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Waiting to sail away
The cost of education
Gene/ 15-20 mph winds
07/30/2013, Lake Red Rock, Pella, Ia.

Have you ever started the day with "rose colored" glasses and an unwavering optimism about the upcoming events of your life, but you find yourself chest deep in water standing in a lake wondering, "What the HELL was I thinking?"

I have been looking forward to Amy and I taking my two small children, ages 7 and 4, sailing. The weather was forecasted to be mid to high 70's with winds from 5-10 knots, Wrong! We woke up as early as usual to 54 degree weather with 15-20 knot winds, and preceded to finish loading the boat and kids for the lake. Life preservers, check. Coolers with Caprie sun and Lunchables, check. Jackets, "in July?" Mother Nature can be a bipolar pain in the rear.

With a rocky start trying to control the kids and get the boat ready, I should have just put on the brakes and headed to the beach. The kids would of had more fun, and Amy and I would have been more relaxed and the upcoming increase in boat cost would not have been acquired. The boat was launched and the new 135% Genoa was put up. Amy and I did not work well together seeing that it has been almost a month since our last sail. The kids added stress, as well as the unforeseen wind conditions, making sailing difficult and not much fun. Truth be told the wind was fine, the kids were not.
While sailing a wench handle was lost over board making trimming the head sail difficult for Amy given her smaller size. Later, back at the boat ramp the trailer was not pulled down into the water far enough to allow for proper seating of Barely Awake. This seating caused the newly replaced swing keel cable, that was replaced earlier this season, to brake. To fix the problem I had to get in the water and swim under the boat and wrap a line around the keel. I attached it to the wench on the other side and looked over at Amy and thought, "I really wish we had a wench handle right now". Cold, wet, and truly pissed at myself for not being more forward thinking when it came to my children, I braced myself against the boat and lifted the swing keel up and clewed off the line. Now cold, wet, pissed, and knowing I will be hurting in the morning, we backed the trailer further into the water and loaded the boat correctly. It will be heading back to Lake Rathbun for a new swing keel cable while we are in San Diego, Ca. next week.

Total cost of the trip: 100.00 to repair the swing keel, unknown amount to replace the wench handle, and untold effects to my own sanity, and don't forget the $ 3.95 for a bottle of Advil.

The ranting and raving being completed, I would like to point out the good stuff. We will never let go of another wench handle, and we will back up the trailer further in the future. We were able to sail Wing on Wing (placing the boom to one side, and the head sail on the other) reaching 6.5 knots. We measured our speed on Barely Awake and reached 7.2 knots as our max. Quite fast for a little boat. Finally no one got hurt, maybe a little cold, but not hurt. Sadly the kids will not be coming sailing for a couple more years, instead we will go to the beach.

I would like to say good luck to Windrunner and her owner with their up coming adventure. Also good luck to Jackie and Colin with their trip to the Caribbean. Last but not least, to Hello Texas get back out there so I have something to read.

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07/30/2013 | Tim and Tina Davis
You probably don't want to hear this but, What a great day on the lake. Memories made that would not be made by just going to the beach.

And this really reminds me of our families start to sailing. Keep building memories Dad. The kids will thank you for them later.
08/08/2013 | colin williams
Oh well Gene, that's sailing, learning about stuff you won't do again
Finished product
07/18/2013, Iowa

Here is the difference from the old finish (right side) to the newly refinished side (left side). Lots of work, but rewarding. Now to start on the other side. We will also be putting down carpet (Velcroed in so that it can be removed and dryed) and we plan on putting down new paint inside. This is just a learning boat for me, but I'm learning how to repair, maintain, and care for a sailboat. Will plan on selling Barely Awake so she can teach other sailors.

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07/18/2013 | Bill Hudson/Zephyr
Have patience. We started on a West Wight Potter 15 back in 1982. We now live on a Liberty 458 and have sailed here from the US to the Philippines. We did a lot of learning over the years. Still have our second boat(Laguna 26) back in Colorado. Left the US about 4 years ago and took off across the Pacific learning all the way. The first time I launched our Potter, I didn't think I had to get in the water. Boy was I wrong. Now I have to use a crane to get ours out.
Let me know if I can shed any light on up coming projects. Been there, done that(namy times)
The not so fun side of boats
07/17/2013, home (no where cool) iowa

Well, we have not been able to return to the lake and sail due to many varying factors. First was work, second was a lack of assistance (a quick note, I have little to no support outside of my fiancee Amy and her parents and my father, who lives in San Diego. I asked my step daughter to go and was informed that due to one bad experience all sailing makes her sick. Weak!!) third, no time during the weekends due to my military service.

Even though we have received no time on the water, I have learned a thing or two recently. I have spent the better part of the last couple of days refinishing the wood on Barely Awake. Just one more side comment, "I HAVE ABOUT AS MUCH WOOD WORKING EXPERIENCE AS I DO BOAT EXPERIENCE, NONE!" That fact being clarified now, help is not far away. Help is actually just across the road at Karl's house. He quickly told me how to strip the wood, gave me the chemicals to clean the wood, and the Teak oil to seal the wood. Other sailboat owners are a novice's greatest source of information and help. From what i'm told teak restoration is a large part of owning a sailboat. From my blog readings Hello Texas' Nicki does a wonderful job according to her husband Richard and his praises. I may ask their advice in the future.

While I may have little support from my family, I would like to say thanks to Miss Amy and my father for their support. I want to thank Karl (again) for his willingness to educate me, and a special thanks to the members of that I follow (Hello Texas, and Novice to Navigators) who inspired me to follow an unusual dream.

