The Rise and Fall of Erika
01 September 2015
So we have had an eventful couple of months and have been learning more and more each time out. We were fortunate to avoid the wrath of Erika and we hope that this luck continues for the next few years :).
We have had great luck in coming back into port and have had A+ dockings the last 3 times back in our cramped marina. I have the ropes all cut to measure and staged perfectly for a quick getaway and for an easy arrival. I am very happy with those lines and they have saved us a great deal of time fidgeting with lines and trying to get it just right. Probably not perfect from the viewpoint of an old salt but it works and that is all we care about. We have also been having great fun motoring around the Intracoastal and have not had (knock on wood) any negative events popping up (like engine issues or davit collapses). So since we felt pretty brave the weekend before last we decided to head up north 3 bridges (I tend to measure distance by the number of bridges I need to have opened) :) - anyways we headed up to Port Everglades and headed out to sea for our second time. One main reason was to go out 3 miles to dump our waste tanks which were VERY full and this was successfully accomplished! We also decided to pull out our genoa head sail for the first time and on 9 kts of wind I was able to roll us along at around 4kts. I had studied up how to pull out and retract the genoa and this went uneventfully and rather fun until I needed to pull the sail back in and I couldn't get the clamp to release on the line. So I fidgeted and cursed at it for a while contemplating how we head back into port with our genoa flopping around :) - then I found if I fully open the clamp that the line would release so once I figured that out we were golden. It was a bit rough (for us!) and we didn't want to push our luck so we marked the success and headed back to the intracoastal and went north for a little ways past Bahia Mar and all of that and then had a leisurely motor back home to our Loggerhead.
We had been eyeing the Danny storm and then Erika came along and I sweated how to prepare and as a new boat owner I had visions of losing it all etc. Was very concerned. I consulted all of the Preparing Your Boat forums and quickly realized that I would get the sails taken down and I would visit West Marine to spend way too much money on supplemental lines so that I can comply with my Hurricane Plan that I had filed. So I paid for a vendor to come in and remove the sails and all of that. Worked very well and it is a fairly complex project. The guys came right in and did a nice job and even hauled the sail away and stored it. The fact that Erika melted down and all doesn't in any way make me regret having gone through the process. Erika did manage to wreck our last weekend here due to heavy wind and rainstorms that came blowing through.
We have ambitious plans coming up this labor day weekend to do a Sunday/Monday down either at Miami Marine Stadium anchorage or Key Biscayne. I still want to avoid tight crowded anchorages (not that I fear my own ability to anchor and not hit anyone) - because instead I don't trust all of the other idiots out there that pull right up next to you and don't have an idea of what they are doing.
Wifey and I want to start spending nights out on the boat, we haven't done so since Bayside and Boriken sleeps very comfortably and I really want to see sunsets and sunrises and enjoy cool night time breezes. We also want to give our Cabana floaty thing (6 seater with covered roof!) a test float and lounge around. We will be relaxing....!
See you at sea!
Bill and Marisol
04 August 2015
So, we have been slowly but surely stretching our boat out, still sticking to motoring for the time being as we master the systems and navigation (and the intracoastal). Bridge navigation is now a fully developed skill and I can pretty much pull it off without giving it a second thought.
My Father visited last week and I took Monday and Tuesday off so we could go out on a couple of excursions, just day trip things and we decided to go to the overpopulated Haulover area (in the intracoastal) and I had found an anchorage at Oleta park with a great view of the baking humanity that clings to the sand bar. We anchored and I started to put some prep on the hotdogs and the grill so we could have a tasty lunch (why DO hotdogs taste sooooo great out on the water? They do!). Was just chilling out a bit and trying to "sense" any anchor drag action and I wasn't picking up on any but it does preoccupy my mind too much and will surely drive me insane when spending nights in crowded anchorages so I need to get over that a bit. Anyways, a 28 to 30 foot or so cruiser with a husband and wife came into the anchorage and parked what I thought was way too close for comfort upwind of us on our bow. I commented that "this idiot is an idiot" or something to that effect and went back to my hotdogs. Anyways, as the afternoon passed by the weather started to get a bit cloudy and windy and an obvious storm cell was set to pass by and I thought this would be kind of cool to be sitting in the air conditioned yacht, watching the weather outside all dry and warm and safe and also a great opportunity to check for any more window frame leaks. Well, the first rains started to come and the wind picked up a bit. I still was in tune with my anchor and our position to make sure we didn't drag. I came out of the cabin and looked to our bow.......and guess what I saw heading our way......
