2014 1 Winter/Spring – Foot-itis (The Hunt for a bigger Boat)

January 19, 2014
We are off on another big adventure….getting the heck out of the freezing cold, and heading off to the warmth of the sunny south and the countless marinas to shop for our new to us sailboat so that we can sail off into the sunset…..and warm sunny waters of the Caribbean.We departed home at 4 a.m. Friday morning, Jan.17th.  Car was fueled, fresh oil change, tires, brakes etc. all checked and good to go.  Beth had everything packed and ready, including the Christmas cake for our Michigan cruising friends Jim and Rhonda, patiently awaiting it’s arrival in Marathon, Florida.The border:  We paid the toll at the tunnel, exalted with each other about our road trip…and pulled up to the customs booth.  Enter into the picture:  TROLL #1.  Our border guard, who I have named Mr. Charm and other names I won’t publish here, was about as friendly as a boil on your butt.  He informed us that we had to have reservations for a place to stay each and every night that we were in the good ‘ol USA….really?  Every night?  Reservations?  WTF?  He then carried on and on about just about every other non sensical item that he could bring up…and of course we were both tuned right in and very interested in every thing he had to say….this guy was the sleaziest, whiniest little prick I’ve ever had the pleasure of exchanging pleasantries with….he even had to know to the exact dollar how much money we had……personally I think he just wanted to watch me reach behind and pull my wallet out of my ….ummm pocket to count what little money I had….Beth had all the money.So…we finally left the troll at the tunnel….and drove off in the snow and slippery roads wondering aloud who could have possibly borne this pompous fool.We finally ran out of slippery roads and falling snow somewhere in Ohio.  When we checked on Google maps, it laid out a fine route to get us to our first stop, New Bern, NC.  Well, somehow or other, the gps in the car decided, unknown to us, that we should pay a visit to the capital of the US….known to most as Washington.  Talk about the long way around.  By the time it registered in our foggy heads that perhaps we were a wee bit off track, it was too late.  We jumped on to a couple of 2 lane highways, lots of nice twisties and small towns…and ended up in a small town named Colonial Heights, VA, just outside of Richmond.  Sixteen hrs
in the car….and we were still talking to each other.  Beth has aptly named the on board gps “Lying Lil”,  quite appropriate seeing as how she has had us wandering around on a number of occasions.  So….is it the programmers, ie “us”, or is it the machine?  Let’s not go there<grin>
Day 2 found us on the road early, we wandered aimlessly around the roads outside of New Bern thanks to Lil, and finally found our first boat to view…a 1997 Catalina 40.  Jerry and Mal enthusiastically, or at least somewhat, showed us around the boat….lots of oil, and I mean lots, under the engine in the bilge…..Jerry says”  Where did that come from?”  Alarm #1.  Then showed me the main bilger…water there as well…Alarm #2…..nice boat though, but original standing rigging…not good, new running rigging, the woodwork down below all needed to be revarnished.  Motor sounded good, generator sounded good, but he didn’t fire up any of the electronics, no maintenance records…..and kept looking at his watch…….Alarm #3.  Sloop rig, not a cutter rig…I would really like a cutter rig, but not a deal breaker.  So…we departed New Bern, which is a very picturesque 300 year old town and headed for Wilmington, NC.  Lying L’il got us there eventually, it was cold as a mother in law’s kiss.  Checked in to the Hampton Inn, then headed out for dinner.  Seafood!  Yes!
So, Sunday morning we met up with Terry Rose of Bennett Bros, very knowledgeable chap, 76 years young and just underwent recent knee surgery, albeit minor.  The ladders were not kind to either he or I…my ankle, his knee…what a team!  First up, a Sabre 42….nice boat, aft cabin way too small….just not what we wanted…the pictures were great though!<grin>  Then, off to a Stevens 47….in need of some TLC, but very solid boat, nice layout.  The owner is not sailing any longer, so everything goes with it, pots, pans, mould, hair…….you get the picture.  Sloop rigged, the Ford Lehman diesel has 9, 900 hours…….yikes!  25-30k to yank it out and install a 75 hp yanmar turbo…..needed some gel coat work, new electronics…….hmmmm, getting into serious $$$ here now.  So…last but not least…a Catalina 470…..holy crap…what a masterpiece….geeeeez, if it weren’t for the 7’8″ draft and not having air or heat……but hey, you can change out the keel for a new shoal draft keel for 25k……..ain’t gonna happen.
So, off we head to Charleston, SC.  And it’s getting warmer…..16C for all my cold weather Canucks…..almost warm for my American friends.  Here, we will visit another Stevens 47, already a lot of retro fits……nice dark blue hull…we dock stalked it and found it when we arrived……the live aboard owner was trying to barbeque…..from what we could see definitely a should/must see.  After we view this one, it’s off to Brunswick, GA to view another Stevens 47…..have you caught the recurring theme here?  Yup, I like the older, solid boats..heavy, classic lines….sometimes stinky, smelly things…lol….
So..that’s where were at for now.  Not much entertainment value in this, too tired to toss out my anecdotal evaluations of everything…..I’ll try to get better.
p.s.  Jim and Rhonda – The Christmas cake is on it’s way.
        All of our friends in Florida….get ready, we’re on our way….I need someone to terrorize and I’ve decided that all of you will be my targets<grin>
        All of our friends back home in cold, frigid, snowy, did I mention cold and snowy weather……suck it up, you’ve only got the rest of January, February, March and part of April to go, then you’ll be able to put away your long johns!