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It's a big lake to be alone on
Gene/ 8-10 knot winds
07/09/2013, Lake Rathbun

We awoke early in the am, as I generally do. I forced Amy up and out of bed. I asked if she thought that her and I could handle the boat on our own. At 7am there was no one on the water which may save us some embarrassment. This social precaution was not needed, as we did great. We sailed for two hours before we saw any other sailboats round the corner from the cove. We headed that way knowing that Karl and Barbie would be worried that we were stranded or drowned. They were nice enough to sail with just their 150 Genoa (a head sail that laps over the main sail by 50%) which allowed for us to keep up. They took some great pics as you can see above of Barely Awake with full sails. 2hr later we headed back into the cove after Karl's boat "Second Wind" and headed for the boat ramp.

Please allow me the opportunity to highlight my boating experience. I HAVE NONE!! I have only backed up a trailer once or twice with a boat on it. That being clarified, Amy and I did pretty well removing Barely Awake from the lake. 30min later her mast was down and we were heading back home after leaving her at the boat yard to have her swing keel fixed. As soon as we dropped her off we missed her and wanted to spend more time on the lake, but we had a class reunion to get to.

Bravery is knowing that something scares you, and still doing it.

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07/09/2013 | Aaron Black
Found your blog via Sail Blog. Looking forward to reading it. I myself live in St. Louis, thinking of purchasing a sail boat soon. I'm a bit concerned about surprise expenses but looks like you are coming out okay so far.
07/13/2013 | Hello Texas
Hive five guys! Great job, sounds like y'all had fun on Barely Awake. I love the boat name too! Keep at it and if you think we "experienced" boat owners know it all...think again. Richard and I learn something new with each cruising season.
BOAT=bring on another thousand.
Nicki & Richard, St Augustine FL, today.
Our first sail
Gene/8-10 knot winds
07/07/2013, Lake Rathbun

To say I was tired the morning we left for the Lake Rathbun would be an understatement. During my 12 hr. shift at the hospital, I received a phone call from the marine mechanic telling me that the 7.5 hp outboard motor was shot. I was instantly upset at the fact that our motor was junk and the mechanic suggested that I would be better off buying a new motor. After calling a marine shop which suggested a long shaft (which is preferred for sailboats) 6 hp motor at a cost of 1800.00, I thought I would look else where. Craiglist revealed that for 300.00 I could get a outboard that is from the 1950's or 1960's but who knew how long it would last. Than Karl pulls a "Hail Mary" pass and got me in touch with a friend that sold me a 6 hp Johnson that ran like a top for 200.00. The Weekend was back on!!

I found out in the morning more good news. My second oldest step daughter, Jordan was going to join us at the lake for Barely Awake's first sail. Jordan is the first daughter to show any interest in boating. Later I found out that she was promised a pair of "Sperrys" (nice boat shoes) if she got into boating. She decided to ride with me in the boat as we launched the boat from the trailer, because she thought that it would involve less work. She was sorely mistaken.

We learned many lessons over the weekend. The first lesson we learned was that sailboats do not back up. Jordan and I exited the trailer and drifted into a shallow cove as we panicked to drop the keel and steer the boat. After asking Jordan to take over the motor while I maned the keel, Jordan began to panic and caused me to panic. Jordan started to scream, "I don't know what I'm doing". To help her I just let the keel fall. While the winch spun as the 400 pound keel fell I learned my second lesson. You are not a bumper to stop a boat, or any of its parts. As the winch handle flung around it caught me on the wrist causing it to swell to twice its normal size. If I suffered a hairline fracture I would not have been surprised. Amy asked me to go see a doctor, but my stubbornness prevented that. Even though our trip to the slip was frightening and slightly confusing we made it without looking too stupid. While Jordan relaxed from her exciting boating experience with a swim, Amy and I put up the head and main sails. We decided that for the first sail, Karl and I would go out and he would teach me how to sail our boat. Barely Awake is a fine ship! She floats (always a plus), has no leaks, and starts to sing when she gets moving.

We then said good bye to Jordan as she was heading home, and prepared to have dinner with the members of the Rathbun Yacht Club (RYC). After having dinner at the Albia brewing company, which had amazing beer, we returned to the marina to sleep on Barely Awake. We also received a wonderful 45 min fireworks display that easily rivaled most large city shows.

During the middle of the night I was woke up by a sudden buzzing sound. The source was a hive of paper wasps that we missed earlier in the day. I got Amy up and out and then sprayed them down with wasp killer. We spent the rest of the night out in the cockpit. What a wonderful night sleep.

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Thank you Wal-Mart!
07/04/2013, Wal-Mart in Indianola

This entry is just to catch up everyone who is wondering the little hidden costs of sailboat ownership.

40.00- Cleaning supplies for the boat
100.00- Safety equipment and misc. sailing needs (i.e. rope, bumpers, and other crap people grab while shopping at Wal-Mart, because it is impossible to just go inside for one thing.)

I am pretty sure everyone will understand that the marina will have a greater mark up on supplies in comparison to the Wal-Mart. I will do my best to save as much money as possible.

The marina at lake Rathbun provided me with an est. that the swing keel would be about 175.00 and the outboard repair would be 100.00. Over the weekend we will be renting a slip at 20.00 per night.

I also paid the gas to get the boat from our home town of Indianola to the lake at 35.00. Thanks again Karl. We will be asking if the Marina will sub-let a slip for the remaining of the year to save the hassle of transporting the boat to and from the lake as well as pulling it out.

Taking the boat out tomorrow for its first sail with use, stay tooned (I did spell that correctly) for the adventure.

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sailors in training
Who: Amy and Gene
Port: Indianola, Iowa
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