30 May 2012 | Chicago, IL
19 March 2012 | Chicago, IL
16 February 2012 | Chicago, IL
03 January 2012 | Chicago, IL
12 December 2011 | Chicago, IL
09 November 2011 | Chicago, IL
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
Celebrating Friends & Making Memories
29 June 2011 | Monroe Harbor, Chicago, IL
Brodi / Sunny & HOT!
Saturday morning we went to shore for showers and so Lucky could do his business. Then I headed down to the yacht yard on Metra to pick up our car and move it to the garage (we get two season tender passes and a season parking pass in the Millennium Garage with our season in Monroe Harbor...SUCH a bonus!) I made friends with some guys who were taking their boat up to Monroe that day as well, and we all walked the ½ mile to the yard together. They were a nice bunch, and I'll keep an eye out for them as we enjoy the summer!
I got back to the harbor just in time for our friends Lauren, Brian and Dave to join us for the day. They were our first official boat guests in the harbor!!!!!!! An afternoon of sailing turned into an almost 12 hour social "marathon" on the can (again due to no wind and no one really having a desire to motor sail) with lunch and dinner being bbq'ed by the guys on our non-marine propane grill. I even made dessert (Jell-O no bake cheesecake) on the boat, and all things considered, I'm pretty proud of the effort. Regardless of the fact that we didn't leave the harbor, we still had an amazing time and I loved Dave bringing out the guitar as well as seeing a more "colorful" side of Lauren. What a blast! If the rest of the season is nearly as fun when friends join us, we are in for one amazing summer!!!!
On Sunday, we headed back to the boat to do some work on her. We installed the rest of the lighting, and David cleaned the bimini then took a secret nap in the vberth while I cleaned up a bit from the night before. Then we headed out to Ikea to get more fabric so I could finish making the last three curtains...I was really disappointed that they were sold out of a brand new pattern, but finding solar-powered LED rope lighting for $12.99 totally made up for it! Getting uber-cheap, cool-looking stovetop cookware was another plus, so the trip was definitely not wasted. By the time we got home to actually start doing necessary stuff that wasn't boat related we were both pretty tired from three full days of craziness.
The oddest part of the three-day odyssey is that I felt like I was rocking in my sleep Sunday night and also felt like I was still swaying with the waves all day at work on Tuesday. How could I have been land-sick after only 2 ½ days (with breaks!) aboard Passage?! What an amazing weekend!
I still can't believe how lucky we are to be able to make this all happen, and especially to have friends so interested in enjoying it with us. I hope this isn't a dream I'll wake up from in the morning...except the automatic bilge pump not working. That part can definitely be a dream that I find out isn't true. Not looking forward to researching/fixing that stinky, dirty system. I guess that's what boat repairs in exotic locales is all about, though, right?
Our First Sail...FINALLY!
28 June 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Overcast & Little Wind
We finally did it! We got passage out of the yacht yard and up to Monroe Harbor for the summer!!! On Friday we got a bit of a late start but made it to the boat in mid-morning to put the finishing touches on Passage before taking off. After the startling realization last weekend that what we thought was a mizzen was actually a cockpit cover, I did some online research and actually managed to find a used mizzen that’s a really close fit for Passage’s dimensions. David called them Monday morning to order and we had it by Thursday; I was pretty impressed!
We brought some other fun stuff to the boat-books, non technical entertainment, all the brass and lighting I cleaned, sailing snacks, and clothes/bedding to make Passage more homey. The prize of all the additions was David’s boat guitar…a used ¾ guitar he found for a steal after class at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s store. We also filled one of our 5-gallon diesel jugs…just in case, and I did some final cleaning of the lockers we didn’t get to during our big cleaning session the prior week.
There were two bridges to cross under, and the yacht yard called them for us. Another sailboat left at the same time we did, which gave us a leader to follow as first timers in so many aspects on that first trip. Sadly, there was very little wind so while we tried to raise our sails and turn off the engine it was not meant to be on our first trip. We ended up motorsailing all the way up to Monroe Harbor, and realized our windmeter doesn’t work properly. David found the technical issue, and after vacation will look into fixing it so it’s easier for us to keep Passage at the proper angle for optimum sailing this summer. Even though he hated the engine more than we did Lucky did really well on the trip, and even made a little puppy bed for himself as we headed
We arrived at our mooring buoy in the early evening, and we realized we had no idea how to attach Passage to the “can” since they don’t include mooring lines. Those were thankfully included with the boat, so we spent multiple passes past the buoy trying different tactics…two of which included David narrowly avoiding turning buoy catching attempts into man overboard drills. If he hadn’t been such a quick thinker and wrapped his legs around the lifelines as he slid forward, we would not have been joking with each other about it over dinner that night!