January 21, 2014

Hey Y’all

And how do you say “y’all”?  yuh all  yawl …..

Charleston….and it’s getting warmer!  Met with Greg, a young, very boat smart fellow, a very keen sailor, owns a Bristol 40…..used to liveaboard….but,  his girlfriend talked  him into renting an apartment for the winter.  Last nights dinner was awesome, at a small chain restaurant…California Dreamin…the She Crab soup was to die for…..not quite as good as Cheesie Frank’s lobster bisque…but a very sound runner up.

Monday morning we visited “Jammin” another Stevens 47.  Why do boat owners not fix/repair water leaks asap?  It appeared to me that every portlight and hatch would need to be re-bedded.  Older electronics, newer bow thruster, one electric winch, the other did not function electrically.  Some of the standing rigging was frayed, new 75hp turbo Yanmar…when he did do a refit, he did it the right way.  Two alternators, one a 160 for the house bank, the other for the starting battery.  Trojan battery banks.  Nice set up.  But, the wood under the head liner was rotten  in places, there were other leaks due to poor bedding, and the upper deck had gel coat opened up to the fiberglass……a big turn off for me.  If the price was right, there was “potential”, but we all know how expensive that word can become in a hurry.  On to Brunswick, Georgia!

People eating lunch at picnic tables, the car air conditioner working, other cars operating with windows open….and more dang cops with radar than I’ve ever seen!  Holy crap, let’s fill the state coffers on Monday, Jan.20/14…yup, all in one day!  It can be done if there’s a radar and 3 cruisers every 5 miles!  Hooray for cruise control!

Brunswick, Georgia downtown marina!  Great spot, a real honey of a hurricane hole.  And, Whiteaker yacht sales has a Mason 44 and a Ta Shing Baba for sale on the docks!   Both very pretty boats.  We stopped here to view a private sale Stevens 47…hmmm..another Stevens 47 you’re thinking?  Yup….another.  And this one is very, very nice.  Re-fitted with a Yanmar, fuel scrubbing system with good access, engine room re-done.  All of the interior wood has been stripped down and refinished.  A nice radar arch with 470 watts of solar power, two dock boxes and dinghy davits.  Good solid tubed life lines aft, the deck was solid, no chips, crazing or blemishes.  It appeared the ports had all been rebedded, some of the hatches could use new seals.  There was marble on the counter tops, new refrigeration…geez, I like this one…and more importantly, so does Beth.  It’s about $4 a foot to haul a boat out down this way, I’ll have exact figures later……..We still have some hopefully nice boats to view, including a Hylas 44, a Brewer 42..both of these have blister issues, but worth looking at.  Then there’s a Gozzard 44, and a couple of Brewer 44 CC’s, a Dean 40 Catamaran….interesting you say….and a handful of Hunters.  Yes…..18 altogether…so far, but the more you look, the more you learn.

