S/V Passage - Refitting a Classic (& Building Our Skills) Before Cutting the Docklines

We are working toward our dream, one step at a time, and are prepared to make mistakes and learn from them so we become better cruisers every day.

Vessel Name: Passage
Vessel Make/Model: 1980 Pearson 365 Ketch #324
Hailing Port: Chicago, IL
Crew: David Cole & Brodi Cole
About:
We started sailing in 2004 when David's dad bought his first sailboat, a 30' Hunter on Lake Michigan. David spent many hours on Lake Michigan and when his dad upgraded to a 42' Hunter, even made several multi-day crossings between Florida and the Bahamas. [...]
Extra:
In early 2010, we made a 5-year plan to pay off our debt, save money, buy a sailboat and take off for the adventure of a lifetime. One year into that plan, Brodi discovered an amazing deal that resulted in us acquiring "Passage"-a 1980 Pearson 365 Ketch-three years ahead of "schedule." We hope this [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/svpassage
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30 May 2012 | Chicago, IL
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13 December 2011
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Recent Blog Posts
30 May 2012 | Chicago, IL

Back on the Lake!

The blog may have been quiet lately but we sure haven’t been slacking! After receiving the spring bridge schedule (we can only put the boat in and take it up river on certain days approved by the city), we had a mad rush in April to cut our [...]

19 March 2012 | Chicago, IL

Big News!

We weren't kidding when we said in the last blog post that March would be full of big news...as you may have guessed from the photo, our crew is officially expanding to three! Baby Cole should be joining us around September 2, 2012...just in time to help us winterize Passage! In case you're wondering, [...]

16 February 2012 | Chicago, IL

Winter Update

We haven't been MIA because we're busy with boat projects...sadly it's been the exact opposite. While winter in Chicago has been a bit more temperate that usual, it still hasn't exactly been ideal for boatwork. So we've been focusing on home projects that were neglected throughout boating season...how [...]

03 January 2012 | Chicago, IL

Too COLD for Cruising

We truly thought more boatwork would get done this winter, but now that the holidays are officially over it's hard to motivate ourselves to willingly spend significant lengths of time outside doing boatwork when it's already skipping the freezing point entirely! It's official, January is NOT a good time [...]

13 December 2011

Cool Website

I just found a cool new website, and wanted to share. Love the pic/quote on his main page, too!

12 December 2011 | Chicago, IL

A Month of Updates

It's been a rather crazy month for us, without really any time to even sit down and log our updates. The weekend after our last (and only) post in November we did head back down to the yacht yard to get some more stuff off the boat, and try to figure out our head/plumbing system. Our biggest challenge [...]

09 November 2011 | Chicago, IL

MOTIVATION

Motivation. That one little word has so much "baggage" associate with it, but in my mind truly defines the doers from the dreamers. Ever since Daylight Saving Time ended over the weekend I've struggled to maintain my level of motivation. Between the [...]

02 November 2011

Hump Day, Quote Day!

Well, he wrote the quote anyway...

01 November 2011 | Chicago, IL

Not MIA!

We went down to the boatyard to see Passage on her cradle last Sunday, and it was amazing that it took just 20 minutes to get there! When we got to the boat, we packed up a few things to bring home for the winter as well as started to look at the holding tank to determine how we will remove it. We also [...]

19 October 2011 | Chicago, IL

Winter Storage River Trip

We went on our big river trip this weekend...taking Passage through the river lock next then 3 miles upriver under 23 bridges to Chinatown! David's best friend, Andre, was in town from LA and joined us for the floating jaunt through the city. They'd gone out for a sail while I was at [...]

Back on the Lake!

30 May 2012 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Already Getting Hot!
The blog may have been quiet lately but we sure haven’t been slacking! After receiving the spring bridge schedule (we can only put the boat in and take it up river on certain days approved by the city), we had a mad rush in April to cut our to do list down to “musts” since the NATO summit and repair work on the Chicago lock forced the bridges to close for two weekends in a row! Argh!

So all we got done before launch was spring cleaning and replacing our broken alternator with a fancy high-output alternator with serpentine pulley system by Electromaax…yes, this is the same system we bought at the 2011 Annapolis Sailboat Show after discussing it’s merits with Nigel Calder himself. If it wasn’t for our friends Mike and Genevieve, we never would have gotten it done before our launch date…thanks guys!

