Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted on Aug 7, 2013 | 0 comments

Look It Up

Don't know what kind of moth this is? We didn't either so we looked it up!

Don’t know what kind of moth this is? We didn’t either until we looked it up!

Dan and I like to be thoroughly well prepared for big changes and new possibilities in life. When we have a problem, we search Google and figure out how to fix it. When I was pregnant with Carter, I spent hours researching online exactly what to expect and prepare for multiple different outcomes to the point that my doctors were always surprised that I knew exactly what they were talking about and had almost no questions at any of my appointments. Dan visited countless websites and forums along with talking to other landlords before we were confident that we could make well informed decisions about buying rental properties. What can I say? We like to be educated.

Recently, we realized that we had been somewhat slacking in the cruising education division. Sure, we read a lot of other people’s blogs and had spent a lot of time reading cruisersforum and other boating sites when we were first making up our plans, but we hadn’t done a lot of in depth training because we were so focused on the financials of making sure we could get going. That mindset has been able to shift over the last few weeks… We have now reached the point where our rental reserves (six months of expenses per house) and the initial cruising kitty (10k to start, but it will be replenished each month from our various income sources while cruising… think of it as working cash) are established. Now we move into the boat savings stage. It is exhilarating to know that every dollar saved will be building towards a new home. That might not seem like a big deal, but for us it has been a major eye opener. Now we need to make sure that we are ready when the money is!

To start things out right we purchased the full pack of NauticEd* Captain’s courses and have both been working through them together. These courses cover a huge range of topics from diesel engine maintenance and proper sail trim to safety at sea and storm tactics. We have been very impressed with the quality of instruction and depth of information provided from these courses and both of us feel a lot more confident that we will be able to sail our boat safely when the time comes. They even have nice PDF graphs and quick reference guides to laminate and keep on your boat with you as well as practical exercises that we’ll be able to work on together once we get our real boat.

Another course that we are planning to take is the Mahina Expedition seminar that is given at Strictly Sail every year. This seminar is highly rated and addresses a lot of the logistical issues of living on a sailboat. Provisioning, safety, clearing in and out of countries, and having pets on-board are just a few of the topics covered in the all day seminar. The Blue Water Boats list that we’ve been referencing in many of our posts is also created by the Mahina team. These people have a lot of experience under their belts and we’re hoping to take some of that and put it to use on our own journey.

Two other big areas of focus for our studies will be first aid skills and Dan’s SCUBA instructor course. We feel that Dan getting his instructor certification could be a major benefit to us in the future and could potentially give us some additional income throughout the year. The first aid classes we are a little less sure about where to start. Dan is currently EFR/CPR certified as part of his rescue diver certification last year and plans to get his EFR instructor certification at the same time he finishes the PADI instructor certification, which would make it easy for me to get EFR certified as well (which we plan to do.) However as anyone who has taken EFR or the Red Cross first aid class will know, these classes are designed to stabilize a patient until an ambulance or other trained medical staff can reach the patient which usually only takes a short time in comparison to the days it could take if someone was seriously injured at sea. We are currently trying to find other options that would give us a more thorough training, but are having a hard time finding something reasonably priced that we could both be trained in. The most promising so far has been the Wilderness First Response program but that is about $800/person and requires a week of hands-on training so we aren’t sure if we want to jump into that without more … research.

Do you know of any other classes we should consider taking in the next year of preparation? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment or shoot us an email from the Contact Us page.

*Use our coupon code followthehorizon at NauticEd to get $15 off any classes! (Full disclosure: we get a very small credit to our NauticEd account when you use this code)

We’ve also done some major updates to our To-Do List page! Click on over to check it out.

Read More

Posted on Jul 31, 2013 | 0 comments

Boat Review: Krogen 38 and Morgan 382

After visiting the Cape Dory and Morgan Out Island in the marina at the broker’s office (check them out here: Boat Review: Morgan Out Island and Cape Dory 33), we followed our broker about half an hour away to a small boat yard that housed the next boat of the day, the Krogen 38. We hadn’t ever heard of a Krogen before looking at the broker’s website but were pleasantly surprised to find an extremely nice boat for the listing price of only $53,000. (Someone else must have thought the same due to the fact that the boat is now sold.)

