Monday, December 19, 2011

The end of procrastination...

Well I finally did it. I stopped putting off winterization. (Isn't that a weird word? One of the thousands of strange boat-isms)

Anyway. After attending my grandfather's funeral and wake on Saturday, Greg and I stopped by the boat to grab a couple of things and I happened to see Captain Phil of the Pintita, former boss and teacher of the USCG Captain's Course I took a couple winters ago. Capt. Phil is a STICKLER for early winterization, though to be honest it's only barely frozen overnight a couple of times this season. And with my boat in the water, it's not likely to freeze hard enough to crack the engine block anytime soon. But I'd purchased the antifreeze and I figured it was about well on time to get the antifreeze pumped through. And seeing the good Skipper lit a fire under me to be a prudent boater.

Luckily, winterizing my engine is a short procedure.

My engine, being an inboard diesel, is seawater cooled. It sucks water directly from the Bay, through a filter, and then around the engine to cool it when it is running. In the wintertime, if you don't replace this water with antifreeze, the water inside your engine can freeze and expand and crack your engine block. If you're keeping your boat in the water, you can wait a lot longer to winterize your engine because the water holds heat and until the water starts freezing, you don't really have to worry about this. If you store your boat on land in winter, you need to winterize for sure before removing your boat from the water.

Most boaters, including me, use potable antifreeze (which is pink, as opposed to antifreeze you use in your car, which is usually scarily green) for winterizing because you end up pouring an entire gallon of it directly into the Bay. On Misty, to winterize the engine, all I needed to do was fill a bucket with the pink stuff, unscrew the band holding the hose to the intake seacock (which I closed, thank you very much), pull the hose off, place the hose in the bucket 'o' antifreeze, and start the engine. Greg was quite helpful at this juncture. It's VERY difficult to get into and out of the engine access hole on Misty, so he was kind enough to fulfill my tool requests and watch the exhaust water to make sure it was turning fully pink.

And that's it! After the engine has sucked up a whole gallon of antifreeze and spat it out the back, all you need to do is reattach the hose.

Come spring (or a suitably warm winter day!) all you need to do is open the seawater intake seacock and start the engine and voila! Seawater cooling and antifreeze feeding the fishes.

Now if I could just muster the desire to fill my water tank so I can do some dishes tonight...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving thanks for a happy life...

This Thanksgiving I'll be spending the day at the boyfriend's house and Misty will be all alone. Maybe she and the other boats will enjoy their own special Thanksgiving feast together. After all, Thanksgiving is a boating holiday, isn't it? I distinctly remember learning in Lower School about pilgrims and boats.

The world may never know.

Meanwhile, I'm giving thanks for my floating home, good food, electric blankets, friends and family that love me, a job (something I wasn't able to be thankful for last year!), internet that works, plenty of books to read and the best marina staff a girl could ask for.

Really, I am blessed beyond belief -- and today I am very thankful.

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, readers, and I hope you have just as many things to be thankful for as I do.

* Read about past Thanksgivings here and here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gettin' cold...

"Gettin' cold on the boat, isn't it?"

I hear this question several times a week from random co-workers, neighbors, marina staff, friends and various family members.

Another popular variation is: "So you live on a boat right? Isn't it, like, cold?"

Yes, yes it is.

"So what do you, like, do?"

The same thing you probably do -- I turn on the heat! I have two of these West Marine brand portable cabin heaters. I rarely use two, but every occasionally I get home late and it's cold. I also have a paranoia of breaking on in the middle of the night when it's 20 degrees out and freezing to death. Not like my parents live just 20 minutes away or anything. In the winter, my electricity bill runs about $130 a month for those who are curious. In summer, when I don't need a heater and the light lasts longer, it runs about $15 a month.

They retail for about $72, but you can usually find a $10-off coupon or a sale on these when it starts to get cold out.

The liveaboards I met last winter used traditional space heaters, but I have a paranoia about those as well. I have visions of them falling over and creating a fire in my beloved home. Fire aboard is one liveaboard experience I do not care to have. My little heater sits flat to the floor and could not possibly tip over. And I try to keep things off of the tables around it so that nothing falls in and burns. Starting a much-dreaded fire.

