blending in.  Word on the street was, he would pick the obvious Parrotheads–those walking around decked out in Landshark hats, Tommy Bahamas shirts and Hawaiian leis–yet they had no clue they were talking to the man himself, their idol, their icon, Jimmy Buffett.  Some pointed him politely toward the amphitheater, some gave him wrong times for the concert and some even blew him off a bit, not wanting any interruptions while they were sauntering around in their blissful Buffett zone.  That man seems to have fun with his celebrity status.

In addition to the Sunset Festival, the Wharf also had the Bama Coast Cruise going on.  It was pretty cool walking around checking out all of these old, cherried-out cruisers along the main drive.

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I liked the ones that were decked out with big stuffed characters from the olden days!

The Grinch:


Wiley Coyote:


Little known fact – the RoadRunner is the state bird of my home state, New Mexico.  Road-kill coyote might be the state meat.  I’ll have to verify that.

As if Buffett and the Bama Coast Cruise weren’t enough, they also had the famous Flora-Bama Mullet Toss going on that weekend too.  I highly recommend this redneck tradition.  If the flailing fish aren’t entertaining enough, I guarantee the groomed mullets and tramps stamps will be.  We take our fish flinging pretty seriously around here.


I should know — Yours Truly placed second in the female 26-39 division at the Mullet Toss in 2011.  Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up:


Rather than a redneck parade at the Flora-Bama, we spent the day lounging at the Oasis.  I mean … who wouldn’t?  The place is gorgeous.


I decided to dawn a special birthday suit for the occasion — not that one, this one!


My “Captain Jo” hat my brother got me for my birthday last year.  It’s kind of become the birthday hat.  We certainly got some funny looks at the pool with it, which made it totally worth it.  Thank you John!!


After a few hours around the lazy river, it was back to the boat to spruce up for our big b’day dinner.  Where were we going, you might ask?  Only the best restaurant at the Wharf.  Well, only the best restaurant anywhere — Chez Phillipe!  Phillip really is a phenomenal chef so when we cook, at home or on the boat, we’re pretty much guaranteed the best meal in “town.”  What had he planned to cook up for his big day?

BEEF!  It’s what’s for dinner.


Sure beats Roadkill Coyote!

The smell of it, though, must have been wafting through the air, because no sooner than we had pulled our steaks out to sear we get a knock on the hull.

“Excuse me,” a voice rang out.  “Have you seen my lost shaker of salt?”


“Oh, never mind.  I found it hanging around my neck!”  Elle.  You gotta love a woman that makes a hat for every occasion.  Fourth of July:


St. Patty’s Day:


And, this here was her Jimmy Buffett Landshark hat.  She said she couldn’t find a shark, so a stuffed dolphin would have to do.


A worldwide traveler, accomplished sailor and seasoned skier, Elle is first and foremost a hoot.  She and her friend Terry were going to the Buffett concert, too.  They stopped by the Plaintiff’s Rest to say hello on their way to the amphitheater, so we did what we normally do when guests arrive–promptly make them our famous house drink, the “Oh Shiiiit!” (five i’s).

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We had a fun visit with the gals over cocktails, but it was getting close to Buffett time and we had some fine steaks to get sizzling.  “It’s been fun ladies, but we need to get back to the beef.”  We bid Elle and Terry adieu and set to dinner.

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I will say, Phillip cooked up a perfect piece of meat.  It was a birthday feast indeed.


Our bellies full, we were ready for a full night of Buffett shenanigans.  We walked over to the amphitheater a little before 7:00 pm to check out the crowd and nab our seats.


There were at least 10 beach balls being bounced around and they stayed afloat pretty much the entire concert.  It was just as much fun to watch and swat those things around as it was to watch Jimmy on the stage.  You had to keep your hands up and a sharp lookout or you would get … well bonked in the head by an inflatable ball.  We soon stopped worrying about it and just let the balls fly while we shouted along to some of Buffett’s finest!


“You got fins to the left, fins to the right and you’re the only girl in town!”  

