This line is kinky….

Today was a beautiful day to be on the water. After sleeping in a bit, I got up when Jeff returned from town, where he went to find Internet, to work on his online course. And, since the boat is essentially an 11 x 37′ room, it is hard to sleep in when someone else is onboard.
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Sea Trial and Tribulations

Saturday morning we wore up early to get the Genoa bended on before the sea trial. We had plans to meet with Phil, our surveryor, at 9 am for coffee to get reacquainted and ask a few questions about what we would cover during the course of the trial. We met at Common Grounds, a great local coffee shop in downtown Branford, and enjoyed a quick meal with Phil while runners and other early risers swarmed around us.

When we met back at Bear, Hal, the broker, was there as well as David and Jeannie, the former owners. After we chatted for a bit, Phil said that we could go over some of the systems while still tied up at the dock and that David and Jeannie could come back later for the sail. We quickly got to work, going over the information that Phil had collected back in February during the initial survey. We discussed the more important repairs and safety equipment and then he jumped in the lazarette and began to tackle some issues he had found with the electrical systems.

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Phil checking out the batteries in the lazarette

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A Busy Day on Bear

Today was a busy day aboard Bear. After our first night sleeping aboard, we were surprisingly well rested this AM. The yard was quiet last night and, after the last train came through the nearby station, it was just us and the crickets.

Up around 8, we decided that the first order of business was to head over to West Marine to pick up some line. One of our goals for the day was to wash and measure many of the lines for the running rigging, so we picked up some thin line that we could use as messenger line, to tie to the halyards and send aloft. This saved us from having to climb the mast and re-thread all of the lines we needed to measure. We learned that the the main halyard needs a new splice and that both of the furling lines and the lazy jacks need to be replaced. All of these lines were really dirty, coated in mildew and dirt, which made the wash water a nasty brown-green hue during the wash process. I’m lucky that Jeff has a high tolerance for ick!
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Getting Ready for Commissioning

bear from lobster shack

Just to the left of center in the above photo is Bear on the hard. I took this photo while I grabbed a cup of chowder at the Lobster Shack, which is a delightful little place that serves up lobster rolls, grilled clams, chowder, and not much else (and it is BYOB!).
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The Preparations Begin!

Today was my last day of official teaching, only a few more meetings, a bit of grading, and the always-too-long graduation ceremony to attend before I am officially free. I have begun to gather our gear for our first summer aboard Bear, our new-to-us Tayana 37. About a week ago, I prepared nine bags of gluten-free pizza crust mix. I don’t think we will have storage room in the galley for 12 types of GF flour, so I am planning to mix up few of my favorite recipes, sans wet ingredients, and label them with cooking instructions. These baggies can be shoved into small nooks and crannies amongst our other provisions, which will take up much less space than the air tight containers do on my kitchen counter!
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More Cruising Videos on YouTube

Last June, we posted about our favorite sailing videos on YouTube. We are still watching YouTube, but there are some new videos we have discovered over the past year. So, we figured we would update you on some of our current favorites.
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How We Chose a Surveyor

As soon as we had an accepted offer on our boat, we started to look for a surveyor. There are a lot of benefits to having a survey before the purchase. First, while we had looked over the boat carefully, we were not experts in all its systems nor did we know every potential issue we should be looking for. Even if we were marine professionals, having fallen for Bear, we might not be the most objective inspectors. But an even more compelling reason to get a survey is that our insurance company – or the bank that is doing the financing, though we are not financing – requires a survey. So, we might as well spend the money up front and benefit from the survey during the purchase process. And, the potential benefits of a survey can be huge. The survey might turn up major structural issues that would cause us to walk away from the boat, saving us tens of thousands of dollars and a great deal of headache. Or, more likely, the surveyor may find a few issues that we can use to renegotiate the purchase price. In fact, people are fond of saying that a good survey should pay for itself a number of times over, for just that reason. Beyond saving money, there is the piece of mind that comes with having a professional look over the boat with us. Moreover, even with a boat in excellent condition, the survey will still provide a roadmap for maintenance and minor repairs that, as new owners, we need to address in the coming months and years.
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Cruising Guides to Long Island Sound and Other Resources

The summer before I met Margaret, my buddy Jonny and I spent three weeks in the Chesapeake sailing my Catalina 22, Helbent. We had a tremendous time exploring the bay, and, as soon as I got back, I started planning to take Helbent to Long Island Sound the following summer. After I returned to Arkansas for the winter, I pored over the charts of the Sound as I worked my way through a few cruising guides. Then, I met Margaret, and, instead of going to the Sound, we were planning a wedding and selling my boat.
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Photographing Women Who Sail

Last week, I began photographing women who live and work on the water for a new photographic series funded, in part, by the Puffin Foundation. I was welcomed aboard by three lovely women who I met via Women Who Sail, a Facebook group of knowledgable, helpful, and supportive women sailors. I have sent off the film for processing but wanted to share a few test shots I took digitally. I am currently looking for women who live or work aboard boats that will be in the Long Island Sound or Chesapeake this summer. Please pass along the information in the link below to ladies who you think would be interested. Thank you for your assistance!

http://www.returntoseasons.com/2014/03/09/call-for-women-sailors/

Megan Nix 2

Megan inspecting the mast

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Aboard Bear for the first time!

Fortunately, we do not teach on Fridays, so that allowed us to leave after our classes on Thursday afternoon. We ended up driving out to eastern Ohio before stopping for the night. The next day, we drove the rest of the way through to Connecticut and stayed at a great hotel just north of New Haven that we had picked up cheaply on Hotwire.com. The hotel had a bar, so we sat around having a few drinks, discussing our cruising plans, and getting excited to see Bear the next day.
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