I blame my dad, by the way, for my fire paranoia. But in this case, I think it may be a healthy paranoia. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2009 there were 5 deaths, approximately 130 injuries and more than $12,557,513 in damages from boat related fires in the United States.Youch!

I also, some of you longtime readers may remember, have an electric blanket that my parents' dog (you remember my father's secretary?) got me for Christmas last year. It is my favorite thing for banishing the cold quickly. Especially now that I work from home two days a week.

Add that to a nice warm waterproof winter coat, ski pants, Gore Tex gloves and snow boots, and I'm prepared to tackle just about any boat-related chore around.

Mind you, that doesn't mean I won't bitch about how cold it is from time to time. And it doesn't mean I won't impotently threaten to move into an apartment.

So, yes. It's gettin' cold on the boat. But this girl is prepared...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Misty is so spoiled...

I went shopping with my mother for her birthday a couple of weekends ago and, while out, I found the item of my dreams: a Le Creuset kettle on sale for $40. I couldn't believe what I was seeing there in the TJ Maxx. It was the only one there and it was the perfect color.

Of course Misty would get a present for my mother's birthday. Brat.

The backstory here is that my old kettle was aluminum. My father purchased it for the boat several years ago (before I lived aboard) because he hates enamel.

Well, what he didn't anticipate was rust. No amount of steel wool could cure that disgusting kettle. Seriously. I have used half a box over the last year. You can see the offending kettle on my stove there:

And recently, I noticed it was starting to rust inside as well as out. Um, no thank you. I prefer my tea with milk and sugar -- not rust!

It's a pretty little kettle isn't it? And with this and my newest member of the collapsible family, Misty is getting to be just a little bit spoiled...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm floored...

Picture post to come from the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis -- I went with Greg and had a fabulous time. I looked all over for ranges, but I didn't see a single one.

What I did find was flooring.

Ladies and gentlemen, the beautiful Burmese teak interior of my boat is marred by a rotting faux teak and holly floor. It's.. well it's disgusting.

Sometimes when I step on said floor if I've spilled water or it's been raining and I've left a hatch open (yes, OK, I have occasional bouts of stupidity.)

I tripped last week and popped up a piece of said faux nightmare flooring and discovered that the subfloor is quite wet and nasty.


Now, I will say that my father and I agree that teak and holly flooring looks like it belongs in a bowling alley. You can see mine below the table (a bad laminate-covered disaster):

You can also see in the photo below the aluminum outline around a hatch cover. Um, ew. (Sorry for the poor picture, I couldn't find a recent one).

Now that up there is what I want... lovely hatches inlaid with wood. Pretty teak and holly that isn't rotting.

But you'll never believe what the above photo is. It's Lonseal. Yes. Faux teak and holly. You may be stunned. It's not a real surprise that faux flooring looks better now than it did in 1983 when Misty was built. It's also antimicrobial. And you know I am totally down to the ground with anything antimicrobial on Misty. That girl is a mold factory.

Anyway, I ordered some Lonseal samples to check out. I was super impressed with their product at the boat show. My dad is working on ordering marine plywood we can use to re-do the sub-flooring and is investigating a way to inlay my hatches so that they don't stick up several millimeters from the floor. We need about two sheets of the plywood (which is more dense than regular plywood), some Lonseal (which needs to be ordered from Defender after we pick a color), something to seal the side of the sub-floor that touches the bilge. I also want to re-paint the bilge while I'm down there. Why not, right?

I'll let you know when I get the samples, but I'm pretty excited at the prospect of a new floor and I hope to get one in before winter. Cross your fingers!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Expanding the collapsible collection...

It's no secret that I have somewhat limited space. I mean... I live on a boat. That's like the definition of "limited space."

This has brought about a love -- some might call it an obsession -- of all things collapsible. This goes double for kitchen items.

I have been expanding my collection of collapsible kitchen items over the past two years and it's still a pretty small collection. But just last week I added a coveted piece to said collection and couldn't resist sharing with you.