Buffett was a lot of fun.  He didn’t play Margaritaville (probably because he’s sick of it), and he threw in a couple of oldies but goodies to shake things up — Stars Fell on Alabama was interesting.  Southern Cross was a big hit and probably the highlight for Phillip and I as that song really resonates with us.  The Buffett concert was the perfect end to our birthday bonanza.  We had one more night on the trip and were planning to head out in the morning to motor sail back to Red Fish Point to spend one last quiet night on the hook.  The next day was Saturday, April 25, 2015.  I’m sure many of you recognize the date.  We had no idea what was coming.  No one did.  But, we definitely found ourselves on the deadly outskirts of that storm late in the afternoon.  While we, thankfully, weathered it safely, we witnessed some damage, some close calls and learned a few lessons, which I will share.

At the time, though, we had no clue what the next day had in store.  We were shouting Buffet lyrics, bopping beach balls and dancing the night away.

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Thanks as always, to the many patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.


Bon Buffett Voyage Day Three – Burgers, Bunnies, Balloons … Oh My!

April 23, 2015:

With a heavy heart, we woke the next morning in Ingram’s Bayou and took down the pyrotechnics, the ukulele amps and the aerial silk rig.  Nooooo!!!


But, we were excited to make our way over to The Wharf in Orange Beach to claim our slip for the Jimmy Buffett concert.


Recall when we bought our tickets for the concert and called to reserve a slip, they literally laughed at us and put us as No. 93 on the waiting list.  Well, 92 cancellations later and here we were, with a slip of our own.  So, we hustled up the anchor early and made our way west.  I called when we were close and chatted with a gal named Judy who runs the marina office.  She was super friendly and sent two strapping young men out to come help us with our lines.


While I love to see her out sailing, all canvas up, I also love to see her docked as well, all safe and sound!  Another no-mishap docking accomplished.  Whew!

Judy gave us a tour of the new facilities there at The Wharf.  They have moved the marina facilities over from where they were previously located by the fuel docks on the west basin to the center of all the action on the east side of the bridge, and the new bathrooms, shower and laundry facilities are all primo.  We were really impressed.


Judy was great, too–super knowledgeable and friendly.  I may or may not have let it slip that I’m an author and that a book would soon be coming her way.  It would be the first to start their marina book swap at the new facility.  I was sure donating my very own book to start the swap would totally revive my piteous book swap mojo.  Let us all hope.  If I have to face another Fabio cover, his white flapping French shirt agape with some frail yet fully-endowed maiden clinging to him, I’m going to puke.  Thankfully, Judy, was in my camp and was proud to welcome a good, salty yarn written by a local female sailor, to start the swap out right.

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I put a little log in the book for readers to list their vessel, when they got the book and where they dropped it off to help document the book’s travels.  Judy wanted to read it first, and then she’s going to send it on its merry way!


Another little traveling book set free!  I hope to hear from some folks who find it some day.

After the “drop,” it was time for some food.  We headed over to Ginny Lane‘s for lunch and were thrilled to find your first martini is only $1.  Sweet!  We’ll take two!


I have to say that’s some smart marketing, though.  Because the next round is full price, but by then your whistle’s already wet with the stuff and your pocketbook is a little looser.  Nice, Ginny.  Real nice.  They served us up a fine burger and salad as well, which we had earned with all of our hard work peddling my penmanship around the marina.

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Then it was over to the Oasis.  Have any of you seen the pool at The Wharf?  It’s like something a wealthy oil tycoon would build in his backyard–a wave pool, a slow, curvy lazy river, complete with waterfalls and spouts, slides, hammocks, palm trees, a hot tub, a tiki bar.  It’s incredible!

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We lounged the afternoon away at the pool (cruising is real hard) then hopped on the free marina bikes and peddled the grounds for a bit before cleaning up for dinner, which apparently at The Wharf, comes with a show!


Every Thursday night, the Wharf hosts a “Sunset Festival” much like the Mallory Square festivities in Key West.  Remembering our “sloppy sunset” at Mallory Square during our trip to the Keys last year, we knew we were in for a treat.


