Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not going to Jinx it...

...but, the crew is in place and we will be leaving for Florida between April 7th and April 12th. Weather is always a factor, but baring any major storms, we are outta here. Feels good to have the dates finally nailed down, now we just need to prep and be ready.

Being the project manager that I am, I keep a list of all the work I have done on Skylark in a Microsoft Project Plan. I have cut and paste everything done so far from the captured tasks in case you wanted to see a detailed list.

New Mainsail
Running Rigging
Ground Tackle
3 Blade Prop
Port Running Light
Standing Rigging
Port Deck Cleat Remount
Jib Blocks (2)

Gusher Water Faucet
New water lines
3 Burner Oven/Stove Combo
Propane Tank
Male Hose Connector
25' Extension Hose
New shelves under sink
Galley Utensils
Pots & Pans
Coffee Pot

Waste Holding Tank
New water faucet
2 new Seacocks (Sink basin and Head)

Settee (6)
Quarter Birth (1)
110 Outlet covers
Air condoning
Flat Screen TV 19 inch

New Gas
New Scupper Seacock
Replace Gas filter
Oil Change
Oil Filter
New Throttle Control Wire

2 New House Series 31 Batteries

Depth Sounder
GPS for Laptop

Forward Cabin
Anchor locker Hatch

Safety Equipment
Fire extinguishers (2)
Flares, Smoke and Flare Gun
First Aid Kit
Life Sling
Off-Shore Self Inflating Life Jacket

Registration & Title
Jig Saw
Bucket and Brush
Inlet Chart Book
Cabin Heater
Utility Knife and blades
Dock Line (2)
Boat numbers
Deck Plate Key
Wooden Bungs
Water Jug (Two 5 gal.)
Boat hook
1200w Generator
Spreader Boots
Bottom Job 3/25/2010
BoatUS membership 3/25/2010
Topping Lift
Zincs 3/25/2010

Florida, here we come.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lets Try Again...

OK, so the boat is ready to go and I have someone on stand by. Would like to have one or two more folks join the crew for the trip down to Florida. Looking to leave around next weekend, April 2-4 or early the following week. If you are interested, give me a hollar. Estimating it to take around 5 to 6 days depending on weather. If you can do a couple of days, say 2 or three, we can stop in Charleston or somewhere to let off or pick up. Lets discuss travel expenses.
Thanks guys...would much rather have folks join that I know are out there doing this.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 25th, 2010...a Retrospect

Today is my birthday, so I look back over the year and see;
I am not dead, I have a wonderful family, I have made new friends, I have a great sailboat and the where with all to sail her. All in all, not a bad year.

I do however feel like I am 80 when I'm crawling around the bilges and lazzerettes and not 39. Oh well, it is what it is. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shake Down

So my buddy Matt and I left the dock at 10:00 am on the first shake down since the rigging was tuned and the hull cleaned. It was a beautiful day getting into the mid 70s. We had some wind issues though as we started out with about 3-4 knots, but the river tends to have weird weather patterns further out and it died. Completely...GPS read 0.0. We sat for a while, but around 2:00, it picked up nicely to around 8-10 knots and we took off. With a 10 foot beam, Skylark is a narrow boat for her length compared to newer models and really moves quite well in light air. We were averaging 5.5 knots with 8 knots apparent. All in all, we had a great sail. Ran wing on wing for about 4 miles coming back, what a beautiful sight that was. Of course it's a lot of work keeping her balanced and avoiding that unexpected gybe, but I only almost killed Matt once. Now I really can't wait to start the trip to Florida. More to come...

Here are a few more pics...

Me at the tiller...

Heading down the Pamlico River...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Florida Trip Update

As you probably noticed the other day, I had submitted a post looking for a replacement for a buddy that had to back out of the trip due to an unexpected family emergency. Unfortunately, after days of trying, I was not able to find anyone that could go on such short notice so I will have to delay the trip. This delay could be a couple of days or a week or two depending on weather and availability, but the boat is ready to go and quite honestly, so am I. It's a little disappointing, but it will happen soon and really, that's that. So, if anyone has about 4 to 5 days open in the next couple of weeks and feels like an off-shore trip, let me know.

