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Swingin' on a Star
Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".
Best Place to Sleep on a Cat
Randy
10/08/2006, Fort Lauderdale, FL

We love our Catamaran. The Saint Francis 50, like any boat however, is not perfect, but it will be when we get finished with it! That said you have to start with a solid platform, and the Saint Francis is an amazingly well built and appointed boat. We spent a year doing hard research including factory tours and many multiday sea trials in up to 40 knots of breeze. The Saint Francis 50 was as close to perfection as we could find. I'm sure that most owners feel the same about their boats.

We have quite a laundry list to check off while refitting.

- Spectra Newport 400 Water Maker with MPC5000
- ICOM 802 SSB/Pactor w/ SailMail
- Upgrade AC systems
- Drain AirCon into sump rather than bilge
- Install upgraded computer at nav station
- Integrate home theater with helm and nav (charts on the TV, etc.)
- Brownie's YP35 dive compressor and bottle locker
- New stern anchor and glass in a chain locker in the lazarette
- Splendide 2000 Washer/Dryer install
- Install dinghy chocks and outboard stowing systems
- Wind screen between cabin top and bimini
- Upgrade ground tackle (Rocna 40 and 300' of 3/8" High Test)
- Create secure stowage spots for all gear

Those are just the large bullets. It's going to be a lot of work over the next few weeks. That said there's always time for a little snooze with the pooch. Roq prefers the tramps to the hard gel coat.

Refit
Honey, I'm home
Randy
10/07/2006, Lauderdale Marine Center

We're starting to adjust to living on the boat. We still have no idea where things are in Fort Lauderdale though. It's strange coming home to the boat yard. The rain probably isn't helping with the vibe either. This yard also isn't the friendly "everyone's a cruiser" type yard either. It is power yachts and big business. Hopefully we'll be in the Bahamas soon!


Preparations
We live on a boat!
Randy
10/06/2006, Lauderdale Marine Center

We live on a boat. Whoa.

It was very weird waking up in a strange place and then realizing that that strange place is your home, and it is moving.

Maybe if we clean up the piles of stuff everywhere...

Preparations
Moving In
Randy
10/05/2006, Lauderdale Marine Center, FL

Not only is Hideko tired but our dog has turned into an alien. We arrived at the Marine Center at 7PM, less than 72 hours after leaving Los Angeles. It was a marathon drive and we couldn't have fit one more thing into the truck. Our rule was if it didn't make it into the pickup (short bed at that), it wasn't coming. George and Gillian from Saint Francis were wonderful and helped us unload the truck. Now we have to stow everything, not to mention get rid of the truck. I love Craig's list.

Refit
Driving some more
Randy
10/04/2006, Texas ?

Well I think we're actually out of Texas now. The highway through Louisiana is bizarre. You travel along on a perpetual bridge like structure with swamp and trees in all directions. Every once in a rare while there's an off ramp that drops you down to ground level where there might be a gas station and a mysterious road disappearing into the swamp.

Roq is getting tired of his little space in the back seat, or perhaps it's the towering stack of stuff looming over his little 3 foot square area. One more day to Fort Lauderdale.

Preparations
Driving
Randy
10/03/2006, Texas?

Wow, what a wild departure. We had so much still to do yesterday I can't believe that we actually left. I was running around the house getting things completely set for the broker and packing the truck. Meanwhile Hideko took the Audi to Pasadena to sell it and then, this was a high priority, she had to spend all of the gift certificates that she had piled up over the past year.

As she shopped she ran into an old coworker who had quit at her work to play in a band full time. He was performing right down the street! So I picked Hideko up at around 9PM from the cafe and we headed for the state line, truck packed to the roof.

We only made it to Palm Springs before we had to take a break at a road side motel. Today we have had the excitement of crossing Texas. Texas is more like a country than a state...

Preparations
Digital Media - Music/Movies/Pictures
Randy
10/02/2006, Agua Dulce

We had a good collection of CDs, DVDs and pictures to pack. I spent many hours mp3ifing all of our CDs in preparation for our trip but we still wanted to bring the CDs as backup. The DVDs are just too big data-wise to go onto a hard drive (someday soon though...). We have tossed all of our CD/DVD cases and packaging to save space (hard to do on some of the special edition stuff).

During our pack session Todd stowed our CDs (music licenses now really) on wooden dowels with rubber bushings on either end. I don't know how to throw them away without either destroying them (time consuming and difficult) or having someone steal them (stealing music is a crime!). We have a lot and they're heavy. I may try to put them in storage at some point.

We put our DVDs in big Body Glove (appropriate, no?) zip up folders. We have a few tools that have been useful with the DVD collection. We use Collectorz.com to catalog our DVDs. It is great software and now integrates with Media Center (which is nice if you keep your movies on the hard drive). If you have a lot of DVDs it lets you keep track of them and easily pick a movie that you're in the mood for.

http://www.collectorz.com/

We also have some region "management tools". All DVDs and DVD players have a region code. If the region of the DVD and the player don't match the player will not play the DVD. This includes your computer's player. The studios use this scheme to ensure DVDs are released in regions per their wishes and in some cases to manage format issues. If you think about this for a minute it doesn't make a lot of sense for folks on a cruising yacht. We purchased a universal player (does PAL/NTSC and plays all regions) which worked ok but it didn't fit in the boat's stereo cabinet.

We have switched to the computer for non region 1 (USA) stuff. The tool that de-region-ifies the DVDs on the PC is called AnyDVD and is available at SlySoft.com. They are in Antigua (to avoid the MPA no doubt). It is a great tool but you can easily see how it could be used to unscrupulous ends (stealing movies is a crime!).

http://www.slysoft.com/en/

Printed pictures don't stand up too well to the humid tropics. We use digital cameras nowadays but we have many old photos we don't want to part with. Thus we went on a scanning spree. It takes a while to scan a pile of photos. Once digital though we get to see them much more often (screensavers and what not) it is easy to send them to others at the drop of a hat over email, and you can use them as s digital library for web stuff and whatever. We have been scanning picture prints in as groups to save time.

If all of your media is digital you need a good backup strategy. We have an pair of external 500GB hard disks, each with a copy of all of our media and data. We plan to keep one ashore and one on the boat, swapping them every now and again.


[BeginSoapBox] Stealing digital media (be it artwork, software, movies, music, or console games) is easy but it is still a crime. Do you want artists to continue creating? I think we all do. Don't steal. [EndSoapBox]

Preparations

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