While the crafty carnies at Mallory have really perfected the craft, I will say the folks at the Wharf did give them a run for their money.  There was cheery knife and flame juggler/tightrope walker, a trained dog, live music and some ladies from the local zoo with their more exotic animals in tow.

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“What the heck is that?” asked Phillip.


“That’s a bunny, my friend.”


“A 13-pound bunny.”



But, the real talent at the festival?  This balloon guy.


I mean, look at his fancy, flattering balloon apron.  That’s some dedication.  And anyone who can crank out a pretty much lifelike Mario in under a minute–suspenders, mustache and all–takes the trophy in my book.  Sorry flame dude, this man was a genius.


In all, the Sunset Festival was really entertaining and, most importantly, totally FREE!  Our favorite kind of fun!  Dinner with Phillip’s fantastic family at Jimmy’s sister, Lucy’s, place — Lulu’s at Homeport Marina — rounded out the pre-birthday festivities.  Tomorrow was the big day for the Captain.  His birthday, yes, but more importantly … BUFFETT!



Thanks as always, to the many patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.


Bon Buffett Voyage – Day Two: Sheer Entertainment

April 22, 2015:

I don’t know if you guys can handle this–a dolphin display, an aerial acrobatics show, and a ukulele concert.  Light the flame-throwers, blow the pyrotechnics, it’s time to get RAW!



Alright, there were no pyrotechnics, but everything else I mentioned is right here baby!  Day two of the Bon Buffett Voyage we woke to dolphin’s breath on the starboard stern.


They were swirling and stirring and (well, probably doing what we know dolphins love to do) for a good ten minutes while Phillip and I sipped our coffee in the cockpit.


It was a surprisingly cool morning in Ft. McRae with the cloud cover.  Nice for lounging, but we were hoping to see some more input into the solar panels.  We knew, though, that we would be putting some juice in during our motor that day, so a cool morning to read and write topside was welcome.  Our next stop on the trip?  Ingram’s Bayou:


We weighed anchor and threw up the sails pretty early so we could spend the majority of the day making the fun three-hour jaunt to the Bayou.  The wind filled in nicely and we ended up having a pretty sporty little sail over.


The last time we had dropped the hook in Ingram’s was during our Thanksgiving trip 2013 and she appeared to be just as we remembered her–pristine and serene.  We nestled in and Phillip set off to paddle our perimeter, check depths and poke around back in the bayou.

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What did I do?  Pretended to write until he left …

“You go right on ahead, babe.  I’ve got plenty of blogging to get to here.”


Apparently those are my hangover eyes!

But, the minute he was gone, I set up the camera so I could video myself practicing his birthday present.  Was it this?


No, that came later.  That’s just everyday Annie stuff hanging around all upside-down-like.  He’s used to that.  No, for the Captain, I had to go all out.  Do something he would know took time, effort and energy.  I spent the better part of the week before we left trying to learn a new song to play him on the uke!


He had been pretty keen on Riptide by Vance Joy, so I got all disciplined with it and made myself practice, practice, practice until I had it … well, had it at least recognizable.  At least I hoped.  I decided to film one version all the way through while he was gone in case I got all fumbly and bumbly while playing it for him and goobered the whole thing up (happens all the time).  And, don’t worry, I royally goobered this one pretty good, but I’ll share it anyway for your entertainment.  I have such a hard time singing at a different beat than I’m playing.  It’s like rubbing your stomach and patting your head.  I can only do it if I can find a match on the down beat-slash-rub.  Anyway, for what it’s worth — enjoy!

And, just for fun, here’s a gal actually doing this song justice on the uke.  She seems a little off when the video starts (I thought she was about to play while high on pain meds as some ice bucket dare or something) but then she nailed it.  This is what it was supposed to sound like:

[And, as an aside, if you’re in any way thinking about picking up the uke, I highly recommend it.  You can get one at pretty much any little music store for around $50, it’s small and travels well, and it’s really pretty easy to start learning basic songs during your first lesson yet still challenging enough to push yourself on harder ones.  Great, free entertainment and mental stimulation.  I mean, why not?]

