Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29, 2013 boat info

Many of our sailing friends want to know what we have done to the boat since we bought it and what we are working on now.  So this entry will be more technical.  Dave started installations this summer (along with downsizing and moving out of our condo) but had to stop Sept 3 for a hernia operation.  Our installations resumed after we returned from SD/MN late October.   Part of Sept and Oct, the boat was pulled out of the water to do some installations by our marina mechanics. 

2 solar panels Kyocera 140 watt each, along with the controller and racks for mounting them over our bimini.  One was mounted before Sept.  We discovered how cheap our bimini is made in the process. 
Single Side Band radio.  Dave has installed the antenna & tuner, the grounding system and the speaker.  It still needs to be connected to the power source and tested. 
New 3 blade Max prop before launching the boat, but we added a Salca zinc line cutter to the prop when the boat was pulled out.
We bought 2 new anchors, an aluminum Fortress and a Delta 44lb plow to add to our 45lb Bruce.  We purchased additional rode and chain and a snubber to allow us to use all chain or up to 3 anchors with rode and chain.
ABAL10 dinghy-a 10.5 ft aluminum bottom with chaps, cover, lift straps and storage bag.  We also bought a system to be able to mount in on the deck in an upright position for overnight storage called Sof-chock.  15 HP Mercury outboard motor with lifting  strap and lock.  Richard assures me that I will be have the strength to start it.  The boat came with a smaller dinghy and motor which we sold at a used sports store. 
Raymarine digital Radar and Raymarine c95 chart plotter.
icom AIS transponder-sends and receives a digital signal that identifies our boat
icom VHF radio to be able to network with the AIS-replaced original VHF
Wirie WiFi booster-will pick up signals and send wireless throughout our boat
EPIRB-emergency position indicator rescue beacon to use if we abandon ship
Coast Guard compliant items-fire extinguishers, flare kit, regulation signs, etc. Other safety devices-life sling, SOS Dan Bouy MOB (man over board) throw bag.  Registered with company that will signal them if thrown overboard.  Other storm gear-parachute and drogue
Installed tank monitors for holding tanks and water tanks.  And we have a back up tank monitor for the fuel tank.  We have 2 holding tanks for the 2 heads at 22 gallons each.  2 water tanks 55 & 90 gallon.  And we are in the process of shocking the 90 gallon tank because of a foul taste from sitting in storage.  Fuel is 54 gallon. 
Asymmetrical spinnaker and appropriate sheets and tackle
10 lb aluminum propane tank to replace a 5lb steel tank and add to our other 10lb aluminum tank-used for our grill and our stovetop and oven.  NO COFFEE MAKER.  We are heating water in a tea kettle for instant coffee-a compromise we have chosen.

While boat was pulled in Sept and Oct:
Replaced a bank of windows on the deck.  They are for light only-do not open.  One side was leaking when we bought the boat and the other side was leaking after moving the boat to AL.  Our marina attempted to re-bed the windows, but they broke in the process.  So they had to be custom made in Mobile and then installed, before the boat was taken out of the water because the boat can take on a different shape out of the water.
Mounted a 2 inch rub rail full length of the boat.
Compound and wax the hull and removed the old name and hailing port. 
Placed a dynaplate-a grounding plate to tie all the metals together
Placed shaft zinc and prop zinc-there seems to be excessive current in our marina which wants to eat away any metal under water.  So to protect our prop, keel and through hulls, we are adding zincs.  We even hung an external zinc off of our stays.  Long term solution, get out of this marina.

Projects that need to be completed:
Dave just talked to someone today in Mobile about making us a new bimini
Mount the other solar panel
Chart plotter was installed this week, so now mount Radar and pole on the stern
Diesel Engine maintenance- received a parts manual for free today in Mobile and ordered a service manual, so that project is yet to be determined
Take our dinghy out of storage, attach chaps, mount Sof-chock system on deck
Connect power to SSB and AIS and WiFi booster
Set tank monitors

We are hoping to add a water maker in the future.  Boaters have always been known to be frugal with their water.  But some marinas are starting to charge you for water.  Plus we would like to be more self sufficient.

I have been told that cruising is just working on your boat in beautiful places.  So maintenance will be a way of life.  

October 27, 2013-Sunday on a boat

Sunday on a boat.  I have to plan more time to get ready for church.  I now have to get my blow drier, curling iron and make up out of it's compartment and put it back.  Don't have the luxury of a bathroom vanity.
First meal cooked on our grill.  We had to find the grill in the lazarette (storage unit in the cockpit), clean it and mount it on the push pit or stern rail (railing on back of boat).  We don't have all of our cooking dishes out of storage yet, so the grill was perfect. 

