First sail on our own – woo hoo

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Beth suggested to me that it was time to take Moorahme for a ride……so…..do up the dishes, complete the spill check, check the engine to ensure it was ready to go…

Cast off those lines my dear….and off we go! Out of Palafox marina, and out into the harbour. Beauty of a day, light winds, very little traffic and a 47 foot sailboat chomping at the bit ready for some sail time.

With Beth at the wheel, I began to hoist the mainsail…..and realized far too late that I had neglected to ensure that it was in the mast track. Crap! What a mess we were in now…..the mainsail had to come all the way back down…and of course it did not furl in very nicely on the in boom furler. I managed to start the sail properly on to the track, and then had to manually unfurl the entire sail and ensure that it was going to track properly up the mast. Believe me, that was a lot of winching, tugging, sweating, and cursing myself for being so neglectful.

 

Randy taking a break after all that sweating, George (our Autopilot) is at the helm.

Randy taking a break after all that sweating, George (our Autopilot) is at the helm.

 

I finally got the mainsail fully raised, properly, and away we went, heading for the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Our hull speed slowly crept up…..and between Beth and I we were able to figure out the new to us electronics, and headed out into the Gulf of Mexico…and our speed increased to over 7 knots speed over ground with about 13 knots of apparent wind…oh yeah! Oh yeah!

Lovin' this!!

Lovin’ this!!

Suddenly off to the starboard side, a pod of about nine dolphins easily kept up with us….only to disappear when Beth went forward to take their pictures!

Missed the shot of the dolphins

Missed the shot of the dolphins

We sailed out to the end of the channel to Pensacola, and turned around because we were running out of time, and I wanted to return to the marina before darkness set in. And we did! The foresail, or genoa, is huge, and really adds to the hull speed. Compared to Kewalo…well, everything is bigger, heavier, faster…you know the old saying….bigger, badder, meaner, faster! She handles the gulf swells like a dream come true.

So, to backtrack a wee bit, we spent yesterday shopping…trying to determine how to best have a hotspot, or cell coverage so that we could have a hotspot…and we are still looking at that. A trip to Wal Mart for some cheap supplies for cleaning and such, and back to the boat. Oh, by the way, we have received official notification that Moorahme is officially ours….and the name will remain ours. Yes! Progress!

Palafox dock is located at the very end of Palafox street, in the old part of downtown Pensacola. That being said, there are a ton of GREAT restaurants within easy walking distance. The fish tacos at Jacos Restaurant, which is located right at the marina, are absolutely awesome..and they have a very nice wine list to compliment the rest of the menu. There is also a refit yard for the oil field ships a block or so away, so we are treated to viewing some of the huge ships that work in the oilfields when they come in for maintenance. The American Navy has their base at the entrance to Pensacola from the Gulf, so we are treated to navy ships, and a ton of navy jets on patrol and training sessions. Pensacola is the home of the Blue Angels, and they usually practice on Tuesdays, but we have yet to see them over the bay practicing. We are really looking forward to seeing them!

Tomorrow we are heading to a crab boil over in Alabama. We have met some folks who are taking sailing lessons here at the marina, and they invited us over for a crab boil. Caroline and Aaron are getting into sailing, and are very interesting to talk to, both engineers by trade. Gulf Shores is less than an hour away by car…and Aaron is catching the crab fresh tomorrow morning! Oh man, cannot wait to taste them that fresh.

As with any boat of this vintage, we are having some small issues to deal with. Our refrigeration is not quite up to par, I am suspecting it needs a Freon charge..and we are hoping to get that done asap. Keith, the former owner, has hooked us up with a local repair guy, I will let you know how we make out. And tomorrow, a local canvas company is coming down to give us an estimate on a new dodger, bimini and full enclosure installation. The dodger isinglass is hard to see through, the bimini leaks when it rains, and we want a full enclosure for when we sail in areas with bugs.

So, we docked pretty well again today, no major issues or problems, and I expect that each time docking will become easier and more efficient. Beth did a great job handling the lines and getting Moorahme settled into her dockspace! Yes!

So, enough for today! Carry on as if you are normal!

Launch Time…..finally

Splash!

