Preparation

Our first preparatory step was to have a vision of living on and sailing a boat around the world, or at least part of it. This vision began at least 8 years ago. We were powerboaters at the time and had a great time on a Four Winns boat with the family. We even did overnights and campouts with her. Since then we have had a C&C 35, Arrow, which we sailed for the last 4 years around the sound. It was during this time when our dream of sailing long term started to take shape. Our careers prevented us from sailing very far due to the time involved, this caused the spark to catch flame–we must retire to allow enough time to sail to the wonderful places we want to see in the world.

The search for the proper boat began 3 years ago, scanning all yacht broker sites, the internet especially Yacht world were my favorite pastimes. I read everything about the essential items needed for safe offshore passagemaking, the list grew, then changed as the pricetag grew. Finally we ended up with several must haves, 40 ft, skeg hung rudder, figerglass hull, keel stepped mast, wire rigging, cutaway full keel, fairly new engine, 2 seperate cabins, double sink (well there are some things you can’t live without). Of course we did have a limited budget so the search continued.

In 2008 all the kids were out of the house and we put the house on the market–no bites for 6 months. Exasperated we took it off the market through the holidays, in January we decided we would FSBO and we sold in Feb. Wow, now all we had to do was find a boat to fit our needs and sell our Arrow. Since we didn’t have the upkeep and the responsibility of selling the house we had much more time to look for our boat. A trip to Calif. although it didn’t produce a boat of our liking, it did cement our needs/desires. We had looked at a Valiant 40, a very nice and well documented offshore boat, it didn’t quite meet our needs. We were then shown a boat which was going to be put up for sale–the Passport. We didn’t know anything about her except what we could see, not the year or the price or any of the particulars. Well we were in love. After some negotiating she was ours and Arrow had a new home to boot.

This was April-we began making sincere plans to quit our jobs–both pretty high stress and responsibility. The date was  set, July 5th was to be our last days. Leading up to that point was filled with finishing commitments and projects. Training our replacements was high on the list, but lets not forget all the preparation that Rocinante and her crew needed. Keeping our minds on business was difficult, once Rocinante had all her bottom work done we had moorage in Everett and were able to move aboard….it is amazing how many boxes and bags can be held inside her hull, Larry will attest to that one–and where is this box going? he would ask, to the boat of course! Well we are now living aboard and beginning the task of taking non essentials back off the boat. We do have to have room for the other crew member who will arrive next week.

July 21, 2009

This last week has been one check off after another. Seems that one check off gets 2 more to do’s added on. Well the reality has been sinking in, the last few months to get things done have turned to a little more than 2 weeks with our list reverting to the ‘this absolutely has to get done list’. All my list consists of is what will make the boat safe to get to San Francisco. The one crew member with experience in offshore may be taking a job onshore for a short time, of course the time frame is the August to October time we will be leaving to go to California. If we don’t have the offshore experienced person we will have 3 offshore experienced people when we arrive in San Fran.

Andrew is getting his cabin in order, he had all the stuff there was no other space for, or it was convenient to just throw it there. He has made great strides cleaning it and getting everything organized enough so he has room to set up his bed. We went for a couple of great sails with him so far and he has such a great sailing feel. Of course he catches on with all the high tech stuff—sanding is his strong suit! It is fun to watch him learn and take it all in, we are all in for a great adventure.

One day we had the experience of docking under sail without ever having done it with 2 couples aboard who didn’t have any boating experience with 20 k winds in a small river. My knees were knocking but now we can say we are able to do this small thing. We flew our spinnaker, which was actually a piece of cake, it has a sock and raising and lowering are so easy even for us novices. I took the head sail off to clean and inspect it and repair the UV strip. We have inspected and measured all the other sails and we now know what we have. Larry has changed both the filters for the fuel and arranged to have the fuel tanks polished, since changing fuel filters in the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast is not what excites him. We even had a MOB drill, it was actually one of our bumpers and we failed miserably, we chose to dock and go back with the dinghy and retrieve it, oh well we can’t do everything right.

We have exchanged our 4 and 5 hp dinghy motors for one 6 hp’/4 stroke. We are hoping that simplifies things by not having the additional oil mixture needed. Larry’s car is sold but the buyer is willing to wait until the 8th of August when we are leaving, I will be putting mine on Craigslist tomorrow hopefully it will sell fast and without complication. We still have dental appointments, Cat appointments, life raft repacking, rigging checking appointments and the list goes on. Seems endless but the day will come when we will have to say we are ready, or like our  childhood game, ready or not here we come.

The best fun has been sharing our adventure with our friends and family these last few weeks. There is nothing better than sharing your home (our boat) and some good food with friends, if that experience happens to involve using the wind power to move you along in the water with a beautiful sun all the better. We thank all who have shared our adventure and look forward to those who have made or are making plans to meet up with us somewhere—that will be a very bright spot in my thoughts.