So, when the captain made his way back to the boat, I set us up on the foredeck with two deck chairs, two glasses of champagne and proceeded with the live version.  I actually didn’t do half bad so the video wasn’t necessary.  I even inspired Captain himself to give it a little go.  (Minus the wailing pelican in the background … aka me!) his show wasn’t half bad either.

Needless to say, we had fun with it.  But, post-concert was the real treat.  The last time I had hung the silks on the sailboat for an aerials session was November of last year (far too long!).  The conditions were perfect that evening in Ingram’s Bayou–calm, cool and still–for a sunset session.  Captain helped me rig it up and I set to it.  It was even more fun now that I had learned so many new tricks!

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We totally need to install some pyrotechnics on the boat for this.  Get all New World Order with it.  BOOM!

In all, it was an incredibly fun day.  It makes me think back on all the times people have asked me — “Don’t you get bored just sitting around on the boat all day?”  Rather than enlighten them, it makes me want to say — “Yeah, it’s just awful.  I’d much rather be working.”  Best to keep the secret.  We don’t want these anchorages to get too crowded.  Ha!  We like the serenity.


We cheersed the sunset and set to grilling up two killer salmon filets for dinner.

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Oh, and definitely give this a try – a super-easy, super-flavorful (and light) sauce for fish, veggies, white meat, etc.  Make it to taste, but it’s roughly 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, and dried dill weed.  Perhaps Day Two dinner deserves some pyrotechnics too.  BOOM!



Thanks as always, to the many patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.


Bon Buffett Voyage – Day One: A Shoddy Shifter

April 21, 2015:

Last year, we spent the Captain’s birthday pillaging the shops of Duval Street, searching for “zee best key lime pie on zee island!”  We were smack-dab, mid-way through our 2014 trip to the Florida Keys and celebrating both the journey and Phillip’s momentous event on the colorful streets of Key West.


This year, when we learned Buffett was putting on a concert in Orange Beach, fortuitously on the very day of our dear Captain’s birth (April 24, 2015), we knew exactly how we would be spending it — on a Bon Buffett Voyage baby!


Oh yeah.  Our sentiments as well Mr. Buffett.

As soon as the tickets went up for sale, we had three laptops open refreshing, clicking and ready to buy.  Thankfully, we were able to snag two tickets without much trouble in this general vicinity:



(Yes, I do wear my hair in a high pony with a blue bow … sometimes.)

We planned to head out a couple of days before the 24th and stop at some of our favorite local anchorages along the way — Red Fish Point right outside of Ft. McRae, where we drop the hook often, and Ingram’s Bayou, where we holed up last winter during our Thanksgiving Voyage — before we made our way over to The Wharf for the Buffett concert.


Very un-fortuitously, though, when we called The Wharf on the day we bought the tickets to reserve a slip the night of the concert, the lady on the phone just laughed at me, actually, it was more of a guffaw.  “You’re funny,” she said.  Apparently, the day the concert was simply announced, their slips filled up and a waiting list was started for us Johnny Come-Latelies.  But, we signed up, figuring we had nothing to lose.  As Number 93 on the Wharf Waiting List, though, it didn’t look like we had much to gain, either.  So, we made a back-up reservation at the Homeport Marina with a plan to either dinghy to the concert (which would be quite a dinghy haul) or just cab it.  That would also let us check out Jimmy’s sister, Lucy Buffett’s, place, Lulu’s at Homeport Marina.  Either way, we were sailing our boat west for the Captain’s b’day, and we were going to that concert.   “You’re Funny” Fran wasn’t going to stop us!

We also planned to finally install and sport our shiny new shifter arms for the trip!  We’ve had these flaking-away old rubber-coated ones for a while,

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And, it just so happened, the shiny new engraved set Phillip had ordered arrived in the mail day before we were set to head off on our voyage!


We couldn’t wait.  We slapped those puppies on while we were provisioning and readying the boat for shove-off the next morning.  They slipped right on perfectly and sure spruced up the helm.  We were pimping now!