The idiot and the idiot's idiot wife were dragging anchor and were about 10-15 feet to our bow and closing in fast. Time sort of slowed down a bit here and I grabbed for my F-you horn and I gave them a couple of blasts to alert them but I saw them scrambling around in their cockpit and I saw the anchor was still down but dragging, they looked at us and seemed to understand that they were possibly going to hit us. I saw smoke billow out of the engine and for a brief second I thought perhaps the boat would be able to move forward and not hit us......I was wrong.
With what felt like a mighty crash they drifted against our poor firmly anchored Boriken, somehow didn't cut or get prop tangled in our anchor line but dangerously after the initial impact (I now ran to the bow in the pouring rain) - the anchor line on their boat was now keeping them from powering away from us and instead was now a pivot point that was causing them to close in on our bow again - I deflected 90% of the second hit by pushing them off as they approached - they now pivoted around and started to approach our port side - ready to sideswipe us. My poor wifey was now the one pushing them away as I repositioned and the idiot's wife and my wife and I tried as hard as possible to keep us from clanging into one another about another 2-3 times. The idiot's wife kept yelling at her idiot husband to "raise the god damned anchor" - "raise the ANCHOR" - "RAISE - THE - ANCHOR!" she kept repeating........the idiot let OUT more anchor chain by accident and the idiots now were ready to ram us broadside from farther back. We again deflected them and FINALLY the idiot listened to his idiot wife and raised the anchor and was able to get away. They pulled to the other side of the anchorage and the Mrs. Idiot jumped in the water to check out damage to their boat. I suspect a rental cruiser to be honest. No name or FL #'s that I could see but they did show "Boca Raton, Florida" as their hailing port. My father took photos of their boat as I did a survey of our boat (as much as I could see). Anyways, somehow we only had the smallest little paint thing (no holes, no glass damage) and we got off very lucky. Anyways all of this was in the torrential rain and we decided it was getting worse and we had better GTFO of there as the 2 boats that were a ways off of our starboard stern had now cut loose and were drifting (apparently unmanned) towards the "beach area and rocks" that ring much of that anchorage so we decided to haul ass and start to get back home to Loggerhead Marina in Hollywood.
The rest of the drive home was wet, cold, and of course we were still shaken up from what had gone down. We got home and had a fairly crappy docking attempt (my fault) in our tiny marina (way too crowded and dangerous for a newbie like me to master very quickly.
Anyways....in the final analysis - no damage.....
This last weekend we decided since we had a concert to go to at the American Airlines Arena (Chayanne) that we would live out a dream I have had since I worked there back in the 80's of parking Boriken at Bayside Marina! So we arranged for a slip and spent an excellent time with friends on the boat, had an excellent docking attempt - no issues at all. $107 was the total bill which when one considers concert parking and what not we really didn't spend a lot of money for the night. Electricity and water included so I clicked on every system and deck light on Boriken and got the air conditioning freezing cold for the first time! Actually too cold :) - had a GREAT night and when we headed home on Sunday (up through DANGEROUSLY overcrowded Haulover again) we had a B+ docking attempt back at Loggerhead which was only mildly terrifying for a split second or so. All was good....Boriken is ready to be SAILED and we are talking about the appropriate weekend to hire in our Captain in waiting to help us learn how to unfurl :)
....Baby Steps of Boriken
11 July 2015 | Loggerhead Hollywood
So in the last few weeks we have taken delivery of our baby, I had actually written a spirited blog post, peppered with bad jokes and descriptive information on the purchase process and after penning several hundred words and hitting "UPDATE" I got a "you are not logged in" message and lost it. Haven't had the time to sit down and recreate it again which is a shame. Any hooooo
So - we took delivery of our boat almost a month ago in mid June and opted to NOT have our first voyage be by our own hands, through the Fort Lauderdale New River, passed the Jungle Queen, numerous bridges and people with even less helming experience than my own so instead we opted to take Catamaran Companies generous offering of a captain that could bring us out to our Marina in Hollywood that next morning. So this is what we did. Good thing too as we DID pass the Jungle Queen which takes up 70% of the channel right at critical bridge (would have SHAT myself if confronted with that with just me and wifey at the helm). Anyways we safely made it to the marina and then set about over the last few weeks (weekends to be more precise) to venture just out of our Marina into the South Lake just to the north of us in Hollywood which offers up a dangerous Wave Runner infested madhouse AND a No Wake area. So we carefully chug through the Alpha Males spinning around in circles on their crotch rockets and then drop anchor safely in the No Wake zone. Lovely! I could stay there all day but usually Wifey gets itchy to move. I have NOT navigated a bridge opening as of yet myself as the formality of the dialog has scared me a bit to be honest. Instead we have opted for the sanity of South Lake and have been just enjoying ourselves on the boat. We decided to invite out a load of my wife's friends for the 4th of July and we had a blast (in South Lake yet again). We installed a BBQ and have been struggling with our Dinghy (I will write a Dinghy related blog post to go over the trials and tribulations of that!) but now this morning July 11th 2015 we are about to kick off the diapers and go PASSED South Lake, through the Hollywood Blvd bridge, into North Lake - Fuel Dock (first for us) and then north another couple of bridges and out of Port Everglades! Out into the ocean deep! Then, turning south we are going to go all the way down to Government Cut Miami and then end up somewhere west of Key Biscayne and will spend our first night on the boat! We are still motoring around, sails might as well not even be on the boat until we get some tutoring and training in.
