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
About:
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. [...]
Extra:
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
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Recent Blog Posts
30 August 2011 | Michigan City, IN

Surprise Trip to a Boat Show!

We found out when David met with the mechanic on Thursday that Passage's engine problem isn't with the starter after all...it's the alternator. This is good and bad news: good because we knew the alternator was an issue and just hoped it would last until winter haul out, but bad because it turns out [...]

24 August 2011 | Chicago, IL

Turning The Big 3-0

This past weekend was a huge milestone for me...I finally reached the big 3-0! While this may seem a bit silly to some...many of my friends have already reached this point already...this is the age so much in my life has led up to. For several years after moving to Chicago I wanted to be an HR Manager [...]

15 August 2011 | Chicago, IL

Chafe is BAD!

Yesterday was supposed to be a fun group sailing day-one of our friend Holly's last [this summer] since she's moving out of Chicago for grad school. Sadly, though, the winds were stronger than I'm comfortable sailing in...especially when David was out of town for our friend Tyler's bachelor party (those [...]

08 August 2011 | Chicago

Thinking Ahead to Cold Weather Boat Projects

Over the last month or so, our "to do" list has had very little crossed off it...which is a little frustrating because a small part of me fears the major stuff won't get done...especially when the list keeps growing as we learn more about our future full time floating home. I've had a BLAST this summer [...]

04 August 2011 | Chicago, IL

Sailors are Nudists!

There's a really cool blog I read called the Interview with a Cruiser Project, which asks people who've been out cruising for a while just 10 questions about their adventures. It's a really interesting concept, and fun to read...I hope we get to be featured [...]

01 August 2011 | Chicago, IL

Photo Fabulous...Passage Under Sail!!

What a great weekend...even though I only got to enjoy half of it out on the water. Saturday I spent all day at a bachelorette party while Tyler took the groom-to-be and a few of his friends out on the lake (since he was "banned" from his apartment for the entire day)...along with Holly and Ryan. From [...]

Surprise Trip to a Boat Show!

30 August 2011 | Michigan City, IN
Brodi / Warm-ish...
We found out when David met with the mechanic on Thursday that Passage's engine problem isn't with the starter after all...it's the alternator. This is good and bad news: good because we knew the alternator was an issue and just hoped it would last until winter haul out, but bad because it turns out the problem isn't just a loose alternator belt-the damn thing isn't charging our batteries at all! So, when the original batteries died it may not have been because they were bad and we may have bought two new deep cycle batteries for nothin! (sigh) I'll just have to trust that they really were bad, and we needed new ones anyway...

The other good news is that we were able to score a great deal on a portable trickle charger at Wolf Marine when we made a detour on the way to a friend's Michigan lake house for the weekend. So, we can keep the batteries charged this way while we wrap up the sailing season and hold off on buying a new alternator until this winter. If anyone has any suggestions for a quality, decently priced high output alternator that's compatible with a Westerbeke 40 diesel, please share!

When we got to Wolf's the place was so empty we thought it might be closed...so we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves, which was great until we discovered that ALL their boat shoes were gone!!!! It was a travesty! Then we found out that all the shoes were at the boat show. Since the boat show was in Michigan City, IN we decided to stop there on our way back on Sunday. Most of the show was for powerboats, and sadly we missed meeting Abby Sunderland, but there were a couple Hunters and Beneteaus to oggle. And did we ever! We used each boat as an opportunity to brainstorm DIY ideas to implement on Passage...and even took photos of them to remember them all. (Ok, so maybe installing a jacuzzi tub below our vberth isn't on the list, but I just had to share that insanity...it's on the new 55' Hunter.) It was a cool way to spend a few hours...plus I ended up with a new pair of Sabago terry flipflops and a discounted subscription to Latitudes & Attitudes, along with free back issues!

**For extra updates, photos, etc "like" the S/V Passage Facebook page!**

Turning The Big 3-0

24 August 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / Variable Craziness
This past weekend was a huge milestone for me...I finally reached the big 3-0! While this may seem a bit silly to some...many of my friends have already reached this point already...this is the age so much in my life has led up to. For several years after moving to Chicago I wanted to be an HR Manager by the time I was 30, thought maybe I'd get married shortly after 30, and I'd definitely average travelling to at least 30 countries by age 30. Riiiight.