July 22, 2009

The new 6 hp motor runs great. Larry gets a root canal tomorrow. Anyone interested in a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe?? The anchor chain is 300 ft long and marked, the windlass works electrically but still need to figure out the manual operation of it. The genoa is back on and looks great. We are making a checklist of things that need to be done for safety prior to heading offshore–if we don’t for sure we will forget something critical.

We took a ride in the dinghy to Jetty island–funny it is so close and yet we have never really seen what is there except from a boat. Larry and I walked to the west side and wow was the water warm! Such a nice beach area, the kite boarders were waiting for the wind to pick up so we didn’t get to see them in action. Came ‘home’ and had a great dinner of salmon, veges and rice.

Tomorrow the list of to do’s continues, I am feeling better after our talk about the safety things that need to be checked out and the things that all of us need to know how to do–I had visions of the boat filling with water through all of our deck openings and the bilge pump not able to handle it! Whew glad we found the dorade covers, I feel better now.

August 1,2009,

We have essentially 7 days left for preparation prior to departure. Our list is continually being updated crossing off those done and adding new. We talk about all sorts of cool things we either need or would be great–many of them go into the category of ‘that will be a great project when we are in ________(some exotic port)’ rather than we need to do it now.

We have set the anchor so the windlass works, fixed the head several times, set the spinnaker and flown it, the fuel problem of the engine has finally been dealt with and we have had no other issues with it. The windvane is on, we tried to use it coming back from Pt. Townsend but had a following wind so were unable to fully test it. Andrew is recovering from having all 4 wisdom teeth out yesterday-so far so good no complications. Larry is having good luck selling his car 3 people are interested–mine is still for sale with not much interest. Only a week to go.

Our rigging was checked out by Pt. Townsend rigging and found to be in good shape, only need lifelines replaced. Plan to do that on the 17th on our way out the Straight. Liferaft has been repacked-not sure if we will have time to mount it on deck somewhere so we may have to keep it somewhere close to the compainionway or secure it in the cockpit for the time being.

Our friends Monica and Scott of ScottFree left this morning-they should be well on their way to Neah bay now, we are praying for excellent weather for them this next week. Hopefully we will see them in San Fran-if not then further down the coast. It is a little lonely here without them but soon we will be on our own adventure!!

 

August 16th-Bon Voyage

We had so many wonderful family and friends attend to send us off on to our adventure, Larry and Tim even sang some tunes on the dock for us all, of course Kathy was leading the percussion but everyone joined in. Bridgette brought some juicy berries and homemade shortcake (I kept some for myself!), Julie and Jim and Katherine brought some wine for us to celebrate a milestone, Tom toasted to us with a great bottle of Champagne and made some wooden line rests so our boat won’t get those ugly black dirt lines, Lauren, Jeff and Daphne brought a great book of ‘worst case scenarios’ to help us out of jams, Steve and Jeanna brought killer brownies and promised to meet up with us in Cabo, Jocelyn and Chris toasted to our travels, Julie, Matt, Isaac, Gabriella and Emile brought their love and smiles and lots of hugs, Darcy and Chuck surprised us with a visit on their way back from the islands with good wishes for us, Ahmet brought beautiful flowers and his good wishes from Turkey, Mark and Jackie brought falafel-yum yum yum and will be meeting us in San Francisco, KC and Jan came with two awesome fishing lures-we will have full reports from our catch! Char and Jim brought their well wishes and wished they would have just sent us off from Pt. Townsend, would have been much closer a drive (JK, thanks for making the trip). We feel very blessed to have such a great support–we know you all will be thinking of us as we head out and south  and although we shed tears at our farewell we will be seeing all of you at least in January if not sooner.

Tomorrow 0300 will come very early-everything is lagged down and stowed and the last of the provisioning has been done. Pt. Townsend will allow for some last minute items should we need them and also the lifelines will be done while we are there.

Wednesday the 19th we will head out of Pt. Townsend to the Pacific, we figure with the tides there isn’t any point in stopping in Pt. Angeles or Neah Bay as we had originally planned, that would only serve to delay our arrival in San Francisco. The weather looks good throughout the week and we had an awesome Red Sky sunset tonight–must be a good omen. Vicki

From Lare:

It was a great send off. I so much enjoyed having all the friends and family here. I’ll miss all of you so much. Tom, has been wonderful with all his support. I’m sorry we didn’t do Sweet Home Chicago for him but I think he liked Feelin’ Alright. We’re all very excited and more than a little nervous, but right now very tired.

Responses

  1. Congrats on getting underway. Sorry not able to wish you well in person as I was off to BC to help a friend bring a 35 ft. Pearson to Seattle. I wish you both just enough wind to keep you moving and of course the wind always at your back. I will look forward to keeping up with you on such a wonderful adventure! BC was such an amazing trip with sun and wind everyday Even got to motor in gale force winds but it didn’t turn me off. Just as in life there will always be smooth sailing and some rough days I learned that this past year. Hey Vickie I am going back to work on the 1st of Sept. Whew-kinda scary but I am hoping it is just like riding a bike-right? Have fun and don’t forget your sunscreen. Colleen


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