More very welcomed guests..............

We returned from the Boca Grande Westsail Rendezvous last Monday afternoon (2/18). My daughter Shannon drove in for a visit and the Admiral, Mike, Shannon, Alex and LeeAnn all went to a great Cuban restaurant for dinner at the big municipal pier. Just so happens that there was a huge tall square rigger tied to the dock. Further investigation revealed that it was the very ship that was in the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty", starring Marlon Brando. She is a beautiful ship and the rigging is mind boggling. The next day we all went for a sail on Tampa Bay and we were greeted by several dolphins as we left and returned to our dock. Shannon and grand babies had a wonderful experience and they loved the water tour of Tampa Bay. Alex was a natural on the new touch screen Garmin 5212 chart plotter. Shannon and LeeAnn relaxed and enjoyed the cruise. The Admiral and Mike handled deckhand responsibilities so our guest could just enjoy the sail on the bay. Mike went home later that afternoon and Lana and I joined Shannon and the kids for dinner on Tuesday night. Wednesday was a great day as Shannon treated me to breakfast and trip to Busch Gardens. I was surprised to see all of the different venues at Busch Gardens. It is much more than an amusement park. There are roller coasters, tram, a very large selection of African wild life roaming freely within the confines of the animal barriers and several different theatres. And of course LeeAnn had to visit the barn to say hello to the Budweiser draft horses. We have really enjoyed our visitors and hope to have more in the near future.