At 24 I was both an HR Manager and married, and I've been to 16 countries (outside the USA). I'm 0 for 3. I suck at planning. Maybe this means I'm meant to be a cruiser because no one who lives the life seems to stick to any solid plans they started with either. David and I keep rethinking so many of our life ambitions, even the 5 year plan we hatched just a year and a half ago. Now that the five year mark is 3.5 years away, we are trying to figure out how we can whittle it down even further...to 2.5 or hell, even 1.5 years!

At the strangest moments, I'm reminded of just how amazing our lifeplan really is...I found out today that several years ago, someone at my new job actually did exactly what we are working towards! She and her husband sold everything, including their home, and took off on a sailboat to live her dream...my coworkers were amazed, and envious, as if it's this big impossible feat. Is it really? Or is changing one's mindset to live the dream and maybe moreso the acceptance (not fear) of the unknown actually the hardest part?

We had some unfortunate setbacks this weekend, in the midst of a fairly elaborate celebration aboard Passage. The short story is that our starter is broken-which we discovered when a bunch of friends had already come aboard to go out on Lake Michigan to watch the annual Air & Water Show and to celebrate my birthday. [Hopefully the starter will be fixed within the next few days so we don't have to spend $$$ on a new one!] Thankfully, we had amazing and understanding people who ensured an amazing day in spite of thunderstorms and a dead engine. Because it was (literally) the biggest boating weekend of the entire year in Chicago, we couldn't get anyone out to fix Passage's engine until after the weekend, so we celebrated the next day on the can as well. Yes, David planned an entire weekend of festivities-including just the two of us sleeping over on Friday night.

My friends are a great bunch of people who helped me understand that the backup plan you never considered can be just as good as the original. That's certainly true of our lifeplan as well! It's important to remember that no matter what I think will happen, it certainly won't but the resulting outcome will likely be better!

Whatever will be, will be...

Check out more details of my birthday weekend on Passage's Facebook Page!

Chafe is BAD!

15 August 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / WINDY
Yesterday was supposed to be a fun group sailing day-one of our friend Holly's last [this summer] since she's moving out of Chicago for grad school. Sadly, though, the winds were stronger than I'm comfortable sailing in...especially when David was out of town for our friend Tyler's bachelor party (those stories will stay safely out of this blog because I'm sure there was much male mischief-making). Actually, after watching the waves a while I felt like we would have been fine once we got out there, but the mooring buoys are so close together I wasn't sure even with our engine that we could get off the can without hitting the boat behind us. Yeah, the wind was blowing that hard....watching the waves around the crib four miles out, there were rolling breakers several feet high.**note: the photo is from a different day, when the conditions weren't as bad, but it helps paint the picture** We [Dave, Holly, Dan, Evelyn, Lauren, Lucky and me] decided to stay on the boat for a while in case the wind calmed down, and it's a good thing we did! While nothing happened to Passage, other boats were not so lucky.

When we were dropped off at Passage by the tender service, the driver said, "oh we have your dinghy at the office; when can you pick it up?" I looked over and saw our painter line (the nylon rope that holds the dinghy to one of the stern cleats) had chafed right through the middle and Passage had no dinghy! We'd tried so hard to keep the dinghy out of the way for tender drivers passing past the boat that we had shortened the line beyond its holding ability in rough waters and high winds.

Our dinghy was more fortunate than the Beneteau that broke its mooring line and floated through the harbor. The winds were so strong that after several minutes it was knocking against the rock breaker wall (I hadn't seen the boat on the rocks, our friend Dan told me later he had noticed that part), then it picked up a current and started floating back towards the boats...including ours!!! At first I didn't notice until the Beneteau started getting close since I thought the woman behind the wheel was the owner struggling to keep control as she returned to her can. One of the tender drivers was using a tender to try and prod/guide the Beneteau and keep it from hitting other boats, while another driver was at one of the two steering wheels trying to aim the out-of-control boat. As the Beneteau started to pass us, the woman at the helm yelled "free boat! watch your boat!" It was such a shock because I hadn't thought about a runaway boat as "free" so it took all of us a few moments to realize what she meant.

