SV Take Me There!

A cruising boat/couple on an adventure!

26 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
20 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
18 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
15 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
14 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
13 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
11 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeak Beach, MD
12 November 2014 | St Pete FL
08 October 2014 | Tampa, FL
03 October 2014 | Tampa, FL
01 October 2014 | Tampa, FL
30 September 2014 | Tampa, FL
29 September 2014 | Tampa Bay
29 September 2014 | Tampa FL

Winter is almost OVER!

08 March 2017 | Herrington Harbour South
Cloudy/Light Rain
Well - we are approximately 30 days from saying good bye to the employer (2nd retirement) and move into the WILD. The annual lease of our current slip expires at the end of the month. We have submitted cancellations for our electric service (at the slip) and we are in final prep-mode for shoving off.

The Hard Top STILL has not been delivered - since it is not yet finished! I won't be recommending this guy to anyone!...I plan to go pick it up this weekend and finish it myself...BUT all other major "winter work" is complete.

The rigger will do our survey this week and run some new "gadget" lines through the main mast (cell repeater antenna, new VHF antenna). We have also adapted a legacy Track-It TV system to handle our long range WiFi parabolic antenna so it will stay locked onto a signal at anchor.

All travel arrangements have been made to send the car back to the Florida villa (we close on 10 March) which will be our new "home base" as we start our Caribbean adventure this year.

Haul-out scheduling is complete and all appointments are made with respective service providers to do the work (bottom job, thru-hull replacement, chain plate inspection, insurance survey, hull compound/wax and some teak repair).

This weekend we will de-winterize and start the cosmetic clean-up from Winter's grime that has settled onto the decks and running rigging. Winter tarps come off (yeah)!...electric heaters and the other "stay warm" gadgets will be shipped back to storage (never to be needed again!!!)...and the dink shifts from the foredeck to the davits.

Spring is in the air (even though the weatherman is predicting some snow flurries this weekend)!...and we will soon have time to ourselves to focus on our vessel instead of work!...We LOVE retirement!

Prepping for the Big Haul-out!

31 January 2017 | Herrington Harbour South
Cold, Clear, Breezy
Well!...My employer now knows I intend to cruise (starting in less than 90 days). I have tendered my "notice" but no one has directly addressed me with the issue. Ought to be interesting? The good news is (although nice) we do not depend upon the salary from this company to live since we are debt free; the Admiral still owns/runs her own business; and I have a great government pension from my previous 30 year career. We are closing on the sale of our current home; closing on the new villa we will call home (with an equity surplus in the transition); and our current marina lease will end on 31 MAR. SO - on to musings about prepping the boat for the Big Haul-out and transition to cruising (with some vacation time in-between). PS ... We finally met with our fiberglass guy building our hard-top and have a commitment to finish by 11 FEB!

The Musings:

One Boatyard - Many Service Providers: Sounds good - right? We are fortunate to have access to a well established boatyard with mature infrastructure and lots of contractor options. Bad news is that "price fixing" is based on local competition - so labor rates do not vary more than $5 per hr across the board - no matter who does the work...and (of course) its all EXPENSIVE! We have saved our pennies and we are ready.

Getting Estimates: Most contractors won't come to your boat in the water for "out of water" jobs. I'm convinced its a business model. They tell you "well - we'll look at it once you're up on the hard and give you a quote." By that time - you are a boatyard "hostage" and its costing you money to keep it on the hard...and once they start can't splash it until they are done! DIY (you say)?...I'd love to...but time is often worth more than your own money - in our case we have a very expensive vacation planned and we need someone else to do the work. OBTW - if the contractor doesn't have an affiliation with the yard...they can't work there! finding the more desperate single-proprietor tradesmen who need the work and do it cheaper (labor rate) are automatically pushed aside. It is what it is - and we are gonna pay for the things I just don't want to do like:
- Replace through-hulls/sea-cocks
- Bottom Job
- Compound/wax the hull
- Repair swim platform and rub-rail damage (teak)
- Pull/Service prop-shaft/rudder post the same time we will have our insurance survey done and a rigging inspection (chain plates included). We have a budget of $13,000.00 to do all of this. Hopefully - we will stay within budget?