We spent the day cooking and working on the boat so we could play this evening.  We don't have TV, so we have been listening to the World Series on the ESPN radio as part of the Tunein ap.  But tonight, the Vikings and Green Bay Packers were playing at the same time as the World Series.  So we went to Baumhauer's sports bar for appetizers and beer and watched both games on big screens.  My designated driver had a chocolate milk shake, which a beauty according to him. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25, 2013-Tracy/tourist

One of the reasons it is taking us a month to get the boat ready to sail is because we are having fun with visitors from home.  Tracy Perdue's family was busy during the middle of the day, so Tracy offered to help on our boat.  I did have a couple errands to run, so we took off about 11:30 am.  Our first stop was the B&B Pecan Company.  This is a local pecan "farm" where we often buy pecans as gifts (and for ourselves).  As usual, Tracy strikes up a conversation with a stranger.  It happen to be the owner of the company.  He was proudly showing off his pictures of his family.  When we made our purchases, he left the building.  When we reached the car, we heard him call to us to come join him for some fish.  We thought "why not, it will be an experience".  His home is next to the retail store.  Every Friday, he fries fish for his employees that he has caught during the week.  They were just finishing and there were plenty of leftovers, so he invited us to join them for lunch.  He told us all about how he started this business 57 years ago with 5 acres of pecan trees and now he has 100 acres.  We met his wife of 56 years.  We were shown true southern hospitality.

We then went to the Grand Hotel at Point Clear just south of Fairhope, Alabama where our boat is located.  This is a gated Mariott resort property.  I have heard that this is where Jimmy Buffett stays when he is in the area.  It is a beautiful, old facility on Mobile Bay.  We sat on the veranda in cushioned wicker chairs and enjoyed a mint julep in the sunshine.  It doesn't get any better than this.

When we were sailing with the Perdues in the British Virgin Islands years ago, Tracy and I would go to shore occasionally to go shopping.  Well, after spending some time shopping, we would stop in a fun open air bar for a drink.  And of course, that is always where Richard and Dave would find us.  So from then on, they would always tease us about our "shopping".

So it was fun to go "shopping" with my good friend, Tracy, again.


October 24, 2013-raising sails

We have spent the last few days bringing things from our storage unit to the boat.  Clothes are being stored and the galley is partly done.  I am feeling better about our storage space than I was a few days ago.  Today, we took our boat to the fuel dock to pump out our heads.  We have 2 heads (toilets) on board.  They each have a 22 gallon holding tank.  So periodically, you have to pump them out with a large vacuum hose made for that purpose.  Some of my explanations are for non sailors, so bear with me if you are a seasoned sailor.  

After that task was done, we decided to go out for a short sail.  Even though we have owned this boat since July, we have only taken it out sailing a half dozen times.  Today was the first time I raised and lower the main sail and unfurled and furled the jib sail.  Either Dave did this while I was at the helm, or we have had friends aboard and Dave gets them involved with the sails.  The main sails we have had in the past were raised from the boom where it is stacked when not in use.  This boat has a furling main within the mast.  That means that the sail is rolled up inside the mast when not in use.  We were hesitant to buy this type of main because we had not sailed with one, but most of the boats less than 10 years old are equipped with them now.  So far we are happy.

Dave also convinced me to bring the boat into our slip.  Our old boat was 25 feet long and this one is 43 feet.  Plus it weighs much more.  So you have to get used to how it glides in the water.  You can't put on the breaks to stop it.  You can only put it in reverse and wait for it to respond.   If there is a wind or current, that will move the boat, too.  But today it was fairly calm.  So I had no trouble bringing it into the slip bow first.  Then I backed it out and let Dave bring it in stern first.  With the stern first, it is easier to board the boat and to hook the boat up to shore power while we are in the slip. The photo below shows the boat in the slip stern first (stern closest to the dock).