I ran toward the bow without any time to even grab a boat hook or fender in case the Beneteau did threaten imminent contact with Passage...in hindsight I'm not sure what good I could have done because I could not have used just my two hands to stop or slow that size boat in such a strong current that even a motorized tender boat and two USCG certified captains couldn't yet control. I did see the Beneteau pass within THREE FEET of Passage's bow roller!!! Talk about a close call! That boat could have done some serious damage to US...we possibly could have been injured from the collision, especially me since I was right there at the bow. After the Beneteau made it past us without colliding, another tender and driver showed up along with the harbormaster in his powerboat. The three boats and four people slowed the Beneteau until it could be side-tied to a random sailboat just three buoys away; they then towed the Beneteau north...I'm assuming back to its buoy. One of the drivers swung back by later to check on us, and ensure we hadn't been hit. I appreciate the hard work of the drivers and harbormaster, especially because in the kind of weather anything can happen; they reacted quickly so no one was hurt.

When I went back to the harbor today...in basically NO WIND...it's hard to believe the crazy wind that broke our painter line as well as a sailboat's moooring line! I saw the Beneteau tied back to a mooring buoy, so I was glad to see she didn't sustain too much damage and sink. I'm also happy we made the decision to spend time hanging out in the cockpit rather than giving up on weather and going home. Although we didn't make it out on the lake to sail, I got to experience first hand how scary runaway boats can be...and there were professionals handling that situation! It really drove home lessons that every sailor needs to understand: the importance of proper boat and line maintenance. Always check for chafe everywhere, and leave enough lead line to allow your boat (or dinghy) scope to swing.

Thinking Ahead to Cold Weather Boat Projects

08 August 2011 | Chicago
Brodi / Rainy (boo)
Over the last month or so, our "to do" list has had very little crossed off it...which is a little frustrating because a small part of me fears the major stuff won't get done...especially when the list keeps growing as we learn more about our future full time floating home. I've had a BLAST this summer improving my sailing skills and enjoying all this time outdoors. We've even managed to do something some cruisers still haven't done...great pics of our boat under sail! However, I'm still a bit nervous about all the things I want to get done before the weather gets too cold and snowy for us to even do work while Passage is on the hard. I've been shopping around for winter storage closer to home than the Chicago/Indiana border, and think I've found one...(details to come when the contract is signed!)

What's on this mammoth to do list? Well, what isn't?!
1)Repair accelerator on cockpit steering unit (David broke it during the mystery sail he refuses to blog about...which I missed so I can't fill in the blanks)
2)Remove/replace marine head with compostable system...either Airhead or Nature's Head
3)Convert holding tank to storage locker
4)Buy/install wi-fi booster
5)Rebed all deck fittings
6)Recaulk/silicone mast at deck level
7)Repair/replace cockpit emergency bilge pump
8)Finish cleaning out bilge (David found clip on sunglasses in there last weekend!)
9)Replace/rebed cockpit engine gauges
10)Replace engine alternator
11)Sand off all leftover varnish from exterior teak
12)Repair starboard rub rail
13)Fix or replace shower sump pump
14)Replace old, waterstained wood in galley and main cabin
15)Repair pullout double berth in salon
16)Repair/replace weather stripping on all hatches and portholes.
17)Finish making vberth window coverings
18)Install shelves in both oversized hanging lockers
19)Convert huge clothes hamper in head to additional storage locker
20)Install hammock hangers on/between mainmast and forestay
21)Install mast steps on mainmast (and maybe on mizzenmast)
22)Get radar working (or get rid of it!)
23)Buy/install SSB
24)Repair or replace anchor bow rollers
25)Remove/replace ENORMOUS starting battery in port lazarette
26)Fix interior cabin doors (they don't currently close due to minor warping)
27)Fix plumbing/water pressure
28)Install new storage lockers under galley stove and nav station
29)Refinish interior woodwork
30)Properly rewire bilge pump so manual isn't automatic anymore
31)Buy new sails (basic, storm, light air)
32)Buy/install swim platform for "dog overboard"
33)Repair/replace "man overboard" whisker pole
34)Buy Sailrite sewing machine
35)Repair sailcovers
36)Finish salon settee covers
37)Repaint hull (including removing 30 years worth of layers) with modern antifouling paint
38)Replace internal lighting with LEDs, add several new fixtures to brighten cabins
39)Add/wire 12v fans to vberth, head, salon and galley
40)Finish edges along installed lifeline netting
41)Buy/install windvane
42)Create electrical wiring map
43)Install GPS/chartplotter
44)Remove plastic covers from standing rigging
45)Remove water heater from starboard cockpit lazarette
46)Inspect standing rigging-replace mizzen backstay, others as needed
47)Choose/install teak storage/shelving on internal cabin walls
48)Replace Datamarine cockpit gauges
49)Rewire cockpit to mount autopilot and wind gauges on central steering column