We finally got one of the dock lines looped through the buoy ring and swapped it for the mooring lines, then installed a few lights before calling the tender service to take us and one antsy puppy ashore for a very late dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company on Navy Pier. Lucky loved it there because he was a hit; it seemed like every passerby wanted to pet his adorable mug! After dinner, we went back to Passage to spend the night and made friends with our tender driver-Marcus-who told us the ways of the harbor…including that boaters who treat their tender captains well (small $ tips or a beer periodically) get picked up faster. We’ve already started putting that into practice!
We sat on the foredeck drinking wine and enjoying the novelty of seeing the skyline from the water again. It’s been so long since we’ve been able to enjoy Chicago from the lake! David and I both slept really well that night, except for a few times when the wind died completely and Passage ran into the mooring buoy with a loud THUMP! We talked to Marcus about that the next morning and he told us about a can cover the marina sells for $100, but there has got to be a cheaper but quality way to prevent that from happening since their solution seems to be a 50-gallon drum lined at the top with foam. Must research this…
Our first sail...almost!
20 June 2011 | Chicago, IL
David had a long to-do list for Friday, but due to some non-boat related craziness he never made it down there so the Friday and Saturday lists were basically combined. The only thing we did on Friday was finish our first provisioning trip together...staples like non-perishables and boxed wine! There's enough of that to supply a full evening of sundowners with lots of our wonderful friends.
On Saturday, we stopped at West Marine on the way down to the boat yard to pick up replacement lines for a few that were too badly chafed to risk sailing with. We also got David a rigging knife and line to attach our horshoe floatation device to the stern railing as well as chain to lock our dinghy to the deck when we aren't using it. Sadly, the perils of living in a big city like Chicago is the rampant crime of items seemingly useless things to most other people...so the chances of losing our cheap, plastic $100 dinghy can be high.
I had also packed an assortment of stuff for us to keep on Passage: light foul weather gear, extra clothes, David's new "boat" guitar (a cheap, used 3/4 size guitar that still sounds great), and our provisions/booze. Now I guess we're really cruisers! We also brought all the lines David took home Thursday after he found directions on cleaning them in our washing machine. It works REALLY well!!!
After I stored all our boat goodies, I started to work on filling the water tanks while David put the lines back up and got some advice from one of the riggers on the mizzen. We also put up the bimini, which was tougher than it should have been since we didn't know what pieces went where. Now that we do, it won't be so bad going forward. It was a long, hot, sweaty day and I never did get the water to pump through the faucets even though the tanks were full. We put the sails up, and the genoa seems to fit well but the main has rope not the flat slides that our masts and booms need to properly hold the sails in place. At first I was really worried about this, but more research found it's pretty easy to buy slides and attach them to the sails.
Once we realized we weren't going to get away from the dock on Saturday, we decided which projects we wanted to focus on during the coming week-like washing the rest of the lines, and buying a mizzen...what we thought WAS the mizzen turned out to be a cockpit cover! Big suprise!!!! I actually found a used mizzen online yesterday, so David called today to order it to arrive before Friday (hopefully). Regardless, we ARE leaving on Friday since we can't postpone our sail date more than once and take advantage of the yard's hospitality. After all, they did even offer to use their lift to untangle two lines at the very top of the main mast...so I didn't have to lift David up the bosun's chair
...something I do not look forward to doing when I finally can't avoid it.
With the ever growing to do list hovering, it's easy to lose sight of just how amazing the last month has been for us. After all, Saturday was the one-month anniversary of us being yacht owners! As we worked together Saturday afternoon to set up the genoa, it all hit me that we are really doing this. We are really living the dream...one step at a time, and it's pretty amazing!
16 June 2011 | Chicago, IL
David had the day off and spent pretty much the entire day on Passage with Lucky. Of course, their day started out wandering through every cruiser's fantasy world...West Marine...where Lucky got his first PFD (puppy floatation device)! He actually doesn't seem to mind wearing it, and bonus points for West Marine because they let Lucky come in and shop!!! David also picked up a safety kit so we are fully USCG (United States Coast Guard) compliant.
By the time David got to the south side, Passage was already in the water and her engine purred beautifully! That was the one major worry we both had since we didn't do a water test during the survey, and had no clue what state a 31-year-old Westerbeke might be in. Now we know why they have such a great reputation as solid, dependable machines!