Now, I'm not going to sugar coat this: Collapsible kitchen items are not cheap. You can buy uncollapsible kitchen items for less than half the price of collapsible ones usually. But I value my kitchen space and I just really don't have anyplace to PUT bulky items like collanders and dish racks that do not collapse.

Yes. That's right. I got a collapsible collander. I have seen these before. Target carries them. But they have always been way too large for my needs. My sink is only about 10 inches wide, which makes a traditional collander a bit of a strain. No pun intended.

This beauty I found at the Container Store on a recent trip to buy some bins I could use to organize my refrigerator (which, try as I might, I can't seem to take pictures of. No amount of flash will fix the fact that it's a dark, dark hole.)

Isn't she pretty?

She strains with the best of them. I was even more inspired to stick the collander in the cart since I dumped an entire batch of cooked soba noodles into the sink two weeks ago while I was trying to drain boiling water from the pot using its lid. This is about the third time in two years I have done this. Never again. Never. Ever. Again.

I also wanted to share my collapsible dish rack. My mom found this at BJ's Wholesale a year or so ago and snapped it up for me. It is incredibly sturdy (as you can see by the way I have overloaded it) and it collapses to less than 2 inches high, making it the perfect height to slide into the slot behind my counter and above my fridge. (Pay no attention to the laundry in the background -- it was a chores kind of night.)

I also have collapsible measuring cups. Now THOSE are awesome. A normal-sized cup measure will not fit in my utensil drawer. I got my collapsible one a couple months ago at Target after drooling over them for two years. Yes. I tortured myself over a $15 purchase. What can I say? I'm a freak. Don't be like me. Go forth. Buy collapsible -- your cupboards will thank you!

Next on my list? Collapsible mixing bowls -- if only I could find some that I like! If you have some you love, please share!

Source for measuring cups

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oh the humidity!

Let me tell you about a fun thing that happens when you live on a boat and it rains for a week solid: EVERYTHING is damp and MOST OF IT gets moldy.

I am cringing just thinking of sharing these stories. If you are squeamish about mold you may want to stop reading right about now.

So here are the things you need to know before I start this tale of gruesome woe:
1. It rained for an entire week, thanks to Tropical Storm Lee.
2. I gave up and went to stay with the boyfriend for the rainiest weekend of them all.
3. The humidity was getting to me. OH THE HUMIDITY!

OK, now that you are properly prepared, I will begin.

When I came home, I decided to make toast. I love toast. I eat a lot of toast. And what did I discover that day? Well, I realized I hadn't emptied my crumb tray in a couple of weeks, so I took the toaster outside, held it over the side of the boat and shook. Nothing came out. Perplexed, I looked inside only to see that all the crumbs had turned into GREEN PUFFBALLS.

I manned up and took a couple deep breaths before I pried the bottom off of my $6 toaster and scraped the mold off, bleached the tray and then ran the toaster without toast thinking the heat might kill the mold.

When I told my mom this story, she said: "Um, why not throw it out? You said it doesn't work well anyway and you're the only person who uses the toaster at our house -- take that one."

So I did. I threw out the toaster. I just.... couldn't.

After the puffball incident, I realized my rug was damp and the floor was getting to be a strange color. Yep. My rug was molding. And I couldn't get it to dry because of the humidity. Luckily I was able to save it with a quick trip through a washing machine and an air dry in a house that isn't as humid as a rainforest.

My towels were also distressingly still damp from a shower taken days before.

I attacked the mold with all my might and green cleaners -- it was raining on and off, so I couldn't deal with bleach in the cabin without ports open -- but you can be sure my bleach bottle is going to get a workout soon. Yick!

In the meantime, it has dried out a lot, but I am still researching ways to dehumidify, including the purchase of three 900-gram packets of silica gel in tyvek bags (they're rechargeable!) I don't see good reviews for the boat dehumidifiers on the market, but I can't figure out what else to do. I simply cannot fit a dehumidifier.

That said, the rain has stopped and the boat has dried out a LOT recently.... so maybe this was a fluke and I don't need a dehumidifier.

What do you all think?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ahoy, me readers!