On the Bayou in Boca and a Flip Flop in Venice

We had our first visitor come to see us and go for a sailing excursion out on the Gulf of Mexico and return to Boca Grande. Boca Grande was the place where we made the night landfall and we were hit by a squall that reduced visibility and gave us a few anxious moments. You can read all about it in a earlier blog posting. The main reason we returned to Boca this time was because of a planned rendezvous of Westsail 32 sailboats and we wanted to show off our Mary Rose and get some much needed sailing time in on the gulf. We contacted Mike DeGeorge from Kansas City and invited he and his wife to join us for the trip. Carol was unable to make it but Mike made the sacrifice and left the frigid Midwest with ice and snow to join us for this four day trip in 70 and 80 degree temps. Mike happens to be the individual that got me bit by the sailing bug. He and I along with my son Shane went to the Offshore Sailing School in the British Virgin Islands. He and I also raced in the same fleet back in KC. Mike arrive at Tampa airport on February 14th, yes Valentines Day! Oh the sacrifices one makes to sail! We had a great dinner at Fish Tales in the marina district and then to bed. We planned a predawn departure with hopes of making Boca Grande in one very long day. We filed our float plan with my son Shane and departed about 7:30 instead of the planned 6:00 AM. The winds were not in our favor and we motored and motor sailed most of the day. We made the decision to stop at Venice, FL that afternoon and then continue on to Boca the next day. I received a call from Aaron, the person that had organized the event and he indicated that there was an individual that had driven to Boca Grande and would like to meet us on Friday morning to sail the last leg of the trip with us. We were happy to accommodate and we were glad we did. JJ arrived promptly at sun rise and we were ready to shove off. JJ owns a Westsail 32 and lives in the Panhandle of Florida. JJ and her husband are the second owners of the yacht and have owned her since the mid 70's. Her husband has passed but JJ still single hands the 32 and has a great deal of sailing knowledge. So the three of us set a course to Boca Grande from Venice, FL. The marina is the Crows Nest and it is very convenient as it sits at the mouth of the inlet to the Gulf. So in less than 10 minutes from casting off dock lines you are sailing in the Gulf. The winds were great and we were able to set all three sails for most of this leg. Later in the day we had to start Mr Perkins as the winds died off a bit and the direction was not in our favor. We arrived in plenty of time to enjoy a nice lunch at a local restaurant with Aaron, his father Gary, JJ and get back to the Mary Rose to share some stories and get to know one another better. We tied up to Aaron's dock for the night in a well protected finger of a local bayou. It was mostly quiet, except for the occasional rattling of the trees by a rather large iguana. We planned another early departure the next day so we could try to make the entire passage in one day. Captain and crew were up and ready to go but we were on the bayou. Literally on the bayou. Low tide was about 4:30 AM and our keel was resting on the bottom The winds were quite strong and were keeping the tides from flowing back in through Boca Grande into Charlotte Harbor and then to our lil bayou. We tried to kedge off the dock with lines and finally decided to just wait and watch the water as it slowly made it's way up the dock pilings that were encrusted with barnacles. We would try to watch one specific barnacle to measure the progress of the incoming tide. Finally we were off and near center channel of the tiny finger and we manged to turn Mary Rose around to head back to the inlet. Then she gave a slight lurch and we were aground again. Aaron's father said, "guess there is a little hump there we did not know about." So we waited a bit and after about a 90 minute delay we were off. Mike and Lana were doing there best to watch for shallows as the tide was still not up to where it should have been for our departure. We made it out of the finger of the bayou and into the main channel of the small bay that we were in off of Charlotte harbor. We had one more known tight spot to navigate and then we would be in good deep water. We were told to take a certain red flashing marker wide to miss the shoaling. The captain (that be me) made a slight misinterpretation of wide and yes we went aground again. Mind you these were all soft groundings in soft muddy bottoms so there was no damage to Mary Rose. Captain spied a couple charter fishing boats coming and radioed them to ask if they would make a fast pass with a large wake to attempt to float us off so we could continue without the aide of a tow vessel. The first wake did nothing but the second captain got close and had a larger wake and I had Mary in reverse and when he passed we broke free. I backed to a known safe position and then cut the turn around the flashing red a bit closer as suggested by crew and we were in the channel and on our way. By this time it was clear that we would not make home port this day and set a course for Venice once we were clear of the Boca Grande channel. We arrive in Venice early enough to take a nice walk on the beach before dinner. The Crow's Nest has fine dining and a tavern type seating as well. Obviously we took the tavern seating. After dinner we headed out for showers. This where we had our Man (person) over board exercise. Called an MOB. I will not disclose the identity of the crew member. But one of the three slipped while departing Mary Rose and went into the water right between Mary Rose and the dock. It was a classic one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat, the wind blows the boat from the dock, person does splits and kerplunk they go. Well the captain sprang into action and rescued the victim. Other than a lost shoe, wet cloths, some rather minor bangs, sprangs, bruises and a damaged ego. All is well! We all got a good nights sleep and we set sail at first light for Tampa Bay. We decided to duck in and take the Intercoastal Water Way (ICW) at Long Boat Pass on Long Boat Key. This was a good idea and saved us about two hours of sailing time if we had stayed in the Gulf until we hit the mullet channel into the bay. We had to clear three draw bridges and then we were on our way in Tampa Bay. Once we were in Tampa Bay we could see the wind line of an approaching cold front. We donned our foul weather gear and reduced sail area. As we were reducing sail the headsail sheets became fouled. Mike sprang into action and went to the forepeak and went to work to clear the sheets. He performed the procedure perfectly executing the solution to the problem in high winds, rough seas, with one hand for him and one hand for the boat. I was proud of both crew members on this trip and it was and honor to sail with them. The winds doubled and the temperature dropped about 15 degrees as soon as the front passed us. We arrived back at home port and had a great time. Mike spent a great deal of time on the tiller and Lana got to know the new GPS system rather well. She also mastered the setting of the staysail and took a turn as watch captain while The Captain took a much needed nap in the V-Birth. We really enjoyed the trip and it was great to have Mike aboard. I know he really missed the ice and snow and below freezing temps. Mike stuck around one more day and we went sailing on the bay with my daughter Shannon and her two children, Alex and LeeAnn. The Boca Grande total voyage consisted of four days, three nights, about 180 nautical miles. Stay tuned for much more to come..........................................


Anyone remember the bugle?????????

Our marina and slip is very close to a United States Coast Guard Station. This gives me an opportunity to listen to the crew get their orders over the ships PA system and also hear the the bugle play Reveille in the morning as the flag is raised and Retreat in the evening as the flag is lowered by the color guard. The date of my father's birth is February 4th and that also happened to be the day he was laid to rest in Kirkland, IL with the Veteran's home of Genoa performing the military rites at the grave side with bag pipes and bugler playing taps. I surely should have posted this on February 4th but this will just have to do.