A positive in all this will be a great opportunity this weekend to put Skylark through a complete shake down with a buddy of mine. Leaving tomorrow for a 2 day cruise down the Pamlico River. Will anchor out behind Indian Island if the winds are right and make sure all the rigging, sails, electrical systems, etc. are ready for the big trip. I will update with pics and a report. The weather will be in the 70s with sun and wind at 10-15 knots. Looking forward to it.

Thanks as always for following.

Confessions of a Skylark

Hi, I’m Amy Skylark (the bird behind our boat’s name). As a professional writer who actually makes a living writing blogs (among other things) every day, I’m so glad to finally have a chance to contribute to our very own little home-grown blog!

First I have to start with a disclaimer: I’m incredibly new to the boating world and am still learning everything there is to know about sailboats and the boating lifestyle. Seriously, a few months ago, I wouldn’t have known what a boom was if it hit me in the head (which it almost has a couple times since then). So how does a mountain-loving, sun- hating, tree-hugging, land –lover end up with a “son of a son of a sailor” and a lovely boat such as the Skylark? It’s simple—love your guy, love his boat…

Having spent most of my adult life in Denver, a mile above sea level, I never had much of a chance to go boating, let alone sailing. The first time that I was ever on any boat was actually in New Zealand on a whale watching tour. Very cool catamaran; not so cool killer waves. Roll, stop, retch—repeat. That’s most of what I remember. I quickly became the silly American girl frantically snapping the band around my wrist they promised would prevent sea sickness, while trying desperately to vomit the cold pizza I had choked down for breakfast as ladylike as possible into a sick bag. All while a boat-full of disgusted Kiwis stepped over me to see the whales.

My second time on a boat was in a water taxi zooming around the Sydney harbor. Underestimating the “power” of a power boat, I lurched backwards and felt lucky to have lost just my hat (and not my balance) near the murky waters off of the Sydney Opera House. The third time I went out on a boat was with a very nervous guy named Jim who was trying very hard to impress his new land-loving lady friend with his sailboat. I feigned interest and he feigned nautical know-how. That night when we went into the front berth to go to sleep, I was quickly reminded of how allergic I am to mold and suffered a buzz-kill of an asthma attack. Nice.

Now, the fourth time was different. Alone on a small mountain lake in a 17 foot sloop, I got to take the tiller and work the sails. I began to feel the water and watch the wind. Suddenly I got it--why people like to sail. I could feel the symbiotic relationship between the boat and the water; the sailor and the boat. Finally, I could see the poetry in sailing.

And while I’ll never become a Parrot Head, and am far from committing myself to sailing around the world as Jim would do in an hour’s notice—I am slowly, very slowly, working on becoming one of Poseidon’s peeps. At this point, I’m just happy to not only be Jim’s mate, but his first mate. It’s a pretty sweet deal so far…

Monday, March 15, 2010

Last Minute, but Why Not...

Well, this is a little last minute, but thought I would throw it out there. As all of you know, we are leaving to bring Skylark down to Florida next Sunday the 21st. (depending on weather of course) After some planning over the weekend, I was thinking that having another crew member or two along would be a real plus, so what better place to ask and see what you are all up to. Would certainly help with travel and food, etc., so give me a shout if you are interested or want more info. If a day or two schedule change would make it possible, that's cool too, let me know. Hopefully you guys were thinking about a vacation, and this is just what the Dr. ordered.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chart Update, Good Stuff

