SV Take Me There!

A cruising boat/couple on an adventure!

08 March 2017 | Herrington Harbour South
31 January 2017 | Herrington Harbour South
24 January 2017 | Herrington Harbour South
05 January 2017 | Herrington Harbour South
20 December 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
07 November 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
01 November 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
31 October 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
24 October 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
20 October 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
14 October 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
21 September 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
15 July 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
30 June 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
17 June 2016 | Herrington Harbour South, Friendship MD
07 June 2016 | Herrington Harbour South, Friendship MD
27 May 2016 | Herrington Harbour South, Friendship MD
23 May 2016 | Herrington Harbour South, Friendship MD
16 May 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
02 May 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD


01 October 2014 | Tampa, FL
The Captain/Varied
In the last post I laid out 3-objectives - here I will cover the first...Outfitting the boat for full-time cruising. More accurately stated - for full time live-aboard and a trip up the East Coast for our planned move to the Washington DC area where we will explore life as civilians in pre-retirement for a while. As any new boat owner does, the "to do" list was got longer, and longer each day. At this point, I was devoting every spare personal moment to readying the boat for full time occupation. The Admiral gave me her full support as she was very busy with her full-time CEO duties and full-time PhD student responsibilities. Keeping in mind that "us time" was precious, I spent every waking hour when the Admiral was out of town, or buried in her studies, on a boat project. When she was available, we balanced our time between being together and garnering her interest/comfort with boating life since her experience was limited. A disclaimer here - the Admiral is a strong, decisive and capable woman who was mentally committed to our mutual plan to sail north and live/work in DC for a while. She had no desire to be a learned sailor but had every desire to participate. She didn't want to know how it worked - only, that it worked! Her role as plans supervisor, visionary and common-sense checker was invaluable. She saved me, my back and a lot of time with her perspective on everything I shared regarding the boat - and I shared everything...some things did not interest her but most did. Note to all of those considering engaging your significant other in a boat endeavor - listen to her as your partner, spouse, friend, mate and Admiral! You cannot do it alone - and really enjoy it!

The projects: Know the boat! I explored every nook and cranny (multiple times) finding something new each round. This took a few weeks of nights and weekends. Needless to say the to-do list got longer with each round. Priorities were safety, maneuver/propulsion, navigation, communication and comfort. When we bought Take Me There!...she was in good shape, but there was still much to do to reduce risk to its minimum.

Safety: We invested generously in up-grading safety/rescue systems, spares and training on crisis action drills - some specific notes include auto fire suppression in the engine room, top of the line life-saving/safety equipment, Sea-Tow & Tow Boat US memberships, life-raft certification (biggest expense) and MOB recovery apparatus/practice and storm/hurricane safety features (lines, auto bilge pumps, plug and leak kits, Spill kit)... Don't scrimp here! A quick note on thru-hulls. Test them all! Exercise and lube them regularly. When I doubt - replace it!

Maneuver/Propulsion: Our big John Deere Turbo Diesel with its velvet drive is an amazing upgrade by previous owners. With less than 400 hours, this power-plant wasn't even fully broken in yet but peripheral electronics needed a once-over from the incident on our maiden voyage to the new slip. After replacing the high-output alternator, and learning that the regulator had to be specifically shunted to work with the complicated Xantrex power management system, I was doing my weekly "re-explore" of sub-compartments of the boat and found a new spare complete with shunted regulator in an obscure cubby below deck. The cutlass bearings, shaft guides, strake and prop/rudder were all redone in our initial bottom job upon purchase. Hydraulic steering, auto-helm and all mechanical linkages were a bear to inspect but checked out fine. One sunny day we decided to we were departing the slip, the throttle handle fell off the helm!...I had no control and she was in gear at idle. After a hair-raising few seconds, I managed to stick the handle back in and nurse her back to the dock. Note to self - inspecting mechanical controls includes all the way to the helm...not just at the rudder! Things loosen up, stick, jam and otherwise break under stress of a marine environment. Upon inspection of the "guts" of the helm, I wound up replacing more than just the throttle retaining nut...a lot of that gear under the helm station needed attention - all the way down to the transmission linkage in the engine room. During this process I also discovered a number of hidden relays, breakers and connections that helped me when troubleshooting other problems later in our adventure. The final "powered" maneuver system was the bow thruster. An oft-neglected piece of gear that needs attention - with over 7ft of freeboard at the bow and 53 ft of hull, the bow thruster is a "must have" for a boat this size. We are considering installing a stern thruster as well (on the transom under the swim platform)...but this falls into the "comfort" category and will be done at next haul-out. A quick note on "alternate" propulsion. Our original dinghy purchase was hasty and thoughtless. A small, hard dink with a little Tohatsu 2-stroke. Great for putt-putting in calm anchorages...but...when you need to move the boat - it won't budge it. We transitioned to a larger RIB with a 4-stroke outboard that will tow Take Me There! If we need to. More on that later.

Navigation: We are blessed with a full nav-suite onboard. Garmin GPS/MAP twins at the helm and below at the nav station with hand held Garmin back-up. A Faruno GPS MAP (older model) as a separate back-up for the Garmin with its own GPS antenna. A Garmin 48 mile radar, Garmin satellite weather receiver and sonar. We will install forward looking sonar at our next haul-out. Our SSB and VHF radios are tied into the GPS MAP system via Sea-LAN and we have a Pactor III modem on the SSB. We will install ATS (transmit/receive) before our next voyage. A good radar reflector is a must for us - we want to be seen! LED nav lights were a prudent choice for us (low power and high vis) as is the large air horn he have mounted on the mizzen mast which saved our butts in a fog-bank on a busy ship-lane in the Chesapeake. Trust me, a super-tug pushing a 700ft barge won't hear that little bell that the USCG requires you to carry!...and he is not likely to be looking at his radar for you!

I bought the CAPn navigation software and upgraded the GPS MAP chips with full blue-charts as well as updated our paper map collection that was about 10 years old. You need paper maps - electronics will fail at some point! Don't go out without knowing how to read and use nautical charts, tools and computations. I bought a good sextant and plan to learn how to use it- this dying art has succumbed to the electronic age but celestial never lies and will provide you a heavenly body to steer by when all other systems are useless. Final note on navigation - there is no substitute for reading the water/terrain. Don't be vexed by the GPS/MAP display - read the environment - things change much faster that NOAA can record them on a published product. Your eyes and intuition will enhance your electronics - but what you see with your eyes is in real time. With this in mind, you may consider helping the Admiral understand that if she sees something questionable - speak up - it's her boat, and life too! She may choose to "learn" more about how it works (or at least what to look for) with this one - two pairs of eyes are better than one!

Communication and Comfort will be covered in the next post.
Vessel Name: Take Me There!
Vessel Make/Model: GULFSTAR M53 Ketch
Hailing Port: Tampa, FL (Currently on the Chesapeake Bay)
We are a "Cruising Couple" on a Nor-East adventure currently residing aboard on the Chesapeake. We sailed up from Tampa, FL in 2014 to "experience" this area and visit with extended family up the East Coast. [...]
SV Take Me There! is a 1975 Gulfstar M53. A 53ft Ketch rigged, full keeled cruiser. She is well kept, surveyed, documented, insured and registered and fully loaded with the off-shore gadgets and draws just under 5 ft. She is a center-cockpit; fiberglass hulled; well powered by a John Deere 360 [...]
Take Me There!'s Photos - Main
Projects, prep and life at the dock
6 Photos
Created 8 November 2016
The awesome folks that join us on SV Take Me There!
4 Photos
Created 26 April 2016