The laptop computer crashed today….geesh, going to have to buy another laptop while we’re down here.  Thank goodness the Hampton Inn’s have a business center with computers.

We ate tonight at Southern Soul, a local restaurant here on St. Simon’s island.  They’ve been on Diner’s, Drive In’s and Dive’s….awesome, cheap barbeque.  They’ve got a barbeque outside that is humungous!  And a small plane airport very close by, you can watch them coming in for landing directly overhead as you eat….what fun!<grin>

Forgot to mention….we picked up a bottle of Turley’s red Zinfandel today in Charlotte…not easy to acquire.  They had two varieties, a $100 bottle and 3 @$39 a bottle….we chose a 2011 vintage…the $100 bottle will stay on the shelf.

Gas is averaging $3.20 or so for regular…..about $55 to fill the car.  Much better than the $95 to fill the car routine at home.  Heck, I even had the car washed gas is so cheap down here.

So, enough about us for today, we’re off to Florida tomorrow to continue the big adventure.

We’ll keep you posted!



March 8, 2014

I’ve had a few e-mails from some of our loyal followers….asking what the heck, where the heck, how the heck..why the heck?

So….I have been re-miss in my reporting of our activities.

Taking a step back, we ran away from Lillie Mae…literally.  4:00 a.m., out of the bunk, loaded the car, and we were off like a herd of turtles.  I really hadn’t slept that much that night….my wonderful stomach was reminding me that it does exist, and does not like to be stressed.  Thank goodness Jim found the issues.  I knew we had issues to deal with, but the depth and extent of the repairs and their costs were frightening.  Hard to believe that I depended on someone else to discover them…..a lesson very well learned.  Make sure you hire a competent surveyor, and work beside him moving, opening up every nook and cranny that you can.

So, off we drove to Ft. Myers Fl to spend time with Beth’s sister Cheryl and her hubby Mark.  They had rented a nice condo in Ft. Myers.  Beth and Cheryl caught up with each other at the pool on day one, Mark and I visited West Marine…a nice large one I might add, where we both made purchases for our boats at home, and then off to Total Wines, one heck of a liquor store I am very fond of.  More varieties of booze than you can imagine….what a candy store!

While visiting with them, we made a trip to Stuart Fl to re-visit Ciao, a 1989 Brewer 44 CC.  Great boat….but I just couldn’t get my head wrapped around this one.  You might remember we had placed an offer on a 1988 Brewer 44 CC in Cape Coral earlier in our venture…and were turned down.  Ciao does not present herself quite as well as Miller Time did…but still was a looker.  But, there was just something I couldn’t my finger on…..we walked away from Ciao.  We were ready to put an offer in on her…we were just waiting answers to some questions from the broker….I had e-mailed him on a Friday, and there was no contact until Tuesday except an e-mail saying he had a minor family emergency to deal with on Sunday…and he would get back to us.  I e-mailed him again to prod for the answers on Monday, and Tuesday said that the answers pretty much hinged on whether or not we would put an offer in….this got a reaction…we had the answers by late Tuesday night…but it was too late, I had already decided that I wanted to walk away.  Beth and I discussed the issue, and agreed to walk.  Backing up just a wee bit, we also attended “Trawler Fest”, just down the road from Stuart…..we were on quite a few trawlers….Nordhavens, Kady Krogens,Albins……some others I can’t remember…but these vessels are just drop dead gorgeous.  Big bucks…..but gorgeous!

So…still boatless.  Mark and Cheryl had left for Windsor on the weekend, and we ventured a little further north in Ft. Myers to Tamiami Village and spent 3 wonderful days with our old A’burg neighbours Mike and Margaret.  What a time we had!  Over to the bowling alley for drinks and pizza and old dead bird wings with a ton of other Canadians from around Essex county, and there were folks there I knew…I had rode with a guy years ago before the coffee shop on Tecumseh Rd. blew up.  The next day off to the flea market, Beth found some nice nesting pots and pans, ooops, forgot to mention the “talent show” on our first night there…..lol…it was pretty good entertainment.  Sunday…….the 3 wheeled bicycle races!  Yup….all these snow birds have a track set up with lights and all, just like a drag race park….elimination racing!  Some of those folks really boogie!