Haul-out Timing: We are hauling in mid April, then going on vacation for a month. Right about the time the other 1500 boats in the yard are itching to get back into the water for the spring season. More concerning is whether the contractors we will employ can complete the work in time for a June splash upon our return? We are optimistic!..but HEY...we are now "full time cruisers" and actually retired (so to speak) time can now be our friend.

The Live-Aboard Conundrum: Yes - we live aboard. When the boat comes out of the water, we have to live somewhere else (hotel) additional cost...THANK GOD FOR POINTS! We will get way with this one on points alone - BONUS!...hmmm...lodging while your boat in on the hard...another way to hemorrhage money!...BOAT - Break Out Another Thousand! The good news is that the Admiral has a plan (for her)!...she will be on business trips and closing on/moving into our new Villa in Florida while I tend to the BOAT business...then she goes with me on our overseas vacation...and WALLA...upon our return the boat is ready and we are back to normal again! long as Murphy does not have a vote...but he ALWAYS DOES!

Regardless of the above musings - again...these are just little life's inconveniences on the path we choose to travel. They are truly "1st World Problems"...We LOVE it! Never a dull moment and always something to plan, manage or change.

Stay Tuned...Countdown to Haul-out is T-60 days!

The Time has Come.

24 January 2017 | Herrington Harbour South
The subject of "full retirement" has been on our minds of late (well - actually for nearly a year now). The Admiral and I talk about it almost nightly. We've been patiently circling...watching conditions. She runs her own business - I have an employer. She has complete control of her work environment (and does very well - I might add). I have complete control too (in a different way)...we are blessed with our mutual incomes and we are invested well; have a nice nest-egg; I have a full (very nice) government pension and with the Admiral's blessing - I can quit anytime! To me - that is complete control! We really are lucky - but we worked hard for where we are debt, income producing properties, nice pension, good nest-egg and a nice boat!

I made it very clear to the company leadership that I would give them 3 very focused years and then make some life changes (at which time they could decide if they wished to continue my employ). Each year, I reminded my boss of that future (at performance counseling). Each time I communicated potential futures - he acknowledged my communication and quickly returned to what was overwhelming him at the moment ... and soon forgot. That future is now HERE!

I am the "design architect" of the potentially large project that my company is embarking upon (their primary revenue effort). I prepared a letter of intent to my boss for submission on 1 MAR 2017 announcing our plans to make a "life change" (begin full-time cruising) that has potential to affect my company's definition of employment. I'd like to think that they will bend over backward to keep me as a remote employee (consulting). However - I am not naive enough to bet on the same - business and the almighty the bottom-line have a funny way of re-defining work relationships.

SO - recently, my supervisor approached me and asked about my summer plans (assuming he had some some vague memory of what I had communicated many times previously). I provided him the letter. The cat is now out of the bag! ... he said "let's talk some more this week - I'm late for a meeting." I could see in his face the mental math he was doing:

1. How long will my high-value employee be directly accessible?
2. How can I leverage what he has in his head until then?
3. What's it gonna cost me to stay connected to this employee - gallivanting around the Caribbean?
4. Can the company find a replacement for this guy?
5. What is the value of the ideas in this guy's head versus what we will pay him (reduced salary) if we keep him on as a remote consultant?

The bottom line is - What ever decision my supervisor makes (let me go or re-negotiate my employ) - it has to be beneficial to the company! Well - only has to be mutually beneficial to both (Company and Employee).

Here are the facts:

1. We will go "full-time" cruising on 1 APR 2017.
2. I can do the same thing (for the company) as a remote employee.
3. We like the money - but don't depend upon it (they pay me generously - with nice yearly bonuses).

Stay tuned as the story develops.

Winter Update

05 January 2017 | Herrington Harbour South
Overcast, Breezy, Cold
Well - the Dodger and Hard Top Project continues to be delayed by our contractor - one excuse after another - but he does good work so we are being patient. Bad news is the weatherman is calling for some snow tonight and this weekend! UUUGH!