David and Lucky picked me up after work for a SECOND trip to West Marine, where we picked up a pair of USCG approved fire extinguishers (we have an ABC extinguisher but need to get it recharged and have no idea how...yet). I also ordered a soldering kit, so we can convert our incandescent lighting to LED using some bulk LED strips I found on Amazon. Suprisingly David and I both have some prior limited experience with soldering, so hopefully it won't be too difficult to relearn an almost forgotten skill.
A Head is a Toilet not Top of One's Body
13 June 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Dark & Chilly
Now that we're approaching our first month as yacht owners, I've realized how much there is to learn about basic boat/sailing terms. More and more, I feel it necessary to put layman's terms in parantheses when I write about our adventures...just in case someone is actually reading these posts, and like me not too long ago, doesn't know nearly as much about sailboats or cruising as they'd like or need to know.
So, here's a short list of definitions (and commentary) that will help my reader(s) understand this blog.
Berth = Cushions comfortable enough to sleep on, more like a cot than a bed
Settee = Couch in the living area, can often be converted to or used as a berth. To maximize space, the back cushions convert to storage hidey holes
V-berth = Private berth at the very front of the boat, the mattress/sleeping area is shaped like a V. On Passage the head end is as wide as a standard king bed while its foot is a mere 19"
Salon = main cabin or living area of the sailboat, usually set up like a living/dining room with a folding table the helps maximize a small space. On Passage, the table folds up onto the wall...like a murphy bed in a Gold Coast studio
Dinghy = small row boat, sometimes called a tender, that can be inflatable or made of a hard material. The one we just bought for Passage is a hard dinghy not a soft one (insert inappropriate pun here...sorry, mom!).
Bilge = boat basement, below the floorboards, often stinky and accumulates water if the boat leaks (hence the need for Dawn dish soap)
Head = boat bathroom or toilet, one word for the room and the (non-) porcelain throne, another fairly stinky place on some boats...
Galley = boat kitchen, usually has a sink, refrigerator, propane stove/oven, and not nearly enough storage space for gadgets
Cockpit = outdoor sailboat lounge area, often with a railing-mounted propadult beverages and a folding table big enough to hold snacks and/or sundowners. This is a shameless plug that Passage needs a marine grill, and if anyone wants to donate or sell us one please send me an email!
Sundowner = adult beverages for consumption with friends-new or old-in the cockpit
BTW: Now Passage is a true Chicago sailboat! Go Bears!
Tackling Many Projects, Gross and Small
13 June 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Overcast
While we've gotten some big things accomplished recently, it's also been a weekend for miscellaneous other projects to make Passage look and feel like a homey cruising boat. David spent hours on Friday scrubbing the ceiling with all purpose cleaner/degreaser and a hand brush to get all the dirt and mildew spots off...it looks AMAZING! You'd never guess now that she didn't look this "good as new" last weekend.
We also managed to thoroughly clean the head (aka: bathroom) and make serious progress on the bilge (stinky boat basement), too. I was ready to spend big bucks on special cleaning supplies for the bilge until David had a conversation with the boat store guys, who recommended Dawn...yes, as in the dish soap...saying he just leaves some of it in the bottom of his bilge at all times. So we'll try that and see how it goes when we make it back down there this coming weekend for the big launch!
On top of those two dirty, dreaded tasks we also:
~Rigged the dinghy (row boat) to the davits (dinghy hangers)
~Cut the remaining settee foam cushions to size
~Cleaned the faux leather ceiling cover (beige colored head protector)
~Threw away ALL the old cleaning supplies that were at least half melted under the sink
~Sorted through all the random, miscellaneous paperwork in the Nav Station
~Cut the rest of the vberth foam to create a solid 6 INCH memory foam mattress...for the grand total cost of $154+tax!
~Started cleaning the stove/oven. This last one may sound silly but have you ever tried to clean your appliance at home when it's swinging back and forth whenever you touch it?! I haven't figured out how to lock the gimballs in place yet, so this task started out a bit more difficult than expected!
I also found an alternator, rusted almost beyond identification, wrapped in a paper lunch sack in the galley cabinet that also holds refrigerator cooling system. It's location, lack of attachment to ANYTHING, and state of total disrepair are a complete mystery.
I just can't get over how COMFY our mattress is!! When I laid down to tuck in the sheets, I could have just stayed there and taken a nap!! (Yes, all the exclamation points are highly deserved!) !
Thank God for Middle School Home Economics Class!
