Life Afloat on SV Light Reach Two Sailors and a Sea Dog

28 April 2016 | No Name Harbor Key Biscayne
27 April 2016 | Hawk Channel Florida Keys
26 April 2016 | Heading to Rodriquez Key
25 April 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
11 April 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
08 April 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
04 April 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
27 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
26 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
21 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
18 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
17 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
16 March 2016 | Marathon FL
14 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
13 March 2016 | Marathon Seafood Festival
09 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
06 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor Marathon
03 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
02 March 2016 | Boot Key Harbor
01 March 2016 | Boot Key Winter Camp

April happenings

24 April 2019 | Sunset Bay Stuart
Sally Stearns | Warm and sunny
We’ve been busy on Light Reach the past weeks have found us saying some good byes, working on projects and visiting with family and friends. The mooring field and docks have started to empty as spring arrives and folks leave for northern climates.
Kevin and Janice (Aria III) pulled out the beginning of April for Indiantown where they hauled out for the summer. They have also decided to put Aria on the market. It’s a trek for them to get here from Vancouver and Canadian laws regarding health care only allow them 6 months of time out of Canada. Sad, we seem to be losing cruising friends as fast as we make them.
My sister and her husband came up and spent an afternoon with us. We enjoyed looking through the downtown shops much to the suffering of our respected spouses After a great lunch we bid good-bye to them as they returned to New York for the summer.
Our daughter and her family were down this past week in Daytona. Craig’s step-mother and husband had rented a place in Daytona for a couple of months this winter and invited them down for spring break. They had a second condo for Jessica’s crew and they kindly invited us up to see them for a couple of days. We spent two nights with them. It was wonderful to get to see everyone and do a little exploring of Daytona. The beach there lives up to its name, absolutely glorious. Anytime spent with family is precious. We wish it could have been a longer visit, but that will come this summer.
Work on the dodger has progressed. We finally got enough days when the wind was low enough to complete the pattern. It was a bear of a job to make. The material (durascrim) that we used to make the pattern works well in that it is sturdy and doesn’t stretch. The problem was cutting accurately around all the obstructions on the coach roof and deck. Light Reach’s traveler runs right in front of the dodger frame just in front of the companionway. The posts that support the traveler are on either side. However they aren’t symmetrical since our companionway is offset to port. That shouldn’t be an issue except for the fact that the distance on the port side for the dodger fabric to fit is significantly smaller than the starboard. Trying to figure out the geometry of where to make the cuts in the pattern material was challenging to put it mildly. I think some of our neighbors in the mooring field were awoken by our colorful commentary. We had to be up early to work in order to find time when the wind wasn’t blowing us and the pattern material overboard. We finally took the bottom of the old dodger to help us figure out the spacing. I’m concerned that we won’t get a drum tight fit because our frame lacks supports on the front frame and the distance and curvature combined with the multiple obstacles on deck, (lines, grab rails, companionway trim and the traveler) made trying to smooth the fabric taut nigh on to impossible. We’ve decided to first make a trial run out of a less expensive fabric to insure our pattern is correct. Sunbrella is not cheap and also isn’t forgiving when you make a mistake. Hopefully this will let us alter the pattern as needed before final assembly of the real deal.
Also on my sewing list are covers for the teak in order to avoid the repeat of the great sugar soot of last summer. I’m going to recycle the material from the old dodger to make those. We have haul out scheduled for May 7 but I sincerely doubt they will be done by then as I haven’t got my machine on board and the clock is ticking.
We took the main sail off yesterday. We tried a new method in the hope of containing the sail better in the process. It met with mixed success and both of us were exhausted after wrestling with the sail over a couple of hours to get it down and bagged. Egads that thing weighs a ton. Both of us were kicking ourselves for putting the sails on in the first place since we didn’t use them at all this season.
Still to be done is get the jib down and stowed, unload all the stuff on board and schlep everything to condo/storage unit. With only 13 days until haul out for summer we will be busy.
The picture is of the port side of the dodger patterning exercise. We used double sided tape to hold the pattern in place while we worked on it. The clamps were put on to keep the wind from blowing it away when we weren’t. You can see the issue with getting it taut and all the lovey obstacles we were trying to work around. Fingers crossed we got it right.

