Benjamin Edward – A 1978 Union 36 Review

Flying down to Florida on a moment’s notice was a new thing for me, and, as you might imagine, it was incredibly hectic.  The morning after making the decision to go, I awoke long before daylight and headed out on the three hour drive to O’Hare.  Fortunately, everything went smoothly, and I finally landed in Fort Myers airport just as the sun was setting.  After getting a rental car, I drove to my folks’ place about an hour north.  Before getting to bed fairly early, my Mom made me crab cakes, and we played some cards.
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Provisioning in Marsh Harbour – The Real Cost of Cruising

A frequent topic on cruisers forums and sailing blogs is the question “what does it cost?”.  A few weeks ago I wrote about how to save money and cut costs while cruising.  Today I offer some solid figures on provisioning for our week-long charter in the Abacos.  I have scanned in our grocery list from Maxwell’s Supermarket so that you can make price comparisons to your typical purchases.   As you can see, some items are cheaper, such as limes at $0.25 each, while others, such as pine nuts, are much more at over $9 for 2 oz ! Click on the receipt image below to enlarge the image.

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Mermaid Reef – Bahamas Charter Day 4

Waking up in a peaceful, quiet harbor in the Bahamas does not get old.  Day four of our trip began, for me, with a leisurely morning filled with reading in bed, a cup of tea on the deck, and warm winds suggesting it was going to be a beautiful day in paradise.  Jeff, Sasha, and David had their own special morning with a turtle sighting, so we were all feeling pretty excited to start our day.  After listening to the Cruiser’s Net, Sasha and David took the dingy over to Dive Abaco, while Jeff and I made corn and egg tacos for breakfast.  Upon their return we pulled up the anchor and headed over to Mermaid Reef, just around and outside Marsh Harbour.  As it was only a short distance, we motored over and dropped the hook about an 1/8 of a mile from a small crowd of snorkelers.
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Decisions, Decisions – Part Two

Upon returning to Peoria, we both got the car unpacked, cranked the heat, and, then, logged on to Yachtworld. We charted all the Tayana 37s and a few other boats between 35-40 feet that we had initially overlooked. We also updated our old spreadsheets, noting those that were newly listed, had sold, or had a recently reduced price.

Since we had just looked at many of the Florida boats that had made our initial list, only a few from the state remained on our list. Instead, we recognized there were a cluster of yachts in the Chesapeake and a few in other places up and down the East Coast. Hence, we began thinking more seriously about going on a big eastern seaboard boat inspection road trip over our spring break. We could easily look at 20 or more boats over that time. And, hopefully, we would find the perfect boat.
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Decisions, Decisions – Part One

Leaving St. Petersburg and Northern Light, we had eight hours in the car to discuss the boats we had seen and our shopping plans. We clearly were still not completely sold on any of the boats we had inspected because we were still looking at Yachtworld, trying to find out if there was another boat we could step aboard between Pensacola and New Orleans. It turns out the answer to that question, in terms of bluewater boats in our price range, is no. That allowed us to focus our discussion on the boats we had seen. Over the course of the trip, and the next few days while we were at Margaret’s Dad’s place, we decided that only three were real contenders.
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Northern Light (aka Baba Ganoush) – A Baba 35

After another lovely day in Florida, we finally needed to begin our return to the frozen north.  The first leg of our journey would take us from North Port, Florida, to Margaret’s Dad’s place in Lucedale, Mississippi, about nine hours away.  Of course, we arranged to see a boat along the way in St. Petersburg.  A sharp looking 1984 Baba 35, Northern Light looked to be in fine shape in the listing, but did appear to be priced around ten grand over what I might have expected.  She boasted a 2007 main, standing rigging of the same year, and new chainplates along with a liferaft, self tailing winches, and a few electronics.  But Northern Light also had an original engine and teak decks.  We were definitely interested in seeing more.
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Exploring Man-o-War Cay – Bahamas Charter Day 3

I woke up this morning at 7 a.m. (many of my friends are in shock and disbelief right now), and grabbed some juice and headed on deck to check out the anchorage.  The rest of the crew was discussing an issue they were having with the outlets onboard and their inability to charge their phones, cameras, etc..  I wasn’t too concerned about most of our toys but did want to be able to charge our handheld VHF, which was our way to call each other when on shore and reach out to other boaters, the charter company, and area businesses when we were away from the boat.  We hailed Mark who talked us through a few possible issues with the inverter and batteries, but when we couldn’t determine the problem we decided we would deal with it later.  While Jeff pumped up the dingy, Sasha and I whipped up a yummy breakfast hash.
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“The Bad Tayana” – A Tayana 37 in Ft. Myers

Getting back to my folks’ place near Charlotte Harbor, on the west side of Florida, we were still itching to check out a few more boats in our last couple days in Florida.  While we did not have to find a boat on this trip, we were enjoying the process.  Moreover, we were also thinking that it would be nice to use our spring break to start working on the boat rather than to still be looking for it.  And, though we were very interested in the Cabo Rico 38 we had looked at, Emily Luna, we recognized there may be other boats out there with less potential problems than her.  So, we returned to Yachtworld.
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Safety first! Best practices for crew safety.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we attended several seminars at the Chicago Strictly Sail Boat Show last month.  While Jeff went to Safety Under The Water Line I checked out Safety At Sea which was put on by Brian Adams from US Sailing.  Though I had hoped for information on emergency medical training, this seminar did not offer much of that but was instead jam-packed with great information about gear, weather, and equipment.  This is the first in a two part series which will summarize my notes and include a bit of personal commentary.
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Cutting Costs While Cruising – Part Two

This is the second part of my post on how to save money and cut costs while cruising,  which was inspired by Lin Pardey’s seminar at the Strictly Sail boat show in Chicago last week.  Part one examines cruising styles, boat length, systems, and insurance.  This post will cover health insurance, provisioning, keeping in contact with friends and family, haul-outs, and budget issues with participating in rally’s.
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