We spent the night in Montgomery, Alabama, and enjoyed a restful night at the Hampton Inn.  After enjoying a nice breakfast, off we headed for Pensacola.  We arrived at Bahia Mar marina about 11:00 local time, and the final coat of bottom paint had just been applied to Moorahme where a small repair had been done.  The travel lift had ripped off a small area of barrier coating and bottom paint, and the marina had done the repairs.
Keith arrived a short time later, and we checked out the bottom repair, and hopped on to have a look at the repairs Keith and a friend of his had completed as per the survey.  Great job, we’re happy with the results.  Now, to wait for “high tide” at the marina, and get her splashed.  There is only about a foot of tide, but it does make a difference at the launch.

 

In the sling

In the sling

on the way down

on the way down

And she's in

And she’s in

Once she was in the water, we did a quick check of the thru hulls, all was good.  Time to put the backstay back together, the travel lift was not large enough to accommodate having the backstay in place to lift her in and out.

Attaching the back stay

Attaching the back stay

Once that was completed, Keith showed us through some of the systems, and then Beth and I began to load our belongings on.  Beth took out 7 marina wagon loads of worldly goods out of our car…..there sure wasn’t room for anymore than we had in her.

Full car - backseat

Full car – backseat

The trunk - not an inch to spare

The trunk – not an inch to spare

The next day, Friday, Keith and Linda came back to the boat, and we prepared to head to the marina where we’ll be staying for the next while.  Palafox pier and docks is a very nice marina, and our 47 foot sailboat looks small compared to the other yachts in this marina.
I successfully docked her at the fuel dock, nice and gentle, we filled the fuel tanks, and Lance, the dock attendant, assigned us a dock position.  I then backed her into the dock nice and gentle, and to be quite honest, I was very pleased with the way she steered and handled, and let out a big sigh of relief once she was tied up.

Captain Randy at the helm for the first time

Captain Randy at the helm for the first time

The Captain Morgan stance ??

The Captain Morgan stance ??

One small issue, the engine would not shut down with the kill button. I shut the fuel off manually at the engine, and  then we all went to work, Beth organizing our things, and Keith and I troubleshot the air conditioning issue, which ended up being a partially, well, almost totally blocked exit thru hull, installed the foresail and halyards, got the dink down and prepped to go and off we went to West Marine.  Time for new life jackets with built in harnesses, some various parts, I had discovered a bad valve in the air conditioning cooling water line, and ordered a new 3000 watt invertor and magma nesting pots for the galley.  Man, what a busy day.  Keith and Linda are just absolutely the best, without their help and guidance, things would have taken me a whole lot longer to figure out.  We just can’t thank them enough.
Saturday, we visited the Seafood festival in downtown Pensacola, and then returned to Moorahme.  Beth continued putting away clothes, organizing the galley etc., and I troubleshot the kill button issue which turned out to be a power supply issue, and then washed the boat, a quick wash I might add, because my ankle is complaining quite loudly that enough is enough for today.

So, it’s shower time, and then off to dinner with Keith and Linda at one of their favorite restaurants….and of course it’s seafood!

Tomorrow, time to stock up the galley, the wine Bunkie, and try to carry on as if we’re normal!

We’re on the move!

Well, the day finally arrived, time to head south and get acquainted with Moorahme!

After a pretty much sleepless night, we hit the International Bridge to the U.S. at 4:30 a.m. No rest for the wicked! The CBP official was a great guy, actually smiled once, short interrogation, and we were off like a herd of turtles. Pay the $5 U.S. to complete the crossing, and we got the hell out of there in case someone changed their mind.

About 6 or 7 miles down I-75….oh oh. Brake lights….lots, and lots of brake lights. The highway is closed, major incident involving 3 vehicles and it is now time for a tour of the River Rouge area of Detroit. How nice…..surprising how many people are out and about walking the streets before 5 a.m. Roll through the stop signs, slooooow down for the red lights…..let’s just keep moving. Finally back onto I-75 after taking a “short cut” via I-94 which really did work out well for us, and we only lost about 30 minutes or so….Dearborn never looked so good as it did in the rear view mirror of the car. And speaking about the car……we currently have leased a 2011 Infiniti G37x four door sedan…nice car. No room for gypsies on the move….the back seat, back floor and some of the back window chocker block full….the trunk…well….too small for today’s boating family of two. Talk about a low rider in motion…..this stiff suspensioned car<at least it was> now floats down the highway like a 1965 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. Awesome! When we stopped for breakfast, I swear I heard the car sigh in relief when I locked the doors after we got out.

