3 December Update

6 December:

Hard to believe that we have been living on the boat for 14 days now!  Some things are still new and yet others are getting more routine.

We are still “Moving in” in that we are trying to find space for all the stuff we brought with us.  Most of that seems to be clothes.  I have gotten rid of a whole other pile of stuff as I don’t seem to need as much choice as I did when I was working.  Joan has some sorting left to go.

We have been trying to find some things that are “normal” for us since “We live on a boat.”  We went to Mass last Sunday and that was nice for us and we bought a small TV.  We have so far watched one movie.  We need to buy an antenna so we can pick up the over the air signals.   However we also seem too busy in the evenings to want to sit and watch.

Finding Internet

Finding Internet

Probably our biggest evening deal is going someplace where we can get internet.  So far we have tried McDonalds, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A and the public library.  The latter was the worst followed by Starbucks.  The best so far has been McDonalds and Chick-Fil-A.  One night we sat in McDonalds and felt obligated to buy something.  That only reaffirmed why we never eat there and why they might be going out of business.  The other night we sat in the parking lot for 2  hours using the signal. How very cruiser of us!  We got quite a few funny looks over the course of that time.  But hey it was free.  Guess that could be our life from now on.

Once we get sorted out and moved in we will start in ernest on the boat projects.  We heard from one fellow cruiser that we need to jump on those as time really flies and we will be surprised on quickly it goes.

We have had a couple of unintended projects.  Yesterday Joan was putting a new basket under the sink in our head.  She bumped the water line and it just started leaking.  So for the second time since we have been here she calls out “Honey we have a problem!”  I can tell you I hate it when she says that.  Guess we will need some other code word.

The darn connection was a pressure connection and you couldn’t get the darn thing to seal anymore.  So we needed to start running around and finding a new fitting.  We are lucky in two respects.

  1. We have a hand pump so we could still use water and
  2. We live in an area with lots of resources for marine parts.
New Aft Faucet

New Aft Faucet

We had planned to replace the faucet at that sink so we both thought that since we were under there anyway let us just replace the whole thing.  Years  ago Joan had bought a faucet for the house she never put in so we had one we wanted to use anyway.  We went to 3 stores to find the right parts.  Ending up at the old local hardware store where the plumber specialist fixed us up right away.  Back to the boat to find out one of the parts did not work.  So back to store number 2 and then back to the old hardware store for the right part. So only 4 trips to the stores to do one plumbing job.  Not bad for us.  Joan did most of the work with pulling off the old faucet and drilling new holes and getting the water lines ready.  We did not have any plumbers putty so we just used Life caulk to seal it up.  All being said and done the new faucet looks great, works well and best yet it does not leak.

OK back to sorting storing and cleaning.

April 2014 Boat visit

Update 6 December 2015.

We now have a way to get WiFi on the boat so I am posting some of these old posts so that I can get caught up.  We have had the boat for two years and now we can focus on letting you know what that has been like.