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Unfortunately, we weren’t pimping for very long.  The next morning we shoved off from the dock, smooth as silk, the Captain executing a perfect exit, but when the bow swung out and he tried to go forward, there was nothing perfect about it.  I was tying up the docklines at the bow, but I could tell something was definitely wrong when the boat started to loop around to do another circle.  I looked back at Phillip, and saw he was shifting and fidgeting with the new shifter arm for the transmission.

“I can’t … it’s … it won’t engage!” he shouted as I scrambled back to the cockpit.  The problem was clear.  Because of the unique location of the poles on our helm, we couldn’t push the shifter arm forward enough to actually engage the transmission into forward.


I won’t share the expletives we did in that moment.  We tried to take the shifter arm off quickly, hoping we could adjust it but there was no adjusting to be done.  It fit in only one position only–the no-forward-for-you position.  There we were, out there, moving, with only neutral and reverse as options.  Thankfully, the wind was on our side and she was pushing the boat forward enough to allow Phillip to steer and slow us down as needed with reverse.  And, thankfully again (trust me, I realize how incredibly lucky we were that this worked out the way that it did), there was an open dock available just up the way.  Phillip said he could pull up next to it so we could dock and he could run back up to our apartment to grab the old shifter arms which he had also thankfully (yes, a third) saved in case we needed them as spares.


I ran back up to the bow as we trudged forward with only neutral and reverse and re-tied the bow lines so we could use them to re-dock.  And, I know I’ve said it a hundred times, but docking is just not my favorite thing, particularly when it’s somewhere we’ve never docked before and the winds are pushing us unfavorably (not to mention when we’re in a bit of a panic because our freaking shifter arm won’t work and we, you know, can’t go forward).  I know the Captain is doing a lot (okay, pretty much everything) back there at the helm, but I can’t help but feel like a lone soldier up there on the deck, lines in hand, jumping off, scrambling to a cleat, strategically tying at just the right length and in just the right order, making sure our 15,000 pound boat neither touches the dock where there is no fender nor blows off out of line-tossing distance.  It’s just stressful, that’s all I can say.  My heart beats a thousand times a minute and I jump around like leprechaun on LSD.  Thankfully, though (for the fourth and final time) we were able to ease up to the dock and secure her safely while we swapped the shifter arms out.  Now — lesson of this little story?  Always jump around like a lit-up leprechaun when docking?  No (but good guess).  To the extent possible, always check newly-installed equipment to make sure it does what it’s supposed to do before you leave the dock.  You probably already knew that, but I’m happy to share our minor follies in case it helps some other poor sailor out there one day.

So, with our old very un-pimp shifter arms back in place and our first heart-pumping adventure of the trip under our belts (although it would be nowhere close to the last), we finally headed out into the bay to begin our Bon Buffett Voyage.  It was a pretty sporty sail that day, but our boat romped and played in the waves like it was just good elementary school fun.  “Tag, you’re it!” she’ll shout at the waves and romp away.  She loves the salty spray!

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Now, this might have been with a little help from the tide going out, but I don’t care.  At one point, we were making 8.3!!


We made it to Red Fish Point in record time and prepared to drop the hook.


Those gloves help me grip both the anchor chain AND my rum drink!  Both equally important.

The sun started to dip down just as we got her nice and secure for our first night of the voyage.

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We cheers-ed to the first night of the voyage and let some soft Buffett play in the background while we kept a look-out for a green flash on the horizon.


Thanks as always, to the many patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.



Solar Panels Bring the Blues

November 7-9, 2014:

After our racy rendezvous with the Sundowner crew in NOLA we were itching to get back out on our boat.  Now that we had our slick solar panels installed and (presumably) working, it was time to take them out for a test run, and what better time than the Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Show in November!  Several of our boat buddies were planning to get out for it, too, so it was quickly decided we would all get together for a massive raft-up.  We were five-deep at the Fort baby!


From left to right:

1.  s/v Edelweiss, a well-kept 34′ Sabre, is often packed to the brim with the Armanis — two veterinarians with (now) three little ones in tow.  Did anyone call for a doctor?


