Saturday, September 25, 2010

Moving Out

My mom has likened the last year of our lives to a rocket, blasting off in stages and jettisoning cargo at each stage. It's an apt metaphor, I think.

This weekend we're moving out of the apartment and we'll be living on the boat full time, representing the last major stage before we enter orbit. It's an experience that's at the same time stressful and exciting - nerve wracking and cathartic. It's an incredible feeling to get rid of almost everything you own (with the exception of a few items of clothing, surf boards, two guitars and a LOT of boat parts). When I was in college, I had a huge box, and at the end of every school year, I threw everything in it and that was all I owned. I had that box for all four years, and anything that didn't fit had to go. I don't feel like I've spent a whole time acquiring stuff between then and now but that's demonstrably false. When we moved out of the house into the small apartment we're in now, I felt as though we'd gotten rid of EVERYTHING, but there's still a surprisingly large pile.

The time between now and when we leave should prove to be illuminating - even though we won't be sailing, we'll still have to adapt to life in a very small living space (the can of varnish I used to refinish the floor boasted a coverage of 100sq/ft - two coats later, I had extra). Other stuff like how long we can go between refilling the fresh water tanks, pumping out our holding tank and figuring out where we'll put our clothes and should be interesting too.

This is a step I've been thinking about and anticipating for a long time, and it's a bit strange to actually have the time come - it's a not so gentle reminder that the day when we sail out of the Golden Gate and don't come back is coming, and coming... well... pretty damn soon. Exciting and a little scary. I keep reminding myself that I've never really done anything worth doing that wasn't scary before hand (climbing trips, surfing on big days, marriage...).

Anyhow, this is about all that's left in our room:

It's crazy to think that this room will qualify as large in comparison to the boat.

Back to it.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Back In the Water

It's official - Britt-nay is back in the water after getting her bottom painted (is it just me or does that sound a little dirty?).

One of the projects we did while she was out was replacing the seacocks. For you land lubbers, seacocks are basically valves that seal off the holes in the bottom of our boat. Yup - there are holes in the hull... a little scary sounding, but the galley sink has to drain somewhere. The seacocks add a measure of safety in the event that something happens and you need to quickly seal off one of the holes in a hurry.

Anyhow, two of our seacocks were stuck in the open position and needed replacing which is (obviously) much easier to do when the boat's not floating in the water.

I got the new valves installed, but before the boat goes back in the water, you never really know if you did a good job (got everything screwed back together tight enough not to leak).

So, she's floating, and I'm happy to report that she's not leaking either. It turns out that against all odds, I managed to do a reasonably good job and in addition to being pretty and polished, Britiannia is just a little more seaworthy as well.

Her prop's nice and pretty too, isn't it?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Haul-out and improvements

I can't believe it's haul out time! We've been waiting all year- always saying we'd haul out just before we leave. So I guess this means that the time is approaching. We'll be moving aboard at the end of this month, then just a few more projects and we'll be set to depart.
I love my dirty boat and dirty boy!
It was amazing to see Britannia out of the water! She seems so much bigger- and it's fun to see her bottom sides.
Over the weekend Krister and I worked hard to take advantage of being on dry land. Krister replaced two broken thru-haul valves and banged himself up pretty well. While tinkering around with the plumbing he found a few other items that needed to be replaced- he said it was like a game of whack-a-mole. I think he went to the store five or six times but it's all back together and working great now! Special thanks to Tradewinds for all the helpful advice and tools.
Meanwhile I was working on the deck. We bought some really strong acid (On & Off) that whitened the deck like magic! I think it was the same stuff that villains use in super hero comics.
After the deck was finished I went over the topsides, removing old dock rash with acetone, whitening the haul with the acid, and then finishing up by buffing and waxing. With Krister's help she was shiny and clean late Sunday night- too bad it was too dark to appreciate. They started sanding and prepping the bottom for paint this morning. She should be ready to launch some time mid-week.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Information and Itinerary

I just returned from a visit with family and friends in the Midwest. It's the only trip I had planed for the year and it went by quickly and with much success. I had the chance to catch up with family members that I hadn't seen in years. And of course there was an unending list of questions that I said I would try to answer here in our blog... wish me luck :)

Our itinerary is still quiet loose, but to give you some idea of where we will be and when, here goes... We will be departing the Bay Area in the beginning of January 2011. We don't have a set date because it all depends on the weather. From here we'll head south along the coast. Even if the weather isn't terrible, it will still be cold so we plan on heading straight for San Diego. Once we arrive we hope to meet up with family and friends and spend about a week visiting.

Then we'll sail onward into Mexico- clear through immigration and customs in Ensenada and cruise the Baja Peninsula. Krister plans on hitting all the best surf spots while we continue south. We don't have definite stopping points yet, but we do plan to make the most of our travel guides and to meet up with whomever flies down to meet and visit with us.

We'll continue south until the land turns east- around Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, at which point we'll provision the boat and head west. Hurricane season dictates our departure. The South Pacific storm season usually last from late November through mid March. So we'll try to avoid storms and stay in Mexico through April.

After leaving Mexico in April 2011, we'll be on the longest open water passage of our trip; out of sight of land and on our own for four to five weeks crossing the Pacific. Our first landfall will be the Marquesas in French Polynesia. After checking in we'll have a 90 day Visa to visit the islands. We'll island hop through much of the South Pacific, snorkeling, surfing and hiking until the storm season comes around again.

In September of 2011 we'll sail south to New Zealand for the winter and stay for the season. The four month down time may be spent making repairs and improvements on the boat, traveling inland, or trying to earn a bit of cash.

After so many months we'll begin to make our way home in April of 2012. From New Zealand we'll sail north, back through the islands and onward to Hawaii. We're hoping that during the trip we'll have time to consider what we really want, where we really want to live and such, so that we have a plan in place when we return. As for now, we think we'll be back somewhere on the west coast of the U.S sometime in the Fall of 2012.

It just occurred to me that this is the first blog entry with no pictures. So sorry. But I promise there will be some next time. Krister and I are having the boat hauled out for a bottom job tomorrow. We'll have her cleaned, painted and back in the water by next week.

For those of you who are still a bit uncertain of the sea worthiness of Britannia, or would just like more information on our boat, Krister found these great reviews on line.