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Blue Water Bound
Staying Connected at Sea

Our boat won't sail itself to a distant destination. Kevin and I will have to take shifts to get there. During 'Round Whidbey, WINSA's annual race around Whidbey Island, a 30 hour race, Kevin and I were on the same shift. Sailing during the day was peaceful and playful. We sang, ate good food, played word games, talked about the race and gave each other back rubs. The wind was steady, the sun was shining and currents complimented our course.

We started shifts with the crew of 6 after dinner. Kevin and I were the first to rest. After our 2 hour break, which ended up being about 40 minutes of actual sleep, my eyes were tired and I wanted more sleep. Taking over for the opposite shift, I was frustrated with the subtle breeze and conflicting currents that seem to be a tradition of the island's south tip during this race each year. Once night fell, the wind dropped and the cold set in, our time sailing together on the same shift wasn't as romantic and carefree anymore. It was cold and frustrating. When we're blue water sailing, it will be colder. When we're blue water sailing, we will be ships passing in the night, keeping opposite shifts to sail the boat.

Colder; I can handle with better gear. Frustrating; that will change when the focus isn't on racing and trying to beat other boats. The part I'm apprehensive about is the ships passing in the night part. I want to go on this blue water trip to be with Kevin, not pass buy him between shifts.

I want to sail together and be together. I want it to be romantic and carefree as much and as often as possible. Anyone have ideas on how to stay connected when cruising?

Thoughts & Philosophies
06/15/2010 | Ray and Sandy Klatt
Since your have could make a tape while the other one sleeps...then on their shift they could play the tape...or even a video...or you could just never sleep again...ha! As a therapist, (post hoc) I can tell you that one of the biggest killers of relationships is not getting enough time to miss (and therefore appreciate) the other. When you get older you'll probably want that time alone...but I do remember how it was for me when I was younger....long periods of time apart were hell...especially if the going gets tough. Some of this stuff requires real sacrifice to validate the trip but I'll save that for existential lecture # 238...ha! You guys are going to have so much fun! Meantime...old guy signing off here.
11/09/2010 | John Allison
You need not worry I am sure you'll realise a cruise is not a race, and you can adjust the few watches you need to keep to maximise time together.
Sue and I spent a year in 20076 cruising Turkey to Caribbean and despite some long legs, the reality was the longest period which did require watches was the Atlantic (16 days). We took a good pal with us to give an extra set of hands without adding lots to the crsuising inventory - and it was a great trip.
Most times the max we'd sail non stop was maybe 3 days - and even then we'd sail together daylight hours. Sue tended to cook up an evening meal which we'd share beofre 9 pm, then I'd hit the sack until 1 am. Sue would wake me with chocolate and a cuddle for her, and strong black coffee for me, and I'd see the night through until daybreak. A early morning snooze usually saw me join Sue for midmorning - and we'd share the days together. It works fine as a regime for maintaining our romance and fact are if Sue was not enjoying ti
Lifesling Practice
05/02/2010, Milltown Sailing Association in Everett

I understand the theory of using a Lifesling. All the steps make complete sense to me and I could probably do a pretty good job teaching a Lifesling lesson in a classroom. Before this weekend, I had never actually gone through the physical steps or had on the water practice using a Lifesling.

Milltown Sailing Association in Everett hosted a Lifesling class where divers volunteered to jump in the overboard to help us practice. Practicing with a diver is a more realistic practice scenario than tossing "Freddy Fender" overboard (a fender wrapped in a life jacket,) which is how my family would practice when I was growing up. The skills needed to rescue a real person are invaluable. I need to be competent in performing a practice rescue on my own so I can rescue a limp, sea soaked Kevin in crazy conditions in an real emergency situation, and he needs to be able to do the same for me.

The main thing that I got out of this weekend's Lifesling class was; how just 'knowing' how to perform a Lifesling rescue is not enough. Kevin and I need to be able to do it in calm water, rough water, day or night.

There are 3 main problems to work through during the Lifesling rescue:
1. Maintain visual contact
2. Make a connection between person and rescue crew with Lifesling
3. Pick the person up from water and actually get them on board
I need to work the third, it is physically taxing to hoist a drenched body with my strength without getting too tired (we do not have self tailing winches on Nirvana.) Kevin would say he needs to work on the second, making connection as quickly as possible by keeping the boat powered up when circling the person and cutting the speed after the connection has been made.

Lifesling class....check!
Practicing....get as many checks as possible!

Learning how to repair a boom is next! You can tell in the picture that our boom is resting on the cabin top.

Here's a great link to a Lifesling demonstration:



Last summer, while driving to Oregon to meet Kevin's family he said, "Let's take a year to go on a sailing trip." That was an idea that I had thought about a lot, but it had never been more than an idea I might do 'someday' when it was the 'right' time. I could have replied with an empty, "Yeah, that'd be fun." Instead, I really heard his words as a possibility and I responded, " Yeah, let's do that! "

That was how this all started. An unreasonable idea of taking a year off turned into an amazing possibility. I really wanted to sail the ocean, so I told him that I did!

We started with our goal. Within 5 years we are going to take a year or two off to sail the ocean south, maybe ending up in Guatemala to visit our sponsor child's family.

Then we worked backwards, asking ourselves, "What would we need to do 1 week before our blue water trip? What would we need to do 6 months before our trip? What would we need to do 1 year before our trip? Two years? Three years? What do we need to do today?"

We have a working list of what we're doing to prepare and the things we're learning about blue water sailing and each other along the way. This blog is a public and interactive record of our list. Right now we are adding more things to the list than crossing things off, but we've started the journey!

Step One: buy a boat together........check!

Trip Planning

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