Of course I couldn't let International Talk Like a Pirate Day go unnoticed here on Diary of a Liveaboard. I talk like a pirate EVERY day, of course, but today, you all can join me!

So pull up a dead man's chest and let's have some rum! Yo, ho ho!

(Real post on the moldiness resulting from Tropical Storm Lee to come as soon as I can get home and snap some pictures. I also may NEED some rum to get me through this one... it's a disgusting tale or misery and mutinous mold.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thirteen Thursday...

Continuing in my occasional series of blog memes, I am inspired to share thirteen things this Thursday:

1. So far at least 3 people have asked me if they can join me on the boat if our region continues to flood.

2. Did I mention that it's rained nonstop for a week? Everything on the boat is damp. I am running out of rags and paper towels.

3. Four people have suggested I buy a dehumidifier.

4. Dehumidifiers are large.

5. I have nowhere to put one.

6. I discovered this morning that my rubber boots have a hole near the pinky toe of my right foot.

7. I have had these rubber boots so long that I had forgotten how expensive rubber boots are.

8. As much as I love Target shoes, cute galoshes are not going to cut it.

9. I am pondering new internet access options and am soliciting opinions on Clear.

10. I have started seriously thinking about replacing the floor in Misty's cabin. I am thinking parquet.

11. Ditto purchasing a range.

12. I did not sleep more than an hour straight last night because of the thunder.

13. I'm getting nervous for winter again... I may need my mommy...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene who?

Yes, faithful readers, I survived Hurricane Irene.

She was, almost disappointingly, pretty much a non-event here in Baltimore. Almost being the key word there. Not so lucky on other parts of the East Coast -- I wish everyone good luck cleaning up and getting power back. Especially the folks in Vermont.

I stayed overnight at my friend Pascal's house along with boyfriend Greg and two other friends -- and we had a lot of fun. We made hurricanes and jambalaya. Yum achieved! We were having so much fun that we barely noticed a hurricane was happening and headed out to Ale Mary's for some middle-of-the-night tater tots and a drink. And to see if Fell's Point was underwater. It wasn't -- but we sure got soaked like we'd been swimming on the walk there!

Anyway, I checked on Misty Sunday morning after some corned beef hash at Jimmy's and the weather was beautiful. Would have been sailing weather if the wind hadn't been blowing so hard! ;) Misty was completely unscathed and I almost felt silly for worrying. But you know what they say -- better safe than sorry.

Hope you all had as fun and uneventful a hurricane as I did!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane shmurricane... right?

Well, folks, Misty Rose is all set to ride out Hurricane Irene. The forecast is becoming more favorable -- we're sitting at 80 percent chance of tropical storm force winds, according to the NOAA weather radio aboard. Yes, I'm still aboard. No, I will not be here once it starts hurricane-ing. I know I posted the other day that I wasn't that worried, but, well, I've succumbed to peer pressure.

In the end, the marina decided for me that I would be taking off my roller-furled sail, which Greg helped me do after work yesterday. It's folded up in my dock box. I also took an extra line and tightly tied around the outside of my sail cover.

Now, many of the boats in my marina came out of the water for the hurricane. I decided not to go that route. Tidewater, my marina, cited on their Facebook page an MIT study that found it is safer to keep your boat ashore than in the water during a hurricane.

I don't necessarily disagree with that. Or maybe I do. One of the ladies in the office here said to me a couple days ago, "but what if it comes up the Bay?"

Well, that's what insurance is for when it comes right down to it. If the hurricane comes up the Bay, you're pretty much screwed whether you're ashore or in the water in my mind.

I did, however, wake up at 8 a.m. this morning and decide, for no apparent reason that I wanted more fenders:

I called my dad from the car after I made the $143 purchase of one large fender, one smaller fender and two double-braided fender lines. His response?

"Good girl."

I also bungeed my grill shut. I suppose it's recommended that you take it off the boat, but it's not like I have a garage where I can put stuff and my dock box is pretty full of genoa just now.

The final precaution I took was doubling all my lines. I doubled the bow line, stern line and spring lines.