We made it upriver on May 13th in “record time”…only 4 hours versus the 6 last fall…and had the help of our wonderful friends Dave, Liz, Brian, and Lauren! Thanks to their fine assistance getting Passage back to Monroe Harbor we have already been able to head out for several sailing adventures with the unseasonably warm spring weather. We even went out during the NATO summit, complete with water/lake patrols by helicopters and US Coast Guard patrol boats! That was interesting, to say the least!

The challenging part of all this is we have a new boat issue to address: our heat exchanger is leaking coolant through the connection to the new alternator’s (also new) water pump. We’re 99% sure it’s not a crack in the engine housing…but could it be a slight tear in one of the two gaskets? None of the hex-nuts get any tighter so we’ve got some research and grunt work to do before we find the true issue…

Big News!

19 March 2012 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Finally Spring!
We weren't kidding when we said in the last blog post that March would be full of big news...as you may have guessed from the photo, our crew is officially expanding to three! Baby Cole should be joining us around September 2, 2012...just in time to help us winterize Passage! In case you're wondering, this does not change our ultimate plan to cut the docklines and take a break from the US rat race culture. We've gotten some questions about this and will take a few moments to address them en masse:

Q: Where will s/he sleep?
A: In the pilot berth in the main salon. We are planning curtains/lee cloths/etc to make it a more private space to relax and nap, so it'll be the perfect spot for our little pumpkin!

Q: You promised I could sleep in the pilot berth when I visit you in exotic places. Where will I sleep?
A: On the settee! It pulls out to a double bed, so you'll be rooming with Baby Cole but it'll work out.

Q: Won't your kid be weird because there aren't other kids to socialize with?
A: If weird means that our kid will see and experience things most adults can only dream of, then yup a total weirdo! There are actually an increasing number of families taking this same type of plunge, and we will make the most of enjoying time with other "kid boats". There might be stretches of time where it's all family lovin' but that doesn't mean our kid will be a-social...it just means s/he'll have an active family AND social life to balance.

Q: What about school?
A: We'll homeschool...well, boatschool anyway. There'll be so much to learn about science, language, and history just through the places we visit that boatschooling will actually be fun...we hope! With chart plotting and wind direction, there'll even be opportunities for real-world math application down the road. Our biggest worry will be writing and penmanship...it can be difficult to write neatly when the boat is surfing the waves! If we stop somewhere for an extended period to work and rebuild the cruising kitty, then s/he will go to the local school for a while...a good cultural immersion experience, too.

Q: Aren't you leaving soon? How are you going to change diapers on a boat?
A: The plan is still to head out in June-ish 2015...with an almost 3-year-old, hopefully potty training will be off the checklist by then!

Q: What about storms? Isn't this is too dangerous to do to a kid?
A: Statistically, sailing a boat is much safer than flying in an airplane or even driving down the highway. By boating smartly and not taking unnecessary risks we can avoid the worst of stormy weather. A little rain won't hurt.

Q: But what about drowning? S/he could fall off the boat!
A: Yes...or off the playground monkey bars or out of the crib. Kids have accidents. It happens. We already have a variety of life jacket sizes, and safety netting on the lifelines...as long as we teach Baby Cole to swim early on and enforce safety protocols, being on a sailboat is really no more dangerous than going to daycare...it's actually MUCH safer.

Q: Has anyone told you that you're totally nuts?
A: Yup. And maybe we are...but both of us lost the urge to achieve stereotypical American goals a long time ago. We want to live our lives our way...it's too short for regrets.

Winter Update

16 February 2012 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Still not sailing season...
We haven't been MIA because we're busy with boat projects...sadly it's been the exact opposite. While winter in Chicago has been a bit more temperate that usual, it still hasn't exactly been ideal for boatwork. So we've been focusing on home projects that were neglected throughout boating season...how exciting, right?! It makes me wonder how much less stressful it'll be when we don't have to balance condo and boat upkeep and can just focus on the boat...I know it'll still be a lot of work but then at least we'll only need to work off of just ONE to-do list. Sounds easier somehow...

