Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Liebster Award

A Liebster Award!  It’s nice to be recognized. 

Thanks to one of my seven followers I have been recognized as having a blog worth visiting once in a while.  For that I get a nice graphic to paste and possibly a few new readers. A thank you goes out to Melissa and Mike on SV Galapagos for the recognition. They have a great blog which I highly recommend reading. I believe I discovered them on the Three Sheets Northwest site.

I was pretty comfortable with the few dedicated followers I have (Thanks Mom) but now I may reach the ten count which puts pressure on me to actually write something worth reading.  With the award I have questions that need to be answered. You the reader see the answers to these questions and then y'all get to know us a little better and proceed to delete us from your feed reader. So here we go.

#1. What’s the worst mistake you ever made on your boat?
Besides the purchase? Kidding. We love our old girl. Personally I think I've made lots of little mistakes with this beast but I'm hard pressed to think of any one thing that stands out. Maybe the time we left Toronto Canada bound for Sodus point NY and the weather turned to shit and the seas built to over ten feet.  We both had misgivings about leaving that morning under a clear sky. All the forecasts called for a “not too bad” sailing day. The wind and waves would be with us, but we both thought it could possibly be a mistake yet we never expressed this to each other. This was the first time I was actually scared to be out on the water. We had a relatively new boat in extreme conditions and the feeling that I fucked up had me quaking in my Sperry’s. We surfed down ten to twelve footers sometimes getting a little sideways trying to make home port before dark. The Morgan got pushed hard but she handled it well. We were one slip of the wheel or a wave over the side from being in an ugly situation. We survived, and kissed the ground after we tied up. Lake Ontario is extremely Bi-polar and we knew it. She can turn from sweetheart to bitch within an hour. From that point on if we have our reservations about something we express it.

#2. What is your secret fear about living/cruising on a sailboat?
OMG what a question. Me? Biggest fear? There are so many to choose from. Let’s keep it cruising related and I can narrow it down. As we gain experience out here the list of fears gets smaller. Running aground isn't so bad. Eight feet of water is plenty. There is always the ever present fear of being eaten alive by a large fish. I never got over the jaws movie and if I ever meet Spielberg I'm going to kick his ass. I've taken enough statistics courses to know the odds but I still hear the music whenever I'm in the water.

I guess my biggest fear in cruising is not having control of the boat. Whenever we are in a tight space or in current in front of a bridge I go through scenarios of engine or steering loss. I do not like the feeling of not being in control. One of the reasons I do not like to fly. Now that they closed off the cockpit I sit there wondering if the pilot just got served divorce papers after his wife discovered his wild weekend with the tranny flight attendant, and now feels his life and mine are worthless. I have enough small plane experience to know the basics so maybe, maybe I could at least keep it level until coached. I know a certain Tim and Deb that are laughing right now, but hey it’s knowing all possibilities of survival are cut off that makes me freaked out to fly. Back to cruising…
Some people fear sinking which is totally understood, but we have plans for that. We have a raft, dinghy, life jackets, EPIRB, flares, radio and what not. I don't have plans for my rudder falling off.  

A good husband would say he fears losing his wife overboard but I know Deb does not take risks with her safety. She is always secure and in a good spot on the boat. ‘Till death do us part pretty much refers to me making the exit.

#3. What do you like and dislike most about being a blogger?
When I started this blog it was just a way for me to tell a tale of two about our sailing adventures and other weird events of life.  Sometimes my strange quirky personality comes through and I’m not sure how it’s received. I do not want the blog to be a total travelogue. That would be like watching your parent’s slide show from Europe. “Here’s your father holding up the leaning tower of Pizza.” It’s Pisa Mom!
I really didn't think anyone would visit the blog except the kids once in a while and maybe some close friends. It amazes me sometimes when I see people from around the world taking a peek. Maybe someday my grandkids will read the blog! Maybe if it was limited to two sentences and an animated GIF they might. I'm not very good at keeping a written journal and I tend to leave it for months at a time without putting any ink on it. No one after my generation can read cursive anyway. My grandkids would have to have it translated.

I like to tell a tale and try to keep it humorous. Sometimes it works, most other times it doesn’t. Some topics are better left without humor but I tend to find it in a lot of things we experience. Of course I am the only one who finds some of this stuff funny. Even Debra will look at me sometimes and wonder why I am always smirking. Blogging can also be a lot of work. That is why I tend to disappear from the internet from time to time with or without Wi-Fi. A lot of times there just isn't anything going on. Having a facebook page really helps sometimes when you want to show a quick photo with comment or let people know where you are. Problem is that facebook has stolen some of the updates that would normally appear in blogger. Not sure of the future of blogging.