I think I'm as ready as I can be. I had crabs for dinner last night. I'm going to a hurricane party tonight. Misty will ride out the hurricane, just as she has ridden out hurricanes for nearly 30 years.

Either that or I'll be homeless come Monday...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anticipating the unexpected...

So it looks like Baltimore is going to be hit by Hurricane Irene this weekend. Weather reports are still sketchy, but at the very least we will get some high winds and rain, according to the weathermen.

I don't claim to be an expert on hurricane preparedness on boats, but when I lived in Washington, D.C., I was required to file a hurricane plan (including location of extra lines and fenders) which is what initially got me thinking about and researching hurricane preparedness. That and Ida, which hit the first year I lived aboard.

Here in the Chesapeake Bay we don't frequently see the effects of hurricanes beyond what's expected for this weekend: high winds, some possible flooding, high tides and lots and lots of rain.

Rain and high water aren't so much a problem for me since I am docked at a floating dock. The dock will just rise as the water rises. And so will Misty Rose. The problem comes with the high winds. High winds cause large waves, which if your boat is not tied up properly can cause serious problems -- like hull damage.

Tidewater, which is where I live, posted on their Facebook page today that they recommend boat owners consider taking their sails off and removing canvas coverings.

Unless the forecast gets a whole lot more serious, I won't be removing my sails. They are a lot of work to get off and get folded and I don't really want to have to do that. So without further ado, here is my list of hurricane preparations:
  1. Make sure genoa is tightly rolled to the roller furler and tied down. 
  2. Double bow line (mine has a tendency to rub in the chock and wear down).
  3. Check all dock lines. Add extra lines where necessary.
  4. Rehang all fenders so that they will stay between the boat and the dock.
  5. Pump bilge (yes -- I am still pumping the bilge by hand!)
  6. Dog down all hatches (it only takes one hatch partially open to cause a flood -- trust me, I've been there!)
And of course my final step -- head for the hills! When Ida hit I was incredibly seasick. I don't particularly have a mind to do that again, so I'll be heading over to the boyfriend's. Normally we split our weekends between his house and the boat, but this weekend we're definitely planning to hang out at his place!

SOURCE: Graphic from

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The trials of summer...

Well now that summer is drawing to a close and the weather has been cooler, things have been exceedingly pleasant on the boat.

Apparently not pleasant enough, though.

Yes. That's right. Melted chocolate-cracker stick things. Oh the humanity.

This is just the most recent in a long long list of lessons with a single moral: When in doubt, put it in the refrigerator!

Days without A/C on the boat mean that with the hatches closed, Misty gets slightly past toasty and into melty... And now I have a mass of melted chocolate-cracker sticks. Luckily they taste OK... but they are now one solid mass instead of multiple sticks. Oh summer...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Installing a new bow light...

Well last summer dad and I took a nice overnight trip to Annapolis. There was a nautical flea market I wanted to visit. It turned out to be a bust, but it was a nice visit and we got to eat at our favorite Eastport eatery, Davis' Pub.

As we were leaving Sunday morning, we stopped for fuel. Last summer, Dad couldn't much leave the cockpit. So he was steering and I was guiding him to the fuel dock.

This worked quite well. Until it came time to leave the dock and we scraped the bow pulpit on the pilings at the dock and, we discovered later, knocked the bow light off.

Yes. That's a very embarrassing story I just told the blog world. But, readers, you needed to know the pain.

Anyway, dad ordered a new light and I taped the wires left from the old light and we forgot about it until the next summer, when I put my foot down. I wanted to sail at night and I needed lights to do it!

Enter my computer nerd boyfriend Greg and my trusty Dad.

Now, please keep in mind that this fix, while completely workable, would get you dinged on a survey because instead of completely re-running the wires, we spliced the new light onto the old wires.

We're rebels like that.

Here's Greg splicing.

I should maybe mention that it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit that day. I hid in the shade under the ramp and held the boat when necessary. I am largely useless when it comes to matters electrical.

The new light was not identical to the old one. It hangs from the forwardmost rail of the pulpit. The old one was mounted to a plate hanging from the aftmost rail if the pulpit (there is a double rail at the top of it). The old plate was welded on. We despaired for a moment of getting it off.