In any case, we did go to Strictly Sail Chicago at the end of January...there were some moderately interesting seminars...especially by Jimmy Cornell and Pam Wall...but overall we both felt a bit underwhelmed. Yet again, we only stepped foot on one boat...an 86 ft racing boat that stopped traffic on Lake Shore Drive en route to the show and will doing the Race to Mackinac this July. Sans rigging, I'm sure that Passage could fit INSIDE that megayacht, no problem!

The most exciting news we have to share now is that we officially paid our boat mooring fees for the 2012 season and will be returning to Monroe Harbor

...oh yeah, and we are members of a yacht club...the Poor Man's Yacht Club...a fun organization that doesn't take itself too seriously...just our style!

We're heading to Aruba for a week at the end of February, and when we return we'll hopefully be able to start the spring boatwork season in March. Then there'll definitely be exciting news and stories to share!

Too COLD for Cruising

03 January 2012 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Didn't hit freezing today :-(
We truly thought more boatwork would get done this winter, but now that the holidays are officially over it's hard to motivate ourselves to willingly spend significant lengths of time outside doing boatwork when it's already skipping the freezing point entirely! It's official, January is NOT a good time being outdoors...even with a decent space heater (if we could find one at a low price). So we're not, and I'm totally going through boat withdrawal.

It at least makes me feel better to know that we're not the only ones. I got a text from our friend Dave the other day that said "I miss Passage. I want to give that mizzen a big ole' hug." He's been such a valuable member of our crew that it was great to hear he loves our boat enough to volunteer to help with spring prep work...and he was sober when this happened, so I won't feel guilty holding him to that offer! We'll need all the help we can get when it's time to redo the bottom paint. If anyone else is interested, we will buy all meals during "working hours" at the boatyard...and remember, the yard is in Chinatown so there's LOTS of really tasty goodness to be had! :-D

Since accepting my total inability to do boatwork when temperatures don't exceed the freezing point throughout the day, I've been trying to focus on the small things...like finding good deals on items we want now so that if we buy them over time it will at least feel like fewer boat bucks. I really lucked out when I heard that S/V Kaleo was selling some of their stuff now that the boat itself has sold! We ended up with some great fans as well as some quality Harken block! I enjoyed reading about Matt & Christie's Carribean adventure, and look forward to when they return to the sea...hopefully we'll see them "out there" soon!

We also discovered that craft stores are great places to find organizational cases for all those small boat parts...I was looking for knitting project supplies and David found the PERFECT two-sided mini "suitcase" that'll be a huge step up from the tackle box we inherited when we bought Passage that has everything randomly tossed together in the big compartment! See...even though it's FRIGID here we're still able to achieve small boating accomplishments. Now I just need to start working on my winter sewing projects...but since I can barely even reach the interior cushions, there are some home projects that have to be taken care of first...

Cool Website

13 December 2011
Brodi
I just found a cool new website, and wanted to share. Love the pic/quote on his main page, too!

A Month of Updates

12 December 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Too Cold!
It's been a rather crazy month for us, without really any time to even sit down and log our updates. The weekend after our last (and only) post in November we did head back down to the yacht yard to get some more stuff off the boat, and try to figure out our head/plumbing system. Our biggest challenge for installing our new Nature's Head is that the existing holding tank seems to be larger than the access hatch! Thus, the holding tank is obviously the original one that was built into the boat when she was built. So now we need to brainstorm ideas for tackling this challenge!

The following weekend we met with a sales guy at Quantum sails, whom David has been speaking to about us buying new sails for several months. He also told us we could have him clean our existing sails as well as treat them with an anti-spider solution that'll last at least a month after Passage is back in the water this coming spring. Considering the fairly major infestation that developed towards the end of summer, I was sold! I also did some research and found that citrus, lavendar and tea tree oils all repel spiders so I will definitely be adding some of that to our boat wash throughout next summer!!!!

Over thanksgiving weekend we went to David's grandmother's house in Tennessee to enjoy some TASTY home cooking and spend time with family. It was a nice change of pace, except for when we went shopping on Black Friday and ended up being awake for a full 24 hours! My poor mother- and father-in-law went with us, and were such troopers! We scored some good deals and almost wrapped up our holiday shopping, but I was sad there weren't any good marine places to score boating deals down there. West Marine had some good ones, but I don't want to buy foul weather gear without trying it on first. And as always, I can count on Amazon.com to inspire me!

