S/V Passage - Refitting a Classic (& Building Our Skills) Before Cutting the Docklines

We are working toward our dream, one step at a time, and are prepared to make mistakes and learn from them so we become better cruisers every day.

Vessel Name: Passage
Vessel Make/Model: 1980 Pearson 365 Ketch #324
Hailing Port: Chicago, IL
Crew: David Cole & Brodi Cole
We started sailing in 2004 when David's dad bought his first sailboat, a 30' Hunter on Lake Michigan. David spent many hours on Lake Michigan and when his dad upgraded to a 42' Hunter, even made several multi-day crossings between Florida and the Bahamas. [...]
In early 2010, we made a 5-year plan to pay off our debt, save money, buy a sailboat and take off for the adventure of a lifetime. One year into that plan, Brodi discovered an amazing deal that resulted in us acquiring "Passage"-a 1980 Pearson 365 Ketch-three years ahead of "schedule." We hope this [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/svpassage
14 March 2019
30 May 2012 | Chicago, IL
19 March 2012 | Chicago, IL
16 February 2012 | Chicago, IL
03 January 2012 | Chicago, IL
13 December 2011
12 December 2011 | Chicago, IL
09 November 2011 | Chicago, IL
02 November 2011
01 November 2011 | Chicago, IL
19 October 2011 | Chicago, IL
13 October 2011 | Chicago, IL
12 October 2011 | Chicago, IL
11 October 2011 | Annapolis, MD
10 October 2011 | Annapolis, MD
02 October 2011 | Chicago, IL
20 September 2011 | Chicago, IL
12 September 2011 | Chicago, IL
11 September 2011 | Chicago, IL
04 September 2011 | Chicago, IL
Recent Blog Posts
14 March 2019

A New Adventure!

It's been a while since we posted anything because kids add an unexpected spice to life and our implementation strategy for leaving the rat race has changed a bit. We still plan to 'cut the docklines' and travel the world, but sadly it won't be with Passage.

30 May 2012 | Chicago, IL

Back on the Lake!

The blog may have been quiet lately but we sure haven’t been slacking! After receiving the spring bridge schedule (we can only put the boat in and take it up river on certain days approved by the city), we had a mad rush in April to cut our [...]

19 March 2012 | Chicago, IL

Big News!

We weren't kidding when we said in the last blog post that March would be full of big news...as you may have guessed from the photo, our crew is officially expanding to three! Baby Cole should be joining us around September 2, 2012...just in time to help us winterize Passage! In case you're wondering, [...]

16 February 2012 | Chicago, IL

Winter Update

We haven't been MIA because we're busy with boat projects...sadly it's been the exact opposite. While winter in Chicago has been a bit more temperate that usual, it still hasn't exactly been ideal for boatwork. So we've been focusing on home projects that were neglected throughout boating season...how [...]

03 January 2012 | Chicago, IL

Too COLD for Cruising

We truly thought more boatwork would get done this winter, but now that the holidays are officially over it's hard to motivate ourselves to willingly spend significant lengths of time outside doing boatwork when it's already skipping the freezing point entirely! It's official, January is NOT a good time [...]

13 December 2011

Cool Website

I just found a cool new website, and wanted to share. Love the pic/quote on his main page, too!

12 December 2011 | Chicago, IL

A Month of Updates

It's been a rather crazy month for us, without really any time to even sit down and log our updates. The weekend after our last (and only) post in November we did head back down to the yacht yard to get some more stuff off the boat, and try to figure out our head/plumbing system. Our biggest challenge [...]

09 November 2011 | Chicago, IL


Motivation. That one little word has so much "baggage" associate with it, but in my mind truly defines the doers from the dreamers. Ever since Daylight Saving Time ended over the weekend I've struggled to maintain my level of motivation. Between the [...]

02 November 2011

Hump Day, Quote Day!

Well, he wrote the quote anyway...

01 November 2011 | Chicago, IL

Not MIA!

We went down to the boatyard to see Passage on her cradle last Sunday, and it was amazing that it took just 20 minutes to get there! When we got to the boat, we packed up a few things to bring home for the winter as well as started to look at the holding tank to determine how we will remove it. We also [...]

