With the intent to depart once again for the welcoming waters of Mexico this fall, preparations are underway. One thing we're doing is some interior beautification. The 1970's look is slowly ebbing away. The avocado green and burnt orange floors in the heads are now Hatteras Off White. We're replacing some of the upholstery, starting with the original French House of Ill Repute Red cushions in the forepeak which is our guest cabin.
When the boat was re-rigged in 2004 for the previous owner by a prominent Alameda boatyard, the rigging department was staffed by morons who had no business rigging an El Toro much less an Amel. San Diego rigger Chris Catteron remedied the worst of it a few years ago but I'm at the point now where I'm thinking about just pulling the sticks and making it all right.
I'm planning some sailplan mods and to add one of our Island Planet Sails CLASS (Cruisers Light Air Sail Solution) to the mix. We run the twins downwind and the boat pretty much flies (relative to other cruising boats) but the CLASS would give us a lot of horsepower in the close reaching to broad reaching range. One thing I have to figure out is how I'm going to rig the foil-less furler.
This week we're servicing winches and the windlass while our friend Jeremy of Avocet is visiting. Good times!
In January of 2011 I blogged about a decision to sell the boat because we were not in a position to use it for a few years. Well a few years has gone by, the boat hasn't sold, so that can only mean one thing. We'll be keeping Exit Strategy, and with a bit of fair wind, headed south again next fall. Having the boat on the market was a fascinating and frustrating experience. Nobody who looked at the boat had been cruising so they had no idea what they were looking at. For anyone selling a boat, I'd suggest focusing solely on cosmetics. Our boat underwent a 6 figure refit in which pretty much every component, major or minor, was replaced, but what received the most attention was the condition of the headliner and color of upholstery in the staterooms.
12/16/2011, Sausalito, CA
It was only two seasons ago that we were anchored in Mazatlan around this time. We were planning to be on our way but decided to linger so we could spend Christmas with our new friends Mark and Jackie Pitts. We met Rich and Lori Boren for the first time in the old harbor at Mazatlan. Initially I thought Rich's boat Third Day might have been a customer's boat since we had a customer in the area with a 365 like theirs. We met Ken and Lori on S/V Trim and some other boats like the fast cat Feet that we enjoyed socializing with later in the season. If memory serves me, I'm pretty sure our friends Mark and Vicki Reed were there. To celebrate, we made CD's with Xmas music which I distributed throughout the anchorage by dinghy.
Cruising memories are the best. I'm looking forward to creating more very soon.
07/21/2011, San Rafael, CA
As some of you already know, the boat is back in California while Jean and I work on our businesses and position ourselves for semi-retirement in a few short years. The pace is very intense. I think our schedules are fuller now than at any point in memory with us going as long as month without a full day off. Jean's business, Easykeeper is nearing the real launch and we're looking forward to fully unveiling the application. Meanwhile Island Planet Sails is hopping. By mid-May we had already built more sails in 2011 than we did in all of 2010. A special thanks to those in the cruising community who contacted us for sails.
I've been visiting Exit Strategy a few times a week and bringing a few dock cart loads of our stuff off the boat at a time. The boat is rising. I think it's up at least 1.5" (38mm). There were some things I've pulled off that we cruised with but never used. Great lesson for next time. The one thing I'm really torn about is what tender to use next time. We love the Porta-Bote but for long passages the seats have to be stored and they take up a lot of space. Building or buying a nesting dinghy that could store on the aft cabin has a lot of appeal. We're not big fans of the RIB. They have a much wetter ride than the Porta-Bote and require much more powerful outboards that are prone to theft. We can get by with our 2hp quite often, throwing the 8hp on for longer trips. I can plane by myself with the 2hp. We'll have some time to sort it out.
Another idea I have involves a second toilet. We have two heads, one ensuite in the master stateroom and the other forward. The forward head has a Lavac that we're quite happy with. The aft toilet was removed to convert the compartment to storage. I've been thinking about a composting toilet. I think between the Lavac and the composter we'd really have our 'stuff" together.
Technically the boat is still on the market as we don't want to have a boat just sitting that costs around $20K per year to keep when everything is factored in. However there is a very limited market for real cruising boats in California. Most people gravitate towards production boats like the Catalina's, Hunter's, Beneteau's, etc. There is no financing available for older boats so even for people that want a high quality older and proven passagemaker, they are limited to cash on hand. The market is sluggish right now with a lot of deals falling apart for one reason or another. I think it may not sell, which is fine. It's a phenomenal boat that's had every system replaced so it's very reliable. We'll be quite content to head back out with Exit Strategy.
Almost all who have expressed interest are from Europe and the east coast. Most California sailors don't know what an Amel is unless they've been cruising and realized once you get to the South Pacific, they're actually pretty common. One of our cruising friends told us he was in an anchorage in Polynesia with 9 other boats. 5 of the boats were Amels.
If Exit Strategy sells, we'll buy an aluminum boat with lifting keel for the next adventure. That may entail a trip to Europe. We're willing to travel. If Exit Strategy remains in our custody, then we'll head back down to Mexico and then to the South Pacific. Ultimately it would be nice to end up in Australia to join the Darwin to Bali Rally. We've spent enough time in SE Asia to know we love it there.
Right now we're just taking it day by day with the knowledge that our efforts will pay off and we'll be back "out there" before we know it. I'm really missing the daily interaction with fellow cruisers. It's an amazing community.
The picture for this blog post is of us leaving our slip in Alameda for Mexico. We are looking forward to doing it again.
04/13/2011, Oakland, CA
Come see us at Strictly Sail Pacific! Our company, Island Planet Sails, has teamed up with Rich Boren (Third Day) and his company, Cruiser RO. We will be sharing a booth where we'll be offering sails, watermakers, wind generators, and high output alternators.
We enjoy sharing our experiences and perspectives on what works and what doesn't.
Here's a picture of Rich taken during setup. We are in an outside booth. We look forward to seeing you there!
03/16/2011, Unfortunately not in San Blas where I last wrote about bells
Bells. As in wedding bells. Yes Jean and I are tying the knot. Exact details to be determined. Summer 2012. A beach. Central Cal a strong possibility. Like so many of our other plans, it will evolve.
This journey began in 1969 when Jean and I first met. You've heard of people marrying their high school sweethearts, right? We met in kindergarten. We became best friends as kids and stayed close until 1977 when Jean and her family moved to a small town in Northern California near Redding.
20 year elapsed before we saw each other again. We were both in other relationships and socialized as couples for about 10 years.
Our other relationships shifted over a similar timeframe and we became a couple in 2007.
We'll post more details as we discover them.
About the picture - This was taken in Lankawi, Malaysia in 2008 on our way to visit friends in the "Hole in the Wall" anchorage. It was a very special Valentines Day.