We also took our sails with us and used her giant backyard to lay out the nylon sails and see what we inherited when we bought Passage. David's dad was a huge help! We now think that the mystery nylon sail is a Spinnaker Staysail since it's the same color and fabric as our symmetrical Spinnaker...a sail that looks like it was possibly never even used...score! Our spinnaker douser that we ordered in Annapolis came in the mail during mid-October so we are excited to try out these sails in 2012. Check out the video of our sail inspection on Passage's Facebook page.

We are looking for a space heater to take to the boat with us so we can continue working on her during the increasingly COLD winter months...I've been scouring freecycle because I am too cheap to buy one, but so far haven't emailed fast enough to actually get one.

I've also started selling stuff on Ebay, that we've had sitting around our condo for a while now and just don't have a use for. We've read several blogs of people rushing to sell it all in time to leave, and so we've decided to start now. Stuff that's still new, with tags, etc is going first because if we haven't yet taken it out of the box then we definitely don't need it! Once that's done we'll move on to gently used items until we are really down to the essentials. This purging process is only partly because we know it'll have to happen sometime...but mostly because when we brought stuff home from the boat for winter storage, we realized that we have absolutely NO SPACE for us! Both our office and our guestroom are full of boating supplies, and that just won't do when we have people come visit!

So even though there hasn't been a blog posting recently, we've still been busy! Hopefully we'll find a winter boatwork rhythm after the holidays are over.

MOTIVATION

09 November 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Winter is Upon Us...
Motivation. That one little word has so much "baggage" associate with it, but in my mind truly defines the doers from the dreamers. Ever since Daylight Saving Time ended over the weekend I've struggled to maintain my level of motivation. Between the sun going down around 4:30pm, the rain, and the COLD weather setting in...the motivation to stay inside and warm is easily overcoming the motivation to run down to Passage after work.

As you can see from the photo in this post, we've been busy "talking" about boat stuff...David has even been designing slogans for our boating 'gear' next summer...but actual boatwork and boat visits have not been frequent. We did make it down there briefly on Sunday afternoon, but the door hadn't been installed on the shrinkwrap yet. We briefly thought about cutting a slit into the wrap, but then realized that the stuff we needed to get off the boat probably wouldn't fit until the door goes on. So we headed home with a rainy day at the boat rather wasted. With how crazy stuff has been outside of boatwork, it was kind of nice to have a lazy day.

But as I think about all the projects we still need to work on, knowing we could have done work and didn't starts to worry me. Now I wonder if we can get even half or most of our to-do list done before we launch in a few months. The cold wuss in me wonders if perhaps we should take the holidays off and start fresh after the new year...but the determined part of me knows that all we need to do to get through the winter is a space heater from Home Depot. The question now is which part of me is more motivated? It's suppose to be in the 50s and cloudy this weekend, so in the short term it'll be the latter.

I have big plans to finally get all the cushions off the boat to recover them. As many readers who've been on our boat this summer know well, poor David has a thing about spiders so I need to clean all foam (lavender is also a natural spider deterrent) before starting to recover any of it. At least I'll have lots to do after work so I won't feel as guilty about not going down to the boatyard after work during the week! If we're really on top of things, maybe we'll start stripping varnish off the interior woodwork...if at least one visit to Home Depot actually happens, then we'll be on our way to productivity...keep your fingers crossed!

Hump Day, Quote Day!

02 November 2011
C.S. Lewis
Well, he wrote the quote anyway...

This quote is really inspiring...it's the reason 90-year-old women still take time to graduate from college or a 100-year-old man runs a marathon!

Not MIA!

01 November 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Fall :-(
We went down to the boatyard to see Passage on her cradle last Sunday, and it was amazing that it took just 20 minutes to get there! When we got to the boat, we packed up a few things to bring home for the winter as well as started to look at the holding tank to determine how we will remove it. We also realized that the existing toilet is built on a fiberglass shelf in the head, so I figure that we need to cut it down so that the Nature's Head isn't too tall to sit on. At least we have the winter to determine the best way to address this challenge.

It's been tough the last week and a half realizing that fall is solidly here, and I don't get to go sailing every weekend anymore (at least not until next Spring). But it's also given me time to start assessing our project agenda as well as refocus on things we have totally ignored for the last five months...namely, our condo! We've cleaned it pretty much top to bottom (who needs spring cleaning when you've got fall?!), held a Halloween party, and I've finally started working on bench cushions for our front window seat.