April 2014

I just got back from my second long stay on the boat. Joan is still down there, her 3rd trip. Again it was very difficult to come back.
The good thing is things are getting done. There was definite progress on the engine, new cooling system, sensors, belts, pulley and conversion to a spin on secondary fuel filter. Joan laughs as every time she can’t find me she looks into the engine room to find me peering and poking around. But hey it is fun and I am learning a lot about the boat.
I removed our manual bilge pump and then Joan rehabbed and re-built the whole thing. She called it her first “blue” job. I was proud of her and I know she was proud of herself.
The major project was the re-building of the propane system. Bottom line is it is ready for final connections. So skip the next part if you don’t want details.
Started out by having to remove the old copper delivery pipe. Good thing too as we found a big crimp in it at one bulk head. So I cut the tubing every where I could and pulled it and the protective foam out. One good aspect of doing this was to learn how to access those parts of the boat and what was behind and underneath there. Having the right tool also helped. I had gotten a copper tubing cutter from somewhere and that made easy work of cutting. Now it was time to run 30′ of new LPG hose. But first we had to figure out how to get it through 7 feet of space with 3 bulk heads we couldn’t get to and make sure it would not chafe. I sat and thought about it for a while, a Tom Turnbuckle method, I resolved it by realizing that the holes in the bulkheads were pretty well lined up and the boat at this point only curved a bit. I went down to the Home Depot and got a piece of PVC water pipe that would fit the LPG hose. Then with both of us pulling and pushing we got it through the 3 bulk heads and up to where we could get to the hose again. This took many hours, learning to peer through holes using a mirror and cutting our first hole in the boat. There was just one spot that we could not get the pipe lined up. Fortunately it was in the shower so we cut a hole and I was able to reach in and guide the tube through the next bulk head and then it went through the next two easy as pie. The real benefit here is that we now know what it behind the shower, what the plumbing to the shower faucet looks like and how it is connected, and we now have the chance to put in a recessed soap dish or cubby and the LPG hose is fully protected through those bulk heads. We also learned that they had placed a lot of insulation and foam around the ice box. It took about 5 minutes to get the hose run from the locker to the stove. I put the LPG hose through sections of fire hose at the rest of the bulk heads and then tacked the fire hose down so it would not move. I think we are good on chafe protection and plus we know where to inspect it. We will put in a new dual regulator, solenoid and two sniffers next time and call it done. Not bad for 3 days work I say.
We also got to go get all the boat stuff out of the storage locker where the PO had stored it getting it staged for selling it. There was a spinnaker in a sock and lots of spares. The best thing was all the screens for the upper hatches, but alas no pots and pans or port light screens.
We had our first lunch in the cockpit. We were invited to dinner with our boat neighbors and got to know them and found they are really good people. They are casting off for Costa Rica here soon on their 40′ C&C. We hope to see them again. We had another dock neighbor over for a late lunch. He is the NASA space station engineer, really good guy who now will be doing 3 months at home and 3 in Russia, if we don’t got to war. He made us laugh and we will never look at a shooting star the same. Joan was talking about shooting stars and the night sky and he just ups and says “Astronaut Shit” I asked “what did you say?” “Astronaut Shit”. Ok explain that one Lucy. Seems that when the toilet gets full on the Space Station they take the bag out weight it down and throw it overboard, yes they are outside the 3 mile limit, and it burns up on re-entry. So next time you see a shooting star and start to make a wish remember you might be wishing on shit.😉

Happy Thanksgiving and Learning Curve Blues

A Bone head oops, a learning moment and Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving rolled around for 2015 and first and foremost how great it is to have so much to be thankful for. One thing is our kids, who despite thinking their parents are nuts, joined us on the boat. Now some of you won’t think that is too unusual except we moved onto the boat Sunday and the kids showed up Tuesday. So not much organizing before they got here. Beds made is about all.
We knew this adventure would have a learning curve but we sure didn’t think we would start curving on Thanksgiving. We wouldn’t have if I’d actually been paying attention . We have my daughters boyfriend here and he is very much into boats. He was very excited to learn everything there is about the boat and how it works. So I decided we needed to run the engine and make all was well with the old Perkins. Remember most things that seem to go wrong are operator error. We went through the pre-start checklist and as usual the engine fires up and ran like a champ. Ran it in forward and reverse and the temp was just starting to come up to temp when it just died!  Went through the usual but rationalized that it stopped the way it did because it had no fuel. After checking the obvious I looked at the fuel shut off switch and it was in the off position. Some work had been done by some contractors in the engine room and it must have been turned off by them. But I also remember checking it so I must have looked at it and it did not register.  Anyway it was off. Now what? Got out the trusty Nigel Calder Diesel Book and began trouble shooting.  Yes we needed to bleed it. No we had never done that before! Well we pretty much followed the sequence and I was glad to have taken the course at the Annapolis School of Seamanship.  One of the good things about the school was being told to get the right tools. I had picked up my Flare Nut Wrench so I could bleed the injectors. After a bit of trial and error getting the lift pump to have pressure in it we got the secondary filter bled and started down the line on the injectors. We got those all bled and then after just a few seconds of cranking she fired right up. Ran like the champ she has always been for us. A few high fives and some beer were now in order. Big thanks to Jon and Joan for working through it with me.
We were at a seminar with Nigel Calder last year and he said that you never know what you can do until you do it. So big hurdle for us to get the engine back going again
Now onto Thanksgiving dinner. We have not yet gotten the stove to light. It looks like we made need a new thermocoupler. So we were not baking anything. But we put together a great meal that included lots of good grilled meat and veggies. But alas no pies. Aren’t pies the reason to have all that turkey as an H de over? We substituted wine I suppose for that. We shared our first holiday afloat with the kids and an engine bleed.
Hope the rest of you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