Docking has been a challenge, even with 2 motors I was relying heavily on motor and rudder movements and had a HELL of a time my first attempt to dock back in our home marina. Scary stuff, nearly bumping concerned looking neighbors. Generally terrifying but I have a handle on the strategy that seems to work and the last couple of attempts have been only mildly scary but I am going to be nervous doing that for quite a while. Fuel Dock has scared me a bit, we were given about a half tank (well TANKS) and we have drawn that down to about a quarter on port and a bit more starboard. Time to man-up and go tie up to a fuel dock. I realize that sounds silly to people that know what they are doing but it is a pressure packed sequence of things that have to work or else a lot of people will see you screwing up.
Anyways, not sure if anyone is reading these anyways but I hope as we throw off our diapers and chains and start to venture farther out that we will be interesting to read. My father comes down in 2 weeks and I need to make the Key Biscayne / Biscayne Bay thing now if I have any hopes of making it back down with him and possibly my Aunt and Uncle as well during his visit. Looking forward to sleeping on the boat tonight!
.....finally, technically a "boat owner" with the arrival of our little "Coqui" tender
10 June 2015
So, West Marine coughed up in fairly short order our 9'2" inflatable with the aluminum flooring and Lehr Propane 9.9hp motor plus large liquid draw tank! We are finally back in the boating game here just days ahead of the final delivery of our Boriken :)
Coqui (the tender) was chosen because I wanted to have a nice stable dinghy but one that could pack up and be transported via my Jeep Wrangler. The AL-290 West Marine dinghy fit the bill perfectly as it is Hypalon and folds down to a stowed 3'2" in size and more than perfectly in my jeep. Even in the original box it is sent in it and the motor (in its box) sat side by side in my 4 door Jeep payload area. Very nice.
The actual "taking of delivery" was a bit challenging as we got the simple call that the gear had arrived on Wednesday 6/9/2015 and headed over to pick the stuff up. As wifey was busy trying to maximize our discount and rebate situation I carted it all outside and with a couple of strapping dudes we got everything inside the car and looking good. I then HAPPENED to IM the wife and mention that our Documentation Runner folks at ASAP told us we needed an MSO and Tax form from them. Well, for some reason West Marine was lightly staffed and the guy who helped out had no idea where the MSO came from. Well remember those nice boxes that are stacked up and looking good in my car? Well we had to pull the Dinghy box back out and rip it open and dig deep into it (to of course find the documents stashed on the BOTTOM inside the box). So nothing went back in right and we had to just slide the now trashed box and all the bits and pieces hanging out. Still, no big deal though....keeping blood pressure low here.....just deep breathing and thinking about our future cruising adventures and whatever......
Anyways - the West Marine guy (young pup) started to fill out the MSO, had no idea what he was really doing and he got advice from a more senior guy and finished me up and off we went after about an hour.....to then get home and find out that he had turned my proud HOLDERBY surname into HOLDBERRY, misspelled my city of residence, reversed the day and month in the _______day of _____ month fields and had screwed up and scratched (and changed) my Hull ID number. So today wifey and I headed back and found EXPERTS in the MSO process and they had us out the door in short order. Also, found out that the TAX FORM had not been provided and they now gave me this missing document. Unfortunately in FLA you need to jump through hoops and register dinghy boats and get FL numbers and all that....wish that wasn't the case.
So out in my garage, in the place where my Jeep usually sleeps is instead endless boxes of half opened products, like adult Christmas on steroids. Now I need to figure out how to get the motor in ship shape and probably stage (for the hell of it) our dinghy to verify it is healthy. No propane in our tank yet to test out the motor and since the boat isn't registered yet all we could do is paddle around in our lake anyways. Going to ship off all of this paperwork to our documentation folks and have them bang out a registration for us so we will be ready in the coming days. Still slated to take delivery on the 15th!
Coqui is here!
Boriken is still being provisioned and completed.....