According to the Kadey-Krogen Yachts page on the boat, the Krogen 38 is one of the only sailboats designed by the architect James Krogen. Krogen usually designed luxury trawlers but he designed this boat for himself as an ideal sailing cruiser for shallow areas like Florida and the Caribbean. It certainly seemed pretty ideal to us. There was tons of storage space everywhere, had very large bedrooms (or berths to sea people), and overall had the most “home-y” feel to us. As an extra bonus, it is cutter rigged which would be nice to have the extra flexibility of more sail options at sea. If we come across another one of these this time next year, there is a good chance we would buy one though with only 85 ever produced the chances are fairly low that we’ll find one. Good luck to whoever bought this boat, she was a beauty!

Being in a working boat yard was a new experience for us and the one that we were in had a huge assortment of boats in every stage of life. There were trawlers and sailboats, a 50′ wooden boat styled like a pirate ship, boats that were beautiful and well-cared for, and a couple that looked like they had been abandoned some time ago. We even saw a 30′ sailboat (with no mast in sight) hailing from Alaska! It looked like it had sailed the whole way, though I’m not sure from which direction. I would love to hear the stories that those boats have to tell.

The final boat of the day was the Morgan 382. This boat was clearly in the best shape of the four that we had toured and certainly made a good impression. A couple of the features that we liked were the settee design, large quarter berth area for Carter, U-shaped galley, and the general feel of the boat. The only thing that concerned us was the size of the V-berth, which would serve as our master bedroom. It seemed quite small compared to the other boats we had visited, but we would need to do additional tests to see if we could sleep in it comfortably. I might love the boat but if I can’t get a good night’s rest I would not be a happy sailor! Overall though, we really liked the boat and are much more likely to find one of these in our real search due to the wider production range of Morgans.

Do you have any boat model suggestions for us? Questions or comments? Leave a comment and let us know!

Read More

Posted on May 1, 2013 | 2 comments

Book Review: Once Upon a Gypsy Moon

onceuponagypsymoonOnce Upon a Gypsy Moon is not so much a sea-tale as it is a man’s introspective journey into his own motivations, actions, and dreams. While Gypsy Moon (his 32-foot sloop) carried Michael from Annapolis to Nassau and beyond physically, the time he spent single-handing her over that distance carried him much farther emotionally and spiritually. He started his journey lost and lonely after an ugly divorce and ended it as a man with hope for the future.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

The world has a way of working itself out, in my experience. There are things unseen. Life is not always easy or pleasant, and it is often unfair, but it seems to unfold according to some plan of which we are only peripherally aware – like a dream, the details of which are vivid only when we are sleeping. We cannot remember- much less comprehend- that dreamworld with the powers of a rational mind.

Sailing has been a love of mine for almost as long as I can remember, and that love endures…But over the years, the idea of sailing long distances over oceans, unobliged to return, became for me less about adventure than escape- a kind of trapdoor beneath the uncertain footing of a marriage and a personal and professional life that seemed at various times to teeter on the brink of collapse… With no escape hatch, we have to face life head-on, admit our weakness, rely on our relationships, and trust others to catch us when we fall.

The insight in the book was compelling, though at times it did get a little dry. The boat journey was somewhat less exciting than the cover lead me to believe as it was mostly individual legs of a trip broken up by repair stops on his old boat rather than a continuous time line. The final chapter entitled “The Loss of the Gypsy Moon” was certainly the most thrilling of the book as *Spoiler Alert* Michael did eventually have to abandon ship during bad weather after a nasty knock-down and subsequent rescue by the US Coast Guard. Maybe someday she will be found and resuscitated but it seemed a fitting end to the tale of a man who no longer needed his escape hatch.

 

We would like to pass the book on to one of our readers in our first giveway! If you would like the chance to read Once Upon a Gypsy Moon yourself, there are four ways you can earn entries to the giveway:

  1. Subscribe to this blog via email (look for “Receive updates by email” in the right sidebar)
  2. Leave a comment on this post
  3. Follow us on Twitter @sv_horizon
  4. Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FollowTheHorizon

Each way gets you 1 entry into the drawing, for a maximum of 4 entries. We’ll do the drawing next Tuesday evening and announce the winner on the blog next week! Hope to see your name!