So it Begins….

When our kids were younger we enjoyed a series of books by author Laura Numeroff. This included titles “If you give a Mouse a Cookie”

If you give a Mouse A Cookie

If you give a Mouse A Cookie

and “If you give a Moose a Muffin.” The books always showed what the unintended consequences are and set up chain of events that ended up where you started. That is sometimes how we feel with the boat. After we closed on  the boat last March it was time to start doing some work and upgrades to her. There was nothing wrong with the boat she just needed some TLC, cleaning and a few things looked after. We wanted

New Electrical

New Electrical

to upgrade the batteries and electrical systems and get an engine over haul. In both cases the people people doing the work commented on how nice the boat was and the engine guy was very complimentary of how well maintained the engine was. One of the big things we needed done was replacing the muffler system. It was at the end of its’ life so needed to be replaced before we felt comfortable taking the boat out. Other than that there was nothing, or so we thought, pressing to prevent us from taking the boat out sailing.  We were trying to get to the boat about once a month or every 6 weeks. So we started working on the many items that we found during our survey.  I was finding that I could only get one very organized thing done each long weekend.  Over the last two years we have done a lot.  In some cases I can’t even remember what it was we worked on.  I do know we put in all new thru-hulls, new A/C pumps and best of all a new sanitation hose for the aft head!  Now that special project could only have been done with the help of friends.  Dave  and Shelley came and Dave helped put a new sanitation hose in.  What kind of friend even asks a person to do that?  And finally just before moving to the boat we were able to get our propane burners, but alas not our stove, just before Thanksgiving 2015.

The Stove Works

The Stove Works

This might seem a little out of order but we have been busy but now that we are full time on the boat standby as we get her, and us, ready for cruising.

 

Finest Kind

One of the best TV shows ever was M*A*S*H.  But before there was the TV show there was the movie and before that was the book. Hawkeye Pearce grew up in Crabapple Cove Maine and he and his Dad had a term to describe good people and other events; “Finest Kind.” Our experience thus far in cruising and getting ready to cruise is that there are a lot of “Finest Kind” people out there. This is no more so than our our dock in Texas. We have the couple who are from Minnesota who are like us fixing up a good boat and heading out soon. There is Gary and Scotty who have many miles under their keel and I listen intently when he starts to talk. He is currently looking after the boat when we are not there. There is Larry who sailed the Atlantic, twice, and the Pacific. The college professor and his wife. She is a Cherokee and wonderful to listen to as she tells stories of the Cherokee. Charlie, who is right next door, who is planning a cruise due south on his South African boat. One of Charlie’s first trips was escaping from communist held Viet Nam. And Doc, not sure about him, a little mysterious, generous to a fault, and lots of water under his keel. All of these sailors have helped us, encouraged us and inspired us.

Our Sunrise view

Our Sunrise view

Two of the Finest Kind are Dave and Shelley.  They have been to the boat twice now and have been great to have aboard.  They have jumped right in and worked on the boat with us, removing the old name, putting in new sea strainers, reviewing the engine, cleaning and even replacing a sanitation hose.  Now that is being the finest kind.  They were with us when we took the boat out of the slip and into the bay for the first time.  I can’t thank them enough for being crew for us that first journey.