Many of you that had the opportunity to spend the night in my father's home were treated to a Loud and healthy version of Reveille from his portable boom box at the very moment that he thought it was time for you to get out of bed and come to breakfast. He thought it was quite amusing and always enjoyed the effect it had on his sleeping guests. There were times that he would wake me or someone else up a bit earlier just to bare witness to his lil' gag. It was certainly the little boy in my ol' man...... The annoyance of the abrupt awakening was soon forgotten as Dad always had a huge hot healthy breakfast on the table consisting of ham, bacon, scrambled eggs, biscuits, jams, orange juice, coffee and more. He would be in the kitchen, sometimes wearing a very goofy hat, and welcome his sleepy eyed guests with a big smile, a hug and bountiful breakfast. I am so lucky to have these wonderful memories brought back to me twice a day as I listen to the bugler at the Coast Guard station. It is a bitter sweet moment in the day. I still miss him deeply and will always be grateful for all he has done for me and so many others. But the bugler brings me great joy as it allows me to remember the essence of the man that I called Dad.

And so it is with great joy that I share this part of my current home port with you and leave you with this poem about my father to remember his birthday and in honor of his life and service to all of us and his country.

My Dad, My Friend

A man, a soldier, a husband,
a father so grand, my friend.....

A father means so many things
When he's a man like you....

You gave to me through who you were
The gift of what i am.........

You gave me love you gave me strength
You showed me what is real....

The love you shared with mom each day
I too will give to one some day.....

All I know and all I feel
You have taught me well....

Your love will live through the lives I touch
to all those that I know.....

Your life will not conclude with death
nor will it end with mine.....

Goodbye my friend
My dad

You will always be with me!!
Until the end of time....

Blog post way over due...................

I am a bit overwhelmed by the number of people that have sent us an email asking that this blog be updated. We sincerely appreciate the interest. No excuses! We have been very busy working lots of hours to get our finances in order after a several month hiatus to get Mary Rose ready to sail and then sail her to the new home port. The Admiral has started her new job and has worked very long hours. She has already made a positive impact in her new job and management is very happy to have her highly developed skills and exceptional work ethic in their unit. The captain has been busy with "Handy Man" work that came by way of Craigslist.com. I am booked out at least three weeks now and more coming this way. In addition to regular work for $$$$$$$$$$, we started some extensive maintenance projects on Mary Rose.

The first project completed was the all natural teak decks. Much of the caulking in the seams was loose and we replaced close to 50 or 60% of the seams and 100% of the outside seams of the teak deck. For the reader that have boats I will give some details. The rest of you can skip this part. The process is quite involved and requires...
1. Removing loose caulk.
a. a screw driver with a 3/16 head bent to a 90 degree angle at the tip was recommended by Teak Decking System (TDS). They call it a reefing tool.
2. Sanding the grooves after the caulk is out.
a. 80 grit sand paper wrapped around a wood paint stir works well for this.
3. Increasing the depth of the groove if needed with a router.
a. a 3/16 router bit in a Rotozip tool was perfect for this.
4. Cleaning the grooves with acetone.
a. a clean rag wrapped around the wood paint stir and soaked in Acetone worked well.
5. Placing a strip of fineline masking tape in the bottom of the seam.
a. this keeps the caulk from sticking to the bottom of the groove the next time it needs to be replaced.
6. Masking both sides of the grooves with great precision.
7. Filling the prepared groove with caulking obtained from (TDS)
a. this must be done very carefully as air can be trapped and cause additional problems
8. Remove the masking tape once the new caulking cures slightly so the caulking is not disturbed.
a. I found that temperature and humidity had a great deal to do with how long to wait for the tape removal.
9. Wait 24 hours and then sand the seams with an orbital sander and 120 grit paper.
10. Wait 2-3 weeks for the newly sanded wood to weather and then then seal the entire deck with Simco natural teak deck sealer.
This process took all of our free time for two full weeks. Teak Decking Systems in Sarasota, FL has a great web site with lots of helpful information. http://www.teakdecking.com/

We worked hard as there was a Westsail Rendezvous on February 16 and 17 in none other than Boca Grande at Charlotte Harbor. If you have read the earlier post then you will remember that Boca Grande was where we were making a night landfall when we were hit with a healthy squall. Well of course we had to go back and show off our new girl....Mary Rose.

We were honored as a great sailor and friend, Mike DeGeorge from Kansas City, join us as we sailed to Boca Grande. It was a great trip and I will add a post in the near future on that trip. In short it was about 180 nautical miles over four days. The day we returned my daughter Shannon and her two children came to go sailing with us on Tampa Bay. We had a blast and I will post more on that also.

So to sum it up we have been working our butts off at work and on the boat and also have managed to get in some extended sailing time.

We will make more frequent updates to this blog as we now know that there is an interest.