Boat Show Awesomeness (Part 2)

11 October 2011 | Annapolis, MD
Brodi / Not too Hot to Spend Boatbucks!
If you read my last blog closely, you're probably still wondering how we could go to the oldest sailboat show in the country and only see one boat?! Well, there were literally hundreds of vendors and we had some serious shopping to do! After all, once Passage is hauled out next weekend for the season we have at least a score of projects to accomplish before she's relaunched in 2012.

I am happy to say we came home having ordered the two big items from our list - a compostable head and bottom paint! We've made another semi-contentious choice in some boating circles by purchasing CopperCoat, a bottom paint that is copper based; some people say that copper paints are bad for the environment because they flake off copper into the water. However, as a non-leaching paint it literally takes about 10 years for CopperCoat paint to even start wearing off a boat's hull. The dried epoxy resin doesn't cause or promote electrolysis, galvanic action or cathodic decay. Having done significant research on bottom paint over the last 6-8 months, it seems to me that in general corporate pollution is a much greater copper concern for our environment than what's on the bottom of a recreational boat. David and I both agree that the substantial cost and time savings of not needing to re-apply bottom paint through full haul-out every two years was a major selling point! (**Note: If potential future cruisers read this months or years from now, feel free to email us to see if we still feel positively about our choice. I always wonder why more people don't share their bottom paint choices; there are so many options, I have found selection overwhelming.**) We are really excited for spring when we can buy soy-based paint stripper (more on this in a future post) and see what's really under all those layers on Passage's hull!

As I'm sure many cruisers do at this show, we also came home having ordered some items that weren't on our original shopping list:

New Membership to the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA)

Good Old Boat subscription
Chute Scoop
Electromaax High Output Alternator with Serpentine Pulley System
Airmaax 12v Wind Generator

Oddly enough, we had discussed all of these things at some point since last year's show at Annapolis but they hadn't really been on our radar. We are excited because the SSCA has a lot of members who are actively living the dream, and can offer us a lot of tried and tested advice if we want it. The Gams (cruiser parties) are supposed to SUPER FUN and take place in various cities worldwide! I was sold on Good Old Boat because they actually have published a variety of articles on DIY projects we already have planned, and some were even about other Pearson 365s!

The Chute Scoop was literally an impulse buy while we were trying to decide if we were already over our spending budget. We rationalized that we spent all summer without using our free spinnaker that came with the boat because we were so intimidated by dousing it. Now, we'll actually be able to try it out next year! The great bonus is that the Chute Scoop is easily transferable to other light-air sails, like the drifter we're going to add to our inventory within the next year or two.

We actually planned on only buying a standard alternator to replace our broken one, to save money, and I hadn't considered a high-output one. However, David had and between conversations with him and both the President of Electromaax and Designer of the alternator and serpentine pulley system, I was (slowly) brought up to speed. I had gone into the booth to say hello to Rich Boren, of S/V Third Day and Cruise RO Watermakers, but I also wanted to hear more about his experience with the Airmaax 12V wind generator. Needless to say, we liked what we heard about both the alternator and windgen and have ended up with both! While it's true we don't technically need a windgen next season on Lake Michigan, we decided that it is necessary to make any big purchases we know we want to have down the road now while we still have significant income to offset the expense. And, it'll give us time to get to know these new systems while in familiar territory.

Between the deals already offered at the boat show, our intent to pay with check (not credit card), and-of course-our awesome likeability we were able to score some great pricing on our load 'o' stuff for next cruising season and beyond! We also had an opportunity to work with an incredibly knowledgeable salesman who helped us fit foul weather gear, just for the satisfaction of knowing we knew what to do. He explained that if it fits great when you squat down, then it's too small..."if it looks like it fits, then it doesn't it. It needs to look way too big!" While we're not in the market for this yet, and are hoping to score a great discontinued or off-name set rather than paying new/name brand prices, at least now we have some idea of what to look for!

One thing I think we are a bit more confounded about than when we started are dinghies. We spent time both days of the show oggling the Fatty Knees dinghy, but also spoke to several inflatable brand reps and even checked out some of the electric outboards available. We want to minimize our fossil fuel dependency, but there are so many options...Thank goodness we don't have to make a decision on that for a while because both David and I are (still) totally befuddled on this one!

For more photos, check out S/V Passage's Facebook Page!
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Passage's Photos -

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