First trip out using the iPad for navigation

First trip out using the iPad for navigation

First cruise with Dave and Shelley

First cruise with Dave and Shelley

Yes it is that much fun

Yes it is that much fun

Finest Kind

Finest Kind

One of the things these two do is make us stop working on the boat and take time to look around.  In his case we made a trip to Galveston and visited the tall ship Elissa.  This ship was built in 1877 and during its’ heyday paid two visits to Galveston.  The story of her rescue and restoration is pretty inspiring.  We made the short trip and spent time exploring this active ship.

The Tall Ship Elissa

The Tall Ship Elissa

The rigging on Elissa

The rigging on Elissa

IMG_1243

Never Pass up a chance to see what is around

Never Pass up a chance to see what is around

Glad we made the trip and could share with Dave and Shelley.

Really; We were just Looking

We had narrowed down to what boats we were going to consider, see The Boat,  and now it was time to start actually getting on some of the boats and trying them on for size. We decided that we would look at boats that we could drive to, which eliminated boats on the west coast and in the far North East of the US.  Previously we had spent a week looking at boats in Annapolis and it was here that we first got on some Center Cockpit boats. We climbed on an Endevour 43. We were pretty amazed at the size of the aft state room. We got on a lot of boats including a very nice Caliber 40 and a Cabo Rico 38. We also began to quickly realize that if we didn’t take notes right after we looked at a boat we quickly got them confused. In fact now as I look over these notes I can barely remember some of the boats that we looked at. We heavily researched Center Cockpit boats, after our visit to Annapolis and the Eastern shore, and created the list we reference on the Boat page. Armed with a narrowed down list we became addicted to Yachtworld and several other “boats for sale” sites. We got pretty bad checking out those sites a couple of times a day. We also began planning trips to those areas where we could get on boats. On one of our first trips we headed to south Florida as there were a number of boats in a small area. We managed to find and get on our first Gulfstar 44. This boat was in a slip at Dinner Key in Miami. So not only was the boat nice but also the location was fantastic!  The boat itself was very nice and had a lot of cruising gear on it.  The owner was a good “do it yourselfer” so had made several nice upgrades to the boat. What was good about this visit was seeing the layout of the boat. We would soon come to realize how nice this was. The walk through was high enough that Joan and I could both get through without having to double over. The other big plus is that it had a dedicated standup shower.  On our list of things we would like to have that was near the top.  While in south Florida we also were able to see a Kelly Peterson 44, Gulfstar 41. Gulfstar 47 Motorsailer and a Hylas 44.  The KellyP was again a boat just back from cruising with lots of cruising gear and again lots of mods made by a very self reliant cruiser.   He had even had made his own water maker.  The GS41 was very dirty, smelly and over priced!  The Gulfstar 47 was very big and not a craft for us.  The Hylas was a very nice boat but also above our budget plus it was hard to step in and out of the cockpit.  A nice view of several choices of boats with the best result of the trip was we really liked the layout of the Gulfstar 44.

The layout of the 44

The layout of the 44

Our next trip to Florida saw us in Key West and we got on a very nice Hunter.  This was not on our list but it was good to see how boats were set up.  We  also found out that brokers really like several days notice when you want to look at boats. The other part of this trip visiting marinas where we might want to hang out for awhile.  The best deal was on Naval Air Station Key West were a slip was half the price of a commercial slip, and a nice secure place!

We soon found ourselves south bound again.  This time we were delivering  furniture and cars across the country.  We traveled the entire east coast of Florida from Fort Lauderdale to Fernandina Beach and then into southern Georgia.  We again got the opportunity to visit marinas up the coast.