Staying Put

22 March 2019 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
Sally | On the cool side
Well we're still in Stuart and looks like we will remain here for the rest of the season. Our plans to leave early March changed when we received word from Sue and Roger that they would be visiting Stuart the weekend of March 16.
Scott had been in touch with Roger regarding the older of their two dingy motors. With Dancing Down Wind now officially on the market would he be interested in selling the motor? Negotiations were made and they offered to bring it down to us. They were here visiting friends who have a home in Stuart. We also bought the 26 gallon water bladder that they had. The bladder fits into the bottom of the dingy and increases our capacity for hauling water out to Light Reach. When hooked up to a pumping system we can pump water directly from the dingy into the mother ships' water tanks. We have several 5 gallon jugs but the bladder will take up less room to store. The new to us dingy motor is a small two stroke which I should be able to start. We'll keep our current motor which is in need of some mechanical attention. It's been a challenge keeping it running this season. Thank goodness Scott is a good mechanic.
Our visit with Sue and Roger was brief. We had breakfast with them to celebrate Roger turning the big Seven Oh along with Rosemary, Bill, Keith and Mary Pat. The motor and a myriad of other goodies along with the water bladder changed hands and they were on their way. We hope to see them this summer on our travels.
Our mooring rent was due on the 10th and since we would be here until the 18th at the very least we decided to go ahead and sign on for the month. A good idea as the weather has been horrid this past week. Tuesday was a downright downpour all day, very unusual for Florida and the rain continued into Wednesday. Winds have been relatively high in the 15 to 20 range and the temps quite cool in the low 70's.
We talked over the idea of heading down to the keys and decided to remain here for several reasons.
There is still a wait list for balls in Boot Key and we already have one here.
We can do boat chores where we are just as or perhaps more easily here (we have a car).
We'd have to take our car to the condo, put it to bed and rent one to get back to the boat.
We'd have to have the bottom cleaned before we could leave Stuart.
We have to get a decent weather window to get down there and then in a month or so later find one to return.
The benefits to staying in Stuart were a factor as well. We aren't putting hours on our engine, miles on the sails and not incurring car rental and bottom cleaning costs. Plus they're throwing a free end of season party on Sunday with ribs and chicken and dollar beers. Heck who could pass on that LOL! And we love Stuart with all its myriad of things to do.
We did slip in a day to go to the beach with Janice and Kevin (Aria III). We packed a picnic lunch and took off for the day. Bathtub beach is great with a good reef for snorkeling. Bad news was the beach was closed to swimming due to sharks. Yikes ! That was no joke, apparently they were migrating. We did get to wade and walk the beach. It was a good break and on the way home we stopped at Fresh Market.
I'm currently working on the teak. This has become my nemisis!. I have all the teak on the coach roof looking much better and have begun working on the toe rails. It's becoming a full time job to keep it looking half way decent. I swear at the sugar industry the entire time I work. I'm afraid some of the damage to the teak is not repairable and the stains are permanent. It's frustrating to say the least and very discouraging.
On my project list is to make covers for all of the exterior teak before we put her on the hard this summer. Since Stuart is closer to the condo, it is closer to my sewing machine. The machine I use for the canvas weighs a freaking ton and is too onerous to try to haul on board from the dingy. Our 1000 watt Honda generator is breathing its last breaths and doesn't have the Oomph to run it if I could get it aboard.
Speaking of generators, we figure the Honda has about 4000 plus hours on it. The little guy doesn't owe us a thing. It's still chugging along, but its struggling to keep up. Fortunately we had good news in the Uncle Sam department and will be able to replace it after tax day. Hallelujah! We're looking at a 2000 watt which with new technology fits in the same footprint as the old 1000. That will give us another K of watts which means more power. And who doesn't want more power?
Stay tuned and next up will be exciting details on patterning a new dodger. The excitement never ceases here on Light Reach.
The picture is of the breakfast club on Roger's birthday.


