Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year, What's Next for Skylark

Off the coast of Carolina
2010 has come and gone a light speed. When I was a kid, I my Grandmother once mentioned that time seems to go much faster when you get older. Well, I can say without reservation that she was absolutely right. I can't believe I am sitting here on the last day of the year thinking back over the shreds of memories I have collected. And this last year was a big one. As you all know, 2010 started with plans of sailing Skylark from Washington, NC to Jacksonville, FL. So much planning time and energy was spent getting ready for what would turn into a life changing event. The weather really played havoc on the trip, but all said and done, I wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe a couple of things

I certainly wouldn't change all the new friends I met and have made along the way. It was almost like a stage production as the support team was tremendous. Amy of course supported me all the way as well as family and friends who watched intently as we logged each mile. But there were so many more folks involved. Quite a few go nameless as they were met breifly, only leaving a great impression. And that's really what cruising is all about. Meeting the nicest people in that little bar in the middle of nowhere. A cast of characters that makes the whole thing real.

All in all, my best guess is that we completed just under a thousand nautical miles to get Skylark from NC to FL. Crazy since the trip should have been a little more than half that in actuality, but when you have to sail with the wind on your nose for so long, the miles really add up. Anyway, the trip changed my life in many ways most of which I have described in previous posts. I look forward to keeping the momentum going in the new year and sharing the adventures with all of you.

Now Skylark sits happily secure in her new home down in Florida. So I ask myself, what's next. Well, I have a bit of work to do now to get Skylark ready for her next adventure. I know I always enjoy reading about what other folks are doing to their boats, so here is a short list of whats on the front burner.
  • Pull engine to replace oil pan
  • Replace carburetor
  • Replace fuel tank
  • Rewire engine harness and charging system
  • Install new fresh water tank
  • Replace winches
  • Have boat pulled and bottom painted
  • New 3 bladed prop
  • Solar panels
  • Bimini/dodger
  • 2 additional house batteries
Of course I will keep you updated as this stuff all happens. The plan is to have this mostly done by the end of March so I need to get started. Would love to hear from any cruisers out there that have experience with solar power and any recommendations you might have to get me started. Thanks in advance.

OK, so the boat is ready, where to? 2011 holds some unknowns as to "where" at this point. I need to start getting Amy accustomed to longer sails and ocean swells. I think a great start for us would be a trip down to St. Augustine. We can sail the river and do a quick hop down to the St. Augustine inlet in a total of about 67 miles. From there, I am thinking of heading further south and eventually making it to the Keys. Work is still a consideration, but if done right, I am thinking we can make it all happen.

One known however for 2011 is my 40th birthday. Yikes. As I said before it goes way to fast, I am sometimes shocked that 40 is here. But as long as we are all doing what we want to be, age doesn't matter so much I guess. I will say that certain priorities have changed a bit and now it's time to start "doing." So with that said, lets get out on the water and do it before it really is too late.

I want to thank everyone for reading over the last year, it has been a lot of fun. I hope you will continue in the future as we put more miles under the hull and meet more great souls along the way. I wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year. May everything you desire come to pass.

Fair winds and calm seas.
s/v Skylark

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Skylark!

Christmas morning, 2010.
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas. Be safe out there and think only warm thoughts if you are still up north. If you are in Asheville, this is what you are seeing out your window right now.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Misery, thy name is Winter

It has been weeks of 20 degree weather, terrible winds, sleet, snow...the works in NC. It gets dark so early that by 7:30, you feel like going to bed just to get the day over with. Well, I was able to break that monotony by coming down to Skylark for a few days. I knew I was in for a welcomed change when I stopped for gas in Georgia and the temperature was 65...65 at night! It has not been over 35 in Asheville at the peek of  afternoon since early November.
Anyway, I stepped aboard at 11:00pm and by 11:20, everything was setup and it was like I never left. I can't describe the joy I get when I sit on the settee with a beer and some good music playing after the long drive down. I think a smile from ear to ear sums it up nicely. Everything was as it should be, and with the little heater making everything nice and toasty, I was ready for bed.
So in a few days, I will bring Zachary back to Asheville so we can all spend some time doing holiday stuff. He really enjoys the mountains and the snow, so we should have a nice time. But in the meantime, I will take in some sun and enjoy the warmth while I can. Snow tubing is on the agenda for next week, so I have to start mentally preparing now. If only it was a trip down south on Skylark. Oh well, maybe next year. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Report, Circumnavigating Low Key

So I just finished Captain Woody Henderson's new book, Circumnavigating Low Key, and thought it was great. He tells the story of his 2 year adventure sailing around the world on a Cal 33, Low Key. Yes, I especially loved the fact that he made it around the world on a boat very similar to my own. I have emailed with Woody a couple of times and discovered he started out on a Coronado 27 as I did before going to the Cal. Great thinkers I guess. :)  Anyway, if you have a chance to pick it up, I highly recommend it.