We finally ended up in Brunswick GA visiting Tom and Sabrina Nichols who were there getting their Caliber 40 ready to go cruising. While here we not only got to stay on their boat but also got to meet a lot of cruisers. They were all very generous enough to show us their boats.  Besides the Caliber we were staying on we saw  a couple of Pearson 422s, Island Packet, Out Island and even a very nice trawler.   There was a Brewer 44 in Brunswick as well.  We had really wanted to get on one of these as it was also on our short list but unfortunately it did not work out meeting up with the owner.   We also stopped in St Augustine and got on a nice Bristol 45-5.  This was a very nice boat and we liked the layout.  It has a great reputation.  The only thing about this boat was it was a little high priced and it had a swing keel.  We also made the trip to Green Cove Springs to look at another Gulfstar 44 but the yard was closed for the July 4th holiday so all we could do was look at it through the fence.

In August we decided to head in the other direction, North!  We drove up to Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay to look at two Gulfstar 44s.  Just before we left one of the boats sold proving that the  GS 44 was still sought after.  We were able to get on what must be the nicest GS 44 we ever saw.  The boat was in Elk Rapids Michigan, which is a very pretty little town.  The boat was in prime shape.  Everything was in place and ready to go.  It even had bow thrusters!  We spent several hours on the boat with the broker and were able to really get to know the GS44.  While this boat had everything on it and it was very clean it also was priced at the top of the market.  We drove away thinking that if we found nothing else then we would make a bid on this boat, after the winter, and enjoy sailing in the Great Lakes and then making our way to the east coast.

Later in the fall we had the opportunity to head back to Florida for some sailing.  We were able to spend a week on an Island Packet 46.

Paul's IP

Paul’s IP

Best Seat in the House

Best Seat in the House

The Crew Nov 2013

The Crew Nov 2013

Swing Bridge on the ICW north bound

Swing Bridge on the ICW north bound

The skipper is a friend, and great teacher,  so we learned a lot about cruising.  It also confirmed for us that we would like to own a center cockpit.  While there we were  did get onto another Gulfstar 44.  This boat was in not good  shape and would have taken way to much time and money to get her up to speed.  But it did confirm to us that we loved the size and layout.  While in Palmetto Florida we met up with a great broker who showed us several Island Packets of all sizes and years.  We also got on a Morgan 45, another boat with a great rep.  This boat was on our short list so we were glad to get on.  We discovered that we were not keen on the layout.

We  then kept monitoring all the boat for sale web sites, usually a couple of times a day.  On one Monday in January Joan checked Yachtworld in the morning and saw nothing new.  In the afternoon I checked and there was a new listing for a GS 44 in Kemah Texas.  We called the broker and Tuesday morning found us on the road to the Houston area.  About Oklahoma City I got a call on the phone offering me a job I had been interviewing for!  Some things were coming together here.  Wednesday we met with the broker who assured us that this was the nicest GS 44 we would ever see.  We got on the boat and after about a half hour he commented that we obviously know more about the boat than he did so he left us to it.  It was indeed a very nice, clean boat.  It was just about ready to go cruising and more importantly it was priced right!  We ended making an offer, which was countered and we accepted.  We then went through the process of buying a boat.  It surveyed very well.  The final statement from the surveyor was “You have a dang fine boat there.”

Broker and Pat on the shake down cruise

Broker and Pat on the shake down cruise

out of Water

Checking the bottom during survey

 

We can actually get INTO the engine room

We can actually get INTO the engine room

The Dingy

The Boat came with both a dingy and davits

Center Cockpit

Center Cockpit, Very easy to step in and out of

Inside

Lookling aft from the V-berth, Nice wood work

Port Sette

Port Sette, again check out the wood!

 

Our Gulfstar 44

Our Gulfstar 44

So that is how we have become the lucky, proud and privileged owners of a 1981 Gulfstar 44, Center Cockpit.  We will now start documenting getting the boat and us ready to go.  More details of the boat can be found on the Boat Tab


 

Original Gulfstar Logo

Original Gulfstar Logo