So, on down I-75, good time being made, thank goodness for cruise control….and we make the south turn at Louisville, Kentucky. Yup, and a few miles down 65….brake lights…gee, all kinds of brake lights…deja vu….crap! A tractor trailer had gone off on the right side of the road, rolled over…and you guessed it, they were now loading his load onto another tractor trailer. Rubber neckers and gawkers galore…and all driving in the same single lane of traffic that we were in. C’mon folks, the excitement is over, get your head out of your..ummm., window, and get moving. Stop and go, stop and go…geeesh! You’d think we were in Toronto traffic at 3 p.m. on Friday of a long weekend.

We gassed up somewhere in Kentucky…..I know it was Kentucky because as soon as I shut the car off I could hear banjo music…..while Beth went in to use the facilities, I gassed up our car and made sure that I was backed up against something solid and inert all the time while doing so. Gas was not especially cheap at $3.34, I had seen it advertised in some places at $3.03. Off to the races we go again…and did I mention yet that dirty word “construction”? Oh yeah…roadies, graders, dump trucks, guys with hard hats and safety vests leaning on shovels, leaning on equipment, sitting on tailgates…all hard at work, suffering immeasurably. Poor souls! There is more construction in Ohio, Kentucky and Alabama than I care to think about…funny…none in Michigan that we encountered….I wonder why?

So, here we are in Montgomery, Alabama, Bear Bryant country, the crimson tide…..fully fed and yet unrested. A free meal at the Hampton Inn…..lasagna and an awesome salad, on the house! What a great guy the manager is…..he even tossed the salad…..hopefully not his cookies……and warmed up the lasagna. But, they do get ya…they really do. There is beer in the little convenience booth cooler…at $4.50 each…so…2 beer x $4.50, aw heck, forget it, the meal was wonderful! And they are even going to throw in a breakfast in the morning. Hmm, breakfast…I wonder what time beer:30 is here in Alabama<grin>

Hope to be out of here by 8 a.m., which will be 7 a.m. our time, and in 2.5 hours exactly, 150 minutes exactly from the time we leave…we should be in Pensacola. That is according to the young lady at the front desk and her booklet, and google. So, how can we possibly go wrong? I’ll prove them wrong…I’ll gas up on the way and screw the timing right up!

We’re excited, tomorrow is a big day, have a quick look at Moorahme, get her splashed and start unloading the car onto the boat, our soon to be new home away from home, Yes!!

Oh, I forgot to mention…at the welcome/rest stop area as you come into Alabama, there is a huge rocket ship located there. Not sure what vintage, we were tied up in too much traffic to stop, but Beth did get some pics. We also passed the George C. Patton museum, and the Corvette museum on the way here….and 1123 cows, one bull….I’m pretty sure he was a bull, he was on top of a cow…1 hawk, 7 turkey vultures, and 1 mutant boy somewhere off in the distance playing the banjo…..life is good! Alabama.

Randy

 

Written In The Sand At Low Tide

Just when you think you have all your ducks in a row….

Our plans to get to the “new” boat have changed for a second time. First we thought we’d come home from The North Channel, collect our stuff in the car in a couple of days, and travel on down south. No, ….we can’t  be in the states too many days. So, we have visited with as many friends as we could fit in, packed and repacked, and made  arrangements to have the boat ready for our arrival.

One of those arrangements involved “splashing” (putting it back in the water) on the Friday when we arrived. Three weeks ago Randy set it all up for noonish. A week before we are supposed to be there, he called to confirm that everything was ready to go.

Back in the water after the survey.

Back in the water after the survey.

Oh,? What? Wait? We aren’t putting boats in the water on Fridays any more.

Thanks for the heads up, great customer service. Grrrr.

So, change of plans number two, we are leaving a day early.

Port Side

Port Side

Starboard side

Starboard side