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S/V Si Bon
Singlehanded sailing
Steve
08/20/2011

It was just about one year ago, that while on a trip to Catalina Island I decided that I needed to feel 100% confident in sailing Si Bon singlehanded. At the time I was single and thinking that I would be able to line up crew members along the way to help me realize my cruising dreams. I quickly learned that crew members may have a situation come up which requires them to leave the boat without being able to give much notice. When you are the owner/captain of the boat you don't have the luxury of just walking away. Sooo I spent the final 6 months of my cruising preparations practicing sailing Si Bon by myself. I took trips around Southern California by myself, I practiced anchoring alone, docking alone, picking up a mooring ball alone and of course sailing alone. When I left the marina and moved onto a mooring ball in San Diego Bay it gave me additional practice of the day to day routines of life on a boat away from a dock without having someone to help me.
As with most things once you practice them enough they get easier and easier, things that at first seemed impossible soon became routine. Docking is probably the biggest challenge, pulling a 42 foot sailboat into a dock and jumping off to tie her up with no one else onboard is lots of fun. I know that my family, friends and my girlfriend worry about me when I have to sail alone...there could be a huge problem if I should fall off the boat with the auto pilot on and not have anyone around to turn off the auto pilot and pick me up. I must admit that this also concerns me...so I ALWAYS wear my life vest, I have a tether and a harness that I am clipped into and I have Jacklines (heavy duty lines that run the length of the boat) which the tether is also clipped into (pic). So in theory if I should happen to fall off Si Bon I would be able pull myself back on board and continue on my merry way. I strongly recommend to anyone preparing to go cruising that you also learn to handle your boat alone, there can be many circumstances that arise which will require that you do so and you might as well be prepared.
All that said, Sharon has made the big decision to join me in late September for what is now going to be our cruise and I am hoping the days of singlehanded sailing will be over for me.

08/20/2011 | Amber Gilbert
this makes me feel more comfortable :) and you'll have much more fun too!
08/21/2011 | Karen
AWESOME NEWS Steve! You guys will have to let me know where you are going to be.. maybe a few days to join you two are in order if the timing permits!!!! Live well!!!!
New Yawk City (day 3)
Steve
08/15/2011, Da city

We got up early and headed to a small New Yawk cafe we had seen earlier, day had breakfast sandwiches for $3.49...which is a steal in da city. We grabbed a couple ah da sandwiches, chugged down some cawfee and headed to da subway. We shoved our way trew the crowd and hopped on the subway to Lower Manhattan to see the 9/11 site and da financial district.

As we excited the subway station our moods quickly turned somber. Sharon and I both joke around a lot, but as we walked towards Ground Zero we both became very quite. Walking down the same narrow streets that the survivors were seen fleeing the carnage, with the huge clouds of smoke chasing them, was a very sobering moment. The actual site of the World Trade Center is now a beehive of activity, there are several large skyscrapers under construction and other than the obvious hole in the skyline you can't really see much. There is a remembrance wall set up where we spent a few moments in prayer (pic).

We decided dat since we were both in a down mood already, we might as well head over to Wall Street and da New Yawk Stock Exchange...another depressing place lately....not much to see there either. Since we were both sick of wawkin we sat down for a nice lunch over looking da East River and relaxed a little.
At some point we both agreed that we had seen enough of da city for one trip. There was a three-toidy train back to cousin Lara's house and if we hurried....really hurried... we might be able to make it. So off we went, shoving our way trew the *#^*#@ crowds onto the *#$@&% subway, trew Grand Central Station, back to da hotel to get our bags, back down east 42nd Street to Grand Central and on to da three-toidy train....all da way bumpin peoples and given da red light runnin cabbies da one finger New Yawk salute.
Thank God we are now back in Brattleboro, VT, where we will spend the next week relaxing and trying to get rid of our New Yawk accents....and attitudes.

New York City (day 2)
Steve
08/11/2011, NYC

Day two started early, we had booked a harbor cruise the night before and decided to walk from our hotel all the way across Manhattan to the Hudson river, which is where the tour started. The tour we had chosen was to take us all the way around Manhattan. As we left the dock and started slowly edging along the New York waterfront our tour guild began a very informative presentation of the history of New York. We went passed where the Airliner had crash landed in the Hudson River, we passed the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks (more on that tomorrow), we saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (pic). We then turned and continued up the East River going under the Brooklyn Bridge and passed the many different boroughs that make up New York.
On the way back to our hotel we decided that we were sick of walking and ready to take on the New York subway. Not really knowing what to do we decided to go to the very nice lady at the ticket booth and see if we could get a 1 or 2 day pass. she explained in her very New Yawk manner.. " WE DON'T HAVE NO ONE OR TWO DAY TICKETS...NOW WHAD DA YA WANT".
Next on the agenda was date night. We had decided that we would go to Radio City Music Hall to see the limited engagement of Cirque du Soleil's Zarkana. We quickly changed clothes, grabbed a NYC cab and headed out to a marvelous meal at Uncle Jack's Steak House before walking to Radio City Music Hall (RCMH). Once again not really knowing what to expect I was truly in awe as we entered the theater. RCMH is the largest indoor theater in the world, it is by far the most elegant, exquisite theater I have ever been in, and a perfect choice for this spectacular show. As we wandered around looking at all of the memorabilia and artwork in the theater I thought to myself..the theater itself is worth the price of admission. Cirque du Soleil always puts on an inspiring act...but this was best the best one I've seen. The reviews describe it as a " spectacular, acrobatic rock opera" and that might just be an understatement. As we headed back to our hotel down 5th Avenue we both agreed that it had been a truly rememberable day.
Stay tuned tomorrow for our last day in New Yawk...which by da way, we are now gettin around very well in.