2.  s/v WindWalker, a 38′ Morgan, belongs to our trusted diesel engine mechanic, Johnny Walker (yes, that’s really his name, feel free to make all the associated Jim Bean, Jack Daniels jokes you’d like – he’s used to it), and his beautiful wife, Cindy.  (While this is my absolute favorite picture of Johnny and Cindy, don’t doubt it, rain, shine or cold – these two are always smiling!)


3.  5 O’Clock, a 45′ Gulfstar, being the largest boat in the bunch often plays the role of “mothership” and is Captained by the only and only (you know this guy, he’s practically a celebrity in our world), Bottom-Job Brandon!  His rocking wife Christine and their (now) two little salty sailors round out the Hall crew.


4.  s/v Plaintiff’s Rest and it’s fine-looking crew need no introduction, really.  Admit it, it’s only the best-looking boat in the bunch.


5.  And, last but certainly not least, s/v Pan Dragon, a classic 36′ Pearson, is the pride and joy of our Broker-turned-Boat Buddy, Kevin, along with his incredibly entertaining wife, Laura, and their (now) two little ones seen here doing what they love to do — just “hang around” on the boat.


I will say Phillip and I are exceptionally lucky to have fallen into such a fine group of sailing comrades when we purchased our boat back in 2013.  All of these Captains are sharp, talented sailors, each with a different area of expertise and each having proven their willingness time and again to help us out when we’ve found ourselves faced with a difficult boat project, and vice versa.  It’s also great to see the lot of them (which with all of the “nows” you might have recognized has recently grown – three new additions in 2015 alone!) get their boats out just about every weekend they are able with the whole crawling/cradle crew in tow.  I wouldn’t trust myself to keep a potted plant alive on the boat and here they bring their actual living, breathing, arms-and-legs munchkins aboard and show us all it can (and should) be done.  Families can cruise too.  They’re really impressive.


Having all five of us lined up for this phenomenal weekend was a pretty epic feat.  But, when the Blue Angels come home, folks in Pensacola tend to get together for the event.  And, because the Blue Angels fly over their home base, the Pensacola Naval Air Station, for the homecoming show, we knew we would be right under the flight path anchored out near Ft. McRae.


Here comes one now!   Zzzwweeehhhhh!


See?  They flew right over us!  I kept trying to snap a cool shot of them coming by the boat but they kept breaking up, zipping around, looping and coming out of nowhere.  Those suckers are fast!  (And loud.)

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After about 84 missed shots (give or take), I finally caught them right where I wanted them.  Just overhead.  Check out the money shot!  BOOM.


Hull No. 193, baby!  That’s us!  It looks like they’re only 20 feet above our mast.  While I can assure you, they are much higher, it doesn’t sound or feel like it when you’re watching them zip overhead.  Zwweeehhhh!!


(Thank (and like) the Blue Angels Facebook team for the wicked pics!)

The show was jaw-dropping.  “Hold on to your drink, Cap’n!”


First Mate rockin’ the rubbers!

They even put on an evening show (which they had not done in years) at the Naval Air Station.  We could catch glimpses of it (and hear the roar of the flaming big rig) from our boats.


In all, it was an incredible weekend spent out on the boat with an amazing group of friends.

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And, best of all, the solar panels performed beautifully.  While we felt good about the Velcro adhesion, just to be safe I had taken some time back at the dock to manually stitch the panels on through their corner grommets with some green sail twine.


You can see it on the corners here:


Those flat little panels were expensive!  While it was highly unlikely, I wasn’t going to risk them flying off in some heavy winds.  They also proved extremely productive during our weekend out, pumping in (just about as we had expected) approximately 8 amps/hour.


It was truly gratifying to watch our amp hours go DOWN during the day.  We were definitely pleased with the input and thrilled with the results of a long and tedious project.  Life was good … for a brief moment.  I swear that dern boat likes to toy with us sometimes.  Right when you think everything is running smoothly and everything about boating is awesome, the boat likes to throw a little wrench in things just to, you know, keep you guessing.  After our amazing weekend out on the boat, we woke Sunday to an awe-inspiring sky, sipped on coffee and decided we would ease the anchor up about mid-morning to enjoy a beautiful sail home.