Then I had my sole brilliant moment of that hot, hot day: Why not just hang it and leave the old plate? It looks stupid, but how would we get it off without making the rail look REALLY bad? So we bent it down and the wires from the old light were in position to be spliced to the new light. Dad needed to drill the holes in the new light to make them larger so the wires would fit through.

And then Greg held the lamp to the rail and screwed it in place and spliced together the wires hanging from the light to the wires hanging from the plate.

Yes. There is an exposed splice.

Yes. This is bad for a survey. Weren't you keeping up? I said that already.


Night sailing? Yes please!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A day late...

Well... it seems the worst of the worst has passed for summer. It's been much cooler lately and, you know what? I think I can easily make it through the rest of the summer without an air conditioner.

I think I will buy one for the future though -- but my strategy will be to let the a/c fund collect some interest and buy either just in time for next summer or whenever it happens to go on sale.

Anyone happen to know if these units typically go on sale post-summer? I mean... West Marine can't want them sitting around the warehouses all winter, right? Please advise.

And while you're advising, let me know what you want to read about! I haven't done any "exciting" sailing this summer, though I certainly should post some pictures. But what do you guys want to read about? This lazy boat owner has some time while Congress is in recess and is looking to do some reader requests!

Friday, July 22, 2011

To condition? Or not to condition?

Well... I mean the air, of course! Baltimore is in the midst of a serious heat wave. The overnight lows have been in the high 80s all week.

So far I've got a small fan and a big Vornado fan and that's about it. And a lot of hatches. And the occasional merciful breeze.

Now, I could buy one of those air conditioners pictured to the left there... I had one last year. It sits on one of the hatches and hangs inside. I borrowed it from the sailing center I used to work for.

But that is not an option this year -- the borrowing, I mean. Now the pros of one of these is that it's actually liveable in the cabin during the day. The cons? Slightly more numerous. The unit is fairly heavy and difficult to maneuver, which makes sailing a pain. My boat is not big enough to sail with that thing sitting on one of the hatches -- and it's not terribly sturdy, so if the boat was going to heel, I would worry about it falling off. Also, last year the cotton cover that came with it was not the right size/fabric to cover my hatch opening and not have rain come in. Slightly less than awesome.

Up until now I've been working about 50 hours a week and commuting about 16 hours a week and spending some weekends away. So it really hasn't been that bad. The overnight lows have been enough to sustain me.

But in this record heat wave I'm torn. There's to be another heat wave next week.

And can you imagine what will happen to me if it rains and I have to close all my hatches?

Readers, this is a true conundrum. I need your thoughts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The 50th post -- where does the time go?

Spring is here and I find myself with an entirely new dilemma for my 50th post at Diary of a Liveaboard -- lack of time.

In the past, I held jobs that allowed for time to work on the boat. Jobs that weren't at least an hour away. Jobs that... well... weren't paid by the hour solely for the purpose of making me feel guilty about not working them. 

So after four months of unemployment this winter, I elected to take a 32-hour-a-week secretary job at a church an hour away and a supplemental job as a copy-editor for a Capitol Hill publication in Washington, D.C. -- an hour in the opposite direction. 

And I had to buy a new car, which only makes me want to work more (in my copious spare time I am copy-editing a book that the Capitol Hill publication I work with publishes every two years). 

So I now face dilemma that boat owners the world over must also face: I have no time to work on my boat! It's just killing me! I'm keeping up with the cleaning for the most part. That's no so bad. But measuring the floor for parquet? Putting the sails back on? Scrubbing the boat? Painting the bottom? 

I just don't know! How do you other boat owners find time to do all of this? I think I'll have some free weekends in May. I hope I have some free weekends in May. But jeez. For the time being all I see is the marina launching boats and painting bottoms and generally being industrious.

I guess one solution is to pay the marina to paint the boat bottom and scrape the barnacles and replace the floor. But pay someone to do something I could do myself? I just don't know about that.

So, fellow boat people, what are your solutions to this distressing dilemma? Where do you find the time?!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We're (not) gonna need a bigger boat (yet)...