Once I finish the cushions for home I will be adding batting to our v-berth cushions, refitting the existing main cabin cushions, and sewing slipcovers for all of them, too. Both of my parents have separately told me how amazed they are that I do so much myself...considering my non-experience before we bought Passage this past May, in hindsight I guess it is pretty amazing!

As we've started our journey this year, we've both learned so much; I can't believe how much has happened in the last six months! We've come, we've messed up, we've learned, and most importantly we've been inspired to keep going. We now have a good 6-7 months before we can launch Passage next spring, so that'll hopefully be enough time to get our work done and convince our friends that we haven't completely disappeared from Chicago society! Overall, I'm starting to appreciate all this "free" time now that I can't go sailing...but that doesn't mean it won't be a loooong, tough winter...just check the Farmer's Almanac!

Winter Storage River Trip

19 October 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Cooling Off Fast
We went on our big river trip this weekend...taking Passage through the river lock next then 3 miles upriver under 23 bridges to Chinatown! David's best friend, Andre, was in town from LA and joined us for the floating jaunt through the city. They'd gone out for a sail while I was at work on Friday, so Andre already knew his way around Passage's decks by Saturday morning...sort of...but good enough!

We got up early and got to Monroe Harbor around 7:30am, and were off the can by 8 and on our way toward Navy Pier! We weren't really sure how long it would take to go through the lock, or even where it was...so we followed the other boats heading that way and hoped for the best. By the time the Lake Shore Drive bridge raised a little after 9am, there were 18 boats waiting to head up the river to winter storage!

When the river started to narrow after we passed the Merchandise Mart, we quickly discovered that 18 is too many to safely navigate the river between bridges since they don't raise at reasonable intervals for boats to keep moving smoothly along the river. Once the boating caravan turned south, we were basically broadside to the wind and the smaller boats started struggling to maintain control of their vessels. One sailboat ended up being blown into the lowered bridge while waiting for the bridge staff to raise the damn thing.

There were some moments of stress, but overall we pulled it off without doing damage to out boat (or others') and we even managed to see people we knew along the way! Some of David's coworkers came out to wave as we passed the Merchandise Mart and then our friends Brian and Lauren came downtown to see us as we turned south into the second part of our river journey.

In the last leg of our trip, we waited for quite a while for the railroad bridge to raise while we stared at Canal Street Marina next to Ping Tom Memorial Park in China Town. At least there was a lot of open space there, and we were able to raft up to a wall and hang out with the other boaters while the freight trains went over the last bridge between us and the end of the 'road'. By the time we pulled up to the marina dock to check in for the winter, we spent four hours on the river from the time the first bridge went up...that wasn't too bad considering one river trip took boaters NINE hours because the bridges kept breaking down!

We took the sails off the boat and organized it a bit before heading to dinner at a tasty authentic restaurant in China Town. It was a truly exhausting day! To see the pics, check out Passage's Facebook Page!

The next morning, David and I headed back down to the marina to meet with the yard mechanic, Jeff. But the time we got there, he had fixed our water pressure system...something we hadn't been able to do all summer since our water pump made noise so we assumed it worked. Turns out, it didn't work except to make noise...problem solved! He installed the new one and showed us how to empty and refill our tanks (to clean out some seriously stinky, nasty sludge) so we can winterize them and actually use them next summer. Jeff and David also reviewed the process for winterizing our engine, and set a date for David to shadow Jeff while he winterizes our system.

So far, we LOVE our choice for winter storage. Mark and Jackie Riegel, the owners, are so nice and friendly and helpful. Mark is going to connect us with some guys who can help us repair our rub rails and Jeff is going to let us shadow all the work he does so we know how to do it ourselves next time. He also recommended the diesel engine class we want to take this winter because a friend of his teaches it! What a great connection to have...Mark even volunteered to adjust our boat from cradle to jackstands when we repaint the bottom next spring so we don't miss any spots! It's really nice to be able to discuss our plans and have yard staff who are willing to support and work with our goals to learn our boat systems better.

To wrap up a great weekend, our Nature's Head arrived this weekend...now we need to prep the boat for the install so there'll be one less system to winterize! With 24/7 access to Passage, we should have plenty of time to knock out several of our bigger projects...I can't wait for next summer!!!!!
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