Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's been a crazy couple of weeks with the holidays, but I wanted to be sure I was able to wish you all a happy and healthy new year while I had a minute. I can't believe how quickly 2009 came and went, but I am eagerly looking forward to 2010.

So with that said, have a safe new years eve and a good night. I will continue to keep things updated as the attention turns back to the boat in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Gotta Fly to St. Somewhere...

A huge snow storm blew through the Asheville, NC area last night dropping more than a foot of snow and causing havoc on the roads like you wouldn't believe. If you have never been to Asheville, picture the steepest, curviest road near your home and then picture every road in your town like that...that's Asheville. Rear wheel cars were stuck in the middle of the roads due to no traction and folks with no snow experience were in ditches all over. We walked to the grocery store yesterday afternoon just as it was closing and bought a few supplies (wine and beer) so rest assured, we are safe. There is more predicted today and tomorrow, but I was able to get a few pics with the sun out this AM...enjoy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Official

Well, with another extremely cold, wet and windy week ahead, we have officially decided to wait until after the holidays to leave. We felt this would be our best best, as we would never make it back in time to be home for Christmas if we left later in the week. It is disappointing to say the least, but as I have already mentioned, safety is out top priority.

The new news of the week however is excellent. We have another crew member joining us, so we will have a total of 3 souls on board when we leave. I am very excited about our addition and I know John, my original volunteer, is as well. Welcome Jeff.

So with that said, I will continue to do the little things that the boat needs and a few things that will make our life more pleasant on board. I will continue to update the board as things come up. Thanks for watching.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Wait Continues

At this point, we might be in for a longer wait than I or the crew were hoping for. The December weather so far has been horrible as the wind and waves pound the seas off Cape Lookout and Fear. A glance at the wave heights for Dec 9th show waves over 12 feet, which is not at all acceptable for the trip. We continue to wait for the window we need.

I have heard a lot of opinions and words of advice from cruisers that have been all around the world. Although most of it varies from person to person, one piece of information has always been exactly the matter who says it. And that is, "One of the most dangerous thing a sailor can have is, a hard fast schedule." Many people put themselves at risk because they "have" to be somewhere on a certain date or time. They leave port when conditions are questionable and usually regret it when it's too late. That is advice I have taken to heart and will never forget. So with that said, even though I want the boat in Florida as soon as possible, I would never put the crew, the boat or anyone else in danger because of impatience.

I have read many stories of cruisers waiting out weather for a good passage window. One couple I read about spent over a month in Bermuda waiting for a decent weather window for their leg to the Caribbean. Granted, our trip is much shorter but passes by some pretty nasty areas.

A possible "plan B", which would avoid Cape Lookout altogether, would be to motor down the ICW and come out below Cape Lookout near Beaufort, NC. This would add quite a few days to the trip but take rounding the cape completely off the table. We would still have Cape Fear and Frying Pan shoals to deal with, but I guess in this kind of weather, everything helps. As of now though, we are sticking to the original plan.

More updates to follow... Oh, and by the way...I am sure there are a quite a few folks out there who have done this trip or something similar and would have great information to add. Please don't hesitate to comment on any of the posts on this blog. I certainly don't consider myself an expert by any means and would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What's a Cal 34?

The Cal 34 was just one of many models designed by Bill Lapworth back in the 60's. There is a ton of information out there, but one of my favorite sites show the original sales brochures and gives an overview of the boat for the specific release year. They are fun to read and to see the other boats in the Cal fleet. Check it out,

The Cal line is known for it's quality, seaworthiness, speed and stability. The Cal 34 specifically has participated and won many off-shore races and have successfully circumnavigated the globe. Skylark is very comfortable for her size and feels much bigger than a 33 foot boat when you are below. I have stayed on her for over a week straight and was extremely comfortable. Below is an excerpt from the 1968 sales brochure...enjoy.

"Built in all fiberglass by Jensen Marine, they feature Bill Lapworth's famous formula for speed - long waterline, light displacement hull, low wetted surface to sail area ratio, powerful sail plan, and spade rudder for positive control.

The long waterlines that give Cal boats extra speed also give them roomier accommodations. Long waterlines and short overhangs provide more living space below deck, and the raised deck design on the smaller Cal boats gives them wide level decks for efficient racing plus much larger cruising accommodations.

The interiors of Cal boats are finished in rich mahogany and exteriors are trimmed in teak. With their one piece fiberglass hulls, integrally molded decks and cockpits, molded in colors and non-skid surfaces, aluminum masts and booms, and stainless rigging, Cal boats are very solid".

Her vital statistics are:

L.O.A. 33'3"
L.W.L 26'
Beam 10'
Draft 5'
Ballast 3750 lbs.
Displacement 9500 lbs.
Sail Area 515 sq. ft
Engine 30 hp Atomic 4