The boat is prepped for winter weather...the tarps are up. The RIB is on the fore-deck. The water tanks are sanitized and in full use...and the "winter survival" goodies are aboard (including the ice-eater in the water). The electric bill at the dock is climbing into its "winter range" since the "goodies" are running and keeping us warm.

With the new year - the count-down to full time cruising is on! On 1 April - we will cut the dock lines and be "transient" on the bay. Well - kind of...We will spend April and early May as a transient at the boatyard where we will haul out prior to our 1-month trip to Italy...then we will be on the hook after an early June "splash."

Appointments are on the winter calendar to work estimates for thru-hull replacement, bottom job, swim platform refurbishment; standing rigging inspection and repair (if needed - main focus is the 10 year old chain plates).

A new "toy" has arrived - our DJI Phantom Drone. I'd been sniffing the internet air waves for a great deal - Found It! Looking forward to putting this baby in action and doing some video work. Nothing better than an aerial view of your own boat in action! Although there are many missions for the drone (anchorage scouting, rigging inspection, video blogging [entertaining "land-locked family], locating navigation aids)...the list is long and exciting.

Still have MANY boat projects to complete this winter but most of them are inside (where its warm).

The Admiral will travel quite a bit this winter to prepare us for the cruising life - selling the main house (down-sizing) and buying the new house (retirement community-FL)...The Admiral (now a PhD) will walk for graduation in MAY at University; take me on a romantic trip to explore Italy (May - JUN); do a Church Mission Trip to Haiti (JUN); and a family visit to Wisconsin (late JUN-Early JUL). We have to ship the car down to Florida for storage (auto-train) and unload all of the "winter goodies" to the new house (garage) - since we are NEVER going back to "cold and wet" climes again! Then its "onto the hook" and gunk-holing the Chesapeake until hurricane season is waning for our trip down the East Coast to start the Bahamas adventure and on to Abaco, Exumas and Islands south.


The photo this post is of the new Drone.

Winter - GAME ON!

20 December 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
Cold, Clear, Breezy
OK - Winter is here! I HATE the cold! The top still isn't finished! Old Man Winter brought us his first "freezing rain" event! It takes 2 hours to fill the water tanks! The transmission went out on the Jeep! The Admiral is in Florida (Lucky her)! BUT - We have so much to be thankful for?

The Musings:

Life's inconveniences: There are many inconveniences in our lives but we are thankful for the kind of life and the opportunities we have! There are no truly "dark" moments...just the little "ankle-biters" that help us understand and appreciate how awesome boat life really is. The events I used in my intro for this post are real but written tongue-in-cheek. There are lessons to be learned from them:

- Weather is an adversary worth planning for - even when doing the little things like laundry, grocery shopping...etc. Right now - we are at the dock (with a vehicle)...laundry should be easy right...well - this Saturday, I awoke with great intentions to wash clothes (at the marina laundromat) whilst accomplishing a few other simultaneous tasks...NOT...Old Man Winter put 1/4 inch of ice on the docks and it took me 4 hours just to trip back and forth (only 300 yds) to/from the washer/dryers for 4 loads! I fell twice - shame on me...then I dug out my slip on cleats (should have done that in the first place). The point easy task becomes hard when the environment goes to #$%&^!. Just imagine if we had to dinghy to shore...uuugh...NOT! That's why we have a washer/dryer on the boat!...we use the marina facilities because its faster!...and we CAN!

- Best laid plans of mice and men - Gang aft aglee: The new cockpit enclosure is dragging on and on and on...our contractor seems to find every excuse to delay another week! However - looking at the bright side of things - He is doing nice work and we fitted the top last week where he immediately hopped up onto it and walked across it like it was the Brooklyn Bridge...its is strong! So - we will tolerate our contractor's latencies for the sake of quality work - because he is doing a good job!

