February already?!   Leave a comment

Many ideas from the past few months now seem very optimistic:

1. Thinking I would be able to dutifully update a blog and write a thesis

2. Pulling everything thesis-related together in time for a March graduation (just barely missed it!)

3. Having the boat ready and feeling prepared to leave for the Caribbean in April (this we might still pull off)

In any case, I have not been updating the blog. We also haven’t been doing anything very exciting on the boat this winter. We finally got the heater running reliably, that was good. There was a bit of a fiasco involving gas in out diesel engine…but we recovered. We’ve taken the boat out a handful of times, usually running into some problem when we did. The engine died on us and we discovered how effectively we can sail in no wind with no sails up (surprisingly well!). Lee has been chipping away at the long list of projects and installations including a new auto pilot, wind generator, solar panel, batteries, and various electrical things. We settled on a sailmaker that we’re very happy with. Hood Sails is making us a new main, 125% genoa, and light-air MPG. They are also modifying our old no.3 jib and storm jib for use on a solent stay. More to come on our new sail inventory. I’m very excited about it!

Meanwhile, it rains. It snows. It’s windy, icy, and of course cold. We’ve weathered the various blizzards, some of which rivaled the Colorado snow I’ve experienced. It’s plenty cozy inside Pirat, though. We have spent quite a bit of time with Lee’s parents in Maine. There’s nothing like a house with a bathroom you don’t have to walk outside to get to and a bed that’s bigger than an extra-long twin.

All in all, it’s been a fun winter! I spend a lot of time at the local coffee-house with my computer working on the thesis but now that’s pretty much done except for lingering corrections and the defense itself. The end is in sight! and the beginning…we are still planning to leave in early April to make our way south, aiming for the Caribbean. We hope to make it to Venezuela (below the hurricane belt) by early June when the hurricane season starts. If that doesn’t work out we’ll be cruising the East Coast until November and then heading south for real. We’re flexible and trying to be open-minded.

Here’s a shot from our troubled voyage this morning. We were headed for the ocean and maybe even Block Island but the wind was a lot stronger than predicted and we had some issues with the jib/roller-furling. Lesson learned: headsail raising on Pirat is next-to-impossible for 2 people with no autopilot in 20 knots of wind. But, we can sail 7 knots with just our main up!

A bow wave!

I’m flying home to CA for a visit at the end of this week. I’m looking forward to some sunny weather and seeing people I haven’t seen for a long time!

Posted February 15, 2010 by Rachel in Getting started

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