That was the plan anyway, until we tried to crank the engine and ———    Nothing, nada, flat line.  We couldn’t even get a click to turn the glow plugs on.  Our starting battery was completely dead.  The boat seemed to think it was funny.

It’s not funny, boat.

Luckily, on our boat, we can flip a switch to combine the house batteries with the starting battery, in situations like this, to pull from the house bank in order to crank the engine.  It’s not really good for the house batteries because they’re intended primarily for deep cycle use, but if you’ve got to crank, you’ve got to crank.  So, that’s what we did, and she started right up, which was a good sign.  That meant it wasn’t an engine problem just a battery problem, but it was still baffling.  What gives, boat?

Thankfully, we had a whole host of boat friends nearby to help us run through some things and troubleshoot.  Assuming our starting battery was still good (which, being only a year old, it was pretty safe to assume it was) the primary difference was the solar panels.  Once installed, they were essentially “on” all the time.  Meaning, any time they panels were in the sunlight, they were pumping in juice.  While the MPPT charge controllers regulate the influx of power to make sure the house batteries do not get overwhelmed by the solar input, one option kicked around the group was the possibility that the solar input may have overwhelmed the alternator and caused it not to re-charge the starting battery while we were motoring over to the Fort on Friday.

Back home, we took the starting battery the following week to several different Auto Zone type places to have it tested, and each time it passed with flying colors.  The battery was good.  That left the panels.  We decided to install switches under the aft locker next to the MPPT charge controllers to allow us to turn the panels off when we were running under engine power so as not to confuse the alternator and allow our starting battery to re-charge.


It was a pretty simple job and (we hoped) would be a pretty easy fix to our crank problem.  The next couple of times she cranked fine, and we were sure to turn the panels off when we were under motor and turn them back on again once we killed the engine if we wanted solar input.  Life was good again.  Until …

Yes, again.  Such are the joys of owning a boat.  Seemingly randomly, after several times cranking without incident, the minute we had some family in town and invited them out on the boat for a beautiful, brisk day sail, she wouldn’t crank.  It was clear we

had a serious boat battery mystery to solve.  And,  I swear the boat thought it was funny.

It’s not funny, boat.



Captain Sherlock and I were hot on the case.  It simply had to be “elementary.”



Many thanks to the patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.


March 1, 2014 – Toss the List – It’s Time to Roll!

Work, work and more work.  It had been one chore after another for weeks.  You’re probably sick of it, too.  I know we were.   But I’m thrilled to say we finally made our way through that damn list.  Just one item left, and it was scheduled.  Who needs a list?  We chunked it and planned a three-day Mardi Gras Lollapalooza.  We were going to catch the parades in downtown Pensacola on Friday night, then sail over on Saturday to Pensacola Beach and anchor out behind Paradise Inn to catch the parade on the beach Sunday.  It was time for some beads, people.  Time for some beads!!



So, the list.  Let me walk you through it and you can marvel in the vast breadth of our accomplishments.  I say that because these last few items weren’t really much work on our part at all.  But you can marvel, nonetheless, if you’d like.

The canvas and isinglass.  We wanted to have a canvas guy come and take a look at the dodger and bimini to assess how much life we had in them and estimate replacing the canvas.  We guessed our canvas was about ten years old and, unfortunately, the glass in the dodger was getting a little foggy and cracked in places.  Sometimes we would come to the boat and find two new cracks had popped up overnight.  They couldn’t be stopped.  We knew something was going to have to be replaced soon.


Based on recommendation from our Broker-turned-Buddy, Kevin, we decided to give Tony with Coastal Canvas a call, and he was top-notch.  Came out when he said he would and even saved us a few bucks.  Told us we only needed to replace the isinglass in the dodger, but that the canvas was still in good shape.  So, we had him swap out the glass, and it was like putting on glasses for the first time and you’re overwhelmed at the sight of all the leaves!  Everything was so crisp and clear.


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You may notice the missing bimini in this photo.  Tony did such a good job on the glass that we followed his recommendation for the bimini.  He believed the canvas needed to be redone, and we worked with him on rearranging the bimini frame to give us a bigger window in it for the helmsman to see the wind vane at the top of the mast.  Even during our blistery winter, Tony came out several times to take measurements, make adjustments and install our new bimini.