So my dad has been dreaming a lot lately about a new boat, apparently. I got an e-mail Friday with the subject heading, "Wanna Catalina?"

... Particularly nice one. And six feet nine inches headroom in the cabin.

I figure Misty plus a 65,000 loan with a 600 pmt at 5.75% would pay off in 13 years. With 700 pmt, 10.5 years. With 1000 pmt, 6.75 yrs.

As long as you live on it, even if only on weekends, the interest is tax deductible, so at 700 a month, uh, 3612 is tax ded. If your tax rate is 15% The first year pmts total 8400 but take 542 off that for the tax saving and the first year acquisition cost is less than 8000.

Lots cheaper than a house, and LOTS cheaper than a mortgage.

Now where can we find the 700/month.

Maybe not yet, but someday. There are always deals like this boat somewhere. In this one we could sail to the islands.

- dad –

And two days later
(with names changed to protect the innocent)

and wouldn’t it be fun bringing it down from Massachusetts? (I’m not nuts: we’d take the canal and skip going around Cape Cod to seeward.

It’s probably got a shower inside as well as the one in the cockpit. Most boats with radar do, I think.

I could get the old crew together. I’m sure blank and blank would go, and we could fill out with blank and one or two others. Five or six would be perfect. You’d be Skipper and Second Cook. Wow. I can’t wait.

(Misty + 15 years of $352 pmts.) $20,444.76 in tax deductions on top of all the good living and great cruising.

There will always be a deal like this around. This one looks good.

I’d like 36 feet rather than 34. Think coastal! Think Hilton Head, the Outer Banks, Block Island, and Florida. The Gulf! – Tampico! Vera Cruz! Campeche! Cancun! (well, we could skip Cancun, its touristy) I know! Playa del Carmen and a hike into Yucatan! Then back. If the weather gets schnooker, we go up the ICW to Coinjock, out into the Sounds, across the Noble Neuse, and on to Norfolk

If we got adventurous, put Havana after Playa del Carmen! Then Miami and up the ICW to Charleston or Jacksonville, counting alligators all the way, and go on to Savannah in the ditch or sail. Next Myrtle Beach. Wilmington, Norfolk, and up the Bay.

‘Course we could just go to Hilton Head or the OB and back. Then next to Block Island or Maine. Mom would fly there and we’d all go to LL Bean.

Me, I’ve always wanted to transit the Panama canal. Baha! San Diego! Santa Barbara! Monterey and Carmel! San Jose, and through the Golden Gate! Seattle? Vancouver? Ketchican (sp?)? the North Pole? Baffin Bay? (not sure you can do that from the NP) Across the Great Lakes to the Erie Canal? And on home. We just circumnavigated the United States!

‘Course we could be satisfied with the Delmarva peninsula.

My response:

I have no desire to make any more payments until A) I get better pay or B) I pay off my car.

He's starting to scare me, readers. All this talk of bigger boats and loans is making me nervous. It's 35 degrees outside and I think I'm sweating...

Monday, March 21, 2011

The arrival of an old friend...

Well, folks, today is the first day of spring, and I could not be any more giddy. (Well, maybe if it was 70 degrees outside and I had an old-fashioned Baltimore snowball in my hand...)

This was my first real winter aboard. I made it through the entire winter (with an occasional night at my parents' house or a friend's house) on Misty Rose -- and I lived to tell the tale! Last winter I wussed out and spent almost two months at my parents' house with blizzards and sickness. But this year, I managed to make it through. I didn't fall in and become a victim of the dreaded ice. No, readers, I made it with an electric blanket, two West Marine heaters, a down blaket, a faux Snuggie, some hiking socks and fleece pants, countless cups of tea and the kindness of the staff at Tidewater, who moved me to the sheltered dock close to the bathrooms for the duration.

Baltimore is starting to get warm, and you boaters out there know what that means -- work time!

Projects planned for my spring haulout include: replacing the floor inside the cabin salon, painting the bottom, painting the non-skid portions of the deck, re-varnishing the door boards, caulking the port holes, replacing some lines and cleats that aren't working well and, of course, going sailing!