NEW YORK CITY! (day one)
Steve
08/10/2011, mmm.....NYC

On Wednesday morning Sharon's cousin Lara dropped us off at the train platform and about an hour and a half later we arrived at Grand Central Station. I guess I was expecting Grand Central Station (GCS) to be some grungy old train terminal...well was I ever shocked. GCS is a BEAUTIFUL historic building full of shops, restaurants, bars and of course LOTS of people...and I mean LOTS OF PEOPLE. Sharon and I grabbed a quick cup of coffee got our bearings and headed out to begin our exploration of New York City. I had never been to "the city" and when we exited GCS I was at first overwhelmed with the numbers of people rushing around, both on the sidewalks and in their cars. It seemed that everyone was in a MAJOR hurry to get somewhere. After visiting Saint Patricks Cathedral we decided we would go to Rockefeller Center, I was expecting some sorta big office building and was once again surprised to find that "The Rock" had a very large underground mall like area..once again full of shops, restaurants and people....LOTS OF PEOPLE. The Rock has an observation deck that is on the 67th -69th floors where you have a 360 degree view of the entire New York City area. I'm not sure how long we were up at the "Top of The Rock" but it is mesmerizing to look out over the biggest city in America and her awesome array of skyscrapers and buildings. After leaving The Rock we headed over to Times Square to see if we could get some discount tickets to a Broadway show. Times Square is AMAZING...I think we've all seen it on TV at one time or another, but there is no way to truly appreciate the whole atmosphere unless you are there in person. Due to the very long line for discount tickets we decided to blow it off and head to our hotel to relax for a while. As we made our way through Mid-town Manhattan through the mass of people we started to feel more and more comfortable with the New York scene....In fact I think we even stawted tawlking like New Yowkas...ya know wadda I mean?
Stay tune tomorrow for the show we saw at the elegant Radio City Music Hall.

08/13/2011 | Karen
YOUR SOOO LIVING THE DREAM!! Thank you keeping us all posted on your life adventures!!!! Where to next?
Kampersville
Steve
08/08/2011, Vermont

When I was visiting Vermont in June Sharon and I went to happy hour with Sharon's childhood friend Courtney and her husband Chris. After downing a few brewskis together, Courtney and Chris invited us to go on a camping trip with them and about 100 of their closest friends. This is an annual camping trip that they have been doing for several years. The trip was to be at a place called Kampersville. Kampersville is a Disneyland type campground with many different types of activities for both adults and children. The organizers of the trip reserve a complete street of campsites, including three sites that are used as a community gathering area. Of course we accepted their invitation...remember we were at happy hour and had had a few (quite a few) brewskis. As the date got closer I became a little apprehensive...I mean lets face it I was going on a 3-4 day camping trip with a bunch of people that I didn't know, but they had known each other most of their lives AND I was to be the oldest guy in the group. Would they snicker behind my back when I fell asleep after dinner? Would I be standing around twiddling my thumbs while they reminisced about the past? Well all of my apprehension was unfounded (I think). The group welcomed me in as one of their own as we gathered each afternoon and shared stories, jokes, food, games and of course drinks. Sharon and I went on hikes through the woods, we relaxed at our campsite and one day we rented a canoe and explored the lake. We entered a shuffleboard tournament, we played beer pong and we participated in other fun activities. As the weekend went on I marveled to myself at what a different life these guys had than the one I was raised in. As I said...many had know each for most...if not all their lives, they had gone to school together, been in each others weddings and now their kids were all playing together. The last night it rained and we all huddled together under a large canopy singing old songs, making jokes and partying until the wee hours of the morning.....AND I was still awake.
Tomorrow Sharon and I are going to New York City for 3 days. It will be my first visit to NYC and I am excited about this next adventure.

08/08/2011 | Courtney
We are so glad you came :) It is most definitely a great time!!
08/23/2011 | mark b
Very cool
Small town USA
Steve
08/02/2011, Baltimore airport

I am currently at the Baltimore airport waiting for my flight to Hartford, CT to meet Shaybo. I REALLY enjoyed my stay with Ross and Carol, it was a very relaxing 2 weeks, which after nearly 6 months of cruising was just what the doctor ordered. It's kinda ironic that I left the Sea of Cortez to escape the heat and it has been close to 100 degrees here in the Washington area ever since I arrived. Although Ross and I did visit Mt. Vernon yesterday most of our time was spent in the Hancock area. We did lots of things that many people might find boring, but being a city boy I enjoy seeing small town USA. We visited some historical sites. We took meandering drives through the countryside, we ate at a truck stop, small local diners and exclusive resorts in the countryside.
There was one thing that I didn't get to do....I had seen an article in a local paper that there was a cheese craving contest in the neighboring town of Sharpsburg (cheddar?). In my opinion I can cut the cheese better that anyone I know, so I was very excited to compete in the cheese cutting contest. I begged my Uncle to take me to Sharpsburg to cut the cheese...but he refused. So we'll never know for sure if I am the king of cheese cutters or not....but I'm going to be practicing in preparation for next years event.

08/03/2011 | Shaybo
Trust me u don't need to spend he next year practicing...your a natural. And hands down the best cheese cutter in the land :-/

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