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Waiting to sail away
To the next step
10/23/2013, Lake Rathbun

This past weekend was filled with friends, surprises, and a serious decision. We got a call to ask if we would be available to head to lake Rathbun for the fall clean up at the yacht club. Seeing that they have always included Amy and I in their fun (with out us being members) and provided us with good sailing advice, we showed up early Saturday morning to work. I will not deny that the "customer appreciation" lunch at the marina was considered as well. All day we spent with friends sharing stories about life and their boats. Great times!

Then the surprise came. During the meeting of the Yacht club the efforts of two members were highlighted to help fill one item on a strangers "bucket list". The stranger is a 33 year old father that was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and he wished to have a chance to ride on a house boat. through friends and family of the stranger a member of the yacht club was reached. With the assistance of another kind and caring yacht club member, a ride on a large house boat was arranged with food and drink for the stranger and 50 family members. Yachties are wonderful people.

Now for the serious decision. Amy and I have had a wonderful year learning on Barely Awake. She came home after having the repair to the hull and looks great, and we have decided to sell her to another future sailor. Like any good sailor, I have made her better than when I got her. I hope she will continue to teach sailors for even longer. We are going to look to the 25' range sailing vessel that will work better for our family needs. We will keep everyone informed.

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Last sail of the season
Gene 10-15 knots
09/18/2013, Lake Rathbun

Why does every sailing adventure end with a hundred dollar bill or me stating, "I wish someone would have told me that before!"

Finally the work week has ended and it's time to head to the lake! We are going sailing with good winds with great weather forecasted. Amy is waiting to be picked up and then head to the lake to pick up Barely Awake from the boat mechanic, and then we will be sailing the next day with my cousins Dan and Cher.

We have grown and learned a lot this past season. Amy and I had no problems launching and placing Barely Awake into the slip, and while Amy organizes the cabin area, I get the s/v tied and secured.

We truly enjoy the marina on Lake Rathbun and the friendly people that we met. Every time we go people are willing to stop by and reminisce about how classic Barely Awake is and that she reminds them of their first sailboats. People are also willing to help whenever possible. You could not ask for better people.

The next day, we awoke early and ran into town for fuel (for the truck) and food. Amy and I prefer to visit local sites and eateries that are indigenous to the towns that we visit when ever possible. We had breakfast at a dive called The Highway. The Highway reminded me of a Denny's with beer signs hanging in the windows. Great food and we will be visiting again.

After breakfast, we returned to the marina where our cousins would arrive around lunch time. Amy packed the cooler, and we both got the sails ready. With the local forecast predicting 15 knot winds we decided to stay with the Jib and keep the 130% Genoa for another date. Dan and Cher arrived and will be our first visitors and family to go sailing with us. To say Amy and I are nervous and excited is an understatement. Amy is almost giddy!

The day was going great!!!!! And than it all went to Hell. After battling weak and fickle winds sailing at a broad reach (averaging 1-4.5 knots for three hours), we decided to return to the marina and had a great sail back. Dan to the helm and sailed like a pro, a fact that I have bragged to my father who is sailing in Oceanside where he lives. Dan and Cher, dad wants ya'll to come out and sail with him. Dan averaged around 4.5 to 6 knots! Not bad with just the jib. We than had problems! Remember when nature calls, NATURE CALLS. As we are motoring into the marina as fast as possible, hoping to allow for the girls to remain dignified, the out board dies. Abandon Ship. People start jumping over board to use the cover of dirty water and relieve themselves. I am vigorously moving the tiller and rudder back and forth to propel the boat the last 40 yards to the gas pump. 50 dollars later (a realization that solidified the greatness of sailing vessels) Amy was running up the docks to back the trailer into the water.

Amy's attempts were not without merit, but eventually she succumbed to the fact that she couldn't back it in straight and ask for help. A Good Samaritian standing by was nice enough to help and the trailer was in the water. Now the hard part, putting the boat back on the trailer. For my defense, sailboats are generally poorly equipped with smaller and weaker outboards at Barely Awakes size. This limitation makes trailering a S/V difficult especially with a strong wind to your starboard side. After multiple tries and many episodes of cussing (me cussing at the wind, the boat and myself, and Amy cussing and giving the bird to the group of drunken onlookers that felt it amusing to laugh and not help) we get Barely Awake onto the trailer. This was not done without damage though. Barely Awake suffered a large scratch that will have to be repaired during the off season, but she was out of the water (this trips a hundred dollar repair bill).

After returning home I called my source of all things sailing, Karl, my neighbor. He informed me that I should have had someone wade out to hook onto the boat and pull it into the trailer. This is the point where I said, "I wish someone would have told me that before!"

Lessons learned include making sure you have enough gas and a port-a-potty. I will soon be learning to repair gel coat, but probably the greatest lesson is that marina slips are worth the price. We will be getting one next year and be spending more time sailing and fishing with the kids, and not so much time rigging the boat and launching the boat.

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09/18/2013 | Dan Gaumer
Four grown adults and no one thinks to use a damn cable, DUH!!! Thanks for the great time we had a blast with you both!
Sailing a racer
Gene/ 10 knots
08/09/2013, San Diego, California

We have been in San Diego for the past week visiting my mom and dad. After spending much of our time doing anything and every thing we could. We tried to experience as much of Southern California as we could.

First adventure included spearfishing off La Jolla cove, after I proposed to Amy and she accepted, thankfully. Her saying, "no thanks" would have made for a very uncomfortable vacation. Back to spearfishing. I have experience with snorkeling and scuba diving, which provided me a comfort ability and calmness in the water. Amy had neither. This was Amy's first time snorkeling and she found it quiet difficult, as well as anxiety causing. After she calmed down, and I did too, Amy and I started to learn together. She did soon become nauseated and had to go in. I went back out and saw three bass, none of which were long enough. On the way back in, kids along the beach where pointing at me yelling, "a seal, a seal, look mommy a seal". Kind of pissed me off, tell Amy told me that a seal was playing follow the leader with me.

Our next adventure was the next day when I bought my father his first surf rod here in California, and like any good son I took it to the beach to test it out. With in minutes I was catching fish. Small sea perch, but fish non the less. After, catching a half dozen or so, I decided to catch some waves with the boogie board.

The next and probably greatest adventure was the sailing of a world class racing sailboat that was built for racing in the America's cup race. USA 11 sails at the wind speed plus ten percent. We reached 11.4 knots with 10 knot winds. The boat weighed in at 50,000 lbs with 40,000 of it in the keel. USA 11 cuts through the water and you can forget the Dramamine at home. They claim that no one has ever become sea sick. This is a must do for anyone coming to San Diego.

Finally, on our last day in So. Cal my dad and I plan on going sailing together and mom with Amy are going paddle boarding on camp Pendleton. We will be heading home next tomorrow and I will be on orders for a week. When I get some time off, I will have to get Barely Awake fixed up to sail again.

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08/12/2013 | colin williams
Wow Gene!!!!! 11.4 from a 10 knot wind must be some strange voodoo going on there. Sounds great though, so you gonna swop Barely awake for one of those jaguars of the seas.
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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sailors in training
Who: Amy and Gene
Port: Indianola, Iowa
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