12 June 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Where Did Summer Go?!
On Friday, a coworker loaned me her sewing machine so I could finally start working through all the awesome fabric we bought at Ikea a few weeks ago. Considering that the last time I used a sewing machine was my 7th grade Home Economics class (seriously!) I am REALLY proud of how well my first one turned out!!! Yes, it me HOURS to figure out what I was doing since I basically eyeballed it based on the old ones that fell apart in the washing machine-thus prompting the need for new ones.
Last week, David found the factory brochure promoting the "new" Pearson 365 as a higher standard in luxury. Those factory "specs" photos show the same curtains, cushions, and internal decor as Passage had when we bought her. No wonder everything was gross and falling apart! I'm actually rather impressed they held up as well as they did for as long as they did. But I know Passage is going to look MUCH better when she has new and trendy fabrics furnishing her interior! Once the curtains are finished, we'll head back to Ikea to pick out a coordinating fabric for cushion covers on the settees and berths (couches and beds for the landlubbers who read this).
It's a really great sense of accomplishment to put so much into turning our dream into a reality. Even though it'd be easier and faster to just buy some replacement curtains, it's cheaper but more importantly so rewarding to know that when we head out cruising I'll have a daily reminder of how hard we've worked to make this happen...
We Have a Launch Date!
11 June 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Cool
The last week (and weekend) has been so busy with boat-related projects that there wasn't even time to post updates...of which there were many. The most important is that we have a launch date set for Passage to return to a floating "lifestyle." We went into this thinking there was no way we could get her ready for Lake Michigan before next year because the to-do list seemed overwhelming. But we quickly realized the list of "needs" versus "wants" was much shorter and we could still do smaller projects throughout the summer while enjoying and learning her sailing style. So, Passage is going into the water THIS FRIDAY June 17th for an engine trial. If that goes well, we could have her at our mooring buoy in Monroe Harbor by Saturday June 18th.
Yes, I even secured a mooring bouy all summer long in downtown Chicago across from the Buckingham Fountain for less than $2,000! Since that's what many people might spend on a 5-9 day vacation, and is less than half of what one would definitely pay for just a week on a charter boat smaller than Passage, we feel good about the trade off...no more big vacations this year so we can enjoy our new life addition.
We also bought a dinghy on Craigslist for $125! It's an 8' plastic number with oars and dinghy wheels, but it'll get us easily from shore to the boat so we don't have to pay $200 extra for parking passes we don't need or the tender service that can take 30 - 60 minutes to pick us up on busy evenings. I want to spend time on my boat when I wish, and the tender service doesn't seem like a realistic way to support work-life balance. Did I mention we picked it up in Park Ridge and drove it all the way down to the yacht yard on TOP of our tiny Chevy Aveo?! The man who sold us the dinghy-he's upgrading to a slip
so no longer needs it-laughingly told us we were nuts as we used all 100 ft of line to lash it securely to the roof. This sudden purchase of ours seems to be one adventure after another!
Closer to the Goal!
05 June 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Finally Summer!
This weekend has been a bit light for boat work, even though David did have the day off on Thursday, since I had to drive out of town for work Friday and Saturday. He spent a lot of the day down there Thursday cleaning out the desk of the nav station, pulling more of the brass fixtures off the walls for me to clean (with kool-aid!), and measuring the lifelines for netting.
I was inspired recently after reading an article in Cruising World by a guy who seems to have perfected the art of buying in bulk. So, I did some research then found a great deal online for a fishing and supply place that actually sells netting by the pound! We’re saving a bundle over what West Marine charges.
Now, I need to find more websites that sell stuff that way so when I want rope to make our own lines or some other DIY project I can do it cheap.
David also met with the boatyard to discuss setting up an engine review, that is hopefully just a post-winter fuel flush, so we can get Passage launched later this month. Depending on when the yard gets caught up on launching its May backlog, the inspection could be sometime this week. We spent time this weekend researching sails and lines (a couple of the halyards are chafed), so we need to order those in the next day or two so they arrive soon.
I finished cleaning the brass fixtures, and everything actually turned out pretty well except the lights in the vberth. No matter how long they sat or how long I scrubbed, they just wouldn’t clean up. Although they seem to be brass, I think it’s really just some fancy coating. So I’m looking for some quality yet affordable LED replacements a bit earlier in this process than I expected, but at least this will help us get a better understanding of our overall power usage when we’re away from shore power.
Overall, it’s kind of been a slow and seemlingly unproductive week since nothing’s been officially checked off “the list” but that’s ok. We’re still moving forward and closer to our goal!
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