Jeez, I'm tired just thinking about it all. Maybe we should stay with this whole winter thing for a couple more weeks...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ice Part 2...

Ahoy there, bloggers! Well I've been diligently Dust Busting salt off my cabin floor, drawing up plans for spring work, working on my curtains and working on driving my dad nuts. It's all a lot of work, and it doesn't leave much time for blogging.

However, there was one more grain of wisdom about ice in marinas that I wanted to offer: Leave your swim ladder down.

I was perusing another liveaboard blog the other day and I realized that I am not the only person terrified of falling off the seawall or slipping on ice on the dock and falling in.

People have died falling in the water in winter and being unable to pull themselves out.

This has been a source of terror for me since I fell off the dock at the sailing center one January. At the time I was wearing a full foul weather suit, a fleece, sweatpants, sneakers, hiking socks a lifejacket and gloves. I stepped on a rotten piece of dock, lost my balance and fell straight into the water. With all that clothing on, I couldn't manage to pull myself onto the dock. Luckily, I had been sailing with my cousins and my dad and they pulled me out of the water.

Ever since then I've been scared that it will happen when I'm alone. To the point that I occasionally dream about falling in the water.

The simple solution? Leave your swim ladder down. If you, or someone else, falls in, at least the swim ladder will be there.

Other safety tips for not falling in? Don't pee off the back of your boat or the dock (a couple of years ago someone died that way). Always salt the ice on the dock. Maintain three points of contact on deck.

I guess this is a more serious entry than I normally write, but this is definitely something that freaks me out -- and it hadn't even occurred to me until recently to put my swim ladder down. So, folks, here's hoping you put your swim ladder down and stay safe for the rest of winter.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ice in the harbor...

People ask me all the time about keeping warm on the boat. All. The. Time. I don't mind, for the most part. Except when people flat out tell me I'm crazy. Which only happens two or three times a week, so it's all good.

And people wonder why I don't frequently tell people right away that I live aboard.

Anyway, one of the most frequently made assumptions about where I live (in the outer harbor in Baltimore) is that the water doesn't ice over.

Au contraire, readers, au contraire. It ices over constantly. It's been a cold, cold winter for the Chesapeake Bay, as evidenced by a huge fish kill of Spot.

It's difficult to see in this picture. I took it standing in the cockpit, facing out over the stern. I left the swim ladder in the picture so that you could see that it is in focus. The lines and ripples in the water are pieces of ice. (I had a surprisingly difficult time trying to capture the ice in a picture, so bear with me here.)

The marina where I live now doesn't have bubblers. A bubbler is a common piece of equipment in the Chesapeake Bay region and my marina in Washington, D.C., had them, as did my the marina in Pasadena, Md. Marinas use them to aerate the water around a dock. If ice freezes around pilings, the pressure can move the pilings. Marinas are always quite insistent that the bubblers are for the benefit of the dock and not the benefit of your boat -- liability issue I guess -- so some people buy them for their boats. I think this is a bit of a waste of money in the Bay.

Since I'm not in the Inner Harbor, the ice doesn't get too thick here. It gets just thick enough for ducks to sit on, but not so thick that it can't be easily broken with a stone. Not that I've tried that.

This brings me to the No. 1 rule for ice in marinas: Never break the ice around your boat.

You might ask why.

Well, I'll tell you.

Broken ice is quite sharp and can damage your hull if it's broken -- at least it will scratch a fiberglass hull and can even leave gouges. A lot of new boaters think they should break the ice -- this is wrong. Any good marina will send you lots of e-mails over the winter urging you to please, for God's sake, DO NOT BREAK THE ICE.

Living on the Potomac in D.C., the water iced over and stayed iced for most of the winter. My boat was fine.

Now I will admit, the sound of ice breaking at night or cracking against the hull in high wind is disturbing. But you must resist the urge to break the ice. Your boat (and your wallet) will thank you for it...

NOTE: If you live in a place where the ice builds up, buying a bubbler may be for you. For me, it's not necessary. The water doesn't ice over very thick here because the Bay is tidal and I live very close to open water.