Sunday, January 31, 2010

De Ja Freakin' Vu

Well, we got another 10 inches of snow in Asheville, NC this weekend. Ice was horrible this time around as there was sleet that froze to everything. I am sure you saw some of the news cast about the power being out across most of western NC. For a change, we never lost it here but it flickered a few times. Once again we made the trip over to Greenlife market on foot Friday night and got a few items to make it through.

At this point, I am really getting sick of this cold and need some sun. Can only do so much getting the boat ready for the trip when the temps don't get out of the 20's, but I am certainly trying. Looking at mid March at this point, but it's still way too far out to lock anything down.

As far as what's left to do, the list is getting shorter. Still have to secure the propane tank to the cockpit stanchions and run the line properly through the lazarette to the stove. Need to get new flares and replace all of the old ones that have expired. First aid kit, off-shore life vest, inflatable raft and a MOB (Man Over Board) pole that attaches to the backstay. Thinking about a radar reflector that goes up the mast and helps the big ships see us small boats at night. I have heard a lot of different opinions on whether it's worth it, but have not nailed that down as of yet. Also want to add 2 new deep cell batteries to the house bank. The near term power solution will be solar panels, but that won't happen till I am down in Florida. And last but not least, a few days before we go, I will have the boat pulled out of the water and have them power wash all the growth off the hull, prop and through-hulls. It's a pain in the ass but necessary at this point as I could tell the prop was covered last time we went out. Was planning to scrape a bit before the water got too cold but certainly missed that opportunity a long time ago. There is more of course, but that's good for now. Hang in there, the warmth has to be getting close.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The other day, I received an email update from Cruising World magazine describing the events happening in Haiti and what cruisers are doing to help. As it turns out, there is a non-profit organization who works with sailors around the word to bring all types of aide to countries in need by sailboat. Here is their website. Welcome to OceansWatch | OceansWatch Please take a look and if you haven't already donated to Haitian relief, this would be a fantastic cause.

In conjunction with other groups, OceansWatch is sending a flotilla of 5 boats loaded with donated supplies to Haiti. I wish them the best of luck and the fairest winds.

Needless to say, we were quite taken by OceansWatch and Amy and I have joined this wonderful cause. Events that have taken place in Haiti are devastating and sad beyond words but what these folks at OW are doing will bring comfort to those who really need it. A worthy cause in any ones book.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Never Ending Task List

The weather has finally broken and temps were in the 60s today at the boat. I am writing this update live from the settee, (U-shaped couch), enjoying a nice warm and comfy salon, (Living Room), waiting for the space heater to preheat the forward cabin, (Bedroom). It's been great to get back. With the holidays and all sorts of other stuff going on, it's been about 5 weeks since I have been here. It pains me to say that as I truly love it, but I certainly take advantage of it when I can. And that will surely be the case when we move Skylark to Jacksonville. Don't have new dates at this point, but it is safe to say we missed our pre-winter window and will need to look at new dates no earlier than March, I would think. Till then, it's Cruising World, Latitudes & Attitudes, Live Aboard magazines and a bunch of sailing Blogs to get me through.

Was able to knock out a few outside chores today in only shorts and a T-shirt. Woohoo.. Boy do I miss the summer. Temps dropping now a bit, but don't think we will get out of the 40s over night. A real scorcher. Thank god for portable heaters. As well as the chill, there is rain on the way for tonight and tomorrow. I fortunately have a ton of inside projects to get through.

Well, that's about it. If tonight is as calm and quiet as last night, I am in for some good sleeping.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Coldest Winter in Years

The temps continue to hold in the teens at night here in Asheville and in the low 20's in Washington. It seems though the weather might break a bit this weekend and actually make it up into the balmy 50's during the day. So with some extra blankets and a second space heater, I think I will go down on Sunday morning to start on a few more projects that need to be done. As well, John might come down and take a gander at the boat for the first time. If we are really lucky, we might be able to get out for a few hours, but we will have to see how it goes. And if we are really luck, maybe we can take a cruise down to Indian Island and toss the hook for the night.

This weekend, I would love to get through a few of the never ending chores that need to happen before we go. All of us are getting antsy for the trip to happen, but of course no one is interested in sailing with temps in the teens...especially me...forget it. Might as well take advantage of the extra time though and get some more stuff done. And if it gets cold, a bottle of Glenfiddich will be along...just in case of course, so please..relax, it's OK.

On the agenda, I want to install the new bulkhead Richie compass that came in. Change out all of the 110 outlets to new 110 GFI models. As well, I want to add a second deep cell to the house battery bank. Also want to test the portable generator I found on Amazon and see if it will keep the house battery bank charged while we are away from the dock. It should work well. Eventually, I plan to install solar panels to keep the batteries charged while on the hook, but for now, the portable genset should do nicely. In addition to keeping the batteries full, it should run one of the portable heaters so we can keep the cabin warm while underway. A good thing, especially if we leave before the spring. There is an alternator on the engine that will also charge the house batteries, but if something would happen to the engine, we are completely covered with the genset. Something I feel good about since we are using the laptop as a chartplotter and need juice one way or another. System redundancy is always a good thing.
The previous owner had a dodger, but it was in pretty rough shape so I had taken it off the boat. I have done some repairs and want to get it back on and secured. Any protection would be helpful in the winter. If nothing else, it should give some resistance from the wind.

That's it for now. I am sure there will be a dozen other things to do once we get there. I can only hope we can sneak out of here in the next month or so if this weather ever shapes up. Not that it's much warmer in Florida...