Typing it all out actually made me feel a bit better about a list that seems to have taken on a mind of its own. Basically, we have our work cut out for us this winter and beyond...if anyone is up for a boat work party after Passage is on the hard, we'll supply the pizza and beer! And if you don't know where to find us after Monroe Harbor empties out in October, check the boatyard...we'll be beautifying Passage for more fun times (and hopefully some longer jaunts aboard) in 2012.

Sailors are Nudists!

04 August 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / I wish I went sailing today!
There's a really cool blog I read called the Interview with a Cruiser Project, which asks people who've been out cruising for a while just 10 questions about their adventures. It's a really interesting concept, and fun to read...I hope we get to be featured on there someday! One of the questions that gets asked sometimes is about what suprised seasoned cruisers, or they didn't really expect.

One aspect of cruising that I hadn't really thought about, but I've read in numerous blogs over the last few months, is how rarely cruisers seem to wear clothes. I've read about the hot weather on passages, seen photos of nude book reading, heard about how marinas aren't as fun as anchoring out because you can't shower nude in the cockpit...and wearing clothes drives up the cost of doing laundry...I even read a blog-complete with photos-on how to properly clean a fish............NAKED!

I know lots of cruisers are on a budget, but really?! Am I destined to see nothing but nudity when we make the transition? It makes me think of when I went to Nice, France in 1998 and the beach was covered in normal-ish looking people. The people who went topless really shouldn't have; am I destined to see this repeated? My eyes burn at the thought. Blogs are snippets of lives the way people want to portray them; I'll just have to make sure I remember this "expectation" of mine when we make the change...I guess it's incentive up front to avoid marinas and seek out idyllic, lonely anchorages without any other boats!

Photo Fabulous...Passage Under Sail!!

01 August 2011 | Chicago, IL
Brodi / 90+ & Humid
What a great weekend...even though I only got to enjoy half of it out on the water. Saturday I spent all day at a bachelorette party while Tyler took the groom-to-be and a few of his friends out on the lake (since he was "banned" from his apartment for the entire day)...along with Holly and Ryan. From the Facebook pics, it seems like a grand ole' time that I'm sorry I had to miss!

On Sunday, David let me sleep in so we got a late start. That was unfortunate since we still needed to do some bilge work (the pump rewiring still wasn't done) and try to figure out how to fix the steering system-specifically the accelerator (David will have to tell that story when he blogs about Saturday's adventure...let's just say I'm no longer the only Cole who has broken the boat [heehee]). Dave met up with us, and we wrapped up a little after lunchtime to head out for a sail.

The wind wasn't very strong, so we towed the dinghy behind us so we could hop in and take pictures of Passage under sail. Dave said it was so cool that David and I both ended up taking a turn in the dinghy watching Passage sail in circles around us and in front of Chicago's beautiful skyline. I can't fully describe what an absolutely AMAZING feeling it was to see my boat in her full, 3-sail glory! Let's just say I now know it's possible to love a floating bunch of fiberglass...Passage is such a fabulous work of art that I can't believe our luck in finding her.

In the beginning I wondered if we were doing the right thing jumping into a boat purchase so soon...but every day we spend out on the lake, doing boat work, or reading/researching I know it was a great decision. Some articles/people say that you shouldn't buy a boat too long before you take off because it ends up sucking all your money so you can't save anything with which to actually live your dream. While I can understand that perspective, we are truly focusing on doing this cheaply and affordably so we can learn as much as possible and use all this time to practice yet enjoy our good fortune and good friends in Chicago.

Check out our Facebook Page for some great shots of Passage under sail (and "Like" us for more photos and updates)...what a great day!!!
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Passage's Photos -

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