Having been involved with computers and electronics all my life there are times when I say “Enough!” and unplug my brain. We are out here to live an adventure by boat, not writing short stories. I am not a fast writer and the words do not spill for me like it does for others, so if I spend all my time telling you about what I did then how much am I really experiencing? Some people can do it. I really admire their, energy and skill at writing it all down. 

When you first start blogging you are kind of anonymous and you can write whatever you feel without reservation. Once you lose that anonymity your writing changes and you become a little more reserved in your expressions. I suppose I should quit being a wimp and just write what I feel without worrying who sees it but I am a wee bit more careful now about what I write. Too many people out there with guns.

#4. What is the most important thing to look for in a sailboat? Just one thing.
What is one important thing to look for in shopping for a sailboat? Fun. That’s right, fun. Look at the boat and ask yourself, “Will this boat be fun, or a lot of work?” If work, then does it have the potential to be fun? If it’s not going to be fun to sail and reside in then what the hell is the point in buying it?
Our boat choices over the years have resulted in fun times. We didn't own classics. We didn't own racing sleds. We didn't own “blue water boats” either. However, they were all a lot of fun to sail and cruise around in.

#5. What thing do other boaters do that irritates you?
Where do I begin? Actually, let me just say that 99% of the people out here are great. They are helpful, friendly and operate their boats in a safe manner. There are a few though that can raise your blood pressure to unsafe levels. Being on the ICW we see the best and worst, so here are my top five things boaters do that annoy me.
  • Common courtesy. If you are going to pass me from behind on the ICW please call me and let me know your intentions. Do not sneak up on me at 30 mph, or pass me just fast enough to throw a three foot wake.
  •  Don’t crowd me Bro! If I’m waiting for a bridge to open in 20 mph winds and a 2 knot current keep the Fk away! Have you seen the scratches in my gelcoat? I will hit you before I hit the bridge or run aground.
  • Flocking. We anchor because we like being in nature and away from crowds. We try hard not to crowd someone already there. Some folks feel it’s necessary to drop the hook close enough to pass us a sandwich. Why? It’s like the movie theater. You have the whole place to yourself and no matter if you are in the back, the front, side or middle someone always plops their ass right next to you or worse right in front of you. Flocking irritating it is.
  • Where are you? Fishing boats with no lights. I saw you one minute and the next you are gone. Are fish scared off by navigation lights? What’s with the incognito bullshit? Sailboats, especially dark hulls without anchor lights. You guys are just asking for it.
  • Slow the flock down.  Some folks, power and sail, are just too damn stressed by having to be the first one in an anchorage or getting the last mooring ball or bridge opening. We have been cut off many times. We have been passed with inches to spare. We have been waked into a death roll by someone who had to wait another 10 minutes for a bridge 500 yards away. We had a sailboat at peak rpm pass us and then slow down to idle speed to scope out an anchorage. Now that I sound like the old guy in the neighborhood yelling for you to get off his lawn, let me repeat that it’s only a small percentage of folks that annoy me J

5. Journey or destination? 
Journey of course. We own a sailboat. If I blasted through the water at over 25 knots I might be inclined to say destination because the ride would be more like driving a car. Ooh, was that a slam on my powerboat friends? J  The journey is awesome. Night skies with mystery lightning. Shooting stars and bioluminescence in the night sails along with cloudless lightning were amazing. Leaping Dolphins and flying fish as your travel companions make you smile away the hours to your destination. Sometimes the destination is not worthy of the experience in getting there.

6. Which sailboat reference book would you recommend someone absolutely have on board? Which sailing adventure book?
Tough one to answer. For a sailboat reference I would pick Dennis Conner’s “Sail like a Champion”, but I’m an ex racer so I find it cool reading. I learn something every time I read it. Yes I've read it multiple times. You would think we would sail more often. I also use Beth Leonard’s Voyagers Handbook. Tons of good info in there.
Not sure I've read a sailing adventure book. There was a book long ago that was about a guy sailing with three women. I do not recall the author or title as we no longer have a room filled with books I can go to, but Deb reminded me that I liked it. As I recall it was not very well written but detailed enough to keep me interested.