27 February 2019 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
Sally | Spring is definitely on its way
I can’t believe its been a month since I updated the blog. This month flew by. We remain in Stuart for the moment with hopes of escaping early March. The Marina continues to entice us to stay with movies (complete with pizza), pot lucks, mimosa brunches and lots of folks to kibbitz with about all things boating. We attended the Stuart art festival. It was a wonderful festival which included music and culinary arts along with the mixed media visual arts.
On Valentines Day we walked to a new Chinese place with Kevin and Jan (Aria III) and had a great meal. No chocolate or flowers but a very good meal. We’ve shared a couple of pizza’s with them and played a endless game of UNO. Great fun people we so enjoy their company.
The marina was on a bend of showing us the movies nominated for Academy Awards. We made it to Bohemian Rhapsody but alas none of the others. They don’t start until after dark and we prefer to be back to the boat before then most nights.
We’ve walked the river walk into town several times. Appetizer happy hours are always fun. And we have continued our routine of walking in on Sunday’s for the farmers market and breakfast at the bagel shop and to get the Sunday paper.
The freecycle table in the laundry has provided us with many great finds. Among these finds was a set of marine grade speakers which Scott installed in the cockpit. The ones that were there when we bought the boat had never worked. These fit perfectly in the opening and voila we now have music up top!
This past weekend the family events that kept us in Stuart came to pass. We closed up the boat and headed to Orlando on Friday to visit with Jessica and her family at the house they had rented near the theme parks. It was an awesome visit. They had planned a down day while we were there. We spent it by the community pool which had a small water park that the kids enjoyed while the adults relaxed and chatted. They had rented the house with one of Jessica’s friends that she has know since pre-school and her family. Ann Marie and Bob have 3 children (2 boys and a girl). The house had 5 bedrooms with ensuites for each. It was nicely appointed with a pool of its own and an amazing game room. After a great meal it was all too soon to be on our way. We spent the night in a hotel by the airport which turned out to be excellent. We were worried about noise from the planes but it turned out to be a non-issue.
Early Saturday morning we headed to Gainesville to attend the wedding of Scott’s cousin Audrey. She and her fiancée (now husband) Kevin are stationed in Japan and are both serving in the Navy.
The wedding was held at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. What a gorgeous venue! They had set up for the ceremony near the gazebo located amid the gardens. The weather was hot and cloudy but Mother Nature was cooperative and no rain dampened the day. The bride was radiant, the groom handsome and the ceremony sweet. Between the ceremony and the reception guests were encouraged to roam the gardens on a scavenger hunt to find features among the various themed gardens. The gardens encompass 62 acres of land and the gardens range from Hummingbird and Butterfly habitats to herb and bamboo gardens populated with indigenous species of North Florida.
They fed us well too a marvelous wedding breakfast/brunch full of Southern Hospitality with waffles topped with a myriad of delicious fruits, nuts along with bacon and eggs and of course grits, biscuits and country gravy. No one left hungry.
Afterward we checked into our hotel and got out of our wedding attire.The captain had to put on long pants for the event and I was in a dress. Gracious that was the most painful part of the whole trip.
Mark (the bride’s father and Scott’s cousin) had invited us back to his home to relax and chat and catch up. We had a chance to reconnect with folks we hadn’t seen in a while. And the whole thing came off with no major blow outs at least ones that we knew about LOL.
We returned to the Marina Sunday afternoon but couldn’t find a parking spot. What is one to do but retreat to a local restaurant and have a late lunch. The lot was still rather full on our return but we managed to find a place just as the valet was pulling a car out.
Now back and settled we have to decide if and when we will pull out of here and do some traveling. Before that can happen we need to schedule to have the bottom cleaned and to put the car back in storage.
The picture was taken just as Audrey and Kevin were about to seal the deal.

Cookies and such

28 January 2019 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
So this is what you do to get double the BTU’s out of the propane. Bake cookies to warm up the boat and the belly.
Not acting and weather can make a few decisions for you if you let it. It seems we have. We’ve been having one cold front after another pass through which has us pinned in Stuart. A rapidly approaching wedding and family visit in February have made us decide to stay in Stuart until after both. It now looks like we will be here until March. The weather should be better for traveling after then so it isn’t a bad decision.
My sister arrived from up North and has settled into the condo. They were gracious enough to drive up and take us to Boynton where we retrieved the car and brought it back to the marina. Practically speaking it makes more sense to stay here, since we would have had to rent a car in Marathon and spend at least two nights in hotels along the way to attend the wedding. Our cruising kitty is a bit skinny of late. Now is the part where I could get on my soapbox about health care costs but I’ll bite my tongue not wanting to start any blog wars. Insurance continues to be our largest expense and would be if we were totally land based.
The marina and Stuart continue to be a very enjoyable place to stay. The marina is pretty much full with very little turnover on the moorings and docks. The seasons’s activities are in full swing. There have been a number of pot lucks, movie nights and sundowners with friends. We went to a great antique car show down in Hobe Sound, visited the local flea market, and there are always boat chores to be done. The dingy has to be pulled up and the bottom cleaned. We had neglected that task and the last time was a real mess which resulted in needing to clean the mother ships decks afterward. It’s due again but not until the wind calms and the seas settle.
Yesterday it rained the entire day which is rare for us. Scott had to pump the dingy out twice. We did manage to get into shore between torrents for a short while. I’ve been doing a lot of dinners in the oven to warm the boat. Last night the rain continued and the winds picked up to 25 to 30 knots. We bounced around like a cork on the mooring ball. Today the sun is out but the winds are still in the 20 knot range out of the northwest. That’s the worst direction for this mooring field because of the long fetch. We are both bundled up and have the furnace running to stay warm. We went into shore this morning and walked to the bagel shop just to have a break from all the bouncing and some breakfast.
We’ve been past due to defrost the fridge and have managed since my last post to reduce the amount of provisions to a point where it was a good day to do that. This is a job that is easily pushed off and ignored because it’s a pain. Now we are running the generator to put some juice in the batteries while the fridge recovers. In between chores, stores and shores we have also enjoyed some downtime reading, working crosswords or Sudoku and keeping up with family and friends.

