Looking at Boats – A List of Contenders

This is the first in a series of posts discussing my favorite boat designs. While my ocean miles are minimal, my opinions about boats are not. From my brief experiences on well-seasoned boats such as Helbent and Sojourner and my time aboard new boats at the Strictly Sail boat show in Chicago this past January, I have managed to compile a pretty lengthy list of needs, wants, and deal breakers for our future vessel. Rather than create a list of desired features, I thought it would be more interesting to create a post about potential boats that might fit the bill, with plenty of visuals and links to examples currently on the market. Whenever possible, I will also link to YouTube to show the boat in action.
Continue reading

Posted in Margaret's Blog | Leave a comment

Chesapeake Trip – Spray Beach Yacht Club to Cape May

This is the fourth in a series on my 2011 trip to the Chesapeake aboard my Catalina 22, Helbent.  Here are the first, second, and third posts.

It was only fifty degrees, so I dressed warm while I was still trying to wake up after the 3 am alarm. The thought did cross my mind for half a second that it would be a lot easier to get back into bed, go on a shakedown sail later in the day, and depart the following morning. But I quickly put those thoughts aside and, with a mixture of excitement and a dash of trepidation, double-checked that I had the charts, GPS, VHF, and a few other last minute items I had gathered the night before.
Continue reading

Posted in Jeff's Blog | Leave a comment

Florida Charter – Day 3

Day 3 was a jam packed day! Check out a bit of footage from the day here. We started with a breakfast of champions – no, not Wheaties, but instead our favorite concoction of scrambled eggs with corn. After an early breakfast, Jeff noticed, and heroically fixed, a near-disastrous head issue. I won’t gross you out with the details, but trust me, this is not a problem you want to have on land or at sea!

I was particularly eager to get going that morning as we were heading out into the Gulf of Mexico where I would get my first ocean sailing experience. We spent about a half hour getting the boat packed up tight for our adventure, being sure to store everything that could fly around in choppy water in lockers or settee storage.

On our way out to the gulf I asked Jeff to give me a few demonstrations on sail changes so that I could have some hands on experience maneuvering the vessel under sail. The first thing he taught me was how to tack and jibe. Continue reading

Posted in Margaret's Blog | Leave a comment

Where Will We Cruise First – The Cruising Video Game

In my first three posts on where we might cruise first, I focused on how the location of our purchase and refit, our refit plans, and the season of out departure will affect our initial cruising plans. In the next couple posts, I will explore where Margaret and I would like to cruise first. But before we even get that specific, I am going to describe my theory of cruising experience using a video game metaphor (or maybe it is not a metaphor, but just a plan for a cruising video game). While this exercise surely proves that video games warped my young mind, it should also explain how I think cruisers gain experience and knowledge.
Continue reading

Posted in Jeff's Blog | Leave a comment

Florida Charter – Day 2

After waking up from a strange end-of-the-world nightmare, complete with zombies and nuclear holocaust, I was quickly transported back to reality.  The pleasant realization that I was not destined to be food for the undead, but rather, would spend the day on a quiet mangrove-covered island became quickly apparent when I crawled out of the companionway and caught site of the anchorage we had navigated into at dusk the previous evening.  To our starboard side was a small key bustling with pelicans.  To our port side was Cayo Costa, a densely forested island with a small boat dock and ranger station.  Off our stern an impassable opening to Pine Island Sound.  Off our bow, a small bay speckled with a dozen or so yachts bobbing in the protected waters.
Continue reading

Posted in Margaret's Blog | Leave a comment

Where Will We Cruise First – Season of Departure and Routing

This is the third in a series of posts on our thoughts about where we will cruise first and the factors impacting that decision. In the first post, I detailed how the location of our purchase and refit will impact our itinerary. In the second, I looked at how we might go about refitting the boat and the implications of that decision on our first cruising destinations. Today, I am going to examine how the season of our departure and basic routing considerations might affect our cruising plans.
Continue reading

Posted in Jeff's Blog | Leave a comment

Where Will We Cruise First – Boat Condition and Refit Plans

This is the second in a series of posts on our thoughts about where we will cruise first and the factors impacting that decision. The last post can be found here.

It is likely that we will not undertake a complete refit at the time of purchase. If this is the case, the extent of our refit and our plans for further work on the boat will have an impact on where we cruise first.
Continue reading

Posted in Jeff's Blog | Leave a comment

Where Will We Cruise First – Location of Purchase and Refit

Margaret and I have spent a lot of time dreaming about and genuinely discussing where we would like to cruise to first. We do not quite agree, but we are coming to understand each other’s perspectives a little more. I can even foresee a time in the future when we both advocate on behalf of the other’s current preferred plan. I wanted to detail some of our discussions about the topic, present some of the major factors that should be considered for anyone making the decision, and outline (using a video game metaphor) my theory of cruising skills and achievements that explains my perspective on the choice of an itinerary.
Continue reading

Posted in Jeff's Blog | Leave a comment

Florida Charter – Day 1

Our day began with a leisurely breakfast with Jeff’s parents in their beautiful North Port home. We had spent the night before riding around on their golf cart, drinking rum cocktails and searching for alligators on the golf course abutting their property. Marilyn and Jack (Jeff’s folks) had done all our provisioning for us, purchasing the list of foods and goods we had compiled plus a few special treats (Pyrat Rum rather than Mount Gay and homemade gluten-free chocolate chip cookies!)

As we drove down to the Burnt Store Marina, we passed through miles and miles of urban sprawl. I had never seen so many strip malls! When we got to the gate of the marina, we gave our name and got clearance to meander through a maze of condo lined streets toward our waiting vessel. Jeff went down to the dock first and met with Loretta, one of the crew for SWFY. She showed us where to get buggies to bring our provisions onboard and gave us a basic overview of the boat. Two trips to the car and 2 full buggies later, we had brought all of our provisions and luggage aboard.

Sojouner at the dock

Sojouner at the dock

Continue reading

Posted in Margaret's Blog | 2 Comments

Favorite Running Routes

Just before I headed out to run today, I commented to Margaret that I was a little bored with my 5-6 mile run options from the house. As every runner knows, having some key routes is critical. Fortunately, Peoria has a large number of very fine options for everything from short recovery runs to hill workouts to good old 20 milers. Moreover, I am lucky to have a wealth of options right out my door, including several solid courses in the 5-6 mile range. But, as most every runner also knows, even the best routes can get a little tired. This is especially true when, in the case of my go to 5 mile recovery run, I have ran it over 30 times in the last six months.
Continue reading

Posted in Jeff's Blog | Leave a comment