 (In March, we were contacted by Center Street book publishers to do a review on a new memoir that they released on April 16 called Once Upon a Gypsy Moon by Michael Hurley. We agreed, so they sent us a pre-release copy of the book that for some reason we didn’t receive until a couple of weeks ago. This is the first time that we have been contacted to do a review so we’re pretty excited that we are starting to pop up on the radar of the sailing blog world.)

Read More

Posted on Feb 22, 2013 | 0 comments

Blue Water Boats

Not a blue water boat you say? This baby crossed the Atlantic. All 5 feet 4 inches of her.

Not a blue water boat you say? This baby crossed the Atlantic. All 5 feet 4 inches of her.

For anyone who has ever tried to get decent information on sea-worthy boats will know, it’s not exactly an easy task. As I mentioned in my post about Strictly Sail this year, searching in our new price range of below $50,000 and in the size range of 30′-40′ boats, the results are a bit overwhelming…like 3,602 results overwhelming. For some people out there who have been around sailing for a while, winnowing down that many choices to something more manageable would be no problem at all. But for us, we were at a loss. How can we figure out which of these boats would serve our family well over a considerable amount of time?

What we really needed was a good list of boats that fall into the acceptable range for durability and safety on the open ocean, aka Blue Water Boats. “No problem!”, we say, “let’s just search for blue water boats and see what we get.” Yea…right. Search that phrase and I promise you that you will find a million different opinions on every boat on the market, and that’s because the idea of a blue water boat is so subjective. There are boats that have safely crossed oceans that other cruisers wouldn’t think of using farther than 5 miles from a coastline. After doing quite a bit of research, we’ve found that our top requirements are a stable boat preferably with a full keel (though other types are still an option), as much tankage as possible for fresh water and fuel, good storage, good construction, and preferably one having 2 private cabins so that Carter can have his own space (and so can we!)

But which boats fit that description? Well, that’s where the Mahina Expeditions crew comes in. This group has a lot of experience with helping people choose cruising boats, and even does a day long seminar that we will probably attend at next year’s Stictly Sail. One of their best resources (in my opinion) is a listing of every type of boat that they consider to be blue water quality, along with information about how to distinguish different qualities of boat systems. We’ve been able to use this list to help narrow down the choices quite a bit, and have a much smaller grouping now of boats that we think would be really good for our family. It is nice to have some extra reassurance that we aren’t going to have to settle for a lesser quality boat due to our reduced budget.

Now all we have to do is wait until we can make one our new home! Its not as easy as it sounds, trust me.

Read More

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 | 0 comments

Lesson Learned

As we’ve mentioned in the last couple of weeks, Dan and I have been taking a sailing class through our local yacht club. It was a 3 week/9 session class that was surprisingly simple. We had no idea what to expect going in to the class, but I don’t think either of us expected almost no instruction at all. Our  first day, we  learned how to tie a bowline knot (which we had already learned in scuba class), were shown a model boat to demonstrate points of sail, and learned how to rig a Laser. The other 8 sessions were all sailing, all the time.

We had a surprisingly good range of wind speeds to learn on the Lasers/JY15/Capri 22 that we got to sail. On our first day of sailing, there was about 1-3 knots of wind the entire evening, a.k.a. not fun at all. Our last day of sailing was somewhat more exciting at a breezy 20-25 knots on our instructor’s Capri 22. During most of our classes, the instructors were all in chase boats just watching us and yelling at anyone they thought needed an extra boost. There were some students who definitely needed more help than others, but luckily Dan and I weren’t in that category.

Even though we are both extremely happy with the results of this little class, it’s hard to describe exactly what we learned how to do. Sure, we picked up a few pointers on how to rig the boat easier and how to hike out of a Laser/Laser radial, but that doesn’t really encompass what we walked away with. The real benefit of the class was training ourselves in what a sailboat is supposed to feel like and how it is going to react. The small boats that we were sailing are much more reactive than our MacGregor, and certainly more reactive than any cruiser that we would be living on in the future. We left the class with considerably more confidence than we started with, which was worth the cost of the class and then some to us.

It also taught us that sailing Lasers is really fun.

Read More