.....Future Coqui joins future Boriken to our fleet (of future boats, in the future)
08 June 2015
So as work progresses on the Boriken, (we are set to take delivery on June 15th....) we decided to go ahead and buy a dinghy so we headed to the adult playground that is West Marine in Dania and took all of my newly acquired knowledge (about dinghies and motors and propane and the like) and had a few tough questions to ask the West Marine staff....anyways the "boy" that was working and had approached me had no clue about any of that (but was willing to help, so thanks to him for that). Anyways I was shocked that West Marine really has no inventory of those sorts of things. We decided to go with the WEST MARINE AL-290 Heavy Duty Inflatable Sportboat—White/Gray Hypalon boat. It was chosen because the price was "decent" but also because it can fold up into a non inflated mass of around 3'2" or so and is made of what appears to be the most durable inflatable material Hypalon. We will likely keep it covered or off the boat in down times anyways so we hope to get many years of life. "HE" will be named "Coqui" which of course plays right along with our Puerto Rican themed "Boriken" design. The Coqui is a cute little frog that chirps and is only present in a few places. In Puerto Rico they are considered adorable and are treasured, ask any Puerto Rican and then will immediately imitate the sound of the Coqui. One funny note, when we went to Hawaii in 2008 we found out that they had somehow managed to make it over there and were HATED and DESPISED and in fact the tour guide said that by throwing coffee on them it can kill them....my lovely Puerto Rican wife was not amused and we hold the little coqui dear in our heart. Just as we will our dinghy! (see what we did there!). Anyways for the MOTOR we decided to go with the Lehr 9.9HP Outboard Electronic Start / Short shaft. I decided to go that way because I like the clean nature of propane gas and also with the large propane tank we are buying it gives hours and hours of runtime on a single tank. The Lehr is either the greatest thing ever OR the most despised motor ever produced. Reviews run only to the extremes. I could have gone with a gas powered Mercury engine but Coqui wants to take risks! :) AnyHoo - the only thing keeping us from high seas adventures with Boriken OR Coqui is that we have paid fully for both but have neither.....West Marine is shipping Coqui and motor (and tank) down from North Carolina so we will MAYBE get it later this week or so. So I am now a proud owner of 2 fully paid off boats that I don't have yet....how many of YOU can say THAT! :) My brother and my daughter are both coming down this week and will get their first glimpse of our Boriken if they let us look under the curtains that are shielding us from the dust and disarray....they are doing MAJOR projects on the Boriken to finish her off for us. adding in the forward head, generator, airconditioning, dinghy davits, nav unit.....the works. All of this apparently will conclude this week in time for a MONDAY (1 week from today as I write this!) delivery to us! We are really, really eager......
So Boriken is nearing completion and Coqui is packed on a West Marine truck for delivery....Christmas will be coming early for us :)
....not like closing on a house
03 June 2015
So, admittedly we are VERY green here in terms of buying new boats. Our previous experience with buying a boat was first buying a brand new Yamaha WaveRunner and then eventually buying a Canadian "Shuttle Craft" that the wave runner slid inside of and was in effect the motor for the "boat". All of that was straight forward retail purchasing basically. In this case with a (for us anyways!) MAJOR purchase as it were, the process of buying a yacht/boat is one of a series of non coordinated dominos that all need to fall in the proper order. Much more of a headache than it seems like it needs to be. What I am referring to is our stupid assumption that CLOSING on a boat (still slated for June 9th) is not the same event as "taking delivery" of the boat. In other words, our other large expenditures of this nature were HOME purchases. You go to closing, you shake hands, they give you the keys, and you move in.
With this boat purchase we are going to PAY FOR EVERYTHING before June 9th so that paperwork can be processed with the Coast Guard for registering the Boriken and then we officially close on June 9th and as it stands now we take delivery on June 15th. I am not overly crazy with the process because it means we need to shoot our financial wad and then TRUST that everything will be as described in the documentation. Not saying we don't think it will be but for me the buyer loses leverage in this method which I suppose in the final analysis is probably by design. The other dominos that need to fall by the way are related to our boat insurance and our dockage, all of these milestones need to go down in a certain order. Our marina doesn't want us to sign up until we have insurance and boat documentation, so insurance needs to happen first from what we can tell but then when does that take effect......(popping some Bayer aspirin) :)
So when we are finally toasting our success the wife and I looking out over Biscayne Bay at a sunset we will think back "fondly" to our early struggles (not learning to sail mind you...just the early struggles to BUY the thing).....it will all be worth it in the end I am sure. Financing is all situated, just awaiting it to hit our bank account so we can turn right around and send the largest wire transaction of our lives.....and then TRUST that all will work out on the back end of the deal......
Gallery Error: Unknown Album [1:]:34389