8What is the most important piece of gear you carry on your person or keep handy in your cockpit?
Easy. Lifejacket. Always handy and always on when it gets rough. We should wear them all the time but in the safety of a large cockpit in calm waters we typically just keep them handy.  I still wear one when in the dinghy alone and at night they are always on no matter what the weather conditions.

9. How slow will you go before you turn on your engine?
Depends on where we are and where we are going but we have been known to try to sail in half a knot for hours before turning on the diesel. We did this recently in the Rappahannock River as we had a good portion of the day left to get to our anchorage. This used to drive our kids to the point of insanity.

10If money were no object, what boat would you choose?
If we were rolling in the dough we would hire Robert Perry to design us a custom boat and then go with his recommended builder. We would rent a place nearby and watch each phase of construction. The boat would be very similar to the M44 only updated with modern materials and maybe a tad more forefoot for maneuvering and changes to improve upwind performance. We would not get a boat bigger than 44 feet, in fact we would go smaller if we could. Sailing ease and performance would be number one, followed by living space and comfort. As we get older I’m sure the specifications will change.

Well there you have it. You know a little bit more about us thanks to the crew at Little Cunning Plan.
Now we come to the fun part. I get to nominate blogs for this award as well. The blogs I have selected are by some of the people we have met along the way. I had to narrow it down somehow. I enjoy reading all of them. Drum roll please.

And the Liebster award goes to (alphabetical order)…
·         Galley Wench Tales
·         SV Magnolia
·         The Life Afloat Archives
·         The Retirement Project
·         Veranda422
·         Wildcat Sailor Girl

Congratulations to all and to all these simple questions.
  1.  When did you first catch the sailing/cruising bug?
  2. Describe your worst repair or maintenance job on the boat besides the head. Everyone already knows that’s a shitty job.
  3. If you could turn back time just 3 years what would your cruising life be like today? If I could turn back time just 5 minutes I would have asked a different question because now I have that stupid Cher song in my head.
  4. Music soothes the soul. Do you listen to music onboard? What type of music and on what media? If it’s 70’s disco please decline the award and I’ll remove you from my feed. Just kidding. Feel free to add a mirror ball to the salon and dance all night long. I don’t judge. Much.
  5. Was there ever a time on the water when you thought "Oh shit!" and all the fun was over for that day?
  6. Wine, beer, booze or tea? Doesn't matter to me. I get high on life. 
  7. Has there ever been a destination you couldn't wait to arrive at only to be disappointed when you got there?
  8. What part of cruising do you dislike the most besides no flushing toilets or bloggers asking stupid questions?
  9. Describe the best time you ever had on a boat unless it was illegal, then just email me.

Thank you for reading and cheers to you all!
Paul and Debra

This is the first good WiFi we've had in over a month so I'm a little behind in postings. Chronological order is now whacked so it might be confusing as to where we are. Not sure it matters unless you are actually following us. Creeper.


  1. Should we ever meet in person I fear we would sit in the cockpit drinking good beer and griping about stupid boaters who crowd perfectly respectable private anchorages while keeping our eyes out for Jaws. And I never even SAW the movie. Just the trailers were enough for me. Music background, indeed. Also, Saturday Night Fever rules if you want to dance in your cockpit. But please, no disco balls.

    1. I look forward to that day. Just the opening scene in Jaws was enough for me.

  2. Follower #4 here. We enjoy your writing. Always fun and interesting. Perhaps once we get away from the land distractions we will publish our blog for more to read. In the mean time don't change the style. Did you notice that you wrote the same thing about cars and boats?
    Pat and Joan

    1. Thanks guys! The ICW can be just like I95. There will always jerks on either route. It is funny that they pull the same shit on the water as they do on the road.
      I told Deb yesterday that I am sick and tired of the ICW. I need like a three year break from this mode of travel. You have to start posting your life moments leading up to cruising. They can be interesting reading.

  3. You have 7 followers? Heck, most of my family doesn't even follow me! They're either internet illiterate or just think I'm kinda nuts. Thanks for the challenge. Hey, this resolves what my next blog post will be; definitely more of a challenge when on extended shore leave. Dang you for being such a tough act to follow! Can you hear all our giggles, reading through your posts? Why the heck are you far enough north to start freezing your bippies off -- aka - when the heck are we going to meet up, someplace warmer?

    1. I'm sure we'll meet up somewhere. Somewhere warm. I have a few family members that follow but likewise, they think I'm kinda nuts too.