- The Water Tanks: Since the marina cut the water off to the docks (winter precautions/procedure) the hydrant we use is about 200 ft from our boat. No worries...200 ft of expandable problem - right?...well - Old Man Winter brings temps down...which makes our "stretchy hose" cold...which doesn't allow it to expand to full length...which required another 100 ft section...and OBTW...the cold make the hose diameter smaller so the water flow is reduced...hence - it take 2 hours to trickle water into the tanks. MAN! - I can't catch a break!

- Jeep Transmission: Well...once again - life's little 17 degree temps...the tranny bit it on the Jeep in the middle of beltway rush hour! Four hours later - I get towed...spend 5 days (wheel-less) while they locate and replace our transmission at a tune of $4,000.00!...OUCH! There goes the next "boat toy!"

- The Admiral is a pretty smart lady: She is the business side of our relationship so she does the "get er done" tasks that require business savvy. We are selling one of our houses in Florida; have investment, tax and legal business to attend to before we embark on full time cruising (all in Florida), she is visiting family, shopping for a retirement villa (for us when we get old) and getting ready to receive me for Christmas (I fly down shortly). Hind sight being 20-20...its been in the 70's and 80's there...and I am dealing with...oh well - each of has our relationship responsibilities, roles and strengths...we work VERY well as a team and I am grateful for the Admiral's talents and support...its just ironic she is nice and warm! too...soon!

Final Observations: The "so what" to all of is what it is. We make lemonade!...We plan to make lemonade! As long as I can drink it...we are OK! Sun Tzu said: "That which does not kill me - makes me stronger..." So be it! We are grateful for the freedom to do what we desire...even if life's little inconveniences get in the way. Pain is but weakness leaving the body! We will persevere and LOVE it!

What's next: A plane trip to Florida (Home)...and return to the cold (after New Year) - only 90 days to go before we slip the dock and graduate to full time cruising! Lots to do before then but... GAME ON!

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

07 November 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
Clear, Sunny, Cool
Continuing the saga of building the Hard Dodger and the Hard Top...Our fiberglass tradesman brought the rough-glass dodger frames out for fitting to our center-cockpit.

The Musings:

Ugly at first glance: I gotta say - don't judge a book by its current cover - our boat looks like a "trailer-park reject" with the raw fiberglass dodger frame sitting on it as we do the final structural fitting! The design will mimic the original shape of the canvass dodger and bimini and we like the "lines" of the design but MAN is this thing UGLY (right now)! We had to put the frame into place; fit all of the aluminum superstructure into it and adjust for gaps (thank goodness for filler foam as a template that is shape-able). We built molds to hold the foam in place so that when applied and removed, our tradesman could shape and then glass the right fit to ensure a good seal by the high-density neoprene sealing gasket that will sit between the dodger and the cockpit base.

Engineering is Everything! - We spent a lot of time and effort with the design of the divynacell core material that will provide the shape of the fiberglass work. The ergonomics are right! Fiber-glassing is hard - complex curves and structural support integration made glassing the "core" challenging in tight spaces where lots of things come together.

Sequential construction is slow: Can't fit the top without the Dodger being right and the aluminum superstructure finally adjusted...Can't fit the radar arch and sides without the top in place and fitting perfect...Can fit the windows without the final gelcoating...its a slow and deliberate process. An OBTW...its a custom, one off job - nothing else like it out there (that I am aware of)....You just can't order something like this from Amazon or a boat dealer! So - there is a lotta love in this project.

Visualizing the Finished Product: Many design and engineering decisions remain to be made but are waiting on the project to evolve to the point of making those decisions - like - hard window thickness, interior trim, wiring, instrument and lighting runs/placement, top viewing windows (or hatches) to provide sail shape visibility...the list is seemingly endless!

Plus - we are racing the weather - its now November and getting cold - and the top is still yet to be built (perhaps a few more weeks of crossing fingers)! Although this project is taking on a tortoise and hare shape...the tortoise needs the win - do it slow - do it right so it will last!

More updates later.
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
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Created 8 November 2016
The awesome folks that join us on SV Take Me There!
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Created 26 April 2016