Some of you are probably thinking "she's just doing that for the first time!".  Remember we have been sailing for over 10 years, but every boat is different.  We have the rest of our lives to perfect our skills. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 21, 2013 Perdues/dolphins

On Monday, October 21, we had 2 spectacular events.  Our good friends, Richard and Tracy Perdue were in Alabama visiting Tracy's brother that is stationed in Mobile in the Coast Guard.  Richard Perdue is the person that introduced us to sailing.  After a few years of sailing on Angostura Reservoir in South Dakota, he convinced us to charter a sailboat with him and Tracy in the British Virgin Islands.  That vacation convinced us to buy our own sailboat and make sailing a way of life.  Thank you, Richard.
We planned to take Richard, Tracy, Todd and Brenda sailing on Monday.  The winds were light, but everyone was alright with just checking out our boat. We barely left the channel to our marina when we had dolphins swimming with us.  We had seen dolphins at the mouth of the bay from a ferry, but never this far into the bay (about 25 miles north).    Both Tracy and Todd had high end cameras and shared a disc of photos with me.  It was hard to choose only a few photos to post here.  There were at least 6 dolphins and they stayed with us for close to an hour.  It was spectacular.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been to swim with them. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 20, 2013-Debbie Johnson

We were fortunate to have friends visit us this weekend.  On Sunday, Debbie Johnson, her daughter-in-law, 2 grand daughters, and a friend from Pensacola sailed with us.  It was the first time sailing for all of them.  We had a nice two hour sail in Mobile Bay. I think we have a couple pirates in the making.


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Adventures of Sailing Vessel Luck of a Fool

Welcome to the adventures of the sailing vessel Luck of a Fool.  With this blog site, we would like to share our experiences with our family and friends.  And if someone else is considering cruising on a sailboat, maybe our site will help them, too. 
      We will also share how we started sailing and how we selected our Beneteau 423.  We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures.
        After talking about starting a blog for a few months, I decided to start with an article I wrote for the Black Hills Sailing Association newsletter.  Over time, I will add more information about ourselves and our boat.

The Roths are on the adventure of a lifetime.  It started in September 2012 when Mary sold her dental practice and accepted a position in Fairhope, Alabama as an associate dentist.  We sold our home and the majority of our possessions.  We even sold our Catalina 25 to Brian and Jackie Killion.  In Alabama,  we rented a condo for a year to make decisions on where to live and what boat to purchase.  In January 2013 we started looking at boats.  Discussing all our options, we decided on a boat that we would be able to live aboard in shoal waters after Mary retired.  The plan was to work about 5 years, then move aboard the boat.  Living in Alabama made it much easier to find a boat.  We took weekend trips to Pensacola, Biloxi, St Petersburg, New Orleans, and Memphis.  The 2007 Beneteau 423 Oceanis in Memphis was it!  It had been on a lake in Arkansas (so in fresh water).  The owner had a cabin on the lake, so it was very lightly used and in beautiful condition.  A few of the features on our wish list were a walk through transom, a Yanmar diesel engine, a generator, heater/AC and a bed that could be entered from each side to avoid crawling over each other.

Working with Murray Yacht Sales, an offer was made and accepted in June 2013.  The boat was brought to Mobile Bay from Memphis by truck/trailer, and the sale was finalized June 26, 2013.  About the same time, we made the decision for Mary to retire so we could begin our sailing adventure while we are both able to move about the boat.  We set the goal of October 1, 2013 to be living aboard the boat.  That was when the lease on our condo would be up. 

Dave went to work deciding what needed to be added to the boat to be able to live aboard and began the installations.  Mary started working on what possessions would go with us on the boat, what heirlooms needed to be brought back to family members, what could be sold at consignment, what sold at auction, what to give away or throw away, and what would go into storage.

Boxes began to arrive daily from UPS, FedEx, and USPS.  The list included Single Side Band Radio, radar, solar panels, a dinghy and outboard motor, and new batteries.  Dave started installing equipment around all the rain showers that were a daily occurrence.    

For Dave's birthday in July, he was given a hernia.  So surgery was scheduled for September 3.  We finalized several of the projects so we could enjoy Labor Day weekend with the Killions, who drove to Alabama from their new home in Cape Coral, Florida.

During Dave's recovery in September, we had the boat pulled out of the water for more boat projects  
We made a road trip back to SD and MN to bring back the family items and see family before setting sail.  After returning  to AL, we will finalize projects and settle into the boat.  Sometime in November, we will start our journey.   We will explore the Gulf of Mexico, the Killion's swimming pool, the Florida Keys and the Bahamas this winter.  The tentative plan is to then explore the East Coast and the Caribbean over the next few years avoiding hurricanes in the process.  A major goal would be to sail to Europe, but we don't foresee sailing around the world at this time (at least Mary doesn't).

To quote Jimmy Buffett: there isn't any doubt, if it doesn't work out, the pleasure was worth all the pain.