Monday morning we headed off to Lake Worth to visit with a friend of the family, Janet Fisher.  We had stayed there one night earlier in our venture, and had promised Janet that we would be back and not for another one night stand….lol…we would stay a few nights.  And that is where we are at present……we’ve done a wee bit of travelling…down to Ft. Lauderdale today to shop for boat stuff at the largest West Marine store in North America, then off to Sailorman’s consignment store, and then over to Boat Owner’s Warehouse….all great accessory stores.  We found out today that there is a large boater’s flea market next weekend at Hallandale Beach, just outside of Ft. Lauderdale.  Hoping we can make it there, but we’ll see…..

We also got to visit with some old friends who are staying over in  Pompano Beach…Andre and Sandi Gagnon, who I went to high school in Elliot Lake with, and who reside in Lasalle, On. now, and her sister Jackie and hubby Aubrey, and Rich Sweider…who used to do pilot plant projects at Denison Mines back in the day.  While there in Pompano beach, a real storm came blowing through….I watched a patio chair get blown into a French door on the 5th floor of the condo beside us, and it went through the glass, the glass showered down into the parking lot below and blew the back door window out of a Hyundai.  Glad there was no one standing or walking in the parking lot at that time.  We also viewed a 44 Hinckley while in Pompano beach…but it wasn’t “the one” either…but I can say I was aboard a Hinckley now<grin>

So….tomorrow we are off to watch the Detroit Tigers vs. the Florida Marlins in Jupiter Fl,  weather forecast 80 degrees, sunny and warm.  Game starts at beer:thirty<grin>  that’s 1:30 p.m. Enekemaw Michigan time.  Monday morning, we are off to Marathon, Fl to catch up with Jim, Rhonda and Allie once again.  They have graciously offered to put us up…or is that put up with us…..once again, and have promised that we will go sailing, snorkeling, cooking fresh fish, imbibing life reinforcing sustenance such as beer, wine, aaaaaaargh, rum and whatever else we desire or manage to get into.  Boot Key Harbour in Marathon is a huge mooring field and anchorage….seeing all the mooring lights on at night is just like sleeping under the stars.  I anticipate dolphins, rays, and maybe even a manatee or two while there.  Swimming and snorkeling should be a hoot!  This is going to be FUN!

Mark and Cheryl are returning once again to a time share they have in Key West, and we will be there for a week….yes!  I feel a real suntan coming up.  Then…….

Yes, then, after the week in Key West…we just may have to think about heading back up the shell pavement highway 1 route north…..crap…..Windsor calls…sort of.  No rush to get there….crap, it’s cold back home from what I see on the internet…cold and there is snow on the ground dang it.  How the heck can I work on Kewalo in the cold?  I’m shivering just thinking about it.  But, work Kewalo we must, we have a list as long the Woody’s wood pecker to complete…..we’re going to have hot water on Kewalo this year, pretty sure we’ll need new batteries, new bottom paint, fresh brightwork, improved wiring, and the list goes on…..and on….geesh, and even on some more.  The North Channel is calling our names…..we hope to spend the entire summer up there.

Beth and I have decided that we are going to organize a wine party when we get home…..we’ll work on a date and let everyone know when!  WE hope that everyone can make it this year.

So…I probably missed something, or have it in the wrong order…but it kinda went like it is listed above…..I think<grin>

Be safe, and I’ll make sure to include another update or two before we get home….and I hope you’re all anxiously awaiting the wine party.




One thought on “2014 1 Winter/Spring – Foot-itis (The Hunt for a bigger Boat)

  1. Hi,
    Have enjoyed reading your posts. From Michigan originally and spent nearly every summer growing up on our family’s sailboat in the North Channel. Lately, have been giving some serious thought to a boat and am interested in the Stevens 47. Would love a chance to hear more about what you learned along the way during your search. Any plans to stopover in the Florida Keys? Will be making my way down at some point to visit family.


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