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Cross that off.

List 11

The gasket on the coolant system, luckily, was an easy chore.  Just the removal of one hose on the coolant system, a bucket to catch the coolant that drained out, then scrape off the old gasket and glue, slap on a new gasket and glue and she was good as new.

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Done and done.  What’s next?


The dorade box.  That damn thing.

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Yeah, there she is.  She had been loose for a while and several months back, she unfortunately took a tumble when the Jenny sheet somehow wedged itself up under the loose corner and ripped her right up off the deck when we tacked.

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See?  No box.  Luckily, when she took the tumble, we saw it and were able to catch her before she made her way overboard.  But, until we got her remounted properly, we had been taking her off every time we sailed (so the Jenny sheet wouldn’t knock her overboard again) and putting her back on once we were at anchor.  A bit of a chore and a burdensome box to keep up with.  So it was time to re-mount her.  Now, I’ll say, we tried, the first time, to do it right.  Waited for a good weather window.  Pulled her up and cleaned off all of the old sealant and re-bedded her with some 4,000.  A couple of the screws had a little trouble biting, but we figured the 4,000 would hold her.  I’m sure I’m going to get some commentary from the Peanut Gallery here about butyl.  Well, just wait.  Unfortunately, she wiggled her way loose, again, and Jenny threatened her once again.  She gets real territorial up there at the foredeck.  So, the second time we didn’t fool around.  It was 5,200 or bust.  Now, we know what they say: “That stuff is permanent.  You’ll never get it off.”  Well, we don’t want her to come off.  A shot of some 5,200 around the screws and we stuck her down.  She’s not going anywhere.  Take that Jenny!

With that little project done, we only had one more item left on the list.


The hydraulic back stay.  Our previous owner had installed a hydraulic adjuster on the back stay to make fine-tune adjustments to the mast when racing.  He sailed our Niagara in the single-handed Mackinac race and had really pimped the boat out with some serious racing capabilities, the hydraulic back stay being one.

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As you know, we’re not racers; we’re cruisers.  More sunsets and cocktails than buried rails and big victories.  So, the hydraulic adjuster hadn’t been used in years.  She no longer worked and would occasionally leak a little fluid at the base.  Wanting the boat to be primed for the Keys, we scheduled the riggers to come check it out the following week to see if she could be repaired or whatever options might be available.  So, in our eyes, the list was done.  It had been about a solid month of boat chores, and it was time for some boat fun.  Our Mardi Gras Palooza began.

On Friday night, we caught up with some marina neighbors-turned-friends — Dick and Cindy on Forever Young — and, after a hearty fill of fine wining and dining at Carmen’s Lunch Bar al fresco, we were seated like royalty for the parade to roll through.  We didn’t even have to get out of our chairs if we wanted.  But, we of course wanted!  Beads is what we wanted!

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And, any other grungy, recycled Mardi Gras throws they wanted to toss at us.  I think – in addition to all the beads – I caught a kids-size Mardi Gras 2008 shirt, a busted-up Nerf football, a moonpie, and a tomahawk.  Yes, a tomahawk.  It was a wild night.  But, we got up early, stocked the boat, enjoyed a great sail over to Pensacola Beach and dropped the hook right around sunset.

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We cooked up another feast on the boat, gorged and called it a night.  We had a big day ahead.  Lollapalooza Day 3 started with mimosas on the foredeck.

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Followed by hurricanes and a little uking in the cockpit.

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And then two tickets to crazy town.  I can’t even begin to express to you the … quality … of people we encountered at the beach.  There were tailgaters, hipsters, Krewe members, kids on leashes, gangsters, bikers, trannies, questionable trannies, Navy boys, you name it.  While the parades were fun, the people were the real entertainment!

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We caught another neck-full of beads and useless stuffed animals and loved every minute of it.  The Mardi Gras mini-vacay was just what we needed.  The next time we drop that anchor it will be on the first stop to the Keys.  Only a few weeks now kids.  Stay tuned!!

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