Only two days after placing my order with OceanGrafix, I was surprised to find brand new charts on my doorstep today. I went with the Print on Demand charts and easily found the areas I needed on the website. You can search by Area, Region or by the chart #. The website explains how it all works, but right before they print any chart, they confirm from NOAA that their current version has all of the most recent updates, so you know that they are as good as it gets. (Just in case anyone is wondering, I have no affiliation with OceanGrafix what so ever. I just like to pass on to other cruisers things I have found and liked. And that is certainly the case here:)

The paper quality was excellent and measured in at about 3 foot by 4 foot, bigger than I expected. Very clear and easy to read and all for about $24 a chart. Not too bad at all, especially since they got here so fast. If you need charts, check them out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Atomic 4 for Dummies

Just a quick post for those of you who have the Atomic 4 engine on-board. In my constant search for good info on the boat, I came across two great diagrams that show all the components of the A 4 in a simple format. I really don't remember where I got these, but I think it was an old post on Cruisers Forum. If the poster is reading this, thanks...these are awesome. The A 4 in Skylark is 42 years old and still running great, a true testament to the solid performance these work horses are known for.

Since a lot of folks out there are cruising in older boats, the A 4 was a big player in the 60s and 70s so I thought this might help. Take a look...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Work Never Stops

Even when I am not there, the work marches on. I am having the boat pulled this week for a good scraping and cleaning. It's been about 7 months since her last "outting" but she has been sitting the entire time and the growth I have seen on some of these boat bottoms is unreal. In just 2 months, one of my neighbors had his prop completely covered with all sorts of crusties, so I am guessing I have a bowling ball where the prop used to be. Where I am docked on the Pamlico River, the water is considered brackish, so maybe that has something to do with it but I am not really sure. Anyway, the prop was my biggest concern before leaving, so I figured why not get it all done now.

On top of that, the rigger will be down next week to go over all of the standing rigging, chainplates, turnbuckles, etc. I know the rigging hasn't been touched for over 20 years so it was agreed that all of it would need to be replaced except the headstay and furler, both newer. They measured today and will have all the new shrouds cut and ready to go on Monday or Tuesday. Once that is done, he will tune it up and that will be the last of it. I guess there really isn't anything more important than making sure the stick stays in place, so it will be nice to know its all in good shape 30 miles off Cape Lookout.

So other than provisioning, we are ready to go. Oh, I did order a couple of paper charts from OceanGrafix, If you need any, check out the print as you go charts that they offer. Excellent price and they get it to you in just a few days. And when you get where you are going, trade them with someone going where you just came for theirs of the area you just got to. :)

I feel pretty good about Skylark and everything that has been done. Now it's just a matter of time, weather and good ol' fashion sailing. I can't wait.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 19th, Weather Permitting

So a tentative date of March 19th has been nailed down for the start of the trip to Florida. Weather as usual will be the driving factor, but the wheels are now in motion. Finally.

In a nut shell, we would arrive at the marina on Friday and start the prep and provisioning. Food, water, fuel and everything else needed will be purchased and put on board Friday and Saturday. (I have a been working on the final to-do list and found a great resource for a boat trip check list to work from. I will try to post but I don't think I can, or at least, don't know how to post a file. I will be happy to send out the docs directly if you would like to check them out) As well, an oil change and engine once over will be done along with and anything else still left on the list.

Between now and then, I will have Skylark pulled and her bottom cleaned. Want to be sure there are no blockages in the thru-hulls and the prop is spotless. Will add new zincs while it's out, and...yata, yata, yata.

Depending on weather, we will leave either Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. The first leg of the trip is pretty short, so we have some flexibility around departure time. So now the excitement begins...

I don't know about you all, but I love de-motivational posters, pretty funny stuff. This one always made me laugh...oh, and is it just me, or do these poor souls have way to much canvas up. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

One Year Today

While looking through some paperwork last night, I came to realize that today is the one year anniversary of us taking delivery of Skylark. Wow, did that go fast. We have gotten a lot done but still have a fair amount to go. Regardless, it's been an interesting year to say the least.