Cold Fronts

13 January 2019 | St Lucie River Stuart Fl
True to form this year is flying by already! We had decided to try to leave Stuart today and head down to the keys, but an approaching cold front put the kibosh on those plans. We would be able to get as far as Ft. Lauderdale on the inside but by the looks of the long term forecast we might get stuck there for a while. We love Lauderdale but it’s pretty pricey to stay there for any length of time. There is no guarantee of getting a mooring ball and the natives can be quite nasty about anchoring. The city marina is in the process of being sold and the property redeveloped. We hear that the offices of what’s left have moved to a trailer. We’re not sure what the status is on showers and laundry there. It’s a big loss to us boaters to lose this facility. So we decided it was best to stay put in Stuart a while longer.
We did take the car down to the condo and put it to bed in anticipation of leaving. Not having a car isn’t a terrible inconvenience here as most everything you could want is within walking, biking or bussing distance. The marina has a bus that runs twice a week with stops at Wal-Mart, Publix, West Marine etc. And they also have a fleet of loaner bikes which we can use. I just wish the traffic wasn’t so horrific, which tends to make me a nervous Nelly on the bike.
We’ve been prepping the boat in anticipation of moving. Scott has loaded fuel on both in the jerry cans and the tank. That led to a project of freeing up the vent on the diesel tank. As in most boat projects it required disassembling parts and Scott becoming a contortionist laid out over the galley stove with his feet in the sink and his head in the cupboard over the fridge to reach the darn thing. That took up a good part of a day.
I packed the ditch bag and we pulled the life raft to a position where it can be easily reached. The single side band has been exercised and the VHF hand helds charged. We also provisioned in anticipation of a trip that could take a week or more, packing on extra water and some additional dry goods. There is always laundry to do that doesn’t change if your moving or mooring!
We continue to enjoy Stuart, this weekend was the Stuart boat show. We went on Friday and perused the show. It’s no where near the size of the big city shows but we enjoyed walking the docks and perusing the tents. Wednesday Terry of Lee Sea Ann II came for a visit. It was great seeing him again. We had a good visit over a nice meal.
The Marina has had a few events as well. Last night was an appetizer Pot Luck which was very well attended. Today was a Sunday brunch furnished by the marina which was again crowded. The marina is pretty much full and all the moorings are occupied.
So for right now we are in Stuart and pondering if we go or stay until after the family wedding we will attend in Gainesville in February. In the meantime we continue to hear folks talking of going to the Bahamas which makes me itch. Who knows where our plans will take us.
The picture is one that Jan (Aria III) took of us in the cockpit. We continue to enjoy their company.

Another year almost complete

28 December 2018 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
Another Christmas in the books and it was a very pleasant one. Santa was far too good to us this year. Our stockings overflowed with wonderful things. We must have been good kids this year.
It’s hard to believe another year is drawing to a close. Time to reflect on what has come and gone with it. It wasn’t a tremendous year for traveling on Light Reach but we did cover a fair amount of ground in the car. We have come to love Stuart and this marina. It’s a very hard place to leave. Our year began and will end here.
We also found a good place to store Light Reach during the hurricane season. Indiantown proved to be a little gem of a place and quite secure.
Our summer visits with friends and family were wonderful and all too short. We had a blast reacquainting ourselves with camping. It provided us with a chance to see some of the country we had not previously. There are some lovely state and national parks out there.
Fall brought us back to Florida for those yearly visits to doctors and such that both of us would rather forget. We are so very fortunate to be of good health, touch wood. It was one warm fall in Florida and prepping Light Reach for launch proved to be a sweaty hot task.
Now happily ensconced on a comfortable mooring ball we’ll see in the new year. We have no plans for New Years Eve. Our days of partying and watching the ball drop are in the far distant past. We’ll surely be fast asleep when midnight arrives.
Might I squeeze in another post before the first of 2019, it’s possible but not likely. We seem to manage to keep busy with keeping things in order and visiting with marina folks. Our friends on Aria III arrived earlier in the month and we’ve so enjoyed their company. The marina holiday festivities, shopping and the day to day business of boat chores kept us hopping this last month of the year.
Wishing you and yours the very best of New Years! The picture is of the marina’s Christmas tree.
Vessel Name: Light Reach
Vessel Make/Model: Pacific Seacraft 37
Hailing Port: Annapolis Md
Crew: Scott and Sally and missing our CSO India the wonder Schnauzer she sails on in our hearts
Scott and Sally met in college, married and lived the average dirt dweller life for years always somewhere near the water. We fell in love with sailing in the early 90's. Summer of 2014 we both retired and became full time cruisers. [...]
Extra: "I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." John Masefield
Light Reach's Photos - Main
August 2015 visit to Keuka Lake (New York Finger Lakes)
1 Photo
Created 2 September 2015